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.
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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.
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.
Alright – let’s get to it.
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.
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.
Shopify powers thousands of ecommerce small business websites around the world. If you need some inspiration, you’ll find it in plenty here.
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 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.
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.
Here’s our pick of a beautifully designed, elegant and conversion optimized ecommerce store. You can check it out here.
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 (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!).
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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 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.
You can visit the BigCommerce Showcase to get an idea about how BigCommerce Stores look.
Here’s a sample (website: Rollie Nation):
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.
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.
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.
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.