When it comes to platforms, ecommerce business owners are left with a plethora of choices, each of them claiming a number of advantages including seamless deployment and management. Given this scenario, most business owners opt for outsourcing ecommerce site development to veteran web developers and designers. However, it is always good to know about the suitable platforms, which makes building and management of the sites easier.
To identify the most suitable platform amongst the variety of online store builders available, let us begin a bit from the basics and try to understand what a platform is. A platform refers to an online store builder that is flexible enough to allow the continuous addition of advanced functions to promote growth of the store.
Let us have a look at the topmost platforms, which vary in their usage and performance, and evaluate the best according to the concerned purpose. Almost all of these are open-source, which makes it easier to leverage them.
Thousands of businesses across the globe are choosing Magento as their preferred ecommerce platform. This flexible, powerful and cost-effective solution has been the basis of the ecommerce business of many renowned companies. The Magento Community Edition can be freely downloaded while the Magento Enterprise Edition can be accessed through an annual subscription.
This open source platform comes with a reliable structure that effectively allows the adjustment of existing features and addition of new ones. To boost the online business, it comes with all the vital features such as catalog management, shopping cart, checkout, search and administration functions.
Magento is very SEO friendly. However, if you are running a small business wherein your budget is low, it is advisable not to go for it since the maintenance cost is high.
Shopify is one of the best platforms for small businesses. With the help of this platform, business owners can design their website on their own and even make adjustments to the online inventory, as and when required. Moreover, a number of apps are available for monitoring the inventory, providing assistance with the shipping logistics, launching retargeting campaigns, and lots more. Another interesting aspect of Shopify is that beginners can easily learn to use it within a short span of time. According to Information Providers CEO Jordhy Ledesma, the platform scores high both in visual appeal and faster performance.
One of the main reasons why small business owners recommend Shopify is its powerful community which leads to faster problem solving, obtaining better education as well as finding examples quickly. Choosing a platform with a strong community and efficient technical support allows organizations to evade major issues and soaring technical costs.
One of the oldest available open source ecommerce platforms, OsCommerce can be hosted anywhere and comes with free as well as premium templates. Efficient customer and order management is possible with the help of the admin dashboard. Like Magento, OsCommerce too has a vast community, wherein support is available from a number of web developers and experts. Moreover around 7000 add-ons are available from the community which can be freely downloaded and used. However, for a small business owner looking for a user-friendly and SEO-friendly option that can be easily modified, OsCommerce is not a good option.
A protected ecommerce platform, OpenCart is usable on all web servers if they have PHP and SQL running. It scores high on usability, so far as online merchants and their customers are concerned. This platform has room for the creation of limitless categories and selling of limitless products. Moreover, it has the facility for usage of various languages and currencies, supplementary payment options and shipping methods. All these features lead to high search engine results.
OpenCart is a great choice for companies looking forward to manage multiple stores through a single admin interface. Although it is good for beginners, the best thing is to hire OpenCart developers for effective solutions.
This online store management system is more or less similar to OsCommerce, but the major difference is that with Zencart, it is easier to alter appearances through CSS. It comes with great many customer management as well as promotion tools such as coupon codes, gift certificates, newsletter manager, and so on. The platform is easy to install and extremely simple to handle. Even people with a little technical knowledge can easily build a site using this platform.
A person with good knowledge of PHP and who is not so meticulous about the look and feel can opt for Zen Cart. In case one is not so well-versed with PHP, the assistance of an expert Zen Cart developer can be taken.
So far as DIY websites are concerned, WordPress is the best platform, so it is a great choice to use WooCommerce, the ecommerce platform based on WordPress. WooCommerce interface is quite straightforward and incorporates lots of menus like coupons, orders, reports, settings, which make the online store very customer friendly. WooCommerce is very good for niche sites which are just into the ecommerce business, but also has the capability to fuel bigger stores.
Apart from these major ones, there are also ecommerce platforms like 3dcart, Bigcommerce, Web, and more. To find out the most suitable platform for your business, you can opt for the free trial offered by most providers. This would enable you to understand the features as well as themes, and arrive at the appropriate solution.