How To Choose An E-Commerce Platform


A lot more goes into creating a successful e-commerce store than you might think. Some have a misconception that it is a fully automated business model that doesn’t suffer the same pain as a traditional storefront. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, e-commerce can be equally or more challenging as any other type of business. To build an e-commerce business, you need to use a third-party platform to make you ready to scale your operations. But the biggest challenge in e-commerce is dealing with the shortcomings of these platforms. 

Which Is The Best E-Commerce Platform - Does It Exist? 

There are plenty of e-commerce platforms out there in the market. However, choosing a platform based on its popularity alone is not the ideal way. As there are tons of choices available to you- how do you know you are choosing an e-commerce platform that suits you the best? The truth is, there is nothing like an idea e-commerce platform. The best e-commerce platform for your business is the one that successfully supports and delivers the objectives that you have set for your brand. These goals can be anything as simple as improving the customer engagement, increasing sales and revenue, or selling to a new audience. 

Don't Believe The Hype - Do Your Research 

Just like anything else, don't go by the hype. Do enough research before choosing one? Take enough time to do your homework while choosing each of the platforms you are considering. Make sure you completely understand what you are signing up for. Ensure that the platform has all features and functionalities required for your business to operate successfully. Determine whether the platform serves all the functions like automated emails to customers and editing orders. While the platform works for some other niche, it might not be the right one for your business. How do you know this? Do your research and test it for your requirements. 

Calculate The Costs 

Every platform comes with different features and has costs associated with them. Even if the platform you consider comes with a hefty price tag, ensure that the costs were justified with the features and services provided. The best way to know this is to work on this cost right from the beginning. The platform choice is something you shouldn’t skimp on as it is a significant investment for your business that can make or break your business. 

Another thing to consider is whether you will be paying a monthly fee or if you should expect to pay more bandwidth, server storage, plugins, transactions, etc. down the road. Consider all of these costs while making a decision. 

Ensure Your Team Can Use It 

It’s great how different a product experience can be brought by the user interface of the e-commerce platform. Before you sign up for an e-commerce platform that you have shortlisted, ensure that your team can manage the interface well. As your team is going to spend a lot of time in managing the business, if the interface is unfriendly of clunky, it is going to pose inefficiencies. Any e-commerce platform must be able to help the business to sell products and services in a hassle-free way. Unless the primary goal is accomplished, it is not the right fit for your business. 

Why Choose An E-Commerce Platform And Not Build From Scratch? 

E-commerce platform or multi-vendor marketplace software is a ready-made e- commerce solution which allows you to execute complex functionalities and easily accommodate other missing features through custom integrations. However, if you are developing an e-commerce site from scratch, it requires a lot of effort, time and cost. 

Developing the online store from scratch would take anywhere from 5 months to a year with each module to be developed individually. Moreover, when you decide to build everything from scratch, you would be rebuilding what is already developed by others. When you can get the integrations for everything. Why waste your time, money and effort to redo stuff that can be integrated? Unless you are thinking about unique solutions that are non-existent in the market, you don’t really have to consider this method of development. 

Different Types Of E-Commerce Platforms 

Traditional e-commerce platforms Traditional e-commerce platforms are the ones for which you have to buy a license first which you have to renew annually. After buying this readymade platform, your development team has to build and customize your e-commerce store on the platform which you can install it on-premises or in the cloud. Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms are Oracle commerce, Hybris and IBM digital commerce. 

Open Source Platforms 

Just like traditional platforms where you have to follow the custom development process. The major difference is that you don’t have to pay for a license. While you don’t have to incur a license fee, you have to pay for the initial development procedures, ongoing development, implementation, upgrades, etc. Magento, OpenCart, WordPress WooCommerce, ShopyGen are some of the popular and commonly used e-commerce platforms. 

Cloud Platforms 

Cloud platforms are not different; they are a cloud extension of the open source platforms we discussed just now. The popular e-commerce CMS platforms collaborate with cloud services and offer their platforms hosted on cloud servers. This solves the issues of hosting and manual installation as they come integrated on the cloud servers. Magento’s cloud version is called Magento enterprise cloud and others are Salesforce commerce, Demandware, etc. 

SaaS Platforms 

Many assume that both cloud and SaaS platforms are the same. It is not true. SaaS e-commerce platforms are built on a single codebases and comes with a fixed monthly fee that covers server fees, maintenance, security, and upgrades. The major differences are SaaS is single code bases and they don’t have any open source counterpart. 

However, Shopify is an exception that allows an API-based access for limited third-party customizations. Most of the SaaS platforms do not allow third-party customizations. E-commerce solutions like Big Commerce and Shopify are some of the perfect choices if you don’t want to go through the trouble of managing the websites and sell the products on the go. 

Turnkey E-Commerce Platforms 

Turnkey e-commerce solutions or clone scripts are perfect for multi-vendor e- commerce and suits any level of scalability. It is a controlled blend of all the above discusses platforms. With turnkey solutions, you get a readymade solution just like SaaS where you can set up your e-commerce store on the go. 

The benefit of such solutions is that you get the access to source code, allowing customizations and the flexibility to choose your hosting. If you choose turnkey platforms, you do not have to pay any recurring monthly or yearly fee. This could be a drawback if you cannot afford to pay for a one-time cost. However, this could land you up with the best e-commerce solution to grow your online business. A turnkey solution like Genstore gives you the right control over your e-commerce business and ensures the scalability. 

Conclusion 

Starting an e-commerce business is challenging and requires a lot of consideration. Understanding what your business needs as you grow and keeping up with trends requires a lot of research and work. Choosing the right platform is one of those crucial decisions that help to meet your business objectives easily. If you want to take your e-commerce business to the next level, evaluating each dimension of an e-commerce platform is significant. Choose the right solutions that would help you grow today and in the future. 

Author Jessica Bruce is a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. she also reports on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry and overall digital marketing  trends. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaBruc

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