Choosing an easy ECommerce Platform is crucial to your success as an eCommerce entrepreneur! As someone starting out in this industry, it’s ideal to review your options first before you really dive in and set up your vast array of products to sell!
What is an Ecommerce Platform?
An Ecommerce platform can not only help you sell your product, but it can also host your entire website! Many of them include builders to fully customize the look of your site, while proudly displaying your products.
This software allows you to run a retail business, fully online! Many of them have drag-and-drop options, which make it easy for the beginner, and many also include the ability to hard code for more advanced users.
Why Use an ECommerce Platform?
There are dozens of reasons to use an ECommerce platform, but it ultimately depends on what you’re looking to achieve as a business owner.
- They’re easy! Especially if you’re a beginner. Once upon a time, you had to understand several programming languages to create a successful system, to sell online. These platforms give you excellent out-of-the-box functionality that will have you up and running within days, if not hours! Not to mention, support is available for just about anything you could need.
- They’re Inexpensive! These platforms cost less than retail shops, and contain an all-in-one hosting solution for all your products and website pages.
- One size fits all! These platforms are designed to help you run your business from start to finish, and are largely compatible with all skill levels.
What type of ECommerce Platform should I use?
The Best ECommerce Platforms are the ones that work best within your capability. This is our list of the top 5 best platforms for ECommerce solutions, for beginners!
Arguably the most popular site builder, Wix has found success with businesses that need a solution that will have them rolling quickly and easily, with beautiful templates and many tools for customization. This subscription-based service is affordable, with eCom packages from $17 to $49+/month.
- Drag-and-Drop website builder – Have a site up in minutes!
- Over 500 templates to choose from, and customize just for online stores.
- A full-featured shopping cart
- Hosted, which means you won’t have to worry about obtaining hosting elsewhere!
- User can test-drive their platform for free (without eCommerce capability)
- You cannot change your template once you publish
- Has less features than other platforms, as Wix is not exclusively for eComm websites.
Similar to WordPress, this platform is open-source software you can download and install on your own servers. Also like WordPress, they offer a cloud-based hosting service.
This platform gives you a lot of control, so we don’t recommend downloading the software for your own servers, if you’re new to site building. If you’re new to eCommerce, this might be an ample solution for you to use and customize in any way you desire.
Beginners, however, can utilize the cloud-based options to see if it suits your sensibilities. As far as pricing, you don’t necessarily have to pay a dime to use this open-source software. However, if you’re looking at a more enterprise-level approach, prepare to shell out some dough for their hosted solutions.
- Like WordPress, Magento features a wide variety of plug-ins and features, providing incredible flexibility.
- Multilingual capability, allowing you to produce sites in multiple languages
- Extensive Customer Support
- Dozens of customizable themes
- Resource hungry, meaning it can take up a lot of resources on your hosting if you’re not careful.
- PHP-Based, which could be a positive if you know the language. Any significant changes would require professional help, otherwise.
This well-known brand offers a hosted solution, as a full SaaS platform. BigCommerce is also used as a shopping cart for other types of websites, such as WordPress websites. If you have ever used Shopify, this platform is quite similar in use and approach.
This platform easily integrates with Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, and WordPress opening up your potential for sales growth through various channels.
There are hundreds, if not, thousands of templates at your disposal, with the ability to design your own website if that’s within your skill sets. Pricing for this platform offers a fully hosted solution from $29.95 to $249.95 per month, with a selection of 7 free templates and many paid themes available.
- Many sales channels
- Unlimited Product Variants
- Full control over URL format
- No transaction fees, and over 40 payment processing options
- Free themes are minimal
- No native POS features, i.e. no saving carts or additional advanced sales features
Even if you haven’t attempted eCommerce before, you’ve probably heard of Shopify! This platform has become an industry standard, and offers a variety of solutions, plans, and templates to create a fully customized store online.
Pricing can range from $29-$299 per month, and don’t include all plug-ins and additional features you may require for your business to thrive.
- Easy to set-up, with drag and drop options
- Intuitive Interface
- SEO Customizations
- Built-in transaction software comes with no transaction fees!
- Dozens of free, attractive themes
- Transactions can get complicated, if not using their built-in POS.
- Uses their own mark-up language, so it’s difficult to make changes.
Among the oldest platforms of its kind, Volusion has been around since 1999 and steadily maintains most industry standards as they change. They offer easier solutions for a wider variety of business owners, as well as more advanced options for the more seasoned entrepreneur.
They offer a wide variety of project management tools like rich text and other tools for SEO benefits, 24/7 support, and payment integrations with no transaction fees! Pricing can range from $29.99 – $299 per month, depending on the plan chosen.
- Drag-and-drop website editor!
- Many responsive themes (11 of them free!)
- Wide variety of management tools
- 24/7 support via live chat, and phone for higher service plans.
- Bandwidth limits apply, which means you have to pay for additional traffic.
- SSL is not included, which is required to perform transactions online.
- No blogging capabilities
Which ECommerce platform is the best for you?
If you need something ready to roll out-of-the-box, BigCommerce and Shopify are at the top of the game for a reason; they’re accessible. Some entrepreneurs certainly need more customizations, so it’s imperative to consider your needs before you you go all in on an eCommerce platform.
Many of these platforms offer free trials, for a test drive! Give them a go and let us know what you think in the comments!