Choosing the right eCommerce platform
If you are an aspiring business owner in the UK who is thinking about setting up an eCommerce website, right now you’re probably trying to sort out which platform would be best for you. The fact is that you know that your shop needs to have certain features and look a certain way to stand any chance of ‘making it’ in your eCommerce adventure.
Staying relevant and providing up to date website features are needed, just to stay in business. And, when you ad to it that every website platform are vying for your business with the promise of eCommerce utopia it can all get a little confusing. But still, choosing the right platform from the start can help you to avoid potentially hazardous website migrations further down the line.
Is EKM in the mix? Potentially, if you live in the UK
How do you know what the best choice is for you? Well, whichever eCommerce platform you end up choosing, if you’re based in the UK then you may want to consider throwing EKM Powershop into the mix. Whereas companies like Shopify go after the global market, EKM are focussing their attention on being the perfect foil for British merchants. Promising You help on understanding not only how to set up your online store, but also providing support when you have questions about setup, you could follow a simple guide about how to install your Google Analytics code on EKM, or simply ask the support and have them walk your through it.
This extra level of hand-holding does make EKM an attractive prospect for a lot of merchants who are perhaps a little unsure on their feet starting out.
The downsides and limitations of EKM
We’ll run through some of the benefits and main features that you can take advantage of if you choose them, however, in the interest of balance we’ll quickly cover off some downsides first.
The biggest one being the level of scale and customisability capable with EKM. Can you create a decent little business and make a lot of money, oh yes. Can it support an international or even global business… hmm, I’m not convinced.
From my trials, it’s greatest strengths were also it’s greatest weaknesses and it lacked the flexibility to app in various apps which merchants on platforms such as Shopify enjoy the benefit of. As I said though, depending on how you look at it, not having to rely on paying extra for each and every feature you add is to many EKM’s main selling point.
. . So, now that’s been said. Here are some reasons that EKM may be an excellent choice for UK based eCommerce startups.
EKM Gives Loads of Options for the Price
Among the things that EKM has working in its favour is the fact that the users are given loads of eCommerce features once it has been set up. They pride themselves on not operating a separate app or plugin marketplace and you are given tools straight out of the box that will:
- Aid in building your website.
- Allow you to create some aspects of your store.
- Let you determine how you will market to your customers.
- Allow you to upload products in minutes.
This is of course, in direct contrast to Shopify, WordPress and Magento. Each of which requires expensive development costs or purchases of small applications which can be bolted onto your store to increase functionality and squeeze the most of your website. These small additions over time do add up and with EKM the idea is you have one payment per month to host your website and that’s it. All payments are secure and included with EKM. Order management is done through the EKM dashboard.
Another plus for small business owners who are not experts on websites is that hosting comes with every EKM plans, so you don’t have to worry about things like downtime or slow load speeds. EKM is also known for its above-average customer support, which is a plus when you don’t have a website or eCommerce expert on staff. Solopreneurs stand up and take note.
EKM Won’t Break Your Budget
EKM is affordable and won’t be a strain on your finances. It was designed to be used by small businesses and startups so that the costs won’t be excessive. As already mentioned by not having an app store and trying to implement as many features as possible directly into the code, the team have managed to keep the costs down.
They even feature an Evolution mode on the higher plans which is where they analyse the performance of your website at regular intervals and suggest improvements to make for you to get more sales. It’s like a low-fi way of getting eCommerce consultancy, and if you are bootstrapping this on a limited budget then this is a feature which in the long run could save you quite a bit of money.
EKM Features Professional and Aesthetically Pleasing Themes
EKM has a variety of themes to get your site started. They are each relevant to a number of businesses. There are also several categories that you can choose from that will better fit your branding. They include such options as:
The included themes are simple to understand, and they don’t cost any extra. However, it has to be noted here that it is relatively difficult to customise the themes past changing basic layout, text and colour options. So if you have a specific style in mind which isnt covered by a default theme it may automatically rule itself out of being a suitable platform for you.
Your Site Automatically Updates
A particularly time-consuming issue when running an online store on a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress is updating your website to keep everything safe and ticking over. EKM, similar to Shopify is a fully managed solution and therefore apply security updates and hotfixes at HQ level which are automatically rolled out to merchant websites. The process takes place entirely at EKM, which frees up time and leaves less space for things to go wrong.
No Unattended Carts
There are various tools to convert your visitors into paying customers. One of the most effective ways EKM has of converting visitors into paying customers is through live chat. A live chat bubble pops up to assist your customers and at the same time shows you what the customer has viewed. The feature ensures you can effectively guide customers and answer their questions.
Abandoned carts are always an issue for eCommerce stores. EKM deals with this common problem by including a conversion feature which focuses on reducing abandoned carts. An email is automatically sent to customers that have left their carts with items still in them. The email reminds customers they can go back to their cart and check out later. EKM also has a similar feature that notifies a customer when an item that they wanted, but was out of inventory, is back in stock.
A Final Thought
These are just a few of the many features that EKM has to empower smaller businesses to compete in the world of eCommerce and mix it with much bigger companies on a limited budget. It markets itself as the best choice for small businesses in the UK and makes a strong case, often pitting itself directly against Shopify in its marketing material. The difficulty with going directly up against the eCommerce behemoth Shopify is that quite frankly, it struggles to provide the same level of scale and customisability.
So should you choose them to power your online shop? Is money tight? If so, then I would say you will get more features out of the box than with Shopify and find the platform easier to learn and use than WordPress which for all it’s flexibility still holds a sometimes insurmountable learning curve for new entrepreneurs. This is all presuming you’re based in the UK of course.
However, if you’re any of the following:
- Based somewhere else in the world
- Have a decent marketing budget
- Have aggressive revenue growth goals
- Using eCommerce to support a pre-existing business (such as Amazon seller or physical stores)
Then it’s hard for us to recommend EKM as the most viable option on the market over a platform like Shopify, even though there is technically nothing wrong with it as a choice.
The team at Xune between us have spent significant time with most eCommerce platforms, and if you want impartial advice based on your specific circumstances, feel free to reach out to us.