Any webpage that sells something is a webstore. This can be as simple as a single page with a buy it now button or as complex as an entire virtual mall. You’ll sometimes see it written web store or some combination of the words internet, online or virtual coupled with store or shop. People also love to throw the letters e or i in front of store and shop. Either way, we’re all talking about the same thing. A place where you can buy goods and services on the internet.
Almost everything in Beyond Amazon, eBay and Etsy is a webstore but this section refers specifically to the kind of services you’d usually find when you search for info on starting a webstore or what I think of as webstore packages. Often referred to as Full Featured Webstores, they usually include everything you might need to run sales online including the domain name, web hosting, email services, inventory management, and shopping cart. Many also include extras you’d normally pay an additional fee for such as mailing list services, search engine optimization tools, and payment processing.
Most of these services have a monthly fees as well as transaction charges. Many also integrate with external apps, either for free or for a fee, that add features beyond what the original package offers. A webstore package like this will also come with a variety of professional templates for you to customize to your business design. In the name of customization, you’ll usually also have the option to use your existing hosting, domain name, payment processor or to create (or buy) a unique custom template for your store.
3dcart, Auctiva Commerce, Big Commerce, Shopify, and Volution are some of the biggest companies you’ll find offering full featured webstore packages but they are just a handful of the hundreds of options out there. Amazon and eBay each have their own webstore offering: eBay’s ProStores and Amazon Webstores. Is your site hosted through GoDaddy? They and many other hosting providers offer their own webstore options that you can add to your existing account with them.
There are some really powerful and gorgeous webstore packages out there with big price tags. Only you know what your business can afford. Spending a little extra with the expectation of making more is fine but just make sure you don’t put out so much money upfront that you can’t make it back.
Though it means extra work in marketing and set-up, I still do believe having your own webstore is the ultimate endgame. But for a smaller seller, there are many high quality e-commerce options that will get you nearly the same thing as these packages for a much lower cost or even free. If you’ve already looked at some of the sites above and started to crunch some numbers, you’ve noticed that these can be very expensive even for the cheapest plans. Is it worth it for a smaller seller like you?