E-commerce growth continues at a rapid pace – global e-commerce sales are estimated at $4.9 trillion in 2021 and are expected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025.
Whether you are an established business owner or looking to start a new business, you may need an e-commerce pie – and every e-commerce journey starts with the right e-commerce platform. With so many cheap (and even free) options to choose from, there’s no need to break the bank.
What is an e-commerce platform?
An e-commerce platform, also known as an online store, is a software tool that allows you to create a website to sell your products and services online. Also known as e-commerce website builders, e-commerce platforms are useful for anyone looking to improve their e-commerce business, from individuals to large companies. and brick-and-mortar stores and businesses.
E-commerce platforms are end-to-end tools, meaning they serve both the seller and the buyer. Salespeople can manage inventory, sales, marketing and customer service, while buyers can discover and buy products.
Why use an e-commerce platform?
An e-commerce platform allows business owners to quickly set up a store and start doing business. You can spend more time developing your products and services and less time worrying about how to get them to your customers. Benefits of using an e-commerce platform include:
- It is easy to use. Website builders make it easy for any business to create a website and start selling online. You don’t need to be a programming expert to understand them. They make it easy for business owners to create professional e-commerce sites, and many platforms use built-in e-commerce tools for you to manage and edit your online store.
- Car and payment. Most e-commerce platforms include shopping carts and checkout systems that provide customers with an easy way to purchase items from your store. These systems also help protect your customer data and credit card information by encrypting it and keeping it private.
- SEO. E-commerce platforms often come with built-in search engine optimization (SEO) to help your e-commerce website rank higher on search engine pages. SEO can help attract more customers and increase traffic to your website.
- Customer service. Many e-commerce platforms offer customer support, which can be helpful if you have questions or need help setting up your store.
There are also some downsides to using e-commerce systems, including:
- Together. Many e-commerce platforms charge for full access, and these fees can add up. Some platforms charge a monthly fee, while others charge a one-time fee for processing. You can also pay extra for web collections.
- Border Design. Some eCommerce platforms offer limited design options, which can be frustrating if you have a specific look or experience for your eCommerce store. There may be only a limited number of templates provided by the platform. Advanced design usually requires a professional coder or web designer.
- Set up payment processing. Some platforms require you to set up payment processing with a third-party payment method, which can be off-putting for some small business owners. Be wary of payment methods that also charge transaction fees.
There are many e-commerce platforms to choose from, many of which offer affordable plans. Here are the 10 most popular ones on the market:
Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform in the world. With 600 templates, an easy-to-use app, and 24/7 customer support, you’ll be able to start an online store. Shopify plans start at just $5 per month and include a 14-day free trial.
WooCommerce is an online store plugin for WordPress sites. WooCommerce is a popular choice for small business owners because it is free and offers a variety of features, including product management, order tracking, and payment processing.
BigCommerce offers custom plans starting at around $30 per month, although you’ll need to request a quote for pricing. BigCommerce offers personalized support—customer success and talent managers, solution developers, and business startup coaches—based on your needs and budget. The standard plan includes unlimited products and built-in SEO tools.
- Wix Store
Wix Store is a free e-commerce platform powered by Wix, a website builder. Wix Store is available for businesses that already use Wix for their website. Wix Store offers unlimited products, gift cards, coupons, cross-platform sales, automated emails, SEO services, and Google Analytics.
Volusion offers plans starting at $15 per month. Sound features include support for products and unlimited bandwidth, email marketing tools, SEO tools, and fraud protection. They also have an in-house eCommerce design team if you need a professional to design the look and feel of your site.
- The Big Cartel
BigCartel is an e-commerce platform designed for creatives and artists on a budget. BigCartel offers free plans and limited plans with paid plans starting at just $9 per month. Its most expensive plan is $20 per month and includes up to 500 products with five images for each product, real-time stats, inventory tracking, and custom sections.
Ecwid is for small business owners who want to start an online store that allows them to sell across multiple social media platforms, on their site, and in person. Ecwid offers a free plan with minimal features and a paid plan starting at $15 per month. It recommends starting with its Venture plan, which costs $12.50 per month.
- Lemon stands
LemonStand is for developers working on e-commerce models who want great customization for their customers. LemonStand offers plans starting at $19 per month, which includes built-in SEO tools, back-end and front-end support, customized payments, and reports and analytics.
- PrestaShop store
PrestaShop is an open source e-commerce platform that offers free and minimal services and paid plans starting at $33 per month. You can choose the features you want to include in your online store, including but not limited to unlimited product listings, social media, Google Analytics, and trend tracking.
Spree Commerce is a seamless e-commerce platform, which allows you or your developer to connect any front end to Spree’s backend software. Important features include options for one or more brands, different languages and currencies, one or more sellers, and storefront design.