Selling products or services online requires a solid e-commerce platform. There are numerous sites out there that offer e-commerce services but finding the right one can be a challenge. Many are overloaded with features that you end up paying for even though you may never use them.
For a long time, and being a developer, I settled for custom made solutions. Over the years I realized I was spending unnecessary time fixing and improving my solutions and often missing out on a client due a failed order processing. This is time I end up taking away from developing and maintaining my products or acquiring new clients. In the end, I decided that using third-party services would be best in my case, but then comes the cost.
Most e-commerce solutions do not offer marketing solutions for your e-store such as SEO although most do provide tools for you to accomplish that. You need an SEO expert to optimize your e-store. In the end, you might be spending more in maintaining third-party services than the amount you generate from sales.
I will discuss some of the the services I have used in the past or is currently using and my take on them.
Shopify is a very popular e-commerce platform for selling goods and services. Shopify comes with a fully customizable DYI website creating tool with ability to create your own templates. Shopify subscriptions start at $29/month.
If you have high traffic to your site and making good sales, then their pricing can be considered decent. On the other hand, if your product is not as popular, you might find their pricing a bit high to maintain.
After purchasing 1 year subscription, I ended up cancelling it and sticking to my custom e-stores with SendOwl
SendOwl is a London based company and so far the easiest hands-off solution that I have come across for selling digital products and subscriptions. SendOwl integrates well with Shopify and uses PayPal and Stripe gateways to fulfill orders.
They have an optional license generation tool that comes in handy for those selling digital products that need licensing. You can opt to manually issue license keys.
Migrating in users with license from outside sources is easy. You send them a free copy of your product by entering their name and email which then adds them to the system with a new license key.
This is my current solution of choice and so far I like the experience. I downgraded from $24/month plan to $9/month as I was not getting any additional benefit from the $24/month for my intended use.
SendOwl has flexible pricing plans that start as low as $9/month. You can find more information about SendOwl here
Stripe is a platform for processing payments for any online business. They have a powerful API that is very developer friendly. Their pay-as-you-go plan is 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction with no monthly fees or any other hidden fees.
ZipBooks is an accounting platform for small businesses. I have used ZipBooks for the last 3 years and so far I’m happy with their service.
PayPal is a popular payment processing platform. I particularly use PayPal due to the fact that it has been around for a while and there more popular by clients. I am introducing my clients to Stripe I prefer better than PayPal in terms of integration and processing fees.Tags: e-commerce, integration