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Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Business

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Running an online business is all the rage nowadays! And if you're ready to conquer the ecommerce world, choosing the perfect platform is your secret weapon for unrivaled success. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to make a decision.


So, let’s break down the process of selecting the perfect ecommerce platform for your business.


Here’s what you can expect. We'll explore:


  • Different types of platforms

  • Factors to consider

  • Review of some of the top options in the market


Ecommerce sales are projected to hit $6.15 trillion by the end of 2023. Let's dive in and find the perfect match for your business!


Understanding Ecommerce Platforms


Before we get started, it's important to have a clear understanding of what an ecommerce platform is and why it's so important for businesses.


Ecommerce platforms offer a range of features, such as product catalog management, payment processing, order fulfillment, and marketing capabilities. They are designed to simplify the process of running an online business and provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers.


Whether you're a small business owner or a larger enterprise, having a reliable and efficient ecommerce platform is essential for growth and success. It allows you to reach a wider audience, increase sales, and streamline your operations.


What is an Ecommerce Platform?


An ecommerce platform is the foundation of your online business. Simply put, an ecommerce platform is a software application that allows you to create and manage your online store. It acts as a bridge between your business and your customers, allowing you to showcase your products and process payments.


Importance of Ecommerce for Businesses


With the rise of online shopping, having an ecommerce presence has become increasingly important for businesses of all sizes. Here are a few key reasons why ecommerce is crucial for your business:


  • Reach a Global Audience: An online store allows you reach customers from all around the world.

  • Increase Sales: Ecommerce provides you with the opportunity to sell products 24/7, allowing customers to shop at their convenience, leading to increased sales and revenue.

  • Cost-Effective: Running an online store is often more cost-effective than maintaining a physical store, as it eliminates the need for rent, utilities, and staffing.

  • Track and Analyze Data: Ecommerce platforms offer robust analytics and reporting tools, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing efforts.


Furthermore, ecommerce platforms provide businesses with the ability to offer personalized shopping experiences, implement targeted marketing campaigns, and easily manage inventory and customer data. These features contribute to the overall success and growth of your online business.


Additionally, ecommerce platforms enable businesses to integrate with various third-party tools and services, such as email marketing platforms, social media channels, and shipping providers. Integration allows for seamless operations and enhances the overall customer experience.


Moreover, ecommerce platforms offer a wide range of customization options, allowing businesses to create a unique and branded online store. From choosing the layout and design to customizing product pages and checkout processes, businesses have the flexibility to tailor their online store to align with their brand identity and customer preferences.


As your business expands, you can easily add new products, manage inventory, and optimize your store to accommodate increased traffic and sales. This scalability ensures that your ecommerce platform can support your business's growth trajectory.



How to go about Choosing the right Ecommerce Platform?


Factors to Consider


When selecting an ecommerce platform, it's essential to consider your specific business needs and goals. Here are some things to keep in mind:


Your Business Needs and Goals


Start by evaluating what it takes to run your business and what milestones are important to you. Consider the type of products or services you sell, your target audience, and your long-term growth strategy. Armed with that data, you can figure out the features and capabilities you require from an ecommerce platform.


For example, if you plan on selling digital products, you'll need a platform that supports digital downloads and content protection. On the other hand, if you're planning to sell physical products, you'll need features like inventory management and shipping integration.


Additionally, think about the level of customization you require. Some ecommerce platforms offer more flexibility in terms of design and branding, allowing you to create a unique online store that aligns with your brand identity.


Budget and Pricing


How much money are you looking to spend? Ecommerce platforms come with varying pricing structures, ranging from monthly subscriptions to transaction fees.


Finding a platform that aligns with your budget with a pricing structure that makes sense for your business is a crucial first step. Consider any additional fees, such as payment processing fees or add-ons that you may require. Overall, you’re looking at anywhere from $20 to even $10,000 for the complete setup.


Keep in mind that investing in a more robust ecommerce platform might result in higher upfront costs. But they can potentially save you money in the long run by offering advanced features and scalability.


Scalability and Growth Potential


As your business grows, you'll want an ecommerce platform that can scale with you. Consider the scalability and growth potential of the platform you choose.


Look for an ecommerce platform that offers the flexibility to add additional features and integrations as your business expands. This will save you the hassle of switching platforms in the future, allowing for a smooth transition and continued growth.


Moreover, think about the platform's ability to handle increased traffic and orders. A robust infrastructure and reliable hosting are crucial to ensure that your online store can handle high volumes of customers without experiencing downtime or performance issues.


User Experience and Interface


Ever wondered why some online stores effortlessly captivate customers while others struggle to make a single sale? It all boils down to a simple yet powerful factor: the user experience. How does your online store measure up?


The user experience of your online store plays a crucial role in customer satisfaction and conversion rates. Choose an ecommerce platform that offers a user-friendly interface and provides a seamless shopping experience.


Look for features like responsive design, customizable themes, and a smooth checkout process. These elements will help create a positive impression and keep your customers coming back for more.


In addition, consider the platform's mobile-friendliness. With the increasing number of people shopping on their smartphones and tablets, having a mobile-optimized online store is essential to reach a wider audience and maximize sales.


Furthermore, take into account the platform's SEO capabilities. A well-optimized online store will have a better chance of ranking higher in search engine results, driving organic traffic and increasing visibility.


Lastly, consider the availability of customer support and resources. Having access to reliable support and documentation can be invaluable when you encounter issues or need assistance in setting up and managing your online store.


Reviewing Top Ecommerce Platforms


Now that you have a better understanding of the factors to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform, let's review some of the top options available:


Shopify: A Comprehensive Solution


With over a million businesses using their platform, Shopify is a leading ecommerce solution. It offers a wide range of features, including an intuitive interface, customizable themes, and extensive app integrations. Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, Shopify provides the scalability and flexibility you need.


One of the standout features of Shopify is its user-friendly interface. Even if you're not tech-savvy, you can easily navigate and manage your online store. From adding products and customizing your store's design to managing orders and inventory, Shopify simplifies the process.


Another advantage of using Shopify is its extensive selection of customizable themes.


What’s your style?


Trendy or contemporary?


Shopify has got you covered with a wide range of themes that perfectly match your brand and cater to your ideal customers. You can also further customize these themes to match your unique style.


Furthermore, Shopify's app integrations allow you to enhance your store's functionality. From marketing and analytics tools to customer support and inventory management apps, you can easily extend the capabilities of your Shopify store.


How Much Does Shopify Cost?


Shopify Pricing

Plan

Description

Price

Included Features

Basic Plan

For individuals & small businesses

$25/month

Basic reports, 1,000 inventory locations, 2 staff accounts

Shopify Plan

For small businesses


$65/month

Professional reports, 1,000 inventory locations, 5 staff accounts

Advanced Plan

For medium to large businesses

$399/month


Custom report builder, 1,000 inventory locations, 15 staff accounts


All plans offer a 3-month introductory offer, allowing users to get the first 3 months for $1/month. Additionally, each plan can be tried for free before committing.



WooCommerce: Best for WordPress Sites


If you're already using WordPress for your website, WooCommerce is an excellent choice. It seamlessly integrates with WordPress, allowing you to transform your site into a powerful ecommerce store. WooCommerce is known for its flexibility, extensive plugin options, and SEO-friendly nature.


WooCommerce’s flexibility gives you complete control over your online store, allowing you to customize every aspect to match your brand's identity. Be it the design, functionality, or payment options, WooCommerce lets you tailor your store to your specific needs.


Even further, WooCommerce offers a wide range of plugins that can enhance your store's functionality. From advanced inventory management and shipping solutions to marketing automation and customer relationship management, there's a plugin for almost every requirement.


Moreover, WooCommerce is highly SEO-friendly, which means your store has a better chance of ranking higher in search engine results. With built-in SEO features and the ability to optimize your product pages and categories, WooCommerce helps you attract more organic traffic and increase sales.


How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?


WooCommerce Pricing


WooCommerce Setup Costs

Pricing Component

Average Cost/Range

Hosting Costs

$3.95 - $5,000 per year

​Domain Registration

$15 per year (average)

Ecommerce and WooCommerce Themes

$0 - $100 per year


Store Management Costs

Pricing Component

​Average Cost/Range

Shipping Costs

$0 - $108 per year (average)

Payment Gateway Costs

2.9% + $0.30 per sale plus $0 - $30 per month (average)


WooCommerce Running Costs

Pricing Component

Average Cost/Range

Communications

Free - $348 per year

SEO

Free - $79 per year

Security

Free - $300 per year

SSL Certificate

Typically free but up to $65 per year


Additional Spending

Pricing Component

​Average Cost/Range

Customer Experience Enhancement

​Varies

Hiring a Developer

$10 - $100+ per hour or $1,000 - $15,000 for full site design

Customization

Varies


Please note that the provided costs are averages or ranges and can vary depending on specific requirements and choices.



BigCommerce: Ideal for Large Businesses


BigCommerce is a powerful platform designed for businesses with high-volume sales. It offers advanced features like multichannel selling, built-in SEO tools, and excellent security measures. BigCommerce is known for its scalability and reliability, making it a popular choice for enterprise-level businesses.


With BigCommerce, you can easily sell your products on various channels, including social media platforms and online marketplaces. This allows you to reach a wider audience and maximize your sales potential.


BigCommerce’s built-in SEO tools to help you optimize your store for search engines. From customizable URLs and meta tags to automatic sitemaps and canonical tags, BigCommerce ensures that your store is well-optimized for better visibility and higher rankings.


Furthermore, BigCommerce prioritizes security and offers robust measures to protect your store and customers' data. With features like SSL encryption, fraud detection, and PCI compliance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your online store is secure.


How Much Does BigCommerce Cost?


BigCommerce Pricing

Plan

​Price (Billed Annually)

Included Features

​Standard

$29/month

Unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth

Plus

$79/month

Unlimited staff accounts, multi-storefront (up to 3)

Pro

​$299/month

​Unlimited staff accounts, multi-storefront (up to 5)

Enterprise

Custom pricing

Unlimited staff accounts, multi-storefront (up to 8)


Additional Information:


All plans include no additional transaction fees.

  • Sales Channels: Online storefront, Multi-Storefront (additional cost per storefront).

  • Point of sale: Available.

  • Features: Mobile responsive website, BigCommerce mobile app, single-page checkout, various payment options, coupons/discounts/gift cards, multi-currency, real-time shipping quotes, professional reporting tools, built-in blog, product ratings and reviews, free Sitewide HTTPs and Dedicated SSL, ShipperHQ shipping rules engine (availability varies).

  • Customer groups and segmentation, abandoned cart saver, persistent cart, stored credit cards, Google customer reviews, product filtering, custom product filtering, price lists, unlimited API calls, inventory locations (vary based on plan).

  • Online sales per year: Up to $50k (Standard), Up to $180k (Plus), Up to $400k** (Pro), Custom (Enterprise).

  • Service and Support: 24/7 tech support (phone, chat, & ticket), express routing, priority support, and customer success management available, API support.

  • Payment Processing: No transaction fees to use leading payment gateways, special credit card rates on Braintree available (transaction fees apply).


You can try BigCommerce free for 15 days to determine the best plan for your needs.



Magento: A Solid Open-Source Option


If you have the technical expertise and want full control over your ecommerce store, Magento is a great open-source option. It provides advanced features and customization options, allowing you to create a unique and tailored shopping experience. Magento is suitable for businesses with complex requirements and a dedicated IT team.


One of the key advantages of Magento is its extensive customization options. With Magento, you have complete control over every aspect of your online store, from the design and functionality to the customer journey. Create a unique shopping experience that aligns with your brand's vision.


Additionally, Magento offers a wide range of advanced features to enhance your store's functionality. From advanced product catalog management and personalized marketing tools to seamless integration with third-party services, Magento provides the tools you need to create a high-performing ecommerce store.


Moreover, Magento is highly scalable and can handle large amounts of traffic and transactions. As such, it’s an ideal choice for businesses with complex requirements and high-volume sales. However, it's important to note that Magento requires technical expertise to set up and maintain, so having a dedicated IT team is recommended.


How Much Does Magento Cost?


Magento Pricing

Pricing Component

Magento Open Source

Magento Commerce

Magento Commerce Cloud

Magento License Cost

0

$22,000 - $125,000/year

$40,000 - $190,000/year

​Hosting

$100 - $500/year

$500 - $6,500/year

0

Domain Name

$10 - $400/year

$10 - $400/year

​$10 - $400/year

SSL Certificate

​$50 - $300/year

$50 - $300/year

​$50 - $300/year

Design

​$0 - $5,000+

​$0 - $5,000+


​$0 - $5,000+

​Development

​$1,800 - $10,000+

​$10,000+


​$10,000+

Extensions

$60 - $600/extension

$60 - $600/extension

​$60 - $600/extension

​Payment Providers Fees

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

​SEO & Digital Promotion

$10,000 - $40,000/year

​$10,000 - $40,000/year

$10,000 - $40,000/year

Total Magento Development Fees

$12,000 - $57,000+

​$43,000 - $189,000+

​$60,000 - $247,000+


Please note that the prices provided are averages or ranges and can vary depending on specific requirements and choices.



Implementing Your Ecommerce Platform


Now that you've chosen the right ecommerce platform for your business, it's time to implement it. Here are some crucial steps to follow:


Setting Up Your Online Store


Start by configuring your store settings, uploading product information, and creating engaging product descriptions and images. Be sure to optimize your store for search engines to maximize visibility.


Integrating with Existing Systems


If you already have existing systems, such as inventory management or customer relationship management (CRM) software, ensure that your chosen ecommerce platform integrates seamlessly with these systems. In this way, you can streamline your operations and prevent any data inconsistencies.


Training Your Team


Train your team on how to use the ecommerce platform effectively. To be efficient, your team needs a comprehensive understanding of the product management, order fulfillment, customer service, and reporting features. Training your team will ensure a smooth transition and enable them to make the most of the platform's capabilities.


Finally, choosing the right ecommerce platform is a crucial decision for your business. Consider your specific needs, budget, scalability, and user experience when making your choice. Review the top options available and implement your chosen platform effectively. With the right ecommerce platform, you'll be well-equipped to thrive in the digital marketplace and achieve your business goals.


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