The answer to that question is a resounding yes! In fact, there is a recently-launched platform with the small business owner’s needs totally in mind, WixStores.
WixStores is Wix’ new online ecommerce store builder. If you haven’t heard of Wix – the company have long been known for having the most feature-rich, hosted site building platform online, allowing for much more design and interface-tweaking flexibility for “non-coder” types who don’t like the generic and rather limited nature of most WordPress themes.
Their new ecommerce CMS has the smoothest drag and drop site-building interface I’ve ever seen, and they’re definitely equipped to compete with the likes of other more expensive hosted shopping cart solutions like Shopify.
Overview of WixStores’ Features
I know you don’t want to listen to a long-winded pitch about all the great and wonderful things you can do with WixStores, so I’ll try to list as many as I can in as short a space as possible:
- 100% intuitive drag-and-drop interface (if you can move documents/images from one folder to another on your computer, you can definitely handle working with WixStores!)
- Free hosting – no more paying for expensive VPS, dedicated or cloud hosting companies
- Over 100 attractive premade templates to choose from, with more being added regularly
- Product galleries including slide shows, to display each of your products
- Set up separate product pages for each item you want to sell in order to educate potential customers better
- Include product images & descriptions in your storefront
- WixStores premium plans offer a variety of coupons for online advertising platforms like Google Adwords, Bing, Facebook, Yahoo Local and others
- Ability to accept payments via PayPal, Authorize.net, and offline payments
- Geo-targeted tax and shipping calculators automatically included (you don’t need to install any apps or insert code into your html files)
- Easily track all your orders to provide the best service to your customers
- Everything is mobile optimized with no extra tweaking needed on your part
- Tons of available apps including their amazing site booster app which helps your store get found easily on all the major search engines and top-tier directories all over the web
- Link to your blog or add a Wix blog to your store
- 14 day trial – if it’s not for you, your money’s refunded and there’s no hard feelings!
Here is one of the online store templates you can select from WixStores:
Here’s another one:
To keep things simple, WixStores offers two ecommerce plans on top of their regular Wix site builder plans. I’m partial to the VIP and you’ll soon see why.
The Ecommerce package is less than $4 extra what you’d pay for their top level site building package yearly “Unlimited” at only $16.17 a month. That’s about what you’d pay for a .com domain and Host Gator’s slow-as-a-snail “Hatchling Plan”! It offers 20 gigs of storage and 10 gigs worth of available bandwidth which means no page-loading issues for your visitors. They also offer two free premium apps to use as long as you have your store up, saving you $118!
When you sign on for the Ecommerce package you’re also given $350 worth of advertising vouchers for premium advertisers like Google Adwords, Bing, and Facebook, along with a local listing voucher to advertise your business to local customers on directory sites. Add to that the fact that their Premium Support comes standard and your literally laughing all the way to the bank.
The VIP yearly plan is less than $10 more and is really for small business owners who take their online sales seriously. At just $24.90 a month, it’s a much better value because they offer you everything the Ecommerce package does with a couple of extra value added features, primarily their First Priority Support which gives you an instant line of communication with their support team whenever you need them. No waiting in a phone queue if there’s a problem with anything on your site or control panel! I’ve tested this and can tell you that calling the VIP Support Line is just like calling a buddy up on their cellphone – instant response indeed!
Another nice feature you’ll get when going with this upgrade is Unlimited bandwidth; a must if you plan on getting a lot of traffic (don’t we all) and/or have a lot of bandwidth-intensive images or product videos to display. When you’re a VIP, WixStores will also have their team review your site’s design, SEO, and consumer interface to make sure you’ve covered all the bases need to have a fast and efficient user experience and checkout.
Customer Service Tools
My Contacts and Smart Actions
Most of the customer service for your store is handled by WixStores too. While they don’t ever deal with your customers directly, they do provide a tool for automated emails. So if you wanted to send out automated “thank you” emails to customers after they’ve completed the checkout process at your store, then Wix.com has you covered. They also act as a free email service, allowing you to send out regular emails to past customers about special deals you’re running or just to let them know you’re still around if they haven’t made any purchases recently.
WixShoutOut lets you easily put together newsletters for your customers via email too. Send them a product lineup, updates about your company, free information related to your products and their interests, how-to’s, etc. Combined with the other email services, this makes for yet another huge savings when you consider the expense of going with a popular CANSPAM compliant provider like AWeber, or the limited subscribers you can have when using a free one like Constant Contact.
WixStores a Must for Online Entrepreneurs
Hopefully I’ve given you all the information you need to make a smart decision about using this platform to get your online ecommerce business up-and-running. There’s really no reason to go with a self-hosted solution like Magento, etc., and deal with all the headaches. WixStores has you up-and-running in minutes and deals with keeping your site secure in the background with their well-coded site architecture and premium (and free) apps.
Whether you choose the “Ecommerce” or “VIP” package, you’re still saving a boatload of cash when you consider you need a domain, hosting, email services, and quite likely the services of a coder to make changes to your design template and user interface when using self-hosted CMS solutions.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have all my needs covered in one place, with just one. monthly bill to worry about…