Guidanceeed to grasp what an eCommerce platform is and how it works before you even consider using one for your company’s online sales. With this article, you’ll learn about some of the most essential features and benefits of the finest e-commerce platforms for small businesses.
What Exactly Is an Ecommerce Platform?
To put it another way, we all know that business is the trade of products and services between two people. To understand them from other internet-based items like “ebooks,” “ecards,” and “emails,” these activities are given the same “e” distinguisher when performed online.
You can’t send or receive emails without an e-commerce platform, just like you can’t send or receive payments for goods or services. Most e-commerce systems connect buyer and seller to make the transaction simple.
However, they must constantly allow clients to evaluate choices, obtain more information, and buy. Obstacles on your path to achieving these goals may hamper your company’s future growth.
Online sales now top $26 trillion annually. Choosing the appropriate e-commerce platform and integrating it into your business is important if you want to stay competitive in this growing industry.
You Must Do Your Research Before Deciding on an Ecommerce Platform
This lesson wouldn’t be necessary if there was a universal e-commerce platform. However, you and your company are not alike. So you’ll never be happy with a universal answer. So you’re looking for customized solutions that fit your business, structure, and personal tastes.
Identifying your business aims and needs can help you pick a winner. A futile search or unpleasant purchases are the alternatives.
What Features Should an Ecommerce Platform Have?
Is it compatible with mobile devices?
Smartphones have overtaken PCs and tablets as the primary computing platforms. You’d best make sure your e-commerce platform is geared for mobile consumers because they’ll likely make up the majority of your site visitors.
Is there any kind of analysis available?
Understanding your customers is essential if you want to increase sales and expand your clientele. Getting the correct information is critical for fostering customer loyalty through the delivery of top-notch service.
Is it clear to you?
Generally, it takes 48 hours to learn the platform’s interface and start putting up your store. If it’s going to take longer, you’ll have to come up with something simpler.
Is it easy for customers to use?
Customers like a simplified procedure, which is something that the finest systems provide. From the product page to the final buy page, there should be no guesswork necessary.
Is there a wide variety of payment methods accepted here?
Customers no longer want to pay using a major credit card, which was formerly assumed by businesses. Many consumers will go to someone else if you don’t accept the many offered payment alternatives.
Is the customer service dependable?
The desire for answers will arise whether you’re an experienced coder or a digital noob. When it comes to your e-commerce platform, you want assistance that’s always there to help.
It’s also a good idea to get advice from other business owners in your field. To assist you in picking top platforms and noticing red flags, asking someone who has gone through that selection process.
Your business mentor may also be a fantastic resource for guidance. If you’re looking for high-level sales techniques, mentors may be a good idea. Your e-commerce platform is where the action will occur. While they may not be familiar with current software platforms. Your mentor can still help you explain your methods and goals, making the search process go much more smoothly.
The Best E-Commerce Platform for Small Business Guidance.
Many e-commerce systems are available to select from. However, don’t mistake abundance for quality. You’ll probably be left with no more than two or three viable choices to choose from. While the others may have commendable features, a software solution must do more than satisfy your company’s demands. It must enhance your business.
To assist you in locating a few of the best e-commerce platforms, we’ve compiled this list. However, keep in mind that this isn’t a ranking list. One of the platforms listed may be perfect for your company, while another may be more suited to someone else’s needs. You may safely move forward with your choice of platform as long as the strengths play to yours and the shortcomings do not disclose vulnerablenesses in your firm.
- Free Trail: Is there a risk-free Wix trial available? Yes
- Basic Price: $18. Basic price
- Best for: Beginners who are just starting and want a clear-cut method
The e-commerce platform for newcomers is an excellent place to start. This site builder doesn’t require prior design knowledge. It makes it simple to select a template and add numerous features to give your site a professional appearance for consumers.
It’s possible to take payments and finish transactions using the same “building block” technique as before. Because you don’t have to know how to code to use Wix. It’s the great equalizer because anybody can now operate an internet business regardless of their technical talents.
It’s possible that hearing the word “template” may give you shivers. Not to fear, Wix has a plethora of templates that are unique enough not to appear as they came straight off the manufacturing line. However, after you’ve published your website, you won’t be able to switch to a new template. Without going through the effort of building a new website and then migrating your material to it, you’d better be sure of what you’re doing.
As far as inventory management, Wix is compatible with the majority of popular payment methods. To avoid the problems that may emerge on other platforms, make sure your clients can pay right away.
If Wix has a flaw, it’s the small amount of performance data the platform collects after posting, aside from the inability to pick a new template. For those who are new to e-commerce and do not want to be daunted by the sheer amount of data and usage available, Wix is an excellent choice.
- Free trial? Yes
- Basic price: $29 a month
- Best for: Entrepreneurs that are looking to expand their businesses.
While Wix is a user-friendly platform, Shopify is a market leader in its field. To better manage their transactions and increase revenue, many business owners worldwide utilize this e-commerce platform.
You don’t need to employ a designer to develop your online store because Shopify gives a variety of templates and themes for building your website. Although Shopify’s user interface is easy, it’s disheartening to see that there are many fewer template choices available than there are with Wix. However, if you’re a fan of one of Shopify’s layouts, the discrepancy in numbers doesn’t matter. Before utilising this platform, be careful to go through the options and make sure you want to.
Shopify is a great e-commerce platform for small businesses because of the flexibility it offers. There are several apps available in the app store that may help you improve your website and use new capabilities. You should be aware that all of these applications have a charge attached, so you should shop wisely. It is significant, as many have grown accustomed to free applications and the accompanying buying attitude.
Shopify provides a starting checklist for those who are new to the e-commerce game. Aside from pointing out valuable tools, this checklist will guide you through the process of setting up your online business.
- Free trial? Yes
- Basic price: Free
- Best for: Business owners with some experience who don’t require any support.
First, let’s deal with the big issue: No, WooCommerce isn’t a shopping cart software. So, why is it included in this list? WordPress plugin that turns any website into an online store after installation and costs free to download.
More than a million companies rely on WooCommerce because of its blazing-fast performance and cost-effectiveness. Those who presently use a WordPress site will benefit from this because they won’t have to move all of their material to a new platform like Wix or Shopify.
WooCommerce is mobile-friendly as well, which is a huge plus. Recall that current customers are much like teenagers at the dinner table when it comes to being hooked to their cell phones. To be successful, you must be able to provide a seamless shopping experience to your customers.
With WooCommerce, the customization options are virtually endless. With tens of thousands of apps and extensions accessible, the app store is comprehensive. Although WooCommerce may be downloaded for free, each of the applications and plugins must be purchased separately. And, if you’re not careful, the expenses will quickly mount.
WooCommerce should be avoided if you don’t have coding abilities and want to deal with a complicated procedure. Customers have limited access to customer assistance. Therefore you must be confident in your abilities to use this product effectively. While WooCommerce offers a wide range of choices for building your shop, only those who understand algorithms can take advantage of them.
- Free trial? Yes
- Basic price: $26 a month
- Best for: Beginners looking for more advanced design possibilities
While some of the world’s most famous websites are also some of the simplest (and dare we say, ugly). Drudgereport.com is Exhibit A, while craigslist.org is Exhibit B in this debate. In terms of design, they’re both rudimentary, but each month they receive billions of visitors.
But your goal isn’t to sell classified advertising or disseminate rumors about politicians; it’s to leave a lasting impression. Squarespace offers some of the greatest alternatives for building a mobile-friendly site that gets noticed for business owners that are enthusiastic about branding and design.
Squarespace, like Wix, is a drag-and-drop website builder. To establish an internet store in a couple of hours, you don’t need any coding knowledge. You won’t need to look for third-party applications and plugins if you’re using Squarespace’s integrated capabilities. Using your monthly subscription, you won’t have to buy anything else to make the most of your online business.
Squarespace’s incompatibility with third-party applications and extensions frustrates many advanced developers. More experienced and tactical entrepreneurs will require more than what’s provided by the integrated toolset.
Squarespace’s customer support is top-notch, so you won’t have to worry if something goes wrong. There’s also the user forum, which may help you find answers and learn new things.
- Free trial? Yes
- Basic price: Free
- Best for: Those who are looking for a simple platform for their work should go elsewhere.
With this platform, you’ll have access to a market that most others don’t serve. To be clear: Just because it’s a free platform, doesn’t imply Big Cartel can’t be useful for small businesses.
Big Cartel is designed for artists who seek a simple way to make money from their work. It’s free to use if you’re selling four or less goods. With more goods to choose from, your store’s pricing are still lower than those of the other platforms in our comparison.
Big Cartel is not a strong platform, as you would have anticipated from its low price. If you want a basic system that does the job, you’ll have to settle with something that lacks features like complex data tracking or cutting-edge graphic design skills. Customer service is just passable as well.
Despite being designed for artists, Big Cartel provides for the least degree of artistic freedom in terms of design, which creates a paradox. This is a slim and mean platform, once again. Only a few themes and designs are available because there are no extra features. There’s no way around the fact that an online store established on Squarespace or Shift4Shop will seem far more professional if you launch it here.
Because selling on Big Cartel requires so little capital up front, it’s a great method to experiment with new items and business models. In the meanwhile, you may use it as a digital sandbox to test out different concepts before moving on to a more comprehensive platform.
- Free trial? Yes
- Basic price: $19 a month
- Best for: Business owners who want to grow.
The last game on our shortlist is a complete departure from Big Cartel. Shift4Shop is a robust e-commerce platform that’s always being upgraded. It’s perfect for business owners that value flexibility and customizability above everything else.
Changing the look of your shop is also a breeze using this platform. With Wix, your site template is locked after you’ve published it. With Shift4Shop, you may make changes at any time. Entrepreneurs with a flair for design and a dedication to their brand will appreciate this level of adaptability.
Of course, everything in moderation has its limit. It’s common for new business owners using the Shift4Shop platform to be daunted by the sheer amount of options available to them As a result, you should only utilize Ship4Shop if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to learn a less user-friendly interface and have a clear vision for your online business.
Another reason Shift4Shop should be avoided by new users is the lackluster quality of its customer care. Those with greater expertise with the platform will not have a problem navigating it on their own. Nevertheless, if you believe you’ll want significant help, Ship4Shop is unlikely to be able to provide it.
Improving Your Business by Using the Best E-Commerce Platforms
Identifying the technological solutions that can help your company grow and achieve its goals is critical. In other words, your tech will not work in a vacuum, and you must therefore see it as an integral part of your whole business-building strategy.
Consider taking our masterclass, Start and Scale, if you’re feeling intimidated by the sheer scope of the work ahead. This online course will teach you all you need to know to establish a successful ecommerce business. Click the link below to get instant access to this useful information.