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How to choose the right e-commerce platform »Small Business Fire

Whether you're starting a new e-commerce business or renovating an existing one, the platform you use is one of the most important factors.

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Whether you’re starting a new e-commerce business or renovating an existing one, the platform you use is one of the most important factors. You want to choose a platform that is user-friendly and meets your technical needs. You also want an option that will integrate with other solutions such as fulfillment and shipping software so that you can automate the processes.

Not only are you and your employees going to interact with your platform, but so are your customers.

Some of the primary options for e-commerce platforms include Shopify and WooCommerce, but there are others as well.

Below we delve into some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when making a choice.

What is an e-commerce platform?

An e-commerce platform gives you an online store that is fully functional so that customers can go there and buy products or services.

E-commerce platforms are available as website builder formats, which saves time. With this, you can do everything on your own by using drag-and-drop features, even without much technical expertise.

The three primary categories of e-commerce platforms are subscription-based, open source and something called headless.

A subscription-based e-commerce option offers many features to help you run your business, including payment gateway, tax handling and scalability options.

An open source e-commerce platform is one that is free, and you can easily install it. There are many customizable features, but it does not come with the customer service you get with a more expensive subscription-based solution.

Headless platforms are offered, and it gives you full control over your online store and its data. Many headless platforms also have features like A / B testing, so you can figure out the best ways to increase conversions. The downside of this third option is that it can be more complicated to install, and you do not have a high level of customer service.

General considerations

When choosing an e-commerce platform, you first want to consider whether it will be compatible with your existing site design and layout, if relevant. If not, you can use an option with website design features to keep it cohesive.

The next big consideration is your level of technical expertise versus what will be needed to get a store up and running.

A third thing to consider is how much customer service you want and need, and then you also want to consider how often the platform is updated with new capabilities and features.

You need to consider scalability, because the purpose of your business is, of course, to grow.

Other things that can become part of your decision making include:

  • Be aware of whether or not to restrict a platform that you can sell simultaneously. If you try to test products, limiting the number of products you can offer will be problematic.
  • There are several e-commerce platforms that charge fees on every item you sell. Others take a percentage of a sale.
  • Platforms like Shopify tend to be well-suited for new and smaller businesses, while Shopify Plus and BigCommerce businesses are more suited to larger organizations.

Shopify Overview

Shopify is one of the major platforms launched in 2004. Shopify today supports hundreds of thousands of businesses, including Google and Tesla. Technically, Shopify is a CMS similar to WordPress but designed for creating online stores.

The biggest advantage of Shopify is that it is user friendly. Even if you have no programming experience, you can probably manage it.

You can have an e-commerce store up and running with Shopify in about 15 minutes, and customizing your store is incredibly simple.

There are many applications to choose from with thousands of products so you can import them into your store with a single click.

Shopify can integrate with social media sites, and there is 24/7 support. Plus, it’s good in terms of SEO.

Magento Overview

Magento CMS is available in two main options. The first is Magento Open Source, which is a free CMS software for online stores. You need your own domain name and also web hosting to use it.

The second is Magento Commerce, which includes Magento Open Source and Platform as a Service Hosting (PaaS).

The built-in features are the primary power of Magneto. The SEO tools are one of the built-in sets of features that excel with Magento. It allows users to create XML maps with the links to all the pages in their online store.

There are also different extensions and templates, and you can create more than one online store with management in a single administration panel.

Some people feel Magento is the ideal solution for medium-sized organizations, and it is well-suited for users who have at least some coding knowledge.

WooCommerce Overview

WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin designed for WordPress, so it’s not an actual CMS, but it’s still likely to be quite powerful.

WooCommerce is one of the largest platforms, and about 30% of all online stores use the plugin. If you have a WordPress blog and you want to use it to sell products, you will probably choose WooCommerce.

You can sell physical and digital products as well as affiliate products and integrate them with Google Analytics.

Advanced plug-ins are available for advanced features, and you can list WooCommerce products on Amazon. You also have the option to add the Shopify Buy Now button so you can use features from both platforms.

Because WooCommerce is so widely used, it has a large community of fans.

The primary downside of WooCommerce is that it can take a bit of coding to make things look the way you want them to, but a business of any size can use them.

BigCommerce

Finally, another main option is BigCommerce. BigCommerce is somewhat new, relatively speaking. BigCommerce is a subscription-based platform as well as a CMS. It has all the features you need for an online store, and you do not have to maintain or update it as you do with WooCommerce.

SEO performance is strong, but there is a relatively small selection of free themes, and compared to the competitors listed above, there are not many applications.

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