Doing business was an expensive endeavour for most people before the rise of globalization and mainly, the internet. If you were to embark on business without the internet, it would involve a lot of risks. The primary threat is to invest a huge sum of money as initial investment, without any guarantee of success for your business idea. However, the scene has changed dramatically.
Being a businessman (or woman) is not at all that much risky today. The internet lets you start small and grow in small but steady steps. Even the need for a physical store can be eliminated by resorting to a digital store, selling your products (or services) online. With the will to act and a good idea for the business, you can start right from the comfort of your home.
The technical part of making an online business successful is taken care of by the e-commerce platforms. The e-commerce platform’s services are paid or free. They let you build, host and manage e-commerce websites. The e-commerce services are varied, with distinctive features, procedures, appearances but all of it are focused on letting you produce a website well suited for your users to browse and buy products.
Follow this article to know more about the top 5 e-commerce platforms, their advantages, disadvantages and solutions. Keep reading to know all there is to learn and compare these platforms for yourself.
This e-commerce platform has been known since 2009. Top-order brands such as Martha Stewart, Camelbak, Toyota use this platform. A full-featured software like BigCommerce can help you manage everything including web design, web hosting, order processing, shipping as well as for analytics. Even if you do not have a domain bought already, BigCommerce can help you with it once you choose their service. This eliminates the hassle involved in the process.
Every plan on this platform comes with free SSL. That means your website is secured and the customer payment information stays protected. You can use the integration feature of BigCommerce and sell your products on eBay, Facebook, Amazon and Pinterest. Integration with POS software such as Shopkeep or Square helps you record in-person sales as well. The platform lets you accept payments through PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, Braintree as well as digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and more.
Pros of BigCommerce:
Lots of informative videos.
Advanced marketing tools.
Cons of BigCommerce:
Slightly expensive compared to a self-hosted site.
Availability of only a few add-ons.
Standard Plan – $29.95/month.
Plus Plan – $79.95/month.
Pro Plan – $249.95/month.
You can check out the platform with the 15-day free trial which requires no credit card information.
This is more user-friendly compared to the previous platform. With more than 220,000 happy online retailers, Shopify has been a popular e-commerce platform since 2006. It is extremely easy to set up your own online store using Shopify. You can have your online shop up and running in a matter of minutes even without any knowledge of web development.
It also offers several eye-catching themes, some for free and others against payment. You can also opt for premium themes with several layouts for extra design options. They cost about $140-$180. Shopify’s built-in inventory help you manage your products. You can even offer gift checks and discounts to the users from the dashboard. Most integrations from the Shopify App Store are free as well.
Pros of Shopify:
Marketing Tools, analytics.
Easy to use CMS.
Cons of Shopify:
The initial set up is not too easy.
A bit more expensive than a self-hosted online store.
Basic Shopify – $13/month.
Shopify – $54/month.
Advanced Shopify – $107/month.
Try it out with its 30-day no-risk, free trial. Every plan also comes with all-day customer support.
It is popular among WordPress users and almost 28% of all online stores are powered by WooCommerce. It is best in terms of affordability and ease of use. The basic features for your online store is available for free at WooCommerce. If you are just starting out small, it is the best platform for you.
You can add unlimited products and as many images per product as you wish. Also, you can set different prices of your products and customize them using product variation. Payment options are varied and supports local as well as international shipping. You can also let your customers pick up the products by themselves.
Pros of WooCommerce:
Easy to use.
Tons of extensions for added features.
Outstanding customer support.
Cons of WooCommerce:
Does not include domain hosting.
A few extensions can turn out costly.
Installation is free as a WordPress plugin. Extensions and themes, both free and premium are available at the WooCommerce marketplace.
This is an open-source software to build your e-commerce website. Just like WordPress, Magento is free as well. You can install this from cPanel and create your digital store with the help of Magento Admin Panel. The platform is advanced and you might need specialized help. You can customize each and every product as you wish.
Magento lets you monitor sales, manage your customers, organize catalogues, check abandoned carts and make newsletters. These advantageous features are all available at the minimum price. Take a look at its
Pros of Magento:
Free and Open-source.
Cons of Magento:
Not easy to use.
Calls for HTML/CSS skills.
Magento can be installed for free. Magento Go, the premium service includes hosting. Themes and additional integrations may need payments.
Bigcartel shows a minimalist approach to online selling of products. This e-commerce platform is ideal for small businesses, especially in creative niches. The simplicity and user-friendliness is evident right from when you sign up for it and start setting up.
The website builder is alike WordPress themes, and you can also customize your website logo, colour and text. You can also change the overall appearance with the themes.