Top e-commerce platforms
E-commerce has become a staple of online shopping as more and more people are switching to easy access items from the comfort of their homes. E-commerce took a turn in the industry by the rise of Amazon. Walmart, Alibaba and Amazon are the pioneers in the e-commerce industry each with the net-worth of $386.3 billion, $40 billion and $134.5 billion simultaneously. With their rising success, many small businesses are jumping on the train of e-commerce.
Making a website is not anyone’s job, it requires deep understanding of the code that is required for web development like HTML CSS JAVA etc. This has been made easy by below mentioned website builders. Many big software houses like VMware, Symantec, and Bizzclan have been using these web development tools for their clients as many huge websites like Amazon, Alibaba, and ebay are built using these platforms.
BigCommerce provides a hosted e-commerce platform as a shopping cart. Bigcommerce comes with great store management capabilities. It offers a large number of tools and features, e.g. promotions, unlimited product variants, options to handle returns, coupons and discounts. Another highlight is the flexible shipping options that allow live quotes and rate calculation.
BigCommerce integrates with Amazon, eBay and social networks. It also has a lot of marketing tools with full control over the URL format.
BigCommerce also has a large application store with extensions for all sorts of needs such as email marketing, automation and product promotion. You also get over 40 payment processing options with no transaction fees!
The advantages are rounded off by the multitude of templates to choose from, the ability to design your own website and a large support system that helps you improve your e-commerce efforts.
Traditionally, BigCommerce has lagged behind in its template offers. Premium themes can also be a bit expensive. Unfortunately, the design customization is not always the most user-friendly despite them providing the users with several free templates.
BigCommerce has no point of sale features as in other platforms and comes with a sales limit on standard plan. And having an advanced feature like an abandoned cart saver can be relatively expensive.
WooCommerce is the best platform to run e-commerce and affiliate site under one roof. It works with WordPress to turn any website into a functional e-commerce store.
If you are familiar with the WordPress platform, then WooCommerce is a breeze for you. You only have to install it, add your own products and fix your settings.
People who aren’t familiar with WordPress will struggle with the technical details. That includes buying hosting, installing WordPress, setting up your theme and plugins.
The biggest problem though is not the setup; that can be solved with YouTube tutorials. Most users have reported it slowing down as they get more products and customers.
WooCommerce use WordPress for SEO . It also provides with one click selling app features and a lots of WordPress experts are available on this platform. WooCommerce allows customization along with many marketing options and plenty of other integrations.
Good hosting can be pricey with WooCommerce and have to deal with blame game for troubleshooting can cause interruption in the workflow. You also need extensions for simple stuff which can become frustrating at times.
Shopify has a fully featured hosted solution with hundreds of thousands of users. We also have a full article about it, if the information below is not enough for you.
Shopify is super easy to use, just sign up with your email address and you can start building your shop and selling right away. The intuitive interface of Shopify also makes it easy to add products and use SEO features like title tag and meta description.
Shopify offers dozens of free mobile-optimized, elegant themes. More are available on purchase. No coding is required to customize them, just use your mouse to make changes.
Additionally, the platform offers top-notch support via phone, email, live chat and Twitter which are available 24/7. That is besides the detailed documentation and online forums where you can get help from other users.
Shopify also supports a lot of third-party payment gateways and has a large app marketplace with over a thousand offers to add functionality to your site with a few clicks.
Finally, they offer additional sales channels by providing you with the software and hardware to sell inside physical store locations, social selling and integrating with marketplaces like Amazon.
The biggest drawback for using Shopify is that costs can easily snowball. Besides the base fee, you have to pay for many plugins, themes and features. Some are one-off payments, some monthly, some yearly. Plus, there are transaction fees if you are not using the built-in payment system. This can all get a bit complicated and hard to plan with.
Another disadvantage in terms of customizing your site is that Shopify uses its own markup language called “Liquid”. It is based on Ruby on Rails and makes it hard to make changes using coding yourself.
Founded in 2006 and with about 40 million customers, Weebly is a great option for someone looking for a simple store with marketing automation built in. That will cost you $38 per month vs. using Shopify and Active Campaign ($29 + $17). But if you plan to do any type of marketing, you’ll quickly outgrow Weebly. Don’t use Weebly if SEO is important to you.
Until recently, there hasn’t been a solid focus on ecommerce, and as such, you wouldn’t find some of the sophistication that other top platforms have. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent choice for startup entrepreneurs or those who do not wish to hire a developer.
Weebly has three price plans, and though they all support e-commerce, the higher two (Business and Performance) are better suited for e-commerce businesses. The reason is that the starter plan is lacking in many relevant e-commerce features like custom shopping cart, coupons, and inventory management. Also, you can’t sell digital goods on it. For physical goods, you’re restricted to 25 products with a 3% transaction fee.
There’s a drag and drop editing tool and an option to use HTML and CSS to customize your template. About that, there are many free themes with premium themes at around $45.
Weebly is an easy to use platform. They offer the basic tools you need for a functional store without flashy extras to confuse you. You can upload products in bulk, and the dashboard is simple.
Another feature worthy of note is the mobile app that you can use to manage your business and print shipping labels.
Weebly has an excellent value with lowest price for ecommerce marketing automation, stunning low cost and free designs, powerful email tools, simple dashboard that’s easy to use and a mobile application as well.
Despite the low cost, Weebly charges an additional transaction fee, sucks with it’s SEO tools and inventory management system is very basic.
Magento is an open source software that you can download and install on your own servers. At the same time, it also offers a hosted cloud version, like WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Maginto is a self-hosted builder and gives you lots of control to the developer. With technical knowledge, one can change almost anything in terms of functionality, design and choose your own server environment.
Membership subscriptions, recurring payments, discounts, the ability to adjust content per user are just the tip of the iceberg.
You can extend your site via the marketplace. There are a number of plugins and themes from customer support to marketing to shipping and site optimization.
Maginto is strong in terms of multilingual websites and allows you to create sites for different languages. Maginto also constantly post new themes and plug ins with an ongoing customer support.
For the Community Edition, all the downsides of self-hosted platforms apply. Be prepared to take care of updates, security and everything else to make sure your shop runs properly.
While Magento has a lot of features, consequently it can be a little hungry for resources. This will require you to invest time and money into optimization.
Besides that, the platform is written in PHP, so if you want to make meaningful changes, you need to have the necessary chops or hire someone for it. Either way, expect to invest in development.
If you are opting for the Cloud version, be aware that it is made for Enterprise clients and priced accordingly.