Creating an e-shop is a challenge. You need to manage inventory, process payments, and encourage buyers to purchase additional items. The first difficulty that any retailer faces is choosing an e-commerce platform. The success of retail depends heavily on choosing the right software, but there is no optimal platform for e-commerce. You need to evaluate eCommerce solutions and tools based on how well they contribute to the achievement of certain business goals.
This article explains what features to look for, whether you’re considering a ready-made or a custom e-commerce platform. We offer our overview of the best options to make your selection easier:
Any decent ecommerce software should allow you to simplify the purchase process, accept payments with ease, and get insightful sales reports. However, this is only the basis. Here are some other points to keep in mind when looking for an online sales platform:
Although it is getting easier to open a web shop with so many pre-built e-commerce solutions, retailers need to be very careful because not all e-commerce platforms are equally good. The best e-commerce platform for startups is not ideal for large companies and vice versa.
Shopify is one of the leading providers of online shop software. The platform is used by over 75,000 stores. Several diverse and attractive topics allow easy customization of the business. In this case, however, programming knowledge or a Shopify development team of experts is still required to do all the technical work for you. Shopify has built-in functions for accepting credit card payments and inventory management.
Shopify positions itself as a user-friendly platform. However, configuration and startup for a “non-tech” user can be quite complicated. It is better to contact a professional team.
Shopify App Store offers a variety of extensions that allow you to boost the e-commerce business, integrate your shop with external services and tools and add functions to your admin area. Mobile apps for Android and iOS were developed to expand the checkout functions and improve the mobile shopping experience.
There are a variety of unique Shopify templates and themes with different styles and layouts. You can customize topics using the editor, but you can also change the topic code if necessary.
In addition to the Help Center, the API documentation and the Shopify Forums, Shopify experts offer help around the clock when starting a shop.
Shopify fees are calculated per month and depend on the edition: $ 29 for Basic Shopify, $ 79 for Shopify and $ 299 for Advanced Shopify.
BigCommerce is one of the most successful projects by e-commerce website developers serving over 50,000 e-shops. It has two editions: Enterprise and Essentials. The first is suitable for large companies, the second for small and medium-sized brands.
With BigCommerce you can set up a business from scratch, design it, increase traffic through SEO, accept payments and send and execute orders. The platform can be easily integrated into eBay, Google Shopping and other services.
BigCommerce offers useful instructions to make starting the e-shop easier. However, development knowledge is required to configure the platform.
BigCommerce offers various shipping methods:
With regard to payment methods, integration with multiple currencies and payment gateways is included. The platform also supports online payments through Amazon Pay, PayPal and Apple Pay.
You can offer different types of discounts (product, order, customers, etc.) and vouchers for effective promotions.
There are several reports included in the monthly subscription:
Activated HTTPS, SEO-friendly templates, simple optimization of URLs, automatically generated sitemaps and quick links to social media – all of this is what you get with BigCommerce. You can customize your headings, titles and meta tags and create a blog.
Retailers can expand the functions of the web shop through apps and integrations. There are over 680 apps in the BigCommerce App Store.
BigCommerce offers a large number of templates: 12 free themes and 127 paid ones that cost between $ 145 and $ 235. However, customers often complain that templates are not unique.
BigCommerce offers comprehensive support for its customers. There are communities for customers and developers, the knowledge database and several video instructions. Live support can be accessed by phone, live chat and email.
Essentials Edition costs between $ 29.95 and $ 249.95 per month. The enterprise price is set individually.
WooCommerce is an e-commerce platform for creating e-shops based on WordPress. The plugin is particularly popular with medium-sized companies because it is available free of charge and retailers can get an e-commerce CMS without any great financial outlay.
WooCommerce is not a hosted platform. You must therefore manage all configurations and settings and take care of the security yourself. There’s no built-in drag-and-drop design tool, so you’ll also need special page builders – usually paid ones.
Around 40 free and 240 paid plugins are available to expand the functionality of WooCommerce.
17 themes are available, 3 of which are free.
In addition to the documentation and the frequently asked questions, there is support for customers so that you can simply make an online request in any case.
WooCommerce is free, but you need to purchase a domain name (around $ 15), an SSL certificate (around $ 70) and a WordPress hosting account (around $ 8 per month) to start an e-shop to open. Extension pricing varies from $ 0 to $ 250.
Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms for web shops. At the same time, it is one of the most expensive and demanding products. It is based on the open source model and offers you flexibility when setting up the web shop. Due to the extensive functions and the necessary development skills, Magento development is a preferred option for medium and large companies.
Magento is known as a platform that is not easy to use. In fact, starting a Magento store can be a challenge for beginners. In this case, hiring Magento developers and administrators with relevant experience is the best option.
There are thousands of extensions on the Magento Marketplace that have been checked for plagiarism, coding standards and compatibility.
Almost all Magento themes are chargeable, but cheap. They are modern and contribute to a great user experience.
There is no 24/7 customer support, but there are plenty of user guides and a lively community that can help you manage your shop.
Although Magento Community Edition is free, you have to pay for customization, hosting, extensions, and themes to make your shop perform. The price for the Magento Enterprise Edition starts at $ 20,000.
PrestaShop is one of the free e-commerce CMS. If you want to expand the functionality, you have to buy additional modules. This online sales platform has a practical control panel and flexible settings. PrestaShop is less popular than Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce, but it offers almost all basic e-commerce functions.
The developer skills are required. Setting up PrestaShop can take some time because the backend is not that user-friendly. However, there is a demo that will walk you through the entire process. Good news: As soon as you have finished setting up, integrating and configuring the modules, the daily tasks, e.g. B. adding products or managing orders, simple.
You can add carriers, organize “My carrier” when a buyer picks up a product, or call up different modules.
Payment options include PayPal, bank transfer, cash on delivery and check. There is also a standard payment module, PrestaShop Checkout, which is now only available for some European countries.
You can offer coupons and free shipping, make special offers, set pricing rules, and change discount modes.
With PrestaShop, retailers can monitor their progress with reports on marketing performance, traffic, and insights into product sales and customer behavior on the business pages. In this way, you can measure the impact of advertising campaigns that identify the most and least popular products and promote those that are not selling well. You get a statistical overview of all shopping carts that are currently open and can react quickly to the task of the shopping cart.
PrestaShop allows you to set meta titles, descriptions, keywords and user-friendly URLs for the product and CMS pages. Crucial SEO functions such as the sitemap builder, the automatic generation of meta tags, the integration with Google Analytics and social media are only available with fee-based modules and services
On the PrestaShop marketplace you will find more than 3,000 modules with which you can achieve your business goals, e.g. B. Customize your e-shops, increase data traffic, improve conversion rates and retain customers.
There are more than 3,500 topics on the PrestaShop marketplace. A handy navigator enables you to quickly find the most suitable option by choosing your version, industry, topic language and the required functions, including:
Customer support is available but still expensive. The cheapest support plan is three hours of support a month and costs $ 250.
PrestaShop is licensed under the Open Software License (OSL) so you can download it for free. You pay when you choose the hosting provider, install a theme and add modules.
Each product from this e-commerce platform list has its advantages and disadvantages and is suitable for different retailers.
For small businesses and startups, the best online store builder should be inexpensive and easy to configure. Therefore, it makes sense to choose Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce. As the business grows, you can unlock advanced features by updating the ecommerce platform plan (for Shopify and BigCommerce) and adding plug-ins. After reading the guides and community articles, you can start a small to medium-sized online shop with basic functions and a template-based design. However, to get a full-fledged e-commerce solution on one of these three platforms, you still need the help of experienced developers.
Large companies and e-commerce brands looking for unlimited customization options, complicated functions and full control over the e-shop will find either Magento or PrestaShop the best platform to sell online.
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below and stay tuned!