Now that you have read our previous post on the tips to set up an e-commerce business, you are probably flexing your entrepreneurial muscles. You have the idea, know your target audience, and sort out the logistics and pricing. The next thing on your list should be a comprehensive e-commerce solution.
Gone are the days when you would need to work with several tools and plugins to develop an online store. Nowadays, the most modern e-commerce platforms cover the whole process.
An e-commerce platform is your one-stop shop for all the needs of your online store. This software solution allows you to communicate with customers, suppliers, and transport agencies in a single hub. The goal is to sell your products and services as efficiently as possible.
Key features in an e-commerce platform
Any e-commerce platform worthy of its name should at least get the following bases covered:
As a rule of thumb, the bigger the business, the more customization you will need. Most of the options on this list provide enterprise solutions should you need to scale up. However, purpose-built platforms like BigCommerce or Salesforce Commerce Cloud are also designed to manage multiple stores and international operations with different currencies.
Even if you are not in the e-commerce space, you will have heard about Shopify. Currently, it’s one of the biggest e-commerce platforms, with one million stores in 175 countries. More mind-blowing stats – by 2021, it had already processed more than one billion orders.
Shopify is one of the most comprehensive solutions around. You will have a website builder with thousands of templates available. And there are almost 7000 plugins in its app store. Of course, you can manage all your day-to-day activities too. If you want a no-fuss platform, you cannot go wrong with this one.
Do you already have a WordPress site, and you are looking into adding e-commerce features? This is an open-source WordPress plugin that offers precisely that.
One of the main advantages of WooCommerce is the ability to add e-commerce features without the need for a full-blown store. For instance, if you want to sell your self-published book, you can create a small storefront with its shopping cart and payment gateway.
Another simple and user-friendly solution for your e-commerce needs. Selz is geared towards individuals and creators looking for a straightforward solution. And, just like Shopify, it offers pre-built website templates. However, you can also plug it into an existing website.
Besides inventory management for physical goods, this e-commerce platform is designed for digital products like e-books, videos, software, and other digital downloads.
Finally, Selz also offers marketing tools such as an ad campaign manager for your Facebook, Google, or Instagram ads.
Just as there are e-commerce platforms with the bonus of a website builder, Wix is a website builder with e-commerce features. As such, it offers a broader range of options of templates. For instance, you can choose between different categories like restaurants, small companies, musicians, and others.
There are also plenty of customization options and marketing automation features.
This e-commerce platform is closer to Instagram than to a traditional online store. There’s plenty of focus on the visual side of things, making it an ideal choice for creators and artists.
One of the advantages of Squarespace is the large number of online store templates it provides. You can change the design while keeping the underlying features, and every template is automatically updated. The main drawback is the lack of customization.
There are plenty of other solutions out there. Before taking the plunge with a specific e-commerce platform, the best thing to do is to assess your situation carefully. Will your business scale? Are you interested in selling in different countries? Do you need a basic storefront instead? Do you have your website already?
Answering those questions will give you clues to choose the most suitable e-commerce platform.