When you run an eCommerce business, it’s vital to equip yourself with the most powerful business tools available. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, there are specific eCommerce platforms that your online business can benefit from.
Many businesses may choose to use a mixture of tools for their website, but here are the most popular ecommerce platforms that are almost always chosen by successful companies.
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Top 4 eCommerce Platforms
Shopify is easily one of the most popular eCommerce website builders for both small and large businesses. From being easy to use, to customizable, to having easy maintenance, Shopify is a powerful tool for your eCommerce site.
Here are just a few of the many advantages you’ll benefit from with a Shopify website:
1. Easy Set-Up and Maintenance
You can set up and launch your Shopify online store without additional development costs or hassle. The entire interface of the platform is intuitive, which makes setup and maintenance a breeze even if you don’t have extensive experience in website development. In fact, all maintenance, including software and hosting is taken care of by Shopify so you don’t have to worry about it!
Shopify provides over 150 themes for you to choose from for your website. Some are free, and some are paid, but they’re all fully customizable and make setting up your eCommerce website easy. If you know a bit of coding or have the means to hire a web developer, you can further customize your chosen template.
All their templates are already mobile-friendly and compatible, meaning you won’t have to do any extra work to give your mobile users a great experience.
3. Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Features
SEO plays a huge role in your website’s visibility on search results. To help users fully take advantage of SEO benefits, Shopify has built-in SEO and marketing features that can help your site reach new audiences.
Shopify allows full social media integration, product reviews, and email marketing features to make your marketing campaigns flow smoothly. You can even create discount codes with the standard version.
4. 24/7 Customer Support
The Shopify team always has someone available to assist you with your website at any time of the day. You can contact the support team via phone, email, or chat and get a near-immediate response. There’s also a large forum that may provide helpful tips or answers to your problem.
Woocommerce is an incredibly powerful eCommerce tool that was designed in 2008. As a WordPress plugin, Woocommerce is pretty unbeatable in the face of eCommerce website platforms and offers some great eCommerce features to its users.
1. Completely Free and Open Source
Unlike most other eCommerce website platforms, Woocommerce is 100% free. While other platforms may offer free versions, Woocommerce is undoubtedly a more powerful choice.
As an open-source platform, any user can collaborate and change its code. There is also an extensive community of users that are available to address questions or offer tips on overcoming particular problems. For anyone that has already used WordPress, though, Woocommerce will be easy to navigate.
2. Flexible and Customizable
Woocommerce can be fully customized using code. This does mean that you’ll need to have coding experience or hire someone that does, but it also means that you can create a website that is entirely unique to your business. You won’t end up with a customized website that still resembles someone else’s because you both used a similar template.
With the ability to code, Woocommerce can be as flexible as you need it to be. Whether you sell digital, physical, or downloadable products, Woocommerce can be adapted to meet your needs.
3. Countless Extensions
With Woocommerce and WordPress, you have access to countless extensions and additional plugins. While some are free, it’s crucial to realize that there are many that are paid or require a monthly plan. Woocommerce won’t trick you into accidentally purchasing one, but you should still be aware that even though the platform itself is free, not all the extensions are.
4. Robust Security
The Woocommerce platform is routinely updated to remain secure. It is even compatible with popular online payment gateways and e-wallets such as Stripe, PayPal, and Payza. However, you will need to add your own SSL certification and backup tools. Fortunately, these are easy to add in and shouldn’t take too long before your website is fully secure from potential threats.
BigCommerce is yet another popular eCommerce platform. With social media integration and the ability to sell your products on other sites like Amazon and eBay, BigCommerce is great for any sized business. It’s even self-hosted, so you won’t have to find a server to host your site for you!
1. No Transaction Fees
There are no transaction fees no matter which plan you choose with BigCommerce. Ever!
However, it is worth noting that you will pay a credit card processing fee and depending on the plan you choose, you’ll have a limit on sales. You’ll be expected to upgrade your plan if you go over the limit or be forced to pay an extra fee depending on what plan you already have.
2. Sell on Other Sites
With BigCommerce, you can set up your business to sell products on other popular websites like eBay and Amazon. BigCommerce makes it easy to keep a consistent brand image across these sites and allows you to manage all your products in one space.
Building your online store in BigCommerce keeps your brand image recognizable so that no matter where your customers find your business, they’ll recognize you easily.
3. Product Variants and Categories
One of the most significant benefits of using BigCommerce is the number of product variants you’re able to create. Shopify limits you to around 100, but BigCommerce allows for up to 600 variants of a single product. If you’re selling products that can be highly customized or variable, this is a strong feature that your business can benefit greatly from.
You can also create your own product categories with BigCommerce. You’ll have to assign categories to each of your products manually, but this can provide much more filtered results for customers searching for something in particular.
4. 24/7 Customer Support
BigCommerce has a support team that’s available 24/7 and always ready to help you. Whether you need help building your website or you encounter a problem while trying to edit or update it, the support team is incredibly helpful and can provide expert advice whenever you need it.
Thanks to its simple drag and drop building feature, Squarespace is easy to use by even the least technologically gifted users. For small eCommerce businesses, Squarespace can be especially helpful in getting your brand out there and available.
While there are no free plans available with Squarespace, their eCommerce features are heavily geared towards eCommerce websites which is just one of the many advantages you’ll benefit from with this powerful eCommerce platform.
1. Fast Response Time
Squarespace is a pretty fast platform. The platform slows a bit more when accessed by users in Asia, but it performs incredibly fast for users in the US and EU. If you know you have a mainly American customer base, this probably won’t be a problem for you. However, if you’re hoping to reach customers around the world, you might want a platform that doesn’t have such a drastic difference in response times.
2. Mobile Friendly
All of Squarespace’s features and templates are mobile friendly. So no matter what template design you choose or how you edit it, your website will always be mobile friendly. It’s just one of the many features that Squarespace provides for its users.
You aren’t able to customize the mobile version and how it shows up for users, but you also won’t have to worry about maintaining two different website interfaces. Whatever changes you make to your main site will be automatically enhanced and applied to your mobile version.
3. Multiple Widget Options
Squarespace not only provides its own widgets, it also supports numerous third-party widgets. This further increases your choices! Easy third-party widgets include your Etsy shop or Google Translate.
How to Choose the Best eCommerce Platform For Your Online Store?
When it comes to choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business, there are several things you should keep in mind. While your business may have different priorities, here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing the right eCommerce platform.
Some platforms will have free plans with limited eCommerce features, while others will only offer paid services. Others, like Woocommerce, are free, but require some development knowledge to use. When you’re looking through your options, keep in mind your budget and what you can reasonably afford to pay for a website platform.
2. Customer Support
You never know when you might encounter problems. Having an eCommerce platform with available customer support can be vital sometimes, so it’s certainly worth considering. If this is your first time running an eCommerce store, you should absolutely only choose a platform that offers full support in times of need.
3. SEO Compatibility
SEO is one of the most influential players in your website’s visibility in search results. As such, it’s vital that the platform you choose is SEO compatible or includes specific SEO features. To check if a platform is SEO friendly, look for these things:
- Ability to add a blog to your website
- Customer review feature
- Access to your own domain name
- Mobile friendly
- Full security features and ability to process card payments
Your online business may be small now, but any business owner would hope that their business expands in the future. Business growth can be sudden and unexpected, but having a website built on a scalable platform can make the growing pains easier to manage. Make sure to choose a platform that can scale with your online business.
There’s no single best eCommerce website platform, but there are platforms that are better than others. Depending on your online business’ needs, one platform may be the best for your online business yet not as beneficial for someone else.
With this in mind, we have seen the most success with eCommerce websites built on Shopify and Woocommerce WordPress sites. These two platforms are robust and offer just about every feature an eCommerce store could need. Investing in a Shopify or Woocommerce site may be in your business’s best interest. If you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to call us to discuss which platform will work best for your business. We’re happy to share our advice and tips on choosing the best platform for you so you can start selling online!