The Best Platforms For Your eCommerce Business in 2021
Figuring out where to set up shop is just as important for the eCommerce seller as it is for the brick-and-mortar store owner. But there is an overwhelming number of platforms that one can use to build an eCommerce business. So, where should you set up shop? In this post, Optimyze Digital outlines the key players and what you need to know about them.
Shopify: For Versatility
We’ve talked about its growth and how it compares to Amazon before, so Shopify needs little introduction. A list of the best eCommerce software must include this platform, which delivers an intuitive interface, more than 70 customizable shop themes, and the ability to sell all kinds of products and services.
Shopify’s website reads, “Anyone, anywhere, can start a business.” You can sell on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, and more, or you can have your own store with Shopify’s point-of-sale (POS) system. It provides built-in payment processing, but allows for third-party payment processing (e.g., PayPal).
The platform helps sellers manage inventory by enabling them to easily create product pages, monitor stock levels, print shipping labels, and send tracking information to customers. It also houses free tools that are particularly helpful for new business owners, like a business name generator, slogan maker, and logo maker.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial that allows you to try the platform before deciding whether to commit to a monthly plan. The plans are offered at tiered pricing (as low as $9/month and no higher than $299/month) to accommodate business owners’ various needs.
By providing an array of features that work for entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey, Shopify has solidified itself as the leading eCommerce platform.
BigCommerce: For Analytics
From Camelbak to Ben & Jerry’s, BigCommerce boasts an impressive list of clients — and case studies to back it up. The data-driven platform is suitable for businesses with a large or complex product range. Offering a solid set of out-of-the-box features, BigCommerce works well for entrepreneurs who have limited technical knowledge.
A notable perk of BigCommerce is that every plan offers advanced reporting and analytics, which Shopify users can only access with a more expensive plan. BigCommerce’s search engine optimization (SEO) allows users to customize URLs and page titles to boost the odds that their products will appear in Google searches. If your marketing team is trying to drive traffic, check out BigCommerce.
Another area that sets BigCommerce apart is payment processing. While Shopify charges 0.5% to 2% per transaction for third-party payment processing, BigCommerce has more than 55 payment solutions, none of which carry transaction fees or penalties.
On top of the array of features, BigCommerce provides outstanding customer support, including a 24-hour live chat and phone/email support for all plans (including trials). All things considered, BigCommerce is a superb solution for sellers.
WooCommerce: For Customization
WooCommerce is an open-source extension for WordPress (WordPress.org, not WordPress.com), one of the most popular content management systems. Users who are already familiar with WordPress will be drawn to this plug-in, which seeks to help small and medium business owners “build exactly the store they want” (source).
As a standalone plug-in, WooCommerce is free to download and install. It includes geo-location support, basic inventory management, SEO, product reviews, and more. But if you’re looking for more functionality, like payment processing or email marketing integration, you’ll need to download third-party plug-ins. While this may sound like bad news, there are thousands of relatively affordable plug-ins and themes to choose from, which gives sellers the ability to handpick several aspects of their stores.
Since WooCommerce is a WordPress extension, it naturally offers built-in blogging. The blogging integration is optional, but keep in mind: Companies that prioritized blogging in their marketing strategy generated 13 times greater return on investment than companies that did not in 2019.
The freedom that WooCommerce offers makes it a popular choice among designers and eCommerce developers. If you don’t know how to use WordPress yet, be sure to account for the learning curve that you’ll face with WooCommerce. But if you’re well-versed with WordPress already, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Finding the Right Platform for You
The solutions above are trusted by users around the world, but this is not an exhaustive list. Are you an entrepreneur on a budget? Try Weebly + Square and run a store for free. A seller looking for simplicity might prefer Volusion or BigCartel (the latter is geared toward creatives). Designers who cherish their store’s aesthetic identity may favor Squarespace.
If you’re selling specialty products or looking for a specific set of features, a niche platform might better suit your needs:
- ShareTribe (for building marketplaces)
- Gumroad (for selling digital products)
- CrateJoy (for managing subscriptions)
- NuOrder (for selling business-to-business)
- Celery (for handling pre-orders)
As for our recommendation, it’s a matter of preference, but there's a reason more than one million businesses, like Allbirds and Staples, trust Shopify. The platform’s extensive selection of plug-ins, templates, integrations, and apps specifically designed for online sales make it the best choice for someone trying to scale a brand into a highly profitable eCommerce business.
Are you starting a company or taking an existing business to the next level? Regardless of where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, reach out to learn how Optimyze Digital can help you use eCommerce software to scale and win.