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How to Choose an eCommerce Platform

You reading this article most probably means that you already know that eCommerce is huge nowadays, there's more than 50% of global Internet users who are making their purchases online. It counts approximately a billion online buyers.

So, you want to be a part of this huge business, don’t you? If you’ve already decided on the products you are going to sell, the next crucial thing to decide upon is the eCommerce platform to build your store on.

There’s a great choice of shopping cart solutions on the market these days. How do you choose the right one for your business?

Well, first of all, let’s find out what a shopping cart is. It is the most important part of any eCommerce template after all.



What’s a Shopping Cart?

 You’ve used shopping carts hundreds of times as an online consumer. This is the script that holds the products you’ve chosen while you shop for more, it sums up the total amount you need to pay, when applicable it adds shipping and taxes to the total, and it integrates with a payment gateway to process your payment.

Nowadays, shopping carts have evolved to full eCommerce platforms, they even offer design and management tools for your store.



What to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Shopping Cart

If you want to make an informed decision and end up with the best shopping cart that suits your business needs, you have to consider the answers to the following questions.
  • How much are you willing to spend?

Would you rather pay a small sum but every month, or can you put aside a bigger sum upfront? If you decide on the budget upfront you can significantly narrow the range of your search for the perfect eCommerce solution.

  • Do you want to customize the hell out of it?

The more complex the customization you have in mind, the more complex a solution you have to have. Some eCommerce platforms are utterly inflexible when it comes to customization.

  • Simple or complex and full of features?

If you want a simple, user-friendly solutions with the intuitive interface, it’s going to be one choice. If you want a complex thing with dozens of add-ons, marketing, and administrative features… Well,  whole other choice.

  • Do you want full-time support?

Most of the eCommerce platforms offer fairly decent documentation, but if you want a proper tech support 24/7 you’ll have to look for it. So if you are ready to learn and operate it all yourself, you get a wider choice.



The Best eCommerce Platform for Your Business

The answers to the above questions should have helped you determine your business needs and narrow the search for the most suitable eCommerce solution. Finding the one shopping cart should be a lot easier now. There are two types of eCommerce solutions - hosted (also called Soft as a Service) and self-hosted (or open-source).

Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, but each of them lets you launch an online store and run it using the offered tools and features. Surely you understand - there is no such thing as a unified solution when it comes to eCommerce platforms, the details and differences in them are what matters here.

Whatever type of shopping cart you end up choosing, you need to make sure it is in line with your business needs determined with the questions from the above paragraph, it integrates flawlessly with the payment gateway you have in mind and it supports templates. This last thing about supporting templates is important, you don’t want to waste too much time on custom design, and most of the eCommerce platforms that support templates also offer the widest range of useful add-ons.




Most Popular eCommerce Platforms

As I’ve already mentioned not once in this article - there is a great choice of eCommerce solutions out there these days. Choosing one of the most popular ones you get a better-supported solution, the wider choice of designs for your store, better functionality, and more additional features. You also have a wider range of fellow users to ask for advice. So, let’s see what the most popular eCommerce platforms can offer your growing business.

  • WooCommerce is widely considered the best eCommerce platform. The reason for this popularity is WordPress, which is the most used CMS (content management system) since WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for this popular platform. This open-source solution is a very flexible one. WooCommerce offers hundreds upon hundreds of extremely useful features, add-ons and extensions, both free and premium. The choice of free and premium WooCommerce templates is also quite amazing. Basically, WooCommerce is the best choice if you love WordPress and are used to its admin area.
  • PrestaShop is another popular open source solution. Its popularity comes from the ease of customization, support of multiple currencies and languages and the wide selection of product-related features. The PrestaShop user interface is widely considered to be user-friendly and intuitive.
  • Shopify is the most popular SaaS solution for eCommerce. Their plans are quite affordable and there’s a free trial period, which is quite handy when it comes to an informed decision. The full-time tech support offered by Shopify is among the reasons so many people chose this platform for their businesses. Shopify supports themes and the choice both from the platform itself and from third-party providers is very impressive.
  • Magento claims to be the most used eCommerce platform in the world, they name Coca-Cola and BurgerKing among their customers. Magento offers both free and paid plans. There’s training offered, along with tech support and the amazing range of extensions if you want to expand your store’s core functionality. You’ll also find that the choice of Magento themes is very impressive indeed.


So, in this article, we’ve covered what shopping cart is, what questions to ask yourself before choosing an eCommerce platform, what are the two types of eCommerce solutions and which platforms are the most popular among the online store owners. Now let me know in the comments below which eCommerce platform you end up using!


Source: Template Monster Blog