Your e-commerce platform serves as the heart of your online retail business, so you need a system with robust features. Because there is so much data pouring through your sales channels every day, you need a way to organize and manage the numbers within your overall accounting system. Choosing an e-commerce system that integrates into QuickBooks simplifies your processes to save you time and improve accuracy. (Learn more about QuickBooks’ features for e-commerce merchants, here).
The Benefits of Integrated E-commerce Platforms
Having separate systems for every aspect of your business may serve your needs temporarily, but it can mean more work when you or your employees have to enter information into multiple systems. Let’s say you use separate online payroll services and accounting systems; that means you have to transfer payroll information to keep your books accurate. The same goes for e-commerce systems: An integrated system makes your life easier.
When you use an e-commerce system that works with QuickBooks, all of your data automatically syncs with your bookkeeping records. That includes inventory, orders, customers, and shipping. Automatic data transfer saves you the time it would have taken to enter that information manually into QuickBooks. Running a retail business comes with a lot of work, including such duties as inventory management, invoicing, and online payroll services for your staff, so freeing up time is a huge benefit. Converting to an automated system also minimizes the risk of human error that comes with manual entry of information. The overall increase in efficiency and accuracy ultimately saves you money and allows your company to grow faster.
Having an accurate, efficient system also enables you to offer better customer service. With proper inventory records, you don’t have to worry about overselling, and you can reorder inventory effectively. Accurate customer information ensures shipments arrive as intended and enables you to customize your communications to your customer base. A robust, integrated system also lets you quickly pull up orders when customers call with questions. Plus, when you streamline your internal processes in this way, you have more time to make yourself available to customers or tend to things that you didn’t previously have time for.
Here are five great eCommerce platforms that integrate with QuickBooks:
Shopify was created because no such platform for directly selling your products to customers existed at the time. With more than 600,000 active Shopify stores and billions in sales, this e-commerce platform has proven itself as a viable option. It’s a viable solution for businesses of all sizes, whether you’re just starting, or you’re scaling your e-commerce business to handle higher sales numbers. Pricing varies based on the level you choose, which depends mostly on your sales volume.
With Shopify, you can connect your domain name to the online shop to create a seamless image. The platform helps you with branding, allowing you to create logos and use free high-quality stock images for an attractive design. Free and paid themes offer additional customization potential to help support your branding.
This e-commerce platform also offers flexibility in how you sell. Customers can purchase directly from your e-commerce store online as well as through other online marketplaces and social media. You can also use Shopify for point of sale hardware and software to facilitate in-person sales. The system syncs those sales no matter where they take place. And since it all integrates with QuickBooks, you know the data gets added to your accounting software automatically.
When it comes to payments, you can either use the built-in Shopify Payments system or use a third-party payment gateway. Transaction fees vary depending upon the payment gateway you choose.
If you have a WordPress site, WooCommerce is a good option for you because it’s designed especially for WordPress. This e-commerce platform is highly customizable, offering hundreds of extensions, both free and paid, to help you get the functionality you want. It’s also open source, which means you can make any modifications you want.
WooCommerce features a secure payment gateway, so your customers can easily pay for their purchases through the platform. Since WooCommerce also integrates with QuickBooks, those transactions seamlessly sync into your accounting records. Inventory and order management features let you better serve your customers. The platform also has built-in blogging to add a content component that helps you connect with customers.
WooCommerce requires a little more work than Shopify to set up. While Shopify is an online subscription service that walks you through the setup, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, which requires you to secure your domain name and hosting before installing WordPress and adding a WordPress theme. If you’re familiar with WordPress or already have a WordPress site for your business, this e-commerce platform may be a smooth move.
Magento opened for business in 2008 and is now among the most popular e-commerce options available to online retailers. This cloud-based e-commerce platform supports mobile, in-store, and email sales in addition to online sales. It’s open source, so you can customize your store completely, and it works for businesses of all sizes, which makes it easier to scale your online retail store when you’re ready without switching platforms.
While Magento Open Source is free to download, it does come with expenses, including domain names, hosting, payment processing, and add-ons you may choose. Third-party developers offer themes for your Magento store, and while some are free, others come with a price tag. Some of the paid themes offer additional functionality that you might find worth the expense. Magento provides a host of built-in features, including inventory management, your choice of payment gateways, mobile optimization, built-in SEO features, order processing, and marketing tools.
Magento certainly has its perks, but it might not be for everybody. Setting up your store with Magento can be more complicated than it is with other platforms, especially if you don’t have a programming background or a programmer on your small business payroll. In addition, it can have a steep learning curve for people without a lot of tech experience.
BigCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform that works for both small and large online retailers. With many customization options available, you can create a store that matches your brand. If you don’t have a lot of tech experience, BigCommerce may be a good match for you. It doesn’t require a lot of coding experience to get your store up and running with a personalized storefront. You can choose from a number of built-in features to get the functionality you want.
Templates designed for fast loading and sales conversions can help you grow your e-commerce store. All of the themes have responsive designs, so customers have a great experience no matter how they access your store. You can choose from a handful of free themes or paid themes to get a look you like.
With BigCommerce, you can sell via your online store or through Amazon, eBay, and Facebook, which keeps your business flexible. You can choose your preferred payment gateway without additional transaction fees beyond what the gateway charges. It’s an ideal platform if you already have a large retail business or if you plan to scale soon.
With Volusion, you can design a customized store without any coding experience. The platform has a comprehensive site builder and responsive themes. You can choose from both free and paid themes, depending on the appearance you want. The platform simplifies selling with integrated inventory management, SEO tools, and integrated payment options. The secure checkout process lets customers shop with confidence. You can use several apps and program integrations for additional functionality. Built-in analytics are included to help you manage and grow your e-commerce business.
Volusion offers features designed to help you increase sales. For example, you can add product videos to showcase or promote your products for better conversions. Volusion also has a suggested products feature, which may help customers find additional products they want to buy. Customized invoices with your logo and text of your choice add a special touch that sets your store apart from others. Plus, the mobile app option lets you manage your e-commerce business from a mobile device, which can give you more flexibility for keeping things running on the go. Volusion offers different price points depending on the features you want.
Choosing Your Retail eCommerce Platform
Like so many aspects of business, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for your e-commerce platform. Comparing the features and ease of use of the various options will help you to determine which e-commerce platform will work best for your company.
As you evaluate e-commerce solutions, the first thing to compare is the pricing, which may be a major deciding factor for most small businesses. Paying for your e-commerce platform is often one of the unexpected expenses online retailers forget to add to the budget. Being realistic about how much business you do and the type of features you need helps you pick the right level and enables you to compare pricing across e-commerce platforms. Many providers offer different levels with varying monthly fees based on the number of features available or the sales volume it can handle. Also, don’t forget to look at transaction fees and whether the costs of buying a domain name and hosting the site are included or separate.
If you have limited tech experience, choosing a retail platform that doesn’t require coding makes it easier for you to handle the store setup yourself. Having a variety of options for plugins, add-ons, or integrations helps you customize your online store with minimal or no coding experience. On the other hand, if you have programming capability on your staff, the options provided by more technical solutions may be just the ticket. In either case, look for a platform that integrates with QuickBooks to simplify all of your record keeping.
Integrating your business software programs, from accounting and cloud payroll software to e-commerce platforms saves you time and money while increasing accuracy. QuickBooks is a versatile option that integrates with many apps and software. Try QuickBooks today for free and see how it can power prosperity for your business.