Drag-and-drop software tools from Shogun, BigCommerce, and Wix are examples of services that help non-technical users build attractive online stores.
Ecommerce platforms are more or less divided into three tiers:
- Enterprise, used by large companies;
- Functional and easy-to-use, aimed at small and mid-sized businesses, and
- High-performance, used by the most tech-savvy businesses.
One could argue that enterprise and high-performance platforms have been the most noteworthy. The former is associated with the largest companies and, therefore, the most money. The latter represents newer approaches to software development and deployment that may provide advantages in functionality at a low cost.
But we should not ignore the mass in the middle. There are more ecommerce SMBs in the non-enterprise category that are also not ready or capable of using a modern, high-performance platform.
For years, ecommerce platform providers have sought to make it easy for this large group of SMBs to present and sell products online.
Current offerings from Shogun, BigCommerce, and Wix demonstrate that ease-of-use and lack of coding are still in demand.
Shogun’s Page Builder add-on deserves some credit for sparking this round of excellent, visual page builders. The product is most closely associated with Shopify, one of the leading software-as-a-service ecommerce platforms. But, at the time of writing, Shogun’s excellent functionality also integrates with BigCommerce, Magento, and Salesforce Cloud Commerce.
Although she will still need to be comfortable with using software, a Shogun user will not require coding skills. And that’s the attraction. Shogun is a must-have add-on for many Shopify and Magento merchants.
BigCommerce announced last month the release of its native visual page builder that is one of the best in the industry.
“Page Builder gives brands all the tools they need to build a world-class ecommerce storefront, faster. It also makes it much easier for merchants to take their business online for the first time,” said BigCommerce’s chief product officer, Jimmy Duvall, in an announcement.
Like Shogun, BigCommerce’s Page Builder includes “drag-and-drop blocks” that a user can add to a page. These blocks allow a non-programmer to add widgets for “individual products, carousels, text blocks, branded images and video, promotional banners, [and] buy buttons.”
This Page Builder makes it possible for a business owner or designer to create attractive pages on the BigCommerce platform.
On June 30, 2020, Wix announced “an extended ecommerce solution” that rests on the company’s website-building platform.
Even before this announcement, Wix was among the leaders in visual page-building with a service that had helped more than 150 million folks build a website without writing code.
The company’s ecommerce tool is no more difficult to use than its standard website builder, helping many small businesses and solo entrepreneurs launch a viable online store.
These platforms are just three examples of the many no-code options for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
“In two years, my business went from just me and my Wix site to 40 employees, my own fulfillment center and over 22 million dollars in revenue,” said Crystal Etienne, founder and CEO of Ruby Love, which sells female undergarments, in a Wix press release.
“From the beginning, I built my business on Wix and use the same template to this day. As Ruby Love grew, we started to rely on more of Wix’s ecommerce features like custom shipping rules, real-time order tracking, and integrated shipping labels. The ability to scale my business on a single, comprehensive platform has allowed us to grow faster and bigger than I ever imagined.”
One would hope that every business using Wix, BigCommerce, Shogun, or a similar would enjoy the same level of success as Ruby Love. But the drag-and-drop service has a few shortcomings.
- No design guarantees. First, using Shogun, BigCommerce’s Page Builder, or Wix for ecommerce doesn’t guarantee a compelling page layout or design. Someone still needs to do some work. As an example, parallax scrolling (i.e., the background moves slower than the foreground) can be difficult on Wix sites.
- Constraints. Drag-and-drop page builders can’t anticipate everything a designer may want. Thus, the builders have limits as compared to the blank slate of custom themes and platforms.
- Limited functionality. Drag-and-drop visual page builders for ecommerce require an underlying platform. BigCommerce’s Page Builder has the company’s ecommerce engine, as an example.
The functionality limits of the underlying platform will apply to the drag-and-drop site and will impact its ability to evolve. BigCommerce and Shogun, as examples, offer a headless alternative, making it possible to expand the reach and functionality.