Are you looking for the right platform for your e-commerce development? Well, choosing an e-commerce platform when you are not a technology expert or have previous experiences with them is extremely complicated. Deciding about the best-fit e-commerce platform mapping your needs is important as the quality and content of the site are the main elements that directly influence the conversion rates of your company. So, investing a lot of time in the search to select the best e-commerce platform is worth it. There are basically three solutions available for online store development. And today, from our experience in hundreds of online projects, we have enlisted here all the top 3 e-commerce platforms with their advantages and disadvantages so you can know about each and make an informed decision. Have a look at each platform given below:
If you want to sell over the Internet without complications, you only have to open your own space in a marketplace like eBay or sign up as an external seller in e-commerce websites like Amazon or FNAC. These platforms are nothing more than online shopping centers in which both companies and individuals offer their products and services.
The process of registering and creating a store in a marketplace is very simple and normally free. On the other hand, depending on the platform chosen, you will have to pay a series of commissions. The most frequent are:
- By sale, either a fixed amount, a percentage of the price or a combination of both.
- For the publication of advertisements within the platform or the appearance in a prominent place of the same.
- For the enjoyment of premium or advanced benefits (generally a fixed monthly or annual fee).
- To be present in a marketplace, it is not necessary to make a significant initial payment (in many cases the initial cost is zero).
- It is not necessary to have programming knowledge, and there is no need to worry about the technical aspects of the platform because the updates are made automatically. This means you do not have to deal with issues related to hosting or servers.
- Marketplaces usually have a customer service in which they guide you on all types of issues related to the sale through the Internet and the use of the various services of the platform.
- You can start selling from minute one.
- The capture of traffic to e-commerce pages is a considerable effort in terms of time and money. If you have your store hosted in a marketplace, you can benefit from the high resources that these platforms invest in to attract potential buyers (through email marketing campaigns, search engine advertising, television spots, etc.).
- You have to accept the conditions imposed by the owner of the marketplace, whether you like it or not.
- If your business is based on the sale of high volumes of goods or services with low added value or you decide to compete for price, the payment of commissions to the marketplace for each sale can take a significant part of your commercial margin.
- Although some marketplaces have options that allow you to customize your store, the adaptations that you can introduce are usually minimal and generally limited to small design touches (such as the inclusion of your logo or the choice of different color ranges). This disadvantage is, without a doubt, the most important of all, since it limits the options in terms of building a brand image.
SaaS – Solution in the Cloud
Another popular solution to set up an online store is using SaaS (Software as a solution). SaaS online stores are pre-configured e-commerce solutions hosted on the servers of a company specialized in providing e-commerce services on the cloud. Shopify, Volusion, and BigCommerce, are a few examples that offer this solution. If you have a little knowledge about creating web pages, it is convenient for you to only charter a web server that allows you to start building your site from scratch in a more technical way. As a general rule, they will charge you a fixed monthly fee or a commission for each sale you make.
- The initial investment that must be made to have your store on the cloud is usually relatively low (in most of these platforms a free trial period is offered).
- As in the case of the marketplaces, you will not need to have technical knowledge (since updates are made automatically). There is no need to worry about hosting, nor you will have to make investments in the web development area and you can start selling immediately.
- These platforms usually have a customer service from which they will solve your doubts and give you technical support.
- They usually offer a more advanced level of personalization than the marketplaces and, as a general rule, you can easily add or remove the modules that the supplier puts at your disposal (such as logistics options, means of payment or calculation of taxes).
- Normally the design of your store has to be done using preconfigured templates, in which you can modify some areas such as the header or footer. However, some suppliers allow the layout of your e-commerce store to be customized to a greater extent, usually in exchange for an additional outlay.
- As a general rule, you will not be able to make advanced ad hoc adaptations, such as the integration of our ERP with the store or the implementation of a customized return management system.
- In the same way as in the marketplaces, also, in this case, you will depend on the conditions imposed by the service provider.
Open Source Solutions
The other option and the one most preferred by retailers and entrepreneurs to set up an online store is using open source solutions such as Magento, WooCommerce, and Prestashop. These are the systems that offer you a platform with most of the necessary modules in many of the cases. They are usually easily manageable both in the business activity and in the configuration of the same. Unlike the options previously seen, the main expenses will correspond to the following items:
- Accommodation rate in servers in a data center (or hardware and maintenance expenses if you choose to install in-house servers).
- Costs derived from the creation of the customized online store plus investments associated with the introduction of improvements or updates (or a considerable number of working hours, if the developments are carried out within the company itself).
- You get 100% ownership of your online store and do not depend on conditions required by suppliers (as in the case of marketplaces or SaaS stores platforms).
- You can make the modifications that you consider appropriate in terms of design and layout of your e-commerce store.
- This option allows the integration of services on demand, such as the merger of your ERP with the e-commerce store, the installation of an online after-sales service (made according to our specific needs) or the inclusion of any payment system alternative.
- Higher initial cost than the other options, since you will have to create the e-commerce store from scratch using your own resources or entrusting it to a specialized e-commerce agency.
- Need to have advanced technical knowledge - to manage updates or incidents that arise on a daily basis - or hire an external maintenance service provided by expert professionals in the management and programming of e-commerce platforms.
- It is essential to have a quality hosting service that can support extensive traffic and databases.
So now with these three options present, we hope you can make the right decision and choose the e-commerce platform that best suits your online store needs. For any further assistance, contact us directly and we would help you in every manner we can!