Online shopping is on the rise. Part of this is due to the ongoing pandemic, but it is also due to a long-term tendency. Almost 80% of the population shops online, and more than half prefer to purchase online rather than in person. It will be a trillion-dollar industry by the end of 2022. This is terrific news for sellers because any small business can rapidly start selling online and join the gold rush with the correct tools. You can list your products, accept payments, and handle delivery from your home office’s convenience with a good eCommerce website builder. We have compiled a list of best ecommerce platforms, focused on platforms that best fit the needs of small and medium enterprises, particularly those that are just getting started with selling online or selling physical products.
Years ago, you’d have had to pay a lot of money to hire a software developer (or possibly a whole team of developers) to create a unique website. Thankfully, technology has advanced to the point that you can now use an eCommerce platform to develop robust, quick, and beautiful eCommerce websites. Some of these platforms are based on current content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, or at the very least have content management functionality (great for SEO). Others may be standalone eCommerce platforms with simply the features required for selling.
What is E-commerce, Exactly?
Ecommerce is the electronic buying and selling of goods through the internet. It is popular because of the numerous advantages of e-business – online marketing, electronic funds transfer, and mobile commerce – and is divided into two sections. Mobile applications, websites, and even voice assistants, chats, and chatbots are all examples of online retail buying that goes straight to consumers. Sellers that participate in ecommerce marketplaces where a lot of third-party sales happen.
E-Commerce Model Types:
There are four major categories of electronic commerce. The parties involved in the transactions serve as the foundation for this straightforward categorization. So here are the four primary electronic commerce models:
Business To Business:
This is a transaction between two businesses. Companies are doing business with one another here. There is no involvement of the final consumer. As a result, online transactions are limited to manufacturers, wholesalers, and merchants.
Business to Consumer:
The company will sell its goods and services to the consumer straight here. Customers can look at products, see photographs, and read reviews on their websites. After that, they place their order, and the company ships the products to them directly. Amazon, Flipkart, and Jabong are just a few examples.
Consumer to Consumer:
Consumer to consumer refers to situations in which customers interact directly with one another. There is no company engaged. It enables people to sell their belongings and assets directly to a buyer. Cars, bikes, electronics, and other such items are frequently traded. This model is followed by OLX, Quikr, and others.
Consumer to Business:
This is the polar opposite of B2C: consumer to business. As a result, the customer gives the company a product or a service. Consider an IT freelancer who provides a corporation with a demo and sells his product. This would be a business-to-business transaction.
Benefits of E-Commerce:
E-commerce allows vendors to reach a worldwide audience. They eliminate the geographical barrier (geography). Sellers and buyers can now meet in the virtual world without traveling.
Electronic commerce will reduce transaction costs significantly. Many of the fixed expenses of sustaining brick and mortar stores are eliminated. This permits the businesses to profit at a substantially higher rate.
It allows for the speedy delivery of items with minimum effort on the customer’s behalf. Customer issues are also immediately addressed. It also saves both customers and businesses time, energy, and action.
Another significant benefit is the convenience it provides. A customer can shop at any time. The website is available at all times; unlike a store, it does not have operating hours.
Electronic commerce also allows customers and businesses to communicate directly without intermediaries. This facilitates communication and transactions. It also adds a touch of personalization.
Drawbacks of E-Commerce:
The e-commerce portal’s startup costs are incredibly high. The initial hardware and software setup, staff training costs, and ongoing maintenance and upkeep are all costly.
Despite its appearance, the e-commerce industry is highly vulnerable to failure. Many businesses that tried to ride the dot-com wave in the 2000s failed spectacularly. Even now, there is a high risk of loss.
E-commerce might feel impersonal at times. As a result, it lacks the warmth of a human connection, which is critical for many businesses and goods. For many services and products, such as interior design or jewelry, the lack of human touch might be a disadvantage.
Another source of concern is security. We’ve recently seen several security incidents in which client information has been stolen. Customers are concerned about credit card theft, identity theft, and other issues.
There are also fulfillment issues. Shipping, delivery, mix-ups, and other issues might arise even after an order has been placed. Customers are disgruntled and disappointed as a result of this.
What Should You Look for in an E-Commerce Platform?
There are numerous eCommerce platforms from which to pick. So, how do you choose the right eCommerce platform for your company? When looking for an eCommerce platform, there are seven crucial qualities.
Be honest about how much time you’re willing to devote to learning how to use an eCommerce platform before committing. If you don’t have much technical knowledge, make sure the venue you choose is straightforward to use. The platform you select should enable you to develop an excellent eCommerce site without testing your patience.
Processing of Payments:
Multiple payment choices will reduce friction throughout the checkout process and boost the likelihood of customers completing their transactions. If your site is international, make sure your eCommerce platform offers standard payment methods like PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay and local payment gateways.
How will you know if your website is operating optimally? Any eCommerce platform you choose should include built-in analytics to make tracking the eCommerce KPIs that matter to your organization simple. You’ll want to keep track of average order value, sales conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and churn rate. If the platform you’re considering is excellent in every regard except analytics, be sure it can connect to a third-party eCommerce analytics provider.
Not only should your brand name appear in search results, but so should the items and services you offer. That implies you’ll need an SEO-friendly eCommerce website platform. Look for solutions that allow you to utilize your name, gather and publish customer evaluations, and add content (such as a blog) to attract organic traffic.
The number of mobile phone buyers in the United States was 173.3 million in June 2021. (eMarketer). The rising use of mobile devices to make purchases necessitates the creation of a mobile-friendly eCommerce store. Customers should be able to explore your site and make purchases from their mobile devices with ease.
Apps and Integrations:
The integrations and apps available are other crucial factors to consider while looking for the right eCommerce platform. Integrations can enhance your eCommerce platform’s capabilities and fill in the gaps for features that your chosen venue may lack. You’ll also want to ensure that your eCommerce platform integrates with your existing systems, such as email marketing, accounting, and inventory management.
Even the most basic and straightforward eCommerce platform may require assistance. When that time arrives, you want help to be readily available. After all, you don’t want to be stuck waiting for use if your website is down, do you? Live chat, email, phone, and self-help tools like a knowledge base or community forum should be available on your eCommerce platform.
Best, Most Popular, and Most Dependable eCommerce Platforms for 2022:
BigCommerce is the most powerful eCommerce platform overall. Larger retail companies will benefit from its robust product search engine. It’s also an excellent option for people who want to open an eCommerce store or already have one and want to expand their operations to include online orders. Its available tools allow any niche or business to succeed. By using any of the configurable templates to design your store, sell, and market your products, you may customize your online shop without knowing how to code. It’s geared at folks who don’t have a lot of web development experience, but it also allows techies to edit the HTML and CSS.
BigCommerce themes are my favorite; you’ll find advanced and buyer-centric templates in the store, but a few are free. There are two of them, with variations on both, for seven free themes. A large community of designers and developers exists on the fly side. The partner directory can assist you in locating specialists to lend a helping hand. The most affordable option is $29.95 per month. Checkout vouchers, gift cards, unlimited bandwidth, and professional reporting are perks. Although you don’t get a custom SSL or abandoned cart saver, it’s still an excellent option for small businesses with annual sales of less than $50,000. The sales limit increases as the plan level increases.
Zyro is an easy-to-use website builder that allows you to sell things online. It’s easy to learn, inexpensive, and pronounced like the number zero (we double-checked with them). Zyro offers a refreshing lack of complexity because it was designed primarily for modest eCommerce enterprises. It’s ideal for someone looking to earn a few hundred or thousand dollars every month. You won’t need a web developer to maintain the site appearing new, and you won’t need to sell much to start making money. If you want a “ready to go” online store where you can set up your digital sign and start selling right away, I propose Zyro. People select Zyro because of its minimal entrance barrier, both in cost and the lack of a learning curve. Having your business website and online store on the same platform is also highly convenient.
You can choose a template that will do 90% of your work as a quick start. Then utilize the visual website builder to add images, change the colors, choose a font, write your copy, and brand your site. Users have mentioned how simple it is to construct your site and change product listings on Zyro, even if they have never done so before. In addition, inventory management in Zyro is simple. You don’t need to know much to have all of your products listed and maintain things up to date.
Shopify is the most well-known e-commerce platform, having been founded in 2004. They reported 1,000,000+ firms using their platform at the end of 2018, with gross merchandise volume exceeding $41.1 billion. As a result, they’re among the best and most widely used e-commerce systems. However, this does not imply that they outperform their rivals in all areas.
The most significant benefit of Shopify is how simple it is to use, configure, and navigate the site. Both in terms of the backend and for users on the front end. You can create your Shopify store by dragging and dropping pieces, the menus are intuitive and well-designed, and it looks fantastic. The most significant disadvantage is the inflexible URL syntax and some of the restrictions of trying to arrange your site from an SEO standpoint. If long-term SEO is your objective, which it should be for most online businesses, you’ll find some aspects of page layout frustrating.
Its appeal stems from the fact that it is free to download and that it comes with a wide range of functions out of the box, is easy to use, and is highly adaptable. Because WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, you’ll be limited if you’re new to WordPress. However, WordPress is the most widely used content management system. You are primarily responsible for learning how to use WooCommerce. However, if you’re familiar with WordPress, it shouldn’t be an issue, and the fact that it’s free makes it an appealing option.
In just a few years, Wix eCommerce has come a long way. Wix was not even on my radar when I first started reviewing e-commerce platforms in 2017. I gave them a meager rating and would not suggest them after adding them to my list. Wix is becoming a key player in the eCommerce industry, providing incredible value to solopreneurs and small eCommerce enterprises. Wix’s eCommerce features have advanced significantly in recent years, and they now include multi-channel integration, abandoned cart recovery, dropshipping, and print on demand.
They’ve experienced serious SEO troubles in recent years. Some issues, such as the short extra string added to the URLs of blog articles and product pages, have yet to be rectified. That’s not good for SEO, especially for big eCommerce sites.
As your business grows, you may need to upgrade because, aside from the limited features, the storage capacity is only 20GB, which may not be enough if you have a lot of heavy digital products or other documents.
Ecwid is different from many of the other platforms in that it is used to add an online store to an existing website rather than creating a standalone eCommerce platform. Ecwid allows you to quickly sync and sell across your website, social media, Amazon marketplaces, and even in person. Ecwid has recently added the ability to construct a simple one-page “Instant Site.”
Ecommerce solutions are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are designed for worldwide internet stores that sell tens of thousands of items. Others are better suited to sellers who only have a few items to sell. Although all of the finest eCommerce systems allow you to sell online, not all of them are built to scale. Keep in mind that as your site expands, your requirements may alter. If that’s the case, make sure you pick a platform that will grow with you.