Imagine the following scenario!
You have a shop in the city centre and your products are always in high demand. You often have tourists from all over the world who are very interested in what you have to offer. They ask if you had an online shop and if they could order from home. Or do you have a great and innovative product idea, which you would like to offer for sale? Now you are sitting here and asking yourself how can I bring my products online and what are the most important aspects of an online shop system?
In principle, many things are easy to implement nowadays if you know what works best for your brand. We have compiled below the most relevant information on various shop systems for you to try to make your life easier. We at MOODJA already have integrations to many other shop systems available and are happy to help you bring your shop online into the e-commerce universe.
CATEGORIES OF SHOP SYSTEMS
Overall, there are 3 types of systems to choose from.
1. Open Source
Open source, as the name suggests, is available to the wide public free of charge and open for code modification. Such systems usually offer a wide range of functions. Since you have a direct access to the source code and you can make changes, if needed, a high level of technical know-how is required here. The disadvantage of such a system is that the adaptability and functions can vary greatly depending on the shop system itself. Many developers usually work on a system to constantly optimise and adapt it. When working with open source products, you usually need additional plug-ins to achieve the best results for your shop.
2. SaaS solution (Service as a Software)
A SaaS solution is a ready-made shop system available on a subscription basis. You pay monthly or annually or on-demand for your online shop. It is very user friendly and intuitively designed as a modular system. This way you can find your way around quickly and you can roll our your shop fast. SaaS solutions usually offer various shop design options which you can try out and test to see if a particular design fits your products. However, such shops are limited to the designs and possibilities programmed by the provider. This solution is ideal for small businesses and start-ups.
3. On-Premise (purchase software)
On-premise means that you purchase a licence for a shop system. As a result, you can tailor the system exactly to your brand and make individualised changes. This type of system requires that you take care of the hosting yourself and may need a lot of effort and technical know-how. In most cases, support from the shop system provider is included in the package. Since shop licenses are rather on the expensive side, these type of shops are usually suitable for established companies with well-known brands.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK YOURSELF
When choosing your shop system, do not rush! You should proceed thoroughly and as precisely as possible. To make your research easier, we have put together some questions which can help you make the right decision.
- How much do I want to invest in my shop system?
It is important that you carry out a well thought-out cost calculation beforehand. This will save you from unpleasant surprises and help you plan your budget accurately. When managing costs, it is important that you take into account that reserves should be available for additional modules, extensions, and your marketing expenses among others.
- Should my shop system be able to handle B2B or B2C orders?
Who are your end customers? Do you want to ship direct-to-customer or to wholesale customers (shops or market places) who should offer your goods. When hosting your online shop, it is always important to think in larger dimensions and rent a server at the same time.
- Do I want to run my own online shop or should it be only an extension to my physical shop?
If you already have a local business and want to complement it with an online shop, you should decide on where you would like to concentrate your efforts, i.e. from which shop you expect to generate more sales in the future.
- Do I want to include my online shop in market places such as Amazon or eBay?
Is it enough to have your own website where you offer your products, or do you want to market your products on Amazon, Zalando and the like? Definitely plan this in advance before you choose your shop system.
- Do I want to use an ERP system?
A well-visited online shop can be a lot of work. You can simplify your processes by using an ERP system. Such systems help you to better manage your customer data and offer even more extensive tools for managing your webshop and inventory.
- Which payment methods should the shop system offer?
Nowadays there are many ways to pay for your purchases PayPal, Klarna, Credit Card, etc. Be aware of which payment methods you want to offer in order to give your customers the best buying experience.
- Should your shop be multilingual?
Think about which countries are relevant for you and your product and where the journey should go in the future.
- Do I want to create my online shop myself or do I hire an agency?
Find out in good time which skills are needed for which online shop so that you can decide whether you want to do everything yourself or hire help. Your 3PL partner usually can offer you to commission their IT department or you can choose to have an external company do the job.
- Which functions are particularly important to you?
Does your shop system need to include support, hosting, logistics or marketing tools? Think about what you want to use in a system and find out which provider can meet your requirements in this respect.
- Do you want to ship internationally?
Do you feel comfortable on your continent? Or do you want to sell worldwide? Do your market research and try to understand what the future holds potentially for your products!
Shopify is a SaaS solution developed in the USA. It is often referred to as the “entry-level” solution as it is well suited for smaller brands and start-ups. Setup is easy and fast and there are many shop design options to choose from. It is very user-friendly and it is built as a modular system and no extra coding or programming is needed. Shopify is rather less customisable in terms of order processes in case this is something important for you. The commission and fixed costs for Shopify are calculated based on your turnover. A content strategy is rather difficult to implement with this shop system, which means that your growth potential might not be fully exploited. However, additional marketing tools can be integrated easily. Shopify offers you the opportunity to try everything for free for 14 days, and if you don’t like it, you can always opt out.
Shopware is a shop system that is suitable for companies of all sizes, serving both B2B and B2C customers. With Shopware, shopping harmonises with feed stories, such as the integration of blogs, to offer your customer an optimal shopping experience. Shopware is an open source software system, but it also offers many options for additions and personalisation. Through plug-ins, you can make changes according to your vision. Unlike other open source systems, Shopware offers not just one version, but 4, although not all of them are for free. So just see which one suits you and your products best. You can also upgrade to another version at any point of time. Shopware is definitely easy to use and you don’t have to be an expert to understand the individual steps.
WooCommerce is a flexible open source system that integrates with WordPress (serves as a plug-in). You can connect your content directly to the shop system and place your products easily. The basis of WooCommerce is free of charge and can be extended by other tools and plug-ins. However, the structure of WooCommerce is a bit more complex to understand, which is why we would recommend to you to get some support. With WooCommerce, you can design your shop in multiple languages and adapt it to your (desired) countries of expansion. You should definitely plan with some time for setting up this shop system since it is a bit more complex. However, with the right settings and plug-ins you can get the most out of it for your online shop.
Magento is a subsidiary of eBay and is also an open source product. It serves as a small all-rounder since you can also get it as an on-premise solution. With Magento you are offered high flexibility, scalability for increasing requirements and a customisable design (front end) of the shop system. Setting up multilingual online shops is also not a problem. A deficit that can arise, however, is knowledge in programming, since it is necessary so that you can operate the system. In addition, system performance depends strongly on the underlying hardware. Magento can provide you with support if you needed a developer, for example. However, all their additional services come at a high surcharge and the system requires a lot of maintenance.
Shopify, WooCommerce, Shopware and Magento are, of course, only a few of the many shop systems you can use. There are also providers such as Wix, which in addition can also be used as a website builder; or Jimdo – it is particularly suitable for beginners with no knowledge of html and it also very intuitive to use. Presta Shop is a useful tool for anyone who wants to manage their shipping and logistics in one place. Last but not least, there is Gambio, which can adapt to your requirements and comes with support in its package. Ultimately, it is important that you know what your brand needs and which online shop can offer you that.
We at MOODJA can support you in finding the right shop system for your needs and can also program additional interfaces ourselves. Is it all too confusing for you with all these different types of providers? Then contact us, we will gladly help!