There are so many great options available when considering an eCommerce platform, but Shopify seems to provide the most for the small business that aspires to be something more. Because what small business plans to stay small forever?

Shopify can be a store builder's one stop. Generate your domain name with Shopify's free tool. Design your company's logo on their site. Find products to sell through their vendor relationships. Get product shots through their free library of stock photos. You can even buy an existing online store.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial that you can start without a credit card. You don't even have to pick a plan, just sign up and start building a store. There are dozens of professionally designed themes broken out by category, style, layout and number of products. Only 10 are free but the most expensive is $180. They are easy to set up and you can customize them with just a little bit of coding knowledge.

Stores can start small with a $9 a month "Lite" plan that lets you sell by adding a "buy button" to your existing blog, website or Facebook page. You can chat with your customers online, track orders and send invoices. The Lite plan even lets you accept payments in person through its point-of-sale app.

The basic plan starts at $29 a month and provides all the essential features for building a store, marketing your products, tracking sales and taking your venture to the next level. You get unlimited storage to sell an unlimited number of physical and digital goods. All sales come with a 2 percent transaction fee unless you use Shopify Payments which is powered by Stripe, an online payment processing company that is used by a number of eCommerce platforms.

You also get a free SSL certificate which is vital for taking online payments. Abandoned cart recovery reminds shoppers to come back and finish their transactions. Other features include shipping discounts, shipping labels, a blog which helps with content marketing and the ability to add discount codes.

The $79 Shopify plan comes with all of the above, better shipping discounts, the ability to offer gift cards and professional reports. Advanced Shopify at $299 a month includes an advanced report builder, even better shipping discounts and the ability to show shipping rates from third parties like UPS, FedEx and other apps at checkout. High volume merchants and businesses of at least $1 million in revenue will need to go the ShopifyPlus route which necessitates a telephone call.

Shopify is by no means the least expensive of the eCommerce platforms, but it definitely offers the most for the money and comes with lots of community and professional support. With more than 600,000 businesses on the platform worldwide, you would be in good company.

Published on: Aug 22, 2018