A Guide To E-commerce Platforms

When setting up an e-commerce business, it can be tricky to know where to start. There are lots of different e-commerce platforms out there that you could choose from, but at first glance, these have some seemingly minor differences – so how do you know which one to choose?

Well, the reality is that while lots of these platforms will try to offer similar features, some will always be a cut above the rest. This means you need to do some deeper research before settling on any one platform.

Actually, you don’t because we’ve done the hard bit for you!

Below, we’ve pulled together a list of the best e-commerce platforms out there, looking at the different features, prices, etc., to help you decide which will be right for your business. These platforms include:

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the best single platform for running e-commerce and affiliate sites in one place. Plus, because it runs through the WordPress content management system (CMS), not only is it easy enough to turn any website into a functional e-commerce shop, but it is also ideal if you want to set up a blog for your brand too.

This is also by far the most cost-effective option, as in most cases, it can all be managed for free. You can get a lot of extensions and themes that cost nothing – and most of these are pretty good quality too. Though you do still need to find a good web host, which will cost you, but this can still be done for relatively cheap.

WordPress is also well-recognised as one of the top platforms for boosting search engine optimisation (SEO).

The only downside is that some users have reported their website slowing down as they added more products. This means scalability could be an issue in the future. That being said, there are lots of great features with WooCommerce, and some of its key selling points include:

• Extensions to integrate payment gateways
• Email marketing
• 1-Click selling app
• Access to lots of WordPress experts
• Highly customisable themes
• Abundance of marketing options

2. Magento

Magento is used by huge brands like Nike and Cisco, which means it must be a trustworthy platform. It is so popular because coding is part of the main package, meaning you can build a very tailored and feature-rich e-commerce website to suit your needs.

There is also a large community surrounding Magento, which means it’s easy to get advice and even hire developers to help build your store for you. Like WooCommerce, this is mostly used for free, but there are paid solutions for larger businesses.

If you do pay to use the service, it can be pricey, but you really get what you pay for. It’s on the cloud, quicker and has loads of additional features such as automatic cross/upselling. Some other reasons to choose Magento are:

• It’s robust and rich in features
• Great for SEO
• 1-Click selling
• Very scalable
• Highly customisable

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce has a lot of great features, but the robust product search engine means that this platform is ideal for those with a larger retail brand. It can also be the right platform if you have a brick and mortar store but would like to start selling online too.

Its user-friendly interface and customisable templates make designing your online store easy without having to be a coding wizard. This makes it a great starting place for those with little to no development skills.

That being said, there is also a large community of BigCommerce designers and developers out there that can support you if you need it.

This platform is not free, and you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to use it, starting at around £30 a month – and that’s for those starting with smaller sales limits. However, the more you pay, the higher your sales limit and the bigger the number of features available to you. Some other reasons to use BigCommerce include:

• Flexible templates and easy design features
• Very scalable
• Great for multi-channel selling
• Strong SEO performance
• Comprehensive abandoned cart feature (with certain paid plans)

4. Shopify

Shopify is another very well-known e-commerce platform and one that has been used by lots of big brands in the past. This is the best platform for those who run or want to start a dropshipping company, as well as those that rely heavily on Facebook or Instagram ad campaigns.

Shopify also makes it very easy to set up your online store as it offers a quick drag and drop interface. It takes most people just a few minutes to get to grips with the platform and get going, so if you’re a complete newbie or you’re just keen to get started, this might be the e-commerce platform for you.

You can use free themes on this platform; the problem is there are only about 10 of them, and they aren’t great. Another downside to Shopify is that it’s not great for scalability, and in terms of SEO, it offers pretty weak performance. However, some of the great reasons to consider Shopify include:

• Lighting-fast page loading times
• Super easy start/set up
• A big network of certified partners
• 1-Click selling
• Multiple channel and social selling
• A variety of great themes (but you have to pay for them)

5. Wix

Last on the list is Wix. This platform has come a long way in recent years and is now a popular and major force in the e-commerce world. This platform is best suited to smaller e-commerce businesses, as well as service providers and solorprenuers.

The platform is very beginner-friendly; it’s easy to set up and design your e-commerce site. What’s more, the customer support is fantastic, and there are lots of on-page tips to help you as you go. Like Shopify, it offers drag and drop features, allowing you to easily add elements like videos or images. You can also add a blog page to your website.

The downside to Wix is that it’s not great for larger businesses, and scalability is an issue. Plus, SEO features are not great. However, they make up for this with some exciting features, including:

• Multi-channel integration,
• Abandoned cart recovery
• Dropshipping features
• Tons of free themes

Of course, these are just five e-commerce platforms; there are plenty of others out there. But when it comes to top features, integration with other platforms, support and price, you should definitely consider all of the above and if you’re interested in having the hard work done for you get in touch with our team.