If you’re in the retail industry, you are probably wondering what is the best platform for an eCommerce website. There are various alternatives, and although many of them can potentially be a good fit for your business, understanding their unique strengths and weaknesses will help you make the right decision.
Having an online store isn’t just about selling items. It requires a complete eCommerce platform approach. Rather than focusing on a detailed comparison between different eCommerce platforms, in this post we will discuss the most important alternatives to build eCommerce platforms.
When to Use an eCommerce Platform
If your goal is to set up a user-friendly online store, there are different alternatives. Not one of them is better than the other. Ultimately, the right choice for your company depends on factors like your budget, the skills your team has, and the goals you want to achieve.
An eCommerce platform is a great alternative for all sorts of businesses. Nonetheless, consider that there are different alternatives when it comes to implementing the right eCommerce solution. This is a list of the most important ones.
- Custom eCommerce website from scratch
- eCommerce platform plugin
- eCommerce platform services
Find out when it is most convenient to use them.
Custom eCommerce Website from Scratch
For a start, you can build a fully customized eCommerce website from scratch. Building a highly customized solution should probably be your goal, but it is important that you are realistic about the stage your company is in. Not all companies are ready to spend a high number of resources building an eCommerce solution from scratch.
A custom eCommerce website can help you focus on delivering your clients a powerful User Experience while highlighting your brand. To get the most out of it, it is best if you pair up with an experienced development company that can help you calibrate your business processes to work according to the requirements of your online store.
The thing with this alternative is that, if you are a small business, you probably don’t need such a level of customization. Additionally, take into account that such an eCommerce solution will probably end up being expensive and will periodically require maintenance.
This alternative works best for large businesses that are willing to spend more resources on a unique and branded experience. If your business is just starting or has a limited budget, it is probably best to stick to a traditional eCommerce platform or an eCommerce plugin.
eCommerce Platform Plugins
Another alternative exists in case you are using a content management system like WordPress. These tools have special plugins that can help you turn your website into an eCommerce website.
Some of these plugins are sometimes referred to as open-source eCommerce platforms. Although many are open source and offer a free trial or a number of features, you probably still have to pay for certain things like an abandoned cart recovery feature or a customer support functionality.
An eCommerce plugin is useful because it is especially thought out for businesses that lack the necessary knowledge to build an eCommerce platform using code. Any business can easily build an online store using free themes and a website builder where modules can be configured through drag and drop commands.
However, keep in mind that, although this facilitates the process of building an online store, it has important limitations. Free themes usually offer restricted functions in terms of site responsiveness as well as other important features. Although drag and drop functionality is easy to use, it is not the same as building an eCommerce website using code.
To sum it up, this alternative is mostly for small businesses that are just starting out with eCommerce and have limited budgets.
eCommerce Platform Services
Services that provide companies with easy-to-use eCommerce platforms are the most common eCommerce solution. This includes options like Shopify and Magento. These eCommerce platform services are specially thought out to help companies build an online store. Most of them have an easy-to-use website builder, but can also be customized in detail, offering the best of both worlds.
One of the best things about these eCommerce platform services is that they offer customer support so that companies can easily configure and run their online stores. Like certain plugins, some of these services offer a free trial or a freemium model where certain features are available. To access the full service, companies must subscribe and pay a monthly subscription. Also, consider that there might be a transaction fee for every sale.
In terms of operations, eCommerce platform services offer a number of advantages. One of the most important ones is that they can be easily integrated with other third party services. This includes solutions related to inventory management, ERP, point of sale (POS), shipping, and even payment gateways.
An eCommerce platform is a great alternative for companies large and small. It is an affordable eCommerce solution that can meet the needs of small retailers as well as large ones. These tools are built in such a way that they can easily scale, thus they are able to meet high demand.
The Best eCommerce Platform
It is difficult to say which the best eCommerce platform is. There are many different good options, and it ultimately depends on what your company needs and can afford. We recommend you research the different options before deciding on what’s best for you.
Nonetheless, as a development company and Shopify Plus Partner, we recommend Shopify Plus because of the many benefits it offers users. Shopify Plus has important differences from the regular Shopify service, so make sure to check that out. In general, it is a great alternative for companies with high sales volume. It offers competitive transaction fees and powerful customization options.
Key Aspects of Any eCommerce Platform
There are many different aspects that you should consider in order to guarantee your eCommerce platform users a superb experience. Additionally, you should also take into account anything that might hurt or benefit your business.
Some of these aspects to consider include customer support, transaction fees, the availability of free themes and a website builder, as well as basic functions like a shopping cart and a wish list. Having an abandoned cart recovery feature is something that users value. Also, make sure to consider your customer journey and identify potential pain points, as these might discourage your customers from performing any transactions.
Wrapping It Up: The Right eCommerce Platform
When it comes to eCommerce platforms, the best alternative is the one that best meets your company’s requirements. Make sure to consider the different alternatives and choose the best eCommerce platform for your needs.
Take into consideration that all options might not be available to you right away, but you eventually want to use the best. Being able to customize your online store will bring you the most benefits for your brand. However, traditional eCommerce platforms like Shopify are also a great alternative. They can address your early online store needs as well as the advanced ones.
If you are unsure what your options are and what your next step should be in order to set up your online store, contact an expert who might be able to help you out.