Best eCommerce Website Platforms for Small Business
There’s money to be made in eCommerce, and just about anyone can build a successful eCommerce business. Besides a great product, you’ll need a killer website. Here are three of the best eCommerce website platforms to choose from.
Shopify is the leading eCommerce platform, and for good reason. The designs look great right out of the box. You can choose from about 20 free templates and over 80 more than you’ll pay for. The designers at Shopify stay up-to-the-minute on trends, so your shop will look fresh and current.
Shopify offers a host of features like inventory management, support for 70 payment gateways, the ability to offer discount codes and gift cards, unlimited SKUs, and more. It’s super easy to get up and running. Unlike many other platforms, it’s not open source, so you’re kind of married to it, but there’s enough functionality to do just about anything you want.
WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, so it ‘borrows’ the design of your WordPress theme. Some of the WordPress themes have been designed to work with WooCommerce in mind, so if you’re starting from scratch building a website and an eCommerce store, choose one of these themes for the whole package. If you’re in a hurry, use Storefront, the default store theme. It’s free, and will certainly get the job done. WooCommerce is open source, so you can download it for free from WordPress. But once you get the software for free, you will pay for hosting, an SSL certificate, and a top-level domain.
Magento is another open source platform, with themes that start at $1. Like WooCommerce, Magento is open source, and there are at least 5,000 (yes, 5,000) apps and add-ons you can use with it. If you have some technical aptitude and the time to spend, Magento may allow you to have a more customizable and unique site than the other two.
All three of these platforms offer responsive design, SEO capabilities, customization and blog functionality (although Magento’s blog capability is by way of a plug-in).
To determine which of these platforms is right for your eCommerce site, consider what you need. How many SKUs do you plan to have? What payment gateway will you use? Do you need to be able to drop ship? Do you want to offer gift cards? How do you want to handle abandoned carts? Try to envision the entire ordering process, from start to finish, in every scenario you can think of. And consider what you may need a few years from now, not just today.
Then look at the price. This can be a complicated comparison because different platforms price differently. Once you’ve identified what you need, you can compare the price you’ll actually pay. That will give you a true basis for comparison.
You can set up an impressive eCommerce site on any of these platforms. Comparing them for your specific needs will point you in the right direction.
Written By: Jocelyn Brown