EasyStore has been a huge success in Malaysia. This budget eCommerce platform has enabled thousands of entrepreneurs to launch an online store with ease. It has proven to be extremely popular due to its competitive pricing and sophisticated features.
And now, the EasyStore platform is available for would-be eCommerce store operators based in the USA. So how does the service translate stateside? Do the features hold up for an American audience?
Can it hope to compete with the likes of Shopify or Wix or Squarespace? In this article we are going to look at all that and more. After signing up to the platform I have been testing the features on a site of my own for over 3 months now.
Whether you are reading this in Malaysia or the USA, you will get an insight into exactly what EasyStore has to offer, and my honest opinion on whether it is a viable option amidst all of the competition.
Who Are Easy Store?
EasyStore is an online website building platform designed to help individuals and businesses launch their own eCommerce stores.
The company operates from Malaysia and was launched there in 2013. It has a startup mentality with only 30 employees currently.
However, that has not stopped the company from clocking up an impressive number of clients. Over 30,000 brands now utilize the platform for their eCommerce store needs.
The ethos is simple, EasyStore aims to provide the tools for people to easily create and manage their online store and sell products to people all over the world.
That final point is especially important as the platform has now opened up to U.S based store owners.
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What you can expect from the EasyStore eCommerce Platform
Before I dive into an explanation of my own experiences using EasyStore, I will go through the many options and features that you have access to as an EasyStore subscriber.
1. eCommerce website creation
Easily choose from one of the many themes
The options for building a website are as you would expect for a platform such as this.
Designed for absolute beginners, the tools here are easy to use and intuitive. EasyStore provides multiple ‘themes’ for the store owner to choose from.
Once you have selected a design for your website, you can simply set everything up with a one-click installation process.
For more experienced users there is an inbuilt theme editor. This enables you to customize the theme you have chosen. Using the WYSIWYG editor you can change the logo, favicon, colors, fonts and a whole lot more.
You can even alter the main layout of the site, all from the easy to use editor. (no coding required here thank goodness).
Full Control Over HTML & CSS
This was really beneficial in my experience as I love to tweak the overall design in order to get exactly what I want from the look of the site, (I am a bit of a control freak/perfectionist in that way).
The fact I could do this easily is a big thumbs up from me.
Choose your own FREE Custom Domain
Importantly EasyStore provide the option for you to choose your own domain name (www.yourname.com); which if launching your own online store is vital.
Would you buy a product from a long-winded domain that has EasyStore in the URL? No, you should have your own domain to increase brand reputability.
It will also help you in the search engines, social media marketing and other areas integral to running an online store.
2. Simplified Ecommerce Management
The features for actually managing your online store once it has been built is another real benefit of the EasyStore platform.
Even using their Lite plan you will be able to keep a track of inventory, upload products and manage sales with speed and efficiency.
Let’s take a closer look.
Easy to use interface (accessible on any device)
As long as you have internet access you will be able to login to the EasyStore platform in order to manage your website.
This especially helpful for any digital nomads or workaholics out there. 24/7 you will be able to view sales, inventory and take care of business whatever it may be.
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The interface gives you full control over the visibility of your products, whether they are live or a specific launch date has been set.
The same interface enables you to shuffle products around, highlighting some, providing sale items or removing stock completely.
Bulk Upload Tool
This excellent feature allows you to Import or export your products using Excel/CSV. These files enable you to bulk edit product information via a simple spreadsheet.
Payment & Billing
An e-commerce platform is useless if doesn’t provide easy access to the world’s major payment gateways.
Again, this is where EasyStore dominates. Whether your store is based in Malaysia or you are using the platform elsewhere in the world, your site will be extremely versatile when it comes to taking payment.
The platform enables you to accept payments from local and oversea customers via 40+ payment gateways with options. These include:
- Online banking
- Visa Master
- Cash on delivery
- and more.
To keep things simple and fully automated when it comes to shipping costs, you can set the locations where you will be selling, and then offer specific methods based on variables of your choice. These include:
- Flat-rate shipping
- Quantity- or weight-based rates
- Free shipping
Automated Customers Emails
From order confirmation to parcel fulfillment, every email that needs to be sent to customers can be set up in advance and them automatically delivered via the EasyStore platform.
3. Customer Focused Interface
While it is all well and good having an efficient and easy to use back office, the front end of the site needs to be customer-centric and intuitive too.
The themes provided do deliver in that way, giving you a fast and simple layout with which to showcase your products. However, the platform also provides a number of options that your potential customers will appreciate.
Let’s take a look.
Flexible Checkout Options
This one is a real beauty. The checkout options with EasyStore are really simple, there’s hardly any barrier getting in the way of your customers reaching the checkout and you making the sale.
Customers can quickly check out as a guest, a brand member, or with a very simple Facebook Login.
The conversion rate is optimized via a one-page checkout experience. Everything your customer needs to fill in is there in one place.
Grab those credit card details and make that sale!
If a repeat customer visits the website the cookies installed in their browser by EasyStore will enable them to use a one-click checkout system
Again, the fewer barriers there are in the way of them buying a product, the better.
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Product Search Functionality
The inbuilt search functionality that comes with all themes is very useful.
This will enable your customers to quickly find what they have come to your website for, instead of clicking the dreaded browser back button and heading elsewhere with their hard-earned cash.
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The Three EasyStore Plans Explained
The Lite Plan is the cheapest of the EasyStore subscriptions and comes in at a mere $13.30 a month.
While this is a good way to see what the platform has to offer, it is limited (only 5 app integrations meaning you will not benefit from the many features EasyStore has to offer). You should consider that 100 products are not many, depending on the type of store you are looking to build.
The Standard Plan is designed for larger online stores and is the package I would recommend for serious eCommerce operators. The fee for this is currently a very low $24.50 a month. Which is a steal in my opinion.
The standard plan has all the features of the Lite Plan, but importantly allows for unlimited products & storage. You also have up to 5 staff logins and access to 25 featured apps, (5 x the amount you get with the Lite plan)
The Business Plan is the top tier package and costs $64.50 a month. The big difference here is that everything is unlimited.
You can have as many products and staff accounts as you like, and have full access to all the featured apps. As the name implies this plan is designed for large, commercial enterprises.
Should you use EasyStore to Create your online Store?
So how do I rate EasyStore after using it for the last few months? And should you sign up to the platform in order to build your online store?
And with the sweeping success of the likes of Shopify, it is difficult for me to not to compare. (By way of reference I have been using Shopify for some of my websites for over 3 years now).
When a relative underdog enters the market, it has to offer something different in order to claim a piece of the pie.
Does EasyStore do that? Now I will highlight the pros and cons to answer that very important question
Pros of the EasyStore eCommerce Platform
1. It is extremely affordable
EasyStore’s affordability is one of its trump cards. It is a lot cheaper than Shopify and they do not take any commission on any sales you make.
With the starter plan costing just $13 a month compared to Shopify’s $29 you really are winning if you’re in the early stages of setting up your business.
For customers in Malaysia, it is possible to build a website for as little as RM43/month with EasyStore’s Lite Plan.
The fact you can even signup for a free 14-day trial is another top benefit. In many ways, you have nothing to lose.
2. Zero Transaction Fees
Another big advantage of EasyStore is that they do not pile on the hidden charges. Shopify will charge you extra for transaction fees (anywhere from 0.5 – 2.0% on sales made through your website).
With EasyStore the money from any sale you make ends up where it should, in your pocket.
3. Ease of use
Building an eCommerce website from scratch is not easy. However, the themes available with EasyStore make the process very simple indeed.
Select a theme with the one-click install, and then add relevant apps to get the functionality you need.
Of course, all online website creation platforms offer similar features, however, with EasyStore even the Lite plan provides an easy entrance way to creating your online store.
Best of all the different templates are stylish and mobile-responsive and no design skills are required in order to build.
4. List products from your store on other marketplaces
I actually loved this feature of EasyStore.
They have made it really easy to sync the products on your EasyStore website with other online marketplaces.
This helps you reach a wider audience with ease. The whole process is very intuitive and will save you tons of time while increasing potential sales. An excellent addition all round.
5. Over 40 payment gateways available
This is another great feature and evidence that EasyStore really does see itself as a global eCommerce platform.
Over 40 payment gateways can be used with your website, allowing customers to purchase your products with ease.
The Malaysian gateways are very well catered for which is understandable considering the roots of the platform. However, whether your customers are based in Asia, America or Europe they will be able to pay for their goods without issues.
6. Easy app integration
The apps available within EasyStore is another great feature.
Admittedly, you do get more with other platforms, (just 5 on the lite plan is quite restrictive)
However, having the ability to incorporate popular services such as EasyParcel and GetResponse with a few clicks of a button is a level of function I have become a big fan of.
I love the fact you can easily try different functionality on your site with the apps available.
A little tinkering and you will have everything you need to offer fantastic customer service directly from your EasyStore website
7. Easy Site management
Finally, the ability the platform gives you to take care of your business is a real benefit.
The simplicity of operation is exactly what you need, and that’s exactly what EasyStore delivers.
The backend is designed to allow a complete novice to handle their orders and keep track of inventory, number of website visitors and the all-important sales.
Cons of the EasyStore eCommerce Platform
So there’s a number of pros when it comes to using the EasyStore eCommerce builder. Let’s take a look at some of the negatives.
1. POS System only available on the standard plan and above
It is worth being aware that EasyStore’s Lite Plan ($13 or RM41/month) does not include POS System integration.
If you have a central inventory and POS System running for your business you will need to sign up to the most popular standard plan or the business plan.
2. No mobile app-based site management
This is something EasyStore need to rectify soon if they wish to compete globally with the many other eCommerce platforms out there.
Currently, there is no standalone phone app for you to access your dashboard and manage your website.
Yes, you can obviously access your backend using your phone browser, but this does not provide the ease of use a dedicated app would have.
This was my number one issue with the platform, I like to manage on the go and using my phone browser was a pain.
3. No where near the same amount of online support as other platforms
This is another potentially deal-breaking issue. Whereas platforms such as Shopify and woo-commerce/WordPress have a million and one online guides and youtube videos to help the beginner get started, EasyStore has hardly any at all.
In all honesty, this did not impact me much. The interface is simple to use and I am relatively web-savvy, I know my way around website creation platforms.
However, if you are a complete newbie, having access to a well-produced youtube video in your own language can be a huge benefit.
4. The Lite Plan is limited
The Lite plan may be extremely affordable and has what you need to get started, it will prove limited to most small business owners.
This may not be a huge negative; the standard plan is still cheap and really should be the package you opt for from the start.
However, the Lite plan can act as a stepping stone – just bear in mind you’ll probably need to upgrade relatively soon.
Where EasyStore excels is the hugely competitive price point. At only $24.50 a month for their standard package, you will have everything you need to launch a fully operational online store.
The Lite version while even cheaper is only recommended for those wishing to test the platform before diving in.
As the pros section above shows, another real benefit of the platform is its ease of use. Everything is extremely intuitive and it is possible to have a site up and running in no time.
Bear in mind some of the issues such as lack of phone-based app management and the low level of online support content.
These are minor gripes however. Overall a highly recommended ecommerce builder for those that want to get started on a limited budget.