As an ecommerce business owner, you want to ensure a seamless experience for online shoppers. Ecommerce platforms do just that. They help ensure a smooth transaction between your online store and the buyer. They offer convenience to the customer from browsing your products to payment. With mobile commerce on the rise, it is important for online stores to make it easy for shoppers to make purchases. Since the pandemic and even before it, people regularly used their smartphones to shop online.
Statistics reveal that 3 out of 4 customers use smartphones for online shopping because it offers them convenience. This is what ecommerce platforms can help achieve for your small business. It makes online shopping convenient for them. If you are a small business looking for the best ecommerce platform for your small business, you have come to the right place. Here we have broken down the best ecommerce platforms for your small business.
Top Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses
Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses
As a small business owner, one of the things that could be stopping you from buying an ecommerce platform is the cost. The good news is that there are plenty of options to choose from that will surely fit your budget. In this article, we will look at the features and pros and cons of each platform to help you choose the right one
Shopify is widely regarded as the most popular ecommerce platform today and is used by 4.36 million online stores. If you include the websites that have used the platform so far, the number will go up to 6.95 million. It comprises 10% of the total ecommerce sales in the US with brands like Pepsi, Nestle, and Unilever, to name just a few.
Shopify is an excellent choice for small businesses because of the following advantages:
- Simplicity of usage. You do not need to be a techie to use Shopify. You do not need any coding or design experience. In addition, it is a great platform if you want to get started and get your online store up and running as soon as possible. It is a powerful tool that will help manage transaction processing time.
- Access To Various Features. Shopify has various functionalities that let you add products easily, manage inventory, set up shipping, or create discount codes. The platform also has advanced features that you can utilize if you are looking for specific requirements such as wholesale or B2B integration.
- Flexible Payment Options. Shopify gives buyers the option to purchase through different payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, and Shopify Payments.
Although its popularity as an ecommerce platform cannot be doubted, it is not a perfect platform. Let us take a look at the cons of Shopify.
- Limited Design Options. While Shopify offers a wide range of themes, it does have limited design options. You will need to hire a designer if you want to make custom changes to the look and feel of your store.
- Processing Fees. Every sale on the platform has a corresponding transaction fee. Aside from Shopify fees, you also pay fees to third-party payment channels. Depending on the plan, the fees can vary and may catch you off guard if you are not aware of what you are paying,
- Lack of Email Hosting Access. If you want to have an email address for your online store, you will need to look for another provider. You should include the cost of an email address hosting provider in your budget.
- Migration Challenges. Migrating users from other platforms to Shopify can be daunting. There is a chance that your saved data can be lost during the migration process.
BigCommerce offers an all-in-one ecommerce solution for selling physical and digital goods online. It provides you with web hosting, the database for your products, design tools for your online store, inventory management, marketing tools, shipping and tax calculators, to name just a few. BigCommerce is a SaaS platform so it is accessible from your browser or mobile device.
- Loaded with Features. Compared to other platforms, BigCommerce offers more standard features. Perhaps its biggest selling point is that it lets online stores run multiple stores with just one account. Depending on your subscribed plan, you can run from 3 to 8 stores in a single account.
- Easy Product Creation. Adding products in BigCommerce is pretty straightforward. The number of products you can create in BigCommerce is almost unlimited.
- Scalable. BigCommerce will scale with your business. If you decide to expand, the platform will make expansion relatively easy.
- No transaction fees. With BigCommerce, you do not have to worry about paying any transaction fees. This makes BigCommerce the perfect option if your online store has a low margin and a lot of transactions.
Wix offers a user-friendly website with ecommerce specific features. More than 220 million people use the platform. This is because it is a flexible and powerful website builder that allows the creation of an ecommerce store in minutes. Its control features let you customize and tweak every element of your page. Wix is loaded with simple and complex tools that allow small business owners to create customizable, responsive, and mobile-optimized sites.
Let us take a look at the pros of Wix ecommerce platform.
- Pricing. Compared to other platforms, Wix is an affordable choice. It has a free and premium option. The former includes the Wix branding while the latter allows you to remove the Wix name and use your domain name.
- Live editing. Editing in Wix is relatively stress-free and easy. You can test and see the actual pages as they will appear. You can first create a draft before publishing and making your page live online.
- Professional Designs. Wix offers a plethora of templates that you can use to create a professional-looking online store. With its drag-and-drop builder, you can easily edit your site even without coding or programming knowledge.
- Support. Wix offers great customer support. It has online resources available for customers, live chat, and a ticketing system. The Wix support team is also on hand to answer customer queries from 8 am to 8 pm EST on weekdays.
Just like other platforms, Wix has its own set of flaws.
- Lack of deep analytics. While it does have some basic analytic and traffic monitoring tools, you cannot go deep or get too specific. If you want a deep understanding of your data, you are better off trying other platforms.
- Slow page loading. A slow-loading page can hurt your conversion rate in your online store. It can also hurt your search engine ranking. This is one of the biggest cons of the Wix platform.
- Unable to switch templates after going live. Another major drawback of Wix is that once you choose a template and publish your website, you’re stuck with it. If you want to replace the template, you have to do it all over again.
WooCommerce is the best option if you already have an existing WordPress website. The platform is used by 3.4 million stores and 27% of the top 1 million ecommerce sites. It is an open-source and self-hosted WordPress-based plugin. It is a free site builder that you can customize based on your store’s needs. It is also scalable as your business needs grow.
Wooommerce has its own features that make it stand out from its competition. Check out its advantages:
- Open Source Code. As mentioned, WooCommerce is an open-source platform which gives you complete control over the appearance, functionality, and others of your online store. It offers flexibility to meet the unique needs of each online store.
- Cross-Channel Product Promotion. If you have a WooCommerce website, you don’t have to be exclusive there. WooCommerce allows you to promote your products outside of your website. It has plugins like CTX Feed that lets you promote your products to any marketplace.
- Wide Variety of Extensions. WooCommerce has a large and active developer community. The platform offers a wide variety of extensions to address the specific requirements of your online shop.
- User Friendly. WooCommerce has a streamlined administration that makes it easy to use even by non-techie users. Even if you do not have programming or coding experience, you can easily navigate its backend. There are videos and tutorials that are easily accessible if you find yourself in a rut.
Here are the disadvantages of WooCommerce
- Designed For WordPress Users. ` WooCommerce works best on WordPress based websites. If you don’t plan to build your website on WordPress, WooCommerce is not the ecommerce platform for you. All the plugins are compatible with WordPress and will not work with non-WordPress sites.
- Security Risks. As it is designed for the WordPress platform, it poses the same security risks. You need to take additional security measures to protect your website.
- Additional Costs. Another drawback of Woocommerce is that you may incur additional costs to acquire plugins, themes, and customizations. Although WooCommerce comes with free plugins, it may not be enough to provide buyers with a user-friendly interface. You need to consider the hosting, website design, SSL, and others for added functionality.
Weebly runs on the Square platform making it compatible with other Square-owned business platforms. It features a fully integrated and secure online shopping cart and inventory management. As an ecommerce platform, Weebly comes with filtered product search, optimized mobile checkout, order management and processing, and flexible shipping options.
Here are the benefits you will gain from using Weebly
- Good mix of templates. Like other platforms, Weebly offers a wide selection of templates for you to choose from. You can change themes as long as you want with just a click of a button. Also, most of the templates are mobile-ready.
- User-Friendly Interface. The platform is easy to learn and you do not have to be a techie to finish a basic website. You can set-up a simple online store in a matter of minutes.
- Easy Layout Revision. Aside from its easy user interface, Weebly also allows you to easily revise your page layout. You can easily change the current layout with a different one in a breeze.
- Website Analytics. Once your Weebly site is up and running, the analytics tool lets you monitor site performance. Basic metrics include what pages your visitors are going to, number of hits, and what visitors are searching for on your site.
Meanwhile, here are the disadvantages of using Weebly
- Issues with Photo and Image Editing. Image editing with Weebly can be problematic.
The only functions you can do in the platform are Zoom, Blur, Darken, or apply a color filter. In fact, you are better off using MS Paint to get better images.
- Expensive Plans. With Weebly, you need to have a plan to enjoy additional features such as video backgrounds and user registrations. Although the free plan has the tools to help you handle basic site functions, upgrading to a paid plan can give you access to more advanced features. Think about expanded storage, web hosting, and others and you will see the cost you will incur with a Weebly-base online storefront.
- Limited Flexibility. Another major issue with Weebly is that it can be hard to migrate to another platform. It does not have cross-compatibility with other platforms. This is especially true if you are just a beginner. If this is a major concern for you, consider another platform with easy migration capabilities.
So Which Platform is The Right Choice?
When it comes to your ecommerce business, it is not enough that you put your product listing on the platform. Your chosen platform will help you compete online as well as offline. When choosing an ecommerce platform, you have to consider the following factors:
- SEO Capabilities
- Multi-Channel Support
Let airisX Fulfill Your Ecommerce Needs
Being successful in the Ecommerce space is more than just listing some products and hoping the sales arrive. airisX Ecommerce Solutions brings together a comprehensive suite of services to cover all aspects of operating and growing an ecommerce business. This allows our clients to achieve more with less resources to transform their business for the future. Get in touch with us at email@example.com and we will get back to you with solutions tailored to your needs.