Recently, a website platform seemed to claim responsibility for a celebrity’s online success (web traffic, voluminous sales and market domination). But what made that celebrity’s site successful? Was it the platform they chose? Or was the site’s success being driven by the celebrity themselves and the brand they represent? In all likelihood that celebrity could have used any platform and still have had a successful site. They were responsible for their own online success, and the platform had little to do with it.
Your website is an extension of who you are. It is an expression of your vision. It is a result of hard work and creativity. And if you have an ecommerce site, then it is also a revenue source. If you are selling something, the website platform you choose has to have your back because you have a lot invested in, and a lot riding on, the virtual space you’ve created. You can’t choose a platform based on what a celebrity, or any successful site, uses. You have to dig deeper.
There are two kinds of people in the ecommerce world: those who need a website and those who already have a website.
If you need an ecommerce site, the first questions you should ask are: What is my website’s intent? What am I trying say, do, express, and accomplish? The second questions are: What am I selling and will the platform I’m looking at support the sale of my product or service?
If you already have an ecommerce site, then you are (hopefully) regularly evaluating the platform you are using to ensure your site is being taken care of in the best possible way. You should always be asking: Is the platform I’m using reliable and are my content and business safe?
When choosing a platform, you have many decisions to make. Will you need ongoing support, or can you be independent? Do you need a highly customized site, or can you use one straight “out of the box”? Do you anticipate having high volume sales, or will your site be more specialized with less traffic?
The answers to these questions will guide you through the pros and cons of many platforms. No platform is perfect, and many might meet your needs. But if you are selling something, whether you are new to ecommerce or have an active store, there is one overriding question that must be addressed: What are you selling?
Not all platforms are ideal for all types of ecommerce.
Platforms can be tied to specific payment gateways. If a payment gateway decides that it does not want to support the sale of a specific product or service, then your ability to sell could be denied and your store could be closed. If you plan to do, or already doing, online sales, it is in your best interest to choose a platform whose payment gateway is reliable and flexible.
Let’s get specific.
In Shopify’s Payments Terms of Service, prohibited businesses are listed in section B5. That’s right: prohibited businesses. If you sell or offer anything on this list, your store will likely be closed in the near future. And remember – this list can change at any time, which means your ecommerce venture may not be safe if you use this platform.
Here is a partial list of businesses that are currently prohibited on Shopify:
- All cannabis related businesses and products
- Any business selling products that claim to have health benefits
- Travel reservation businesses
- Timeshare services
- Flea markets
So, what’s the alternative? Using an open source platform like WordPress with WooCommerce.
WordPress allows users to choose from any number of payment gateways and WordPress is not held hostage by the whims and demands of those gateways. Unlike Shopify, a publicly traded company that is required to meet certain criteria from its financial partners, WordPress has no such financial obligations; WordPress clients are free to choose whatever payment gateway fits their needs.
So, if you have a cannabis business with products to sell, WordPress with WooCommerce is a platform that will support you. If you sell vitamins or health improving products, WordPress with WooCommerce is the platform for you. Whatever your business is, WordPress will support it. This is the beauty of using an open source platform.
It’s hard work to prepare, create, and maintain a virtual business. Be sure you select a platform that offers you choice and does not limit your vision. WordPress with WooCommerce is a platform you can trust. It has your back.
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