Choosing a platform for e-commerce is an important decision for your business's further development and profitability. Depending on your business's specifics, you will need a platform with a specific set of functions.
Consider the main ones:
Catalog of goods. E-commerce platforms should provide a convenient way of adding your products and descriptions to them. The content management system should also offer the possibility of uploading items in bulks if the amount of items is hundreds and thousands. E-commerce should have the ability to categorize items and application of different filters to find, compare, and evaluate needed products quickly.
Templates design. The advantage will be for the platform, which provides various options for the website design, and the ability to change the location of blocks and other elements to make the site convenient and increase conversion.
Ordering and payment. A purchase process on your site should be straightforward for the average users. Intuitive functionality has only a vital field to fill in, automatic calculation of the total cost, taking into account delivery and service fees. The platform should include the most popular payment methods.
Possibilities for search engine optimization. E-commerce platforms should be adapted to the current requirements of search engines. It is an essential condition for promoting the site and increasing sales through organic traffic.
Integrations. If you use other software to manage your business, your e-commerce should be able to integrate with them. Check if your candidate can be connected to your analytic tools, CRM, accounting, POS, etc. The integration with other systems will not only expand the functionality of your e-commerce, but also make it possible to automate and optimize your business processes, and therefore improve its effectiveness.
All platforms mentioned below have such functionality; therefore, they become popular amount sellers worldwide.
E-commerce platforms can be divided into two main categories: provided as cloud service (SAAS) and as standalone CMS (content management system). Some platforms allow you to choose between these two choices.
Cloud services (SAAS) of e-commerce has a typical functionality that allows you to open a store online in a short time, without the tedious search for developers. Cloud services are an ideal solution for those who want to test a niche. Typically, cloud services have a specified trial period, when you can try to make a toad and see if the functionality is suitable for your needs. At the end of the test period, services charge a subscription fee. One of the drawbacks of such solutions is that you can customize your e-commerce only within the platform's capabilities.
Standalone CMS based platforms - These are engines that you can install on the server and start using. Among them are paid and open source. But installation and configuration of even free systems will require the involvement of specialists (and therefore it is time and money consuming). It significantly lengthens the process of launching the store compared to cloud solutions. Also, you will have to pay a regular fee for hosting the system. The advantage is that you entirely own them, and you can adjust the appearance and functionality of your e-commerce to fit your needs.
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform built on WordPress. Bundle WordPress and WooCommerce installed on the server become a free standalone platform, which is top-rated among small and medium businesses.
WooCommerce is scalable and can be integrated with many other services. Its marketplace contains 400+ official extensions. Besides this, you can find a wide variety of add-ons and templates, both free and paid, that significantly broadens WooCommerce functionality.
Magento is complex e-commerce owned by Adobe. It has a free standalone CMS-based version, Magento Open Source, and a paid cloud-based version, SaaS Magento Commerce.
Magento Open Source offers a stable and customizable solution for growing small businesses or as a tool to prototype new ideas and business models for larger merchants.
Magento Commerce is an enterprise-grade eCommerce platform that provides a richer set of out-of-the-box features, with an unlimited ability to customize third-party integrations. The Magento marketplace consists of 5000+ paid and free extensions. It allows selling multiple stores, brands, geographies, and currencies to both B2C and B2B buyers from a single platform.
OpenCart is famous as a standalone CMS based platform; it is free and open-source. But it also has a cloud-based version that you can start using based on subscription.
OpenCart has a multi-location ability. You can manage multiple stores from one admin interface. It allows users to set products to appear in different stores, set different prices, and select a different theme for each store.
The OpenCart marketplace features 13000+ extensions and themes; some of them are free, some paid. There are many integrations with different services, payment providers, conversion modules, and others. OpenCart has partners in 30 countries.
BigCommerce, a cloud-based platform, was founded in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper. BigCommerce has HQ in Austin, Texas, USA, and several other offices around the world.
Users of BigCommerce can enjoy adaptable item management, optimization for search engines, alongside a set of incorporated promotion instruments and analytics. Payments can be received through 40+ pre-integrated gateways. There are also connections to ‘Amazon Import and Link’ and Shopping in Instagram Stories. Bigcommerce offers automated order processing and flexible tax rates, depending upon where the requests are made and sent. The platform also has a great ability to sell in multiple currencies and integrations with many software from different fields.
PrestaShop is a standalone CMS based platform, freemium, and open source. PrestaShop is currently used by 300,000 shops worldwide and is available in 60 different languages. You can install Prestashop on your server for free, but you have to pay for hosting. PrestaShop has thousands of modules that expand the functionality of CMS of different kinds. Some of them are free, some paid. Presta has a big community with more than a million participants, that can help you with consulting or solving some possible issues when working with this system. To simplify the process of finding reliable developers, PrestaShop has the list of proven agencies with more than 250 companies from different countries.
Wix Ecomerce - cloud-based eCommerce platform from a famous website-building online service Wix. Developed by an Israeli software company, the platform allows users to make their websites easily with the help of online drag and drop tools.
Wix provides the ability to choose from 500+ templates for online stores, and Wix App Market has many free and paid extensions of different functionalities. Wix website has a partner list that can help with design, website development, and other tasks when dealing with your e-commerce.
Volusion is a cloud-based e-commerce service, started by Kevin Sproles in California, USA, in 1999. Now the company has HQ in Austin, Texas. Besides all the standard e-commerce functionality, the platform has built-in SEO management tools, newsletters, and a CRM system. Users can select from 300+ design templates. The platform also has dozens of integrations with powerful apps.
3dcart is cloud-based e-commerce, founded in 1997 with headquarters in Tamarac, Florida, USA.
3dcart has a list of 100+ themes and templates. It also comes with a set of on-page SEO tools. This platform also has a multichannel ability and integrates with other marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Google Shopping.
Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform owned by a Canadian multinational company headquartered in Ottawa. The platform can promote and sell on multiple sales channels, such as social media and other online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Shopify App Store contains 4,100+ apps that can be integrated with Shopify and expands its functionality. Shopify Experts Marketplace has a list of experts that can help you to develop your store in Shopify.
If you have experience of using these e-commerce platforms, you can write about it in the comments. Also, if you know other good examples of online stores, you can suggest it and explain why they are useful for small and medium enterprises.