By now, it’s fair to say that almost anything can be bought online — from movie tickets and secondhand clothes, to properties and cars. This convenience is what fueled the rise of ecommerce, which continues to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, more than half of Americans currently prefer to do their shopping online. For businesses, it has become essential to adapt to this change in order to stay competitive and relative.
If you’re a brand looking to take your sales online and expand your market, the first thing you’ll need to do is to choose a web platform. However, there are so many sites out there that it can be overwhelming to pick which one, especially when you’re just starting out.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the best web platforms for online businesses.
Shopify is one of the easiest platforms to get into no matter what kind of business you’re planning to run. Not only is it armed with hundreds of tools and commands; but it’s also easy to learn. Even without a background in coding, you’ll be able to understand its basics and run your own online store in no time. For an additional cost, you can even purchase their Flow app, which lets you automate tasks and pull ideas from a pre-existing library of templates. On top of this, major shipping companies like DHL and UPS are pre-built into the system for your convenience. If you’re still in doubt, Shopify has a team of experts you can contact to find the help you need.
People’s Choice: WooCommerce
For those already familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce is its ecommerce extension and counterpart. This free plugin is extremely popular, mainly due to its unlimited transaction features, giving users the freedom to add loads of products and to take vast orders.
WordPress is one of the longest running web platforms around, thanks largely to its variety of customization options available to users. While the basics are easy enough to get a hang of, you will need to dig deeper to maximize the platform’s full potential. Thankfully, WordPress web development courses are readily available on Udemy for users with different levels of learning who want to gain skills on planning, design, and maintenance. This way, you will save on costs for web developers, which is good for business owners trying to cut back.
Advanced Features: Magento
Magento is one of the leading open-source ecommerce platforms that requires a lot of technical and developer skills to utilize the system in its entirety. While it doesn’t have a plug-and-play kind of platform like Shopify nor does it have basic subscriptions like WordPress – it has access to a wider selection of features that you can incorporate into your online shops. These include recurring payments, selective discounts, and more. The basic version of Magento is free, but the enterprise version can cost up to $20,000 per year. It’s on the more expensive end, which is why it’s more popular among big businesses with vast catalogs.
In your search for a reliable platform, be sure to choose one that won’t promise you a full 100% up-time. In our post ‘Choosing a Web Hosting Company for Your WordPress Blog’, we found that credible hosting companies will only promise a maximum 99% up-time. These companies are aware that incidents can happen at any time, so the ones that pledge anything more aren’t being completely truthful. In any case, the point here is to do your research before making any major decisions. Of course, you can always switch platforms any time, but it can be time-consuming and a waste of resources. Therefore, when making a big decision like this, it always helps to think about the long-term.