The EKM E-Commerce Platform
Editors Note: EKM is now offering digital.com readers a 28-day free trial.
All your customers and friends are nagging you to sell your products online. The only problem is, that seems like an entirely different way of doing business, and you’ve been fine up until now anyway.
I get it.
But maybe your profits are declining, because potential customers are buying online instead. They like the convenience and the price. Or maybe your rent is going up and you need to bring in more customers to pay the bills.
Regardless of the reason, any small business that doesn’t have an online shop (and a good one at that) is missing out on a ton of sales.
A Simple Way To Get an Online Store
It is the simplest way to remove all the technical challenges of creating an e-commerce website. No coding, no hiring web developers, just click and type for the most part.
Additionally, it comes with amazing support every step of the way, so that you’ll never get stuck. There are a few aspects of EKM that really stand out for me, and I’ll highlight them throughout this review.
Support Is Automatic When You Sign Up
EKM was built for small business owners like you who want a great website to sell their products, but don’t have any technical background at all.
While all the features are designed around this concept, the most impressive one to me is the support that EKM provides.
When you make a new account, you get an account manager assigned to you for 6 months. Your account manager will actively help you get the website that your business needs up and running.
Expert Advice Tailored for You
Now, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to do everything for you. But whenever you need advice or have a question about how to do something through the EKM platform, they will provide detailed, expert advice.
They can help through phone or email, depending on your preference. It is worth mentioning is that you don’t pay anything extra for access to an account manager, it’s built-in to the price of a package.
EKM Account Manager
There are hundreds of things your account manager could help you with, but here are a few specific ones to get a good picture of how they can help:
- Help you set-up tax and delivery options.
- Help you pick out a website theme that has everything your business needs.
- Give you marketing advice on how to drive new customers to your website.
After those first 6 months is up, you’ll have to part ways with your account manager.
However, the regular support is still great. You can get support 7 days a week, through their ticketing system. You can also opt for emailing or for phone support during normal UK working hours.
I haven’t come across another site builder of any kind with this level of support.
Find What You’re Looking For
EKM Is One of the Easiest Ways to Set up an Online Shop
Let’s go through what creating and editing a site through EKM actually looks like.
Even the most basic e-commerce website has a high level of complexity to it. So even though EKM is designed for simplicity, it still takes some time to go through all the steps to set-up your website.
However, not only is your account manager there to help you, but there’s also a step-by-step guide built-in to your dashboard:
It will guide you through the main areas that you need to address before launching your website. Overall, there are 4 main areas of concern.
Your Store is Already Designed for You
The design is made simple in EKM. All you really need to do is pick a theme. Once you do, the design (colors and layout) will be applied to your website in seconds.
You can browse the available themes by going to the EKM site: there are around 100 to choose from.
They are all designed to work on any device (laptop, mobile, etc.) that your customers use. If you’d like to see examples of websites built with EKM by real small businesses, you can see examples on the EKM website.
Building Your Shop
Once you’ve picked a design, you need to fill out information about your business. You can divide this into 2 major tasks.
The first goal is to fill out your business information. You can create pages to explain your business’ history, or how to contact you. These are all handled in the “web pages” section of your account.
Again, the layout is done for you, you just need to add the text and any images you’d like.
Adding Your Inventory
The other main task is to add your inventory. If you already sell online through eBay, you’ll be happy to know that you can integrate your EKM store with your eBay listings.
You start by linking up your eBay account, and then you can automatically import your products from eBay into your EKM store. You can continue to sell products on both, your inventory will stay synced.
The alternative, if you don’t sell online already, is to upload your products manually.
Setting Up Your eBay Account With EKM in 10 Steps
Here are 9 short steps which will have you set with your EKM connected eBay account. It’s quick and simple, followed by only configuration steps once connected:
- On your EKM dashboard, select ‘Features’
- Search for the ‘eBay Integration’ icon and click it
- Select ‘Install Feature’ in green
- Enter your eBay account details
- Link your eBay shop by clicking the next green button
- Agree to EKM’s terms upon signing in
- Once eBay confirms the linking of your accounts, accept the confirmation
- Wait for the integration options to show up
- Select Settings
- Now you are ready to configure your linked accounts
You can upload a picture, set a product name, and other product details, one at a time. Finally, you can specify how much inventory you have of each product.
You can always manually change the inventory, but it will also automatically update if you make online sales.
Filling Out Business Information and Settings
EKM lets you set which delivery options you’d like to support. You just need to check a box to enable or disable each delivery option.
When an option is enabled, you’re able to set custom prices based on the region that the customer wants the product shipped to. You’re also able to specify which regions you will and won’t ship to.
There are a ton of delivery options that you can customize to your liking. There’s a complete guide on the EKM site.
Finally, accepting payment is incredibly simple on EKM. You can start accepting payment within 48 hours of creating your site.
You can connect your payment account of any popular gateway.
Once you connect your account(s), that’s all there is to it. Visitors will be able to order products off your site, and you’ll receive payment. At any time, you can go to “orders” in your account’s menu and see all orders and when they were made.
What are EKM’s Top Features?
There are a ton of features available, but a few of them stand out to me.
- Hosting: Your site comes with top-notch hosting (EKM promises a 99.9% uptime to boot), and 24/7 server monitoring so that you can identify website problems as soon as possible.
- SEO and Marketing Tools: EKM comes with built-in SEO tools, like easy-to-implement custom URLs and meta tag fields. This makes it easy for you to configure your site so it is picked up by search engines.
- Custom Domain Names: All EKM sites come with a free domain name.
Furthermore here are some more highlight-worthy specifics available with EKM:
- Built-in email marketing
- Loyalty points programme
- Custom discount codes can be created and distributed
- Google tools can be integrated
- Social network integration
- Fully responsive themes
- Product filtering mechanism
- Code-friendly editor
- Built-in graphic design facility
- Fully PCI compliant
- Over 20 payment gateways available
Increase Your Sales With Live Chat
In addition to the features above, you’ll get to add a live chat widget to your store.
If someone’s browsing a product page and has a quick question, they can send it to you through the live chat, and you can answer instantly. This helps improve conversion rates significantly.
Follow-Up on Abandoned Carts
Next, EKM can send customers email reminders if they abandon their cart before checking out.
This is a great way to make extra sales with very little effort on your part.
Robust Product Search
Finally, all EKM sites also have a great product search. This lets visitors search through your inventory for certain products they’re interested in. It’s not easy or cheap to build one of these from scratch, which is why a free feature like this is so valuable.
Another great feature is that all sites have an SSL certificate, which makes your site more secure, which in turn makes visitors more comfortable.
What is Evolution Mode?
As a managed service, one of the benefits offered by EKM is its Evolution Mode, creating “an online shop that “evolves, upgrades and optimizes itself.”
The end goal of Evolution Mode is to ensure that your site always “looks and feels perfect.”
As part of Evolution Mode, the EKM Evolution Team reviews your shop and suggests the tweaks, fixes, and improvements to your e-commerce site’s design, usability, and more. Not only that, the company will present its proposed list of changes to you, and once you approve said changes, its staff members will implement these changes on your behalf.
Requesting Evolution Mode
But really, how does it work? How often are you entitled to use Evolution Mode?
|Request Frequency||Every 12 months||Every 6 months||Once a month||Unlimited requests|
|Suggestion List||List of suggestions only||List of suggestions and implementation within 10 days of your approval||List of suggestions and implementation within 5 days of your approval||3-day suggestion work turnaround with no design change limits|
How Much Will You Have to Sell to Profit?
Compared to typical static site builders or just hosting, EKM is much more expensive. That being said, it adds so much value and should save you quite a bit of money.
Creating an e-commerce website with all the functionality that EKM comes with would cost thousands, plus take months to build.
When you view it in that context, the monthly EKM fee is relatively small. Also, being able to get your store up quickly will let you make money from it quicker.
Further Notable Extras
There’s a 14-day free trial that you can take advantage of if you’d like to get a feel for the platform before committing. Having said that, Digital.com readers receive a 28-day free trial.
You should also know that you get a free custom domain and that EKM doesn’t take any cuts from your sales.
Bottom line, if you already have great products to sell, you should be able to make more than enough to cover the cost of EKM.
EKM vs. Squarespace and WordPress
You can think of EKM as a managed, all-in-one e-commerce platform. Its primary purpose is to help its users, including small businesses like yourself, get up and running with an online store with as little hassle as possible.
In addition to providing you with an account manager, who acts as a point person for all your questions, the EKM tool itself is a guided offering — there is no question as to what you should be doing at any given point during the store development process.
Difference Between Builder Types
Options like Squarespace and WordPress are slightly different. Though Squarespace is an all-in-one website building platform and WordPress is a content management system (CMS), both can be used to create online stores with the addition of e-commerce platform add-ons/plugins.
Summary of EKM
EKM is a fantastic e-commerce site builder, specifically designed for small business owners who don’t want to deal with the technical aspects of web development.
It comes with amazing support, and you can have a functioning site running within a few hours of effort (although a big site will take longer).
If you’ve been intimidated by the technical challenges of selling online, I think you’ll be pleased with the simplicity and support that EKM offers.
Frequently Asked Questions
To wrap up this complex review, it would be refreshing to answer some of the most basic questions many of you undoubtedly came here searching for.
How Many Online Shops Use EKM?
According to data as of 2018 supplied by EKM, there are over 30,000 online shops using their platform, furthermore, they have generated over $7bn in sales worldwide.
How Big Is EKM’s Team?
EKM have more than 75 employees, not including all support staff.
Can I Connect With Other EKM Users?
Yes, and what a great idea. EKM provide community forums for users to connect, discuss, flag and resolve. It’s a brilliant way to find solutions, moreover grow your own knowledge and help others solve their problems.
Is No Contract What It Says It Is?
Yes. EKM will not tie you into lengthy contracts where you are forced to stay with hefty down payments. You simply pay month-to-month like your favorite movie streaming membership. Simple.
Does EKM Include SSL Certificates?
Yes, starting from the basic plans, SSL certificates are included.