Using an eCommerce platform can differentiate between a thriving small business and an abysmal failure.
There are many platforms to choose from, and they can vary in costs, support, integrations, ease of use, etc. It’s important to know what you need your platform to do and what it doesn’t have to do if you want to succeed in online sales!
There are so many options available in the market, so it can be tricky to know which one is the best eCommerce platform for small business owners like you.
If you’re considering creating an online store, check out this guide on how to choose the best eCommerce platform for your needs. This blog will discuss the pros and cons of some of the most popular eCommerce platforms and introduce some new ones on the market that may catch your eye!
Although not as popular as Magento, Shopify is an excellent alternative for those just starting in e-commerce.
It offers many services specifically tailored to help you start your online store and grow it into something much more significant than you could have imagined.
Shopify has everything you need to get started quickly and easily, from design templates and easy payment options to helpful phone support. Best of all, there are no expensive upfront costs or monthly fees!
Shopify’s Basic plan gives you everything you need to start selling online without paying anything upfront, plus access to all their mobile apps so your customers can shop on any device.
For any business to succeed in today’s digital economy, you need an online store.
With Shopify, you can easily set up a beautiful and professional-looking website with your domain name.
You get over 100 gorgeous themes to choose from and can add in as many products as you want. There are also features such as social media integration that helps drive traffic back to your site.
Your customers can even order directly from their favorite social network sites like Facebook or Twitter—making it easy to buy and sell! Thus, Shopify is our #1 recommendation!
If you’re looking to start a retail store, BigCommerce has two main selling points: Incredibly easy to use, and it offers outstanding customer service.
The platform features basic design templates that make it simple to get your shop up and running without hiring outside help.
It makes BigCommerce a great option if you’re starting or want to test out e-commerce on a low budget.
Its price point—starting at $29 per month for three products—makes it one of the most affordable options available.
Start a store that looks professional, loads quickly, has your customers’ info pre-populated and accepts payments from all of their favorite sites with Bigcommerce.
Their interface is nice and clean, meaning it’s easy to set up, maintain and develop your online store. In addition, they make it easy to accept different forms of payment, including PayPal and Google Checkout.
The only disadvantage I see in using BigCommerce is that you need to hire a Shopify Website Designer to make your eCommerce site more beautiful and functional.
While there are many different eCommerce platforms available, we will look at one in particular: WooCommerce.
Though it was initially designed as a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce has since developed into a full-fledged platform that can manage every aspect of your online storefront and provide you with all of the tools you need to succeed.
With access to over 180,000 plugins and extensions (which you can read more about in our post on top WordPress plugins) and integrations with third-party services like Stripe, there’s no limit to what you can do with your store. It doesn’t matter if you’re managing physical goods or digital—WooCommerce has you covered either way.
Over 60% of online stores are powered by WooCommerce, an open-source content management system that helps you build a functional eCommerce website.
With its focus on creating a great shopping experience across all devices, including smartphones and tablets, it’s no wonder so many people love using it to sell their products.
When combined with WordPress, it makes building an attractive, feature-rich store easy. Additionally, WooCommerce has a plugin library full of features such as sales dashboards and site searches that you can access for free.
If your product’s niche doesn’t lend itself to being sold online or if you don’t want to do anything other than design your store from scratch and manage shipping logistics, WooCommerce might be best suited for your needs.
The best eCommerce platform for large companies and organizations. Magento’s power comes from its broad feature set and flexibility.
The downside to Magento is that it can be challenging to customize and may take longer to create and manage your online store. However, these are not tremendous obstacles; instead, they are a small price to pay for having one of your team’s most powerful eCommerce platforms.
If you have an extensive product catalog or frequently run special promotions and deals, Magento could be a good option.
It’s been around since 2007 and comes in three versions: Professional, Enterprise, and Community.
The most recent release was in May 2017 (version 2.2), but it was introduced nearly four years ago (version 1.9). As of March 2016, approximately 135,000 active installations were on Magento websites, with roughly 18 percent using version 2.0 or higher.
If you are a newcomer to the Magento platform or have not yet used it, You can count on Magento to be very easy to implement.
It comes with a self-updating FTP client that makes putting your website up a breeze. Upgrading and adding extensions can be done through simple installation procedures in your back end.
You will find no frustrating modules here; Magento’s modularity makes extending your store easy.
And while many users find that they don’t need to go beyond primary navigation and payment extension modules, you’ll be able to get anything else you need if something catches your eye.
5. Drupal Commerce
Drupal offers an e-commerce framework with features, including product listing and selling, payment processing, taxes, and shipping.
The clean design that Drupal is known for also makes it easier to customize your site’s look as needed. Because Drupal offers enterprise-level development support, it’s also a good option if you’ll need extra technical help to get your site up and to run.
If you’re starting and want a simple, no-frills solution, consider Magento or Shopify instead.
Both are great options if you’re only interested in selling physical products like t-shirts or books; neither can handle complex digital downloads or subscriptions as Drupal Commerce can.
6. Amazon Webstore
You can use Amazon’s Webstore to get started for an entire eCommerce site. It includes everything from unlimited data storage to order fulfillment and even branded URLs (you can claim any .com domain).
The best part about using Amazon as your eCommerce platform is that it takes care of all hosting costs and payment fees, which can help when you’re just starting and don’t have much capital.
All you need to do is start adding products, creating your brand, and building your online community. There are no monthly fees or additional transaction charges if you’re only selling on Amazon—but again, keep in mind that they also take a cut of every sale.
With OpenCart, you have a wide range of options for customizing your online store.
Once you’ve registered an account and picked a domain name, there are templates to choose from, or you can start with a blank slate if that’s what you prefer.
If a theme doesn’t fit your needs, there are hundreds of HTML snippets and CSS files to customize as much as you want without writing code.
OpenCart supports Stripe, among other third-party services, regarding payments.
Their documentation explains how to set up shipping rates by zone or country, so international shoppers don’t get hit with hefty surcharges.
There’s also integration with MailChimp for newsletter management, Google Analytics for statistics, etc. So it might be a good option if you start and don’t want to spend too much on your website.
Their pricing is pretty reasonable at $79 per month, and you can also host it for free. This one is easy to set up with an already large community of users contributing to its features and functionality.
There are over 5,000 extensions available in their marketplace, and they support PayPal Express Checkout (perfect for new sellers).
OpenCart has everything your basic store needs: social Commerce, bulk uploads, drop shipping, affiliate management, etc. The only drawback might be that it doesn’t have excellent SEO out of the box.
8. Squarespace Storefront
Squarespace has a strong history of supporting small businesses and an easy-to-use online storefront with no coding knowledge.
While you don’t have many customization options (think templates and colours), Squarespace offers hosted and self-hosted options, letting you keep your data in-house.
The company also offers 24/7 support via live chat and phone or email and concierge services to help make sure your new store looks good.
If you want to outsource development, it’s best to look elsewhere because Squarespace doesn’t offer its development team. Their standard hosting plan starts at $14 per month on up to $20 per month.
Squarespace’s storefront option allows users to have an online shop and a website on a straightforward platform.
This can be a good solution for small businesses that don’t want to deal with multiple tools—the integration between store and site makes it easy to manage everything.
For just $16 per month (starting), you get access to unlimited products, customer management, payment gateway support, and more.
Most notably, Squarespace charges no transaction fees, so you keep 100% of your sales price – which means more money in your pocket! The only caveat is that stores are not customizable; they are the Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business take a simple and minimalistic approach, but if that works with your brand image, it could be perfect.
The Final Verdict: Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business
Choosing the Best eCommerce Platform for Small businesses is very easy. However, it would help if you considered essential factors such as budget, functions, features, growth potential, and much more.
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