It is important for small and medium sized businesses to consider what eCommerce platform to use when creating their own online site, this is because as a business owner you want to get the best out of your site and different platforms provide you with more than others might.
There are a variety of things that you should consider when deciding on the right eCommerce platform for you, especially if you own a small or medium sized business, here is a list of things you should consider when choosing your eCommerce platform;
- Payment Plan: You need to consider your budget, and select a payment plan that suits that best, look for opportunities to pay monthly amounts.
- Payment Method: If you have issues using PayPal, you’ll need to consider sorting another arrangement out, as not all eCommerce platforms favour 3rd party payment processors.
- Digital or Physical: What exactly are you selling, is it physical or digital goods? It will make a difference; you need to look at platforms that suit your product needs.
- Self-Hosted or Hosted: If you are confident in modifying the look of your store, on a regular basis, then look for a platform that provide self-hosting. However, many eCommerce platforms provide the ability to modify your store within a live environment.
- Stock Size: Make sure you consider the size of your stock. When you are browsing for a platform to use make sure you are paying the smallest amount of money for the services that you require.
- Security and Compliance: Security and data protection is important for any business; PCI compliance should also be a key tenet of your business strategy. It is crucial that you understand the role an eCommerce system plays in the card authorisation process.
- Mobile Friendly: Searches on mobile devices have taken over searches done on a desktop, therefore it is important to consider whether your online store is mobile friendly, this is a critical part you need to consider when creating your online store.
So here are the best five eCommerce platforms that business owners of small and medium sized businesses should consider when choosing their platform for their online site.
It is a “free” WordPress plugin, so you can expect to have all the advantages you get with WordPress as a platform for small to medium sized businesses to build websites.
It is completely customisable and has a good shopping cart and secure payment gateway, these are great features for small to medium sized business owners to consider, especially the customisation feature, as it means that you can customise your site to how you want it to look.
There are also several themes to choose from, so that you can customise the layout and look of your site accordingly, which again is a feature that a business owner of a small or medium business should always keep in mind.
With WooCommerce there are no limitations to product categories, a WordPress blog is also included and you get availability to thousands of plugins and extensions.
Magento is an extremely elastic eCommerce platform, fit for small and medium sized businesses. The reason the platform is so popular is that its open source meaning that adding features is easy.
It has hundreds of extensions and the ability to add your own functionality, not only this but it is more SEO-friendly than other eCommerce platforms, which is important for small to medium sized businesses as they want to build a good brand reputation and rank well on search engines.
Also, the scale-ability of Magento is another reason why it is in the top five for small the medium sized businesses. As it is built to manage online stores of any size therefore as your businesses grows Magento will be able to handle the increase in size of your growing online store.
You can create a free online store quickly and easily, making it easy for small the medium sized businesses to create an online store with no hassle.
You just download the software (or use the cloud version), upload your product catalogue, add your desired features and start selling.
The open source software is also backed up by a community of 700,000 users, which shows to small and medium sized businesses that it’s a trusted platform that works well and does the right job.
As a platform Shopify is all about helping you set up an online store so that you can sell online, it is one of the most powerful all-in-one eCommerce platforms out there.
It is also one of the most popular eCommerce building sites on the market today. Shopify reports that they now have over 100,000 stores using their platform.
With Shopify, you can upload an unlimited number of products with easy control, it also comes with a discount code engine and you won’t have to pay a transaction fee.
What makes it so scale-able for any type of business, especially small and medium sized businesses, is their app store which offers over 1,00 helpful apps both free and paid.
Virtuemart is an easy to use, powerful content management system. It is almost a combination of WordPress and Drupal and therefore boosts some incredible benefits for small and medium sized businesses who need CMS they can rely on as their business grows.
PHP is the most common scripting language that Virtuemart uses, therefore your pages should display well with minimal compatibility issues, it also has a preview mode so you can check the display of your website.
Virtuemart has a whole host of features for growing businesses, it supports more than two-level hierarchies using more complex navigation patterns, providing more in depth sites with additional pages and ability to grow further.
It has significantly more plugins to allow you to modify your website in your own way, which is perfect for small and medium sized businesses as it allows customisation when building your online store.
So, because this is a very important step in your process, you need to ensure you are making the right decision, one that is best for what your business is providing, as different platforms will provide better opportunities for different types of businesses. And you do not want to make the wrong choice for your business!