In today’s world, especially in times of the pandemic, people rely more and more on online shopping. It comes as no surprise that this demand for online products has seen a huge global surge in ecommerce platforms. However, the key for merchants is to choose the best ecommerce platforms that help increase their online sales around the world.
What is an Ecommerce Platform?
An ecommerce platform is a shopping cart software that offers a slew of benefits to online sellers, such as the ability to sell internationally, retarget customers, better access to customer data etc.
One of the main advantages of ecommerce platforms is they simplify online selling for merchants anywhere in the world by making it easy to create and launch online stores. What’s more, many platforms facilitate merchants to customize such platforms as per their needs.
Global Share of Leading Ecommerce Software Platforms
The influence of ecommerce platforms on businesses can be gauged from their global share of the market. Let’s see some of the top ecommerce platforms and their global market share in percentage:
- Squarespace: 23.51%
- WooCommerce: 23.43%
- SAP Commerce Cloud: 12.9%
- OpenCart: 9%
- Wix: 6.16%
- Shopify: 3.69%
- Magento: 2.32%
To increase the reach, many merchants adopt multi-channel marketing. For this, they go in for multi-channel ecommerce software that helps bring the needed technologies together to sell via multiple digital channels. Multi-channel marketing increases the reach to a wide range of consumers, boosts sales, protects the brand, and helps merchants diversify across multiple marketplaces.
The Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses
Although mainly a website builder, Squarespace is gaining popularity with small and medium online businesses due to its high-end design and ease of use. It facilitates online sale and inventory tracking while connecting with the customers on the go. It can host unlimited products, enable sales tax configuration and order status emails. The convenient drag and drop design and a good inventory system make it a good option for small businesses. However, it requires a steep learning curve initially. The charges start from $26 per month.
This open-source commerce solution is built on WordPress and requires both hosting and a WordPress site. Since it is based on WordPress, it enjoys a large market share. It offers a storefront design and facilitates order management, product search and filters. One good feature of this platform is it does not require any setup charges or monthly fees; instead, it charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for every transaction made with credit or debit cards issued in the USA. If the cards are issued outside the US, you need to pay a 1% percent fee extra.
This ecommerce platform is ideal for those already using other SAP solutions. This enables them to customize this platform to handle large volumes of customers and products. It offers catalog and search, product recommendations, discounts and promos. It also facilitates bulk upload. However, on the minus side, this platform requires specialist IT knowledge to operate, which may be time consuming. Also, it has limitations in deeper integration with other SAP Customer Experience Components. The merchant will need to approach the vendor for pricing since SAP does not publicly release its pricing.
This open-source online store management program is both powerful and easy to use. It not only supports multiple stores from a single interface but also customizes and localizes each store. This enables merchants to handle multiple independent brands and sell them across the border. It comes with great features, such as easy administration, shopping cart management, email integration, reporting and localization. It also offers over 13,000 modules and themes.
However, some extensions of this platform suffer from security vulnerabilities. It charges $99 per month. In addition, it attracts a transaction fee depending upon the payment methods and the gateways used.
The main advantage of this easy-to-use website builder is it offers over 500 templates. The platform facilitates many third-party plugins and extensions, such as Privy, Smile for Points and Rewards, Visitor Analytics, to name a few. It has an easy drag and drop setup, making it easier for beginners to set up the site effortlessly. On top of that, they also offer advanced features like global dropshipping, pixel conversion tracking, and abandoned carts recovery.
However, it does not support a robust feature set or multiple sales channels. Also, it has limited inventory management and multi-channel capabilities. It is reasonably priced at $23 per month.
Shopify offers a host of benefits to the merchants, enabling them to launch online stores without technical expertise. It not only facilitates smooth selling, order management, product management, dropshipping, omnichannel integration, branding and shipping. The merchant is at liberty to extend the platform’s capabilities with a wide range of third-party plugins. Its comprehensive tools make it easy for point-of-sale and online payments. In other words, Shopify is an ideal platform for non-technical users since it is highly scalable. The monthly charges are between $9 and $299.
Adobe offers this platform in two versions – Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source. Magento Commerce charges $20,000 a year and is certainly not for small businesses. On the other hand, Magento Open Source is free with no transaction fees.
However, merchants need to pay for hosting from a third-party hosting provider. It is ideal for those who want to start small and upgrade along the way without switching platforms. Its drawback is it does not offer Magento Customer Support and many features offered by Magento Commerce. Also, it requires technical expertise to implement and maintain.
In today’s marketplace, adopting an ecommerce platform is indispensable, especially for small businesses. The merchants wanting to expand their businesses will do well to opt for multi-channel marketing that benefits retail businesses by using the transformative power of digital technologies.