No matter whether you an established business looking to setup an online presence or a brand new start-up gearing up to launch online, you need to choose the right ecommerce platform for your needs. There are many different options, so here we take a look at which one might be right for you.
Big Cartel is one of the ecommerce platforms that is very well known – this is because independent artists, musicians and very small businesses often set up a small store through this platform. However, Big Cartel is actually a full-sized platform that can be used by online businesses of all sizes. It is, of course, still extremely popular with creatives, but it could be ideal for you if you are looking for something easy to setup and manage.
And while it is potentially perfect for beginners and the less tech-savvy, the simplicity comes at a price. Big Cartel’s functionality can be relatively limited especially as a business wants to grow and expand. If you only need a simple store to sell items it could work well, but if you have more complex needs there are better alternatives available.
Shopify is another of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms – and with in excess of 500,000 active shops online, the platform is clearly keeping its users happy. Shopify is mainly focussed around social media integration to make it easy for casual shopping on mobile devices. It is common for business to start their Shopify store by connecting it with a Facebook page and selling directly through Facebook.
The platform offers a range of more than 100 themes alongside more than 1,500 extensions and plugins, making it easy to customise your shop. The pricing structure is also simple and easy to understand, making the whole experience of running a Shopify account very functional.
However, there are a few issues with the platform too. Typically, extensions on the platform are not free, so as you customise your shop it can become expensive. Additionally, you are locked into using the Shopify Payment system which means that there is a transaction fee to pay with every order.
“Magento is by far the most popular ecommerce platform in the world and is used by over a quarter of ecommerce sites across the internet.” – Cloud hosting specialists, Wirehive
If your business sells in high volumes and stocks a broad range of products, Magento can be the obvious choice. In fact, the platform hosts the stores of some of the world’s largest brands such as Burger King and Coca-Cola, although it does boast the versatility to be used by smaller businesses too.
One issue with Magento is that it can be complicated to setup and manage, especially if you lack technical expertise in your business. Many organisations prefer to opt for managed hosting as this can provide the expertise of professionals to keep the platform working as it should. For more information on managed hosting see here.
If your business is just starting out there are many simpler and more user-friendly options available which may be better suited. However, if you can invest in experienced web developers, Magneto does have a huge range of features that can be enjoyed.
Another of the world’s leading ecommerce platform, BigCommerce has in excess of 55,000 online shops, including everything from small businesses to large international brands such as Toyota and Ben and Jerry’s. This is a platform that prides itself on simplicity and ease of use for those without technical expertise.
It can be integrated into popular platforms such as eBay, Facebook and Google, as well as coming with a range of useful features such as newsletters, coupons and analytics. One downside to BigCommerce is there is a lack of free themes which means that you may need to pay for a premium theme to get the kind of look that you are hoping for.
WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular website building platform on the internet, and WooCommerce is the ecommerce plugin that is most commonly associated with the content management system. This means that the site benefits from the flexibility and power of WordPress as a whole.
The plugin is free, which makes it an easy choice if you already have a WordPress site setup. However, it should be noted that WooCommerce is not a standalone platform and the software offers fewer customisation options.