eCommerce has revolutionized the way business is conducted across industries throughout the globe. Technological and logistical advancements have made the world a smaller place, ushering in the eCommerce era. eCommerce store software like Tribe, Shopify and others, make it convenient for businesses to start their eCommerce store further facilitating the rise of eCommerce.
According to Statista, the number of digital buyers is increasing every year. In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online. In the same year, e-retail sales from around the world surpassed $4.2 trillion.
Startups continue to leverage innovative business strategies to have a share of the eCommerce market and established players continue to report an increase in business year after year. In the year 2020 Amazon made it to the second spot in Forbes list of “top 10 companies all over the world. In the year 2020 alone, Amazon’s net revenue (consolidated) amounted to $386.06 bn. And this is roughly just 1% of the total global eCommerce market.
The rise of eCommerce businesses has been a silver lining in the pandemic cloud. The pandemic has confined people to their homes. As customers looked for alternatives, they turned to eCommerce stores. This further expedited the evolution of traditional brick-and-mortar stores to brick-and-click or simply an eCommerce business.
According to digital commerce 360 analysis, In the year 2020 consumers spent $861.12 billion on online shopping with U.S. retailers, this was an increment of 44.0% from $598.02 billion in 2019. Online spending was 21.3% of total retail sales in 2020, compared with 15.8% the year before it.
The pandemic factor has enhanced customer reach and the popularity of eCommerce stores. This further establishes their presence in the retail ecosystem, making their future brighter.
Source: Digital Commerce 360, U.S Commerce Dept.
This trend has necessitated the transition traditional businesses need to make to meet their target customers where they prefer to shop.
The statistics reveal that the eCommerce business is undoubtedly a lucrative option for startups. The future for the sector is bright as well. Speculative analysis by experts predict the eCommerce sector to continue its good run post the pandemic as well.
That said, the sector being relatively new, has some unknown variables attached to it. Startups may be apprehensive about treading an unknown path. Similarly, for legacy retailers, the transition to eCommerce requires progressive steps that may make them apprehensive about the transition process.
eCommerce businesses are based on dynamic websites that require a team of developers to build. This development process indeed requires both time and resources.
Moreover, once the website has been developed, it has to be deployed over a server.
For someone unfamiliar with coding, or someone short on time and resources, this process will seem like a mountain to climb.
Marketing an eCommerce store requires a slightly different approach. An eCommerce store has to be promoted in the digital ecosystem. It can be a little challenging to find the starting point. To be precise and measured in your marketing approach, a detailed go-to-market strategy has to be formulated.
Selling via an online channel involves most business processes of offline commerce like accounting, inventory management, and others. Additionally some unique processes like shipping management, logistics might be a part of an eCommerce business.
Just like a brick and mortar store, there is a need to understand the government regulations when an eCommerce store begins its operations. Unlike physical stores, online stores are not bound by geographical location. The internet enables their access to as far as the business desires to operate.
Since the e-store will sell inter-state and might even do business internationally, factoring in all the government regulations of the target market will be required. For instance, varying tax structure in all states
One of the most important part of any business, especially in the conception stage, is financial forecasting. Accurate calculation of costs involved will ascertain funding requirements, appropriate allocation of investment capital, and determine the possibility of competitor product prices.
With a host of unknown variables involved, entrepreneurs might find this crucial imperative to be challenging.
“Startups will be inhibited by these impediments. But there is a solution. A lot of these apprehensions can be cleared with some insight into the process of setting up an eCommerce business.”
Most business apprehensions that an entrepreneur has before starting with an eCommerce store can be addressed with the help of technology.
“Startups can use turnkey eCommerce platforms to launch an impressive online store in a short time span. Most of these software are ready-made solutions and don’t require any website development knowledge.”
Modern eCommerce platforms provide features and functionalities that assist in the seamless functioning of the online store built using them.
One such progressive software that enables a business to launch a contemporary eCommerce store with the necessary tools to facilitate business operations, is Tribe.
The reasons that make Tribe a software that provides an ideal foundation for a convenient eCommerce store are discussed hereunder.
Tribe is a self-hosted, scalable, customizable and FREE eCommerce software. It has been engineered after conducting thorough research on the requirements of brick and mortar owners and businesses to enable them to start their own online store. The eCommerce platform is built on the open-source framework Laravel, which makes it robust, secure and future-ready.
Tribe has been developed by the same custom software company FATbit, which has also developed the successful and reliable multi-vendor marketplace software Yo!Kart. The success that the company garnered with Yo!Kart prompted them to develop a single vendor eCommerce software for SMBs and Retailers.
Tribe is a great alternative for retailers & businesses who are using a SaaS platform like Shopify or BigCommerce for online selling. Shopify or other SaaS solutions charge hefty fees on every sale, along with monthly recurring and setup costs.
For these reasons & considering today’s testing times, Tribe has been offered free of cost with source code ownership by the Yo!kart team. Further, zero transaction & recurring charges will enable an online store owner to pass on the value to the end customer in the form of marketing offers. This can give an eCommerce business the crucial competitive edge especially in a make-or-break market.
Despite being free, Tribe has a rich feature list, bettering other popular eCommerce platforms. It comes with pre-integrated advanced APIs and has a scope of further integrating APIs as per business needs. The software has been engineered by following Agile practices, with the endeavor to address the pain points faced by businesses. The eCommerce software is easy to get accustomed to and features an intuitive user interface.
An eCommerce software forms the basis of an online business. That is why startups need robust software from a reliable company. They need assurance along with the software so that they can base the future of their business on that software.
This is why Tribe offers free 3-months technical support that covers installation and troubleshooting for any bugs if found with the software. This ensures that businesses have software that they can trust with their business plans.
Additionally, the software stays true to its promise of being free with no additional costs. The businesses don’t have to factor in any costs that technical help (regarding bugs) entails.
Tribe offers all the necessary and popular features needed for an eCommerce store. A list of some of those features is given below.
Tribe has a drag-and-drop content management system (CMS). This enables the store owner(s) to create and manage the eCommerce store with ease. The ease in the usability of the CMS helps you in designing your own unique storefront. There is even an option to select your level of expertise before using the CMS.
The tax module supports single and combined tax structures to help you effortlessly do business across all states. Shipping management enables you to control the shipping process via an API.
Maximize product conversion by offering multiple secure payment options with your online store. Tribe has all favored payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal pre-integrated into it.
Don’t restrict your eCommerce store to a specific location. Tribe supports automatic language detection and real-time translation. Moreover, it also enables the customer to view the product prices in the currency they use.
eCommerce business is a competitive market, you will need to market your e-store effectively. SEO features such as meta tag management, URL-rewriting, 301 redirects, and marketing features help to rank your e-store and bring it in front of the customer.
Tribe features an elastic search bar that returns relevant product searches based on Keywords, Brand, Category, Options, product description, ISBN, HSN, SAC, UPC and SKU.
The product list can also be filtered based on multiple parameters by the user.
Tribe simplifies the buyer journey and checkout process to build a successful sales funnel.
Along with Tribe, there are other popular eCommerce platforms that enable entrepreneurs to launch their eCommerce store at a reasonable cost. Some of these eCommerce solutions are discussed below.
Woocommerce is a self-hosted, open-source eCommerce solution. Statistics indicate that it is a more popular eCommerce software compared to its peers. It is integrated with its WordPress site and is customizable with themes, both free and paid. The Woocommerce plugin itself is free but other plugins that you may need can be paid. The learning curve for using Woocommerce can be stiff, The user needs to be acquainted with WordPress to be able to use Woocommerce.
Shopify is a SaaS-based eCommerce software for startups and SMB’s. It comes with a monthly fee, which means the bandwidth is not limited. The software is easier to use and loads up quickly. On the flip side though, it lacks certain SEO and content marketing features, checkout is not customizable and the apps are expensive.
PrestaShop is a free open-source eCommerce software. It can be downloaded but you will have to set it up yourself. To set it up first, the PrestaShop installation file has to be downloaded, a database has to be created and for its installation the file has to be uploaded via a FTP client.
Magento is another popular free open source eCommerce software. It is built using PHP. Just like PrestaShop, Magento’s installation takes time and getting used to it requires a steep learning curve. The software is scalable and supports multiple integrations but these extensions tend to be costly. Moreover, support is limited and paid.
These eCommerce software assist in accomplishing the same goal of setting up an eCommerce website. Examined below, are the differences in the package in which they can be purchased.
Overall Cost to Start:
|Parameters To Compare||Tribe||WooCommerce||PrestaShop||Shopify||Magento Open Source|
|TECH STACK||Laravel||PHP||PHP||PHP||Laminas and Symphony|
|INITIAL FEE TO START||Zero||Zero||Yes||Yes||Zero|
|TRANSACTION FEE||Zero||2.9% + $0.30||Zero||0.5%-2%||Zero|
|EASE OF USE||Simple (FREE Drag & Drop editor)||Simple ( Drag and Drop via PAID plugin)||Simple (Drag and Drop via PAID modules)||Simple (Drag & Drop Editor)||Simple (Drag and Drop via PAID modules)|
|SECURITY||High||High (uses 2 FA)||–||High PCI Level One||Less Secure Than Shopify|
With many variables involved that affect the pricing, enlisted below is a detailed price comparison of the popular eCommerce platforms.
Technical support is the backbone of eCommerce software. It facilitates your transition into using the online store solution effortlessly.
Enlisted below is a comparison between technical support offered by these companies:
Tribe is offered with free installation and free 3-months tech support for any bugs if found in the system.
Woocommerce charges $149/year for technical support.
Technical support starts at $399 for 6 hours, which is valid for 1 year
Magento offers technical support for $1000/year
Technical support is part of the package in Shopify. The package price varies from $29-$299 per month.
As evident from the discussion above, eCommerce software comes with varying package costs. But the difference doesn’t end with it, the software varies on many other parameters.
It is imperative to conduct thorough research regarding the differences between them, so it is easy to finalize the right eCommerce software.
To help an entrepreneur in choosing the right solution for their business plan, the other important parameters that should be considered as a part of the research are discussed henceforth.
The following factors can be a part of the research process to arrive at the decision of selecting the right software for one’s needs.
The look and feel of your e-store come under the front-end features. These are the features that determine the UI and UX of your website. The customer experience will impact the buyer journey and decide the sales conversion of the e-store. Features like navigation, search results and many more come under this category.
Scalability, security, integrations, store management features, marketing and reporting are some of the essential back-end features of an eCommerce store. These help market, manage and plan the business.
One of the most important factors that determine the back-end usability of an eCommerce software is the technology stack the software is built on.
Pricing can be a hindrance that can result in hesitation from the business to set up their very own eCommerce store. A software price is an expenditure even before the business has started. This is the reason why businesses need software that is free. They can launch their own e-store to test the waters, without spending on the software itself. Once the business is up and running, they can spend on customizations if they find it necessary.
The idea of turnkey eCommerce software is to let you start your e-Store without the need to code a website from scratch. This enables anyone and everyone to start their own e-store, regardless of their technical acumen.
That is why technical support is a critical component in the eCommerce software package.
Not all online stores are alike. They cater to a variety of product categories and different industries. For this reason e-stores may need to be customized according to the target market.
Customizability is for the front-end and back-end of the e-store.
– Front-end customizability changes the design elements, look, and feel of the e-store via themes.
– Back-end customizability adds functionalities to the e-store
Different e-stores need to have distinct functionalities that cater to that specific industry and product category. Customer verifications, industry-specific regulations, are only some of the many reasons where one might need back-end customization of the software. Some other reasons may be.
– Businesses may require API integration specific to their business or their line of business applications.
– eCommerce stores may want to customize the buyer journey to offer a different experience. Customizations can be done to achieve many different goals. They may entail offering the buyer excess information or functionality, or maybe done for the need to integrate a different payment gateway.
– E-stores that are selling custom configurable products or selling products from multiple locations will need their own customizations.
– A brick-and-click business would want both businesses to offer identical shopping experiences to maintain brand homogeneity.
There are more reasons why only a customizable eCommerce solution can provide the right answers to an e-business’ needs. It allows a business to be creative with their online store and offer a unique experience to the buyer.
All eCommerce software offer good features and are competitive platforms to start an eCommerce store. But the key differentiating factors are the pain points that a startup or SMB will face when they start their e-store.
Tribe is easy to use, is backed by free installation, and offers 3 months of free technical support. Moreover many features that are only available via paid plugins or modules in other eCommerce software, is part of the package in Tribe.
These reasons make Tribe a very good choice for today’s businesses to start their own online store. Do share your opinion in the comments section below.
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