Best eCommerce Platform

There are many ways you can make good money online these days. You can make videos on YouTube, you can become an affiliate marketer, and you can be a freelancer to name a few. Some of these online opportunities can even make you a millionaire. Nevertheless, one sure way to become successful is by having a good quality eCommerce platform.

Tons of eCommerce opportunities are available. Many of them, of course, advertise and gives high claims just to be proven otherwise. There are also various considerations to factor when choosing the best platform for you.

What is eCommerce

eCommerce includes the selling or buying of products over the Internet or on online services. Another term eCommerce is an online store. This way of business uses inventory management systems, electronic data interchange (EDI), automated data collection systems, Internet marketing, mobile commerce, supply chain management, online transaction processing, and electronic funds transfer. The use of email occurs too sometimes, and all or some of the following may be used: Online shopping for direct retail sales to consumers through Chatbots, conversational commerce via live chat, voice assistants, mobile apps, and websites.

Various Reasons You should use eCommerce Platforms

There are a plethora of reasons why you should have an eCommerce platform. The most important reasons are due to being easy for beginners to use, being affordable, having customer service availability, and being a one solution fits all package. The price can range from zero to around $40 each month.

With such a busy society these days, the masses are very thankful for the convenience of ordering online. This gratefulness of people is especially true many times for many to avoid peak hours, after undergoing a stressful day/week of work, and to avoid the agony of rushing to stores for sales after the holidays. People can go home and relax as they shop online at their convenience. In knowing this aspect alone, you can see how eCommerce is a goldmine.

Customers worldwide can order at an online store. You can offer promotions sometimes, such as a flat-rate shipping, steeper discounts, and more. Your customers will be happy, most likely remain your customer, and spread the word to family and friends about your business. As a result, the popularity of online sales is staying on top. And even though there is potential for cybercriminal activity to occur with scams and fraud, site-builders included top-notch payment security and site protection to maintain a safe online marketplace.

Different Available eCommerce Platforms

With all the available platforms out there, you must choose the right platform for you. One thing to consider is the several distinctions, like the hosting type:

1. Hosted- the use of software provided by someone else. You won't have access to the code running the software, and you are charged a fee for the service. The benefits are having fast startup capability, less technical overhead, and easy usage for beginners. There are, however, more cost with this type of eCommerce. SaaS solutions are common examples.

2. Self-hosted- you are downloading and installing the software on your server where you will have much control over your site. However, you will have all the responsibility to update your site manually. You also have to keep the site safe. Most of the time, open source eCommerce solutions possess self-hosting.

3. Mixed- different possibilities occur with this variation. For instance, site builders may have shopping carts included with another platform, like WordPress, for instance. This service is a cheaper and viable option known as Commerce as a Service (CaaS).

Three Required S's of eCommerce

Now that it's understood how valuable eCommerce is, it is easy to be anxious about starting. However, there are various aspects you should consider before jumping into the eCommerce business. For one, when it comes to eCommerce, the following is mandatory:

1. Storage Space- there are a maximum amount of sales allowed on some site builders' platforms, So, it's imperative to choose a platform with the bandwidth and inventory space that meet your needs. Furthermore, the best online store plan will allow your online store to sell with no limitations.

2. Site Design- one thing required is a user-friendly interface. Secondly, there should be clearness with the function of every tool and easy selection in choosing desired options. Other required features include professionally-designed templates that are attractive and assist with the customers' shopping experience and well-designed filters, sorting, and menu options.

3. Safety Protocols- the plan must have a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption and fraud protection for your customers and you.

The Proven Best eCommerce Platforms

Now that you know what eCommerce is and what constitutes top-quality with eCommerce platforms, the following are the best eCommerce platforms in the market along with the pros and cons:

1. BigCommerce

founded in 2009, this plan is best in SEO class and best for small and new businesses. BigCommerce is based in Austin, Texas. It offers hosted e-commerce solutions as a shopping cart for various sites and a full SaaS platform for other sites. This plan has mobile responsive stores and quick setup time. It takes only half the time it normally takes to set up e-commerce plans.

BigCommerce also has advanced features for bigger brands. You can sell on eBay, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, and more. You have the option to choose a payment gateway with no transaction costs. You also can efficiently manage complex, large catalogs.

Pros

1. Wonderful store management capabilities
2. A wide array of features and tools
3. Flexible shipping options with rate calulation and live quotes
4. Integration with social networks, eBay, and Amazon
5. A broad array of payment processing options for free
6. Multiple amounts of available templates
7. The capability to design your own site
8. A huge support system to assists you in improving your eCommerce efforts

Cons

1. Only seven of the templates are free, and the premium themes are expensive.
2. The design customization of the templates are sometimes not user-friendly.
3. The plan has a sales limitation.
4. Advanced features, such as an abandoned cart saver, is expensive.
5. This plan has no native POS features.

2. Shopify

– established in 2004, the company headquarters is in Ottawa, Ontario. This plan is one of the most popular names in the e-commerce sphere. It's a fully hosted solution where you can set up and use it quickly and easily. All you have to do is sign up by using your email address, and you can start building and selling immediately. You can also use SEO features and create products. This plan is best for boutique shops.

Pros

1. Super quick and easy to set up and use
2. Provides dozens of elegant, mobile-optimized themes for free
3. No coding required for customizing
4. Top-notch support via email, phone, Twitter, and live chat 24/7
5. Has a big app marketplace with more than a thousand offers for more functionality to your site with just a few clicks
6. Supportive over many third-party gateways
7. Provide additional sales channels by offering hardware and software for social selling, to sell in brick and mortar stores, and through market integration, such as Amazon.

Cons

1. Costs can easily rise by paying for the base fee, themes, plugins, features, and more.
2. The propensity of hard-to-plan and complication when it comes to transaction fees if there's no use of the built-in payment system
3. Customizing can be hard when doing the coding yourself. This plan has it is on markup language that is based on Ruby on Rails

3. Wix Stores

– founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, this platform started as a sited builder allowing their clients to make sites through drag and drop. It now has features that enable you to create an online store, such as mobile sites and HTML5 sites. Customers can add various functionality, including e-commerce, plug-ins, contact forms, online marketing, community forms, and email marketing with Wix and third-party apps.

Pros

1. The user interface is well-organized, clean, quick to set up, and easy to use
2. No coding is required. Thus, tech skills are required. All you must do is to utilize the user-friendly editor by dragging content anywhere on the website.
3. Fully customizable
4. Has more than 500 templates and has stock images to use right away
5. Supplies fully required functionality and a fully featured shopping cart
6. It is fully hosted.
7. Offers a free plan to try out
8. Very affordable prices

Cons

1. This platform can be basic due to it being mainly a website builder with the capability to sell things. This service is not purely an e-commerce platform.
2. Has the inability to change the site template once the site publication occurs.
3. Must purchase a more expensive plan to obtain a professional site review and to get better support
4. The free plan is very limited with no e-commerce options.

4. Volusion

– another option that is hosted and cloud-based for building an online store: Launched in 1999, it processed over $28 billion in sales. This plan has affordable prices even though the prices can get pretty high. However, you can get 10 percent off if paying annually. On the other hand, you can get more bandwidth, products, better support, and more features.

Pros

1. Intuitive, simple plan
2. Starting prices are as low as $29 per month.
3. Over 50 payment gateways available with no transaction costs
4. Unlimited bandwidth
5. Fit any organization's needs due to all the themes being customizable
6. All-in-one solution
7. Has elegant and cross-platform capability themes that are free
8. Allows drag-and-drop capability with in-page editing
9. Possesses solid product management and eCommerce tools, such as loyalty programs, subscription options, native fulfillment options, rich text product descriptions, and more.
10. Different marketing options available, including social selling, SEO features, and marketplace integrations for eBay, Amazon, and other places
11. 24/7 support via phone and live chat
12. Has a comprehensive knowledge library full of guides, articles, etc.

Cons

1. Has a confusing pricing structure due to its set bandwidth limitation- buying additional traffic is required when reaching the limit. Furthermore, planning would be challenging especially due to it having relatively low default bandwidth.
2. There is an extra payment required for SSL that is mandatory for any online shop. Volusion's prices range from $89 to $995. Additionally, you must pay $80 for a premium theme. otherwise, you can buy your SSL certificate for free and obtain a 14-day free trial with Volusion.
3. Premium templates are expensive.
4. Running a shop can also be up to $299 monthly without including the costs associated with buying extra bandwidth and other features. The bandwidth width limit is one, three, ten, or 35GB for each plan. Otherwise, the cost is $7 per GB which can rise quickly.
5. This plan has no blogging capability even though content marketing is critical in the digital world. You can, however, include links in the menu for other blog sites.

5. Squarespace

– established in 2003 and based in New York city, this is also a site builder with drag and drop operation. This platform began with a focus on creating visually appealing sites. Lately, this service has been focusing more on eCommerce and allowing users to sell items online. This company is now beginning to be a fully committed eCommerce platform. Customers uses drop-and-drag aspects and templates for building their sites.

Pros

1. Very user-friendly for beginners
2. Intuitive and simple user interface
3. Offers beautiful, polished, elegant templates
4. Has mobile-responsive capabilities
5. Offers high-quality imagery design that is spectacular for selling products
6. Standard options are available, like shipping, coupons, unlimited products, inventory management, and product variants.
7. Partnered with Shipstation.com for fulfillment
8. Possesses great customer service
9. Many points offered for optimizing your conversions, like tffic sources, revenue, and sales, and optimizing your site.
10. Marketing tools offered, including abandoned checkout recovery, blogging, social media, and SEO settings.
11. SSL is already integrated into the platform.
12. Affordable pricing: Must be on at least the business plan for $18 per month when billed annually. Otherwise, the price is $26 per month. Each sale requires a three percent transation fee unless you obtain a plan costing $26 to $46 montly. Additional features for an online shop can also come with accounting, label printing, automatic abandoned carts' recovery.

Cons

1. Some restrictions in features
2. Limited payment options
3. Important options are missing for a huge number of variations or products and for more complex shops.
4. No apps for the marketplace is available to add more functionality and features.
5. A huge limitation is on the ability in customizing your site via markup and code.
6. Only a few third-party services and tools are integrated.

6. Magento

– launched in 2008, this platform is similar to WordPress when it comes to eCommerce platforms. It is based in Culver City, California. This service consists of open source software that is downloadable and can install on your servers. Magento is written in PHP. It also provides a hosted cloud version, such as WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

Pros

1. Tons of control with design, functionality and choosing server environment options.
2. Has a long list of options and features, including the ability to make adjustments, discounts, recurring payments, membership subscriptions, and more
3. Has themes and plugins for all purposes from shipping to marketing
4. Offers strong multilingual sites also
5. Tons of expert and support available

Cons

1. Must ensure your shop runs properly by maintaining and updating security and everything else
2. Investment of money and time required for optimization
3. Written in PHP so hiring someone may be necessary
4. For the cloud version, you must be an enterprise client and pay accordingly.
5. Other factors include occassional development, premium templates, and premium plugins.
6. You can purchase the hosted version if you don't want to deal with the above issue. However, there is a steep price tag of $18,000 annually for licensing.

7. OpenCart

– began in April 2010, this plan is an open source eCommerce service system. It is based on PHP through HTML components and MySQL database. You can download and install on your server. Opencart also provides a cloud version.

Pros
1. Has everything required to produce and manage your shop. There is no limit on product categories and products for physical and digital items. This service also comes with product ratings and reviews.
2. This plan supports several currencies and languages.
3. You'll granted a dashboard to manage each vital data point of your shop. You also have the ability to create and control several stores on one interface.
4. Can integrate with 100s of payment gateways
5. Has 1000s of highly customized themes and plugin extensions
6. Comes with all the self-administrating benefits on your server as a self-hosted solution
7. It has a huge support network through helpful documentation and a dedicated community.
8. For the cloud version, you an begin in a few minutes. You can also gain access to a separate plugin and theme store and possess all your security, hosting, and necessary backups.
9. There is no fee for self-hosted software; however, there are usual peripheral costs.
10. You have the option for the cloud-hosted version that costs from $30 to $200 per month. Otherwise, you can pay half the price for a year in advance.
11. Comes with a free SSL certificate

Cons
1. Not always easily customizable
2. Additional modules can be expensive.
3. There are limitations on native marketing features.
4. Not always the quickest solution, thus the greatest option is not the self-hosted solutions in many cases to scale into significant dimensions.
5. The possibility of more expenses are there for themes and extensions amounting to approximately $100 to your budget

8. Zen Cart

– self-hosted and open sourced online store system that derived in 2003 from osCommerce. It is PHP-focused utilizing HTML components and MySQL database.

Pros

1. Possesses a GPL license
2. Totally customizable
3. The ability to produce any change even beyond available extensions
4. Possesses a good reputation in scalability and security
5. Provides a plethora of configuation options for products, like gift certificates, multiple product images, and coupons.
6. You have the ability of its SEO features installed and the sending of HTML emails from the platform
Cons
1. Has an outdated user interface on the back and front end
2. Only has the capability to adjust the font
3. User interface is not intuitive, thus, making site maintenance tedious.
4. Difficulty in installing and upgrading
5. No dedicated support available
6. Small ecosystem making if difficult to retrieve templates and extensions
7. Have a limited number of payment options
8. Budget required to run and maintain an architecture, including an SSL certificate.
9. If you don't have development skills, you must hire help for it. There may be additional costs associated with themes and extensions.

9. Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware)

– this business launched in 1999 and is based in San Francisco, California. This company another cloud-based e-commerce tool that is fully hosted and unify how organizations engage with their customers over any device or channel. This platform makes it possible for large e-commerce companies to easily handle.

Pros

1. Has omnichannel marketing built-in
2. Can be across many various mobile and social channels
3. Can be utilized as an operating tool in your brick and mortar store
4. Allow predictive analytics so you can observe your order history, customer data, promotional information, and inventory across all channels, thus allowing personalization and gives you valuable insights of your customers
5. Possesses a spectacular support system that links you up easily to technology providers and professionals.
6. No technical skills required since it is hosted
7. Highly scalable due to the cloud technically in the background

Cons

1. You'll have less control since this service is a hosted solution.
2. Confusion in knowing what you are getting on your site.
3. The inability of seeing the back-end so you wouldn't know whether or not this service is a viable option.
4. This platform takes commission from every sale you'll make.
5. Pricing is available only upon your request.

10. Yahoo

– this plan has evolved several times and is great for beginners.

Pros

1. SEO-friendly platform
2. 24/7 customer support
3. Has a free product catalog
4. Easy to use site builder for your online store
5. Has 300 templates
6. Store designs are mobile-optimized.
7. The ability to install various third-party apps

Cons

1. Basic online store functionality
2. Only has one payment gateway
3. Must resort to expensive third-party options if you want blogging capabilities

11. Woocommerce

– Woocommerce launched September 2011, and it is a plugin that quickly rose in popularity due to its free and customized product. BlueHost began in 2003. Its headquarters is in Provo, Utah.

Pros

1. Supportive of unlimited products
2. Mobile-friendly templates
3. Has a plethora of extensions
4. Easy migration of other platforms' existing sites is possible
5. Allows SEO tools, WordPress plugins, and social media integration

Cons

1. Not fully scalable
2. Has limited hosting features

12. Weebly

– founded in 2006, this business is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and it is a web hosting service used for online stores. Square, Inc. is the parent company of Weebly.

This platform utilizes simple widgets to build sites. It also uses drag-and-drop features.

Pros

1. Has e-commerce marketing tools
2. Award-winning support
3. Recovery of abandoned carts
4. Building and growing your store with professional tips
5. Comes with a tax and shipping calculator
6. Payment processing capability in over 35 countries
7. Can completely checkout on your mobile store

Cons

1. Has very little content management system- it only allows sorting, editing, filtering, and publishing of various content.
2. With development skills, it could be very difficult to add advanced marketing tools, like customer email collection tools, EV SSL, custom social shares, custom analytics packages, A/B testing software, and specific Schemas.
3. Difficulty in moving to a new platform.

Strategic Brand Management is Key for Success

With all the brand management options out there, it may be confusing in trying to choose the right brand management strategy for your businesses. What may be the best practice of brand management for one company on any eCommerce platform may not be the best practice of brand management for another company.

However, there are certain important facts when it comes to branding regardless of the type of business. These facts include the following:

1. SERPs are drastically evolving- in addition paying attention to algorithm updates, it is imperative to pay attention to the layout adjustment effects. These effects transform user behavior. For instance, featured snippets are gaining in popularity. Also, SERP CTR has started to outperform rankings.

2. It is crucial to gain brand recognition to get clicks- brands obtain preferential treatment from Google. However, small brands don't get the same benefit. They must earn double the links than the bigger brands.

3. It's imperative to use various strategies to build a brand while following the best practices of SEO- includes determining the target audience of the brand; establishing our brand mission statements; studying brands in your industries; outlining the benefits and key qualities of the offerings of your brands; creating a brand logo and tagline; forming the brand voice; building a brand message and elevator pitch; letting the brand personality shine; integrating the brand into every aspect of your businesses; staying true to brand building; and being your brands' biggest advocate.

Once you have your brand management strategy game together, you can gain fantastic success from any eCommerce platform above.

Conclusion

There are many ways you can make good money online these days. One sure way to become very successful is by having one of the best quality eCommerce platforms out there. From making videos on YouTube to becoming an affiliate marketer, some of these online opportunities can even make you a millionaire. However, one sure way to become successful is by having a good quality eCommerce platform.

eCommerce includes the selling or buying of products over the Internet or on online services. Another term eCommerce is an online store.

Tons of eCommerce opportunities are available. However, there are various considerations to factor in when choosing the best platform for you. Whether it is costs that meet your budget features, such as shopping cart abandonment, you will have splendid tools at your disposable.

The following are the best eCommerce platforms in the market: BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix Stores, Volusion, Squarespace, Magento, OpenCart, Zen Cart, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware), Yahoo, BlueHost + Woocommerce, and Weebly. These services come with tons of advantages and some disadvantages. Benefits can be unlimited bandwidth, a broad array of payment gateways, affordable prices, user-friendliness, and more. The problems could be costliness, marketing limitations, not user-friendly, and more.

As mentioned before, you must also master your branding to gain the highest propensity of success possible. Once you have your brand management strategy game together, you can achieve fantastic success from any eCommerce platform above. Furthermore, you will have an even more propensity for astronomical success beyond your dreams with top-notch brand management.

Taking full advantage of one of the best e-commerce tools is the way to go. It's all for the taking. So, get started on this great opportunity today!

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