Although starting an online business is now easier than ever, finding the best eCommerce platform for your business’s needs is key to its success. That said, with many options available, finding the best e-commerce platform for your small business can be a daunting task. Plenty of options are available, with each platform having advantages and disadvantages. To help get ahead of making this critical decision, in this article, we will discuss some of the best e-commerce platforms that small businesses can use to build and establish their online store.
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms available and can be a great platform to start with as it is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Shopify provides an easy-to-use platform that allows users to set up their store quickly and easily. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Shopify.
- Easy to use - Shopify has a very clear and straightforward interface that makes it easy for users to find their way on the platform. This is a clear advantage for the less tech-savvy retailers among us.
- Offers a variety of payment processors - One of the considerations to make when opening an online store is how to make the payment process easy and simple for buyers. Shopify has several payment alternatives, such as Apple Pay, Amazon, Pay Pal, credit card, and m-commerce payment solutions.
- Offers a variety of themes and designs - Shopify helps retailers make their stores aesthetically pleasing by offering a variety of themes that can potentially improve traffic to their store.
- Harder to customize a theme - Although Shopify has themes available to make your store more attractive, minimal customization can be done unless you learn to code or hire someone to do it for you.
- No email hosting - No email hosting means that Shopify doesn’t offer the option of a personal email containing your store's name.
- Can be expensive - Although Shopify offers many free features, for a fully functioning website, you will need to purchase a plan. Subscriptions are available at a range of prices depending on your store’s demands.
- Extra customization costs - You may need to pay more if you want to design something specific for your eCommerce store
Wix is another popular platform that many use to create an online store. The platform is easy to use, making it a great solution for eCommerce beginners. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of selling on Wix:
- Highly customizable with a range of templates - Wix has a drag-and-drop platform that allows users to move any element anywhere they want on the page. The platform also lets you change the color of your text, the shape of your images, the type of font, and pretty much anything you need to make your page as unique and personal as you want.
- Easy to use with no technical skills required - Wix’s interface is known for its high usability and easy-to-learn features. The platform contains clear menus that make it very easy to navigate its features.
- Marketing and SEO tools to help promote your store - Wix offers a range of tools to improve your site’s SEO and boost its online presence, including tips and highlighting weak points.
- Less flexibility - Wix has limited flexibility compared to other eCommerce platforms - For example, you can't change your template once your site has been published unless you agree to start from scratch.
- Can be overwhelming - At first, it may seem that there are a lot of features and options, which may be a little daunting at the beginning.
- Lower functionality - It may be slower to load than other website builders. For improved functionality, you may have to pay extra to install third-party apps.
Etsy is a popular e-commerce platform designed for handmade and vintage goods and is a great option for small businesses specializing in these fields. It is a marketplace where sellers can list their products and reach a large audience of buyers worldwide. Because it is very niche based, it might be the best eCommerce platform for some small businesses and completely irrelevant for others. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of selling on Etsy.
- A unique customer base - Because Etsy’s customer base is unique and belongs to a particular niche, you already have a general idea of what interests them.
- Great organic traffic - Etsy allows small business owners to reach a large audience without needing a dedicated website.
- User-friendly interface and built-in features - Etsy’s platform is easy to set up and maintain. Even with the lowest tech skills, you can open an account and maintain it with great ease.
- Poor brand image for sellers - Establishing a brand on Etsy can take a lot of work and effort. Many people that buy on Etsy don’t necessarily know from which specific store they made the purchase but will say that they bought it on Etsy.
- Increased competition - Etsy is a highly saturated platform with millions of active sellers and over 80 million active buyers. Depending on your product's niche, this can make standing out a bit of a challenge.
- Listing and selling fees - Etsy charges fees for listing and will also take a percentage off all your sales on the platform.
WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It is free to use and has a large community of developers who can help you set up your store. These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of WooCommerce:
- Increased flexibility - Business owners can use WooCommerce to sell all kinds of products, regardless of their niche. WooCommerce can be used to sell almost any kind of product. From physical items like furniture to digital downloads like ebooks and music and even webinars and training sessions. This plugin is highly customizable, and you can add or remove features based on your store’s needs.
- It's free - WooCommerce is a free plugin that can be downloaded and used without any cost. Should you want to add more features to your store, there are paid add-ons available that you can purchase.
- A stable launchpad for businesses - WooCommerce is great for small-to-medium-sized businesses who want to get up and running quickly and have more control over their software.
- Requires Technical Knowledge - When setting up an online store with WooCommerce, you need some technical knowledge. This is mainly a downside for the less tech-friendly retailers among us.
- Can be Slow - If you install too many plugins or add too many features to your store, it may become slow. Also, your store's speed may be affected if you don't have a good hosting provider.
- Limited Features - WooCommerce offers a wide range of features, but some users may find them limited compared to other eCommerce platforms. For example, WooCommerce isn’t the best when it comes to marketing and SEO tools.
Magento is a highly customizable open-source e-commerce platform and a great solution for small and medium-sized businesses. Magento is highly flexible and can be used to create a wide range of online stores. Here are some of Magento’s advantages and disadvantages:
- A variety of features available for users - Magento is a feature-rich platform that offers a wide range of options for businesses of different sizes. It provides flexibility in design and functionality, making it easier for businesses to customize their online stores to their unique needs.
- Scalability - Magento is highly scalable, allowing businesses to grow their online stores as their needs change over time. The platform can handle large numbers of products and orders, making it suitable for businesses to expand in the future.
- Strict security features - Magento’s security features effectively protect online stores from cyber threats. The platform regularly releases security patches and updates to ensure the safety and security of its users' data.
- Steep learning curve - Mastering Magento can be difficult to manage. Learning the features and functionalities of the platform can take some time and requires patience.This can make using Magento a difficult challenge for small business owners who lack technical expertise and require a simple solution for their online stores.
- A more costly solution - While the community edition of Magento is free, the enterprise edition can be expensive, making it less accessible for small businesses.
- High server requirements - Magento requires high server requirements, which can be costly for businesses just starting. Businesses may need to invest in powerful servers to ensure their online stores run smoothly.
To wrap it up, choosing the best eCommerce platform for your small business depends on your store’s specific needs and requirements. At first, making the decision may seem daunting as there are many options to choose from, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Start by prioritizing your business’s needs, consider how easy the platform will be for you to use, and go over the pros and cons of each platform. Once you look into the various aspects of each platform and the demands of your business, you can make an informed decision when selecting the best eCommerce platform for your business.
ehouse and your eCommerce platform
ehouse offers fulfillment services to businesses of all sizes, no matter their level of experience. One of the major benefits of ehouse is its ability to integrate with a wide range of eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, Etsy, PrestaShop, Squarespace, and other popular platforms. Businesses using these platforms can seamlessly connect with ehouse's fulfillment services, streamlining their supply chain and improving their business functionality.
When working with ehouse, not only will your platform integration be taken care of, but you will be fully supported with professional fulfillment and a community with needs like yours. With ehouse, you can focus on growing your brand, networking with other eCommerce businesses, and leaving the logistics to the experts, all under one roof.
Get in touch with ehouse today to find out you can integrate your platform and business with ehouse.