One of the keys to maximizing the revenue from your online store is making transactions as easy and effortless as possible. Any problem with a purchase can cause a potential customer to leave your website in frustration and find another provider. And no matter what business you’re in, there are likely many competitors out there that are happy to serve your would-be customers.
That being said, it’s critical that you select the eCommerce platform that’s best for your customers and your business. Below we provide insights on the four platforms that we consider to be the best available technologies:
How We Selected Our Top 4 eCommerce Platforms
At MarkedQuery, we specialize in digital strategies and the tools to support them. So, when we choose to work with a particular technology, it’s only after our team has thoroughly assessed it, both in an academic sense and in the context of real-world scenarios. If a product doesn’t have the right functionality or doesn’t meet our quality standards, it doesn’t make the cut.
In evaluating and working with eCommerce platforms, we look at the five characteristics below. If you’re doing your own assessment (and you should), we recommend you consider these attributes, too.
- Ease of use. All of the products in our Top 4 eCommerce platforms make it easy to create a visually appealing online store. They also enable customization so that store owners can create a look, feel, and overall experience that aligns with their brand. You don’t want customers to feel like they’ve navigated to an entirely different “place” when they go from your main website to your online store.
- Affordability. Bringing an eCommerce platform online is an investment that will deliver tremendous returns. However, that doesn’t mean you should spend any more on it than you have to. When it comes to your bottom line, an affordable platform that has all the features you need is ideal.
- Comprehensive functionality. The best eCommerce platforms not only provide a user-friendly frontend but also help you handle backend tasks like managing orders and coordinating shipping and tracking with ease.
- Flexibility. Do you sell physical products or are your offerings digital? Maybe your inventory includes both. Are your customers in the U.S. only or do you market to a global audience? And what payment processor do you use? An eCommerce platform gets high marks from our perspective if it can accommodate any combination of these factors and others gracefully.
- Integration capabilities. The most efficient (and by extension, profitable) businesses are those whose critical systems “talk” to one another. Whether through built-in functionality or available plugins, it has to be easy to integrate your eCommerce platform with other solutions.
4 eCommerce Platforms That Can Help Your Business Thrive
The four eCommerce platforms that we feel are best for creating online stores are, in no particular order:
One of the attributes of WooCommerce that’s appealing to us and our clients is that the platform makes it easy to add a shopping cart to an existing WordPress website. So, if you’ve established your online presence with a site and subsequently want to start selling products,
WooCommerce is a great tool. That includes the fact that it can be deeply integrated with your site. Plus, there are thousands of free and paid design themes available on the web.
All eCommerce platforms have their drawbacks, of course. With WooCommerce, you have to self host, which requires ongoing maintenance and updates. WooCommercial also only provides customer management functionality through plugins.
A major advantage of Shopify is that it allows you to get your online store operational quickly and easily. And sometimes getting to market ahead of the competition can be a major factor in a company’s immediate and long-term success. It’s simple to get up and running with Shopify because it’s a subscription-based service. Plus, there are millions of Shopify-driven online stores, so that’s a good sign.
Shopify provides over 100 design themes, and there are hundreds more available from third-party providers. But that still may not be as many as you’ll find out there for WooCommerce. And some businesses may not want to use a subscription-based service for one reason or another, so that’s something to think about.
Magento offers an open-source and subscription-based option for businesses interested in building their ecommerce store on their platform. It’s very strong in the area of reports and analytics. You can set up purchase funnels, assess abandoned cart statistics, and much more. That helps you fine-tune your store to maximize your sales and revenue. Like the other three in our list, Magento can be integrated with multiple payment gateways and enables you to offer discounts and coupon codes.
You probably won’t find as many design themes for Magento, but it does come with more than 100 of them. As an Adobe product, Magento is usually the “go to” for organizations that require enterprise support and solutions.
“Big” is in the name for a reason. BigCommerce is the best on our list for large-volume online stores. It’s an enterprise-level, subscription-based eCommerce platform that’s used by many large, multinational companies. There is, however, a scaled-back version called BigCommerce Essentials that still has many important features but at a more affordable price. As you’d expect, BigCommerce can integrate with all the major payment processing companies—PayPal, Braintree, Amazon, Stripe, etc.—and it has features like automated shipping and sales tax management that smaller online sellers may not need. There are also 5,000+ extensions available if you want the platform to do something that isn’t part of its default feature set.
Design themes aren’t BigCommerce’s strong suit, so that’s a consideration. And, again, it’s a solution that may have more functionality than a low-volume seller needs.
Other eCommerce Platforms
One of the four platforms above tends to be a great fit for any of our clients. However, there are, of course, many high-quality eCommerce platforms that didn’t make our list. We can work—and have worked—with others. If there’s a platform that you prefer or are required to use, our team is adept at finding and leveraging the best features of any tool to maximum effect.
If you’d like to go into more depth about the platforms on our list or others, we’re happy to talk with you about our experience and observations with them.