Suggestions on an ecommerce platform for a UK startup 2019

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by GazM, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. GazM

    GazM UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2 2
    Hi, I read the thread on Ecommerce solutions from 2014, talking about Hosted, Built or Custom solutions. I'm intending selling LED bulbs, marketing them on Facebook as well as through self employed sales agents (25% commission for sale and delivery) and local leafleting. There are unlikely to be more than 20 different product lines. Average order value could be around £15 and gross sales of perhaps £300 to £3000 per month after 6-12 months.

    I'm looking for a hosted solution like Shopify, which seems quite expensive with many required add ons, but perhaps a cheaper alternative eg. EKM, woocommerce, BigCommerce etc.

    The solution should have a built in merchant solution to allow customers to pay by Paypal and debit cards - obviously there's a transaction fee involved there, but ideally no additional sales based transaction fee. Also, it would be useful to know where each sale came from eg. a drop down box on the order page and a corresponding code. I've also read that good SEO ranking of the site is worth looking for too - I've already registered a domain name.

    I'm hoping to find something for £30 - £40 per month. Any suggestions and anything else to consider would be welcome.
    Posted: Aug 21, 2019 By: GazM Member since: Aug 20, 2019
  2. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    Why does it have to be a hosted solution?

    If you self host the only cost will be hosting. And that’s as cheap as chips.

    With such a small inventory you could build a Wordpress site in a couple of hours, start marketing and be taking orders by teatime.

    And while SEO may be an option the chances of you ranking for anything to do with LEDs is slim, there is far too much competition.
    Posted: Aug 21, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Is 25 percent commission on LED light bulbs any good for self employed sales agents?

    Do you recruit many that way?
    Posted: Aug 21, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  4. d3lvedesign

    d3lvedesign UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 6
    Hosted solutions are going to be expensive. I've recently built a website for a client which runs on Shopify, and one of the products they sell is LED lightbulbs. The issue with Shopify is that it's delivery/shipping options are far too basic and you WILL need a paid plugin to give you better shipping options. (Do your research as I know of a lot of people who get stuck because of the too simplistic shipping options on Shopify). Due to this, the monthly charge for Shopify increases. This client is paying around £70 per month.

    Shopify has some basic analytics built into it, providing you with some data, but for better analytics you'll want your website setup with Google Analytics and Search Console.

    Regarding SEO, LED lightbulbs as a keyword is very competative, and it will be nearly impossible to appear high up on SERP's without a good AdWords budget.

    If you're competative on price this may help you, my client sells Ring doorbells and is one of the cheapest on the web, and get's quite a few sales.
    Posted: Aug 21, 2019 By: d3lvedesign Member since: Aug 11, 2014
  5. GazM

    GazM UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2 2
    I was under the impression that a hosted platform with integrated payment processing would be the easiest to set up and most cost effective. I've never used Wordpress, but I think it would involve much reading, developing and tweaking which would outweigh it being cheap as chips. I need to find out more about using Wordpress and other Shopify alternatives for ecommerce hosting.

    Regarding SEO, I would probably spend more time and money on Facebook advertising and direct marketing, since the site is unlikely to appear anywhere near the first page on google for "led lightbulbs" or "led bulbs".
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
    Posted: Aug 21, 2019 By: GazM Member since: Aug 20, 2019
  6. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    It's pretty simple to install wordpress and an ecommerce plugin - it's designed to be simple to do. You could be adding products within an hour. Once it's all set up you just need to pick a theme and it's good to go. I've helped loads of people set up their shops. An hour of instruction is all you need.

    I agree that advanced features can be complicated but pay for a bit of help and you don't need to spend ages on research. I sorted out an issue for someone today - they wanted a custom image size and all it needed was one line of code. A 10 minute fix.

    If the business takes off you can move everything from WP to a new platform - something that's far more difficult to do with Shopify.
    Posted: Aug 21, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  7. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    What a load of old guff. Where did you copy this from?
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  8. Paulo1Chop

    Paulo1Chop UKBF Contributor Free Member

    89 9
    I imagine is the one stop shop for all your ecommerce needs....:rolleyes:
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Paulo1Chop Member since: Jul 12, 2019
  9. crackerjackcommerce

    crackerjackcommerce UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 2
    I would go with Wordpress/ Woocommerce.

    If I did not want to learn it and do it all myself then I would pay someone an affordable rate to set it up for me/ coach me through the process.

    1. it will have the lowest monthly costs
    2. your will own all of the content
    3. you will be able to update it and improve it yourself
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: crackerjackcommerce Member since: Aug 1, 2019
  10. Helpful Johnny

    Helpful Johnny UKBF Regular Free Member

    105 23
    From all the sites that I have used built on Wordpress and WooCommerce, it's garbage. Shonky plugins on top of plugins all built on an out of date PHP tangled mess of rubbish. It might sound harsh but it's a blogging platform... the data is simply not structured in a way that is indicative to secure and speedy sites.

    As for eCommerce, let people like Shopify manage site, the security and patches for you, your job is to sell product, not update plugins all day. If you were a decorator you wouldn't be pulling horse hair and whittling handles to make your own brushes...
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Helpful Johnny Member since: Dec 28, 2018
  11. Helpful Johnny

    Helpful Johnny UKBF Regular Free Member

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  12. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    When was the last time you built a wordpress site with woo?

    It improved a huge about in the last few update and when properly configured is as good as anything else. It's also incorrect to suggest it's a blogging platform. That's how it used to be, it's now a different animal.

    I agree it has its faults but you don't need shonky plugins on top of plugins to make it work.
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  13. Helpful Johnny

    Helpful Johnny UKBF Regular Free Member

    105 23
    I wouldn't build a site with Wordpress and Woo in the same way I wouldn't try to row a leaky canoe to France. I have plenty of clients that use Wordpress/Woo from plenty of different "web devs" but the reality is it is whether you or they consider it an eCommerce platform doesn't mean it is.

    Web technology has moved on, headless CMS are the future and people expect frontends running on React, Angular and Vue to give immediate and quick UI. Unfortunately people keep flogging this dead horse because it's cheap and cheap is not value and whilst I respect you having your personal opinion, I do completely and passionately disagree on almost every level.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Helpful Johnny Member since: Dec 28, 2018
  14. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    I don't have a problem with disagreement.

    But my mum doesn't have the funds to pay for a headless CMS built with whatever technology you choose. But she can run a cheap wordpress install to sell her knitted things. And while I agree it's not the best, it works for many millions of people and pays my bills.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  15. TopSpek

    TopSpek UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 4
    Wordpress is not an eCommerce system - it is still, basically, a blogging system, and it is still very much at the elementary kiddie-scripter level (and always will be in my opinion). In the opinions of just about all *experts*, Wordpress is good for nothing.

    Magento is an eCommerce system. In my opinion, Magento has some serious shortcomings as a software system, but it was built to do what you want whereas Wordpress was not, and at least Magento has some merit at the theoretical/engineering level whereas Wordpress has none. I haven't worked with Shopify, and so I would not argue with anyone who has worked with both Magento and Shopify, and who would advise you to use Shopify.

    For webhosting, I use Hosting UK. They have a couple of questionable business practices in my opinion, but their technical service is quite good. I use one of their shared webhosting packages (I think it's called Platinum), which costs me £11.00 per month, and although they could be charging new customers an extra couple of quid these days, the technical setup and support you receive is excellent. I am not saying that Hosting UK is the best. In fact, I'm sure I saw a webhost recommended by someone here on UKBF which looked a bit better than Hosting UK, but I can't remember who they were now! Sorry! :)

    And nor do you need a fancy setup involving dedicated servers or such like. Shared hosting would be powerful enough for you, and the greatest advantage of shared hosting is that the all the server management is taken care of for you. Trust me, server administration is a highly technical job and is very time-consuming.

    You can install Magento within minutes via your webhost's Softaculous facility. If you've never worked with Magento before and you want to do it yourself, then it will take you a few days to configure it, add products, connect it to PayPal, etc.. The Magento documentation is garbage if not non-existent, but the online help via technical websites such as StackOverflow is excellent, and even new users should be able to familiarise themselves with any aspect of administration very quickly. It is fairly straightforward to connect Magento to PayPal, and there are a few other payment gateways in the Magento admin area which can also be connected.

    The Platinum package at Hosting UK would be adequate for a good size store.

    If you choose Magento, then you should be very careful if you decide to install extensions. There are plenty of dodgy software developers out there. Avoid free extensions. Examine bad reviews first. When reading good reviews, use common sense as you would with, say, Amazon product reviews. The reason why I strongly advise caution when looking for extensions is that just one bad extension which is not written in accordance with Magento programming conventions can stuff up your entire Magento installation, and you'll end up paying someone to clean up the mess. Also, bad extensions will gradually slow down your website.

    So, as I've suggested, Magento is a beast, and many people, both merchants and software developers, are moving away from it in search of something less complex and easier to work with. However, Magento is infinitely better than Wordpress for what you want. Lastly, don't let anyone talk you into an "optimised Magento server" for £30.00 per month or more. At this stage, you just don't need it.

    Hope this helps.

    Posted: Aug 29, 2019 By: TopSpek Member since: Jul 15, 2019