Every type of business has its own unique characteristics and requirements when it comes to building a website and eCommerce startups are no exception. In fact, eCommerce startups will often need to weigh more heavily the costs, scalability, functionality, and a range of other features when choosing the best eCommerce platform for their online stores.
Simply put, an eCommerce platform is a software application that enables online stores to run their sales processes and fulfillment portals, marketing and day-to-day operations via their website. Top eCommerce web developers are able to create top-notch online stores using the eCommerce platform that fits your needs best.
With an Open Source platform, you are not locked into paying a licensing fee (for instance, like you would be with a Microsoft Office, for instance) and thus remain locked into that product. Open source platforms provide greater control for business owners through its free access. This is a good choice for flexibility but you will have to provide your own hosting and build your site out a la carte. You will also have to do all of the platform updates yourself. Magento is an example of an open-source platform. If you already use Magento check our Magento SEO checklist.
Software as a Service is just that — access to a software platform that entails utilizing the provider’s services, like hosting and management, as part of the package. Shopify is an example of a SaaS-based eCommerce platform. It may not be as flexible (and you get no direct access to the code like you do with open source), but it’s a more turnkey solution and attractive for many types of businesses.
Commerce as a Service allows a business owner (typically larger companies with access to development teams) a way to customize a platform that allows a business to cobble together the best integrations, platforms, and CRM for a highly customized eCommerce site.
So now let’s look at some of the best eCommerce platforms for eCommerce startups.
As we mentioned before, Shopify is a SaaS-based platform and one of the most popular among eCommerce businesses for its streamlined approach. It is also a good choice for startups of all sizes and inventory requirements. With a Shopify subscription, you or your developer will be able to customize your eCommerce store and use the platform to process secure orders and manage inventory, data, shipping, fulfillment, and other daily operations — all from an intuitive admin panel. To improve your current Shopify store – check our Shopify SEO checklist.
Magento’s open-source platform is free to download and offers eCommerce startups a great deal of control over the management and customizations of their e-stores. Easy order processing, catalog management, SEO, UX, and scalability functionality make this platform a terrific choice for many startups.
BigCommerce is another SaaS platform that offers a range of robust solutions like Shopify and is great for business looking to scale quickly and have a large product inventory. It has a solid abandoned shopping cart recovery system and great SEO tools.
WooCommerce is another great platform that is, in fact, a WordPress plugin. Thus with WooCommerce, your site would be built on a WordPress foundation. The SEO capabilities and custom integrations WooCommerce affords are also excellent. The plugin itself is free, so domain, hosting, and further customizations would need to be added and paid for a la carte.
Offering many features, this open-source, free eCommerce platform allows businesses to manage their stores via the cloud or self-hosting. It’s available in many language options. The open-source technology allows the source code to be customized to your store’s needs and hosting will need to be added.
Regardless of the type of eCommerce startup you’re running, there are myriad platforms to choose from depending on your store’s unique needs, size, and scalability goals. If you’re having trouble understanding the difference between all of the eCommerce platforms out there, or need help choosing the one that’s right for your business, reach out to us. We’ll be happy to perform a full business analysis free of charge and walk you through your options!
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Catapult Revenue, ensuring that all client’s revenue goals are met via Catapult’s marketing strategies.
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