Did you know more than 5.4 million people in the US alone invest in themselves by creating an online startup?
The US Small Business Administration defines a startup as a business with less than 500 workers. These businesses made up 9.99 per cent of firms in the previous year. Surprisingly, one in every four startups still lacks a website, even in the wake of the Covid Pandemic’s digital acceleration.
However, as annual growth in online sales increases, businesses need the internet to survive. According to a Marketing Signals analysis, 90% of new e-commerce businesses failed within the first 2 months, mostly due to subpar marketing and inadequate SEO.
Additionally, you must establish a market for your goods or services, manage your cash flow, compete with industry titans, and provide excellent customer service. The information doesn’t mean to scare you away from establishing your own venture. Rather, it aims to help you understand the importance of choosing the right e-commerce platform for your startup.
With that said, today we will be discussing the best e-commerce platforms available at the moment, look at the pros and cons of each platform, and list their pricing (because let’s face it – cost is important!).
E-commerce Platforms | What You Need to Understand
Consider your e-commerce platform as the front window of your online store. As people prefer window shopping before buying something, your platform should encourage consumers to spend more and provide a positive customer experience.
An e-commerce hosting platform is typically a software program that helps online merchants manage their websites, marketing, sales, and operational processes. Retailers can centralize their activities into one hub thanks to its integration with other business solutions.
The best e-commerce platform encourages long-term business growth, makes it easier for customers to identify the products they want, gives staff members the resources they require for branding, and offers pre- and post-installation assistance.
Do you Need an E-commerce Platform for your Business?
Yes, unless you have millions to create your own.
Most startups need more capital to create an independent e-commerce platform to sell the products. Whether you’re establishing a brand-new e-commerce firm or switching from a traditional brick-and-mortar store to online sales, you’ll need an e-commerce platform.
What Features Make the Best E-commerce Platform for New Businesses?
Customers now expect more from e-commerce than merely replicating the in-store experience. It includes everything from personalized shopping experience with rich media and video available whenever and wherever they want them to prompt customer services.
No downtime and performance issues also play a crucial role in creating brand reputation and customer loyalty as consumers become more impatient.
Fortunately, many e-commerce platforms are available for startups to select from that can help their venture look like a major player. Simply choose the one that offers the finest alternatives for your e-commerce startup from the available options.
Here are some common features that are mandatory for an e-commerce platform to have:
- Usability (you most likely need an IT specialist on hand).
- Inventory management (why track inventory manually if you’re paying for a platform?)
- Reliable SEO sources
- Fulfilment and reliable shipment management (dropshipping customers should pay special attention to this).
- Protection (GDPR and PCI compliance are important)
- Flexibility (a platform should contribute to your business growth)
List of the Best E-commerce Platforms for Startups
Woocommerce is a WordPress plug-in created specifically for online shopping. It is one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms nowadays. Woocommerce has many helpful features that work exceptionally well, like a shopping cart and a secure payment gateway.
Adding a free plug-in like Dokan will instantly transform your Woocommerce store into an attractive WordPress multivendor marketplace.
Defining Features of WooCommerce
- Complete Customization
- Simple drag-and-drop store setting
- Huge selection of themes and plug-ins
- Amazing series of e-commerce guidelines and tutorials
- Possibility to acquire the best web hosting bundle
- Secure and dependable
- SEO-friendly content management, together with fantastic WordPress support
Benefits of WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a versatile e-commerce solution that suits the needs of almost all business types, particularly for new and growing enterprises. Woocommerce may be the greatest option for you if you’re looking for a way to achieve your goals quickly and effectively on a tight budget. Additionally, you always have the choice to convert your shop into a multivendor marketplace.
Woocommerce is a free platform in WordPress that can be customized with an infinite number of free plug-ins and themes. But as it is a plug-in – you will need a WordPress website which does incur hosting fees.
Downsides of WooCommerce
Some distinctive features to improve its user-friendliness and competitiveness would require additional funding. Performance and lack of scalability are occasional problems, but they are easily fixed thanks to the supportive community.
Examples of a WooCommerce Store
It has an awesome landing page and eCommerce navigation! Check it out >
Your favourite site about Australia is made easier with Woocoomerce. Get easy with science here >
When choosing the most popular e-commerce platform, Shopify is the first choice of many startup owners. Shopify aims to cater to small businesses, making them one of the renowned platforms. The secret to Shopify’s success is the robust app store that makes it simple to expand the functionality of your default online store.
Shopify has more apps available than any of its rivals in the market. It also provides a nice assortment of business-related themes.
Defining Features of Shopify
- A simple-to-use app to manage payments and business;
- Unlimited products and bandwidth
- Convenient fulfilment facilities, drop shipping, and shipping services
- Assistance from professionals to help you set up your store
- A significant portion of shop owners in the Shopify for WordPress community
Benefits of Shopify
Shopify can provide you with a terrific start if you plan to manage an online selling company. Make it easy when you want to expand your business, functionality, and Customization with Shopify.
Downsides of Shopify
There is a relatively small selection of free templates and professional themes from Shopify. The platform requires you to pay to add more distinctive features and use the app.
With Shopify, receiving real-time assistance can occasionally take time and effort. As a result, Shopify offers few options and requires a high price, which might make it unsuitable for you if you have a limited budget.
Examples of a Shopify Store:
BLK and BOLD
It’s a specialty coffee and tea shop that empowers the community. See why it’s the best >
Mum finds a way for a healthier snack for her daughter! See their story here >
Another open-source-based e-commerce option with an adaptable shopping cart system is Magento. Brands that have invested in development teams or tech have already worked with it. They recently introduced a cloud-based solution.
- Integrated B2B capabilities
- Active rule-based product interactions
- Responsive and attractive design themes
- personalization and Customization
- Comprehensive admin experience
- Account and technical support
Benefits of Magento
One of Magento’s benefits is total control over your own online store. It benefits companies that are already successful. Magento is among the top options available regarding features and usability.
Downsides of Magento
With Magento, you need to consider the price, development, and support your business requires moving forward. Its tech support is quite expensive and has a time-intensive learning curve.
Examples of a Magento Store:
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As one of the top e-commerce programs, BigCommerce has a useful and effective user interface. There are already about 95000 active websites selling goods online and processing payments using this e-commerce platform.
As BigCommerce is the popular choice of many small- to medium-sized online stores, it has earned a reputation in the digital market. It is a proven and reliable platform to offer your startup secure and great support for its services.
- Amazing visual interface
- Simple interaction with eBay
- Strong dependability and security
- Round-the-clock support
- Google Shopping and other services
Benefits of BigCommerce
Despite having a similar pricing structure to Shopify, some features of BigCommerce make each plan superior and more comprehensive. BigCommerce is more effective for small businesses as you can use it for several mid-level projects. The platform allows startups to sell on Facebook and eBay and provides a “buy” button on pictures. Reliable management tools, analytics, and report are more benefits of this platform.
Downsides of BigCommerce
You might find adjusting the homepage with BigCommerce challenging. Plus, the platform charges 1.5% transaction fees on its lowest monthly plan.
Example of a BigCommerce Online Store:
The New Craftsmen
Designers for homes and businesses find their stay at The New Craftsmen! See here >
Spanish-based business Lladro creates hand-crafted ceramics for homes and gifts >
One other platform that supports drag-and-drop is Squarespace. Established in 2003, it offers modern templates and design skills. Try these out if you only require a few features or have a print-on-demand e-commerce business.
The costs of these design skills and templates are really affordable. You need to subscribe to the Business website plan, which costs $18 per month when paid annually to begin selling. The transaction costs are around 3%.
But if you choose an e-commerce plan between $25 and $40, you can avoid these transaction charges. The top package lets you sell a variety of gifts and subscription cards, find abandoned cart recovery, and provide adjustable discounts.
- The ability to add unlimited products to basic, premium, and advanced plans
- A huge number of galleries, pages, and blogs
- Simple drag-and-drop website builder
Benefits of Squarespace
Squarespace is a fantastic platform for startups looking for vibrant, up-to-date template designs. It has a great choice for product listing. It has two versions, Lite and Pro; both support infinite products. They are a huge benefit for businesses of all sizes.
Downsides of Squarespace
One drawback of Squarespace is that it only offers a few payment gateway connectors. They solely provide Stripe integration at the moment. And as you are aware, vendors from less developed nations sometimes have access to Stripe.
See examples of a Squarespace Online Store:
As one of the first hosted e-commerce platforms, Volusion is also the most established store builder. It concentrates on offering a comprehensive solution for online store owners who favour hosted solutions. Several built-in capabilities in Volusion make it simple to launch, run, and help you expand your online business.
The main feature of Volusion is that you have complete control over the Customization and functionality of your store. Additionally, the reliable platform offers the much-needed support and security small businesses require to grow and attract potential customers.
- An intuitive dashboard
- A large selection of responsive themes
- Round-the-clock client service and onboarding
- Adequate speed and security
- Excellent analytics tools
- Integrated marketing features
Benefits of Volution
If you want to easily handle operations features for an online business with some developer resources, Volusion is fantastic. All direct action areas are located in the navigation menu, which has a beautiful organization. Two beneficial features of Volusion include multichannel selling and inventory management.
With this e-commerce platform, you can use a variety of marketing alternatives such as Amazon, eBay, Google, coupons, and rewards.
Downsides of Volution
The price is the primary factor you should consider while selecting Volusion. Volusion charges a monthly fee in addition to credit card, add-on, transaction, and other costs. These costs are often not suitable for small-budget startups. Plus, Volusion has limited customization options. The platform needs to develop a blogging option that might be a downer for many small businesses.
See Examples of a Volution Online Store:
Wix, as an e-commerce platform, has advanced significantly over the years. With its comprehensive features and benefits for small businesses, Wix has become a prominent player in the e-commerce industry. It offers incredible value to sole proprietors and small e-commerce companies.
The e-commerce tools Wix offers include dropshipping, abandoned cart recovery, print-on-demand, and multichannel integration.
- Visual editor with real-world illustrations and template references
- No transaction expenses, only a monthly fee
- Low cost and simple setup make it ideal for experimenting
Benefits of Wix
Wix’s e-commerce solution offers enough to get your business up and running. It is unique because of its superb visual interface design. You may quickly design and distinguish the components of your shop using whatever colour you like.
To add cool features and videos and build the website you want, you only need to drag and drop the components on Wix. Of the more than 500 themes available, 72 are free. Except if you utilized their ADI, you’re locked with the theme you chose when you published your website.
That means Wix is one of your greatest options if you only sell one product or a small selection of products.
Downsides of Wix
Wix lacks advanced automation and upselling features that often make customizing templates.
Examples of a Wix Online Store:
Summing Up Deciding on an E-Commerce Platform
The most crucial decision criterion when finding the best online e-commerce platform is its built-in features. They determine whether the platform provides exactly what you require. What matters most is the platform enabling your business to sell your goods most advantageously for your customers and yourself as a business owner. Thus, the given platforms are a good choice for your business to get started.