Every business needs a push to get to new heights. Maybe you are looking for that next big step by setting up an online store.
An online store is a great way to grow your small business. But there is one important decision you need to take in setting up an online store. It is the selection of a suitable ecommerce platform.
There are many platforms available but each has its own pros and cons; choosing the best e-commerce platform depends on your needs and requirements.
Some important factors that can help you decide are:
- Hosted or self-hosted
- Customization features
- SEO optimization
- Payment gateways facility
- Shipping estimates
- Coupon abilities
- Mobile accessibility
- CRM (Customer Relationship management)
- Social integration
There are also several other features that can help you get better returns from your store.
A brief overview of some of the most popular e-commerce platforms are given below.
Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform. It helps you launch and manage your small business effectively. Some of the features provided by shopify include a web host, website builder, inventory management, marketing tools, back-end functionality, CRM, Payment processing and many more. It has hundreds of designs to choose from. It is easy to use and does not require any coding knowledge. It is compatible with many payment gateways. The monthly fee for using shopify starts at $14.
Magento is open source e-commerce software. It has numerous customization options and lets you design your website as you wish. It also provides a dash board to manage your online stores. This can be useful when you are running more than one store.
WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin that works with WordPress. It is easy to manage and has good documentation. WooCommerce is a free plugin. It is tightly integrated with the WordPress framework. It gives sufficient options to set up an online store using your WordPress website. It is suitable for businesses using content marketing. Some of the important features provided are flat rate shipping, payment options (PayPal and credit cards), inventory management, coupons and tax settings.
BigCommerce is a complete e-commerce solution. It has everything that your online store needs. Some of the popular features include secure shopping cart, mobile themes, marketing tools and review options. You can also add suggestions and recently viewed product options to your store. BigCommerce lets you have a custom design. It aids in personal branding. The services of BigCommerce can be availed with a monthly fee of $24.95.
PrestaShop is shopping cart software. It is easy to work with and has many advanced features. Some of the features offered include catalog management, SEO, responsive themes, multiple language support and promotional tools. It also offers international shipping and payment extensions. You can download add-ons to add more functionality. PrestaShop is available for free. It does not impose any type of fees.