There is no better time to launch your eCommerce store than now. However, when it comes to choosing the best eCommerce platform can be daunting. Where do you begin?
Five Key Features That eCommerce Platforms Should Offer
A robust platform should allow you to add your products immediately, provide discounts and coupons, and track all inventory automatically. They should also enable you to manage your shipping and fulfillment so that you can give your full attention to the operation of your business.
Here are a few more must-haves for your eCommerce platform:
1. You Don’t Need To Be Tech-Savvy
Your platform should not require you to have a graphic design or computer science degree. On the contrary, the platform must come equipped with all the tools you’ll need to create a great-looking, responsive, and contemporary-looking online store. You should also be allowed to use your own brand assets and color schemes.
2. No Limitations
The right platform must facilitate the sale of both physical and digital products. It should also allow you to manage sales taxes as well as international shipping. Whether you have a small brick-and-mortar shop or plan to sell worldwide, you will be responsible for collecting and filing an assortment of taxes.
3. Compatible With Other Apps
Your platform must have seamless integration with other systems and solutions you currently use in your business. It must have a full range of integrations, through a plug-in and extension marketplace or the features must be built-in.
Protecting your bottom line from exorbitant fees is a must. All of the aforementioned features must be available at a clear and affordable price on a monthly basis.
Choose The Best eCommerce Platform For Your Business
Having hundreds of eCommerce platforms to wade through, in the end, there is only one platform that will stand the test of time and be a perfect fit for your business.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 eCommerce platforms to make this process of selecting more streamlined and straightforward.
If you want to get your enterprise up and running quickly, look no further than Shopify. With over 2 million stores built using this platform, Shopify has been in operation for more than 15 years. You can begin by using their 14-day, credit-card-free trial to build your store within minutes. Their onboarding wizard guides you every step of the way, helping you customize your store, add products, connect your domain, and with payment setup.
After the 14-day trial period, the cost is from $29/month and 2.9% +$.30 per transaction for the Basic Shopify plan.
The best eCommerce platform for selling both in-person and online is Square. Your online and offline orders are classified under one dashboard. There is no need to hop on and off between apps, scouting down customers’ data using spreadsheets, or having to enter anything manually.
Square’s onboarding is the best in the industry. Upon signing up, you will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire about your business needs. Depending on what you are looking for, you can set up a booking page, simple checkout links, or a full online store.
Using Square’s platform is free, with a 2.9% +$.30 transaction fee for unlimited products.
If you are looking to get started with zero investment upfront, then Ecwid is your best choice. Their free plan allows you to begin selling your first 10 physical products. If you need to grow or have access to more features, then you do have access to more affordable upgrades or tiers that start at just $15/month. Plus there are no additional transaction fees on top of what you pay in your payment gateway fees. No hidden fees mean nothing touches your profit.
When you first sign up, you have the option of integrating your store with your existing website. Ecwid supports most platforms such as Weebly, Drupal, and WordPress.
Ecwid does not charge for its standard features, however, for professional features, their Venture Plan starts from $15/month. Any transaction fees will depend on the payment gateway you use.
For large volume sellers, BigCommerce comes out on top. They are best suited for businesses that are selling a lot in units or dollars. Therefore, as part of their onboarding process, you are required to set up sales taxes as well as automated shipping.
BigCommerce integrates seamlessly with online payment processors such as Braintree, PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon. You can also set up your store to take payment via bank transfer, money order, or check.
Their Standard tier pricing is $29.95/month and it is capped at $50,000/year in sales. Their Plus tier pricing is at $79.95/month and is capped at $180,000 per year.
If you are looking to add a shopping cart to an existing WordPress site, then WooCommerce delivers. The WordPress plugin integrates seamlessly into your WordPress site for hassle-free selling.
The installation is easy. Once you sign up on the WooCommerce website and reach the final step of the onboarding process, you would need to select “Auto-Install WooCommerce on an existing WordPress site.” Then you will be prompted to log in and set up the plugin. With WooCommerce, you can manage your orders, create coupons, and take a look at your sales reports from your WordPress dashboard.
WooCommerce is free for standard features on a self-hosted WordPress site. For additional extensions, it starts from $29. Transaction fees are dependent on the payment gateway used. WooCommerce is also included in the “$45/month billed annually e-Commerce plan” featured on WordPress.com
The Bottom Line
With the right eCommerce platform, anyone wanting to launch an eCommerce business can do so quickly and at an affordable price. With a robust eCommerce website builder, they can list all their wares, process payments, and handle shipping, all without having to leave their home office.