In my last post, I made a case for selling your products through your own Facebook store (“How to Sell on Facebook Free: Set Up Your Own Shop”). It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s free and gives you access to one of the world’s biggest marketplaces.
All these things still hold true. However, if you want to kick your game up to the A-level, consider using an ecommerce site builder to create an online store.
With ecommerce-site-building applications such as Shopify, BigCommerce and Wix, you can build an online presence with more selling muscle. Your updated inventory will be automatically reflected in your Facebook store. At the same time, you can overcome Facebook store limitations, such as:
- The ability to only sell products (no digital downloads).
- Fewer payment options
- Lower-quality images
Access a Wider Market with an Ecommerce Website Builder
Yes, with an ecommerce website builder, not only will you have access to more selling tools, but you can also reach an even larger market. You can find your customers throughout the worldwide web, and on specialized selling platforms that could include Amazon, eBay, Pinterest and others.
Once you’ve set up your shop, any kind of updates you do—such as adding new products to your inventory and changing prices—will be automatically reflected in your Facebook shop, and any Facebook purchases are automatically taken from your larger online store.
There are a lot of easy-to-use, robust ecommerce website builder solutions out there that can help a small business like yours, but here are three that are consistently highly rated.
The ecommerce builder that tops most lists is Shopify. With more than one million users, the platform has helped its merchants rack up more than $72 billion in sales and it is eminently scalable. As your business grows, you have the choice of hundreds of different feature-rich apps to add new functionality.
When it comes to selling through Facebook, setup is easy using Shopify’s free Facebook Channel app, offered with all of its merchant packages. Once the app is installed, it automatically exports all your products to Facebook, synchronizing the two platforms so any changes are reflected on both. Shopify even provides the tools you need to sell your products through Facebook Messenger.
Shopify has a really clean, clear and simple interface, so you don’t need to know code or hire an expensive web developer to create your online store. It also allows you to sell across other channels, including Instagram, Amazon and eBay.
The ecommerce website builder supports hundreds of payment methods, including PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay, and it has its own, Shopify Payment. Other nice Shopify features include a variety of store themes, abandoned cart recovery (automatically sending a gentle reminder email to anyone who abandons a purchase partway through) and a variety of shipping options, partnering with vetted vendors such as USPS, DHL Express, UPS and Canada Post.
As the name suggests, this is a big ecommerce website builder solution. BigCommerce is the most scalable of the platforms (easily supporting the growth of your business), has the most built-in features and includes big-name clients such as Toyota, Kodak, and Ben & Jerry’s.
With a user interface that may be a little harder to wield than Shopify’s, BigCommerce allows users to sell across sales channels, including Instagram, Pinterest, eBay, Amazon and Facebook (using the Facebook Shop app). It also offers a Facebook Ad extension that “lets you create targeted ads from your product catalog to find new shoppers, increase sales and build lasting customer relationships.”
Other features include the ability to sell physical and digital products, as well as service-based ones; a new visual merchandising tool called Store Design; and lots of built-in functionality, such as SSL Security certificate.
Wix is a very user-friendly ecommerce website builder that’s aimed at small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. An intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets you construct your online store easily, with lots of highly polished, professional templates designed for ecommerce use.
You can add your Wix Online Store to your Facebook page and direct your Facebook shop visitor to your Wix site using Wix Store Manager, which ensures any changes done to your online store are reflected in the social media platform.
Wix is more about adding ecommerce functionality to a site, rather than being a dedicated ecommerce platform like Shopify and BigCommerce. And if you are in a hurry to set up a site, you can use Wix ADI, “the first-ever artificial intelligence that designs.” Simply answer a few questions, choose a suitable design, do whatever modifications you like and, presto!, you have a personalized online store. You can also use Wix Multilingual to create versions of the same page in different languages.
Once you’ve decided on your ecommerce website builder, it’s time to start building your ecommerce empire. Good luck!