There ARE, however, several fantastic eCommerce platforms out there. Depending on your unique business needs, you’ll have some great options to choose from. Below, we’ll explore some of the best eCommerce platforms on the market today and what you should always look for in an eCommerce platform when building a new e-store or migrating your existing store to a different platform.
How to choose the right platform to set up a web store
Easy Shop Setup
It seems obvious, but the truth is, you want a platform that makes setting up your online shop easy and intuitive. In the list below, we made sure to exclude platforms that we believe to be more complicated and user un-friendly. Fortunately, the platforms we’ve featured here make it easy to set up your store.
Easy to Navigate and Secure
Security is paramount for your customers and for your business. That’s why we always advise our clients to be leery of any platform out there that hasn’t been vetted and tested as truly secure. In today’s day and age, there is simply too high a risk of data breaches, and being able to afford your customers peace of mind when they shop could make the difference between making a sale or losing it to a competitor. A good platform with a solid reputation will always offer secure payment processing for customers and data storage for your company’s back-end.
What’s more, the platform should be easy to navigate so that anyone on your team, regardless of web experience, can manage the day to day operations and basic functions. Even if you have a web development and marketing agency manage your e-store’s platform, you still need a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate keeping in mind your ideal eCommerce customer.
Integrations allow you to customize your eCommerce website and increase its level of functionality to suit the unique needs of your buyers. A great eCommerce platform will feature many integration options to maximize your e-store’s potential.
While you will likely need an ongoing SEO campaign to maximize revenue growth, your eCommerce platform must be built with SEO in mind, so that your campaigns will yield the right results. SEO is as much an art as it is a science and working with a platform that stays ahead of the curve when it comes to search engine friendliness is paramount.
Let’s face it, we’re always on the go and your eCommerce web development team should be able to manage your backend navigation functions via any mobile device seamlessly and efficiently. The platforms we’ve featured below are all mobile-friendly.
Analytics are a powerful feature. They help you stay on top of your sales targets, track buyer behavior, and ensure your marketing campaigns are working. A good platform will provide analytics as part of your service package, or, as is the case sometimes with open source platforms, offer analytics as an added feature.
At the end of the day, no matter how tech-savvy you are, there will be times when you need assistance with your software. Access to quality tech support cannot be understated and the best eCommerce platforms in the industry all offer tech support to varying degrees depending on the service package you select when subscribing.
Customer Payment Options
Your customers seek convenience, which is why working with an eCommerce platform equipped to process multiple forms of e-payment is critical. In fact, inadequate payment options can cost you, customers, in real-time. The platforms we discuss below all offer a range of payment options, making it easy for your customers to process their orders on your store seamlessly.
What Are the Differences between Popular Platforms
Some platforms are great for larger e-stores while others are ideal for start-ups and businesses seeking to scale fast. Some are open source, meaning access to the software code is free but you have to host your website elsewhere and customize your site a la carte. SaaS platforms, like Shopify, offer full service options that make for a more turnkey solution. All of the platforms below can house inventories both smaller and large in scale so really, the choice will come down to your business needs and goals.
The Best eCommerce Platform
In a nutshell, the best eCommerce platform is the one that’s right for YOUR unique eCommerce store. Each platform listed below is fantastic on its own, but each has its own unique strengths and this is where your needs dictate.
Shopify really needs no introduction. It dominates the market in turnkey solutions and over 1 million businesses trust the eCommerce giant with their daily bread. We love working with Shopify as the interface is intuitive, it’s SEO friendly, and it offers many integrations for customization. Shopify is a SaaS-based platform, so you will be assessed a licensing fee to utilize the service. The beauty is that Shopify also hosts your site and there are different management packages to choose from. If you already have a website check our Shopify SEO checklist.
Magento is an open-source technology and highly customizable. It offers all the great bells and whistles we mentioned above in terms of what’s important to look for in an eCommerce platform (i.e. secure payment options, SEO-friendliness, easy to navigate, etc.) but where Magento excels is its UX (user experience), built-in up and cross-selling, and how seamlessly it integrates with third-party apps. This is a great option for mid to larger-sized e-stores. Take a look – how to improve SEO on Magento.
BigCommerce is another SaaS platform similar to Shopify that’s great for large product inventory, scalability, and full-service features. Its abandoned shopping cart “saver tool” and the ability to sell in multiple forms of currency are also fantastic for international businesses.
WooCommerce is a very unique plugin platform built on and for a WordPress foundation. It combines the ease and intuitive design of WordPress backends with full eCommerce scalability and customization features. The plugin is free of charge but your domain, hosting, customizations, and development would add cost.
Another open-source, eCommerce platform, PrestaShop affords eCommerce businesses the ability to self-host and manage their stores via the cloud. The open-source technology allows you to customize the source code to meet your store’s needs and the platform offers an interface in many different languages.
If you’d like to learn more about the differences in each of the best eCommerce platforms featured here or to discuss any other eCommerce web development needs, the team at Catapult Revenue would love to speak with you. Our developers and marketing specialists have years of experience building, maintaining, and promoting eCommerce websites. Contact us to start boosting your online sales and explore your options.