Setting up an online e-commerce store is one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase sales, customer reach and build a brand.
All retail businesses should have their own e-commerce store.
Building e-commerce store is fast and easy. In Fact, it will help you manage your orders and inventory in an even better way.
To begin, you need to start by Identifying the right e-commerce solution. A solution which you can manage it yourself.
There are some decisions you need to make before you start one of these, decisions which will make your online store bring you benefits of having it.
Answer the following questions even before you begin your hunt for an e-commerce solution:
- What is a unique feature of your product that differentiates you from your competition
- What will you offer to your online customers like discounts for joining, etc.?
- What technology to use?
- Whether or not you need a development company
- Which payment gateway integration to go for
- What shipping service suits you
- What email automation tool you will use
In this blog, we talk about helping you find the right e-commerce solution.
There are some basics you need to follow or know which helps you in getting what you have in your mind.
Set up a list of things you need in your store, set your priorities.
I’ll list a few examples below.
- Easy to understand
- Provide integrations
- User interface
- Customer support
- Reporting Features
- Product Management
- Inventory management etc
“The above list will help you in choosing a perfect platform
If you ask about 10 people t “what is the best platform for e-commerce?” you would get 10 different answers, which I’m sure is more annoying than not knowing anything.
If you’re someone who has no Idea about what to choose for your e-commerce idea, then it would be an intimidating task for you to get your answers.
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Because there are literally thousands of e-commerce plugins, packages, and services out there.
But the good news is there only a few which are proven successful and only a handful of them are used by best e-commerce web development companies.
Choosing the perfect e-commerce platform is easy when you consider these factors, these factors will help you decide your e-commerce platform.
The first thing you should always consider while choosing an e-commerce platform is its features. You also need to give a thought about selling online only, or is a brick and mortar locations involved?
Your unique situation will dictate the features necessary to run your online store efficiently.
If you’re selling in a physical location, choosing a platform with the point of sale options is essential.
In these instances, it’s an advantage for sellers to consolidate offline and online commerce enablement hardware and software to one provider.
The e-commerce platform’s dashboard will be something you interact with on a daily basis, making it of utmost importance.
Processing orders, managing inventory, generating discount codes, and producing the reports are all potential capabilities accessible via an e-commerce dashboard.
Regardless of your combination of online and brick and mortar channels, the mobile responsiveness of your e-commerce platform is paramount.
The e-commerce platform you choose should have themes that are responsive and most importantly mobile friendly, or at the least have mobile-friendly checkout screens.
This way, you can be sure customers will have an optimized checkout experience whether they purchased from a desktop, smartphone, or a tablet.
It takes more than an e-commerce platform alone to run your business. Such as ensuring the platform you choose is able to integrate with the other software you use is critical.
Take a look at the platform’s app store, extensions, add-on library, modules, plugins and determine if the software you’re currently using is readily unavailable.
You need to consider a few important integrations, which include email marketing solution, Amazon marketplace compatibility, and fraud management tools.
If your email marketing solution is more powerful, seamless integration with your e-commerce platform is vitally important.
You should be able to do everything from as simple as collecting emails on your e-commerce site to segmenting email lists by purchase behavior.
If you’ve decided to see your products through the Amazon Marketplace in addition to your online store, integrations can help you consolidate these orders into one workflow.
If you have to treat Amazon as a totally separate order queue, headaches will likely follow.
Consolidation is best and your e-commerce platform should be able to facilitate that.
The e-commerce platform options come with an equal variety of pricing structures. You need to determine your budget and how flexible you can be if anything above your budget comes up because there will be related expenses such as hosting fees, processing fees, transaction fees and a lot small things included.
It the budget is tight, there is open source e-commerce platform options like the free tier of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). If budget isn’t as much of an influencing factor, there are totally customizable enterprise solutions available.
If you’re someone in the middle of the budget road, it’s best to look for platforms that charge monthly amounts and not those that charge on percentage basis on your sales or transactions. This way, your business can grow without incurring increased costs from your e-commerce platform.
Below is a chart which gives you a rough Idea about the Platforms which are available in the market right now!
It’s a simple chart, which shows the popularity of the app, a number of features it provides and I’ve rated the pricing according to the features it provides, in other words, “Value for Money”.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular platforms available in the market. This will help you understand better on how exactly a platform will be used according to your needs.
Starting with the most popular of them all
Magento is undoubtedly one of the most popular platforms out there with almost one-fourth of the market share, it is also considered as a market leader in e-commerce platforms.
For its reliability and scalability.
There are tons of successful e-commerce websites out there which are built on Magento, some of them are Agent provocateur, Sol, Landrover, Pepe Jeans etc.
E-commerce web developers suggest this platform more than any others in this list for all the benefits it provides
Some of the benefits of Magento are
- Great user experience, it is very to the user and also maintains.
- It is an open source platform, which makes it easy when it comes to customization
- There are tons of platforms which you can use to customize.
- Free extensions that enable social commerce so you can see on social media platforms
- Extensive resource library for store management, growth, demons and online community of store owners as well as plugin developers you can tap for help.
And one of the critical factors associated with Magento is the pricing of its versions. The basic community is free, while the advanced enterprise version costs a minimum $20,000 a year.
The basic community is free, while the advanced enterprise version costs a minimum $20,000 a year.
Well, I don’t have to mention that the community version is no match for the enterprise version, which offers many built-in high-end features such as customer segmentation, a support module, 24/7 support and so much more.
On top of that price tag, the flexible, open source nature of the platform makes it quite complex, so you need very competent e-commerce developer for customization.
So even with the community version, considering hosting, SSL, extensions, customization etc. it will likely cost you a significant amount of time and money to get where you want your site to be.
So when do you go for Magento?
It is considered the right e-commerce platform for enterprise-level merchants with large volumes of products is when you need Magento.
Its capability to handle complex store setups is an ideal choice and management with Magento, the platform is not recommended for beginners.
Although I would recommend beginners to go with Magento because a company is not small for a very long time, you will expand eventually.
So starting with Magento will help you handle it when you grow into a bigger company.
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If there is anyone who can give a run for money to Magento it’s Shopify, they host about half a million online shopping websites around the globe, the platform continues to evolve to meet the growing requirements of online stores.
And list of benefits will blow your mind
- It has over 100 store templates to choose from
- About 1000+ plugins to extend the store functionality
- It will allow you to connect your social networking pages and profiles and see directly from there
- The support is as fantastic as Magento
Okay before you get excited there are some things which are a bit disappointing. You need to use Shopify payment if you wish not to do that you are charged extra for every sale.
Most of the extensions and functionalities are not really free. You will be spending a bit more than you’ve expected.
And the most annoying thing is Shopify has its own coding language called “liquid’ so if you need to customize anything alien you need to spend a bit more.
So when is Shopify an ideal choice?
It is true that Shopify is an Ideal platform to start with for beginners. Based on your budget requirements, you can choose different packages which range from $29 – $299 per month.
But if you have your own unique ideas for features and functionalities Shopify is not the platform you should be looking for.
Since its launch in 2009, Big Commerce is hosting about 70K online stores and is among the leading e-commerce software providers.
From big names like Martha Stewart & Toyota to SMEs, the platform ideally caters to stores of all sizes.
And considering the comprehensive list of built-in features it offers, Bigcommerce has often considered the best option for those who have little to no technical knowledge, or simply don’t have time to mess around with the code.
Bigcommerce surely has a good amount of benefits
- Extensive built-in features including newsletters, coupons, shipping, tax, analytics and so much more.
- Unlike Shopify, bigcommerce charges no transaction fee on sales.
- All free and paid themes are responsive and offer a smooth mobile experience
- You can also link your store with Facebook, eBay, Google shopping and a range of comparison websites.
- Powerful support for the extremely helpful setup wizard, educational videos and extensive guides with visual representations.
But there is a concern with Bigcommerce is the lack of free themes. Currently, it offers only 7 free themes, while most of their immediate competitors offer more than 20 free themes.
Currently, it offers only 7 free themes, while most of their immediate competitors offer more than 20 free themes.
However, the platform has a comprehensive list of premium themes, and it also allows customization of these themes if you want to give your store an entirely unique look and feel.
So when do you go for Bigcommerce?
Only if you want a full-fledged store, but not a fan of hassles of integrating plugins, editing HTML/CSS or any other code, then Bigcommerce is definitely the go-to e-commerce platform for you.
If you are willing to compromise a bit on themes, big commerce is a strong alternative to Shopify at roughly the same pricing.
Big commerce’s plans are somewhere between $29 and $199 a month quiet similar to Shopify eh, but they don’t charge you for transactions like shopify.
Yokart has rich and smart features with smart pricing models, it is built with a specific focus on helping startups build e-commerce ecosystem easily.Think of it as the one-stop solution for launching multi-vendor stores like eBay and Etsy.
Think of it as the one-stop solution for launching multi-vendor stores like eBay and Etsy.
Although many other e-commerce platforms also provide their multi-vendor version, Yo!Kart does this seamlessly.
There are impressive benefits of Yo!kart
- It has a ready to launch multi-vendor marketplace solution
- Other than the framework, you own the source code and can customize the portal to your requirements.
- Yo!Kart is built on an encrypted framework. Which means that customization would require knowledge of that framework.
- In general, an experienced PHP developer would quickly understand the framework and how to modify it as needed.
- It is a mobile-friendly platform and a dedicated Android app for marketplaces.
- The features are the same for all the pricing package
So when do you go for Yo!Kart?
When you have multi-vendor stores such as eBay and Etsy, Yo!Kart is a great choice.
The advanced version is self-hosted, customizable and it costs $999 which is a one-time payment.
Its startup package is a hosted solution with a one-year license, which costs $250 and allows startups to verify their business model.
The advanced version is self-hosted, customizable and it costs $999 which is a one-time payment.
It is intended for companies who have a sound business model. Switching from startup to an advanced package is also quite easy.
Big Cartel has one of coolest slogans, it says “We believe in the Artist”, Big Cartel targets artists & other small-scale home-based business run by individuals.
The platform claims to have helped about a million artists in selling their creations online since its launch in 2005.
This extremely simple to use hosted system is often regarded as the best ticket for artists and other creative people out there to enter the e-commerce arena.
What are the benefits of Big Cartel?
- It is extremely simple to manage and set up a store.
- It has Social media access like Facebook
- Themes are Aesthetically sound
Cartel’s Facebook & Twitter accounts
However, the simplicity of Big Cartel results in limited functionality, which is definitely a downside for those who want to do more than just sell products.
Big Cartel’s theme library is limited to 12 themes, out of which only 2 are responsive. There are limited add-ons, but still, you can get access to 500+ apps via Zapier integration.
The main reason for these challenges is due to the fact that Big Cartel targets a very specific segment. So, some of them can be overlooked.
Currently, it only offers social commerce for Facebook.
So why should you go for Bigcommerce?
As I’ve already mentioned above that this platform is ideal for individual artists and creative people but not for typical retailers. With its simplistic stored and economical pricing which is $29 per month, it allows the artists to sell things online and have a greater exposure.
Choosing the perfect E-commerce is as important as planning on beginning an online store itself, as the online marketplace is growing the solutions are equally provided by the marketplace development.
If you ask me Magento is a great place to start and custom e-commerce will always be a great option
Hope this helps you identify your e-commerce solution.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
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