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5 Valuable eCommerce Platforms for Running a Profitable Store

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5 Valuable eCommerce Platforms for Running a Profitable Store

Looking to break into eCommerce as a creator?

These days, many creators are turning to creative ways to diversify their income streams. For many, this comes in creating and selling custom merch. Other creators have set up eCommerce shops to sell their artistic creations or to curate an online boutique. Whatever the reason, eCommerce stores continue to grow in popularity. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce sites have little to no upfront costs, and they can reach a global market of buyers. Here are the top five platforms for hosting your eCommerce site as a creator.

1. Shopify

Probably the most recognizable name in eCommerce, Shopify has been helping creators worldwide get started selling online. Shopify also offers custom-curated tools for creators, allowing them to integrate their store with their social media accounts. In addition to being one of the largest platforms, Shopify is also one of the easiest and most intuitive, especially for creators new to eCommerce. You can sell nearly any product on Shopify, from digital to physical items. Shopify sites are fully customizable, offering a wide range of colors, themes, and presets to make your store stand out. Their sites are optimized for both desktop and mobile browsing.

One of the major selling points of Shopify is that they offer far more than eCommerce hosting. In addition to the online storefront, creators can build a blog, customize landing pages, and maintain an email list. For creators wishing to sell their merch, Shopify offers print-on-demand services that can be integrated with the storefront and linked to social media accounts. If an intuitive UI and diversity of services are important to you, Shopify is an excellent option for hosting your eCommerce store.

2. Square

Perhaps you’re looking for an eCommerce platform that can handle both online and in-person sales. In that case, Square might be a solid choice. If you’ve shopped at any local businesses in recent years, chances are you’ve swiped your credit card through a Square reader. The company was founded to offer businesses of any size a way to make accepting payments easier. With their ultra-portable card readers that plug into any smartphone, Square has dominated the market in point-of-sale services. However, they also offer eCommerce hosting. Square offers three options for online selling: eCommerce shop hosting, payment link services, and payment integration for existing sites or blogs.

Much like Shopify, Square allows users to create a free eCommerce site that can be integrated with their existing social media accounts. The site is largely customizable, offering creators a choice of colors, fonts, and layouts to make their shop personalized. While Square does not offer native print-on-demand services, they have a longstanding partnership with Printful, a major customized apparel and merch supplier. By designing merch on Printful and integrating it with your Square site, you can sell your products without taking on any inventory.

3. Wix

For creators interested in building a seamless eCommerce store complete with a beautiful, functional, and well-designed website, Wix is a standout competitor. Wix is designed to grow alongside your business and allows creators to create a professional-looking website with little programming knowledge. Wix is also known for their print-on-demand services, which are perfect for creating custom merch. The designer is integrated within Wix’s user interface, meaning you can create your designs and send them to your shop with a few button clicks.

In terms of appearance, Wix websites are some of the most visually impressive. They also specifically designed their website builder to be both easy to use and easy to navigate, making for a pleasant experience for both sellers and buyers. Wix storefronts can be easily connected to all major social media platforms, funneling traffic from your followers straight to your shop.

4. Ecwid by Lightspeed

While they may be lesser know, Ecwid by Lightspeed is rapidly making waves in the eCommerce world, and for good reason. Not only do they offer competitive and impressive online store hosting, but it comes at the low price of nothing. Ecwid is completely free to use, making it a great option for creators who don’t have the capital to invest in an online storefront. The lack of fees is no cause for alarm, as Ecwid offers creators an incredible experience with everything you could need to host an eCommerce shop.

While Ecwid does not offer print-on-demand services currently, they have plenty of other attractive features. For instance, Ecwid will help you promote your business at no additional cost through Google and Facebook advertising. Ecwid also makes it incredibly easy to manage your online shop from a centralized dashboard to check inventory, control pricing, and manage orders. The storefronts hosted by Ecwid are also customizable and easy for consumers to navigate.

5. Etsy

No eCommerce hosting list would be complete without Etsy, a mainstay in the eCommerce space, since it was founded in 2005. Etsy is specifically catered to creatives and is the world’s largest online market of handmade items. If you are a creator with an artistic flair, Etsy can help you transform your followers into customers with its integrated shop hosting pages. Setting up an Etsy store is so simple, thanks to their years of experience hosting eCommerce shops. With Etsy, not only can you link your storefront to social media accounts, but you can make use of Etsy’s algorithm to reach a wider customer base.

On Etsy, creators can sell anything from hand-knitted sweaters to digital planners. Influencers and creators have long utilized Etsy to sell their products and earn additional income through eCommerce. If you plan to use Etsy, be aware that while setting up your shop is entirely free, Etsy will deduct service fees from each order. Also, Etsy charges a small fee for each product you list, so make sure you research which products your audience wants to purchase before populating your storefront.

Ready to get started with your own eCommerce site?

Hosting your online store has never been easier. If you’re ready to start selling products online, these five eCommerce platforms are a great starting point for any creator. When choosing which platform is best for you, consider the type of product you’ll be selling, how much upfront capital you’re willing to invest, and if print-on-demand services are something you’ll need. Happy selling!

Hey y'all! My name is Kirsten Ford, and I'm a Master's student at the University of Kentucky. I'm also Kentucky born and raised! I started writing for Hello Loyal in 2022. As a student who turned freelancing into my part-time job, I love creating content that helps other people find their way in the creator and gig economy. When I'm not working on space projects or writing, I love to spend time with my cockapoo, get outside, play video games or hang out with friends.

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