Stating that Ecommerce is HUGE would be an understatement…Global ecommerce sales are expected to touch a whopping 4.5 trillion by 2021 (as per a Statista report)! Look left, right and center – you will find a new ecommerce company trying to get their share of the ecommerce pie, a pie that is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years!
Selling via the traditional channels is only half the work done…Increasingly, more and more of sales for a business is going to come from these ecommerce platforms which will have to be designed to increase sales and nurture visitors into buyers.
And all of this news is great for freelancers like us because every E-commerce business worth its money will need our help to create, establish and grow their business to a scalable amount.
But before we get into the ecommerce jobs for freelancers, we first need to understand the platforms that we will be required to work on.
As is the case in the online world, one success story gives birth to many me-too competitors. But we have to focus our time, energy and efforts only on those platforms where money is flowing! And so, let’s not look at the smaller players in the ring, rather – place our focus on the Top 5 E-Commerce Marketing Platforms in 2018. This is where the action is happening – right here, right now! Why would you want to look anywhere else? Look at these platforms, understand them well and then choose the Top 2 you would like to go after for your freelancing projects. Don’t forget the 80/20 rule applies here too!
Remember, as digital marketing freelancers, it always pays to master a few top-rated skills than being a jack of all trades. And that’s the reason why I am limiting this list to the Top 5…
Top 5 E-Commerce Marketing Platforms 2018
As of 2018, Shopify is the clear winner in the ecommerce space. Of all the cloud-hosted e-commerce platforms, Shopify is unarguably the best designed, SEO friendly and feature-rich platform.
With Shopify, you get access to an online store, custom domain name, a plethora of good looking themes, secure payment systems and an app store that can give your store access to a whole host of functionalities.
Shopify boasts of about 1 million active user base and more than $63B in sales. The numbers are huge and is going to only increase in the next few years.
Though one has to pay a monthly fee of $29 to maintain an account on Shopify, this cost is definitely worth the features you will be getting. Unlike other platforms where you can’t do much without coding knowledge, Shopify has an easy to use interface, meaning even if your technical skills are basic, you can launch a good looking store (of course, you must score high on creativity).
Also, with Shopify, you do not have to face the hassle of self-hosting or purchasing a custom domain name from a third party. Whether it is social media marketing, inventory management, dropshipping, bookkeeping or customer service, Shopify has you covered with more than 2,400+ apps on the Shopify App Store.
Check out this detailed video on Shopify. This will give an overview on getting started with Shopify and how to promote and sell your products using this platform. Whether you wish to start your own online store or take up client projects, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the platform first.
If you have a website built on WordPress that needs to be integrated with an online shop, WooCommerce is the plugin for you. WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, powering about 28% of all online stores. Compared with Shopify, WooCommerce is definitely the more budget-friendly one as it is a free plugin that you can use on your WordPress site. In comparison, the most basic of plans on Shopify comes at a monthly spend of $29.
So, even though you will have to spend long hours setting up WooCommerce store, it should be your go-to option if you have budget constraints.
As a freelancer getting into the ecommerce marketing space, it will serve you well to have expertise both in Shopify and WooCommerce. That ways you can choose the better platform suited for your client’s needs. Also, knowing your way around the top two ecommerce platforms will also give you an enviable edge over other freelancers in the ecommerce marketing space. The video below will give you a detailed overview of WooCommerce and how to get started on this platform.
Magento, one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world (now acquired by Adobe) gives you three editions to choose from – Open-source, Commerce, Commerce Cloud.
Magento’s open-source edition is free to use and gives a developer the flexibility to make changes to its huge range of functionalities. Like WordPress, its free to install and use. The open-source platform also has the support of the developer community who work hard towards providing the platform with really solid added features and functionalities (same as you get with WordPress plugins). If you are a small ecommerce player or a startup with budget constraints, you can go with the open source platform.
With Magento Commerce Edition, you get access to its full functionality and is better suited for meeting the needs of medium to large enterprises. It’s totally scalable, meaning you can scale it up as your business grows with time and needs a more complex set of features.
The Magento Cloud edition, also classified as PaaS (Platform as a Service) can be used by small, medium or large enterprises and the biggest benefit it provides is full access to Magento’s code and database along with a favorable hosting environment. You can scale your usage up or down depending on your business’ growth trajectory. Example, with the holidays coming up, one can easily scale up the usage of resources while at non-peak times, you don’t have to pay for resources that are not needed by you and are sitting idle.
It is imperative that the base platform that you use to build your business on should have solid foundations and you get that with Magento.
PrestaShop, a PHP based open source platform (similar to Magento), has over 270,000 merchants using its platform and 1,000,000+ community members.
PrestaShop is quite a lightweight ecommerce platform, giving you a host of add-ons, features, SEO tools, language translations, responsive theme templates to choose from and is pretty simple to get started with.
When compared with Magento, PrestaShop is easier to manage and also comes with the standard functionalities one would need while setting up an ecommerce shop. But other than that, Magento definitely has the upper hand in terms of the number of features and customization options. If you are working for a small or mid-sized business, PrestaShop is definitely worth considering as your platform of choice.
BigCommerce runs on SaaS and comes with a monthly subscription that starts at about $30. So, unlike Magento or PrestaShop, there is no free version that you can get started with. BigCommerce comes with an interface which is quite simple and scores really well on ease of use. The integrated drag and drop builder can be handy for new users or the ones with little technical expertise.
However, BigCommerce doesn’t enjoy the support of a huge community of developers and for any support, you have to rely on phone, e-mail or chat that is available 24/7. Also, when compared with platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce doesn’t have as many themes and templates that one can choose from.
ECommerce Marketing and Freelancing
As a freelancer, there is a lot of potential if you get into the ecommerce marketing space. A lot of projects these days require various skills like design and set up of an online store, SEO for these stores, maintenance work, and virtual assistant jobs. Where you fit in will depend on the skills you have and the depth of your knowledge.
Also, although all the 5 platforms mentioned above are doing really good, I would place my focus on Shopify and WooCommerce as the maximum freelancing projects are for these two platforms.
But one thing is for sure, ecommerce marketing is here to stay, and the sooner you get your skills sharpened at it, the better off you will be in the next few years to come. I am listing a few courses below that can equip you with the requisite skills and knowledge required of an ecommerce marketer. Beyond that, it will depend on you how well you apply this knowledge and put into practice every good strategy that you learn.
Top Courses on ECommerce Marketing for Freelancers
Also, do check out my posts on How to Become a Top-rated Digital Marketing Freelancer and Top 7 Digital Marketing Skills for Freelancers in 2018. You will find some great insights on acing the freelancing game!