Online shops are indispensable for most retailers. You simply can’t do without selling your own goods on the Internet. Multi-channel sales – i.e. offering products via different channels – has numerous advantages. But when setting up an online sales solution for the first time, it’s easy to get confused by the wide range of available shop systems. We have put together some tips on how to start a professional online shop for your e-commerce quickly and with minimal effort.
Choosing the right shop system for your online shop
If you want to sell products on the Internet, you need an online shop. But how do you set something like that up? Are there templates? Do you need programming knowledge? We will show how easy it is to set up your web shop.
What are shop systems?
Shop systems are the technical basis for a web shop – i.e. software that you can use to sell products. There are different types of systems: some providers sell or rent construction kits with extensive functions that can be used to create an online shop with no need for existing expertise. The advantage is that these types of shop system provide a legally secure and reliable foundation, they are encrypted and you can contact the provider if you have any problems.
With other systems – i.e. using open source software – users can build the shop for themselves. This provides even more options for adapting the online shop to your own individual needs. This often also requires programming knowledge, however. If you want to integrate e-commerce with an existing website, such as a blog, plug-ins can also be a good solution.
What shop systems are there?
A distinction is made between different categories of e-commerce shop system – depending on the functions and options they offer. We took a look at various solutions and present them to you here in our shop system comparison.
- SaaS solutions: SaaS stands for Software as a Service. The software and IT infrastructure are operated by a service provider, for example an e-commerce platform. As a retailer, you then rent the system, which you can use to easily set up your online shop and start selling straight away. The operation and administration of SaaS solutions for e-commerce platforms are kept as simple as possible. This means it is easy for you to adapt many functions with minimal effort – e.g. to integrate payment systems or customer accounts. The provider also takes care of the configuration, maintenance and updating of the software. Popular e-commerce platforms include Shopify, Shopware and WooCommerce.
- Out-of-the-box solutions: the idea behind these solutions is that the retailer downloads a program for a shop and creates and designs it offline before taking it online. This ensures that everything can be prepared in peace before the website with the shop goes online.
- On premises: another option is to make a one-time purchase of a license for a shop system and then to host it on your own server. The advantage of this is that the data remains with you and that you can customize your e-commerce even more with on-premises solutions. However, this often entails a much greater workload. Some e-commerce retailers therefore decide to hire an agency – which in turn generates costs.
- Open source systems: open source systems offer you the greatest freedom when designing e-commerce. These are often free shop systems that you can use to build your own web shop. However, these shop systems require a lot of technical knowledge – this may be too much effort for operators of online shops with little to no experience of programming or web design.
- Webshop plug-ins: if you already run an online blog and now want to integrate an e-commerce site, plug-ins could be the right solution for you. Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress offer such plug-ins for web shops. You can think of it like an app that you download and install in your blog or website. These plug-ins provide similar options to SaaS solutions. Some require a fee, others are free.
What are the best shop systems?
It depends. There are many factors that you should weigh up when choosing a suitable shop system. The decision depends on your own programming abilities, the products you offer, the target group you want to reach – and last but not least, how much money you want to spend. On the Internet, you can find many lists of the most popular shop systems that you can use to get a quick overview. When you are getting started in e-commerce, you should also ask yourself the following questions when choosing the system:
- What is my budget for creating and operating the online shop?
- How much time can I invest? Do I want an all-in-one solution or is it important to me to be able tailor the various functions as individually as possible? In that case, is an open source version more suitable?
- Which functions are vital for my online shop, and which ones can I do without? Do I need interfaces to specific payment solutions so I can offer specific payment methods? Checkout Flex is a PSP solution that makes it possible to accept certain payment methods.
- Do I need interfaces to an ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) that provides an overview of my goods?
- How important is it to me to keep the data on my own server?
Working through all these questions can help you decide on the right model – and that should make it easier to find the right shop system.