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The Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups

If you’re planning on launching a new business, having a good online store is essential. To make the best of your business, you need to be up-to-speed with the best of the latest ecommerce platforms, to help make using your website a seamless and user-friendly experience. Let’s take a look at three of the best ecommerce platforms for startups, to help you get on the road to success. 

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce tools around, and can be used by individuals and small businesses as a way of opening an online store.
One of the main attractions of Shopify is just how easy the platform is to use—both for businesses and for customers. If you’re looking to set up your own online store, you can choose your own pre-designed theme, or build a custom theme, so your website reflects the image of your business. There are more than 100 site templates to choose from, making it simple to find a site design that fits in with your company’s look. 
Stores built using Shopify can process both Paypal and credit card transactions, and accept payment from all global currencies, meaning that you can make your start-up a truly international business. 
Shopify has a variety of different price brackets to suit different business users. Companies who have a wide range of products will need to use the more expensive options, which allow users to market greater numbers of stock with lower transaction fees. Shopify offers add-ons such as SEO management and the capacity to offer discounts. While these tools may be useful to you in your business, you can find similar options included in other major ecommerce platforms, so it seems a little frustrating to have to pay extra for these basic tools. 
Overall, Shopify is a simple and user-friendly ecommerce platform for Startups with little or no specialism in IT and online marketing; however, for a powerful, comprehensive online retail application, you may wish to look elsewhere. 
Magento is an open source ecommerce platform which has proved particularly popular with those looking to make serious headway in their online business. Indeed, while Magento is undeniably popular with smaller corporations, it is also suitable for those looking to conquer larger markets; a number of major international retailers including Nike, Nespresso and Men’s Health magazine use the Magento platform—a testimony to its power and effectiveness. 
While Shopify offers a fantastic basic interface, ideal for those who are new in online selling and marketing, Magento is a comprehensive ecommerce platform which is great for businesses with a more sophisticated understanding of online sales and marketing.
Magento has a range of packages, with Magento Go touted as the best option for small business startups. Like Shopify, Magento Go users can chose from a variety of themes for their shop, so you can tailor your online outlet to suit the style of your business. Magento Go allows you to have more than one store open at any one time, so you can divide your business into different subsections.
One of the best features of Magento has to be its SEO compatibility; Magento works with your key words and search engine optimised links to direct traffic to your online shop via the search engines. Also useful is the ability to manage orders and customer accounts using Magento Go’s intelligent integrated interface.
Prestashop is a free ecommerce platform which is ideal for startups and individual business owners on a limited budget. With Prestashop’s open source software, it’s simple to build your own online store, meaning you don’t need to be an IT expert to get your own business off the ground. 
Like Magento Go, Prestashop is SEO compatible so customers are directed to your store easily and efficiently, via their search engines. Also handy is the inbuilt analytics software, which allows you to monitor traffic to your website. 
For a free software tool, Prestashop has an impressive set of features, and really gives the likes of Shopify and Magento a run for their money.
Essentially, if you’re looking for a high quality online store and are willing to pay a premium for a top notch service, Magento comes highly recommended. However, Shopify and Prestashop also offer an impressive service. While Prestashop is more of a budget option, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have some good features and useful tools for managing your online business. Shopify on the other hand offers a dependable, middle of the road service which is easy for non-IT specialists to get to grips with. While Magento takes the gold star in terms of product quality, Shopify and Prestashop also perform well, making them both good choices if you’re looking to build an online shop to get your start-up company off the ground.
Published: July 26, 2013

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