Think of an online merchant trying to sell its products online? Well, in real it’s really hard to beat the best online sellers in global market with over 2 billion online users. Every merchant wants to give the best services to attract and engage its customers while running an online store. Listed below, we are discussing top ten e-commerce platforms to start an online business.
Some important points while selecting an e-commerce platform
There are a number of excellent e-commerce platforms which provide best comprehensive setup tools and also assist while building up an online store. But of course, all platforms are different and their selection depends on store’s need. Before getting into deep, let’s check out some basic features every e-commerce store holder must aware of while selecting an e-commerce platform for their store.
I: Easy to use and customizable
You will be going to use this platform for rest of your life, as long as you are running your online store. Thus, make sure you choose a platform, which you’re comfortable with. Test daily feature programs like product updating, customer service, performance analysis, reports, integrations, and promotions.
II: Marketing Tools
Social media promotion plugins, coupons, and newsletters are one of the tools to look forward in good e-commerce platform. Also, look for tools e.g. social network sharing, one-page checkout and product recommendations.
III: SEO Based
Now SEO plays a major part in website maintenance. See how well does a platform handle search engine optimization for your store? You can only sell your finest product in globe market only if you have done good SEO.
IV: Best Pricing
For best practices don’t rush to the cheapest software, instead, watch out for extravagant payment schemes which guarantee your website long lasting success. Be aware of your transaction fees, because they can add up fast.
V: Website Maintenance
Look for the platform which offers best website maintenance services like updating servers, great uploading and downloading speed and consume low cost on maintenance. Otherwise, you’ll be risking slower response time and added maintenance costs. So these were some aspects every online merchant needs to keep in mind while selecting any e-commerce platform for their online store. Now let’s have a look at the Top 10 e-commerce platforms around the globe.
Shopify is one of the most famous and easiest e-commerce platforms used by developers. It is a super stable platform that builds a great looking website which works excellent across all devices. It is considered as the most powerful e-commerce platforms among all. With Shopify, you can upload unlimited products with handy dashboard and can customize the look of your website accordingly. One of the best features this platform owns is the online app store, which offers more than 1,000 useful, free and paid apps.
Shopify facilitates their user through easy integrations for shipping carriers, drop shipping companies (oberlo review) and fulfillment centers. With their built-in mobile app, you can easily receive payments and manage the store. There is also a point of sale system for managing transactions for physical stores. If you are thinking to launch a quick online store with little technical knowledge, Shopify is best option to get started with.
With all the comforts, Shopify comes with little lack of customizability. To customize Shopify template you must have to learn a whole new coding language called Liquid, which might difficult for a beginner.
Starts with $29/month (Basic Edition)
2: Woo commerce
Woo Commerce is another open-source e-commerce platform that allows merchants to turn their WordPress website into online stores. It is one of the highly used e-commerce platform tool; which offers a huge variety of options and customizations for online store holders. It allows unlimited uploads. It also facilitates with blogging and search engine optimization (SEO). It is a leading e-commerce platform over the Internet with a huge targeted audience of WordPress users and other small online stores.
With woo-commerce, you can run and customize your shop requirements and can create many different products. You can also manage orders, coupons, reports, inventory, product linking, shipping schedules, individual products settings, add-ons, tags, categories and all of the functionality effectively.
Woo-commerce is not as secure as Shopify since it’s an open source platform. Also, there are few functions, which can only be handled with expert knowledge.
Free (Community Edition)
Squarespace is all in one solution to build a complete e-commerce store. It is one of the platforms that allow you to run your business from home. You can start your business even with a zero technical knowledge. Squarespace offers you with amazing features such as SEO-friendly support, website analytics, and stats, adding unlimited products, rich product description option, discount codes, donations, inventory management system, built-in security and much more.
You can upload unlimited products on both Basic and advanced plans and can upgrade pages, galleries, and blogs with unlimited bandwidth, storage, and contributors. Moreover, with its easy Drag and Drop site builder, you can navigate throughout the website easily.
Squarespace provides only one sub navigation level for menus which is hard for large websites that require a deep menu hierarchy. Moreover, developers might not be able to view changes/edits live.
$12/month (Personal Plan)
Big commerce is easy to setup and it gets your store up and running very quickly. It offers substantial customization options. Moreover, it is easy to navigate and offers best SEO configurations among all major e-commerce platforms. It offers a lot of solid features under fair payment schemes. It provides excellent customer support system and allows shipping all over the world.
Under its suitable pricing plans, with big commerce, you can enjoy many features such as real-time shipping quotes, gift cards, and 24/7 customer support. You can also have assistance with their Google Trusted Store certification assistance. Big commerce allows easy integration with eBay and Google shopping. All and all, if you think of being taken care of your store, all your shopping cart needs and have a good looking online store, you do not get any e-commerce platform better enough than big commerce.
Except for enterprise plan, big commerce plans have a limitation on the amount of sales volume that you can process each year – which is a big deal breaker for large-scale shops that generate high volume revenue.
Starts with $29.95/month (Standard Plan)
Magento is an elastic e-commerce platform which keeps designers and developers in mind. It fills all the needs of small and large-scale businesses. It is an open source platform, which offers a high degree customization facility. You can download the community version for free but it offers very limited support. If you want more help and more convenient features, you need to purchase an enterprise version.
Magento offers a variety of plug-ins and themes that help the user to enhance their store. With Magento, you can enjoy endless benefits such as flexible e-commerce solutions, additional layouts, and plugin installation facility, effective performance; various discount offers and promotions and 50 + payment gateways for customers. Magento is one of the best options for any small to large-scale websites but one may need a handy Magento developer side by side.
Magento requires big dedicated servers; otherwise, your site will tend to be slow. It runs in PHP which means that only professionals and experts can deal with the functionality of this platform.
Free (Community Edition)
Miva is another enterprise e-commerce platform giving its user the facility to customize and personalized whole system. It is fully accessible for upcoming and small businesses with modern enterprise methods. It is versatile, powerfully stable and brilliantly supported platform. With Miva, you can completely customize core needs and integrate with any other system easily. Miva allows creating modern e-commerce websites with the dazzlingly creative user interface. It comes up with amazing features such as order processing, shipping fulfillment, multi-channel marketplace inventory and customer relationship management.
Miva platform is designed to handle requirements of all kind for an enterprise business such as complex data sets, large-scale SKU counts, easy configurable products and pricing. With Miva merchant, you can integrate with WordPress, Amazon and eBay.
The shopping cart option lacks with some of the major useful features e.g. product comparison, customer reviews and drop shipping management.
Starts with $79.95/month (Starter)
CrateJoy is a unique platform that runs a subscription e-commerce business aka subscription commerce which offers subscriptions for every lifestyle. It is specially designed to deliver products quickly through subscription box service to people. If you are running a website and want to convert into an online store, CrateJoy is best and most reliable option that helps you converting your existing website into real store.
CrateJoy is a complete solution for your online subscription business. It handles subscriptions mostly and allows users to create subscription boxes with easy built-in options where users can add variants, terms and survey of their choices.
In CrateJoy, there is less option to handle products one time, e.g. categories. It does not offer any upsell/add-on features as well. Pricing:
Starts with $39/month (Community Edition)
Lightspeed is world’s most easy to use e-commerce platform to create businesses. This system is designed for real life goals to provide customers with the consistently enjoyable shopping experience. It offers customization and built-in SEO tools that rank you higher and faster in search engines. Lightspeed can amaze anyone with its super exciting tools such as Lightspeed Onsite for desktop use, Lightspeed POS for restaurant platform, the Lightspeed retail system, and Lightspeed e-commerce system.
It offers with a reliable backend interface and a strong app/theme store. Moreover, this platform is usable for both, beginner and expert developers. With hassle free shipping you can connect to any shipping carrier throughout the world.
It has a limitation of adding only 5 user accounts. Moreover, it has very limited functionality e.g. you cannot put items on sale. You can only use a coupon code. Also, the customer support is very limited.
$99/month (Small Plan)
OpenCart is a free open-source e-commerce platform, popular for small startup businesses and online stores. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, OpenCart comes up with simple and fair functionalities. It is lightweight software and requires few resources to setup an online store. In general, it works great for small e-commerce stores with the appealing user-friendly interface and saves a lot of money as it cost 10/hour for development. It also offers convenient management through Admin panel. It offers 20+ payment gateways and 8+ shipping methods. It is designed to manage multiple shops from single admin interface which is a big plus!
The only big downside with all the ease and fewer complexities is one cannot get much from it for a bigger purpose. Also with OpenCart, you may face compatibility issues with multiple extensions.
Free (Community Edition)
10: Drupal Commerce
Drupal commerce is an open source e-commerce platform designed to create versatile e-commerce websites and applications based on Drupal. This awesome software combines e-commerce, content management system and community to create an engaging web experience that drives more traffic to retailers.
Drupal commerce is integrated into Drupal at the deepest level and has all the functionality that Drupal has to offer. This shows that both user and customer have seamless experience when using an e-commerce website. Drupal e-commerce cost less development time. Moreover, you don’t need to develop two separate versions for your visual templates. The ongoing management and maintenance of Drupal e-commerce website is easier. You can also enjoy the reporting and analytics tools that allow you to view the number of visitors in your website.
The Drupal script is not very user-friendly and requires advanced knowledge for installation and modifications.
Free (Community Edition) If you are a hands-on person, review all these platforms and see which one fits best for you. But if you want to cut the chase and get your store up and running quickly then my personal recommendation is to go with Shopify or big commerce since these platforms are highly stable and some of the great Apps connected to add value and success to your business. There are web development agencies which offer great e-commerce development support in a few or all the e-commerce platforms listed above i.e. HTML Pro is one of the best and widely used Ecommerce Website Design agency helping thousands of online businesses globally with the development of all e-commerce platforms listed.
Hamid Mahmood is currently engaged with many multinational agencies. He is an MBA & certified Web Specialist, master in SEO/SMM & Business Strategy. Hamid has urge and passion for work. Besides company’s matters, Hamid loves writing, traveling and mentoring young entrepreneurs.