The number of online shoppers has been growing over the past few years. In 2021, there were 900 million more digital buyers than there were in 2020. The tremendous potential of the online shopping market attracted many people wanting to start their own online businesses. You might be one of them.
The potential market being so big, many eCommerce platforms have appeared. Choosing the right eCommerce platform can be the most important decision for you to make when you decide to create your online store. With more than hundreds of eCommerce platforms online available, the choice can be difficult to make. How to decide which platform is best suited?
In order to help you to have a better understanding on which eCommerce platform you should choose, this passage will give an introduction of some features you should know when you're making your choice. In addition, we will present the most frequently used platforms in the market.
What is an eCommerce platform?
An eCommerce platform is a software application to allows you to sell products and offer services online. It is the place where you manage your online store, sell things, do marketing strategies and conduct other operations. In short, an eCommerce platform enables you to run your online business smoothly and efficiently.
Why do we need eCommerce platform?
Before you start your own online business, you might think that things are going to be easy because you can automate it all. However, it can be just as challenging as starting a brick-and-mortar store. Running an online store is more complicated than just simply putting things online to sell.
ECommerce platforms enable enterprises to perform complex functions in the front end and back end. Such as inventory management, web design and warehouse fulfillment. Also, the right eCommerce platform can help to streamline how your business interacts with your clients, customers and employees.
How to choose the right one for you？
Every eCommerce platform has its own set of unique features and functions. The following are the features you should consider when making choices.
Each platform has its own cost. You need to make sure you can afford the costs of the platform before you spend the money. For example, the minimum cost for a monthly subscription in Shopify will be $29 if you choose the Basic plan, while the advanced plan can reach $299 per month.
It can create some issues if you don’t plan ahead. Let’s say you’re using a certain eCommerce platform to do your business all the time, but the price suddenly increased. You will found yourself in a dilemma where you cannot afford it anymore and have to move your store to another platform. So, it is always necessary for you to do thorough research at the very beginning to see if you can afford the cost of the platform, so as to avoid possible troubles in the future.
Other than the platform itself, you need to pay attention to other possible expenses such as transaction fees, server storage, apps and plug-ins down the road. All of these costs need to be considered in your decision, to make sure every penny you spent is worthwhile.
Customization/Ease of use
When it comes to your online store website, ease of use is essential for your business. You don't want your customers to freak out at messy website designs and complicated directions. This means that the platform needs to be easy to navigate and set up properly.
You might need to look for a platform that is easy to set up and easy to design. Why don't you take a look at the different templates each platform offers? The design of your website is one of the most important things when it comes to selling products online.
Frequently used platforms
There are some eCommerce platforms that are widely accepted by the market and we've done some research on them. In order to really scale your operation, at a certain point you’re going to need one of these platforms.
You've probably heard of Shopify no matter if you're new to the eCommerce industry or not. It is a software you don't own but you can pay a certain fee to use and create your own online store.
Shopify is available in five different versions to cater to businesses small and large. Setting up shop is easy. The platform offers a step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about starting a business from adding products to customized themes. Shopify currently works with more than 2,500 apps, dedicated to providing better services to all the customers.
With a standard Shopify plan, all users can access the Overview dashboard and Finances reports. When Customers are ready to seal the deal with your store and make a purchase, Shopify offers a plethora of payment options including Shopify Payments, third-party providers, PayPal, Apple Pay, and so on.
WooCommerce is a popular choice in the eCommerce community. It is a plugin built on WordPress, allowing you to sell your products and services from your existing WordPress site. Users of WooCommerce have full control over their data and cater to businesses of all sizes.
It is relatively easy to use compared to other platforms. Simply register a domain name, pick a web host, install WordPress, and install/activate the WooCommerce Plugin, and your WooCommerce store is online!
WooCommerce store offers a variety of themes that can help your business take off. The platform navigation is easy too. Categories, tags, and attributes help customers find what they're looking for. Because WooCommerce is self-hosted, your store's security will lie mostly in your hands. The platform also offers more than 400 official extensions including Facebook, Pinterest, DSers and so on.
Wix is a website builder that provides cloud-based web development services to over 200 million users in 190 countries. As the platform sets its foot into the e-commerce business, online merchants can also choose to run their stores on Wix. No matter who you are, you’ll find specialized features to create a professional website and manage your business. The Business Basic plan that Wix provides comes with a cost of $23 per month with all the essentials that a beginner needs to start a new store including custom domain, free domain for a year, secure online payments, etc.
As one of the most popular website builders, Wix offers the feature to customize domain names the way you desire. The cost of doing so is already embedded in your subscription plan. Therefore, there is no need to register a domain name from a third-party web service provider.
Except the platforms mentioned above, there are many other platforms in the market like BigCommerce, Magento, SamCart, and so on. Every one of them is different and you might find the right from them. Doing a thorough research is good for you before starting your business
It is true that eCommerce represents a huge market nowadays and many people are hoping to join the online selling business. After going through this article, we hope that you have a better understanding of what is an eCommerce platform.
The costs of the platform should always be one of the first things to consider. Choosing a platform that suits can save you more money in the future. The ease of use is a big concern too. Nobody wants to use a platform that is complicated and user-unfriendly.
When it comes to eCommerce platforms for small businesses, you could also consider one of the following platforms like Shopify Lite, Squarespace, SamCart, and Big Cartel. All of them keep prices relatively low and come with a plethora of standard features needed to keep an online business up and running.
If you’re a large business, check out Shopify Plus, Magento, Wix and WooCommerce. All of these platforms provide powerful features and scalability to help your business stand out.
In the end, the platform you should choose largely depends on your own plan and business blueprint. With all the information above, choosing a platform should be no longer hard for you. Start your business now!
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!