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Venture Into eCommerce with No-Code Website Development!

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Website development used to be tedious and time-consuming, requiring the expertise of programmers. For the businesses looking to establish an online presence, it is extremely costly. Even more in the development of eCommerce Website which need more features, particularly related to selling.

Image Source: Getty Images

Nonetheless, this is the 21st century. No-Code eCommerce Website Development is possible. In fact, they had enabled millions of businesses already. The contemporary no-code eCommerce Website Development platform have features ranging from buying directly and connecting own domain, in-built site editor, email hosting (aka company domain emails), email marketing and SEO tools, and site analytics. Some of these features, especially domain and email hosting, are often available at separate charges. If you are looking to start an e-Commerce or venture into one, you got to read our introduction of these top eCommerce website development platforms in the market. Read them carefully as we wrote them with inputs from our hands-on experiences. Here goes!

  1. Weebly
  2. Wix
  3. Squarespace
  4. Shopify
  5. GoDaddy

1. Weebly

eCommerce Website Development: Weebly
Image Source: Weebly

We start this introduction with Weebly as Weebly is our founder’s first experience with no-code web development. Weebly is a US company founded in 2007. It is acquired by Square, a publicly-listed payment and financial services company, in 2018. Weebly is a freemium website development platform that had expanded with eCommerce features in 2018. It currently powers over 50 million sites in the world. Nonetheless, we know Weebly as a super simple and neat tool to use. Will Weebly be your first too? Read on.

Key Features

  • Simple, Yet Full Suite for e-Commerce
  • Develop with CSS/HTML and JavaScript Possible
  • Syncs readily with Square for Payment
  • Email Marketing is powered by Weebly Promote (a product by Square)
  • 350+ Third-Party Apps

Buy Factor:

  • Weebly is simple, and we mean in a good way. It only have 15 e-Commerce templates to choose from. Cuts away the headaches during selection, allowing businesses to focus on launching. SEO, site analytics, email marketing, and all other features for e-Commerce are packed into this neat interface that is built for ease-of-use. This means long-term feasibility as any company staff can pickup where the work is left and continue without steep learning curve.
  • For the more IT savvy, Weebly also supports site development with CSS/HTML and JavaScript. Hence, technically any form of customization is possible. The ability to customize from backend allows bug fixing right from its root as well.
  • Weebly and Square syncs readily to support users with online and offline payments. Its transaction charges are similar with other gateways like Paypal and Stripe at 2.9% + US$ 0.30, but is able to get the funds deposited within 1-2 business days, compared to 5-7 working days. This helps get accounting settled faster and definitely a boon for any businesses!
  • Weebly Promote, another essential partnership with Square, is an email marketing platform that syncs with Weebly sites, pulling web subscribers’ contacts, to send across relevant information to their email boxes. Weebly Promote is drag-and-drop and any emails built is mobile responsive. Yes, so you can quickly create campaigns with ready-templates. Targeting and Re-targeting campaigns are possible with segmentations. The campaign metrics are also measured instantly, so users can continually develop their campaigns with data-driven insights.
  • Although with only a small library of templates, Weebly boasts a huge list of apps to allow users to extensively build their sites that work! In addition, most of these apps are free. So, if you are just looking for a small e-Commerce presence, Weebly may be the right choice to learn as you go!

Things to Note:

  • Much lesser selections of e-Commerce templates compared to the others in our list.
  • Domains Names, Google Ads, and Email Marketing are based on credits which a certain amount is included in each plan. Plan and manage this carefully to prevent budget over-run.
  • Offline payment with Square is currently available in US, Canada, UK, Japan, and Australia only.

Pricing (e-commerce plans based on annual subscription)

  • Free Plans Available but No Ecommerce Features.
  • Pro (US$ 12/mth) – Unlimited Storage, Payments via Square and Third-Party Providers, SEO, Site Stats, and Standard Customer Support.
  • Business (US$ 25/mth) – Everything in Pro plus Inventory Management, Auto Tax Calculations, Coupon Codes, Item Reviews, Shipping Calculator, Advanced e-Commerce Stats.
  • Business Plus (US$ 38/mth) Everything in Business plus Email Marketing Value of US$ 96, Abandoned Cart Emails, and Real-Time Shipping Charges.

2. Wix

eCommerce Website Development: Wix
Image Source: Wix

Next on our list is Wix, which happens to be our Founder’s second experience and his top choice for at least half a decade. Wix has slightly more offerings compared to Weebly, and henceforth, more complicated for the new users. It has its roots from 2006, planted in Israel. It is presently used by more than 200 million businesses in 190 countries, supported by their offices in 21 cities. With our experience, we say you got to know Wix! Read on.

Key Features

  • Full Suite e-Commerce Platform
  • Advanced Web Development
  • 800 Designer-Made Website Templates
  • Built-In SEO Toolset
  • 250+ Third-Party Apps

Buy Factor:

  • Easy to use and no sweat for the development of eCommerce website. Users can choose to answer some questions for Wix’s AI to automatically create the site, or select from the many choices of professionally-looking templates. Then, add personal customization, list products and connect a payment gateway. Your e-Commerce site is ready for launch! Thinking of all the exciting promotions, coupons, or even subscription-based commerce? You can do it with Wix. Setup email marketing, abandoned cart notifications, country-based prices, shipping rates etc. The number of e-Commerce features in Wix is tremendous. Powered with a business insights dashboard, Wix supports data culture.
  • Wix is no-code with its drag-and-drop editor, but do you know you can also build using JavaScript and Velo APIs? Well, if you are familiar with these programming languages that is. Nonetheless, Wix is simple, yet flexible to let their users create any site they imagine!
  • One of the things we like so much about Wix is its beautiful templates. And their list is pretty decent! Choose from sub-categories comprising Arts & Crafts, Home & Décor, Beauty & Wellness, Electronics, Kids & Babies, Pets & Animals among many others. Every template is built to be eye-pleasing within that niche. Not convinced, you can check out on your own HERE.
  • Every site needs to be Search Engine Optimised and Wix knows this. Its interface allows easy adding of meta and canonical tags, while supporting 301 re-directs and instant Google indexing. The rest is up to your efforts in Content Marketing! The outcome is a site is found-able by search engines so that your e-Commerce can reach worldwide!
  • Features-packed and easy to setup. Wix reiterates their strength with a AppMarket that boasts over 250 ready-for-deploy apps. You can find apps to enhance your marketing, selling, media management, site elements and so forth.

Things to Note:

  • We personally feel that Wix’s interface can be better. They have lots of tools, but find and navigating to one can be difficult. In a way, it also did not help users to learn quickly as they use.
  • Costs can add up quickly. There are limitations to use in each plan and often requires additional charges such as mailbox, domain names, email marketing etc. Basically, if you prefer a single platform for all your e-commerce needs, you got to pay for all these, aka the price of convenience.
  • Users who wish to apply another template after settling with one have to duplicate a new site, then manually transfer some features such as invoices, contacts, video and blog over. This is time consuming. Plan long-term before deciding.

Pricing (e-commerce plans based on annual subscription)

  • Free Plans Available but No e-Commerce Features.
  • Business Basic (US$ 17/mth) – 20 GB Storage, Unlimited Bandwidth, Unlimited Product Listings, Sell on Social Channels, Online Bookings, Ticket & Events Management, Hotel Reservation Management, and 24/7 Customer Support.
  • Business Unlimited (US$ 25/mth) – Everything in Business Basic with 35 GB Storage. Subscription-Based Selling. Multiple Currencies. Sell on Social Channels. Marketplaces.
  • Business VIP (US$ 35/mth) – Everything in Business Unlimited with 50 GB Storage. Customised Reports. Loyalty Program. Priority Support.
  • 14-Day Free Trial.

3. Squarespace

eCommerce Website Development: Squarespace
Image Source: Squarespace

Squarespace is another US company but founded slightly earlier in 2003. It is focused more for the development of eCommerce website although website just for an online presence is still possible with its only ‘Personal’ Plan. Despite that, Squarespace have all the features for businesses to grow online. How are they different from others? Learn more below.

Key Features

  • All-in-One e-Commerce Web builder
  • Point of Sale (POS) Enabled
  • Social Content Creation
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Appointment Scheduling

Buy Factor:

  • Like others in our list, Squarespace have everything for the businesses to build their e-Commerce sites. The differences lie in the usability and range. Take a free trial! The only way to find out.
  • For the retail with an online presence, the POS system from Squarespace Commerce App simplifies inventory management. It keeps your inventory in-sync constantly to always provide an eye over the stocks. This also support retail loss prevention efforts which cut losses from human actions. Best of all, there is no extra costs to use!
  • The built-in content creation app from Squarespace, called Unfold, uses templates and fonts (over 150+ of them!) to help e-Commerce excel in their social media marketing. The content can include videos, photos and texts. Although users can always use another creative development tool, Unfold is perfectly placed for usage anytime and anywhere as long as there are internet access.
  • Squarespace integrates readily with top social medias such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. Users can place strategic icons and buttons of these Social Media for their visitors’ ease of sharing and engagement. They can also use it to push content in the form of products, events, and blog posts etc. to their social followers. Squarespace automatically tracks the analytics backend to inform future Social Media and possibly digital advertising campaigns.
  • Selling services? You will benefit with Squarespace’s scheduling! The tool makes your schedule visible to your clients so that they know the best time to meetup. With Squarespace Scheduling, users can automate appointment confirmations, set reminders (via email and/or texts), and ensure they are always on-time for their valuable client.

Things to Note:

  • Squarespace Email Campaigns, which provide email marketing features, is an add-on available at extra costs. See HERE. Likewise, for Squarespace Scheduling HERE.
  • Squarespace Commerce App works with Payment Gateway provider, Square only. It is also supported for iPhone in the United States only.
  • Only 20 third-party integrations, known as extensions, are available in Squarespace. This put heavy doubt on long-term use since more integrations will make Squarespace a fuller suite capable of catering to dynamic market demands.

Pricing (e-commerce plans based on annual subscription)

  • No Free Plans.
  • Business (US$ 18/mth) – Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage, SEO, Templates, Website Analytics, e-Commerce, Unlimited Products, 3% Transaction Fees, and 24/7 Customer Support.
  • Basic Commerce (US$ 26/mth) – Everything in Business with 0% Transaction Fees, Customer Accounts, e-Commerce Analytics, Merchandising Tools, and Limited Availability Labelling.
  • Advanced Commerce (US$ 40/mth) – Everything in Basic Commerce plus Abandoned Cart Email, Subscription-Based Selling, Real-Time Shipping Charges, and Advanced Discounts.
  • 14-Day Free Trial.
  • 50% Discount for Students for first full year subscription.

4. Shopify

eCommerce Website Development: Shopify
Image Source: Shopify

Shopify is a highly popular eCommerce website development platform founded in 2006 and based in Canada. It has gained tremendous traction during the COVID-19 (2019) period by empowering many organisations (and startups) to sell online. Currently, 1 million businesses in 175 countries worldwide had made over US$ 200 billion in sales with Shopify. Why is Shopify so popular? You got to find out below.

Key Features

  • Global POS with Advanced Features
  • In-Built Chat App with Shopify Ping
  • Market with Google, Facebook and Instagram from Shopify
  • Shopify’s Own Payment Gateway, Shopify Payments
  • 5000+ Apps for Integrations!

Buy Factor:

  • Shopify is truly built for e-Commerce with their advanced POS app that supports online and offline selling. This not only provide an all-in-one synced platform for inventory management and business analytics, but it also drives customer conveniences. You ask how? Well, customers can browse offline and add to carts, then confirm their purchase online when they are ready. They can also buy online, then pickup in-store or have it shipped to them. The possibilities made customers feel like king!
  • Any e-Commerce knows how being able to engage with their visitors are essential to driving home that sale. Shopify does this no differently with their in-built chat app, Shopify Ping. Get enquiries answered, and complains solved quickly. The outcome is greater customer satisfaction, more word-of-mouth and lesser churn.
  • Digital advertising is the status quo way to reach to the masses at lowest cost. Shopify enables e-Commerce with easy connection to Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram. New businesses looking to build brand awareness will benefit greatly.
  • Payment in Shopify is not limited to using their own gateway, Shopify Payments. Their gateway is readily in-built so users skip the hassle of having to setup one. It supports multi-currency payment and all payments are credited to the account within 2-4 work days. Best of all, there are mostly no transaction fees for countries supported with Shopify Payments. Only credit card fees.
  • Shopify is well-supported and this is a good indication of a strong company. Its 5,000+ apps made ‘e-Commerce-ing’ in Shopify fun. The possibilities of ways to sell is literally endless. There are also apps for shipping, customer support, finances, productivity and reporting. When we say Shopify is suitable for businesses of any sizes, it can’t be truer!

Things to Note:

  • Shopify POS app can be used worldwide by most Apple and Android devices, but its catalog can only store a number of products limited by the device’s performance. On top of, in order for Shopify POS to accept payment, the e-Commerce need to be based in a country where Shopify has Credit Card Partners.
  • All paid plans come with basic POS features (POS Lite). Advanced POS features (POS Pro) are add-ons chargeable monthly.
  • Shopify empowers selling, and is not into website design. It only has 70+ templates so sites built with Shopify need more focus into customization to make the site look unique.

Pricing (e-commerce plans based on annual subscription)

  • No Free Plans.
  • Basic Shopify (US$ 29/mth) – 2 Staff Accounts, e-Commerce, Unlimited Products, Sell on Marketplaces and Social Media, Discount Codes, Multiple Currencies, Credit Card Transaction Fees of 2.9% + US$ 0.30 and 24/7 Support.
  • Shopify (US$ 79/mth) – Everything in Basic Shopify with 5 Staff Accounts, Reports, Country-Specific Domains, Country-Specific Pricing based on Percentage, and Credit Card Transaction Fees of 2.6% + US$ 0.30.
  • Advanced Shopify (US$ 299/mth) – Everything in Shopify with 15 Staff Accounts, Advanced Report Builder, Third-Party Shipping Rates, Country-Specific Pricing Per Item, and Credit Card Transaction Fees of 2.4% + US$ 0.30.
  • 14-Day Free Trial.

5. GoDaddy

eCommerce Website Development: GoDaddy
Image Source: GoDaddy

Last in our list is GoDaddy. This brand needs no introduction in the web hosting world. It has nearly 30 years of history, having founded in 1997 in US. It currently empowers over 20 million users trusting them with over 80 million domain names. We mentioned before that contemporary web builders have certain features. Where some features are not available or available at a fee you do not like, GoDaddy surely has it. Will this ‘wholesale’ household name be your choice. Read on to find out!

Key Features

  • AI-Powered Data Analytics with GoDaddy InSight
  • Built-In Content Creation Tool with Over by GoDaddy
  • Plan Include Email Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • Link Blog Posts Published in Third-Party via BYOB

Buy Factor:

  • Making use of AI is smarts using smart. GoDaddy’s Insight collects and analyses business intelligence based on the activities in GoDaddy. It then derives a score weighted on presence, reputation and engagement. The AI-system is also able to present its expert advice so that the e-Commerce users get a head-start on what to improve next. By supporting data-driven decision-making, GoDaddy is enabling their users to next-generation business!
  • Over by GoDaddy is a mobile app that help users create content and hence, support their content marketing efforts. Users can simply make use of stock images and fonts in the app, and customize accordingly to create channel-specific content. Over is freemium, but users on ‘Ecommerce’ Plan get the ‘Pro’ access with unlimited templates, stocks and fonts. Useful!
  • The Ecommerce Plan from GoDaddy includes Email Marketing Sends, which adds tremendous value. No need for having a separate email marketing software at additional charges when you can do it with GoDaddy. By the way, email marketing with GoDaddy is also a matter of drag-and-drop. You get to work with templates based on your selected theme. Consistency in branding. Great!
  • Content is King! Sounds familiar? Social Media’s role in driving website traffic cannot be under-estimated. Plus, it also has a role in customer relationship building and nurturing. With GoDaddy, users can manage their Facebook and Instagram directly. Schedule, post and monitor your e-Commerce channels. Save time, improve productivity, huge rewards!
  • Again, content is not just images or videos. All businesses can benefit from written content. That is, blog, when regularly posted can drive a great deal for SEO, and hence site visitors. GoDaddy knows and support this with their BYOB (Bring Your Own Blog). Users can link their blog hosted in third-party to GoDaddy without having to start a blog again on GoDaddy. Necessary!

Things to Note:

  • Lack of third-party integrations simplifies this tool, but also make it dull to use. Especially for those looking to get creative, integrations that could support marketing will be a huge plus. May not be suitable for large businesses or those looking at fast-growth. Either way, work with only what you think you can.
  • Only 20+ themes available. Need serious customization to ensure a site ‘brand’.
  • Only one e-Commerce Plan to choose from. Anything more you need, such as the number of marketing emails included, I guess are available at additional costs.

Pricing (e-commerce plans based on annual subscription)

  • Free Plans Available but No Ecommerce Features.
  • Ecommerce (US$ 24.99/mth) – Website Analytics, SEO, Email Marketing Sends of 25k, Online Appointments, Full Ecommerce Features, and 24/7 Support.
  • 1-Month Free Trial

Our Advice

Web building is no longer a possibility only for web developers. The layman can now create and launch their own website and eCommerce with no-code web development tool. Nonetheless, the choices are many and it remains your task to find out which are the best for you.

Our suggestion is to think long-term while juggling against the prices and features. Are there features not included that can be supplemented with other software? Which are the essential features you definitely need for your ideal eCommerce website development? Often, one needs more than one tries to get it right! We say have a go at it!

“Once in your life, try something. Work hard at something. Try to change. Nothing bad can happen.” – Jack Ma.

Activities

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