Choosing an eCommerce Platform for Your Juice Business
This is a follow-up to our previous article How to Sell Juice Online via eCommerce.
Setting up an eCommerce site for your juice company may seem daunting or downright scary if you don’t have experience in doing business on the internet. The good news is that it’s 2019, and doing business online now is far easier than it was a a decade ago, or even a few years ago for that matter. An eCommerce platform, also referred to as an eCommerce CMS (content management system), will allow you to get selling online without building a website from scratch with code.
One of the most important decisions you need to make is which platform to choose to start your eCommerce site. There are two we’re going to compare: WooCommerce and Shopify.
WooCommerce and Shopify
These are the eCommerce platforms that most small business owners use. They are intentionally made to need minimal customization and have full control via a content management system (CMS) that is easy to use for most users. Both can be customized to feel like a branded, integrated experience for your customers.
WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, which many small businesses use to host their website. Shopify is also a plugin for WordPress, but can be used on its own as a standalone application.
In my experience
When I was evaluating eCommerce solutions for Goodnature back in 2013, these were the two I was looking at. At the time, both WooCommerce and Shopify were about equal in functionality and features. I ended up going with WooCommerce, which has worked well for us. Since then, however, Shopify has made substantial investments in their software and in my opinion has taken the lead for being the right choice for small businesses.
Shopify easily integrates with most of the other cloud based software you might be using in your business, and there are great resources available online offering plenty of self-help. You will likely need to customize the theme (the way it looks), and there are plenty of skilled developers available that can help with this as well.
The best part is that Shopify will only cost you $29 – $299 per month depending on how many staff users and which features you need.
Pro Tip: There is some great inventory and order management software specific for juice companies coming as a plugin app for Shopify in 2019. Shizu Okusa of JRINK / Wellthy & Co. gave a presentation about it at JuiceCon this year.
Customizing your eCommerce site experience
You should invest in your online experience. The internet is becoming a big part of nearly every industry, and is arguably more important than your actual brick and mortar store / juice bar. Your website will be the first experience many customers have with your brand, and if they feel like your website is clunky, broken, or comes off as a template, you may lose that customer forever.
You may have 10x – 100x the visitors come to your website in a day than actually come into your store. Once your eCommerce business starts to take off, you may begin viewing your store as a marketing tool to drive online sales. This is common in many eCommerce companies. In clothing retail, a brand maybe actually lose money in a high-rent area, but because it drives their online sales, it is worth it for them as a marketing cost.
Whichever eCommerce platform you choose, do a google search for developers that specialize in that platform. For example, searching “Shopify developers” will give you plenty of options.
Once you find a firm or freelancer that gets your attention, do some research. Look at their portfolio and past projects and ask yourself if their websites have a similar look and feel to what you’re looking for. The truth is, most firms or freelancers will create all of their projects in a similar style despite the type of business they are creating it for. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking “I don’t love the stuff in their portfolio, but I’ll like what they do for me.”
Don’t be cheap…
Be OK with spending some money. I would say the minimum budget for a slick eCommerce site is $10k USD, but a reputable firm may charge more like $30k – $100k depending on the customization needed. If you don’t have the money, you should probably wait until you do so you can do it right. Launching an eCommerce site will almost certainly drive more business, so it’s a worthwhile investment that will pay for itself quickly.
Do you use another eCommerce platform that you like? Let us know by commenting below or discussing on the Goodnature Community Forums.