You’ve probably thought of it before. You’ve got a cool idea to sell something online, maybe it’s artwork, t-shirts, crafts or items you bought at wholesale. Before you sink a lot of money into it, test it out with the following hosted eCommerce store engines first.
So, where do you start?
There are a quite a few options available, if you’ve done any research into this you’ll find that hosting providers often offer osCommerce, Miva or some other tool. They take varying levels of technical knowledge to get going and are generally ugly as sin until you put some work into the design.
I’d like to point you to a couple options and outline what I like about them and why I think they’re better for aspiring eMerchants to cut their teeth on. They lower the barrier to entry so that almost anyone can get an online store setup in just minutes and look professional out of the box.
Shopify (example store)
Perfect for boutique sellers, Shopify provides plenty of tools for you to get started quickly and realize success. One of their most interesting benefits is their customization tool that allows you to take any of their already incredible themes and make it yours. They offer a wide variety of payment options, but are not the cheapest with their 3% commission on sold items rate. The good thing is, if you don’t sell anything, it won’t cost you a dime.
Big Cartel (example store)
Get started for free and never worry about losing any money to Big Cartel on commissions. Their pricing structure is the most “growth friendly” – though they have a limit of 100 items. They’re no slouches on the design side either, Big Cartel starts with some excellent looks that are fully CSS customizable. Get immediate marketing traction with their Stores Directory, where others can search and find you.
RightCart (example store – sidebar)
RightCart is the wild card in the mix. They offer an eCommerce/Store widget that you can place on your website or blog. This is particularly intriguing and useful for individuals whose blog is their main point of contact to the world. The widget fits in your sidebar, which you can customize to fit your look and feel. You can upload your own items to sell and make them “public” or “private” to allow other RightCart users to sell them.
Others to keep your eye on:
E-Junkie – Perfect for those who only sell digital products.
Wosbee – Just released in Jan 2007, this looks like it will be a top-notch product.
Flying Cart (Still in Beta and was unable to test it, but it looks promising)
MeCommerce – Similar to RightCart