Running a smooth online operation is the cornerstone of any retail business, no matter what industry you operate in. Whether it’s goods or services, physical or digital, you’ll struggle to grow in 2020 without a strong online system in place.
Yet a strong e-commerce platform for your business is still one of the most important, yet often undervalued, investments you can make. It’s a fantastic way to keep costs down and manage several aspects of your business in one place.
In this article, Web Host Crunch take a look at the top e-commerce solutions you should be considering today.
Over one million businesses across the world use Shopify, making it the market leader of e-commerce solutions.
Whether you trade online or in store, Shopify is easy to use and your system can be built easily with no prior technical knowledge required.
Prices range from $29 per month to $299 per month, depending on what you’re looking for. But if you don’t want to commit to an unknown service straight away, you can take advantage of their 14-day free trial. No payment details are required for that fortnight.
If you decide to proceed with Shopify, you could have a professional-looking, fully functional retail website like those at VeryOnBrand.com and Greats.com.
Shopify is a long-term solution which is easy to scale up as your business grows. As and when your website needs changes or more complexity, Shopify have a 24/7 support team on hand to help.
The platform represents value for money for most businesses and scored four-and-a-half stars out of five in a review by well-renowned website PCMag.
Magento is a complex solution, with many more features than most of their competitors. The services they provide are geared towards large companies and require a hefty budget to reap any rewards.
It’s very difficult to use if you don’t have software experience, while separate web hosting and other services cost extra.
For the software itself, you would have to request a quote from Magento, but many companies have reported quotes of thousands of pounds.
There is a free open source version of Magento. However, this is difficult to use for anyone who isn’t a developer. If you have a development specialist on board who can dedicate time to the project, then this might be a feasible route for you. If you’re a small business with minimal staff, though, we recommend avoiding this option.
WooCommerce is a free provider, built for use with WordPress. They give you the option to sell your own products/services or affiliated ones from select marketplaces elsewhere online.
It integrates with Facebook, Amazon, PayPal and other platforms; while offering a range of extras such as a coupon codes feature and a facility for email marketing.
However, if you aren’t familiar with WordPress, and none of your colleagues are either, then WooCommerce may not be for you. It already requires good knowledge and costs can be high because, while the service is free, you will need to host, update and maintain the website yourself.
A great option here if you are an American retailer looking to upgrade from retailing on platforms such as Amazon or eBay.
One huge draw of BigCommerce is their specialised website builder, which makes the process so much easier, as well as their email marketing feature and search engine optimisation tools.
Prices range from $29.95 per month to $299.95 per month, with a 30-day free trial on offer to anyone who wants to give the solution a try.
Their customised shipping options and dropshipping capability make it a flexible option, although it’s targeted – albeit indirectly – to American customers. Many international companies have reported difficulties in using BigCommerce how they want to.
While there are user-friendly starter tutorials available when you get started, it’s said to be difficult to make small changes to your site. That aspect is far more suited, once again, to those professionals who have skills and experience in development.
Overall, Shopify is far and away the best solution on the e-commerce market right now. It is well-priced, easy to use and comes with a host of useful features and a supportive help team. Its fantastic track record among businesses across the world speaks for itself.
However, other options may be more suited to businesses with specific needs, budgets or capabilities. If you have thousands of pounds to spend on your e-commerce then Magento may be for you, while BigCommerce may be suited to you if you have a developer on your team. WooCommerce could be your option, perhaps, if you’re based in America and have experience in using WordPress.
So, overall, we’d recommend Shopify. But there are plenty of great options out there which could suit your business needs.