How does one decide on the right platform where there are hundreds of e commerce platforms to choose from? There are two options for you, one which is to go with a pre-built e commerce platform with everything ready for you including templates you can choose from and two, hiring a web developer you build a brand new one for you. Most people would lean towards option one, this being that it is much easier to use and you’ll also be able to work closely with other online store owners under the same e commerce platform provider.
As mentioned before, the e commerce platform market isn’t a small one, it’s huge with many options for you to choose from. Some providers might have a clean and simple feel to them, whereas some can feel cluttered but offer much affordable rates.
When first venturing off into the ecommerce platform market, you’ll find a few difficulties picking your first ecommerce platform to work with. Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself before deciding on a platform:
Service Or Products: This is an important question to ask. What are you selling? Are you selling a service or physical goods. It makes a huge difference when you are thinking about shipping costs and etc. Look for a platform that can suit and support your product needs.
Payment Methods: Look for a platform that offers a 3rd party payment method. Not all e commerce platforms offer the 3rd party payment method option. This is especially important is you are thinking of tapping into the international market. You’ll need to provide your customers from different parts of the word an easy way to pay you.
Hosted or Self Hosted: If your business requires you to change the look of your website often then look for platforms that will allow you to have a self hosted version of the store. Either way, majority of the platforms will allow you the flexibility of modifying your own store within a live environment.
Payment Plan: Lastly, pick an e commerce platform that suits your budget the best. Look for paying monthly methods instead of giving a small percentage of your sales to the e commerce hosting company. This will work in your favor in the long run.
All that there is left for you to do now is to go online and look for the most popular platforms available today, and start experimenting with it until you find something that you like and works for you. Then only will you know that, that is the e commerce platform you want to work with. The upside is, most e commerce platforms today allow you to sign up for a free trial before committing.
Here are some of the well known e commerce platforms:
Here is a breakdown of the top 3 e commerce platforms:
Shopify has over 12,000 merchants and is no doubt the most popular e commerce platfrom when it comes to building your own online store. In December of 2013, Shopify received a seed funding of $100M which will help them stay tremendously competitive with their competitors. With the funding, Shopify has plenty of opportunities to develop new technology and researching new markets to expand their reach.
If my business was selling clothes, digital books or furniture, I would definitely pick Shopify as my e commerce platform. Why? Because the themes and add on directories that are provided are more targeted to those kinds of stores. Besides that, Shopify already has thousands of merchants doing the same thing.
The upside to using Shopify is that because there are so many people on it, you’ll be able to receive community support if and when you do face any problems setting up or even after you’re done setting up. The lowest priced package starts at $14 per month for the basics and goes up to $79 per month for the professional package.
Instantestore is a browser based e commerce platform and a shopping cart software. This platform is great for beginners who have no programming or IT knowledge who would like to sell online. The solution has an array of features on top of its slick and easy to navigate admin panel. The setting up of a store on Instantestore is quick and simple. Everything from picking a template to payment options to the actual operation of the shopping cart will be simple.
On top of the regular e commerce features (product merchandising, site design, SEO, online marketing and design processing), Instantestore also has a pricing feature for those who are interested in selling wholesale. For sellers who want to provide price breaks for bulk purchase customers, this feature will work wonders for you. Sellers can give different wholesale pricing to different groups of customers. Customers who would prefer to have non-retail price will need to have their wholesale application approved. The seller can then set the price level for the product (up to nine different price levels). This would be ideal for wholesalers who have different bulk purchase customers.
Lastly, the best part about Instantestore is that is easy and very versatile for any online business. Not to mention they have great user reviews! The lowest priced package starts from $20 per month for the basics and goes up to $150 per month for the “Dominator” package.
It is almost expected that each e commerce platform company offers support for different areas of goods to sell. If you’re a business that sells food items, furniture or bikes then Volution is the platform for you. The default styles that they offer are perfect for such stores.
Volution is also another e commerce platform that offers a shopping cart software. It also includes features for product merchandising, site design, SEO, online marketing and design processing. Other features that they have are affiliate marketing and a loyalty rewards program. Volution also offers additions services such as protection from fraud, domain names and more.
This e commerce shopping platform has a great track record and is reliable. Volusion also offers an independent shopping cart software for customers who are looking to be a bit more serious with their business. The lowest priced package starts from $15 per month for the basics and goes up to $135 for the “Premium” package.