Are you planning to start an online store?
Then you must know about some of the best eCommerce platforms for businesses. Most people who convert site to WordPress do so to access the WooCommerce plugin.
It is one of the topmost solutions for building virtual outlets. There are numerous other platforms like WooCommerce which help in the same purpose.
All these solutions provide with all the necessary elements for creating an e-commerce store.
Users have to pick and choose the desired components and customize them to give the outlook a unique look. They can do all this without needing to use too much code.
In this article, we are discussing some top eCommerce platforms which can be easily used by businesses.
The leader of the domain is undoubtedly WoCommerce which fuels over 28% of the world’s virtual outlets. It is available in the form of a plugin which only works on the WordPress platform.
Users have to install and activate the plugin to attach an online store to their website. The marketplaces created with this tool can be used for selling physical as well as digital products.
It supports all the major payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal. The tool lets merchants integrate numerous extensions with their store and build their own database for promotional campaigns.
Business owners can define tax classes and automate tax calculations based on shipping, billing or store address.
Another powerful and well-known service that caters specifically to e-commerce users is Shopify. This subscription-based platform provides a sub-domain and hosting space along with the facility to use your own domain name.
You can use a 14-day free trial after which you will have to switch to any of three paid subscriptions. It offers over 70 professional readymade themes with their own intuitive settings for customizing a storefront.
Users have full access to CSS and HTML meaning they can modify each aspect of their outlet. The full-featured website builder allows you to conduct the modifications from your browser.
Businesses can consult Shopify Experts to get efficient advice on the customization.
Magento is a dedicated solution for e-commerce businesses which helps in building unique and engaging storefronts. It comes in two versions, an open source version like WordPress and a cloud-based one like Shopify.
Developers and people with technical knowledge will like the self-hosted variant which allows them to add any kind of functionality.
Other users can employ the cloud-based version to start their outlet. Whatever route you take, Magento will provide you with superb product and order management features.
Owners can also build multilingual sites with the solution. However, the learning curve of the service can be steep for amateurs and other users with limited technical know-how.
The next name on our list of the best eCommerce platforms for businesses is that of PrestaShop. This open source product comes with more than 5,000 modules and graphic themes.
It is a scalable and flexible solution which allows subscribers to create their own themes. The service is available in over 65 languages and is supported by a vast developer community.
Merchants can configure their outlets by adding preferred shipping and payment methods. They can add a single page checkout and display a summary page before a shopper validates the purchase.
It is an easy-to-use solution but a large number of add-ons which are used for adding desired features can slow down the website.
BigCommerce is another cloud-based platform like Shopify which will be convenient for businesses. It has numerous beneficial features which work out of the box.
It offers free and paid themes but the free templates library has limited options. It has an intuitive storefront editor which can be operated without needing to input any code.
There are numerous customization options to modify the colour, buttons, sliders, and all other sections of a page. The platform provides round the clock support to its subscribers through phone, e-mail, and live chat.
It has a user-friendly dashboard which allows owners to control each aspect of their stores effortlessly. If you want to find out more details about BigCommerce I suggest reading this detailed review of BigCommerce
OpenCart is an open source service which is being used by more than 342,000 e-commerce users in the world. Its marketplace has an extensive collection of free and premium themes for all kinds of business segments.
It also offers a vast collection of modules which help in adding convenient features to an outlet. Business owners can control their store from a powerful dashboard which displays sales, orders, analytics, and many other vital figures.
The service lets owners define advanced user privileges apart from separate access for different users. Subscribers can also manage multiple stores from the same dashboard.
They can customize each outlet differently by employing separate themes and localizing store settings.
Which is the Best Free/Inexpensive E-commerce Platform
It is a human tendency to look for free stuff, especially in the software realm. This is understandable and, sometimes, free software can be surprisingly powerful.
This happens in the case of open source software, especially in the e-commerce segment.
Then you have developers who use the open source platform to offer e-commerce suites and implementation at affordable prices.
Take a look at the free and inexpensive stuff.
You may arrive at a conclusion that for serious e-commerce business you need custom eCommerce solutions.
The freeware in e-commerce
Open source free eCommerce platforms offer a surprising number of features such as the design of your storefront, inventory, tracking orders and customers and payment gateway integration.
Some of the most widely used eCommerce platforms are:
- Presta Shop
- OsCommerce and
The above power some of the best known online marketplaces in addition to being the basis of online business for small and large enterprises worldwide.
The catch here is that most of these are self-hosted. This means you have to take care of some minor development and customization and then install it on a hosting service.
It does need some tech skills to set up your store, manage it, take care of payments, updates and also security.
These need time and effort and prove more expensive. Then there are hosted solutions like Shopify, VirtueMart and HipKart.
The difference here is that it is easy to set up shop on the hosted eCommerce platforms since the software provider takes care of configuring Magento or any other backend platform.
In addition, you have full support. Hosted solutions are cheap and may be subscription based, a one-off payment type or pay as you go model or revenue-based model.
Ecomz is another hosted and inexpensive eCommerce platform with a high degree of flexibility.
Suggested Read: Looking for more software for e-commerce business, Try Digital Software 2019
Nothing is free really
The platform is free. However, it does require technical skills and expertise as well as time to set up an eCommerce platform or rope in a custom eCommerce solutionprovider to set it up for you.
Magento, for instance, is free but it is quite complex. It does need an expert in Magento to set up an online store for you.
You pay the service provider and still have to stay within the constraints of free platform, missing out on the advantages of a tailored solution to fit your eCommerce model.
The next best thing
The best solution if you plan to set up an online eCommerce store is to opt for an open source platform like Magento.
It is jam-packed with features that you need and is amenable to plugins and customizations to extend functionality even more.
Get a provider of eCommerce development solutionslike Smart Sight Innovations to come up with a custom eCommerce solutionbased on open source technologies.
Depending on your business model even OSCommerce or Open Cart or WooCommerce may be chosen.
It proves inexpensive but what you pay the custom eCommerce developer is more than recouped by way of increased sales.
What you get with inexpensive custom eCommerce development
E-commerce developers like Smart Sight Innovations have full knowledge of Magento and other open source technologies.
They will first analyze what your business needs and then come up with custom eCommerce design and develop your storefront based on these open source technologies.
Alternately, they may find that something Shopify fits you in which case they will take care of fine-tuning it and launching your store on this platform.
You get standard features and custom features such as:
- Features such as custom invoicing, tax and link to inventory as well as buyer database
- Social media integration into your eCommerce platform for better customer experience
- Easy integration of various payment channels and management of payment gateways with high-security levels
- The ship, deliver, track
- Upsell, cross-sell and make product recommendations based on data gathering and analytics.
- Rewards and loyalty program
E-commerce is all about business and revenue generation so forget about free eCommerce platforms unless you are tech savvy enough to take on Magento or anything similar.
It makes sense to rope in professionals offering eCommerce development solutions based on open source free platforms.
This way you pay for their services and are assured of flawless performance plus ongoing support to keep refining your store.
You will now have a fair idea about the best eCommerce platforms for businesses. All solutions have their own distinct advantages and unique features. You must choose a service which suits your technical knowledge levels and fulfills your business requirements.