5 of the Best E-Commerce Platforms

Author Emma Knightley

E-commerce is a vital avenue for businesses looking to improve their client base and push key products and services. E-commerce platforms provide you with the means to not only build a website but an online store, improving product visibility and brand awareness. These platforms possess strong mobile and social outreach, capitalizing on ever-evolving technology and communication channels. To truly take advantage of e-commerce platforms, they must match your business model's needs. There are so many e-commerce platforms available, but the five listed here are ideal solutions for companies looking to evolve in digital marketing and sales. 

1. Shopify

Shopify

Of all the e-commerce platforms available, Shopify might be the most popular and effective one out there, and you're probably already familiar with it. Shopify is the most complete and feature-rich platform available, powering over 600, 000 online stores and having over one million active users worldwide. More than $72 billion has been exchanged on Shopify as well, a testament to its wide reach and flexibility.

There are ample high-quality tools to support your store once you use Shopify, for example:

  • You can sell goods and services both physically and digitally via the service.
  • You can also sync it to several social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest as well as to online stores such as Amazon.
  • There are over 100 payment gateways to choose from including Shopify Payments and Google Pay.
  • You can also complete any unfinished sales with its built-in abandoned cart recovery.
  • Billing and collecting money is easier for companies due to Shopify's online invoice generator so everything can be adequately tracked.

Running an online store with Shopify isn't just simple, it's fun too. You get customizable features such as logos, brand colours, and fonts for your checkout. You can do drop-shipping, offer downloads, and sell whatever your heart desires. Shopify offers various pricing tiers, with basic pricing plans starting at $29. For companies or any digital marketing executives that want to get into e-commerce, Shopify might be the best place for you to start.

2. Wix

Wix

Originally a website builder with drag-and-drop features, Wix has become a reliable hub for creating online stores. It's not as flexible as Shopify as you can't sell across multiple channels without using apps, and it has no abandoned cart recovery. As a website with e-commerce functionality, as opposed to being specialized for this purpose, it doesn't have the same range of options.

However, due to its drag-and-drop setup, you can see precisely how your storefront will look. Plus, your online store is set up to be mobile-friendly, which is easier for potential buyers to navigate and make purchases from their phone or tablet. Pricing is also manageable as its e-commerce plan is around $17 a month.

You get phone, email, and social media support, plus a forum and in-depth knowledge base. Furthermore, you get on-page support while you're creating your store, making it ideal for small businesses or self-starting entrepreneurs. With its highly customized features that show you how you storefront will look to customers as you're editing, you have full control over what features are most visible. You can add product videos and secure your website using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. This certification allows you to reassure your customers that their data is handled safely as they submit their details when purchasing a product.

You can add other apps such as Wix Stores and Ecwid to give your e-commerce website the best possible features. Ecwid allows you to sell products across Instagram and Facebook, and Wix Stores will enable you to send automatic confirmation emails to customers and create discounts. You can manage your website while on the go and get good value for your money as you learn how to construct a site and run a business at the same time. 

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce

For large and fast-growing businesses, BigCommerce is the most compatible solution. It is a hosted e-commerce platform that functions both as a full SaaS solution and a shopping cart for other website types. As a result, it draws many comparisons with Shopify.

This platform has strong store management capabilities with many tools and features including promotions, options to handle returns, coupons, discounts, and more. BigCommerce also has flexible shipping options that give customers live quotes and rate calculators.

It boasts several big-name clients, from the shoe company specialists Clarks to ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s. You can understand why big names trust BigCommerce because it has email marketing, search filters, and allows customers to create accounts and leave reviews. Everything you need for your e-commerce website to be a success is built-in, boosting your odds of turning your online store into a large-scale business. And, all this can be achieved with plans starting at $29.95.

But you may have some kinks to work around. For one, it doesn't have a mobile app nor does it have the most straightforward user interface to navigate. However, you can start selling as soon as you create your store and track how well your products are doing with the platform's analytics report. These reports include a store overview, real-time reports, customer reports, abandoned cart reports, and merchandising reports. You can get over 40 payments processing options with no transaction fees attached. You also get full control over the URL format, and there are many templates.

If you specialize in business or technology, this is a great way to build your business from the ground up. 

4. Weebly

Weebly

When it comes to value for money few e-commerce platforms give you better value for your money than Weebly. It has four price plans, all tailored to e-commerce, including benefits such as Google Ads credits and email marketing. The best plan depends on your business. On its cheapest plan, the starter plan, you can sell up to 10 products. If you use the business plan, you can sell unlimited products and not have to worry about transaction fees. Features such as abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, and real-time shopping rates are only available via the most expensive plan, the Performance Plan.

You can sell digital, physical, and service-based goods via Weebly. You can start uploading in bulk and using built-in tools to manage your stock on a consistent basis. There is also a mobile app so that you can manage your online store on the go, and you can even print shipping labels from your phone. Weebly also provides you with a blog and portfolio for your store so you can engage with customers and show them the best aspects of your business and your products.

Application options are wide-ranging. You can displays your business's Instagram feed on your homepage while also adding a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section to let customers comment on the store or product features. It has a drag-and-drop setup much like Wix so you can create your store quickly while following your theme's guidelines.

Weebly is a more suitable option for small businesses as its limited tools for running store inventory aren't comprehensive enough for bigger companies. The checkout options are also limited as there are just three main payment gateways: PayPal, Square, and Stripe. That said, Weebly provides you more creative control than almost every other e-commerce platform available, is very SEO-friendly and can get you a good return on investment when used correctly.

5. Volusion

Volusion

This platform is a cloud-based, hosted option that has been in existence since 1999, processing more than $28 billion in sales during that span.

You can create customer accounts, which permit you to store customer details in the safest possible fashion and make shopping experiences hassle-free. As a drag-and-drop website builder with in-page editing, Volusion offers a comprehensive site search feature as well as e-commerce and product management tools like rich text product descriptions, native fulfillment options, and subscription or loyalty options. It integrates with many payment providers such as PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay.

Facebook stores can be linked to a Volusion website to promote multi-channel integration. It supports marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, helping website owners maximize their online presence while better gauging clientele. The downside is that you cannot sell digital products using this platform or use blogging tools to sell your products or services better.

Volusion has a clear inventory system with many useful prompts. It has detailed analytics and insight reports that let you track all your stock in one place. This feature gives you more opportunities to maximize your multi-channel selling options, without having to do the heavy lifting. Meanwhile, there is 24/7 support via live chat and phone for website users. There are articles, guides, and more as part of a comprehensive knowledge base to keep customers in the know.

Volusion is more fitting if you run a starter store or a small to medium-sized business. Plans are based on set bandwidth limits, and you will have to pay for an SSL certificate for added security. But if those are costs you're willing to pay, give it a try.

Final Thoughts

To develop an effective e-commerce strategy for your business, it's vital to choose the platform that will help you to keep your customer in mind throughout the entire development and research. The examples above can help you to grow your conversion rates, maintain an active customer review section, improve your product visibility and brand awareness. So as long as you establish your business plan and choose the products you are trying to sell wisely, choosing the right platform for your business will be easy. 

Emma Knightley