The best online store builders with online marketing tools

It’s safe to say we’re a part of the first generation that gets to make the most out of the Internet. One of the many advantages of the Internet is the ability to shop online. But it’s not just that you can do your own shopping online. These days it’s easy for anyone to set up their own shop and sell goods online! This means it is very easy to also have an online business by selling products online. And then if you learn proper online marketing, you can get a lot more customers with your online store than you would ever be able to by running a physical store.

Setting up an online store used to be, and is still considered by some to be a complicated task. Most of us are probably not well acquainted with the crucial elements and the way they function as a part of an online store.

The good news is that the whole concept of running an online business and running an online store is not that complicated. There are special online store builders that can help you can not only understand the process better, but also build your online store in no time.

Most popular online store builders and their online marketing capabilities

The advantages of having an online store over having a physical retail store are too many to count. However, that doesn’t mean that running an online business is easy. You should put just as much thought and effort into setting up your online store as you would with a regular retail store.

Online store builders are meant to be all-in-one systems that are supposed to provide you with everything you need to set up an online store. However, not all online store builders are created equal. The differences between various online store builders vary based on the services and features offered, their versatility, quality and ease of use.

Take a look at some of the most widely used online store builders and the features offered.

Weebly

Weebly is one of the website builders that offer some online marketing tools

Weebly was founded in 2006 and in 2007 it was selected for the winter startup program of the Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. As reported in 2012, Weebly hosts over 20 million websites. Starting off as a simple website creator, Weebly now stands behind not just e-stores and personal pages, but many other types of websites, too.

Main features: Weebly’s website creator is most of all known for its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a good range of elements you can use in creating a website. And these elements are presented to you as part of the Weebly drag-and-drop website builder. This means that you do not need any specialized knowledge to set up an online store with Weebly. Just drag and drop until you like what you get.

Online marketing: Weebly enables you to set up all of the basic SEO functions for each of your website’s pages. There’s also a website statistics dashboard offered by Weebly, useful for keeping track of page views and unique visitors over a period of time.

Price range: Other than the option to build a website for free, Weebly offers three premium plans. The following prices are valid for a six month plan, but there are bigger discounts for the one year and two year plans.

  • Starter Plan – $4.83 per month;
  • Pro Plan – $9.83 per month;
  • Business Plan – $29.00 per month.

GoDaddy

With GoDaddy, you can set up search engine optimization with their SEO wizard

Primarily a company that specializes in web hosting and domain registrations, GoDaddy was founded in 1997 and currently manages over 58 million domains. GoDaddy offers a multitude of products and services, from domains and hosting, to email and marketing tools, and even website creators.

Main features: This company has been in the game long enough to know how to keep customers. The GoDaddy website builder has a sleek and intuitive design, offering a wide choice of free website templates. You can easily customize the look and feel of your website, and GoDaddy will automatically optimize it for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Online marketing: GoDaddy has a very handy SEO wizard that enables you to take control of all areas of search optimization. A minor flaw is that GoDaddy doesn’t let search engines index pictures. Other than that, GoDaddy also has a separate SEO service that you can incorporate into your plan, starting at $2.69 per month.

Price range: Godaddy does not offer a free trial period, but they do have a refund period of up to 45 days for their annual plans and 48 hours for their monthly plans. They have three plans to choose from.

  • Personal Plan – $5.99 per month;
  • Business Plan – $9.99 per month;
  • Business Plus Plan – $14.99 per month.

Shopify

Shopify provides business owners with full blown analytics about page visits

Founded in 2004, Shopify was based on software originally intended for the creators’ own online store. Shopify has reported that there are over 120,000 users of their platform, making it one of the fastest growing online store builders.

Main features: A bit more diverse than its competition, Shopify offers both an e-commerce platform and a point-of-sale software. Businesses using Shopify can accept Paypal or Bitcoin payments.

Online Marketing: Shopify offers built-in SEO features as well as advanced e-commerce analytics. You can have full reports about details and statistics on how many people find your website and how they find it.

Price range: Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period. After your trial period is over, Shopify has four plans if you want to continue building your store with them.

  • Starter Plan – $14 per month;
  • Basic Plan – $29 per month;
  • Professional Plan – $79 per month;
  • Unlimited Plan – $179 per month.

Wix

With Wix, online marketing can be achieved by setting up SEO manually or getting additional SEO tools from the Wix App Market

Wix is a freemium web development platform, so users can create basic websites for free. However, users must have a premium packages to remove ads, add e-commerce capabilities, connect their websites to their personal domain and so on.

Main features: Primarily a website creator, Wix gives users complete freedom in creating their online store the way they want it. Their drag and drop tools make it incredibly easy to create your own store. There is also a special mobile editor for adjusting Wix sites for mobile viewing.

Online marketing: With the ShoutOut application by Wix, you can easily send newsletters, but that on its own, is not enough for doing marketing. You can set up the basic SEO tags, but there is also the option of looking up additional SEO tools on the Wix App Market.

Price range: Despite being one of the leaders in the website building field, Wix has just one website plan that includes a shopping cart and is suitable to running an online business.

  • Yearly eCommerce Plan – $16.17 per month;
  • Monthly eCommerce Plan – $19.90 per month.

Google Play is Catching up to the Apple App Store

app-store-statsThe App Annie blog has an App index and statistics. Two major stats stand out. Google Play downloads are 90% of the amount of downloads that the iOS App Store has in the first three months of 2013. That is much closer than I would have guessed. Revenue is a different story as the iOS App Store generated 2.6x the app revenue of Google Play. I don’t want to steal their thunder so read the rest of the story here in the App Annie Q1 2013 report is here.

Holiday Spending 2011 at $19 Billion Already

First we started with a Cyber Monday of over $1 Billion which set a new record. The 2011 Cyber Monday was up 22% over the 2010 Cyber Monday. Now Comscore released statistics showing that for the first 34 days of this holiday season spending is just over $19.5 Billion. Comscore tracks the holiday season as beginning on November 1st.

Comparison of First 34 Days
Comscore First 34 Day ComparisonIn 2010 the first 34 days saw $17 billion in sales while the same period in 2011 saw $19.5 billion in sales which is up 15%. As you can see all the major days were up in sales also. Thanksgiving day up 18%, Black Friday up 26%, Thanksgiving weekend up 16% and Cyber Monday up 22%.

It is a great time for online sales and online businesses.

Cyber Monday 2011 Reaches $1.25 Billion

The total for Cyber Monday 2011 was $1.25 billion which is 22% higher than 2010. This was the largest online spending day in history. Two days prior, Black Friday 2011 was up 18% over 2010.

Breakdown of Cyber Monday Spending
Cyber Monday 2011 SalesHere are the specifics of how much was spent and how it was being spent. This data and information is provided by the latest Comscore report, find even more detail here in their press release. The most interesting statistic to me was the fact that a million more people shopped online and the average order size increased as well.

This does not necessarily mean the economy is doing better, it could just be that some brick and mortar shoppers decided to shop online instead. So I do not know if this is any indicator of the economy turning around but I do know it means online business continues to trend up. Due to the number of online deals and coupons it is apparent that retailers understand the value of online sales.

What an incredible Cyber Monday.

Black Friday 2011 Online Sales

See the chart below regarding online sales so far for November compared to last year. The chart and information is provided by Comscore here in a press release.

2011 Black Friday Online Sales
The following chart shows the change from 2010 spending to 2011 spending in millions. Note that the first 25 days of November this year the spending was up 15% over the same time last year.

  • Thanksgiving day (Nov 24th) was up 18% over last year
  • Black Friday (Nov 25th) was up 26% over Black Friday 2010

    That is a significant jump in spending and particularly on Black Friday. The total for the first 25 days was $12,737,000, impressive considering Cyber Monday has not yet concluded and there are 30 days in November. black friday 2011 online sales

    Total Year End 2011 Sales
    Based on the continued use of online coupons and I would not be surprised if using a coupon online has become more common place and lending to higher sales. Last year the Cyber Monday 2010 Sales were over $1 Billion. It will be interesting to see how this Cyber Monday fares as compared to this years Black Friday.