Brief analysis of the benefits of e-commerce and how it can optimize a small business model, particularly during COVID, along with links to various E-commerce building websites and software.

The age of technology has ushered in many changes to society, in some ways more impactful ones than others. Among these numerous changes is a shift to e-commerce, the selling and purchasing of a business’s goods and/or services online. Many business models have been tailored to conduct a majority of their business exchanges through websites, across both small and large businesses. Consumers now have more access to numerous marketplaces, and therefore options, at their fingertips; and independent creators on websites like Etsy and Ebay are able to conduct sales without all of the expense of purchasing a space and hiring employees to manage it.  One of the most prominent impacts of e-commerce is its role as an equalizer across businesses small or large, as small businesses are able to sell and distribute internationally with the same level of outreach as large corporations. Considering 97% of e-commerce involves exportation of goods, it is clear that small regional businesses can now operate with the same range that large international corporations can with e-commerce. The shift to e-commerce, especially during COVID, has kept small businesses afloat that may not have the resources to be open at full capacity, and has allowed them to expand their customer base through the accessible nature of the Internet. Shifting the market of your small business to an online platform can not only minimize resources and space that would typically be used in a physical retail setting, but offers a secure sales platform to be utilized in times of financial uncertainty to maintain your current consumer base, and even expand it with minimal risk. For many small business owners, setting up ecommerce platforms may pose a daunting task that requires hired labor and advanced technological skills. Luckily, many website platforms have developed ecommerce add-ons that can be installed easily into any business website that uses their respective platform. The following are links to popular ecommerce website builders and add-ons designed for different website building sites, all with simple interfaces that require no coding experience: WordPress Ecommerce website from scratch: Offers three bundles with varying levels of software/physical product marketplace installations, all of which are compatible with a WordPress site. Wix Ecommerce Third Party Add-On: Simple user interface for the sale of subscriptions, donations, and physical products all in one package. Compatible with any Wix site. Hostgator Website Add-On: An upgrade to simply and ‘seamlessly’ integrate ecommerce into your business, for a low cost of $9.22 a month. Compatible with any WordPress or Hostgator site. Hostgator Ecommerce Website Builder: Simplified and doable instructions for creating a Hostgator ecommerce website from scratch. General Solution (compatible with any business website): All in one add-on compatible with most website builders. Offers a diverse array of themes and setups that require no technical coding backgrounds to construct. Weebly Ecommerce Add-Ons: Weebly’s app center boasts a diverse array of payment features and some inclusive packages (for digital and physical sales), all for reasonable prices with a maximum of ~$10 a month.   Sources:

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