GoDaddy has launched a new product that takes the complexity out of setting up an online shop.
Online Store, a plain-English branding exercise that recalls the company's Get Paid online payments solution, is part of GoDaddy's plan to help small businesses of all stripes participate in the Internet economy. And the current ecommerce landscape could use more representation from small business, according to Sandeep Grover, senior director and head of site-building products at GoDaddy.
Ecommerce giants have long figured out how to set up and manage online storefronts efficiently and cost effectively. It helps that they generally have big IT budgets to work with.
"Small businesses are very behind that technology curve," Grover told Small Business Computing. Prospective online merchants quickly discover that it is "very expensive to start an ecommerce store."
One-stop Ecommerce for Small Business
Even the do-it-yourself (DIY) route is fraught with complications. Piecing together a home-grown ecommerce platform is simply an impractical and time-consuming undertaking for most small business owners, said Grover.
GoDaddy Online Store addresses these challenges by taking a page from the company's user-friendly Web Builder product. "We're kind of offering business online store in a box," said Grover.
Priced at $29.99 per month (billing starts after a free trial period), Online Store includes practically all the components and tools required to start and manage an ecommerce website.
"Hundreds of thousands of small business owners want to start their ecommerce business every year, but they struggle to find an easy-to-use, affordable and effective solution," Raj Mukherjee, senior vice president of product at GoDaddy, said in a prepared statement. "With the launch of GoDaddy Online Store, we strive to make it incredibly easy for anyone to build a professional ecommerce website, and to enable them to grow and run their business more effectively."
As such, Online Store requires no coding. It includes a step-by-step startup guide that leads you through the entire process of setting up an ecommerce site.
Responsive, customizable themes help merchants make a good impression with online shoppers, whether they're accessing your ecommerce site using a PC or a smartphone. Then it's just a matter of uploading product images (up to 10 per product), inputting descriptions, and adding prices.
In terms of managing an online storefront, options abound. Merchants can track inventory, create coupon codes, and offer multiple versions of a given product—a handy feature for sellers of apparel and other items that come in multiple sizes, colors or materials.
Each product can have up to 250 option variations, according to GoDaddy's support documentation. No bare virtual shelves here, said Grover. Online Store supports an unlimited number of products. Sellers can solicit buyer feedback with support for user rankings and reviews.
The solution also features payment processing, which supports Stripe, and it's "auto-enabled for PayPal" said Grover. The built-in secure shopping cart can calculate shipping and taxes, providing shoppers with a clear handle on all the costs involved.
Small Business Ecommerce Meets Facebook
Easy Social Shop, a GoDaddy partner, provides Facebook integration. With a single click, small businesses can use Online Store as a springboard to setting up a storefront on the massive social network.
Easy Social Shop estimates that 140,000 shops use its technology. On average, the social-enabled ecommerce sales and analytics platform drives 10- to 15-percent sales growth. "Our partnership with Easy Social Shop allows our merchants to easily create a Facebook store, amplify engagement with their Facebook fans, and generate more traffic and sales," said Grover in a prepared statement.
Ultimately, Online Store lets small businesses quickly turn their ecommerce ambitions into reality, and just in time for the holidays. Early customers are already selling 50 to 60 products, on average, and are "up and running in less than a day," reported Grover.
GoDaddy Online Store is available now.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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