5 Awesome E commerce Platforms for Your Online Startup
Before the advent of Internet and E commerce in particular, having a business was all about having physical location. However, advancement in technology has changed that trend. People can now run online shops by sitting in the comforts of their homes. Secondly, starting a brick and mortar business was all about having large sum of initial investment. Though, working from E-Commerce platforms has minimized, in some cases, diminished the need for capital all together.
In this blog, I aim to introduce young entrepreneurs to the world of E-Commerce Platforms. Here, you will find discussion about Top 5 E-commerce platforms for Online Startups. I am going to compare and contrast all these platforms and the end you will be able to make a selection based on your individual needs.
1. Big Commerce
BigCommerce was launched in 2009 by two Australians; named, Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper. It is Head Quartered in Texas, USA.
It has the most expensive monthly subscription on the list ($29.95/month). However, it is well rounded solution to your E-Commerce needs. BigCommerce features web hosting, design, order processing, shipping and advanced analytics.
It also comes with free SSL certification for all its packages. The SSL secures your website and protect your customers’ sensitive financial data.
You can also sell on eBay, Facebook, Amazon and Pinterest, by using its integration feature. The E commerce platform also supports in-person sales and integrates with POS (point of sale) softwares like Shopkeep and Square.
- Free SSL Certification (https)
- Resource of how-to videos
- Advanced Analytics Tools
- Unlimited Product Showcasing
- Very Expensive
- Less Add-ons
- No Free Version
Shopify was established in 2006 by the founders of SnowDevil, a Canadian based company. The company boosts 500,000 merchants using its platform.
Shopify is very user-friendly and anyone can setup an online shop without any knowledge of coding. The process usually takes about minutes to get going.
There are beautiful themes available to Shopify merchants. Some of them are free, while others are paid ones. The Premium themes cost around $150 to $200.
The dashboard is intuitive and you can use it to organize your products inventories. You can also offer discount vouchers and gifts to the customer from the same dashboard.
For integration you need to head to Shopify App Store. Most of them are free, while paid ones provide advanced functions.
- User Friendly
- No Coding Knowledge Needed
- Intuitive Dashboard
- Unlimited Product Inventory
- Aesthetic themes
- Hosting is expensive than Self-Hosted Site ($13/month)
- Advanced Integrations are Paid
Magento was launched in 2008 by Varien Inc, US based company, headquartered in California. It is open source shopping cart software developed by volunteer developers in PHP. Open source terminology simple means that it’s free, like WordPress CMS system.
You can install Magento by using PHP cPanel. Further, start building your store using Magento Admin Panel.
The drawback of using this Platform is that it requires extensive knowledge of Web Development technologies. You might need to hire someone who is expert in Magento Shopping Cart.
There are advance features in Magento, like, showing specific products to already defined audience. You can observe sales, organize products, create newsletters, manage customers and check abandoned carts, all from the Admin Panel
- Free & Open Source
- Requires Coding Knowledge
- Not User Friendly
4. Woo Commerce
WooCommerce is a WordPress Plugin, launched in 2011 by WooThemes. It powers 400,000 online shops as per their data.
WooCommerce is completely free. However, buying domain and hosting the website costs as per BlueHost policy.
Of all the E commerce platforms mentioned above, WooCommerce is by far the easiest to use and affordable. If you want to try out your ideas but don’t have even minimum investment, try WooCommerce, without spending a dime. It gives you all the basic and important features necessary to run an online store.
It supports unlimited products and related images. You can set product variations within a single product along with different pricing strategy.
The payment system includes Paypal, Cash on Delivery or Bank Transfer. The shipment can be done both locally and internationally or you can give customer a location to pick the product from.
- Free for All
- User Friendly
- Tons of extensions
- Unlimited products and images
- Awesome Customer Support
- Domain/Hosting Sold Separately
- Several Extensions are expensive
5. Big Cartel
Big Cartel is different from all the above Platforms. It follows minimalist approach by offering limited products for small creative business niche.
You can sell up to five products on a store with Bigcartel link for free (store.bigcartel.com). To use your store URL you can upgrade to paid plans. The paid plans increase maximum number of products to 300.
Big Cartel is simple and easy to setup. All you need to do is to add few products, set up payment and go live. You can use the platforms website builder. From there, you can set logo, text and colors of the site. Themes are also available if you want to change the overall appearance of the store .
- User Friendly
- Reasonable pricing ($9.95/month for 25 products)
- iOS App Available
- Free Version too Limited
- Small Product Range
- Product Customization Limited
Content Written: Waqas Khan
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