In the beginning, eCommerce platforms used to cost thousands of dollars, which prevented numerous small businesses from starting their online stores. However, several well-known eCommerce platforms now provide cheap or free alternatives.
In the article, we’ll look at the most well-known eCommerce platforms where you could begin your online store. We’ve provided comprehensive pros and cons of each platform, so you can select the best eCommerce platform that meets your requirements.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are ecommerce platforms ?
- 2 Top 10 Ecommerce Platforms
- 3 Important Ecommerce Platform Features
- 4 The types of eCommerce platforms
What are ecommerce platforms ?
A platform for ecommerce is the software a company uses to manage all their B2B and B2C online shopping requirements. These requirements include product page reviews, transaction orders, fulfillment of orders, customer support, and returns.
The most efficient ecommerce platform comes from your unique business model and growth plans. Here’s a list of top e-commerce platforms to help you determine the best choice for your company.
Top 10 Ecommerce Platforms
One of the reasons for the popularity of WooCommerce is that it’s a straightforward to use, free plugin for WordPress, which is currently the most well-known CMS within the digital realm. Furthermore, WooCommerce allows users to increase the size of their e-commerce store efficiently without any difficulty.
WooCommerce Hosting is also accessible to enhance the performance of your store.
Cloudways also provides a WooCommerce Starter Bundle. Instead of linking plugins one after one, the WooCommerce Starter Pack allows you to integrate one click for many of the most popular plugins, like:
- Kadence Email Designer
- Stripe Gateway
- Paypal Checkout
- Checkout Field Editor
- Coupon Shortcodes
- Shipping & Tax
- Google Analytics
- Cart Abandonment Recovery
It’s the best solution for people looking to start their online stores quickly and efficiently with WooCommerce. It’s also fantastic, considering the versatility it provides to your search engine optimization for your e-commerce site.
2. Zyro – Best Price for a Full Online Store
Zyro is a user-friendly and beginner-friendly website builder with the capability to sell products on the internet. It’s simple to use and affordable.
Because it’s specifically designed for small-sized e-commerce sites, Zyro has a refreshing simplicity. As a result, it’s ideal for anyone looking to earn just a few hundred or thousands of dollars a month.
You don’t need to sell many items to earn profits, And you won’t need an expert web designer to keep the website up to date. Instead, I would recommend Zyro for those who want a “move-in ready” online store that allows you to set up your digital signage and begin selling immediately.
Squarespace is the biggest market share as of April 2022. It has become extremely popular in recent years.
Squarespace offers everything you require to launch an online store, with various themes, customizable features, and many more. But, there are a few limitations that prevent the platform from being accessible to larger stores.
For instance, Squarespace has limited customization options. Furthermore, as it’s a hosted site, not a standalone one, you could have difficulty choosing the best hosting service.
4. Shopify – Best for Your First Million In Revenue
Shopify is the most popular option for getting an online store up and running. It’s easy to use but capable of handling massive sales. It’s certain to get you to your first million dollars in revenue regardless of how little you’re beginning.
The Shopify Lite (starting at just $9 per month) allows you to include “Buy Now” buttons to your existing website, like an online blog or company’s home page. Complete online stores start at $29 a month and include everything you need to run an e-commerce business into a modern platform.
It’s very easy to use, even though it’s an extremely robust platform. The majority of users who we spoke to were pleased with Shopify for its user-friendliness, especially for those new to the platform.
One user with no prior experience in technology who “hates computers,” was able to make her website operational within a single week “just kind of trying different things.”
Another customer who worked for a major furniture retailer shared how the platform can teach users how to be successful. He’d never experienced an online platform that was so warm and accommodating before.
“Shopify helps you set up everything,” He stated. “It doesn’t do things for you, but it makes you aware of things you need to do.” That was the main factor for the user. He explained his useful notifications: “Hey, you probably should check your taxes. You might want an inventory alert.”
The platform detected problems automatically and blindspots that could be costly to find later. “As a first-time store operator, it can be really beneficial,” said the manager.
Two of the Shopify customers we spoke with, their experiences show the range of people who can begin using the platform, from beginners to mature companies looking to break into the e-commerce market.
6,700plus plugins and apps The biggest e-commerce app store by a considerable distance. BigCommerce is the closest competitor in my top ten list, providing approximately 1,000 applications. Shopify customers get a larger range of more advanced tools to interact with social media, sell products, complete orders, and track sales. The greatest benefit? More than 3,000 free apps are available.
It is easy to expand: Shopify supports multiple employees’ accounts, currencies, and locations for inventory with its basic plans. In addition, its bulk-editing feature that is available for managing inventory is simple to label, track and update large amounts of products in a short duration.
The deep database of knowledge The Shopify online resources greatly assisted the users we spoke with. Although they provide 24/7 customer service, One user commented, “I think they do a really good job of giving you enough information that you don’t need to contact them.”
BigCommerce is a popular software-as-a-service eCommerce platform that enables merchants to build, innovate and grow their businesses online. It was founded in 2009 and ran over 600,000 stores in more than 150 countries; it has become a major player in the online retail industry and continues to expand. Some of their most notable clients comprise Ben & Jerry’s, Molton Brown, S.C. Johnson, Skullcandy, Sony, Vodafone, and Woolrich.
With integrations that include Amazon, Google, Walmart, and many more, BigCommerce is a good choice for retailers who want a complete way to sell online and offline.
Although major players such as Magento as well as Shopify have yet to give up the ground, BigCommerce is doing everything it can to get ahead. Their aggressive acquisition strategy enabled them to compete strategically with the world’s leading competitors and surpass their position as a new e-commerce platform.
The e-commerce platform Magento had the second largest market share in 2017, with 9 percent of the global market share of eCommerce. But in 2018, the tides turned when it lost its monopoly to Shopify. Unfortunately, this gap continues to increase because Shopify has twice the growth rate of Magento in 2022.
Many Magento customers have switched to Shopify to gain a more user-friendly experience. But, Magento offers customization that Shopify can’t offer; this is why it’s maintained its hold on its highly skilled customer base.
Magento eCommerce is equipped with various analytics tools monitoring, conversion optimization, and monitoring. Magento can be used with the OOP and MVC architectures. It is a huge deal for web designers but not for those who are less tech-savvy. It may be a hassle for those who don’t have the technical know-how needed to modify Magento and expand their online stores efficiently. However, if you have the technical know-how, Magento can be a fantastic online store for your business.
7. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce already has a household name. It is possible to create a variety of E-commerce websites that run on cloud technology with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which allows you to customize options for marketing, sales and order fulfillment, feedback, and more.
8. Square Online
The company was formerly known as Weebly; before it was acquired from Square, Square Online offered excellent value-for-money and design versatility.
Weebly is still in existence and is a great choice for smaller companies. However, if you’re operating a large-scale e-commerce site, Square Online might be the right choice for you.
It comes with all the essential features, such as built-in marketing tools and a dashboard that provides all the information you require in one glance.
If you’re planning to launch an online store but want to reduce the initial cost, Ecwid is the ideal platform to start. It offers a wonderful free plan that allows you to sell the first ten physical items with inexpensive upgrade tiers beginning at just $15/month when you expand or require additional features. Additionally, there are no transaction fees added over and above the fees your payment processor costs, so you’re not taking any profits by hiding costs.
9. BuyNow Plus
BuyNow Plus is not an eCommerce platform. Instead, it allows you to design “buy now” buttons that you can place on any site. You’ll need to sign up for an account on Stripe account to be able to access BuyNow Plus.
The transaction fee is fairly minimal at just 2 percent per transaction. However, Stripe has its own transaction fee over and above this. It is possible to use BuyNow Plus to handle recurring payments on credit cards without having your customers establish an account. This is a great feature if you’re selling subscriptions for products that aren’t available in stores.
You can place the links on social media and for your site or even incorporate them into emails. There’s no limit to the many different items you can sell with BuyNow Plus.
10. Big Cartel
Big Cartel is a hosted eCommerce platform specifically designed for creatives and artists. If you’re looking to set up an online shop selling hand-made products or similar items, this could be an ideal choice for you.
Important Ecommerce Platform Features
Every storefront online has distinct requirements. Choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business is entirely contingent on the platform’s capability to tackle the everyday issues that are inherent to your business.
There are the essential facts you need to learn about potential providers.
The host environment is an internet hosting platform that is used to host an online store and includes features like payment processing and security initiatives, SSL shopping cart software, and many more.
Based on the volume of traffic you’re getting and the site’s size, budget, experience, and the number of items you’re selling, you’ll have to choose the best hosting service to meet your needs, particularly if you’re dependent on an online store to generate revenue.
Fortunately, BigCommerce stands out from the crowd by offering 99.99 percent uptime and unlimited bandwidth through the Google Cloud Platform, a top-rated, fast, flexible, and secure host.
In addition, BigCommerce merchants have access to the following features of hosting:
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- Fast content delivery network.
- Purchase the latest domain names.
- Use an existing domain name.
- A shared SSL certificate is included.
- Transfer or purchase designated SSL certificates.
Infinite API calls.
If you are using a SaaS system, the number of API calls accessible, the performance of these APIs, and whether the required APIs are in place are crucial to ensure that the platforms function seamlessly. Therefore, companies must be able to have large or even unlimited API call volume. But, each SaaS platform does this differently and has a different API call volume.
For instance, Shopify has an API call limit of a certain number per second limit. In contrast, BigCommerce has the industry’s best API calling per second, and no limit on API calls available to Enterprise merchants. In addition, we don’t charge by the amount of API calls your company makes.
A user-friendly and easy-to-use website builder.
Over 60% of web designers say they’ve spent between 11 and 40 hours working on a site before they are ready to make it available for their clients.
If you’re an owner of a business with only a little experience with developing and designing websites, this could appear like a daunting task. This is the reason why it’s essential to choose an online platform that has a user-friendly eCommerce website builder, as well as a wide variety of free themes that are not proprietary in their languages. BigCommerce Page Builder, for instance. Pages Builder from BigCommerce, for instance, is an excellent choice for beginners in web design because of its easy access and versatility. It has drag-and-drop capabilities, which allows you to make fast adjustments to your site and have complete control over your brand, and make sure your website is up and running more quickly.
Operating an online shop means dealing with sensitive data like addresses of customers as well as credit card numbers and other financial information, and that’s your responsibility to manage it with attention to detail.
PCI Compliance standards must be fulfilled to accept payments. If not, you could be penalized for fines, losing the acceptance of payments and loss of confidence from customers, and other financial penalties related to fraud.
The minimum offered by certain platforms might not be sufficient. A lot of platforms have the SSL certificate; however, proper security may require software from a third party or an expenditure on internal infrastructure.
Fortunately, BigCommerce stores come standard with PCI Level 1 compliance to ensure your website is secure and safe. So you can focus on the time you need to build your business rather than stressing about safety.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
According to a study conducted by MarketingSignals that 90% of online businesses do not succeed within their first 12 months, most likely due to poor search engine optimization, which shows that generating the right search engine traffic isn’t as easy as it looks.
With elements such as page load speed and relevant keywords, mobile-friendly, and the structure of your website all contributing to SEO rankings, there’s a lot you need to consider when it comes to optimizing your website.
Fortunately, many online platforms have SEO tools built-in to make your life simpler.
For example, BigCommerce provides several SEO tools straight from the beginning:
- Optimized URLs For category, product, as well as other sites, automatically populates SEO-friendly URLs and permits merchants to modify the settings of their URL.
- Unique URLs Every page unique has a unique URL, which can prevent duplicate content.
- The microdata is “rich snippets” built into pages of products to improve results on search engines.
- Redirects to 301 and URL rewrite If during the process of migration, you decide to change the name of your products, BigCommerce will redirect the current URL over to the brand new one to allow customers to easily navigate to the product they are looking for.
- CDN (content delivery network): BigCommerce’s CDN is constantly working behind the scenes to make sure your online store is loaded fast for customers as well as search engines.
In addition to the ones listed in the list, there is a myriad of additional important eCommerce aspects to be aware of:
- An extensive app marketplace or store with built-in integrations with top-of-the-line service providers.
- Mobile-optimized website, checkout and complete experience (out-of-the-box), and choices of mobile-friendly apps.
- Integrations of marketing automation.
- Built-in essential e-commerce features, such as discounts and promotions as well as analytics catalog management, WYSIWYG editors, etc.
- Many payment gateways and payment options.
- Bandwidth is available for a variety of items and an unlimited number of products.
The types of eCommerce platforms
There are four major types of online business platforms:
The term “open source” refers to a type of authorization understanding that allows customers to freely modify an existing work, apply for the work in different ways, coordinate it to a greater extent, or decide to make another task that is dependent on the previous. Although it is typically used in the production industry, professionals use open source licenses across a range of areas, including education, mechanical autonomy, designing, and many more.
Open-source authorizing understanding is in contrast to an exclusive permit. When a customer is first introduced to a piece of software that is restricted, the user usually agrees that they will not alter or modify the source code and will only use the product according to the guidelines that are approved by the manufacturer. The back-end code for proprietary software has been kept hidden from the general public, and any attempt to modify or copy the code will be subject to an authorized action by the product’s owner.
A licensed platform is when you purchase a once-off license to establish an online store on the preferred hosting provider, whether by yourself or through an outsider who is assisting an organization. The permit defines what you are permitted to use the platform for; generally speaking, it outlines the number of saves that can be created with the permit, the access to sources of code, and so on.
If you’re in need of assistance from an association or their services for your website, then a product that is licensed is the best option. Transferring to a different platform may need modifications. Some merchants who want to increase the minimum number of clients have stopped building their products and imposed permit costs. If the product does not perform well, then the problem will pass you by, and you’re caught until you decide to redesign. The Shut Source framework is typically a third – or fourth-era platform for eCommerce businesses that are efficient.
A hosted platform, as its name suggests, that is renowned for its crowd. This means there is an ongoing month-to-month or yearly repeating fee to use the platform. The framework is typically closed because there is no access to the code source or FTP to transfer files and modifications. Access is via the application or program. Other minor deviations from the term could include SaaS (Software as a Service) or cloud applications.
Saas products are paid more when the costs increase. They are comparable to the allowed product; however, they are paid months in a row and include the facilitation. Information dissemination to transfer to another platform is usually a challenge or even impossible. The move requires a complete redesign. The advantage is that it is quick to set up; however, the downside is the hidden month-to-month charges that are often tied to the exchange volume. Therefore, the more you switch, the greater your SaaS charges. There are a variety of SaaS platforms and a vast array of charge methods.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a distributed computing model in which an outsider vendor provides hardware and software tools, usually the ones required for the development of applications to customers via the internet. A PaaS provider has the hardware and software on their own as a base. Thus, PaaS allows engineers to not have to introduce their own equipment and software in order to develop or run an application.