Sawaram Suthar is the founder of TheNextScoop and Jagat Media. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in branding, promotions, page optimization, research, and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on Twitter @sawarams.
Choosing the best eCommerce platform for your online store is always tedious. From listing products to checkout to increasing sales and improving the experience overall. Learn some of the best ways to choose them...
Running an online store can be even more difficult than managing a real-life store, as you have to think about the goods you want to sell and how to present these goods.
If you are starting your online business, the first thing you have to do is to choose the best online eCommerce platform. Nowadays, a wide selection of the best eCommerce platforms allows you to select the one which will best meet your needs.
Before detailing each tool, let's understand what an e-commerce platform is, how it will benefit business, and the pros and cons.
What are eCommerce platforms?
An eCommerce platform is an end-to-end software solution that allows sellers to manage & sell their products or services and the consumer to buy them. They come with various essential features like eCommerce website builders, inventory management, payment gateway, accounting, and customer service infrastructure.
Further, online businesses can do much more than the above, like managing their website, marketing, sales and operations.
Another side, consumers can use the e-commerce platform to discover products, shop, and then check out.
Why should you use an eCommerce platform?
As said above, running an online store is tedious because you need to focus on a series of steps like building a website, managing inventory, and taking payment. A perfect eCommerce platform can help to understake all of them, and you can focus on improving the sales process and increasing revenue.
eCommerce platforms are comparatively cheaper than creating customized software. They also have plenty of plugins to automate tasks like sending emails, return processes, or accept thirty-party plugins like BigCommerce eBay integration tool etc. Most importantly, they are on the cloud, so you don't have to worry about outages or downtime.
What are the best eCommerce platforms for online stores?
Every eCommerce platform has different advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you check out a few before making your decision. I've reviewed and recommended some of the best eCommerce platforms to choose the best platform for online stores.
Shopify is the platform that is becoming increasingly popular because of its numerous features, and that is suitable for building online stores of any kind. First of all, you get complete control over the design of your store, so there are unlimited options for customization.
You can easily edit the code if you have to. Secondly, you get the possibility to process your customers' orders as soon as they appear. Thirdly, efficient tracking of secure payments will satisfy both customers and the shop owners. Fourthly, you can add various features to advance your website's functionality to meet any of your needs.
A fantastic example of fashion Shopify templates is You. It is fully responsive, so your web page will adjust to different browsers and devices. Furthermore, it has unlimited possibilities to arrange your information and present items. For example, you can add banners, show featured products, create galleries, combine images with texts, write blog articles, set collection and logo lists, and many more. In addition, your customers will enjoy the chance to sort goods by several criteria and to choose the currency of their payments.
Recommended: BigCommerce vs Shopify: Which One is Better?
The next big platform worth mentioning is Yo!Kart. Unlike other eCommerce software, the platform is inherently built to start an online multivendor store like Amazon, Etsy, or Alibaba. Therefore, it is ideal for entrepreneurs and small and large-scale enterprises to kick-start their online businesses at a reasonable price.
Complete customization and scalability are among the most significant benefits of using Yo!Kart. It comes with various pre-integrated third-party APIs and essential eCommerce features like tax management, multicart checkout, product catalog, and more to streamline the entire business process.
Yo!Kart is a highly secure self-hosted platform designed to deliver a competitive edge to your business. It is available in two pricing packages, with the basic package starting at $999. It also provides native mobile apps for Android and iOS. While the software is exceptional for creating a marketplace, the only drawback is that no free design themes are available, and the upgrades are also paid for. Other than that, it is a complete eCommerce solution to accelerate your business growth.
Yo!Kart introduced powerful eCommerce features and integrations in the latest release, V9.3. These new features include split payments with Stripe Connect, a pickup in-store module, a streamlined checkout process with new shipping & delivery options, and many more. Also, there are 20+ pre-integrated payment methods, including Stripe and Paypal, with an opportunity to integrate even more. Currently, Yo!Kart empowers over 1000 marketplaces globally and is the right software to start your online multi-vendor store.
Another platform worth considering is MotoCMS. With its powerful drag-and-drop website builder and Content Management System, you can create responsive sites of any complexity, both for a small company and a vast business. In addition, the admin panel will not require many skills in web designing, so the platform is user-friendly.
You receive a catalog of your goods with filtering and search options, secure payment gateways, tax, and shipping settings, as well as flexible payment options and secure checkout. In addition, MotoCMS allows you to customize the look of your website and easily choose the color scheme you like. However, it does not include any free designs.
MotoCMS themes, for instance, Bouquets & Floral Arrangement MotoCMS Ecommerce Template, will attract your visitors with a Lazy load effect and help you appealingly arrange the products with Sliders and Galleries. The theme also includes audio and video widgets, Blog functionality and social integration options to promote your online store.
The following e-commerce platform under consideration is Magento. It was built especially for eCommerce, offering various features for online sales and customer, payment and loyalty management.
Small and medium businesses can start with the Community Edition, which is free to use if you provide your hosting. Nevertheless, due to many features, Magento can get slow, and it does not require some coding skills to customize your web page.
As you can see by looking at Recuidi - Healthy Food Store Magento Template, an example of Magento themes, it can be equipped with Ajax Wishlist to give customers more time for consideration, with Parallax effect that will enchant visitors, with Shop by Brand options that will attract lovers of particular companies, and numerous other useful features.
Using Prestashop as a platform for your online store has advantages such as being comparatively easy to launch and maintain an appropriate for Multilanguage websites. Moreover, you can get an upgrade quickly and consult a forum to get any help. As for its disadvantages, you will have to pay for many modules to make your store more effective, and this platform is not perfect for building large-scale online shops.
Suppose you have a PrestaShop template, such as Impresta - Kids Store PrestaShop Theme. In that case, you can easily adjust the layout of your website, choose different modes of presenting goods, and add audio, video, banners, sliders, or carousels to impress your customers.
OpenCart is the best eCommerce platform that combines both free and paid plugins. In addition, its script is XHTML compliant and includes a clear structure of graphics templates, so adjusting the look of your shop should not cause many difficulties.
Also, it does not include many built-in functionalities, so it can guarantee the efficiency of server resources unless you add too many plugins. As for administration, OpenCart is characterized by a clear and easy-to-use panel, which is the best choice for those just starting their online store.
As for the drawbacks of OpenCart, it is not fully SEO-friendly, so you will have to optimize your code. Additionally, it cannot boast efficient technical support, so you will have to solve any problems with the help of the forum community.
OpenCart themes, such as Visual, a responsive OpenCart template, can be modified to include an effective MegaMenu to organize goods into categories, Product badges to provide information about interests conveniently, and an Ajax Search to facilitate the process of selection.
Your store management will become a breeze. OpenCart offers built-in SEO. It will be easy to manage your products, customers, orders, taxes rules, coupon codes and more.
OpenCart has a vast selection of eCommerce modules and themes if you want to expand your store functionality.
OpenCart provides free community or dedicated commercial support as well.
Over 342 000 entrepreneurs worldwide choose OpenCart for their eCommerce projects, so you’ll be in good company.
OpenCart offers multiple payment gateways and shipping methods, which is essential for your customer's convenience. The world's most popular payment gateways and shipping methods (PayPal, Amazon payments, Authorize.Net, sage Pay, away, Skrill, 2CO 2Checkout, Klarna, WorldPay, UPS, FedEx, United States Postal Service, Australia Post, Parcel Force, Royal Mail) are integrated into it.
One more robust platform to start an online store is WooCommerce. On the one hand, its main benefits include the fact that it is free, a variety of plugins to customize your website, and a lot of tools for analysis, such as to measure sales according to brand or sum up your daily and monthly deals or accept plugins to connect with other marketplaces like WooCommerce eBay integration, WooCommerce Etsy integration. Also, this is a secure system that guarantees secure transactions for customers.
On the other hand, WooCommerce has several drawbacks, such as the necessity to update your store quite regularly and the requirement of knowledge to customize your website without anyone's help.
At the outset, you will need to install the WooCommerce plugin. For these simple reasons, you can get it from the WordPress repository. By the way, it is entirely free. On the other hand, you can install the WooCommerce plugin with the help of your dashboard.
- Firstly, go to WordPress Admin;
- Then find their ‘Plugins’;
- Navigate to ‘Add New’;
- Find there the ‘WooCommerce plugin.’
- Finally, you can click on the Install button.
When you own a WooCommerce theme, for instance, Furnistore – Furniture Store WooCommerce Template, editing and customizing your website becomes an enjoyable experience due to the Drag-and-Drop builder. Moreover, you can choose from an ultimate pack of Cherry plugins, including Cherry Projects, Testimonials, Team Members, and others, to provide additional information on your website.
Developed by FATbit Technologies, Growcer is a customizable grocery eCommerce platform. With Hyperlocal functionality and PWA, Growcer offers intuitive mobile apps for buyers and delivery staff.
Platforms like Instacart, FreshDirect, Walmart, Peapod and more can be built using Growcer, as it offers a myriad of customizable extensions and pre-integrated APIs.
Alternative business niches that Growcer caters to include - pharmacy, pet supplies, board games, groceries, and more. It is a comprehensive, cost-effective solution that surpasses client expectations by providing a rich user experience through its holistic management tools.
The product design and development cover all the perspectives of a prospective grocery business owner to launch a grocery marketplace quickly. Built with state-of-the-art technologies, Growcer also offers a plethora of revenue-generating options for both marketplace owners and sellers.
Having served a global clientele, Growcer has built a spectrum of trust and reliability over the years. As a result, it has enabled businesses like - Pravasi Cart, RX Delivered, and SuperLivery, among others, to do more.
How to choose the best eCommerce platforms?
To help you choose the best eCommerce platform, let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular platforms.
If you want to run an e-store, the first and foremost thing you care about is conversions, i.e., sales. Will the template help you in this regard? The answer to this question is ‘Yes.’
A. Impressive UI
With a modern e-commerce template, your store will nudge the competition aside and impress your client pool with its inimitable present-day UI. But, on the other hand, nobody likes shopping within the cramped, obsolete or impersonal interfaces you end up with without a good theme.
Recommended: Both UX and UI Are Important for Online Businesses
B. UX boost
Provided intense competition on the market, where do people choose to shop? Of course, where it is convenient to shop! A well-thought template comes with a pre-built extension pack that takes the shopping experience up a notch. A theme can deliver extended catalog filtering, sorting and categorization options out of the box.
What’s more, such features as 360-degree product presentation, bright product image zoom and lookbook functionality create an unparalleled experience that would be hard to foster without a template.
C. Conversion boosting
Conversion optimization is a tricky matter that takes a lot of time and effort. However, you get half of the job done with a conversion-optimized template. CTAs and CTA buttons are smartly placed and shaped within such themes, driving more sales and earning more income for your business.
D. SEO optimization
You’ll have to master SEO optimization from ground zero if you go without a template. On the contrary, with an SEO-optimized e-commerce theme, you start with a sound basis that helps your website thrive on SERPs and get discovered by more online shoppers.
E. Shopper-on-the-go friendly
The audience of mobile shoppers grows exponentially. You’ve got to either take care of mobile optimization or go for a modern, mobile-ready theme. Such a template would deliver a lightning-fast, comfortable shopping experience on handheld devices, getting you more loyal shoppers and sales.
Adopting a high-quality template for your e-commerce site is one of the fireproof ways to boost sales for several reasons.
All in all, when choosing the best platform for an online store, you have to take into consideration the size of your business, the necessity to update your store, the number of features needed, and the financial implication, i.e., the money you are ready to pay to improve your online store.
I think you better know how to choose the right eCommerce platform for your online store.
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