Building a successful online business starts with choosing the best ecommerce platform. A good ecommerce platform will enable you to sell whatever you want whenever you want, it will be able to handle both digital and physical products and it will offer you a way to manage orders,ship orders and track inventory. However, which platform is best will depend on your business’ unique needs. So lets look at two of the most popular ecommerce platforms and their best features but first of all, here are some things to consider when doing your research:
BUDGET: Flying first class is more expensive for a reason. Choosing the cheapest option may have you looking for ad-ons from somewhere else, also some platforms may take a commission based on your sales.
TARGET AUDIENCE: If you’re targeting a younger audience, or want a bigger more engaged audience, then it’s important to look into a platform's marketing features and integrations.
NUMBER OF PRODUCTS YOU HAVE: If you have a large catalogue of products and need several product pages or plan to grow your business, then be careful not to choose a platform with low SKU limits.
ROOM FOR GROWTH: If you’re just starting out you may not need a host with high traffic capabilities, but if you’re focused on your growth your e-commerce business could scale rapidly.
TYPE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE AVAILABLE: We’ve become so used to talking to alexa and google these days, but while robots are great it’s also important to know how you can get hold of a real life person to assist you with any problems that may arise.
Based on these factors, you can now do the research and find out which platform is best for your business. We’ll quickly look at two of the most popular ones out there and some of their most important features:
Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform out there and is easy to use even if you haven’t built a website before.
A bit like Hogwarts, there is an ‘onboarding wizard’ that talks you through how to get started. This includes how to add your products, customise the look of your store, connect your own domain and get set up to take payments. This will give you a basic looking website with great functionality.
When you are setting up your website, Shopify will ask you if you are planning on moving from another platform and will then provide a link for you to import the products from your previous store.
Other additional features include a free SSL certificate, social media integration, 24/7 support and inventory management.
Shopify has its own app store for plugins for practically everything and is built to be fairly idiot proof and provides an internal backup of your store and transations.
The biggest downsides with Shopify are there are challenges to some of the customisations available and it is more expensive than some of the alternatives.
Shopify want you to use their built in payment provider which may be more expensive than what you currently use for payments.
You can integrate with your own payment provider although this can offer a less smooth purchasing experience. If simplicity and functionality are key for you, and you don’t mind paying extra for that, Shopify is hard to beat.
Woocommerce works with wordpress to turn any website into a functional ecommerce store. It’s a great platform for SEO and is highly customisable. It has a lot of marketing options and plenty of other integrations.
It is free and as it is built on wordpress (which runs 26% of the web) and you get access to the largest range of plugins and themes of any online platform.
It seamlessly integrates content with commerce and you can use it to sell anything you want! Just like with a normal wordpress site, you have a lot more room for customisation and it is a more cost effective option than Shopify.
As we mentioned earlier, woocommerce offers great functionality in being able to get your website to rank well on search engines with plugins like Yoast SEO.
If what you want is something that is well priced and is customisable to your requirements and you don’t mind using a slightly less slick interface, then it can be hard to look past Woocommerce as a solution.
Each business will require different things so it’s important that you know what you want and we can work with you to find the best platform to suit your needs. Once you have selected the best ecommerce platform for your business… next stop, world domination!
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