Are you building an online store? Try Nexcess StoreBuilder, the most flexible, pocket-friendly Shopify alternative.
eCommerce is on a bull run. It’s comfortable and returns-friendly, making it a fan favorite among everyday folks.
While there are many options to build your first online store, few can compete with Shopify. It’s layperson-compatible, has some customizations, and is quick to launch.
But it suffers from high transaction fees (unless you use Shopify payments) and has expensive addons. Besides, it’s tough to migrate from Shopify to any other solution.
In contrast, StoreBuilder is built on WordPress, an open-source web platform used by close to 40% of websites globally.
This gives you superior control over your online venture, free from any vendor locks.
Limiting the buildup to this, let us share our personal experience in creating a test store at Nexcess StoreBuilder.
What is Nexcess StoreBuilder?
StoreBuilder is where you’ll have your WooCommerce-powered online store hosted on WordPress. Basically, WooCommerce is a plugin (or addon) that helps business owners extend their WordPress websites to start an eCommerce shop.
So the Storebuiler subscription is a bundle of…
- Managed WordPress hosting
- Premium WordPress theme (Astra Pro)
- Beaver Page Builder
- Nexcess CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Daily Backups
- iThemes Security Pro
- Auto-Updating SSL Certificates
- 1-Click Staging Site
- Image Compression & Lazy Loading
- Analytics and Sales Monitor
- And much more you can check on the Woocommerce page.
Frankly, the deal is pretty sweet. In addition, all the plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
So why wait? Let’s try it hands-on.
You can sign up for the 30-day free trial within minutes. It asks for payment credentials (credit card or Paypal), which might repel some users but is necessary to prevent spam.
However, you don’t pay anything at signup, and the trial is without any upfront payment.
After entering the required details, you enter the user dashboard to set up your online store on WordPress.
Here you can configure the basic details about your store like the name, tagline, location, logo, address, currency, product type, etc.
But the most exciting part is…
This sits below the Design your site.
As of this writing, there were ten templates that should cover most of the users. After you choose a template, it lets you select a suitable font and color pallet matching your brand.
I selected the Camping template, and it took just a minute to get the store ready with default settings. There it is:
Please note the ‘Store’ is different from and is a subset of the ‘Website’. The template I choose has this vanilla setup:
From here on onwards, it’s up to the store owner to customize every inch of the store. And while it’s the easiest CMS on this planet, you should know how to find your way with WordPress.
Rest assured, there is no coding involved.
Now let’s move to the backend and check how the options are stacked up there.
This is the user portal of the Nexcess account:
It’s related to your account management, including invoices, active sites, and payment methods.
In addition, there are tabs to use custom SSL certificates, add DNS zones, etc. The Sites tab on the left panel is where you can set up (one free) staging and development (extra monthly fee) environment.
But the crux of this panel is the Site Dashboard, mentioned against each active site, alongside Enter WordPress.
This is the primary backend of your store, the place to manage everything.
Let’s take a review.
It’s the most important feature in case your store gets hacked or otherwise. It helps you get up and running without going over the pain of starting from scratch.
StoreBuilder takes daily backups, but you can also create them manually.
Unlike with some hosting providers, the backups are download-permitted and not just for company use. In addition, you get a one-click restore facility–that’s a bonus.
However, if you opt to delete any backup, the option to restore won’t be there. So, remember to keep the file on the server (even if it takes the storage) for any chance of restoring that specific version.
This section indicates server-side resource usage, including storage, bandwidth, CDN, etc.
You can use this to estimate the approximate time to upgrade your plan or restrict resource overuse. For instance, you can delete the manual backups to free up some storage.
Management is another important area to take care of your online store. Among some free features, one paid and vital feature that’s turned on by default is Cloud Auto Scaling.
This is primarily useful in case of momentary jumps in traffic and ensures consistency in user experience. However, this is billed per hour. Ergo, a constant need for cloud scaling will be expensive and indicates the need for upgrading the hosting plan.
The other useful thing in this section is password protection for your e-store. This comes in handy during development. Beware not to turn it on otherwise, as you’ll be invisible to your customers and the search engines.
There is more to the backend, but mostly developer stuff. So, let’s move to the actual WordPress admin to see what’s there.
You can either click Enter WordPress or enter yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and login via the pre-set details.
Either way, this is where you land:
The first thing anyone would do is purchase a domain name (like Geekflare.com). While you can skip this initially as Nexcess Storebuilder gives you a URL (like https://8e1d85d4a2.nxcli.net/), you could consider purchasing one the moment you end up listing the products and setting up everything else.
StoreBuilder makes it easy to upload products. You can either add them individually or prepare a CSV file and import them in one go.
It would help to use the Export to download the default products CSV. Subsequently, follow the same format for the actual listing.
Some default attributes are linked to each entry, like regular & sales price, SKU, weight, dimensions, etc. Still, you can set custom details for any specific product or the entire list.
This is different from the Nexcess hosting account analytics. Put simply, store analytics gives you vital insights into what’s working for you. The Overview is just about total sales and gives you a bird’s view of your store.
However, dig deeper, and there is plenty for strategizing in the right direction.
For instance, the Products present sales by each product. In addition, you can enter a few to compare total orders among them.
Moreover, you can have data by each Category and likewise can pit them against each other for comparison.
Similarly, the Coupons area shows usage per coupon code. And again, there is a provision to check relative performance.
The Analytics section also hosts the option to visualize Taxes, Stock, Downloads (for digital products), etc.
You should know that WordPress started as a blogging platform. But soon, the popularity made it a do-it-all utility, and now you can literally do anything with it.
So, in addition to the eCommerce store, what you get is a world-class tool to blog about your business, its products, the pros and cons of existing products, etc.
Besides, WordPress is best for search engine optimization (SEO). With some SEO tweaks, you can easily make blog posts rank high in search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
This will make your business reach a larger audience, and that’s precisely why every big business in just about every category blogs.
Conclusively, if blogging is also on your agenda, you can’t be more right than choosing WordPress.
It’s imperative to have a good-looking store for an ever-expanding user base. And I’m not sure if StoreBuilder could have done this any better.
Notably, the premium theme offered is Kadence Pro and not Astra Pro, as mentioned in the Plans sections. However, Kadence Pro is equally as powerful as Astra and even slightly expensive.
This premium theme helps you control every design aspect of your website, right from your logo to the footer.
You have many starter templates, a dark mode switch for your users with custom color pallets, and much more to make the store stand out from your competition.
Payments are supported by PayPal and Stripe. You can also set up wire transfers and cash on delivery with ease.
But the beauty of WordPress is freedom, so you aren’t limited to these options. There are countless plugins for WordPress that one can integrate and use as per preference.
However, you’ll pay extra depending upon the 3rd-party service you select.
With great power comes great responsibility–WordPress is the real-life epitome of this quote. The freedom it gives you is rare, but you should dig your feet deep to set everything right.
So while you can manage it without writing a single line of code, it asks for a certain degree of tech-savviness.
And that’s not to scare you off.
If I, a non-computer person, can manage three WordPress websites along with a day job–there are hopes for everyone on this planet. 😀
Geekflare wishes you Luck!