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      A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform

      Mar 13, 2023

      6 minute read

      The eCommerce platform you choose to host your online store on has a huge impact on your overall growth. It is at the core of your online business and will determine your future profitability and stability. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose an eCommerce platform that offers powerful features while also allowing integration with common business tools — enabling you to centralize your business operations.

      However, choosing the best eCommerce platform is not always as straightforward as it seems.

      Therefore, we’ve put together this guide to equip you with all you need to make an informed choice for your business.

      Ready? Let’s go!

      6 Factors to Consider When Choosing an eCommerce Platform

      A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform


      The increasing number of cyber threats has made it clear that there is an increasing need for online security as well. eCommerce businesses need to have security measures in place to protect their customers from cyber-attacks.

      Therefore, make sure the platform you choose has features like SSL certification, PCI compliance, data backups, and fraud prevention.

      Cost of Ownership

      Pricing is one of the most important factors to assess while choosing an eCommerce platform for your business. Whether you are a small business just starting out or a well-established brick & mortar business moving online, you must be aware of the total cost of owning and maintaining an eCommerce platform.

      Almost all the platforms charge you a monthly fee. The cost may vary depending on the type of platform you get (self-hosted v. hosted). You also need to take into consideration the processing fee that each platform charges. Additionally, the cost of maintaining the platform should also be factored in.

      Pro tip: Don’t sacrifice the features you need to save a few bucks. It’s best to weigh the pros and cons of each platform to get the most out of every buck you spend.

      Available Themes

      A website theme is crucial to the online success of your business. It determines the general layout and appearance of your eCommerce store and plays an integral role in delivering a great user experience.

      Most platforms offer a variety of themes to choose from, however, there are only a few platforms that offer premium themes.

      These premium themes offer so much flexibility in terms of design and layout and help you give your website a unique look and feel.

      When deciding on your eCommerce platform, consider the selection of premium themes it offers. Besides, don’t forget to consider how much effort it would take to customize the theme if the need arises.

      Different platforms offer different amounts of customization. Putting additional effort into designing a website that actually reflects your brand is worth the investment.

      Integrations and Extensions

      Unfortunately, there isn’t any eCommerce platform that’s going to have every single thing you need for your online store. This is where extensions, plugins, and add-ons come into play, along with their costs. The primary purpose of using extensions and plugins is to increase the efficiency and productivity of your store.

      Almost all platforms offer free and premium plugins and extensions, except a few such as Magento, where add-ons require custom development. But platforms like Shopify provide merchants access to hundreds of free and premiums extensions.

      So choose a platform that offers a range of plugins and extensions for your specific business needs.

      Platform Scalability and Speed

      In today’s age and day where customers seek “instant response”, it has become crucial for businesses to deliver a lightning-fast experience. And your CX needs to stay consistent as your business grows.

      Therefore, it is important that you pick a platform that helps you scale as your business expands.

      Some of the things that you must keep in mind while evaluating the platform’s performance and scalability are:

      • Slow load times
      • Frozen pages
      • 404 errors
      • Other sluggish performance indicators

      Pro tip: Understand the amount of traffic the platform can handle simultaneously at peak timings, how it scales horizontally and vertically, review typical site speed while assessing the platform.

      Technical Support

      Certain platforms only offer support during business hours in their time zones while others offer 24/7 support.

      Another important factor is the type of support. Some companies only offer online support or via chat. Larger platforms also have FAQs and tutorials for self-service help. Of course, the type of support you get depends on the service plan you choose. However, you still want to choose a platform that offers around-the-clock support to ensure your platform always stays up and running.

      Looking for an eCommerce Partner? Here are some effective tips to help you find one.

      Top eCommerce Platforms Compared

      Even though there are many eCommerce platforms available out there, in this blog post, we will focus on the most preferred and widely used platforms.

      The seven eCommerce platforms compared in the table below are Wix, Shopify, Ecwid, BigCommerce, Square Online, Squarespace, and Big Cartel.

      Platform Pricing
      (Basic Plans)
      Available Themes Integrations Platform Scalability and Speed Technical Support Security
      Shopify $29 100+ More than 6000 apps and plugins available 99.98% overall uptime Offers email, live chat, social media, and self-service support SSL Certificate
      Level-1 PCI compliance
      Wix $23 510 500+ powerful web apps 99.98% uptime Email, live chat support, phone number, social media support, and self-service support SSL certificate
      Level-1 PCI compliance
      BigCommerce $29.95 170 160+ connectors 99.99% uptime Support via phone, email, chat SSL Certificate
      Level 1 PCI-compliance
      Squarespace $26 110 31 extensions 99.90% uptime Live Chat Monday to Friday 4:00 am-8 pm (EST) SSL Certificate
      Level 1 PCI-compliance
      Square Online $26 Two different layouts 300+ integrations 98.2% uptime Live chat or by phone SSL Certificate
      Level 1 PCI-compliance
      Big Cartel $29.99 18 500+ third party apps 99.99% uptime Call support Monday – Friday from 8 am-6 pm EST. SSL Certificate
      Does not offer PCI Compliance
      Ecwid $35 70+ 260+ integration 99.99% uptime No support on the free plan, 24/7 live chat ($15), 24/7 live chat + phone ($35), 24/7 priority support ($99) SSL Certificate
      Level 1 PCI-compliance

      Final Verdict:

      When it comes to choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, it is often tempting to choose the most popular one or the one that seems to have the most features.

      But it all comes down to two essential factors – your business objectives and customer needs. The right platform is the one that has the features and functionalities you need most while offering the flexibility to customize the customer experience.

      Our Pick: Shopify

      Based on the comparative analysis, our pick is Shopify.

      Shopify is the most flexible, feature-rich, and scalable platform out of all. It offers all the features you might need to run a successful store. Besides, it also lets you customize your design and add multiple extensions for added functionalities.

      Additionally, it allows you to sell physical products, digital products, downloads, services, and even drop-shipping.

      And you get this package deal at just $32/month, or as low as $5/month if you do not want to have an online storefront but instead sell via social media or other channels.

      For this reason, we would recommend Shopify to anyone looking to get started in the eCommerce industry.

      Need Help Building an eCommerce Store? Contact Us!

      Our experts can help you build an eCommerce store that is tailored to fit your business needs. Should you have any more questions, you can contact us at [email protected].

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

      1. How do I know which eCommerce platform is ideal for my business?

      There are several types of eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Adobe Commerce, etc., each catering to different needs and business models. However, to select a platform that’s ideal for your business, you need to consider factors such as your technical skills, budget, scalability required, and the type of products you’re selling. Defining these requirements will help you better assess your options before making a decision.

      2. What features are essential for a successful eCommerce store?

      – User-Friendly Interface
      – Mobile Responsiveness
      – Secure Payment Gateway
      – Efficient Inventory Management
      – Analytics and Reporting Tools
      – Third-Party Integration

      3. Can I find an eCommerce platform with good features at a reasonable price?

      Yes, you can find several eCommerce platforms that are decently priced and offer robust features suitable for businesses of various sizes and budgets. For instance, Shopify has a basic plan starting at $29 per month, and BigCommerce’s pricing plans also start at $29.95 per month. Apart from these two, Magento and PrestaShop are also among the popular eCommerce platforms.

      4. Is it easy to set up and manage an eCommerce platform?

      The ease of setting up and managing an eCommerce website primarily depends on the platform you choose, your team’s technical capabilities, and the specifications you want in your online store. A pro tip is to start small and build up gradually as your business scales with time.

      5. Can I switch eCommerce platforms later as my business scales?

      Yes, you can switch eCommerce platforms later as your business scales or if you find that your current platform is not meeting specific objectives. However, the process of switching platforms can vary in complexity depending on the size of your store, the amount of data you need to migrate, and the differences between the old and new platforms.

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