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Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses – A Quick Guide To Top Ecommerce Platforms

by Tom Buckland Updated On March 12, 2019

Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses - HQ SEO

 

Starting an ecommerce business is one of the best ways of acquiring new customers and posting strong growth results. Much the reason why, a number of ecommerce platforms for small businesses have sprung up over the years.

The quest to discover the best ecommerce platform on the market is an ongoing goal for many businesses. Since there are so many to choose from and there are new emerging ones coming out all the time.

How do you decide?

If you are looking for an ecommerce platform guide to help you tell the good ones from the bad, you have come to the right place.

Let us look at the various types of popular ecommerce platforms and dive deep into the advantages and disadvantages that come with them.

Furthermore, we will take a look at new ecommerce trends and glance over some of the newly developed platforms.

What is an ecommerce platform?

Since the businesses will always keep going more digital with each passing year, it’s no surprise that much of the emphasis now lies on being able to provide a smooth online shopping experience to customers.

Ecommerce platforms are, to put it simply, full-fledged website builders that are geared especially towards helping you ‘sell’ stuff. Quite obviously, the points of difference between the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses lie in the small features – the ones that help the overall conversion rate optimization

Based on the common programming languages, these platforms offer fully integrated and pre-integrated small business ecommerce solutions that allow you to build a store using various tools and solutions. Moreover, through these integrations, you will be able to bring it all together to allow for one cohesive store-like setting. Some popular integrations are Zapier, PayPal, Stripe and many others.

 

Some Of The Top Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses Are:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • YoKart
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce

 

Even though thousands of users are using these ecommerce platforms world-wide to conduct their online stores, none of them are perfect. There are a variety of advantages and disadvantages that come with each one.

 

Important

Even when you design the best looking ecommerce store ith a ton of features, your sales will always be only as good as the amount of traffic you manage to attract. Find out how we help our clients push sales through the roof with state of the art, expert ecommerce SEO solutions.

 

Alright – let’s get to it.

 

Best Ecommerce Solutions For Small Businesses – Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms

I’d like to point it out here that we will only be discussing the major pros and cons of top ecommerce platforms for small businesses in this post. We will (in all likelihood) post detailed reviews for each of these ecommerce platforms in coming weeks. So, stay tuned – subscribe to our blog for regular SEO news, updates and tips.

In the context of ecommerce, small business owners typically tend to ignore many important features, instead going with whatever ecommerce platform is sold to them first up by their website developers. If you happen to be in that place, this post is especailly meant for you.

 

Shopify

Based in Canada, Shopify has been helping organizations across the globe to focus sharply on all trending ecommerce and mobile shopping initiatives. They were founded in 2004 and are pretty good at keeping up the pace of evolving ecommerce trends. However, having broken ground on many powerful additions, Shopify is an ecommerce platform worth looking into for every small business online store.

If you want to see Shopify in action with the whole small business ecommerce thing, here’s a handy guide.

 

A Sample Shopify Store

Shopify powers thousands of ecommerce small business websites around the world. If you need some inspiration, you’ll find it in plenty here.

Here’s a gorgeous ecommerce website built on nothing but the basic features of Shopify.

 

Shopify Store Example - Sample Shopify Store - Ecommerce Platforms

 

Advantages of Shopify

  • Shopify is a complete ecommerce package for a start up businesse and those who are just expanding their reach.
  • This platform is very easy to use with helpful step by step guides to aid you in developing your online store.
  • You can integrate this ecommerce platform with your social networks.

Disadvantages of Shopify

  • Though it comes with many practical extensions, these generally require additional investments from you.
  • Shopify comes with its own coding language. What this means to you is that you will pay quite a bit more if you want full customization.
  • There will be an additional fee per transaction if you don’t use the Shopify payment structure.

 

If you already run a Shopify store, you probably know that without a proper round of ecommerce SEO, it’s next to impossible to face the competition (trust me, PPC ads will only take you so far).

To know more about how our SEO process has taken hundreds of ecommerce clients around the world to the top of the SERPs for their money keywords, visit our process page. To request a free proposal, drop us a line here.

 

Magento

Magento was launched in 2008 and it provides you with online store solutions for large and growing organizations. You can manage both front and back end operations using this small business ecommerce solution.

Magento provides you with additional resources such as online marketing tools and SEO recommendations.

 

A Quick Look At Magento’s Ecommerce Share

Since Magento is one of the earliest ecommerce options made available specifically for small businesses, you’ll find thousands of online stores using it today – even though their popularity seems to be a touch down the slope in recent years.

 

Ecommerce Platform Share Magento Shopify Woocommerce Bigcommerce Prestashop

 

Source: Aheadworks Blog
 

A Sample Magento Store

Here’s our pick of a beautifully designed, elegant and conversion optimized ecommerce store. You can check it out here.

 

sample magento store - magento store example

 

Advantages of Magento

  • You can have multiple users and update all your website data with ease.
  • Have the option to develop easy and complex products that allow you to create any possibility.
  • Manage your online store from any device you desire including your mobile phones. It is easy to navigate and search for any results.

Disadvantages of Magento

  • There are some elements that will require a developer or programmer to update.
  • The learning curve is fairly high and intense.
  • You have to have some basic HTML or PHP knowledge along with a good server since it has a complex interface.

 

A Quick Reminder – Why Ecommerce SEO Matters

Even when your business is new (and you don’t host hundreds of products or handle thousands of orders each week), you’ll invest a significant amount in buiding a good ecommerce store.

 

Building a very basic ecommerce store will still cost you upwards of £6,000 (or $10,000). If that investment doesn’t earn you money, there’s no point in going down the ecommerce route. The only way to make your ecommerce investments work is to complement them with end-to-end ecommerce SEO campaigns that cost a fraction of the web development cost.

 

Our expert ecommerce SEO services help your products be noticed by highly-intent driven searchers, resulting in massive sales spikes and an overall boost in your online authority. To request a free proposal, please get in touch.

 

YoKart

YoKart (stylized at Yo!Kart for some reason) – a well-known small business ecommerce platform – was designed for SMBs and startup organizations.

The various robust features allow you to build multi-vendor stores. YoKart was founded in 2004 in India and is a product of FATbit technologies. They have won multiple awards for being a multivendor ecommerce platform that lets entrepreneurs and established businesses bring their organizations online.

Many of the best ecommerce sites for small business ventures were previously built on YoKart – although they don’t enjoy as much patronage as others on this list (the pricing is incredibly attractive, though!).

 

A Sample YoKart Store

Here’s a great looking YoKart store (check it out here).

YoKart, unlike other small business e commerce platforms being discussed here, provides a great multi-vendor functionality that is particularly useful for the businesses that franchise their operations.

 

sample yokart store example

 

Advantages of YoKart

  • YoKart is a system that was designed to have all the high-end and state of the art features you could possibly need to develop a full-on ecommerce marketplace.
  • This platform is scalable to grow with your organization as it grows. However, if you are just at the beginning of building your online store or already have an established organization, you can use this ecommerce platform.
  • With a modern and sleek design, you can navigate through this platform with ease. The modern tools include both marketing and promotional tools to get you noticed.

Disadvantages of YoKart

  • YoKart has a robust structure that will make customization an issue. You will want to have a developer who has extensive knowledge of PHP to do customizations for you.
  • It isn’t an open source ecommerce platform. You will have to use default themes unless you have a programmer who can customize it.
  • If you prefer to offer one vending solution, this probably isn’t the platform you want to use as it is designed for multiple vendors.

 

WooCommerce

This small business ecommerce platform is a WordPress plugin that comes along with a secure gateway for payments and shopping cart features.

You can use it as an open source for your WordPress to set up a basic online store in order to sell anything you desire. Moreover, the user interface will allow you to manage your store on the go. Furthermore, there is no need for any type of programming or knowledge of coding.

 

WooCommerce Is Ideal If You Are Working On A Budget!

WooCommerce – on its own – costs you nothing to get started (assuming that you’ve got your domain registered and hosting sorted out).

All you need to do is get WordPress installed and activate the WooCommerce Plugin.

Most of the basic features – including PayPal payment gateways, fulfillment optmization, email automation and inventory management – are free.

Here’s a great guide to why a small business online store needs to take WooCommerce more seriously.

 

A Sample WooCommerce Store

Many of the independent and small businesses operate their online stores exclusively on WooCommerce – simply because once set up, it literally is as easy as checking your email.

WooCommerce have listed some of the best websites built using their platform here.

The one we really loved at first sight was Yousli.

 

sample woocommerce store yousli ecommerce platforms for SMEs SMBs

 

 

Advantages of WooCommerce

  • This ecommerce platform is easy to use and install. You can use a high number of add-on modules and there is the ability to generate product feeds for other online places like Google AdWords and Amazon among others.
  • The basic plugin will offer you almost everything you could possibly want to get your online store up and running. There are plenty of free upgrades offered by WooCommerce that you can use to make your store feel more complete.
  • It is a self-hosted plugin that provides you with the freedom to get your store up and running the way you want it to and look. You don’t need to have any extensive experience with developing to get your store going.

Disadvantages of WooCommerce

  • Depending on what type of host you are using for your domain, WooCommerce can slow your website page speed down and this is important. Find out why here or by contacting us.
  • It isn’t a great platform if you require a physical point of sale since it isn’t what WooCommerce is intended for when building an online marketplace.
  • There is a lack of scalability. As your business grows and you start to sell more products or services, WooCommerce will start to slow down.

 

Before we get to the last entry in this list, let’s take a moment to appreciate that a website – no matter how well it looks – is only as good as the sales it can generate for you. From weeding out technical SEO problems to putting your SEO content strategy in order, every aspect is just as important.

For that very reason, it becomes extremely important to take ecommerce SEO very seriously. At HQ SEO, we offer end-to-end ecommerce store SEO services that include technical SEO, on-page SEO, link building and digital marketing – all in one package.

To request a free proposal from our high-performance team, do feel free to get in touch with us.

 

BigCommerce

BigCommerce was founded in 2009 and it is based out of the United States. The purpose of BigCommerce is to power success for your online store by revolutionizing the way people work, shop and live.

Therefore, you can either build your online store from scratch or migrate over the one you have already established. This ecommerce solution is loaded with a ton of features and integrations that will make managing your store easy.

 

A Sample BigCommerce Store

You can visit the BigCommerce Showcase to get an idea about how BigCommerce Stores look.

Here’s a sample (website: Rollie Nation):

 

bigcommerce website example - rollie nation

 

Advantages of BigCommerce

  • It is extremely easy to use. Even if you don’t have the extensive technological knowledge, you will be able to navigate and setup your online store using this ecommerce platform.
  • This platform isn’t overly-restrictive. In terms of use you can sell whatever you want and it is suitable for even “high-risk” items.
  • BigCommerce comes complete with more out-of-box features than do most other software types in its class. There are tons of options you can utilize with this software.

 

Disadvantages of BigCommerce

  • You may experience a huge reduction in site traffic using this software. It could be because of how Google treats this site in a search or that it isn’t a fully comprehensive marketplace. If you are wondering more about how Google search works, you can find out by getting in touch with us.
  • It can be cumbersome when you want to list variations. There are multiple steps involved and this might be unattractive if you are time constrained.
  • There are portions of the site that cannot be customized. When setting up products with multiple sizes or colour options it can be tricky to do.

 

The Best Ecommerce Platforms – Which One Should You Go With?

There are many advantages and disadvantages to the various ecommerce platforms there are on the market today. Not any one is a fit for all solution and thus, you need to determine which one would suit you best based on your needs.

To help you with your search, you should check out up-coming trends that could have an impact on your decision.

 

2019 Ecommerce Trends To Watch Out For

Looking beyond the idiosyncrasies of various ecommerce platforms, one of the most genuine differentiators is that of shipping times and delivery logistics. However, with more and more popular ecommerce retailers stepping up their delivery and logistics game, you are going to want to do the same.

There is a large appetite for machine learning tech. It is inevitable that ecommerce platforms are going to continue to be sidetracked by artificial intelligence. Moreover, since these are already being integrated into ecommerce platforms, you will see a dramatic increase in these technologies.

Voice search and mobile go hand in hand. As you are going to want your website to be mobile optimized (find out about that here) Voice Search capabilities will become a leading driver in a successful ecommerce space.

ROPO has been and is going to keep rising. Driven by the bargain hunters, you are going to see a great deal more of research online, purchase offline being implemented into the ecommerce sector.

Again, mobile is leading the way above the desktop. Since ecommerce is moving in that direction, you are going to see more and more stores developing apps for mobiles in order to reach their intended targets. Therefore, the ecommerce sector is also going mobile with lightening speed. We can help you learn about developing your online store for mobile use by contacting us.

As the ecommerce sector continues to grow, you are going to see more and more developers putting out ecommerce plugins and platforms now and through to the future. There are many developing and leading ecommerce platforms out on the market making this sector very competitive.

When checking out various platforms, you may be the one who wants to go with the new and uprising ones that will grow with current and future trends. Therefore, you are going to want to know which ones are just getting their bearings.

Here are a couple of newer ecommerce platforms you should look out for, for now and into the future.

 

Up and Coming Ecommerce Platforms

Wix – Originally intended as a website builder, it is now adding an ecommerce section to enhance its capabilities. Still fairly new to the market, you can check them out.

Volusion – This platform is aimed primarily at starter stores and hobbyists. Fairly new to the marketplace, you are going to want to keep an eye out for growth.

Demandware – With fashion still being a popular field for ecommerce, this Salesforce cloud commerce is preferred by the fashion retailers who hold high-profiles.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand what ecommerce platforms are and what they can do, you can see why it is important that you take a look at all the different aspects each one holds. Through the list of advantages and disadvantages of some of the more popular platforms, you can see that none are perfect. Ultimately, if you are looking to choose an ecommerce platform to start or enhance your online presence through a store, you want to be sure of the one you choose.

 

Since ecommerce is a constantly growing sector that is going to pave the way for online shopping, it is important that you understand the trends that are going to appear in this sector. Trends set the standard for which platform will work for your business.

 

To find out more about ecommerce platforms and developing an online presence, you can contact us and we will help you navigate this tricky and modern path of developing a store online.

 

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About Tom

Hi, I'm Tom, Founder & Director of HQ SEO. I live and breathe SEO. I hope you enjoy my findings. Interested in SEO?
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