There are innumerable reasons why the ecommerce is blooming at such an amazing rate. When everything that you need to buy is one click away, no one wants to use their resources on making trips to the market. This ease of access is infectious and so the potential for online marketers is growing exponentially.
This trend is attracting many new online merchants and as startups, most of the marketers will prefer very calculated risks. It’s a good idea to opt for cost effective solutions. Investing minimum money and time on the ecommerce site means you can save your resources and energy to focus on your main product.
The success of your business will depend on the quality and the presentation of your website and product. Based on the popularity of all the basic features like good user interface, product showcase, secure online transactions, shipping and add ons, here is a lineup of the top 6 ecommerce platforms:
This is the most popular ecommerce platform for the startups, as well as many retail brands. It has probably the biggest user base and the community plan is for free! User friendly interface, easy navigation, payment gateway options, and hundreds of customizable themes are the features that bring Magneto to the top of the list.
However, you need to have at least medium level skills and understanding regarding web development and programming, if you are aiming for a more sophisticated and large scale enterprise. If you cannot provide your own hosting and configure everything yourself, you will have to bear the additional cost of hiring a staff. But once you cross this barrier, Magento is a one stop solution for all your ecommerce needs. Customize your themes, utilize different payment gateway options, and enjoy secure transactions.
You will need to buy add on and extensions as your business extend. So, it is not the best platform if you’re on a very tight budget.
2- WordPress (Woocommerce)
Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin. WordPress makes it very easy to keep or customize a blog for your product, increasing the chances of better search engine optimization. This single factor can greatly influence the status of your product as it will have a greater reach and the ability to attract and retain more customers. To make it even easier for the marketers, it offers various reporting and marketing tools as well as shipping and tax calculations.
It is simple, user friendly, offers a number of themes and easy for someone who is trying to start from the scratch. Another huge advantage of using this platform is that several WordPress plugins are compatible with Woocommerce too. Although, for more complex business requirements, like processing more than a few orders a day, you may want to look at other options like Magento.
Unlike Magento, Shopify has a very uncomplicated store setup and great user interface. You don’t need any technical skills to design your website. It has a large library of ready-made themes, several plugins and third party applications to suit your needs and over 70 third party payment gateways. There is a built in blogging software which is a great help when it comes to attracting and engaging potential customers.
It also offers many subscription packages which you can choose according to your requirements. A starter plan will cost you $14 per month, which includes all the basic functions.
If you have no technical skills, BigCommerce is the answer! You cannot get it wrong with their clear directions, comprehensive guides, video tutorials, and setup wizard. You can have your site up and running in no time. You can add unlimited number of products, have unlimited bandwidth with any of the plans, and use fully responsive templates.
The only drawback is that it is costlier than all the other ecommerce websites. Unlike Shopify, it offers no Lite plan and starts at $29.95 per month. But it does offer more features than its competitors. It’s a good idea to utilize the 14 day trial period to see if it actually fulfills your product demands.
Volusion is another platform which is easy to setup, maintain and simple to navigate. For your new store, they have a series of video guides for your assistance. It has all the basic ecommerce features like its competitors. The themes offered maybe a bit too complex to edit to your liking without getting into HTML and CSS codes.
It is offering four different plans starting from $15 to $135 per month. With the cheapest plan, you can add 100 products to your store, get around the clock online support, social media tools and mobile commerce. With the Pro plan you can add 10,000 products, priority support, Amazon and Ebay integrations. Premium plan gives you unlimited products and a dedicated account manager. This is a very wide pricing range which helps to attract all levels of business.
Yo!Kart offers a large variety of features integrated in the platform that are free of cost. It charges $250 per year which is cheaper than any other ecommerce solutions out there. Although YoKart is relatively new, it has become a favorite among online startups. One major reason is that you can switch to a self-hosted plan once your business expands, from a hosted plan. It is fully customizable and does not require technical knowledge.
Most of the times these platforms suffice for marketers who can work with ready-made templates, want to save their time and money, and are looking for very convenient ways to start a store. Startups who want their business to follow a more sophisticated format, plan to expand the enterprise, or are just plain perfectionists, might want to invest in a fully customized tailor-made to suit your requirements website. A good programmer can make your ordinary products look above average and more attractive by using unique and innovative layouts and specifications. There is no denying that self-hosted sites would always have an edge over hosted ones.