Home / Ecommerce / How To Choose The Right Ecommerce Platform For Your Business (2020)

How To Choose The Right Ecommerce Platform For Your Business (2020)

How To Choose The Right Ecommerce Platform For Your Business (2020)

Now that you just’ve carried out all of the analysis, it’s time to decide on your ecommerce platform, construct your retailer, and launch your small enterprise.

The overwhelming majority of latest on-line shops as we speak select to go along with a SaaS answer like BigCommerce. And sure — that features B2B companies!

This is as a result of there’s:

  • A low value to entry,
  • No expensive improvement or technical complications, and
  • A scalable framework that’s designed that will help you develop.

Look for a platform with an important group of individuals each operating it and utilizing it who will testify to their success on the answer.

Get on their discussion board, take a look at their weblog, and take a peek at their assist supplies.

But, earlier than we get forward of ourselves, let’s get you conversant in ecommerce platforms and what they’ve to supply your on-line enterprise.

What is an Ecommerce Platform?

An ecommerce platform is a software program software that permits on-line companies — small or enterprise — to simply handle their web site, advertising and marketing, gross sales, and operations. Think of it because the central hub or homebase to your online business.

Ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce supply the highly effective options wanted to run a enterprise, whereas additionally integrating with frequent enterprise instruments — enabling companies to centralize their operations and run their enterprise their method.

The way forward for ecommerce.

As ecommerce applied sciences proceed to advance, on-premise expertise is falling increasingly behind, and open SaaS ecommerce platforms, like BigCommerce, are taking a leap ahead.

As manufacturers demand extra native consumer expertise (UX) options, product or backend optimizations, there was a large shift to SaaS and headless commerce.

Brands can get to market materially sooner with SaaS and headless commerce, in a median of 55 days.

SaaS ecommerce platforms take away a lot of the complexity from operating an internet enterprise, equivalent to:

  • Product updates,
  • Security,
  • Hosting,
  • PCI compliance, and
  • Every different activity that comes with managing your personal software program are managed by the SaaS platform.

At the top of the day, headless commerce is an ecommerce answer that provides on-line companies extra management over their storefront.

Headless commerce is the way forward for ecommerce, through which the procuring cart is decoupled from the CMS.

Woah — what does that imply precisely?

Instead of operating your whole web site on an ecommerce platform, you should use a content material administration system (CMS), like WordPress, to design the expertise of your web site. Then, you merely plug in an ecommerce procuring cart answer, like BigCommerce, to function the cart.

This possibility provides your retailer extra customization and personalization choices — all whereas being powered by the very best ecommerce platform.

Firewire Surfboards is a superb instance of a headless commerce answer. The model is utilizing BigCommerce for WordPress — with WordPress as their CMS and BigCommerce plugged in because the cart on checkout.

firewire surfboards homepage examplefirewire surfboards homepage example

View the Firewire Surfboards expertise right here.

Web Hosting

There are two methods ecommerce websites may be hosted: self-hosted and cloud.

Neither of those two choices are platforms in and of themselves.

Self-hosted ecommerce platforms.

Self-hosted ecommerce platforms require on-line retailer homeowners to search out internet hosting, take care of installations, and, oftentimes, carry out updates to the software program manually.

Bad information: which means that you’ll have to take your web site offline to carry out these updates.

Truth is, operating an ecommerce web site utilizing a self-hosted answer may be expensive, because it typically requires builders to keep up and replace the web site. In addition, it’s possible you’ll not be capable of make updates or edits with out exterior assist, which primarily strips away management of your on-line retailer.

While the educational curve is steep with this selection, there are advantages like:

  • More management over your on-line retail platform,
  • Greater visibility of your personal information, and
  • A greater understanding of knowledge safety.

If you could have a really complicated enterprise, check out this selection.

If that’s not you, shift your focus to cloud-hosted options to your ecommerce retailer.

Cloud-hosted ecommerce platforms.

In easy phrases, cloud-hosted ecommerce platforms tackle the duty of managing your retailer’s uptime — the interval a service (or a web site, in our case) is obtainable on-line.

Cloud-hosted ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce handle 99.9% uptime yearly and have had 4 years of zero downtime throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the very best trafficked instances of the 12 months.

Be certain to know that not all cloud-hosted ecommerce platforms supply automated installations of patches, updates, or upgrades both. Only SaaS and headless commerce options try this.

5 Tips To Help You Choose an Ecommerce Platform

Every on-line store has distinctive wants, and your ecommerce platform ought to replicate that.

There are, nevertheless, some native, out-of-the-box ecommerce instruments and options that ought to come along with your platform:

  • Hosting surroundings, area title, year-over-year uptime, and bandwidth.
  • An in-product web site builder with free, user-friendly web site themes and drag-and-drop performance.
  • Extensive app retailer with pre-built integrations and add-ons (e.g. social media, e-mail advertising and marketing) with best-in-class service suppliers.
  • Mobile-optimized web site or cell app with a UX-friendly checkout.
  • PCI compliance.
  • Visibility into your stock administration throughout all gross sales channels.
  • web optimization instruments and totally customizable URLs all through the location (so you possibly can rank on main search engines like google and yahoo).
  • Built-in primary ecommerce options together with promotions and reductions, analytics, catalog administration, and many others.
  • Great buyer assist.
  • Abandoned cart restoration instruments.
  • Ability to promote a limiteless variety of merchandise (e.g. digital or bodily merchandise).

In order to be aggressive out there, you’ll need to be sure you select an ecommerce software program with superior options which can be native to the platform — at no further value.

Taking this into consideration, let’s dive in to the 5 ideas that may assist small enterprise homeowners discover the proper platform for his or her ecommerce enterprise.

1. Ask the proper questions and begin a free trial.

Like most steps you soak up beginning an internet enterprise, you’ll need to be ready with a set of questions that may enable you to make the proper determination to your retailer.

You can join with gross sales and assist employees to get your burning questions answered, or check out options your self by beginning a free trial.

Either method, be sure you undergo the next ecommerce planning guidelines for every platform you think about:

Ecommerce Platform Functionality Checklist

When evaluating options for your online business, affirm the ecommerce platform:

  • Has every little thing you want, together with drop-down menus or an editor.
  • Is simple to make use of — and, most significantly, do you are feeling comfy utilizing it?
  • Offers a dependable internet hosting answer. That means no worries about your retailer crashing on excessive visitors days!
  • Offers unimaginable assist — at no additional value.
  • Supports the kind of merchandise you need to promote (e.g., bodily or digital merchandise).
    • If the product has variations, how does the platform show all of those choices? How easy is that to handle?
  • Allows you to promote on to prospects on Facebook, eBay, Amazon, and Pinterest, with out managing separate inventories.
  • Is optimized for cell gadgets — and means that you can simply customise it.
  • Is geared up with industry-best web optimization optimization, so you possibly can rank extremely on Google and drive extra visitors to your retailer.
  • Offers integrations with further functions and is constructed with open APIs.
  • Is constructed with superior native performance and UX options.
  • Offers assets (e.g., weblog) to get educated on the right way to promote on-line and the right way to develop your online business over time.

Some further questions it’s possible you’ll need to discover:

  • Is there a restrict to the variety of merchandise you possibly can promote? Are there any transaction charges?
  • How do you handle stock?
  • What cost choices do you could have (e.g., cost gateways like PayPal)? How a lot do they value?
  • What choices are you able to supply for transport?
  • What are your choices for themes? How customizable are these themes?

Even after you get the solutions to those questions, be sure you take the ecommerce answer for a spin earlier than signing up for a plan.

The remaining steps are a few of the high issues for brand spanking new retailer homeowners when searching for an ecommerce platform.

2. Compare the price of platforms.

Ecommerce platforms aren’t free.

The providers they provide mix the necessity for a number of applied sciences multi function:

  • Hosting.
  • Checkout.
  • Payments.
  • PCI compliance.
  • Fraud safety.
  • DDoS assaults.
  • Analytics, and extra.

Each ecommerce platform organizes all of this on the backend for straightforward entry.

Ecommerce platform pricing fashions do differ, nevertheless, and it’s essential that you just analysis your choices. Pay particular consideration to what’s included at every value level to be sure you capitalize on essentially the most worth to your spend.

For occasion, it prices roughly $6,000–$20,000 extra per 12 months for Shopify retailers to realize function parity with the out-of-the-box performance with BigCommerce.

Don’t imagine it?

Here’s a aggressive overview of the main ecommerce retailer builders within the small enterprise market:

Website Builder

Who’s it for?



Business homeowners and new store builders.

Free 14-day trial with enterprise plans beginning at $29.95/month


Starter shops, hobbyists, and types with SKU counts of lower than 100.

Business plans beginning at $29/month


Portfolio builders, running a blog, and artists.

Commerce plans beginning at $26/month


Starter shops and hobbyists; bloggers increasing into ecommerce.

Business plans are free (however restricted)


Site homeowners with little/no prior expertise.

Business plans beginning at $23/month


Starter shops, hobbyists, smaller companies.

Free, Pro: $12/month, Business: $25/month


Starter shops and hobbyists.

Business plans beginning at $269

Big Cartel

Designed for smaller retailers who don’t want a complicated platform.

25 merchandise: $9.99/month

100 merchandise: $19.99/month

300 merchandise: $29.99/month


Entrepreneurs, hobbyists, starter shops.

Basic: $10/month

Standard: $15/month

Premium: $20/month

Ecommerce: $25/month


Starter shops and smaller producers.

Startup retailer: $19/month

Basic retailer: $29/month

Plus retailer: $79/month

Pro retailer: $229/month


Budding small companies and the typical novice.

Free, however if you wish to buy add-ons, prices vary from $zero to $99,999.90 every


Customers searching for free cloud-based platforms.

Free to start out, add-ons vary from $50 to $150 per module

As you possibly can see, these widespread ecommerce platforms differ in value (and whole worth). Do vital analysis to find out which platform will present essentially the most worth for your online business.

three. Determine which platform is finest to your retailer’s design.

Your web site’s design is a basic a part of your online business.

It is your first foot ahead along with your shoppers. And as we speak’s shoppers are used to glorious net design and UX.

When beginning up an internet retailer, it’s vital to discover a theme or template that finest represents your model. There’s no must should be taught superior CSS or HTML coding.

You’ll need to discover a theme or template that’s customizable sufficient for speedy differentiation at launch and for long-term development additional time.

Most platforms have paid and free themes.

I really useful beginning trials along with your high ecommerce platform selections, importing filler content material to the backend, after which previewing your web site on a number of themes to see what’s going to work finest for you.

Look particularly for consideration to system measurement, ease of use, customizability, and scalability over time.

Need some design inspiration? Here are a few of our favourite web site designs.

 four. Test retailer performance and ease of use.

When it involves ease of use, you need to have the ability to do your job (usually advertising and marketing your model) with out having to be taught a loopy quantity of coding and better technological data.

This implies that the platform must be simple to navigate, arrange correctly, and use over time.

Here are some things to search for:

Setup Flow

Does the platform supply a straightforward setup move, explaining every little thing it’s good to do earlier than you launch, together with loading in merchandise, organising taxes, area title registration, cost processing and the like?

Product and SKU Management

Bulk importing merchandise from CSV information is a a lot sooner method so as to add merchandise to your catalog upon getting the fundamentals arrange. An limitless product or SKU rely is one thing you’ll need to maintain tabs on as effectively.

Be certain the platform you’re on permits this, particularly when you’ve got a big or rising catalog.

One-Click App Marketplace

You’ll need a plethora of one-click apps or already built-in integrations that will help you develop with out having to rent builders. Use your platform’s app retailer to browse and combine instruments you need or want to make use of. Making certain these instruments join and replace in actual time is crucial.

Centralized Channel Management

The present state of ecommerce thrives on omnichannel methods. Whether you understand it or not, as we speak’s prospects are procuring in every single place and anyplace –– Instagram, Etsy, Facebook, Amazon, you title it –– and it’s vital that your product be uncovered to your viewers throughout numerous channels.

Once you launch and start to see gross sales, you’ll possible need to increase fairly shortly into further channels.

With many ecommerce platforms, you’ll then be required to handle each your ecommerce web site platform in addition to the platform of some other channel.This can get complicated, and even get you kicked out of sure marketplaces for unintentionally breaking the foundations.

Look as an alternative for a centralized channel administration platform the place you possibly can push your product on to these channels, handle value factors and product descriptions, and extra — multi function dashboard.

5. Determine the scalability and customizability of the platform.

Because you’ve deliberate your online business so effectively, over time you’ll develop. And as you develop, you’ll want further assist out of your ecommerce platform.

What form of assist?

Well, that’s exhausting to foretell. Every enterprise is exclusive. That’s why many manufacturers use APIs to customise and automate their shops primarily based on their wants.

Businesses simply beginning out aren’t fairly at this level, however it’s one thing you need to plan for for those who intend to scale (and for those who’re studying this, then you definitely in all probability do).

Plan effectively for this stepping stone and search for platforms with trusted and quick APIs.

For perspective, BigCommerce’s API permits for tons of of requests per second. To translate that, BigCommerce can replace a 25,000 product catalog in roughly 60 seconds, whereas different platforms might take as much as 4 hours to finish the identical activity.

Ultimately, when contemplating your choices you’ll need to be sure you’re pondering long run. Save your self time and add extra worth by focusing your efforts on advertising and marketing and business-related aims. Don’t let a scarcity of quick expertise restrict your success.

Once you’ve chosen an ecommerce platform to your on-line retailer, you’re prepared for the subsequent step: creating and launching your on-line retailer!


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