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The rapid growth of eCommerce is undeniable. In fact, the global eCommerce industry has been growing by an average of 20% every year since 2017. Indeed, more and more online stores are being opened every day, giving millions a means of selling their wares without the need for a brick-and-mortar store.
These stores also give small businesses access to a much larger market, maximizing potential profits. However, it's important to note that not all eCommerce platforms are created the same.
Each one has its own pros and cons, with some of the platforms being better for specific types of businesses than others. Given the vast number of options, small business and store owners may find it difficult to choose the right platform.
This is why we've put together a list of the best eCommerce platforms along with information that you will need to familiarize yourself with their services.
Shopify is one of the most well-known and widely used eCommerce platforms available today. The platform helps over 1 million stores from all over the globe by helping them sell online. Not to mention, they're one of the longest-running eCommerce platforms having started in 2004.
One of the best things about this eCommerce platform is that it can cater to both small to medium-sized businesses to large enterprises. This is due to the fact that they've built two platforms, Shopify and Shopify Plus, to handle stores of varying sizes.
The main difference is that Plus can handle over 10,000 transactions per minute on your site. Plus also allows for more customizability when it comes to the aesthetics of the store. Keep this in mind when deciding which platform to go with for your online store.
Another great thing about this platform is its ease of use, making it a good option for a beginner. It has everything you need to start an online store, from letting design your store to providing performance data.
Now, while Shopify is intuitive and easy to use, the tradeoff is that it offers very little from a customization standpoint. Both Shopify and the Plus variant offers over 70 themes that you can use.
Now, there is a way to get around this if you're willing to learn a bit of coding. You can use Liquid, Shopify's theme language, to alter the code of the themes to change the appearance of your storefront.
Another con for Shopify would have to be the 2% transaction fee on all sales made via external payment gateways instead of Shopify Payments, penalizing you if your customers use different payment options. These costs will add up and eat into your potential profits.
Shopify is also pretty flexible when it comes to pricing. You can choose to pay a lower rate for a more straightforward online store, opting out of certain features you may not need.
Pricing for Plus starts at $2,000/month but also varies for higher volume businesses.
Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that debuted back in 2009. Since then Magento has grown in both popularity and functionality, even replacing its code base with its release of Magento 2.0 back in 2015.
Being an open-source platform gives you the flexibility to modify the source code to fit your needs. You will be able to customize everything from the design of your stores to the products offered.
This flexibility also extends to the platform's ability to scale with your business. While you may start using this platform as a small business, this platform lets you increase the number of products in your store and the number of sales your store can handle as your business grows.
Ease of use is not one of its strong points. This is the tradeoff that comes with the level of customization that it offers. This also makes it difficult to switch from another eCommerce platform to Magento, as you'll need to totally redo your store.
The biggest drawback to Magento is the need for a dedicated server to host your store. The platform is pretty resource-intensive due to the wide array of plugins and add-ons involved with running Magento. Not using a dedicated server that's optimized for Magento could lead to your site crashing.
Pricing for Magento is a little tricky, as you'll have to contact them directly to get a price. This price will be determined by a number of factors, with the most significant ones being your average order value and the size of your operations.
Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform geared towards helping artists and creators sell their work. The products associated with this platform range from art to clothing and are mostly one-offs and not mass-produced.
Considering that Big Cartel is made for artists and creatives who may not have any background in commerce, Big Cartel does a great job in being a no-frills eCommerce website builder. Onboarding can be particularly easy, as the platform guides you every step of the way.
Given how straightforward this platform is, it offers very little when it comes to personalization. This could be counterintuitive for selling art, as the aesthetics of your website could end up being too plain for your target audience.
Big Cartel has four payment plans, with the main difference being the number of items you can have for sale all at once:
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin. This plugin is built for WordPress and is perfect for small businesses that already have a site built on WordPress. WooCommerce lets anyone with a WordPress site sell both physical and digital products on the internet.
Due to it being open-source, the plugin allows for a lot of customizability and flexibility. This plugin also gets a lot of support from WordPress and has a lot of themes and templates that you can use to personalize your stores.
Another area where WooCommece shines is search engine optimization (SEO). WooCommerce is built using code that's optimized for SEO. To add to this, if your eCommerce business chooses to go with WooCommerce then you'll also have the options of using other WordPress plugins to give you a bigger SEO boost.
One thing you should understand is that WooCommerce won't be as comprehensive as other eCommerce platforms. You'll need to install a lot of other plugins and extensions to get the functionality of a full-blown eCommerce platform.
Another downside to using WooCommerce is that many features and themes are limited to users that pay for such content. This could prove to be troublesome, as you may end up paying more if the features you need aren't covered by the WooCommerce plugin.
The WooCommerce plugin is free, which makes it a great option for small business owners. On its own, the plugin has these eCommerce features:
BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform built to handle large and fast-growing businesses. This platform is also the leader when it comes to SaaS or software as service solutions in eCommerce. SaaS provides stores with top-tier functionality without the need to install or maintain software.
One of the biggest advantages that come with using BigCommerce being a SaaS is its no-coding approach to your eCommerce website. BigCommerce allows you to make changes to your website with a click of a button.
BigCommerce also prioritizes customer experience with its streamlined checkout to maximize sales for your store. It also makes use of shopping cart recovery, which notifies customers about products that they haven't checked out from their last visit to your site.
Aside from its features, BigCommerce also allows for multi-channel selling, letting you sell products on eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. This makes it one of the best choices among the top eCommerce platforms from a social media standpoint.
When it comes to the drawbacks of BigCommerce, it would have to be its unconventional pricing system. The platform automatically upgrades your plan based on your store's annual online sales numbers.
While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the upgraded plans come with more features, being forced to pay more when your brand grows may feel more like a punishment than an incentive.
BigComerce features four payment plans with varying features attached to each one:
If you aren't sure about which plan to get, BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial to help you determine the best plan for your business.
This question is a little tricky to answer considering that all the eCommerce platforms mentioned above come with their own strengths and weaknesses, which makes it near impossible to pick one out as the "best" platform out there.
This will vary depending on what you're looking for in an eCommerce platform. Instead of thinking in broad terms, check out the features of each platform and see which one fits your business' needs to determine the best eCommerce platform for you.
As we've already done above, the best way to compare eCommerce sites is by the different features they offer. Pricing and transaction fees will also be a pretty significant factor when choosing an eCommerce platform to use.
As a store owner or business owner, the main thing you should be looking for in an eCommerce platform is its ability to keep up with the demands of your store. You'll want to make use of a platform that can handle the number of sales that you'll be getting on a regular basis.
Aside from being able to keep up with the demands of your store, you'll also want to consider the customizability of the store itself. This is especially true if you want a specific look for your eCommerce store.
If there are any questions that we didn't address here, be sure to visit PageKits for more information on the best eCommerce platforms.
We hope that this will helped you in finding the best eCommerce platform and will help you make an informed decision on which eCommerce platform is best for your business.
If you want to find the best website builder or the best eCommerce platforms, let us help you and contact PageKits today!