Starting an online business is a big step and there are many things to consider. One of the most important seems to be the choice of e-commerce platform to support your online sales. The eCommerce platform is nothing more than the site on which the transaction will take place, your products will be presented and the relationship with current and future customers will be maintained.
Choose the right solution
There are many businesses and platforms offering eCommerce solutions. Some of them offer simple and quick configuration, while others are difficult to install, use and are non-intuitive. Undoubtedly, it is difficult to choose the perfect solution among so many available on the market. It depends primarily on the level of sophistication in using CMS software, the budget we have and the time we can devote to it.
eCommerce platforms types
There are 4 types of e-commerce platforms:
- SaaS platforms (Software as a Service)
- License based platforms
- Open-Source platforms
- Dedicated platforms
All of them allow you to maintain the product catalog, sell them, accept payments, send transactional emails, and to some extent decide on the appearance of the page. However, there are drastic differences between them. Depending on business assumptions, it may turn out that for one company the SaaS solution will be the best, and for another an Open-Source. Let’s have a look on the table below, presenting top seven eCommerce platforms, regarding their popularity and functions.
10 things to consider before choosing an e-commerce platform
Despite the difficult decision, pay attention to the questions that will help you indicate which requirements to follow.
- What is the product and how much will I be able to sell?
- Do I have developer support?
- What functionalities do I need?
- What level of security will be satisfactory?
- Should my business be independent from the external company?
- What forms of delivery and payments do I want to offer?
- How do I advertise and promote my product?
- What is my budget?
- Will I go global?
- Should I sell on auction sites and marketplace?
Which platform should you choose?
We’ve already went through the most popular e-commerce platforms – so how do you make a choice? It’s always good to do a small analysis of all these solutions – look for opinions, case studies, and examine what functions the systems provide and how they fit your business.
If you are opening a new store and do not want to invest a lot to start, then think about SaaS solutions or cheaper Open-Source solutions (e.g. WooCommerce or Prestashop).
If you plan to expand quickly, sell hundreds of products per day and sell abroad, then more advanced Open-Source systems (e.g. Magento Open-Source) or cheaper license systems will be good solutions.
Which one is the best?
Each start-up or company is different, it differs in its organization and goals. The Magento self-hosted solution is probably best for large companies that want to ensure a permanent presence on the web and have the resources and plan to create their own store form. At the same time, however, it is too complicated solution for small retailers who only want to appear on the Internet. Alternatively, you can also hire an e-commerce expert or an external company to help you choose the right online platform. Then a solution will be selected that will perfectly match the current and future business model. However, this involves additional costs that may be an unnecessary obstacle.