The recent epochal shift into the technological era has digitalized almost everything. Ranging from education to entertainment, every industry has moved on the web. The fast and advanced innovation of digital technologies has lured many to gain benefits from it. It has been forecasted that between 2020 and 2023, direct digital transformation investments will amount to almost 7 trillion U.S. dollars.
The novel innovation of ecommerce
Following that, digitalization has sprung up a new venture of electronic commerce. Mostly referred to as ecommerce, this is the activity of buying and selling over the internet. Long lost are the medieval times when one had to take substantive time out to go out of the house to execute businesses or shop what they require.
The groundbreaking invention of the internet has made it possible for businessmen to sell their products and services from anywhere in the world. All they need is a good and firm internet connection.
When did ecommerce begin?
Although it has not been long since ecommerce has started, it still encompasses a rich history. It all started in the 1960s when primitive electronic data transactions were made between individuals and companies—moving forward to 1994 when the first online retail transaction kickstarted a new generation of online shopping.
It is apparent that, till date, ecommerce has been increasing and flourishing at an unprecedented rate. There is a substantive rise in businesses moving online and new companies and entrepreneurship jumpstarting. Research has shown that out of the total retail sales, 36% of them accounted for ecommerce sales in the U.K. in November 2020. This rate is continuing to grow and rise exceptionally.
How is ecommerce better than traditional commerce?
Ecommerce may be complex or different to understand for many traditional people in business and shoppers. They may find it challenging to adapt to this high-tech measure of live buying and selling. Many sellers are used to seeing their customers face to face and acquire cash in hand upon selling their goods or services to them.
While in online demeanours, one is unaware of who is the buyer? It even seeds the doubts of whether the buyer is a genuine one or not. Similarly, the buyers have their own suspicions about the quality of the products, customer service, authenticity and online scams.
However, ecommerce encompasses its own gains, which exceptionally outstrips traditional commerce. Ecommerce platforms have a substantive variety of products and services as compared to traditional commerce. They are more affordable and offers favourable deals and offers which goes easy on the pocket. One notable benefit of ecommerce includes that buyers can shop from nearly anywhere in the world from the comforts of their homes.
They will get their parcels right at their doorstep from anywhere in the world, staving off the need of going in crowds and chaos for shopping. While in traditional shopping one has limited variety as they can only shop from places near them and not from other cities, countries or across different continents. In addition to that, shoppers are relieved from the worries of transportation and logistics. Ecommerce companies provide delivery services by dispatching their products to the buyer’s given address.
Noteworthy is the actuality that one out of every four people you come across is an online shopper. As it stands in 2021, the number of digital buyers is at 2.14 billion. This means that the buyers are making an apparent shift to online shopping due to its high convenience and comfort. Another factor that should be taken into account is that buyers tend to add more things to their cart than shopping offline shopping. This leads to higher sales and higher profits, thereby rendering an online store to be flourishing.
How does ecommerce work?
The a la mode and flexible innovation of ecommerce is a completely different shopping experience. With just a few clicks, one can open themselves to a broad horizon of world-class products and top-tier services by just sitting at one corner.
This fast-paced industry ensures a top-quality business and shopping experience to both the seller and the buyer. Although this mode of commerce is new and still requires numerous developments, ecommerce is flourishing and developing rapidly.
However, one question which seeds in the minds of many is how the whole system of ecommerce works so effectively without significant hindrances. This is because of the top-tier ‘ecommerce platform.’ These effective platforms comprise high-powered software and I.T. Gear, making it easy and straightforward for sellers to sell and buyers to buy. It helps the customers search, see various products, add to cart, add their contact and delivery information, do the payment, and place an order constructively.
There are different types of e-commerce platforms. The three main types include SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms, PaaS (platform-as-a-service) platforms, and on-premises platforms. SaaS and PaaS platforms both deliver the e-commerce solutions through the internet. Noteworthy is the actuality that SaaS platforms involve software only. Once they add a hardware element as well, they become known as PaaS platforms.
Choosing an ecommerce platform
Choosing an ecommerce platform can be a pretty exhaustive job as it comprises thorough research. A company needs to ensure that the platform meets the requisite needs of the company and encompasses the required features to pull off a second to none customer service and shopping experience.
It is beneficial for small businesses to start from SaaS or PaaS ecommerce platforms as they are less complex and can meet the many requirements of a small business. However, it is noteworthy that there is no single e-commerce platform that can offer a customer everything. Like every other industry, ecommerce platforms also comprise of gaps and cannot be perfect. The only option is to customize an ecommerce platform to fit the needs of a business.
This can help achieve a medium that comprises add-ones and additional plug-ins to pull off an excellent shopping experience.
Best Ecommerce platforms for small businesses U.K.
There has been an evident rise in small businesses in the U.K. The recent statistics have shown that at the start of 2020, there were 5.93 million small businesses. It is evident that although being small-scaled, startups have high scale growth and profits, which eventually turns them into more prominent brands. Hence, many entrepreneurs are now kickstarting small scale businesses in the hope of growing big.
It should be noted that many of these small-scale businesses are on the web and use the internet for buying, selling and other transactions. Keeping that in view, business people seek constructive e-commerce platforms to run their businesses online in an effective manner. They look for venues that will meet their business requirements and help pull off an effective business relationship with their customers.
Let’s have a look at some of the many best ecommerce platforms for small businesses in the U.K.;
eWorldTrade is one of the biggest ecommerce platforms in the world which has massively grown in the B2B space. The platform continually connects buyers to the right seller, and has a wide array of listed products from top-tier suppliers.
eWorldTrade, unlike many giant ecommerce options, is free from all sorts of monopolies and market control tactics and has penetrated the UK market with a strong footprint. eWorldTrade continues to be the one-stop shop for buyers and suppliers in the UK who are looking to expand their target customer.
eWorldTrade’s customers range from diverse communities around the world, which is an added benefit since it allows buyers to enjoy availability of some of the rare machinery, expensive equipment and generally materials which are not easily available in the marketplaces.
Started over a decade ago, Shopify powers over 1,700,000 businesses worldwide. Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario but having global operations, Shopify comprises high quality and powered I.T. gear and software to help sellers provide their customers an excellent shopping experience. They are playing an important role in helping small businesses start, run and grow businesses. They excel in delivering online retails, shopping carts, ecommerce hosting, mobile commerce, different store themes, cross border ecommerce, 24/7 support and whatnot. They are affordable for startups as their cheapest plan is only $9/month with a free trial of 14 days.
As its name suggests, Lightspeed ensures to turn your complex businesses into simple startups. It addresses the many needs of small businesses by providing exceptional software and I.T. tools to businesses. Whether managing multiple systems, working remotely or needing both sleek and power, Lightspeed is the go to eCommerce platform for companies worldwide. It comprises a $69/month package for businesses which may seem a little pricey, but its excellent performance and multiple services justify the price.
4- WiX Ecommerce
This Israeli company which has global operations, is helping small businesses to create online stores on their ecommerce platform. Here are seven easy steps to make an effective start of a business on Wix;
- Log in to your account or sign up.
- Choose from 500+ professional online store templates.
- Customize your online store’s design.
- Add products to your store.
- Connect a payment provider and set up shipping.
- Choose a custom domain.
- Publish your ecommerce website and start selling.
Having a UK based-support system and all-inclusive features, EKM is a good ecommerce platform for small businesses. Its features include website builder, templates and a good range of features to complete online store and marketing.
Its customer support is exclusively based in the U.K., making this particularly attractive for British merchants preferring a good understanding of the U.K. market. The subscriptions are at fair prices for the number of hours the EKM support team will put into helping your business.
Looking for stunning web designs? Squarespace should be your top stop if you are a small business owner in the U.K. They are known for their stylish templates, which will attract customers to your online store exceptionally.
They comprise running personal blogs, business websites or online stores. Its many features include website builder, design templates and hosting of one website per subscription plan. One aspect which makes this ecommerce platform beneficial for business owners in the U.K. is that it can be connected with Stripe in the U.K. to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Apple Pay payments.
It is also possible to receive PayPal transactions. It is beginner-friendly online store with a limited production line. Hence it works best for small scale businesses.
Founded in 1997 by Bob Parson, GoDaddy is an American e-commerce platform with global operations and has helped many small businesses grow and become big brands. This top-notch company is the world’s largest services platform for entrepreneurs worldwide. They are on a mission to empower the worldwide community of 20+ million customers — and entrepreneurs everywhere — by giving them all the help and tools they need to grow online.
They help you choose your own domain by offering the classic .com or creative .app, or .guru domains. There is no better place than GoDaddy to find the perfect online home for your business or idea.
Bluepark is U.K.’s leading e-commerce solution. It comprises multiple features and options at an affordable price for small businesses that are initially low on finances. Their features include easy customizing of design, showcasing products, managing payments, delivering and reordering, sending email newsletters, listing products on eBay and keeping accounts in order.
They have everything needed to be built in, no matter the size of your business. Every Bluepark shop comes with a wide selection of mobile-friendly templates available to use for free. Simply upload your logo and get started. Creating your own unique design to reflect your brand is easy to do without the need for expert knowledge.
Having a UK-based support system, Venditan helps build high-performance e-commerce websites for ambitious independent retailers. This phenomenal platform helps small businesses to grow sales an expand their business. Let’s have a look at some of their top-scale features;
- New payment methods (Sofort, GiroPay, Klarna, Adyen & over 250 others) and retail finance for more significant purchases
- Multi-currency, multi-language and translations
- Delivery flexibility for the consumer and cost-saving for the retailer with enhanced courier and shipping options
- Total journey optimization from landing page to checkout
- Mobile apps for Apple & Android
- Selling through marketplaces and social (Amazon, eBay, Instagram)
It is evident that starting a business is tiresome. However, it is even more back-breaking to maintain and run a business efficiently.
Keeping in view the spike of e-commerce startups in the U.K., online entrepreneurs are substantively contributing to the British economy through selling world-class products and services on the web. The discussion above covers what e-commerce is and some of the best e-commerce platforms that are online.