Now that you have decided to establish an online store, your next step should be to select an e-commerce platform. Those who are new to e-commerce website development and online stores, might be wondering what an e-commerce platform is? It is a software that allows you to manage your online business. The software comes with various tools and features that help you create and manage your website, marketing strategies, operations, and sales. Today there are more than 120 e-commerce platforms to choose from and your final decision will have a big impact on your business. So we have come up with top 5 e-commerce platforms to help you make the final call for your e-commerce website development and stores.
Shopify is definitely one of the best e-commerce platforms out there, because it is easy to set up and customize. Its drag and drop interface makes it easy for users to set up their online stores. Plus, it loads up really fast.They have only ten free themes that are also mobile friendly. However, they do have lot of paid themes, which can cost anywhere between $100 and $180. You can customize them with just a click of the mouse. Adding products is really easy because they have separate fields for description, titles, price, images, vendor, and more. They provide the best customer service, which is available via email, phone, Twitter, and live chat. The best part is that their customer service is available 24/7. If your marketing strategy is based on Facebook Ads, Instagram, and other social media sites, Shopify is a good choice. Plus, it offers one-click selling. You can also sell your products through multiple channels like, brick and mortar stores, Amazon, and other online marketplaces.
However, it is not a good choice for those whose marketing strategy is based on SEO. It is hard to customize the check-out process. Though it seems affordable at first, it becomes quite costly once you start adding apps and other add on features.
BigCommerce is another easy to use e-commerce platform that is perfect for those who are starting an online store or expanding their business. Its dashboard and sidebar menu are very easy to use and offer a lot of options for customizing your store, accepting various payment options, adding products, marketing strategies, taking orders, managing customers, providing customer service, and more. It offers wide variety of themes, seven of which are free. It makes it easy for you to add products, as there are clearly defined tabs for every feature. The platform offers lots of features and tools to handle returns, discounts, coupons, and promotions. Plus, it offers unlimited file storage, orders, products, and bandwidth. They also offer 24/7 customer support via email, live chat, and phone. With BigCommerce you can easily sell via Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Pinterest, and Square POS. It also has very strong SEO features. With BigCommerce you can process more than 40 payment options without paying any transaction fee.
One of the biggest drawbacks of BigCommerce is that for high volume stores it is a very expensive option. The other drawback is that the cart abandonment option is not available with the entry level plan. Users also complain about the lack of 1 click selling and upselling option with this platform.
This is a great e-commerce platform, except that it is better suited for advanced users. Though its dashboard and main user interface are clearly understandable, beginners will still have problems figuring it out. However, the good news is that the beginners can always use the on boarding video that is provided in the center panel or use the help of their community of developers, who are always more than happy to help you with customization, theme development, and more. They offer unlimited file storage, orders, and bandwidth. You also enjoy 24/7 support via live chat, phone, and priority support. With 3dcart, you can sell online on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google Shopping, and Shopzilla. Their shipping setup and options are really great. They offer multiple payment options. The platform also offers features like, customer reviews, waiting list, bulk import and export, and more.Its blogging feature is way better than the other available SaaS e-commerce platforms.
It is really hard to customize, especially for beginners, because there is no drop and drag feature. Plus, it does not offer cart abandonment feature as the core feature. You will have to pay more for it. The biggest negative point about this platform is that it is not ideal for beginners.
Launched in 2002, Volusion has an easy to understand dashboard and user interface. The dashboard offers lots of learning materials for beginners to help them start, run, and grow their online business. Selling options include eBay, Amazon, and Google. It also has multiple marketing options like, SEO features, marketplace integration with eBay, Amazon, and social selling. Its marketing and inventory systems are easy to use. Plus, it has strong SEO features. The biggest plus point is that it offers more than 40 themes and more than 10 free themes to choose from. The basic plan offers 24/7 customer service via live chat. The phone option is available with a higher plan. It offers multiple payment options with no transaction fee.
The main drawback of this platform is that it offers no blogging feature. Plus, there is no cross and up selling option. Users have also complained about its bad URL structure. Their first two pricing plans have limitations on the number of products you can sell. The $29 plan allows you to sell 100, while $79 plan sets a limit of 1000 products.
Magento offers a self-hosted solution and a hosted cloud edition for online businesses. The self-hosted solution is a software that can be downloaded and installed on personal servers. The self-hosted platform provides you with great flexibility with design and manageability. The hosted version is for big e-commerce stores and comes with a heft license fee of $18,000 per year. Both, its hosted and self-hosted solutions have some really strong features like, recurring payments, membership subscriptions, marketing, site optimization, and more. Another plus point is that you can build multilingual sites using Magento. Its large and strong community provide instant support to users for free. Plus they are constantly working to improve themes, features and other plug-ins. It has a very strong SEO features. Its 1-click selling option is a huge benefit for the users.
One of the main drawbacks of Magento, is that it is very pricey. Even the self-hosted version will require you to invest a lot of money in optimization. If you choose the self-hosted version, you should be ready to spend a lot of time and money in setting up the store, keeping it updated, ensuring its security, and making sure that it is running up to date. If you do not have the time or skill, you will have to hire a professional to look into your e-commerce website design and platform and this will cost you a lot.
Finally, you have to remember that your choice of e-commerce platform will determine whether your e-commerce business is a failure or success. You have to weigh in all the pros and cons and see if the solution fits your business needs. The right solution can open up endless opportunities for your business.