You have a lot of different options when it comes to choosing an ecommerce platform for your business. Each platform variates from one another in small or large ways.
Some platforms are hosted ecommerce solutions which is when the entire suite needed to run an online store is hosted on a third-party server. This is usually software that sits on the provider’s server, without any involvement form the business owners side. Open source ecommerce is self-hosted ecommerce where the entire software runs on web servers chosen by the merchant. The merchant or developer must install, run and maintain the website all by themselves. On-premise ecommerce platforms require you to pay a one-time license fee, as well as activities like installation, data migration, and maintenance. These tend to be high end in functionality and capability. Each platform has their own strengths and weaknesses so consider all the different options with your business goals in mind.
Magento is an open-source platform that offers great flexibility and an optimal user interface with great customization. It comes with lots of features that other platforms are missing, such as multiple locations, sites, languages, and currencies. Magento has no transaction fee, and no charge to download the software. Being an open source platform, it can be complicated to make customizations, so hiring a developer may be necessary.
WooCommerce is a free plug-in to WordPress that works as an open-source ecommerce platform. The platform is highly customizable with built in payments for a variety of payment options. The plug in is completely free and you get thousands of WordPress themes. If you already use WordPress it is a great option, but if you don’t use WordPress it may be time consuming to set up and figure out how to navigate everything. However, WordPress is known for easy use among users which allows even beginners to start and operate an ecommerce store without advanced technical knowledge.
Shopify is possibly the most well-rounded of the ecommerce platforms. It has great easy setup and navigation process’. Shopify is the most popular platform out there for small, medium, and large businesses combined. It has a variety professional looking themes and prices starting at $9 per month making it one of the cheapest options as well. Some other things to consider when thinking of Shopify is that only about 20 of their store templates are free, others can run as high as $180. You also get charged an additional transaction fee per sale if you don’t use Shopify payment. Overall, if you are looking for the biggest variety of apps, add-ons, and plugins for your site then Shopify is a great choice.
BigCommerce is a hosted ecommerce business that serves as one of the most popular ecommerce solutions for small-to-medium sized businesses. Its dashboard is very straight-forward and easy to use, making it a preferred choice for front-end users. This ecommerce platform is top-rated for its search engine features, personalization, performance, and reliability. A negative of BigCommerce is that it does lack a selection of free themes and is a bit more expensive compared to its competitors, but if you want a fully developed store without a bunch of plugins and add-ons, BigCommerce is a great option to consider. It comes fully equipped with all the tools you need to build your site quick and easy.
Volusion is a hosted ecommerce service that allows you to focus on selling products and leaves the technical stuff to them. They do not charge any transaction fees so you keep all the revenue you make from sales. Volusion has 359 ecommerce template design options including multiple mobile friendly options. They offer a 14-day free trial and 24/7 support. Four different plans are offered from $15-$135/month. Some downsides to consider with Volusion would be that only a select amount of the templates are free, most are paid. There is a limited number of products on 3 of their 4 plans, and you also need some coding knowledge in order to build or make any changes to your website.
Choosing an ecommerce platform really depends on what you want to receive for your business. All the ecommerce platforms mentioned above are some of the most popular options but there are many others that are worth looking into. This list doesn’t go into great detail, it just gives you an overview of the top 5 most popular platforms so you can get a general idea of what they include. Utilizing ecommerce platforms such as these to create an online business is a great way to grow your business and gain access to a variety of markets.
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