In our last post, The Small Business Guide to eCommerce, we discussed the steps to add eCommerce to your brick-and-mortar store. Determining which eCommerce platform fits best with your business is one of the most important steps.
Because your eCommerce platform will be central to your online store, we want to make sure to provide you with the information that will allow you to make a well-informed decision. It’s important to consider the following questions when making this decision:
- How many products will you be selling online? How many products can the platform support?
- What is the total cost of the platform?
- Does the platform have a flexible front end?
- Will you be able to achieve your desired online store design by using this platform?
- Does the platform support both desktop and mobile shoppers?
- Is the platform scalable?
- Will you be able to integrate your business systems into the platform?
- Is the platform user-friendly and easy to set up?
- Does the platform provide a high enough level of security? Is it Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant?
The Top eCommerce Platforms for Small Businesses
We’ve outlined a few of the most popular eCommerce platforms to help you determine which platform will be the best for your small business.
Shopify is one of the most well-known eCommerce platforms available on the market today. It powers over 500,000 businesses of all sizes, with more than one million users. Small businesses continue to choose Shopify as their eCommerce platform because of the flexibility it provides. To attest to the platform’s flexibility, Shopify claims that “whether you sell online, on social media, in store, or out of the trunk of your car, Shopify has you covered.” You can create a completely customized online store and easily manage and update your products and your inventory. The platform provides many different themes, allowing you to establish your brand online, even if you do not have design skills.
You can try Shopify free for 14 days, no credit card required. After this free trial, prices range from $29 to $299 a month, based your business size and feature requirements.
Wix is another highly popular eCommerce platform. The great thing about Wix is its ease of use. It’s difficult to find an easier eCommerce platform builder than Wix. It is also great for users with design experience. While it provides different templates, it also allows total design freedom, giving users the power to design their sites exactly the way they want, with an innovative drag‑and‑drop interface.
Wix is one of the more affordable eCommerce platforms, starting at $5 a month for its most basic plan.
SquareSpace is an eCommerce platform that has a wide range of users – from individuals to small-sized businesses. It provides more than just an eCommerce platform, including marketing tools and analytics, giving users a one-stop shop for their online marketing activities. Like Shopify and Wix, it provides easy‑to‑use templates that can make your online store look professional with little or no design experience.
SquareSpace is built less for larger online stores and is more comparable to Wix than Shopify. However, it’s also less expensive and an attractive option for smaller businesses.
While these are some of the most popular platforms for small businesses, there are a variety of other platforms available. Take a look at Inc.com’s article, Best eCommerce Platforms for Small Business, to see some more options that may work for your business.