When your online commerce business starts, it could be complicated to choose between the best eCommerce platforms out there. There’s no point doing eCommerce if you don’t have a spot-on website to manage your merchandise, catering to the customer traffic, and optimizing your store’s overall performance.
Sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn’t it?
While a bang-on website copy does the major part of attracting sales, the web layout and configuration is another detail you need to put your money in.
If you’re a small business that has just started, building a perfect website is a major plight. There’s a reason why we categorize businesses into big or small. The small ones in their infancy stages want to take baby steps into the colossal world of eCommerce and countless websites operating likewise. They cannot afford highly skilled website developers who are likely to gobble up a huge chunk of their total budget. They need something more economical without skimping on quality.
For that purpose, read on to know the best eCommerce platforms you can use to amp up your small business in a cut-throat competition with the bigger ones.
As an eCommerce plugin for websites using WordPress as its interface. It helps entrepreneurs create an excellent website that is as similar to the conception of expert web developers as anything.
In fact, around 3.3 million active sites are using this plugin to operate their online stores. In other words, WooCommece is the most popular eCommerce platform.
As a small business, it is the answer to your dreams. From arranging icons, styles to fonts, and layout, it closely resembles the kingpins of the eCommerce market.
Before we look at its benefits in detail, you can go and check out Porter and York to get an idea of how a WooCommerce plugin works – to-the-point, simple, and detailed.
Zero Dollar Spent
It isn’t popular amongst small and medium-sized businesses for nothing. Where some plugins require you to pay a subscription charge, WooCommerce is completely free to use.
Working on a budget is tough, especially when you’re new to it and don’t want to spend a lot on something that isn’t guaranteed to give a mighty turnover. As a beginner, every cent spent is of great consequence.
You have to capitalize on the few resources that you have until you start making enough to purchase premium versions and their add-ons. Up till then, a free eCommerce plugin is exactly what you need.
For those of you who have ever used WordPress or are familiar with the working of the interface, you would know how amazing features it has to optimize your website. WooCommerce, as an integrated plugin of WordPress, enjoys all the premium benefits and features in exactly the same way you use an ordinary WordPress site.
The plugin allows businesses to sell all kinds of merchandise, unlike Amazon, where you cannot sell pets, houses, or guns.
As long as the product you trade is lawful, WooCommerce has no restrictions whatsoever. It allows instant access via downloading of items and is the perfect eCommerce builder of an affiliate marketing model.
Besides a good-looking, easy-to-use eCommerce website, and stellar web copy for SEO, the other important tool for success is monitoring the analytics. WooCommerce has its own analytics page, which provides valuable information about your visitors to determine what is wrong or what to improve (should your store underperform with sales). Within the free version, you get to check the metrics for free too!
This is another open-source eCommerce solution for small-scale merchants. It has a broad array of add-on features and supports around 0.125 million online stores worldwide. Let’s delve into its details.
The user interface of PrestaShop is easy to use. Even if you do not have any technical knowledge of running an e-store, you can easily learn with PrestaShop.
The custom designs, layout, and more than 2500 plugins further simplify the user experience. This also adds up to user-friendly customization. Adding or deleting items, personalizing specific areas, and altering existing options make PrestaShop another very flexible eCommerce web builder.
Unlike WooCommerce, you might consider changing your platform once your small-scale business makes it big. This is because PrestaShop has limited scalability. It is not the ideal choice for big eCommerce businesses due to its unprofessional design or inability to uphold expansion.
When on a low budget, though, PrestaShop has everything going for it to help you climb up the success ladder.
The other most-used, leading eCommerce platform for small to medium-sized businesses is Shopify.
Besides ease-of-use and SEO options, there are other perks of Shopify which help you optimize your e-store, should you be able to afford it.
10 free theme templates
Shopify makes it the popular choice for big and small businesses because the platform has various storefront themes categorized into respective industries.
Although the free ones are only 10 in number, you can pay a one-time fee to use the other templates. From Food & Beverages to Shoes & Accessories, business-owners can easily design their stores in visually pleasing and relevant thematic styles.
The powerful e-store builder has over 1200 assisting apps to optimize your eCommerce trade. These apps help you organize your accounts without having to manually insert the data, or worse, hire an expert to do so.
While these integrated plugin apps require a monthly subscription fee, rest assured you can forget about the transaction details or the associated costs of an accountant.
Shopify is not a self-hosting platform. As a result, it comes with access to numerous functional and custom options, just like PrestaShop.
With limited, free components, it is perfect for tech-novices who wouldn’t want to be bogged down by technology as they start their venture.
However, for better functionality and theme customization that is relevant to manage big-scale businesses, Shopify may not exactly qualify.
This one is another name popular amongst the eCommerce whizzes, and for good reasons. It is used by countless brands to expand to large-scale online trading and has proven its versatility in helping small businesses grow their sales overnight.
BigCommerce is big on the secured performance of your website. It has optimal hosting and security features with unlimited bandwidth, SSL certificate, and various domain names to keep your e-store as personal as it can get.
This keeps business owners safe in the knowledge that their online brand is in premium protection from server hacks. Plus, customers coming to transact on your website with confidential data can do so without feeling vulnerable.
The next best thing about BigCommerce is its facility to enable multi-channel selling of your store. Users can connect their brands to other marketing outlets, such as social media, online marketplaces, or physical stores.
This does not only expands your outreach enormously but is a convenient tool to access all your outlets from one, easy-to-use platform.
BigCommerce has great customization options and theme templates to choose from that make your website easily eye-grabbing.
However, there are only seven free templates for all users. Accessing the rest of the templates requires you to pay a fee. As a small business owner saving up on every dollar of your budget, that might not be the best option.
Supposedly, if a small business decides to invest in gaining better features on BigCommerce, the annual sales threshold bars the way.
A standard plan costs only $30/month – clearly affordable – but it’s eligible for businesses making up to $50,000 per year. Their other plans, Plus and Pro, are allotted for fixed thresholds that you upgrade to automatically once your business hits the mark.
The last to our list, Magento, is one of the best eCommerce platforms elevating the digital experience of small merchant traders.
Broad set of features
Magento is famous for its breadth of features that other eCommerce platforms lack. It allows users to select different prices for different products and even for a different section of customers.
Multiple VIPS, community-oriented features, multiple languages, and multiple currencies make Magento a top-pick.
Operates on mobile
Online retailing makes a mobile-friendly interface pertinent to the seamless operating of a business. Magento is a platform that is mobile-friendly for customers and owners alike.
However, the community (free) version of Magento has a slow loading time, which makes tweaking or doing customizations time-consuming.
Switching to another platform is also difficult as Magento takes a lot of time to transfer the data.
Small business owners can develop their e-stores from the free community version of Magento. Many retailers are making up a famous community using it as their eCommerce platform, thereby creating a forum for resources and support should you have any problems.
However, the Enterprise and Premium versions are a tad bit pricier for small businesses to afford, which cuts down on their features and customizing options.
In the ever-growing eCommerce industry, a professionally designed and customer-friendly website is imperative, especially if you’re a small-scale business owner looking to expand your trade.
The above-listed platforms are some of our top picks that will help non-tech savvy business owners, on a budget, get their share of online sales.
Each and every platform is beneficial in one way or the other. However, my personal favorite is WooCommerce. It is the most user-friendly platform I have come across and also comes with a lot of tutorials. The fact that you can start small and scale your business up, makes it a great choice.
Also, as a small business owner, you could be astonished by the vast content about eCommerce and how to start your store. However, the huge community and documentation of WooCommerce make the process very easy to assimilate.
Meanwhile, you can check our Website Building Plans for small business owners to begin with the right steps toward your success.