Starting an eCommerce business is exciting. Once you’ve chosen a name for your business, create your branding and then build your website. In the meantime, you can now easily evaluate your requirements. It’s important to think about where your business is heading and what tools you will need in the future.
Choosing the most suitable online store builder isn’t enough. Clever entrepreneurs will find what is the best eCommerce platform for them. A set of tools that integrates and gives you complete control over all aspects of your business and the ability to scale as you grow
What is an eCommerce platform?
An eCommerce platform is a way to build your online adventure that allows you to make sales and fulfil orders.
Most people think that their platform is just a tool that lets them list products and accept payments online. But a true eCommerce platform is much more than that.
Your platform should be a full business command centre. Where you manage everything from orders, inventory and even marketing. Your eCommerce solution should let you process payments. Also, it should give you seamless access to tools that you’ll need to sell products online.
What types of eCommerce platforms are there?
To make your eCommerce store accessible to the public. You have to have a hosting solution to “match” with your chosen eCommerce platform. Every site is hosted somewhere. Some platforms that you see out there either have hosting built-in, while others will require you to use self-hosting.
Some website builders present a hosted platform. In this matter, you don’t need to worry about any bad issues that come up. Or any of the additional fees that are attached with self-hosted eCommerce platforms.
Self-hosted eCommerce platforms will require merchants to use their own hosting space from a hosting provider. This makes ongoing website management complex. As you are liable for updates, maintenance, and bug fixes.
Self-hosted platforms are typically open-source so you have to purchase a bit of space from a hosting provider to host your site data. Also, third-party sourcing options charge fees for their services. Also, these types of costs can add up quickly. Many hosting services use tiered pricing structures so do your research on what you need before committing to a provider.
What types of eCommerce are there?
There are four types of eCommerce:
- B2C (business-to-consumer)
- B2B (business-to-business)
- C2B (consumer-to-business)
- C2C (consumer-to-consumer)
B2C. This refers to selling from a business to an individual consumer. You might also hear it refer to direct-to-consumer.
B2B. Is when one business sells to another business online. These include wholesale buying, when the purchasing business intends to resell at a profit, as well as for business use—things like office supplies and equipment.
C2B. Consumers have selling power as well. These transactions are less traditional but a consumer might sell their clout in the form of a social post in exchange for money.
C2C. Consumers can also sell to one another. Platforms like Facebook Marketplace and eBay offer a place to enable C2C.
Ultimately, the type of eCommerce business you run will help you dictate which is the best eCommerce site for that business.
Finding the best eCommerce platform comes down to your business model and plan. So let’s take a look at the best 10 eCommerce platforms for 2022.
WooCommerce is a highly customisable open-source platform for entrepreneurs. Unlike other platforms on this list, WooCommerce is built on WordPress and can be used on your WordPress site. If you already have a WordPress website, then it’s easy to will just need to add the WooCommerce plugin then it will turn it into an eCommerce powered store.
It provides everything you need to add eCommerce features to WordPress. Including product catalogues, subscriptions, and memberships. The tool is fully customisable and has extensions for the platform such as shipping label printing and integration with email marketing services.
To build a user-friendly WooCommerce website, you need payment gateway extensions such as Stripe, PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay etc. If you already have a WordPress site, WooCommerce is one of the best options. Install the plugin and start customising your online store. Unlike other platforms, WooCommerce offers customer management only through third-party plugins. Unfortunately, they don’t have no customer support.
As WooCommerce is free to install on your site. However, if you want other extensions, they will cost you from $1.00 to $300 per add-on/WooCommerce site.
Shopify is one of the most well-known and established eCommerce platforms for businesses. You will find almost everything for your online business: themes, quick-setup, easy product management, payment processing, order monitoring, shopping cart software, and more.
All these features are included in Shopify, and you can get a high level of security for your store. So it doesn’t matter on how much technical knowledge.
Its easy to use right out of the box. In addition to eCommerce stores, Shopify uses Shopify Point of Sale software to support third-party marketplaces, social media sales, and direct sales.
Shopify also serves Shopify Plus enterprise customers. It costs more because of the most excellent premium features. Including enhancements, improved customer support, flexibility, and greater customization at the code level. Compared to other eCommerce platforms, Also Shopify’s interface is user-friendly.
Shopify has three pricing plans, starting at $29, $79, and $299 per month. It also comes with a 14-day free trial of the platform.
BigCommerce is a well-known name in the eCommerce marketplace, used by companies in over 120 countries worldwide. It’s another one-stop e-commerce platform provider that provides everything for your online store.
It comes preloaded with most of the built-in features. They offer SEO, conversion and inventory management tools. They also provide 24/7 customer support via phone, email and live chat.
This platform also supports wholesale B2B websites and provides enterprise-class eCommerce store solutions. It has some unmatched features like uptime, page load speed and security. BigCommerce offers slightly more customisation options than Shopify.
Their price range is between $29.95 and $299.95 per month.
Squarespace is an all-in-one solution site building service, but one section to this service is it’s also a popular eCommerce platform. Unlike other platforms, Squarespace has integrated eCommerce capabilities into every business plan.
It’s more popular with businesses and people in the creative profession. Their designs are considered modern and attractive, and their award-winning templates are perfect for artists, musicians, photographers and fashion designers.
Also, it allows you to showcase your work and sell it online. You can also use this platform to sell subscriptions and digital content. If you are selling real products, they offer automated inventory management, impressive product demos, and shipping calculator tools. You can also showcase a video of your product.
They’re multiple integrations with other popular online selling tools such as Apple Pay, PayPal, USPS, FedEx, and Stripe. Unlike Shopify, Squarespace doesn’t offer phone customer support.
There’s a variety of pricing options starting at $12.00 per month.
PrestaShop is an affordable, open-source eCommerce platform suitable for startups with diverse tech backgrounds. There’s no built-in customer support and integrations can fail. so PrestaShop users can help themselves with the help of the community.
Business tools and features include inventory tracking, online shopping carts, and international sales and analytics reports. You also have a lot of control over the privacy and security settings of the PrestaShop site.
Overall, maintaining an eCommerce site with PrestaShop can be cumbersome when it comes to third-party hosting, tons of untested add-ons and modules, and cumbersome setup.
Ecwid is a free eCommerce extension that is compatible with WordPress and other popular CMS platforms. Allowing you to sell online through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. But as well as social media via Facebook and Instagram.
I doesn’t require code installation or development experience. Ecwid’s software integrates well with private sales at regular retail outlets. If you have a WordPress website and don’t want to use WooCommerce as your eCommerce platform. So Ecwid is a fantastic option.
This platform offers a free plan forever, but it has minimal features. And you can sell up to ten products, and you don’t have access to sales channels outside of the site.
Prices range from $15 to $99 per month.
Magento is an all-in-one e-commerce solution from Adobe with over $100 billion in annual total merchandise sales.
Using this solution will allows you to create an eCommerce store no matter the size of your website. We support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and businesses, as well as online B2B sales.
It excels in efficiency, automation and access to critical information. Features such as business intelligence, inventory management, shipping solutions, and order management make Magento a unique e-commerce solution. It also offers amazing customer segmentation and personalisation options.
Also with Magento’s online store automatically displays information about products, content, promotions and prices based on customer data such as location, order history, gender, and wishlist items. Unlike Shopify, Magento doesn’t provide a default theme. So you only get the core software and have to rely on third-party theme designs.
Sadly like other eCommerce you need to contact their sales team to get the best price for your situation. But, they also provide a demos so you can try out the platform before committing money.
OpenCart is not a website builder like the other platforms listed above. It is a free and open source platform to add ecommerce features to your existing website. More than 342,000 websites currently use OpenCart to sell their products online.
The most important feature of this platform is the OpenCart Marketplace. It provides access to over 13,000 modules and themes and can be integrated with a full list of payment gateways and shipping providers.
OpenCart has a huge community support forum with over 550,000 posts from over 110,000 registered members. You can also access support staff for a one-time fee or for an ongoing monthly subscription.
OpenCart is free to download and install, but extensions and integrations cost extra.
Volusion was founded in 1999 but in 2002 it launched as an eCommerce solution. So use this solution if you are wanting to sell physical products.
This platform provides an easy to -use drag-n-drop website builder also has on page editing features. There are free themes and loads of premium themes.
One downside of using this eCommerce platform is the lack of blogging functionality, as building SEO with a blog is king. So to achieve this you will need to use a third party and plugins such as WordPress or another blogging platform that can be linked to your store.
The dashboard of Volusion is well organised with all the main working areas located in the top navigation menu. Managing your inventory and marketing is also up there. There are marketing options that include SEO, Google, Amazon sales, rewards etc.
Their price limits the number of items they can sell. The plans, at $29.00, $79.00 and $299 per month, have caps of 100, 5,000 and Unlimited products, respectively. But that might change at some point since there was a bandwidth limit.
From your dashboard, you can instantly see many tutorials on how to build a store with Volusion, step by step and start and grow your online business.
10. Big Cartel
Big Cartel is a creative website builder. This website builder hosts companies that offer unique and creative products.
Ideal for companies that sell products such as handmade jewellery, art, or unique fashion lines. Big Cartel is best for creative companies and individuals that offer original products.
This platform is made for artists and creators. It aims to help small creative businesses create unique websites. A straightforward platform that allows you to create a website that is as unique as your product.
The free version of Big Cartel allows you to list up to 5 products. From now on, the cost is determined by the number of products you publish. This is an economical option because you only pay for the products you publish.
If your small business offers unique offerings, Big Cartel may be the right choice for you.