Basic Guidelines For Selecting An E-commerce Platform
Methods of trade and business have evolved over the ages. In the past decade, the emergence of e-commerce has completely revolutionized the methods of trading. It has introduced the trading of goods and services using the internet and social media. In other words, it has introduced the concept of online shopping.
Today one of the most popular start-up businesses is online trading. For starting a successful online store, an entrepreneur needs to select an appropriate e-commerce platform. With advancements in e-commerce technology, there is a rise in the number of e-commerce platforms available. This may lead to confusion in the minds of users as to which platform to select.
The criteria on which one should base the selection of the platform are:
Size of stock:
One should select a platform that can cater to the entire stock requirement at minimum cost.
Nature of product:
There is a difference in shipping costs etc depending on the nature of the products. There are different platforms which are suitable for digital or physical products.
The most preferred method of payment for online trading is Paypal. If a business does not prefer its usage, then probably they will opt for a third party for payment. This may limit their choice of the platform as not all platforms support third party payment.
Whether the site is Self-Hosted or Hosted:
This is another important factor. Some sites are difficult to host without the help of the provider. Hence, if a firm is looking to self-host the site in the near future, the platform should be selected where self-hosting is easy.
One should select a platform that fits the budget. Some providers take a monthly rental for their platform while others take a small percentage of the profits as the payment. One should select a platform according to the payment terms suitable for them.
A brief idea about some of the leading e-commerce platforms will provide a basic guideline for selection of the platform.
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Some of the popular e-commerce platforms are:
It is a platform built on open source technology. It is built using PHP and Linux platforms. It supports cross-platform deployment. It provides its merchants a flexible shopping cart. It also provides them full control to alter the content and look of their website. Due to its flexibility, it provides the advantage of adapting as per the buyer’s needs. This results in increased sales.
Pros of using Magento
1. It offers more features than other E-commerce platforms.
2. It is user-friendly.
3. It is flexible. It enables the users to modify their sites as required.
4. It is scalable. This implies that the user can manage any number of products using this platform.
Cons of Magento
1. It is difficult to find good developers. It is a large system, so only a developer with sound knowledge of software can design it.
2. It is an expensive system to use.
3. Since it is a large system, it requires dedicated servers that can be configured or which specialize in Magento hosting.
4. Its flexible design makes it more complicated. Hence, customizing it takes more time than other systems.
The aim of this platform is to provide its users an easy means of selling products online. It hosts the store, provides store software and additional backend software. It is SaaS based pay-as-you-go platform. It can be set up very fast. It is the leading e-commerce platform globally.
Pros of Shopify
1. Easy to set up
2. Quick loading speed
3. Safe payment gateway
6. Scaling: They allow scaling for small and large online stores.
7. Secure future: It has the feature to adapt according to the business needs. Hence it has a secure future.
8. Customer Support: There are knowledgeable representatives available on phone, email, chat to provide 24/7 support to their users.
Cons of Shopify
1. Lacks domain and email hosting feature
2. Difficult to use for an inexperienced person
3. Difficult for self-hosting
It is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It enables one to maintain and manage an e-commerce store using WordPress. It is an open source plugin.
Pros of WooCommerce
1. It is free.
2. It is easy to use
3. It can be easily customized
4. It is Secure
Cons of WooCommerce
1. WordPress frequently updates its software:
WordPress frequently updates its software and plugins may not be able to adapt to these changes. This might cause Woocommerce to not function exactly as it was designed to.
2. Content may not always appear to be right:
When one updates the site through the visual tab, it doesn’t always flow the way as expected. This frustrates users who are not familiar with HTML. This is because text and images will not appear as desired.
3. Making alterations is difficult:
If the user has customized his site as per a particular theme. Any major changes in customization will require a specialist programmer. This can be both time consuming and expensive.
Want To Develop An E-Commerce Store
OpenCartIt is an open source platform which enables the business to be search engine friendly. The user interface is attractive.
Pros of OpenCart
1. It is easy to set up and use.
2. It offers features such as catalog functionality and a good mechanism for order processing.
3. It provides documentation to guide the user through set up and functionality.
4. The cost for setting it up is reasonable.
5. It supports multi-language and multi-currency.
Cons of OpenCart
1. A store using OpenCart is not easy to customize.
2. It does not have a high performance on its own. Users need to opt for plugins.
With all this information, selection of a platform becomes easier to some extent.
We can compare various aspects of these platforms as:
We can sum up the selection between these platforms as:
For fast and easy deployment or if a businessman is looking to launch a small e-commerce business, Shopify is the best option. It is expensive but if it fulfills all the business requirements and the businessman can afford it, it is a good option. It is a good site for selling furniture, clothing or digital books.
If a company is already using WordPress and they are looking for more scalability and control, then WooCommerce could fulfill their requirements.
If a Company is looking for a quality platform with maximum features then the first choice could be Magento. Alternatively, they can opt for OpenCart.
Today, there is a rising competition among online stores to capture the market. There new entrants in the market almost every day. This has increased the demand for e-commerce platforms. Customers are looking for new features, ease of use, etc. There is a rise in innovations in the e-commerce platforms. This is leading to the availability of new technologies. It becomes all the more necessary for the businessman to evaluate various platforms and select the one suitable for their purpose. The success or failure of an online business can be determined by the selection of an appropriate platform.
We, at Webguruz Technologies, provide e-commerce solutions to a wide variety of business needs. If you are venturing into online trading, give us a chance to provide you our skilled services. We can develop a website for you based on the technology of your choice.