Are you ready to take your products and services to the next level by selling them online? With more and more people shopping online, e-commerce is beneficial for all businesses. But with so many sites to choose from, finding the best ecommerce platform can be overwhelming. To make it less stressful, we've got what you need to know to choose the best ecommerce platform for the success of your business. 

What Is an E-commerce Platform?

Best Ecommerce Platform Worth Considering

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Ecommerce refers to online transactions. So anytime you're buying or selling something online, you're partaking in e-commerce. To make e-commerce happen, you need an e-commerce platform. An e-commerce platform is a software technology that allows online businesses that sell goods and services to manage their website, operations and sales. E-commerce platforms also manage payments, inventory, orders, customer communications, connect with social networks and more.

Hosted E-commerce Platform

Hosted e-commerce platforms are simple to manage. They provide an all in one e-commerce solution and are often referred to as SaaS (software as a service). With a hosted e-commerce platform, you are provided with hosting, shopping cart function and full technical support. With these platforms, you don't have access to the code that runs the store.

Once you know what's the best ecommerce platform for you, signing up for a hosted one is simple. With these platforms, you'll pay a monthly fee that varies based on your store size and capacity. Hosted platforms are best for people who don't understand or don't want to handle coding or technical issues. You get support and easy set up with these platforms and still have some options for customization.

Self-Hosted E-commerce Platform

Self-hosted platforms are open source applications you download and host yourself. Open source e-commerce platforms give you or your developer more control and greater ability to change aspects of your website. Through these platforms, you can reach a level of customization hosted platforms can't provide.

With self-hosted platforms, you're given the freedom to host anywhere you like which means if you want to change hosting because you find a better price or outgrow your provider, you can. But remember, these platforms are also harder to set up. These platforms are best for people who want more control and customization and either know a little programming or plan to hire someone who does.

What to Look for in a Great ECommerce Platform 

To choose the best ecommerce platform for your business, it's important to consider:

Price

Plugins

SEO

Security 

Customer Service

Mobile-Friendly

5 Best ECommerce Platforms Worth Considering 



Shopify



Shopify is a great option for businesses that don't want to handle programming but still want versatility and tons of features. Shopify is a hosted platform and has a quick and easy setup. In fact, you can launch your e-commerce website in just minutes. Shopify provides features like payment processing, shipping label printing, email marketing and so much more. Plus, with a simple click of a button, a seller from Shopify can put items up for sale on Amazon and eBay, post on Facebook Shop and use Pinterest pins. And Shopify makes it easy to add product-buy buttons to blog posts and emails. A starter package with Shopify will cost about $29 a month.

Shopify also has these features:

  • Unlimited bandwidth, file storage, orders, products
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Full blogging platform 
  • Free SSL certificate
  • SEO 
  • Product reviews
  • Allows many payment options
  • PCI compliant


BigCommerce



BigCommerce is another hosted platform that provides easy setup and use. BigCommerce provides a dashboard that makes it easy to reach your products, orders and customer information. This platform also provides analytics, marketing tools and other features to help optimize your website. BigCommerce allows for sales across Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Pinterest.

Similar to Shopify, the standard plan with BigCommerce is around $29 per month. Here are more features that come with his platform:

  • Unlimited bandwidth, file storage, orders, products
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Selection and use of your own domain name
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Full blogging platform 
  • PCI-compliant hosting 
  • SEO capabilities
  • Allows many payment options
  • Multiple marketing tools
  • HTTPS


Volusion



Another hosted platform, Volusion makes things easy for those just starting out. There's a step-by-step wizard to guide you through the entire setup for smooth sailing. Volusion provides easy access and management of your customers, inventory, orders, design, reports and marketing. Volusion starts at around $29 per month and has these features:

  • Unlimited products, orders, and file storage
  • 1 GB to 35 GM monthly bandwidth
  • 24/7 customer support 
  • Accepts credit cards and payments with Stripe, Paypal and Amazon
  • Allows for ratings and reviews
  • All-in-one SEO tool built-in 
  • eBay and Amazon Integration
  • Tools for social media selling
  • Phone orders and CRM
  • Abandoned cart and other reports
  • Newsletters
  • Visual website builder


WooCommerce 



As a self-hosted platform, or technically a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce provides high design, flexibility and functionality, giving you the option to take your website to the next level with customization. WooCommerce is a higher quality than the previously mentioned platforms, but it's not as easy to set up or user-friendly.  

WooCommerce won't walk you through setup or provide 24/7 live support, so this platform will require getting familiar with WordPress and the features of WooCommerce as a plugin. And, for more functionality, you'll need more plugins too. But if that's something you're ready to learn, you'll get a much more cost-effective e-commerce platform. WooCommerce can start at around $7 per month.

WooCommerce also comes with these features:

  • Allows for promotions and discounts 
  • Personalization
  • SEO 
  • Product reviews
  • WordPress Content Integration
  • Automatic taxes
  • Sell anything from products to subscriptions 
  • Complete control and customization 
  • Over 400 official extensions
  • Built-in blogging
  • Unlimited products 
  • Email templates
  • Cross-channel fulfillment


Magento



Magento is a self-hosted platform; it won't be as easy to set up or user-friendly as the hosted platforms mentioned on this list, but it has great features. It has high reliability and scalability, making it great for business growth. Since Magento is a self-hosted platform, you have much more control for website customization. You're not limited to the features that this platform comes with and can get plugins and add customization for other features you want.

The features that Magento comes with are:

  • Private SSL certificate
  • Analytical tools and reporting 
  • Payment through credit cards, PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, checks, money orders and more
  • Marketing promotions and tools
  • SEO
  • International support
  • Product reviews
  • Mobile-friendly

Conclusion

The best ecommerce platform can take your business to the next level. Now you don't have to waste your time and energy figuring out where to start. With the tips and recommendations in this article, you're well on your way to launching or growing your e-commerce business.

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