There are billions of internet users around the world. It has given brands, opportunity to increase their brand awareness and meet their business goals. Businesses now use e-commerce platforms to sell their product and services online.
The e-commerce platforms made the interaction between businesses and customers convenient. Nowadays, it is indispensable to use e-commerce to sell your products and services.
But before we begin breaking down the best ecommerce platforms, let us define them. E-commerce platforms are the software that enables the commercial process of buying and selling over the internet. It allows business owners to present their products to their customers. It also allows customers to find products of their choice online.
Consumers now prefer online shopping rather than looking for the product in the streets. It allows them to choose, compare and select the product that best suits their needs.
However, besides the demand for e-commerce and the benefits that it can do to your business, it is essential to choose the right platform for your business.
There are mainly three types of e-commerce platforms, namely SaaS(software-as-a-service), PaaS(platforms as a service), and on-premise platforms.
Here is the list of the top 5 e-commerce platforms:
WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress that allows businesses to create and manage their e-commerce stores. It is the most popular e-commerce platform, with a market share of around 25%.
WooCommerce offers many helpful features such as order tracking, customer engagement, delivery status update, etc. It is reasonably flexible with distinctive options such as inventory and tax management, secure payment, and shipping integration.
One of the factors of its popularity is its compatibility with WordPress websites. It allows you to turn a WordPress blog into an e-commerce store. You can add products, a shopping cart, and check-out options to your blog.
There are thousands of paid and free themes compatible with WooCommerce are available on the internet. It is best if you already have a blog on WordPress and are looking to convert it into an e-commerce store.
On the bright side, it reduces the hustle on your part. However, there might be difficulty in getting certain areas of the store to look exactly like you want them to.
It might require some extra work to yield a website of your choice. It might require altering the theme’s CSS or installing some other plugins. In extreme cases, you might have to change the theme.
Shopify is the second most popular e-commerce platform. It is one of the most effective and affordable ways of bringing your business online. You can get going in a few simple steps.
Shopify subsumes over 20% of the e-commerce market share. Since 2012 it has grown annually at an average rate of 74%. More than 1.2 million people now use the Shopify backend platform.
It is most popular among retail businesses. Shopify stated in a press release that it powers more than 500,000 businesses. These businesses have achieved over $40 billion in sales.
If you don’t have a background in web development or a team at your disposal, Shopify is the best choice. It provides you with 100 plus professional and responsive themes and also has free theme options available. Additionally, it is one of the best ecommerce platforms for SEO. Shopify allows you to add meta tags and write product descriptions in an SEO-friendly way.
With Shopify, you can create an elegant website and ensure the quality of user experience. However, some understanding of SEO is required to get the most out of Shopify.
It works wonders for both new and existing businesses. It is one of the most flexible, secure, and effective e-commerce platforms. Additionally, it provides 24 hours customer support as well.
3. WIX e-commerce
The third most popular e-commerce platform on the list is Wix e-commerce. It subsumes around 10% of the total market share. Currently, Wix E-commerce powers more than 600,000 online stores.
Additionally, 15% of the paid users on this platform are e-commerce businesses. It became popular in the year 2017. This year it had over 2.5 million paid subscribers.
One of the reasons that businesses get attracted to it is the lack of complexity. It is effortless to set a custom e-commerce store using wix.com.
It enables you to start instantly with its free version. However, you can’t sell everything with the free version, but it allows you to work on the platform before deciding on whether to buy the paid version or not.
It is very Conveniently to use Wix e-commerce as you don’t have to install any software. It is an entirely browser-based platform. When it comes to design, you have to choose between free templates and artificial design intelligence (ADI). It is easy to use and does not require any prior knowledge of programming.
It also facilitates integration with social media platforms as a part of your e-commerce strategy. Once you link these platforms with your e-commerce store, your social media audience can tap on your products and see the product in your Wix store.
Wix e-commerce is most popular among small to mid scaled enterprises.
Big-commerce is one of the most advanced e-commerce platforms. It is robust and has easy-to-use functionality. It is an all-in-one e-commerce platform beneficial for businesses of all scales.
It was established in 2009 and became one of the fastest-growing products in the e-commerce software market, with a growth rate of over 28% annually. It powers around 90,000 online stores in more than 65 countries, with clients ranging from new online stores to established enterprises such as Toyota.
Let’s look at some of the features that Big Commerce offers.
- Customizable pre-built website templates
- built-in-SEO features
- Single dashboard to manage product listing on your store and other channels.
- 99.99% uptime
Big-commerce also conducts an annual conference on e-commerce.
With big commerce, you can create a functional website in minutes, using the drag and drop features available on the platform. It provides you with hundreds of easy-to-use website templates. Its interface is user-friendly and requires no prior knowledge of coding.
Additionally, there are many third-party apps designed specifically for big commerce. In the big-commerce app section, you can find more than 200 apps built solely for this platform. These apps add to the functionality of this platform.
Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. There are over 250,000 active e-commerce websites running on Magento. Out of which, over 86,000 are US-based. Brands like Nike, Ford, and Samsung use Magento e-commerce CMS.
Another reason for its popularity is that it is free. It is very versatile and is used, by all kinds of businesses ranging from small to large enterprises. It is easy to manage and helps you manage multiple stores from one admin panel.
The Magento layout provides easy site navigation. It allows you to conveniently list products and gives your customers a great buying experience. Additionally, it provides multiple languages and currency features.
There are far more mobile users than PC or laptops. Mobile phone users are most likely to convert to buyers. If your e-commerce website is not mobile-friendly, the upcoming years will be disastrous for your business.
If you need to transfer your website from one platform to another to make it mobile-ready, Magento should be your choice. Both Magento community and Magento enterprise offer mobile-friendly themes supported by various web browsers and devices.
Additionally, Magento is one of the best SEO ecommerce platforms, that enables you to create URLs, tags, and descriptions with relevant keywords. It is not only about search engine visibility. It also provides you tools to boost conversions optimize your website for the best search engine rankings.
It is also very safe when it comes to payment options. Magento conveniently implements SSL security and also provides dedicated IPs to ensure payment safety.
How to choose the most suitable e-commerce platform?
It is vital to choose the right e-commerce platform for your business. You should analyze the functionality of every e-commerce platform and determine which one would be most beneficial for your business.
As discussed before, there are three types of e-commerce platforms, SAAS, PAAS, and on-premise platforms. SAAS platforms provide software as a service, and PAAS platforms provide a platform as a service to businesses.
On-premise platforms allow businesses not to depend on any third-party service provider. It enables scaled enterprises to host their e-commerce platform and not be dependent on any other service provider.
SAAS and Paas platforms are best for companies getting started in e-commerce. They provide professional setup and support and have most of the hard work done for the businesses. However, they charge a monthly fee for their services in addition to the transaction fee on every purchase.
Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Squarespace are better for small businesses. This platform allows them to set up a blog within minutes and get going. Whereas, for larger enterprises with high order volume Magento and BigCommerce are preferable options. These platforms are built, tailored to the demands of larger enterprises.
Which is the most functionally rich e-commerce platform?
All e-commerce platforms mentioned above have the basic functionality and crucial e-commerce features. It requires in-depth research to determine the most suitable platform for your personal business needs. Let us understand the functionality of each of the popular e-commerce platforms in detail.
Magento is one of the strongest and functionally rich e-commerce platforms. It is written in PHP and is open-source software. It is best for building a highly scalable website. Magento gives freedom to developers to modify and tweak the design of their store and build customized websites that cater to the demands of the consumers.
However, besides being free, its enterprise version is quite expensive and requires expertise.
Unlike Magento, it does not require any expertise and is easy to use. With Shopify, anyone without prior knowledge of coding can build an elegant e-commerce store within minutes.
The highlight of Shopify is its point of sale feature (POS). It allows users to sell instantly from your brick and mortar store, and it does not require any additional e-commerce tools or machinery.
Another fascinating feature is Shopify dropshipping. Dropshipping is a business model that allows businesses to buy products from a third party and list them for sale in their online store. It eliminates the requirements for maintaining an active inventory of the products listed in the store.
Overall, Shopify is best for small to medium enterprises as it can convert their storefront into an e-commerce store and expose it to the online audience. It is also easy to use and customize.
It is also a paid e-commerce platform like Shopify. It is affordable as compared to Shopify which makes it another choice for small businesses looking to take their business online. It does not require any prior knowledge of coding.
Additionally, it has APIs, which makes it a flexible e-commerce platform. It also has an easy-to-use interface and provides advanced customization.
WooCommerce is most beneficial for businesses running on WordPress. Its function is to turn a WordPress website into an e-commerce store. It runs on WordPress, so it is SEO-friendly and more suitable for content marketing campaigns. It is a highly flexible and open-source e-commerce platform.
However, it is not recommended for scalable businesses and is dedicated only to the businesses running on WordPress.
e) Wix e-commerce
Wix e-commerce enables you to build your store using the drag and drop feature. It allows you to quickly upload media, the customized fields are made clear. Its dashboard is user-friendly and facilitates easy navigation.
You can have a clear idea of what needs to be done next by clicking and navigating through different sections. In addition, it has a progress tracker feature that suggests the next steps.
The e-commerce industry is very competitive. It is challenging to determine the best ecommerce platform. The preference of e-commerce platforms depends mainly on the type of business.
Whichever e-commerce platform is most beneficial for your business requirements should be best for you. You must take time to define your business objectives and select an e-commerce platform that best helps you meet those objectives.
Manoj Shukla serves Mandy Web Design as the Designing head and guides his team in designing eye-catching websites. Apart from the valuable updates he shares through his blog, he is passionate about teaching. Being an exemplary learner, he inspires his team with perspectives like these.