Ecommerce platforms are website builders that help one create web stores and virtual catalogs to foster the online sales of a business. The choice of an appropriate e-commerce platform is crucial for an online business that intends to drive home befitting returns at the end of the day. While all eCommerce platforms are self-proclaimed ‘best’, they pose a tough choice for a new eCommerce store owner. While certain platforms offer more well-rounded solutions all in one, others perform well when used for specific industries.
Types of Ecommerce Platform Options Available
Mainly, there are three types of eCommerce platforms:
In a Hosting environment, all patches and platform updates require manual implementation across the board in open source eCommerce platforms. They allow easy modification of all aspects of the code. Here businesses get the responsibility of PCI Compliance, hosting. They often offer limited bandwidth. They can be too cumbersome to operate, expensive to maintain, and require in-depth technical knowledge.
2. SaaS (Software as a Service) Platform
With Cloud as its hosting environment, SaaS eCommerce platforms omit out the complexity of operating an online business, as there is no need to self-manage the software. If you are a small scale enterprise and can do without many customizations, it is best to “rent” the platform. It is a cost-effective solution. All important functions like product updates, security, hosting, and PCI compliance are managed by the SaaS provider
3. Headless Commerce Platform
In a cloud-based hosting environment, Headless Commerce platforms bring forth a version of CaaS e-commerce in which the shopping cart is detached from the CMS. Businesses are required to use design experience platforms (DXP) or a content management system here. It comes at a significantly lower total cost of ownership.
Here we bring to you a well-researched comparison of the best platforms for your ecommerce store:
A feature-rich ‘hosted’ solution to host your eCommerce website, Shopify offers excellent east of setting up an e-store.
- Easy onboarding
- Packed with SEO savvy features such as title tag and meta description.
- Numerous free mobile-optimized themes which can be customized at the click of a mouse.
- Third-party payment gateways integration
- Availability of additional sales channels in the form of software and hardware to sell inside physical store locations, social selling and integrating with marketplaces like Amazon.
Pricing ranges from $ 9 per month for the lite version, $29 per month for the basic version, $79 for Shopify original version, $299 for advanced version and exclusives for entrepreneurial version.
A ‘hosted’ eCommerce solution that allows business owners to set up prolific online stores, BigCommerce is a popular choice today. It’s a software as a service (Saas) product, where users pay a monthly fee to use the software.
- A wide selection of customizable templates that can help you design the e-store
- Great store management capabilities thanks to numerous tools and features.
- Features marketing tools with granular controls.
- Flexible shipping options with live quotes and rate calculation
- Great for people with negligible web design skills
- Allows more tech-savvy users and developers to tweak the HTML and CSS of their eCommerce stores.
- Easy integration with Amazon, eBay, and social networks, so that you can sell across many different sales channels.
- No transaction fees
- Can be used to sell physical as well as digital products
Pricing ranges from $29.95 per month for the standard subscription, $79.95 per month for the plus subscription, $249.95 per month for Pro subscription and exclusive for an entrepreneurial subscription that depends on business requirements.
Another website builder operating that specialises in e-commerce functionalities, Squarespace comes with drag and drop architecture.
- Intuitive UI works well for non-developers
- Elegant, polished themes with mobile responsive capabilities
- Integrates with Shipstation.com for fulfilment
- Offers data points to optimize your site and conversions including sales, revenue, traffic sources and more.
- Marketing tools like SEO settings, social media, blogging and abandoned checkout recovery aid in selling success
Pricing ranges from $26 per month to $46 per month. The platform also charges a 3% transaction fee on every sale.
A cloud-based ‘hosted’ platform to build an online store, Volusion has been around since 1999.
- Drag and drop site builder with in-page editing
- Features many responsive themes that are easily customisable
- Various e-commerce and product management tools
- Integration with numerous payment providers
- No transaction fees
- Equipped with SEO features, social selling, marketplace integrations for Amazon and eBay, among others.
Pricing ranges between $29 and $299 per month. Each plan comes with a bandwidth limit and any traffic beyond that incurs an additional cost.
WooCommerce is the eCommerce extension of WordPress, a widely popular content management system. The platform is essentially a plugin that can be added to a WordPress site.
- Highly customizable solution
- SEO integration and customisation is easy
- Great UI
- Works on all devices
It is free to use. Domain name and hosting can come at a price that varies.
Standalone eCommerce platforms can be a better solution for starting an online shop than normal website builders, due to their eCommerce supportive functionalities. However, every business has a typical set of challenges and numerous factors that they need to take into account before they narrow down on to a platform. Generally speaking,
- BigCommerce is the most scalable eCommerce solution out there.
- Shopify is excellent for drop shippers and offers the best kind of integration.