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20 best e-commerce platforms for websites in April 2020. Top e-commerce platforms list
Updated: February 10, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director
20 best e-commerce platform contenders
Best e-commerce platform
So, what is the best e-commerce platform? There are hundreds of options available on the market of e-commerce platforms with no single “best e-commerce platform” to really stand out, as they all vary in functionality, features, usability and offer many different choices of building a website, accounting for your personal needs, resources and preferences.
Some of the universal features that the best e-commerce platforms would have are:
- Availability of listing and displaying products, with the ability of comparison between them
- Allowing your buyers to put products into the “Shopping Cart”
- Allowing your customers to place an order from their cart later
- Collecting payments and offering multiple payment options for the orders
- Providing the store owner and the customer with information about the order
- Allowing the customer to place feedback or a review
And these useful features of the best online store platform do not stop there. Some of the top e-commerce platforms will provide you with certain eccentricities like unique design features, additional security options, marketing tools and so on. With all of that in mind, the best way to go is to choose a digital commerce platform that offers the maximum output for your business and provides you with the most convenience at the lowest cost.
Questions to ask yourself while choosing the best online store platform for your business
While picking the right e-commerce platform for you, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Stock size. What is the size of your inventory? Try to find the e-commerce platform where you will be able to create flexible product catalogs with the ability to list thousands of product items without losing website performance.
- Physical or digital. Do you provide online services or physical products? It will make you think about shipping costs and the ways your product will be delivered to your customer. There are e-commerce platforms that are specifically tied to physical or digital goods’ sales.
- Payment methods. Not all online store platforms choose third-party payment methods, and you need to consider this as well. PayPal is usually a good option that is easy to use in making arrangements with the best e-commerce platforms. Stripe is also the “must-have” for the platform in 2020.
- Self-hosted or hosted by the online store platform. The option of self-hosting a website is preferable to you in case you want to control the source code of your online store and modify it on a regular basis. Platform-hosted solutions save your time taking care of server management and system administration.
Now let’s move from the topic of questions you’ll be asking yourself to the topic of questions you’ll be asking your potential ecommerce platforms. There’s quite a lot of different ecommerce platforms out there, with their own unique capabilities and differences. That’s why it’s a good idea to cover the “pick one” part a bit more thoroughly.
First of all, the obvious points of comparison would be the most basic ones, like pricing, third-party application support, overall design and customization capabilities, flexibility, scalability, platform’s popularity and reputation, and so much more. More specific requests are bound to happen for each market, of course.
Moving to the topic of specific questions that you should ask when choosing a platform for yourself – any platform provider should be able to incorporate all of the different functions in one platform-sized package. The most important groups of features include:
- Customer support
- Order management
- Promotion and pricing controls
- Easy reporting and analytics
- Content management system
However, due to your specific business needs or your specific market you might ask different questions within each category. To simplify the choice you’ll need to make there’s a thing called RFP or request for proposal.
RFP is usually used to approach several different ecommerce platforms with the same exact question and the ability to directly compare their answers afterwards. The fact that you’re creating this request for yourself means you can automatically include and prioritize everything in the exact way your business needs. However, it’s not an easy solution. RFP for ecommerce might include literally hundreds of questions, and creating them all might be harder than answering them.
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On the other hand, the overall method of RFP’s work allows you to at least segregate all of your questions you want to ask into several categories, like:
- General questions
- Site’s UI/UX questions
- Hosting questions
- Administration questions
- Questions regarding analytics
- Checkout questions
- Promotion questions
- SEO-related questions
- Questions about products and catalogs
- Platform’s customer support questions, and more
Segregating all of your questions into categories might make it easier to determine which of all the listed ecommerce platforms do you need and simplify the overall process in general. Most of these categories are pretty obvious, and each one of them might include a lot of questions. As an example, “Site’s UI/UX questions” category would include questions like:
- Is there an option to install and use custom web forms?
- Can we make the shopping cart persistent across multiple devices?
- Is there any kind of mobile-optimized checkout already available?
- Can you expand the amount of features in our themes?
- Is there a preview option for themes we haven’t bought yet?
- How much of the customization can be done with the tools available within a standard desktop browser?
Other categories are working like that, too. Creating your own personalized list of questions in regards to your needs when it comes to the subject of your future ecommerce platform might help you a lot with choosing the correct one since you can answer most of those questions without even addressing the company itself.
Considering that choosing a platform can be challenging and daunting, in this article, we wanted to review the top e-commerce platforms that will match your needs and will provide you with a perfect solution for your business.
B2B e-commerce Case Studies from Virto Commerce
B2B eCommerce Platform
Expand Your Business with a B2B Online Store
Expand your business into new markets with an online and mobile presence. Digitize your product catalog and enable online ordering with a platform that supports both headless commerce and traditional eCommerce.
Get eCommerce and CRM. All-in-One
Our built-in CRM helps you organize sales pipelines, improve vendor management, and determine marketing and sales projections for your business. Arm your Sales, Marketing, Support, Procurement and eCommerce teams with the information they need.
One Platform for B2B, B2C, and B2X
Address all B2B, B2C, and B2X (B2B2B, B2B2C, etc.) scenarios in a single platform. Support any business-to-business eCommerce model from Self-Service websites and Quote-to-Order portals to B2B Marketplaces with a scalable and flexible platform.
Open Source Philosophy with a Vibrant Community
Our open-source approach and vibrant community of developers offer complete code transparency, greater product reliability, and tested security advantages regardless if you’re looking to deploy in the cloud or on-premise.
From B2B Store to B2B Marketplace
Take advantage of our multi-vendor marketplace features for both B2B buyers and vendors. Grow from a B2B store to a B2B marketplace without disrupting your operations with our B2B eCommerce solution.
Keep Your eCommerce and ERP in Sync
Connect into any ERP system and fully digitize your supply chain. Coordinate your online store with your business operations and automate inventory management, order management, pricing calculations, and shipping logistics.
Contact us to learn more about OroCommerceвЂ™s capabilities Contact Us
The robust functionality and highly customizable OroCommerce platform will be a great fit for our company’s B2B needs.
Founder & CEO, Samuel Hubbard
Digital B2B commerce presence is one of Aldo’s key strategies for success. We evaluated various solutions and agencies to help us successfully execute on our strategy and vision. After a careful evaluation, it was very clear to us that OroCommerce is the best B2B eCommerce solution.
We evaluated Magento 2, Shopware and OroCommerce Enterprise versions for our B2B specific needs. OroCommerce came out as the clear winner. We saw that OroCommerce is the platform that will fit our current and future need and will help our business grow.
Founder & CEO, Haneu
B2B eCommerce Platform for
Midmarket and Enterprise Companies
Digital B2B commerce is all about providing a consistent, relevant, and personalized buying experience. Whether your business is new to eCommerce or you need to upgrade your current B2B webstore, OroCommerce software is built for mid-market and enterprise B2B companies. Create your self-service eCommerce website, B2B marketplace, customer portal, or wholesale portal using our flexible platform in the cloud or on-premise.
B2B eCommerce Features Ready to Go
Selling to businesses is vastly different than selling to consumers. This means the features and capabilities needed to support a B2B online buyer is vastly different as well. As a purpose-built eCommerce platform for B2B, OroCommerce offers out-of-the-box B2B features such as managing corporate accounts, displaying unique price books, showcasing buyer-specific catalogs, supporting Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) processes, creating custom workflows, and many more B2B capabilities.
Lower Your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Our initial focus on B 2B eCommerce solution also makes OroCommerce a much leaner software compared to typical eCommerce platforms. This translates into a lower total cost of ownership for B2B companies. Because all B2B features are offered out-of-the-box, projects are simplified resulting in fewer development hours and faster completion timeframes. As a B2B company, you get a B2B-specific solution that lowers your total cost of ownership and offers a faster return on investment.
Extensibility for Future Growth
ItвЂ™s inevitable that your company will purchase new software, require new functionality, and implement new processes. This means selecting an extensible solution will be critical. OroCommerce offers robust API coverage, an expansive extensions marketplace, and a customization-ready platform to ensure our platform grows with your business.
Best e-commerce platform of 2020: website software for an online store
How to choose the best e-commerce solution for your business
The best e-commerce platforms in 2020
The rise of the web has allowed countless businesses to reach a wider market. Not only that, it has given rise to countless new online-only businesses, fueled by the exponential rise of mobile connections.
It’s not surprising, then, that one analyst claims that the SMB e-commerce platform market will break the billion dollar barrier.
There’s no doubt that the web provides a huge opportunity for companies, but it’s important for organizations to make the most of that opportunity. In order to sell your products or services online, your website has to be appropriately equipped.
Building an online store from scratch is a mammoth task, and fortunately, an unnecessary one. Today, there is a huge variety of e-commerce platform packages from which to choose.
Most e-commerce platforms will provide businesses with standard functionality such as the ability to showcase products in an online catalog, take payments online, manage customers and provide with after-sales.
Others will provide more sophisticated functionality, such as online marketing features, the ability to manage or integrate with in-store systems and the provision of APIs.
Which e-commerce software is best for your business depends entirely on your specific requirements. If you’re an online-only outfit, then POS integration won’t be necessary, but you may get a lot of business from overseas, in which case foreign currency support would be a requirement.
In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the best e-commerce platforms available right now, before moving on to consider other options you might want to explore in terms of creating your own e-commerce solution.
If you want a simpler alternative to some of the full-on web store building solutions here, check out Wix. It’s highly user-friendly, yet there’s still plenty of e-commerce power available to create a suitably impressive online store.
The best e-commerce platform packages
Giant of the e-commerce world
Shopify is perhaps the most well known e-commerce platform available. It was set up in 2006 by founders Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake who, as the story goes, felt that there wasn’t a simple-to-use e-commerce platform available and so built their own. The company claims that: “You don’t need to have any technical or design experience to easily create a beautiful online store.”
According to Shopify, it’s possible to get one of its online stores up-and-running within minutes. Users can choose from a wide range of templates, or they can design the look and feel of their store themselves. It accepts a comprehensive range of credit cards, has Level 1 PCI compliance and 256-bit SSL encryption for security, and it offers 24/7 support via phone, instant messaging or email.
The platform provides a full CMS with which users can manage the functionality and layout of their online store. Users can manage their store on-the-go using Shopify’s mobile apps, and the platform itself is fully responsive, meaning the store will be optimized for visitors regardless of whether they access it from a desktop computer or a mobile device. Also, a live chat function is available which allows you to have a real time conversation with your customers. There’s a built-in support for 3D models and video too.
Shopify also offers users unlimited hosting for their stores, in-depth analytics of how visitors are using the store, and functionality for marketing such as SEO optimization, a discount and coupon engine, gift cards and email marketing tools. You can test out Shopify with a 14-day free trial.
E-commerce expertise with a fully-fledged CMS
Bigcommerce was established in 2009 and promises to “support your business, not just your store.” In addition to offering support via phone, instant chat and email, it also offers articles and videos to help with e-commerce, and access to a team of e-commerce experts who can provide advice and guidance about online selling. Their experts are qualified in both Google Analytics and Adwords.
Like Shopify, Bigcommerce provides a variety of templates and themes to help stores look their best and get up-and-running quickly. Alternatively, users can design their own store or use Bigcommerce designers to do so. The platform incorporates a full-featured CMS that allows users to run an entire website, rather than just a store.
Users can benefit from detailed and flexible product management, optimized search engine rankings, along with a variety of integrated marketing tools and analytics. Payments can be accepted via 40+ pre-integrated gateways and shipping details can be customized as per the business’s requirements. As of late, some new features have been added like support for Amazon Import and Link and Shopping in Instagram Stories. The platform offers automated order processing, flexible tax rules depending on where orders are made and shipped, and support for multiple currencies. You can test out Bigcommerce with a 15-day free trial.
Veteran provider with a custom design service
Volusion has been around for almost two decades, having been set up in Texas over in the US in 1999. The company touts its platform as being an “all-in-one e-commerce solution”, and offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).
As with other e-commerce platforms, users are offered a variety of templates from which to choose, and can also customize templates if they so wish. Should a more complex design be required, Volusion offers a custom design service that can incorporate branding and a firm’s social media presence.
The platform provides the site and product management tools you’d expect, marketing functionality for SEO, social media, and affiliate outlets, along with emails and order management functionality for fast order processing, accepting payments, tax calculations and POS integration.
In addition to its platform and associated services, Volusion offers apps from its partners, support for users and a knowledge-base for help with e-commerce. Users can draw upon blog posts, guides and webinars. As of October 8th 2020, there are no more transaction fees.
Service which focuses on SMBs
CoreCommerce was set up in 2001 and focuses on providing e-commerce services to small and medium-sized businesses. The company places an emphasis on simplicity and transparency, promising that its platform is easy-to-use and that customers will not fall foul of any hidden charges.
Perhaps CoreCommerce’s most unique aspect is that all of its features are offered to all customers regardless of what plan they are on. Price plans are determined by the number of products, the number of email addresses, the amount of bandwidth and the amount of storage required by the user (and higher-end plans also benefit from additional support).
As with other e-commerce providers, CoreCommerce offers functionality for store design, product management, order processing and marketing. Of its headline features, the platform offers unlimited product customization options, a built-in blogging engine, and secure hosting that is provided by Rackspace and comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You can try CoreCommerce out with a 15-day free trial.
Allows for an impressive degree of tailoring to your needs
Having been founded in 1997, 3dcart is the oldest of our featured providers here. It was set up with a view to incorporating as many of the most requested e-commerce features into one platform as possible.
The company says it has six core values by which it operates: ongoing innovation, good service, simple solutions, fostering trust, keeping employees and customers happy, and stimulating prosperity amongst employees and customers.
Some of the platform’s innovative features include a module that users can install to offer gift-wrapping, a purchase order system, the option of running a loyalty program and the ability to offer recurring orders. Many of these features are very specific, meaning that stores can be highly tailored to the needs of each business.
Stores can be designed using one of the many templates offered by 3dcart, or users can design their own store. A quick edit bar means that making changes to the design of a store is simple. Product images are fore-fronted with 3dcart’s auto-zoom feature and products can be sold via Facebook with its store integration. As with some other platforms, users can blog directly from 3dcart and tools are provided for setting up coupons, sending newsletters and affiliate marketing. 3dcart is regularly updated and new features are constantly added, like the drag and drop HTML builder, the home page editor or scheduled promotions. Users can also make use out of “make an offer” feature, which basically lets you and your customers to negotiate on a price.
In addition to its platform, 3dcart offers a number of professional services. Users can request help with SEO, PPC, shopping feed management, social media, Facebook ads and conversion consulting. Help can also be provided to ensure that a user’s store is set up to the highest standard. Services such as site cloning, setting up custom tracking, data migration and training are offered.
In addition, 3dcart can provide SSL certification. Hosting is guaranteed at 99.9% uptime and 24/7 support is provided via phone, email or online chat. You can test out the service with a 15-day free trial.
If you don’t want to go the route of using an off-the-shelf package, what other options are available for you to explore? That’s what we’re going to look at in the second half of this piece…
Is eBay right for your business?
Opening its doors in 1999, eBay UK now has over 14 million users, with over 10,000 people using the site for a business that is their primary means of income. It’s not just about people selling unwanted goods – businesses have used the simplicity that eBay offers to set up lucrative operations. Even the larger brands such as Argos, Debenhams and House of Fraser are using eBay to sell online.
With sophisticated tools now available you can be up and running with your store in just a few hours. The eBay Seller Centre has all the information you need. Each store is managed via eBay’s familiar user interface, and there are a number of eBay-provided tools to help manage, track and promote your shop once it’s established.
Using eBay as the platform for your business could be ideal if your business wants to sell goods on a fixed price basis. The complete integration of the PayPal e-payments system into eBay takes care of this essential component of your store.
The key with eBay is to look closely at the costs involved and also the transaction fees that PayPal charge before moving forward and setting up your own store.
How to create your own e-commerce solution
Of course if you want complete control over every aspect of your new online store, building each page yourself will be the best course of action. Hiring someone to code your website is one option. If you decide to do this follow these steps:
- Ask the company for live examples of their work to look at
- Write a detailed brief of the site you want created. The more detail the better to avoid confusion
- Ensure you understand the price you are being charged and how many revisions this price includes
- Always have a signed agreement or contract before work commences
- Ask whether the designers will host your site and if you will be able to make updates yourself or if all updates must go through the design agency at an additional cost
- Ask for the copyright of your design to be assigned to your company, as your website is an important part of your business’ intellectual property
- Put into your contract, details of how the agreement can be amicably dissolved if things go wrong
You also don’t have to build your site completely from scratch. Buying a template can give you all the basic pages your site needs. You can then either modify them yourself using an application like Dreamweaver, or hire a coding expert to make the changes. Website templates are available from a number of vendors including Template Monster.
If you already have a website and want to add e-commerce functionality, this can be easily achieved with a number of applications including:
Whichever route you decide to take when building your website always remember:
- You need to ensure your store can be easily updated and managed.
- Good professional web hosting is vital to ensure your site is always available.
- Look for payment and shopping carts that are intuitive and efficient to use.
- Customer service is king these days. Businesses shouldn’t just efficiently take customers’ money, but should also properly support them.
- Make sure that your store is fully integrated with all the leading social media sites.
- Put security first – shoppers are now more comfortable buying online, but always ensure your site uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) which is now the industry standard for online payments.
- Above every other consideration should be your site’s visitor experience. Don’t forget your competitors are just a mouse click away in the world of e-commerce.
Setting up your online store should be approached carefully and diligently to ensure you put a professional and efficient site live. Internet shopping continues to expand. Make sure your business doesn’t miss out on a sales channel that shows no signs of slowing down.
- We’ve also picked out the best website builders of 2020 and the best website hosting services
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