10 best ecommerce platforms

10 best ecommerce platforms

Ecommerce or online business has been evolving and become the most important part of our economy. We now feel free to buy products from online stores without worrying about the quality and fraud vendors. Again more and more online vendors are opening their business and shops in online to give their customers the best products and services. All these operation of buying and selling products in virtual market is being more easy and possible for ecommerce platforms. Ecommerce platforms provide vendors easy way to open their shop and to manage sales.

Ecommerce platforms are virtual market place where sellers can sell their products to the consumers. There are lots of ecommerce platform such as Shopify, Big Commerce, Magneto and others.

If you want to open your very own online based shop or business, than you first need to choose a platform where you can open your business according to the rules and charging fees of that particular platform. It is very important to choose the perfect platform according to your budget, business nature and business goal. This article will provide you a brief discussion about 10 best ecommerce platforms and hoping you will be benefited from this article.

Hosted and Self-Hosted Platforms

People often get confused with Hosted and open source platform concept. Hosted and self-hosted are two broad categories of platforms created on the basis of platform’s hosting. Hosted or cloud based platforms are software hosted by the company and you just use them to run your site. This is also known as SAAS (software as a service). You can only use their services but don’t have the access to code of the platform. These hosted platforms offer great automated services and features to run your site without having such tech knowledge. For example, facebook is hosted software where you have to sign up to open an account and you cannot change or optimize it, you only edit profile according to the pre-written code.

Some Hosted platforms-

  • Shopify
  • Big Commerce
  • Big cartel
  • Yokart
  • Volusion

On the other hand, self-hosted platforms are software that you can operate them from your own devices. You can see the code and are told where to upload it. Think of Microsoft Excel program, you can exactly control and update the program but all the responsibilities are upon on you. Likewise Excel, self-hosted platforms give you the ultimate freedom of updating and customizing your platform according to your business goals. Here you are the one responsible for every updates and changes and whenever you need help to solve any technical problem, you will have to hire experts or developers. Self-hosted platforms provide full customization and ownership of the platform which is really great.

Some self-hosted platforms-

  • Magneto
  • Woo commerce
  • Open Cart
  • PrestaShop
  • OsCommerce

10 best ecommerce platforms

Names Type of sources Language Templates Suited for Add-ons
S M L
Shopify Cloud based Ruby Theme store * * App store
Magneto Open PHP Yes * * Magneto connect
Big Commerce Hosted PHP Yes * * Social shop 2
Woo commerce Open PHP Yes * * Woo commerce Extension
Big cartel Hosted PHP Yes * * Bigcartel add-ons
Yokart Hosted PHP Yes * * Yokart add ons
Volusion Hosted ASP.net Yes * * Volusion App marketplace
Open cart Open PHP Yes * * Open cart extension
PrestaShop Open PHP Yes * * PrestaShop add-ons
OsCommerce Open PHP Yes * * OsCommerce Community add-ons
  1. Shopify

Shopify is the leading and largest ecommerce platform which provides easy tools for online vendors to sell their products by using Shopify’s customized tools and apps hosting more than 325000 active online stores.. This is the most popular ecommerce platform which offers easiest ways to the new and egger online business and shop owners to get started.

Shopify is best suited for small and medium sized business and also for beginners with low budget requirements, offers different packages. Shopify’s POS (point-of-sale) allows the business owners to manage sales from any device without any payment problems which actually boosts up customers view and buying products in real time. It’s others features like custom Meta tags, auto generated XML sitemap, curt tools, easy and available apps and Shopify plus enables the shop owners to manage their business and shops by operating from mobiles or any other devices and also enables superior customer support to assist store owners with easy communication systems like live chat, emails and other social media.

Best features

  • Shopify App store contains 1500+ apps for extending the store’s functionality by managing accounts, customer service, inventory and so more.
  • Shopify API enables the developers to create, contribute and sell their own apps
  • Shopify theme store contains 100+ themes.
  • Shopify POS helps the owners to collect payments on any devices in very short time.
  • Shopify Plus is an enterprise platform for larger companies with high volume to grow their business with more support.
  • Easy and secured payment options without third party interruptions.

Some downsides

  1. Shopify charges an additional transaction fee on every sale if you refuge to use Shopify’s payment option.
  2. Again if you want to use more extension for additional functionality, that will costs you extra money.
  3. Shopify uses their own coding language Liquid which generally does not allow customization in the system. So any changes might cost you some extra dollars.

 

  1. Magneto

Magneto is the feature based open source ecommerce platform owned by eBay group which hosts more than 240000 active online stores. Magneto mainly occupies one fourth of the market share, provides platforms for medium and large business. Its ability to provides lots of built in supports, plugins, apps and themes to support large budget businesses and shops make the platform one of the powerful and popular ecommerce platform in the market.

Magneto provides helps like business aids, information, developers so you can maintain the complexity of your business and shops.

Best features

  • It can run multiple stores from single admin panel.
  • Easy to use, user friendly.
  • Open source platform so you do not have to pay for any customizations.
  • More than 9000 plugins and extensions to extend your business.
  • Provides support to large business and companies.

Some Downsides

  1. As the community version is free, it always takes time to find out what you need.
  2. The Enterprise community version of magneto requires $20000 per year which is really hefty.
  3. There is no offered technical support in community version while Enterprise version offers many built in high-end features. So if you use community version you have to pay for additional help while you are provided all these helps and technical aids free of costs in Enterprise version.
  4. You will need someone expert to solve complexities in open source version.

 

  1. Big commerce

Big Commerce, the fastest growing ecommerce platform for small and medium sized business and shops offers many built in high-end features to scale up your business. The platform was launched in 2009 and has already been hosted more than 55,000 small-to-medium sized online stores. This is the perfect platform for those who want to open stores with minimum technical knowledge and support.

Best features

  • Offers better features and easy set ups with comparatively low ownership fee.
  • Offers 24/7 support, easy shipping, free gifts and technical helps.
  • Does not charge any transactional fee like Shopify.
  • You can connect your shop with Facebook, eBay, and many other sites.
  • Provides powerful supports like educational training, videos, and blogs.

Some Downsides

  1. Big commerce currently offers only 7 free themes while other platforms offers more than 20 free themes.

 

  1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is open source word press plugins platform where you can open your free website or online store in Word press.com. WooCommerce becomes popular for easy and quick plugins and for simple installation process with available customization and hosted more than 380,000 online stores.

This open source platform is ideal for small to large size business offering free base products, fixed priced paid add-ons, premium themes and other technical helps.

Best Features

  • There are many extension, plugins and themes from WooThemes.
  • The active community forum provides helps and answers when needed.
  • Good user experience; mobile friendly

 Some Downsides

  1. As the platform works only with WordPress, you cannot use another platform.
  2. Some additional extensions to extend your shop need to be paid.

 

  1. Big cartel

If you are looking for some lower end price point platform, Big cartel might be your first choice. Big cartel is comparatively small platform offers great opportunity for small-scale business mainly home based business like craft stores and art stores.

The platform offers easy set ups for artists as they claims it is the home for individual artists. It’s simplicity of using hosted system is designed to attract artists and small individual business. Big cartel has implied many strategies like free plan for your 5 products with unlimited features with very low end charges.

Best Features

  • Simple to set up and to manage.
  • Its price points are comparatively low than other platforms.
  • Easy facebook shop access.
  • Easy code editor to customize your themes.
  • Premium themes.
  • Comprehensive help center, video tutorial, live chat, mail or phone support.

Some Downsides

  1. It has limited functionality.
  2. Limited library of themes, add-ons.
  3. Third party interruption to get access to more apps.

 

  1. Yokart

Yokart is a multivendor platform where each of the business owners receives their own profile and buyer can include products from multiple sellers in to their cart. This easy selling and buying process makes the Yokart one of the most popular hosted ecommerce platform for small and medium scale-business and shops.

Best features

  • A multivendor platform
  • An intuitive interface
  • Easy source code ownership to customize shops.
  • Premium and automated SEO (most of them).

Some Downsides

  1. No third-party extension
  2. Lack of social commerce capabilities.

 

  1. Volusion

Volusion is one of the largest cloud-based ecommerce platforms where you can open your online store and sell products with very affordable pricing point. Volusion does not require much technical knowledge so you do not need to be tech guy or need to hire one. Recently Volusion has hosted more than 40,000 online stores, employed 40+ employees and sell over $17 billion since its foundation.

Best Features

  • No Transaction fees.
  • Mobile first default designed themes.
  • 24/7 support.
  • Easy and secure payment, integrated for PayPal express and stripes

Some Downsides

  1. No Blogging Function.

 

  1. OpenCart

Opencart is another individual friendly platform for small-to-medium sized business where you don’t need heavy tech support or team to manage your online store. It is very simple platform like Big Cartel, its simple set up process, intuitive interface and better functionality is considered best for startups and solo business individuals.

Best Features

  • Offers more than 2700 themes.
  • Simple to set up and running.
  • You do not need much technical knowledge.
  • User and Server friendly; easy to run.
  • There are large collection of themes, extensions for customize your shop.
  • It has lots of plugins and apps.
  • Support multi languages.

Some Downsides

  1. It’s rely on plugins sometime creates problems.
  2. You may need to hire developer to extend your business by using some of its features.

 

  1. PrestaShop

PrestaShop is an open and free ecommerce platform offering both open source and paid self-hosting platform for small to medium sized business and shops to sell products in online.

PrestaShop’s pricing points are on lower end with a demo that gives you a chance to create admin on various devices. PrestaShop is the first cloud-based ecommerce platform which gives easy and free download and use and has 250,000 active online shops.

Best features

  • Unlimited listings of product, categories, attributes and features.
  • Offers 2000+ themes
  • Premium SEO features
  • User friendly admin dashboard interface.

Some Downsides

  1. Does not allow you to customize a lot.
  2. If you don’t pay attention on pricing point it might be expensive latter while PrestaShop is not free in all terms.

 

  1. OsCommerce

OsCommerce is an open-source platform for small to medium sized business. OsCommerce is open source so you don’t have to pay to modify your business freely. It is very easy to use, modify and to use the extension to extend your business and for these opportunities OsCommerce is gaining popularity day by day.

Best Features

  • Product catalog management
  • Customer management
  • Currency and language settings
  • Advanced management tools.

Some Downsides

  1. Requires more manual intervention
  2. Can be error prone

Conclusion

There may be hundreds of options but none but one among them is the best for you. So before choosing an ecommerce platform for your startup, try to determine your business goals and expectations and then decide which one is best for you. Be sure if your chosen platform provides you all the requirements to scale up your store or not.

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