As you search for e-commerce solutions, you’ll find dozens to consider. Some solutions focus on specific industries, while others offer solutions based on the size of
your business. However, these are the seven essential features you want to ensure the platform has:
SEO functionality: With an online marketplace, there are built-in customers – that’s not the case with an e-commerce platform. A platform provides the tools needed so
you can launch and manage your business. You need to find the customers.”If you create an e-commerce platform store, it’s the equivalent of a superstore in the middle
of the Sahara Desert,” said Mike Nunez, chief communications officer at Incfile. The platform must offer robust SEO tools to promote your brand and drive sales online
through social media. The platform should be built from the ground up with SEO in mind, ensuring your shop shows up high in Google searches.
Mobile optimized: Most e-commerce transactions take place on smartphones. Adobe predicts that this November and December, smartphones will account for 42% of all
online sales. Most e-commerce platforms support mobile commerce. That means if a customer is shopping your store from a mobile device, the experience won’t be clunky
or cumbersome. Another mobile-friendly benefit of e-commerce platforms is that they optimize the stores for mobile searches so customers can easily find you wherever
Security should be top of mind: Your e-commerce platform should have top-notch security, adhering to the highest standards to protect customer data. That includes, at
the very least, encryption and two-factor authentication.
Payment options: The more payment options you accept, the easier it is to close the sale. Make sure the e-commerce platform you’re considering accepts popular payment
methods such as credit and debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay. When you choose an e-commerce platform that supports different payment options, customers can
choose which one works best for them when checking out.
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Ability to scale: Many online businesses start small, and the hope is not to stay small for very long. As you expand, you need more from your e-commerce platform, and
that entails not just greater capacity but a secure payment gateway, apps, customizable themes, and processing power to support your expansion. E-commerce platforms
that can easily accommodate growth should be on the top of your list. “There are wonderful platforms out there, but it’s a matter of choosing the right platform for
growth,” said Meghan Stabler, vice president of product marketing at BigCommerce. “You want one platform that can help you scale and grow with rich functionality you
need depending on where you are in the journey as a merchant.”
Product and order management system: E-commerce platforms are designed to take the complexity out of online selling and that includes managing your orders. A good
platform offers order tracking, shipping services, and customer email and text notification. The systems integrate with your inventory management system to create a
comprehensive solution that delivers accurate information to your customers and that helps you efficiently manage and fulfill orders.
Third-party app integrations: A quality e-commerce platform should integrate with several different apps, ensuring you can run everything from inventory to customer
relationship management from one platform.
Popular e-commerce platforms
Choices abound with e-commerce platforms, but there are six in particular that are well known and regarded by entrepreneurs and small business owners:
Shopify: Shopify is used by more than 1 million businesses. Customers can create an online store; sell products on the web; and manage product inventory, customer
relations, payment processing, and logistics. It’s a cloud-based solution. Shopify charges a monthly subscription fee: It costs $29 a month for its lowest-priced plan,
$79 monthly for its midtier package, and $299 for its priciest package. With the latter plan, Advanced Shopify, online businesses can create customized reports, and up
to 15 staff accounts are supported.
BigCommerce: Another leading e-commerce platform, BigCommerce’s lowest-priced plan is $29.95 a month. The midtier service, Plus, costs $79.95 a month, and the top
plan, Pro, costs $299.95. BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees, and it provides unlimited storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts.
Wix: Aimed at small businesses, online merchants, restaurants, and artists, Wix is a low-cost way to quickly launch your new online venture. The e-commerce platform is
optimized for mobile, gives you control over the design of your website, and access to templates and third-party apps. Wix charges $14 a month for individuals, $18 a
month for entrepreneurs and freelancers, $23 a month for complete online branding, and $39.99 a month for VIP access.
Volusion: Also targeting small businesses, Volusion offers a customizable online shop, SEO and social media marketing, and payment processing. (It has integrations
with Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay.) Volusion costs $71 a month for businesses bringing in $100,000 or less in gross merchandise sales. For businesses, generating up to
250,000 in gross sales, the monthly cost increases to $161 a month, and for businesses generating $500,000 in gross sales, the monthly rate is $269.
Squarespace: Known for its robust blogging tool and customer support, Squarespace offers more than 100 templates and is mobile optimized. It’s not as easy to use as
other e-commerce platforms, but it’s competitively priced. Squarespace’s basic commerce package costs $26 a month, while the advanced commerce version costs $40 per
3dcart: 3dcart provides the same capabilities as its rivals and lots more features, such as accurate shipping rates and the ability to save shopping carts. Prices
range from $19 per month for a startup store to $229 a month for a pro shop.
Key takeaway: The best e-commerce platforms offer robust features that make it easy to sell online. Choose an e-commerce platform that offers SEO services, supports
several payment methods, integrates with several apps, and can scale as your business grows.
. Popular e-commerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, Volusion, Squarespace, and 3dcart, with monthly subscriptions costs that range from $14 a month to
nearly $300 per month.