If your business doesn't exist online, it doesn't exist at all.
If you want to make money by selling products or services online, ecommerce platforms are virtually a necessity. That's why most of the top e-com a basic shopping cart functionality to PayPal integration, knowledgebase integration, and more.
Choosing an ecommerce platform you want to cover everything from the functionality to the final cost. You'll also want to find out what's out there on the market so that you can find the best ecommerce platform to match your business needs.
No two companies are the same. The key to a successful ecommerce setup is to identify your needs and the market. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at some of the best ecommerce platforms available.
By the way, read our new guide - how to start an ecommerce business?
What is an Ecommerce Platform, and Why Should You Use One?
An ecommerce platform is like a retail equivalent of a content management system (CMSs) that other companies use to manage their websites. If your company uses an all-in-one ecommerce software suite, they'll essentially be able to manage all the aspects of a digital store from within a single platform. A platform includes everything from stock reports and order processing to specifying refunds and return policies.
At the same time, remember that not all ecommerce software solutions are equal. That's why before choosing a provider to work with, you'll need to spend some time considering your needs and finding the best ecommerce software for you. There's no point in spending a huge amount of money on overpowered software if you're not going to use the functionality it gives you.
When it comes to choosing an ecommerce platform, one thing to remember is that you don't need to stick with the default installation of any platform. Once you hire a Magento development company, you can take the basics of a Magento installation and then customize it at length to suit your company's needs.
The good news is that many of the best ecommerce platforms are open source, which means that the core software is available for free. Many of the customized themes and plugins for these platforms are also available on an open-source license, while others require a license fee. Either way, if you want anything above and beyond the most basic installation, you may want to work with an ecommerce website development company.
Remember that the best ecommerce platform for startups might not be the same as the best ecommerce hosting for large, multinational businesses. That's why it's important to spend some time looking at an ecommerce platforms comparison to determine which platform is best for you. Luckily, we've got just the thing.
Top 7 Best Ecommerce Platforms
When you're looking for an ecommerce solution provider, there are a few main companies that you'll want to think about. Remember that the best ecommerce CMS for you could be very different from the best platform for someone else. Before wasting time on ecommerce comparison lists, be sure to draft up a list of the criteria that you're searching for. And set up clear goals, the software should help you achieve.
Magento ecommerce platform is one of the most popular, and for a good reason. It's the world's most popular ecommerce platform that handles more than $100 billion every year in transactions. It also has the benefit of being an open-source platform despite being originally developed by a privately-owned company. A huge army of third-party developers has made it even more attractive by augmenting its core functionality.
Magento is the best ecommerce solution in a lot of cases because it's so versatile. Unlike many other online ecommerce platforms, it doesn't specialize in any particular aspect but instead does a whole bunch of different things for a range of different use cases. It is not necessarily bad, but if you're looking for more complex features like advanced security, then you may need to look elsewhere.
You can't have an ecommerce platform comparison article without mentioning Magento. The same way that you can't have an article about content management systems (CMSs) without mentioning WordPress. Magento is an all in one ecommerce solution that you don't have to pay through the teeth for, and it has the added advantage of being a sort of lingua franca amongst developers. An experienced Magento development team will surely take care of everything for you. Also you can check Top Magento Development Companies to choose the best solution for you. And don't forget to have inspire from article about Top 10 Magento Stores.
As opposed to Magento, BigCommerce is a privately owned website ecommerce solution that works as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. Founded back in 2009, the company's software powers around 20,000 websites and is popular amongst startups and enterprises. They've also got you covered if you're looking for something more bespoke. Just because you can work directly with the company, unlike open-source software, where the company itself rarely works as developers for hire.
BigCommerce also has the advantage of offering a free 15-day trial, along with "set-it-and-forget-it" security and comprehensive analytics that rival the best of what other ecommerce solution providers can bring to the table. With that said, if you're looking for enterprise ecommerce platforms, then it might be worth looking elsewhere. Purely because BigCommerce is more known for working with younger brands which are looking to challenge the established big players on the market.
Shopify is another one of the largest ecommerce platforms, and there's usually a reason for it when ecommerce website solutions get this popular. With Shopify, it's mostly the ease of use and the track record of success it has with its customers. The platform is rapidly heading towards a million users with over 5,000 enterprise customers and annual revenues of over a billion dollars.
One of the most distinctive features of Shopify is its self-service function. If you're looking for one of the easiest to use hosted ecommerce platforms, Shopify will do the job for you and then some. You can even buy a domain name through the company and set your site up entirely through their interface. It's also distinctive for offering up point-of-sale services, so if your ecommerce store is coupled with a real-world location, you can make sure that the two of them sync up and share the same data.
Wix is ecommerce for beginners, and it's similar to Squarespace since their website building tools allow anyone to put together a website but often leave much to be desired in terms of the site's actual look and feel. Still, it certainly deserves its place on this list, only because it's the easiest ecommerce engine for beginners to wrap their heads around. It just doesn't have all of the bells and whistles that you might expect if you're looking to make a highly customized ecommerce store.
Honestly, Wix is never going to win any awards for "best web hosting ecommerce", but it is a pretty good choice if you're just getting started. It's easy enough to learn it, but it lacks a lot of features that other ecommerce solutions have to offer. Our advice is to avoid it unless you have no other choice, simply because some of the other platforms are more feature-heavy and better suited for scaling.
WooCommerce is an ecommerce website integration that allows you to build a new ecommerce site on top of an existing WordPress installation. This makes it the perfect choice if you're a content creator with an already successful blog site because you can build an ecommerce store into the existing site without worrying too much about messing around with an entirely new domain and starting to drive traffic there.
With that said, it's definitely not the best ecommerce marketing platform, mostly offering just the basics, and it's not what we'd suggest going for if you're building an ecommerce site from scratch. It's more of a lightweight solution that aims to help WordPress site owners to monetize their blogs by selling merchandise. It's pretty good at doing that, but it's not what you should look to if you're hoping to build a big international ecommerce store.
Squarespace is similar to Wix: it's a one-stop-shop solution for building a website or an ecommerce store. That makes it one of the best ecommerce service providers for beginners, but if you're looking for some sort of customized ecommerce platform development, then you're going to need to look for another platform. That's because Squarespace comes with its own limitations, and even if you hire a professional developer to work with you on the platform, they won't be able to overcome its natural constraints.
Still, it's arguably the easiest ecommerce platform to pick up for absolute beginners, and if all you need is a small-scale ecommerce business website, then Squarespace should be enough for you to get started. Just be warned that it's not always easy to switch from Squarespace to another provider, so you risk locking yourself into their software and not being able to switch to something else easily.
As the name suggests, OpenCart is open source, and it's what gives it an edge as one of the best ecommerce website platforms. As with Magento, if the core functionality doesn't contain everything you need, you can find plenty of themes and plugins that are designed to power up the basic OpenCart installation. With that said, the community around OpenCart is a little smaller, and so Magento takes the edge when it comes to just how many optional add-ons are there available on the market.
OpenCart has the benefit of being totally free, and it also has a thriving support community and even dedicated commercial support. It powers nearly 350,000 websites, which means that there's precedent if you're planning to take on the established ecommerce web stores at their own game. The only real problem is that it's not the easiest ecommerce platform to get started with, and so if you don't have previous experience of working with it, then you might be better off starting with something a little easier.
The Best Ecommerce Platform for You
Ultimately, there is a choice of ecommerce frameworks, and when you compare them, you need to factor in everything from what features they include to the number of experienced third-party developers working on the platform. And while sharing the most popular ecommerce platforms is one thing, not everyone is looking for popularity.
For example, if security is a priority, then popularity can actually be a bad thing, because the more popular an ecommerce solution is, the more likely it is to be open to security vulnerabilities. Open-source software tends to be more vulnerable too, so if security is important, then you may want to search for a specialist provider.
But when it comes to the best ecommerce providers overall, the resources that we've shared in this article should help you to get off to a good start. Now it's time for you to take a closer look at each one of them and to figure out which ecommerce to pick. If you're in doubt, though, Magento is a pretty good choice for default, just because it's so versatile and it has a wider community of third-party developers creating add-ons.
So now it's up to you how to get started, whether you're building a simple ecommerce website or a big ecommerce store for a huge multinational brand. Either way, we hope that this list of ecommerce platforms has helped you to wrap your head around what's out there in the market. Good luck with your ecommerce store.