For companies of all sizes, having an online presence is essential in the current digital era. With the rise of eCommerce, small businesses have the opportunity to reach a broader audience and increase sales by setting up an online store.
However, selecting the right eCommerce platform can be a daunting task, especially with the numerous options available in the market.
Small businesses must evaluate the different platforms' features, cost, ease of use, customization, scalability, security, and support to make an informed decision.
In this article, we will explore some of the eCommerce platforms that are ideal for small businesses and highlight the essential factors that businesses should consider when selecting a platform.
What should you do before choosing an eCommerce platform?
Before choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, there are several things that you should do to ensure that you select the best option for your business needs. Here are some of the steps you should take:
Define your requirements: Determine the specific features and functionalities that you require from an eCommerce platform, such as payment processing, shipping, and tax options. Identifying your requirements will help you evaluate different platforms and select the best one that fits your business needs.
Evaluate your budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on an eCommerce platform. Consider the setup fees, transaction fees, and monthly fees of different platforms and select one that fits your budget.
Research eCommerce platforms: Conduct research to identify the various e-commerce platforms available in the market. Compare the features and functionalities of each platform against your requirements to determine which platforms meet your needs.
Consider the user experience: Consider how easy it is for you and your customers to use the platform. Look for a platform that is user-friendly, offers a seamless checkout process, and has a professional look and feel.
Review the platform's security features: Consider the security features of each platform, such as SSL encryption, fraud protection, and secure payment processing. Ensure that the platform you choose offers adequate security to protect your business and customers' sensitive information.
By taking these steps before selecting an eCommerce platform, you can make an informed decision and choose a platform that fits your business's needs, budget, and goals.
All of a startup's issues can be solved with the appropriate online eCommerce software, but if you don't know where to begin, choosing the best option might be quite overwhelming. Here is the list of top eCommerce platforms small businesses should start with
Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that was first released in 2008. It was developed by Varien, which was later acquired by Adobe in 2018. Magento is designed to provide a flexible and scalable solution for online merchants, allowing them to customize their eCommerce websites according to their specific needs.
Magento offers both a free and a paid version of its platform. The free version, known as Magento Open Source, is available for download on the Magento website. The paid version, called Magento Commerce, is available on a subscription basis and offers additional features and support.
Magento is a robust eCommerce platform that offers many features, including inventory management, order management, payment processing, and shipping management. It also supports multiple languages and currencies, making it an ideal choice for businesses that operate internationally.
Magento can be challenging for beginners to use, as it requires some technical knowledge to set up and customize. However, once you get the hang of it, it is a very powerful and flexible platform that can be tailored to meet the needs of any eCommerce business.
Theme and design
Magento offers a variety of themes and templates that can be customized to match your brand and style. Additionally, third-party developers offer a wide range of premium themes that can be purchased and installed on your Magento website.
Magento is an open-source platform, which means it is highly customizable and flexible.
It offers a wide range of features and tools to help manage an eCommerce business.
It is an expandable solution that may develop along with your company.
It supports multiple languages and currencies, making it a great choice for international businesses.
Magento can be difficult for beginners to use and requires some technical knowledge to set up and customize.
It can be resource-intensive, which means it may require more server resources than other eCommerce platforms.
The cost of premium themes and extensions can add up quickly, making it a more expensive option compared to other eCommerce platforms
All things considered, Magento is a potent eCommerce platform that is ideal for companies that require extensive customization and management of their online store. Yet, it might not be the greatest choice for companies looking for a user-friendly and affordable platform.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create and operate their own online stores. It was introduced in 2006 and has since expanded to rank among the most widely used eCommerce platforms worldwide. With Shopify, users can easily create an online store, manage their inventory, process payments, and more.
To accommodate the requirements of companies of all sizes, Shopify offers a variety of pricing tiers. The plans range in price from Shopify Basic ($29/month) to Shopify Advanced ($299/month). Shopify charges a transaction fee for each sale that is performed through the platform in addition to the monthly subscription price. Depending on the pricing strategy, the transaction cost changes.
Shopify offers a wide range of features and tools to help users build and operate an online store. Some of the key features include customizable themes, payment processing, inventory management, shipping and fulfillment, analytics, and more. Users can also add a variety of third-party apps to their stores to extend the functionality of the platform.
One of the main advantages of Shopify is its user-friendliness. The platform is designed to be easy to use, even for people who have little to no experience with eCommerce. The platform offers a range of pre-built themes and templates, which can be customized using a drag-and-drop interface. Additionally, Shopify offers extensive documentation and customer support to help users get the most out of the platform.
Theme and Design
Shopify offers a wide range of customizable themes and templates, which allow users to create a unique look and feel for their online stores. Users can choose from both free and paid themes and can customize everything from the colour scheme to the layout and design of their store.
Ease of use
Wide range of features and tools
Customizable themes and templates
Robust app store
Excellent customer support and documentation
Transaction fees, able to add up over time for high-volume stores
Limiting in terms of customization, especially for advanced users
Issues with app integration and compatibility.
In conclusion, Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features and tools to help users create and operate their own online stores. With its customizable themes, user-friendly interface, and robust app store, Shopify is a great choice for businesses of all sizes, especially for those who are new to eCommerce.
While it does have some potential disadvantages, such as transaction fees and limitations on customization, overall Shopify is a reliable and effective platform for anyone looking to start selling products online.
WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress eCommerce plugin that makes it simple for users to create and maintain online stores. Here is a quick summary of the key issues you raised:
WooCommerce is open source and free to use. To add more functionality and features to the platform, there are numerous premium extensions available; these extensions range in price from $29 to $299 each year.
WooCommerce features a simple UI and is comparatively simple to use. It can still be somewhat technical to set up and customize a store, so customers may need to be familiar with some fundamental coding concepts or be ready to employ a developer.
Theme and design
Every WordPress theme can be used with WooCommerce, but there are also a ton of WooCommerce-specific themes that are best for online stores. A store's layout can be completely customized to reflect the unique style and feel of a given brand.
Free-to-use and open source
Numerous opportunities for customisation
A sizable extension and plugin library
Robust resources for community and support
Incorporates a number of payment gateways
Can be complicated to set up and customize for non-developers because of its technological nature
Might be slow and resource-intensive
To add specific features, need to use extra plugins or custom code.
Fewer integrated SEO capabilities than on competing eCommerce platformsDisadvantages
All things considered, WooCommerce is a well-liked and adaptable option for individuals wishing to create an online store on WordPress. Several businesses find it to be an affordable alternative due to its open-source design and the abundance of plugins and extensions. You can think about asking some of WooCommerce's best developers for additional guidance.
BigCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform that allows businesses of all sizes to create and manage online stores.
Founded in 2009, BigCommerce provides a comprehensive set of features and tools for building and running an eCommerce website, including customizable templates, marketing tools, inventory management, and integrations with popular payment gateways and shipping providers.
With a user-friendly interface and a range of pricing plans to suit different business needs, BigCommerce has become a popular choice for businesses looking to establish an online presence and sell products online.
BigCommerce offers a range of pricing plans to suit different business needs. The plans start at $29.95 per month and go up to $299.95 per month, with custom enterprise plans available for larger businesses. All plans come with unlimited products, file storage, and bandwidth.
BigCommerce provides a comprehensive set of features and tools for building and managing an eCommerce website. It offers a wide range of integrations with popular tools and platforms such as PayPal, Stripe, Amazon, and eBay. Additionally, it has built-in SEO and marketing tools, as well as inventory management, shipping, and tax calculation tools.
BigCommerce is designed to be user-friendly and easy to use for non-technical users. It has a drag-and-drop visual editor, customizable templates, and a straightforward dashboard. Additionally, it has a comprehensive knowledge base and customer support to help users with any questions or issues they may encounter.
Theme and design
BigCommerce offers a range of professionally designed themes and templates to choose from, with options to customize the design to suit your brand. Additionally, it offers a marketplace of third-party themes and extensions that can be added to the site for additional functionality and customization.
A comprehensive set of features and tools
Range of pricing plans to suit different business needs
User-friendly design and dashboard
Wide range of integrations and extensions
Strong SEO and marketing tools
Good customer support
Higher-priced plans can be expensive for small businesses
Limited design and customization options compared to some other eCommerce platforms
Some features may require technical knowledge to set up and use effectively.
Overall, BigCommerce is a comprehensive eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features, integrations, and support options. While it may not be the best fit for every business, it can be a good choice for businesses that need a robust eCommerce platform with strong SEO and marketing tools and can afford the higher price points.
5. Squarespace Commerce
Squarespace Commerce is an eCommerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create an online store and sell products online. It's part of Squarespace, a website builder that's known for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface and sleek designs.
Price: Squarespace Commerce offers different pricing plans depending on the features you need. The plans range from $18/per month to $40/per month, with an additional 3% transaction fee on the lower-priced plans. There's also an advanced plan for high-volume merchants that starts at $46/month.
Squarespace Commerce offers a wide range of eCommerce features, including inventory management, order processing, shipping and tax calculations, discount codes, and abandoned cart recovery. It also integrates with several payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay.
Squarespace Commerce is known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for users to create a professional-looking online store without any coding or design skills. The platform also offers 24/7 customer support via chat and email, as well as a knowledge base with helpful articles and video tutorials.
Theme and design
Squarespace Commerce offers a wide range of professionally designed templates that are fully customizable to fit your brand. The themes are modern and visually appealing, with a strong focus on showcasing your products.
Built-in eCommerce features
Strong SEO capabilities and integration with several third-party apps and tools.
The lack of flexibility when it comes to customizing the checkout process
Lacking in scalability compared to several other eCommerce platforms
Squarespace Commerce is a user-friendly eCommerce platform that offers modern designs and a range of built-in eCommerce features. It's a great choice for small to medium-sized businesses looking to create a professional-looking online store without any coding or design skills. However, it may not be the best choice for high-volume merchants or those who need more flexibility with their checkout process.
OpenCart is an open-source eCommerce platform that allows businesses to set up and manage their online stores. It was first released in 2009 and has since become a popular option for businesses of all sizes. OpenCart is written in PHP and uses a MySQL database to store information.
OpenCart is a free platform, meaning you can download and use it for your online store at no cost. However, you may need to pay for additional features or themes that are not included in the core platform. Additionally, you will need to pay for web hosting and a domain name to set up your online store.
OpenCart offers a wide range of features that allow you to customize your online store to fit your business's needs. Some of the features include multiple payment gateways, product reviews, sales reports, tax management, and multi-language support. Additionally, OpenCart has a large community of developers that create and share third-party extensions and modules to enhance the functionality of your online store.
OpenCart is relatively easy to use, even for those with limited technical expertise. The platform has a user-friendly interface that allows you to manage your online store without needing to know how to code. Yet, certain sophisticated features could necessitate greater technical expertise.
Theme and Design
OpenCart offers a wide range of themes and designs that you can use to customize the appearance of your online store. There are both free and paid themes available, and you can also create your own custom theme if you have the technical expertise.
OpenCart is a free platform, making it an affordable option for small businesses.
The platform is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your business's needs.
There is a large community of developers that create and share extensions and modules, allowing you to add new features to your online store.
OpenCart has a user-friendly interface, making it easy to manage your online store without needing advanced technical knowledge.
While OpenCart is customisable, it may require more technical expertise than other eCommerce platforms.
Some features may require you to pay for third-party extensions or modules, which can add to the overall cost of using the platform.
OpenCart may not be as popular or widely used as other eCommerce platforms, meaning it may be more difficult to find support or resources.
Overall, OpenCart is a solid eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features and customization options.
It may be a good option for small businesses looking for an affordable eCommerce platform but may require more technical expertise than other options. If you are considering OpenCart, it's important to evaluate your business's needs and compare the platform to other options to determine if it's the right fit for you.
Tips For Small Companies Choosing Ecommerce Platforms
Selecting an eCommerce platform for your small business is an important decision that can impact your online store's success. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an eCommerce platform for your small business:
Cost: For small businesses, the cost is often a major factor when selecting an eCommerce platform. Consider the platform's pricing model, including any setup fees, transaction fees, and monthly fees. Look for a platform that fits within your budget while still offering the features and functionality that you need.
Ease of use: Choose an eCommerce platform that is easy to use and doesn't require a lot of technical knowledge. The platform should have a user-friendly interface and be easy to navigate. If you have limited technical expertise, look for platforms that offer support and resources to help you get started.
Customization: Look for a platform that allows you to customize your online store to fit your brand's needs. This includes the ability to customize the theme and design of your store, as well as add custom features and functionality.
Features and functionality: Evaluate the platform's features and functionality to ensure that it can meet your business's needs. Consider features like payment gateways, shipping options, and product management tools.
Scalability: Choose a platform that can grow with your business. Look for platforms that offer scalability options, such as the ability to add more products or users as your business grows.
Security: Ensure that the platform you choose has adequate security measures in place to protect your customers' sensitive information, such as SSL encryption, fraud protection, and secure payment processing.
Support: Choose a platform that offers adequate support and resources to help you manage your online store. Look for platforms that offer customer support, tutorials, and a community of users to connect with.
Considering these factors, you can select an eCommerce platform that fits your small business's needs and budget. It's important to evaluate multiple platforms and compare their features, pricing, and support options to determine the best fit for your business.
In conclusion, selecting the right eCommerce platform for your small business is a critical decision that can impact your online success. As a small business owner, it's essential to consider factors such as cost, ease of use, customization, features, scalability, security, and support when selecting an eCommerce platform.
While there are numerous eCommerce platforms available in the market, evaluating each platform's offerings and comparing them against your business's unique requirements can help you select the ideal platform.
By choosing the right eCommerce platform, you can build a successful online store that effectively engages your customers and drives your business's growth.