Now that you have ended onto this article means you are aggressively searching for the best eCommerce platform for your store. Congratulations on having an online store! And, if you still don’t have it, we have mentioned in our previous blog. Read that for sure. Choosing an ecommerce platform is a big decision, and it is the one which is going to have a long-term effect on your venture in moving forward. We understand that selecting an ecommerce platform is a tough decision to make as there are a lot of different variables to consider. What we can say is for picking the best eCommerce platform is like picking the best clothes for yourself for a date. Now you can relate it better. Isn’t it? For everyone who owns an online store, the successful online business starts with choosing the best ecommerce platform.
An ecommerce platform is something which let you build your very own online store without a bottomless budget, any coding skills, or a degree in web design. That sound great, right? Well, yes you can build your ecommerce platform just like that. There are many websites available in the internet which come packed with ecommerce-specific designs and features. These things can make the setting up business easy and successful as possible.
Although, as we have mentioned earlier, there are many ecommerce platforms available on the internet and choosing one can be a pretty daunting task. This is even more difficult when each of them claims to be the best. What we suggest you is not to waste your money on a second-rate ecommerce platform. Just for you and your ease, we’ve done the research, and we are going to reveal you the best ecommerce platforms out there!
Let’s understand what an ecommerce platform is and why you should use it.
It is in very simple software application, which allows the businesses online to manage their marketing, website, sales, and operations. This e-commerce management software provides the powerful features which are needed to run a business online. These platforms let businesses integrate the common business tools and centralize their operations so that they could run their business in the way they wanted.
Now that you have an idea about what an ecommerce platform is, now let’s dive into the fact that why we should use it? Be it the expansion of your brick-and-mortar store, or if you are looking forward to find an enterprise-level solution, or even wanting to starting a new business, the choice of ecommerce software has a massive effect on the stability and profitability of your business.
Alternatives of using an ecommerce platform are mentioned below:
- Building a platform from the scratch (This is out of the question for most businesses)
- Using a plugin that isn’t an option if you’re looking to build a business that is legitimate.
Options for Ecommerce platform:
There are 3 ways by which you can classify the different types of ecommerce platforms: Open-Source, SaaS (Software as a Service) and Headless Commerce. Apart from this, a hosting environment for customers are offered in two ways: Cloud: Hosted Elsewhere and On-Premise: Self-hosted.
How an Ecommerce platform will be benefiting your Business?
As we mentioned, an ecommerce platform will add profitability, scalability and protection to your data. An ecommerce platforms, be it hosted on-premise or in the cloud, offer different operational benefits and business tools.
Some of these comprise:
- Search capabilities
- Product management suite
- Ability to customize sales and services
Business owners can have huge advantages with ecommerce platforms as it provides them the ability to customize their product information. And, not only this you can customize it to their fit your own online retail needs. This way ecommerce platform doves a mutual benefit to both the business and its customers.
Important features of Ecommerce platform:
It is understandable that each of the online business store has unique needs. So, it is important to choose the right solution which is entirely dependent on the ecommerce platform’s ability to solve the challenges which businesses face day-to-day.
Below mentioned are some of the features which an ecommerce should be providing:
- Unlimited API call volumes
- PCI compliance mitigation
- Extensive application marketplace full of pre-built integrations
- Built-in basic ecommerce features such as analytics, catalog management, promotions and discounts, WYSIWYG editors, etc.
- Hosting environment, year-over-year uptime domain name, and bandwidth
- Mobile optimized site, checkout and full experience and fully customizable
- Website builder with free, user-friendly site themes.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features
- Fully customizable URLs throughout the site
Important reasons to use an ecommerce platform:
Easy to use for beginners: If any person wanted to have an online business store in the past, the difficulty was to build the functionality by the businesses itself. Then came the shopping carts, but it also needed a person to have developer skills for integrating them into the website. Now, we are living in the times where we have plugins. But, having an eCommerce platform means you have everything in one hand and can get started on a click.
Inexpensive in nature: Businesses, especially the startups don’t have much to invest in and here ecommerce platforms are very helpful. They are not super expensive and some of them even cost nothing. Running an online shop definitely have expenses and ecommerce platform has a lot less cost than developing the solution on our own from scratch.
One stop solution for all: Ecommerce platform will enable you to let go of more parts of running your site especially when you are going with a hosted solution. You don’t have to deal with security, updates, web hosting, and the likes. Rather you only have to you concentrate on growing your business.
Availability of customer support: You will also get benefited from the customer support structure. There is also an availability for open-source solutions. Like WordPress provides community driven support.
So, enough of this talk, let’s jump into the guide to know which the best ecommerce platforms for an online business are:
Shopify is among the best e-commerce platforms available in the market today. Set up in the year 2006 by Daniel Weinand, Tobias Lütke, and Scott Lake. They built this platform with an aim to provide simple-to-use e-commerce platform to the business owners. According to the company, it claims that any person who wants to have an ecommerce store don’t need to have any experience in designing and technical things.
With Shopify you can have your own online store that can be up-and-running within few minutes of installation. Shopify also offers its users to choose from a variety of templates. More to this, you can also design the look and feel of your own store. Shopify is amazing and accepts a wide range of credit cards. It has 256-bit SSL encryption for security of the visitors and Level 1 PCI compliance. The best part about Shopify is that it provides 24/7 support via instant messaging, phones, or email.
Shopify is a platform that offers a full CMS where users have the leverage to manage the layout and functionality of their online store. The users are provided with an option to manage their store using Shopify’s mobile apps. Also, the platform is totally responsive in itself. This means that your online store will be optimized for its customers regardless of the fact where they are accessing it from such as desktop or a mobile phone.
With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about visitor’s experience as there is a live chat function available that enables the users to have a conversation with your customers in real time. Shopify provides a built-in support for videos and 3D models too.
There are endless things which Shopify has to offer. You can have unlimited hosting for stores, in-depth analytics of how visitors are using the store, and practicality for marketing like SEO, gift cards, email marketing tools and discount and coupon engine.
Shopify has it vast features which comprises:
- Unlimited file storage, orders, products, bandwidth
- Leverage to use your own domain name
- Search engine optimized
- Product reviews
- Social media integration + sell on Facebook
- Inventory management
- Free SSL certificate
- Digital products
- Product variations
- Level-1 PCI compliant
- 24/7 support
- Point of sale
- Customer profiles
- No transaction fees on using Shopify payments
- Customer accounts
- Advanced reporting
- Automatic carrier shipping rates and taxes
- Web-based ecommerce website builder with drag-and-drop option
- Mobile app
- 100+ payment gateways
- Mobile commerce ready
- Full blogging platform
- Great flexibility
- Multiple languages
Shopify will be able to handle stores which are selling physical products, digital products, dropshipping and other services.
BigCommerce is another has powerful platform with marketing tools which can help the business owners to manage their store and sell products in bulk. This comprises wide range of reports which can help people to keep track of everything right from finances to the website visitors. So, if you are someone who is trying very hard to grow the company effectively and efficiently from the ground up, BigCommerce is one SAAS eCommerce platform which can help you to scale your business quickly.
Having a number of options, BigCommerce is an affordable eCommerce solution to fit into the exact needs of your business store. The basic plan starts at $29.95 per month and if you choose $79.95 plus plan it comes with the additional features such as:
- Stored credit card
- Customer groups
- Abandoned cart saver
- Persistent cart
Some of the applications of BigCommerce are:
- Shogun Page Builder: This application is a website development tool, which is designed for e-commerce. It will help you to build the landing and product pages with the easy to use visual editor.
- Facebook Ads: Reach to your target audience easily by simplifying the ad creation process. Facebook Ads do all the work for you.
- Lucky Orange: This application works as a site tracker which uses heatmaps and user recordings to give insights into site’s usability.
Support from BigCommerce: They offer the following approaches to help their customers.
- 24/7 phone
- Video tutorials
- Advanced specialist support
- Support forum
- 24/7 live chat
Moreover, BigCommerce have a help center where users can gain technical knowledge by referring the tutorials, videos and guides.
BigCommerce is best for dropshipping
One of the enticing selling models, Dropshipping eliminates the requirement to purchase any stock before start selling. However, user will need a third-party app installation to facilitate dropshipping model in ecommerce.
Some of the key dropshipping applications which are available comprises:
- AliExpress Dropshipping by Webkul
- Wholesale 2B
- AliExpress Dropshipping by Appfreak
Some of the other advantages that BigCommerce has to offer are mentioned below:
- No transaction fees
- All-in-one solution
- Supports a variety of languages
- Takes various currencies
BigCommerce allows the users to design anything which is according to their choices instead of providing a template versions the platform.
Wix is a very popular website building platform as it comes with a drag-and-drop website builder. But Wix is also among the top used platforms to create an ecommerce website from scratch. There are over 150 million users who choose Wix to create a website and now it is an amazing ecommerce platform. Some of the things which you can do with Wix are that you are able to target the abandoned shopping carts. It isn’t always an option which was an option available with ecommerce platforms. So, we can clearly see that Wix is doing more and more improvements to enhance the user’s experience. Honestly, Wix is coming with developed new features frequently and it is breathtaking. Wix is best in the terms of its simplicity of usage. Its ecommerce platform will also give you the same drag-and-drop benefits as a Wix website would. Choose an ecommerce plan and all you have to do is to accept payments online.
And, for the people who are already using Wix can choose to upgrade their plan to trigger the ecommerce functions. With store manager, you are able to manage your inventory easily, communicate with customers on the go and track orders.
One more reasons that Wix gives you to use it is that it has more than five hundred ecommerce templates to choose from. Moreover, you can always tailor-make your storefront with related products, galleries, collections, and a customer wishlist.
Additionally, from multiple carriers, you are able to set up global shipping rules and for the time being Wix does not support the feature of dropshipping. Make sure of another thing that Wix doesn’t take any transaction commissions unlike other ecommerce platforms. Wix has designed a solid ecommerce platform solution with tons of useful features. And, not only this the provider has a unique approach to help small businesses. They are offering integrated apps for industries like hotels, restaurants, booking appointments and organizing the events.
Below mentioned are the plans that Wix offers. These plans come with unlimited bandwidth. And, at each pricing tier, users will get extra storage.
- Business Basic — $23 per month
- Business Unlimited — $27 per month
- Business VIP — $49 per month
- Enterprise — $500 per month
The next in our list is Magento. Magento has tons of exciting features and it is an open source eCommerce platform. Being an open source eCommerce platforms, the users are benefited with tons of exciting themes. But, there is one thing with Magento, you may need developers to set up your online store, as coding is an integral part. However, there are endless possibilities with Magento, when it comes to customization. This is the big fat brands prefer to go for Magento as they have money and resources to build the best eCommerce store. Magento is the answer to all those people who have enough funds and time to create a feature-rich online store. Because of this point, we have kept Magento on fourth position, but it’s worth giving a try.
Here are some advantages of Magento:
- SEO optimization comprises the creation of a Google sitemap
- Its add-ons & widgets are updating and evolving
- Invoice and shipping label creation
- Support for multiple currencies and languages
- Simple user account access for all customers
- Vast community helps in developing the platform and fixing the bugs
- Range of templates to choose from
- Support for both digital and physical goods
- Integration with Google Analytics
- Magento stores perform well in terms of SEO
- The online stores are mobile friendly
- Price variations and coupon/discount functionality
Magento comes in two distinct platforms. The ‘community edition’ and the ‘enterprise’ edition.
Magento Community Edition
It is now called as the Magento Open Source. It is a basic open source e-commerce platform comes free of charge and perfect for small scale businesses who are looking to expand their company.
Magento Enterprise Edition
It is now called as the Magento Commerce. This is basically all-in-one cloud solution which provides businesses a wider range of features. The features include content staging, instant purchase functionality, advanced marketing tool, built-in search box, a drag & drop page creator, and a guaranteed 99.9% uptime.
Another gem that we have added to our list is the WooCommerce, which is the most demanded eCommerce management solution around the world. It is undoubtedly the best and most user-friendly solution present in the market. Having an astonishing market share of 28.33% across different eCommerce solutions, WooCommerce is something which must be tried. Again it is an eCommerce platform with open-source, which is provided with a devoted WordPress plugin. However, this means owners should have a running WordPress website to take advantage of WooCommerce platform. And, this is the reason behind its popularity among bloggers and Small to Medium Enterprises! In terms of design, WooCommerce is available with Storefront which is the free standard theme. Below are some of the design and customization features to be included within:
- Easily implant products with short codes on any page
- Unlimited products and product images
- Product reviews and ratings
- Customize the buy button if you need
- Huge range of additional themes
- Customization available based on location for store
- Split products into categories
For the owners WooCommerce offers a range of features when it comes to selling goods as they have tailor-made options to make the experience of selling great. Some of the features include:
- Unlimited product variations
- Extensive range of shipping options
- Selling both physical and digital products
- Add to your store affiliate products directly
- Tax options
Also, WooCommerce makes managing the orders and customer information helpful so one can easily grow your online store and it do not fall behind in sales.
Advantages of using WooCommerce:
- Free to download
- Use the platform as long as you own a WordPress website
- Learning is both easy and intuitive
- Minimum amount of technical knowledge is required
- Some out-of-the-box features are included such as product reviews and rating systems
So in last words about WooCommerce, we want to include that this platform is primarily for business owners who have the WordPress platform. This can be a great starting point of eCommerce platform and even if you own a WordPress website, consider getting one just to use WooCommerce! Moreover, use the email marketing and automation so as to increase WooCommerce store presence and revenue.
Finally we want to say is it is never easy to pick the right solution for business. When you own a business, there is always a risk of losing opportunities. But, what is important here is that you need to understand what your business needs and can afford. Doesn’t matter what you are selling, what is important is the steps you take for the future of your business. Consider using a developer if you’re in a position, or go for more user-friendly interfaces so that you can handle things yourself? Keep in mind this, rest we have provided a list to choose from. With this guide, we hope you’ll have no trouble in finding the right solution for you. Good luck!