Choosing the right eCommerce Platform
When deciding to sell online, one of the most important choices to make is choosing which eCommerce platform to use. To ensure long-term growth, you need to consider the long-term implications of the platform you choose:
- Customer experience- does the platform reduce friction while customers are going through the buyer’s journey?
- Marketing- does the platform ensure your employees have what they need to implement campaign strategies?
- Bottom line- will the platform support your sales growth, and will it be sustainable in terms of cost of maintenance and installation?
In this article we dive into all things eCommerce to make sure the store you are on, or for those new to eCommerce, the one you are going to choose, is the right one to leverage your brand and products/service.
First, let us cover the basics (skip this section if you already use an eCommerce platform).
What is an eCommerce platform, and how does it work?
An eCommerce platform is a software application that allows a business to manage its website, marketing, sales and operations. It is a platform that enables businesses to centralise their operations, allowing customers to order online and receive their product without ever having to visit a store.
Is eCommerce only for B2C companies?
No, eCommerce is as much for B2B as it is for B2C. We have got a breakdown in this article on how to choose the best eCommerce store for B2B.
Why should you use an eCommerce platform?
In the most straightforward answer, if most of your customers are shopping online, then you should be selling online through your eCommerce platform. On top of this eCommerce offers many advantages, including customer data insights, the ability to reach new customers, the costs are reasonable, ability to serve niche markets, the list could go on and on.
If you want to sell online, the alternatives to an eCommerce store are not very appealing:
- Building your platform from scratch
- Using a plugin, which is not ideal if you’re looking to build a legitimate business
Now that we have covered the basics, time for the money question.
What is the best eCommerce platform?
All eCommerce stores have their advantages and disadvantages, and unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ option here. Many factors determine which eCommerce platform is best for your business, including:
- Your budget
- Target audience
- Number of products you have
- Room for growth
- Type of customer service available
To recommend the best fit for you, we need to know more about your business and your objectives. Answer a few questions here to find out the best eCommerce platform for you.
What we will do in this article is to give you a breakdown of the top four eCommerce platforms to give you an idea of what you should be looking for.
Magento 2 is a cloud, open-source solution preferred by brands who have IT or development experience or teams. Magento 2 is a good choice for larger companies with lots of products, larger budgets, and are looking for a more in-depth platform to work with. If you have more than 2000 products or wish to integrate with stock management software such as Merlin, then this is the best choice, and it powers many of the big well known ecommerce shops. Only consider this for budgets over £10k – and generally significantly more.
Shopify is SaaS eCommerce platform provider preferred by brands with SKU counts of less than 100. This is one of the most popular platforms because it is easy to use and has a ton of features that can be added as plugins. It is great for a start up and low cost for a small store - but the license fees increase as your business becomes successful.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform for WordPress website. It is another popular one as it is easy to use, and most developers with be comfortable with the WordPress environment. A good choice for smaller websites or websites wit fewer products.
CS-Cart is an open-source eCommerce platform that is great for managing multiple storefronts via a single administration panel. The only downside is that this platform has fewer partner integrations with other marketing platforms. However, if you have a dev like ours on hand, they can build any customised integration you would need! It is less popular which makes it more secure – fewer patches are needed on this platform than with (say) WooCommerce.
Still not sure about which eCommerce platform you should be using? Call us on 01227 68 68 98 and our staff will be happy to have a chat to see what your options are.
ExtraDigital are an experienced Digital Marketing agency with a highly skilled development team. The advantage of having our marketing and development teams work closely together is that our developers build sites with marketing in mind, making for an easy launch when the site goes live. View our eCommerce case studies to see some of our work developing and marketing for eCommerce clients.