Best Online Store Platform For Small Business – Do a quick Google search and you’ll find dozens of posts on hundreds of different platforms covering every aspect of ecommerce.
While these lists provide a high-level overview of all the platforms on the market, you often feel completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Are you busy. I’m busy. Everyone is busy.
Best Online Store Platform For Small Business
Few of us have the time to manually review, let alone review, hundreds of different platforms.
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So instead of making another monster list, I took a different approach. I reached out to over 100 e-commerce and small business experts and asked them the following question.
I wanted to see which platform would come out on top and see if any of the e-commerce industries would dominate.
And to help you manage orders, inventory, and everything else going on at the back end of your ecommerce business, the EMERGE app integrates well with popular ecommerce platforms, including Shopify and WooCommerce.
Overall, I’d say Shopify is the best platform for smaller merchants. Precisely because it requires less technical knowledge and is much more complex than something like Magento.
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That said, if a merchant has a larger catalog or needs a lot of custom features, I recommend Magento Community Edition.
To be honest, I often recommend a platform based on specific requirements. But overall, I’d say Shopify is a great choice for smaller retailers.
We recommend three different ecommerce platforms in our course. And they all include responsive templates that work great on any device: desktop, tablet, or mobile. However, each platform has its pros and cons:
BigCommerce – BigCommerce is an extremely effective ecommerce store building platform. There are many automation modules that can be embedded in page templates. And the shopping cart is especially suitable for large product catalogs with no restrictions on catalog size or bandwidth usage. They also have a very comprehensive set of tutorials that cover everything you need to know to build a great online store. BigCommerce has a number of paid third-party applications to make your store even more functional.
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The downside is that they have very few free templates. So either you need to know HTML and CSS to change anything but basic colors. Hire a developer to make these changes or pay for premium templates. You are probably paying more than you thought. b
Their cheapest plans, starting at $29.95, don’t include many of the basic features that other shopping carts include. It is also important to note that the price you pay is based on gross sales dollars. So if you have a very successful store, you will pay a much higher monthly amount than other shopping carts.
Shopify – The most popular ecommerce platform. No real shopping cart has more free templates to choose from. So whatever you’re selling, make sure it works perfectly for your store. They also have a number of third-party paid apps that are built to work seamlessly with Shopify.
Also great for large stores, there is no limit on product catalog size or bandwidth usage. The biggest downside is that if you want to use a payment processor other than your own, Shopify will charge you up to 2% (depending on your pricing plan) to use the processor of your choice. This can double the efficiency of your payment processing!
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Editing templates in Shopify is very difficult. So advanced HTML and CSS are required if you really want to change the theme templates. Like BigCommerce, many of the things that many people think should automatically come with the shopping cart are paid add-ons to Shopify. Especially with the $29/month plan. Unlike BigCommerce, Shopify doesn’t base its monthly pricing on the success of your store. Their pricing is based on the programs that are (or are not) part of the plan.
A truly fantastic platform for brand new stores. 3DCart includes a lot of free apps that you pay a lot for at other shopping carts like BigCommerce or Shopify. Just think, wishlists, third-party shipping accounts, customer groups and loyalty programs, QuickBooks, Amazon and eBay integration, among many other applications, are included at no additional cost. They even include automated shop builders for all major shop machines. And a way to make your own feed generator that you can use for anything.
They have about 70 free theme templates to choose from, and like all shopping carts, there are plenty of paid ones if you can’t find a free template you like. Theme changes are much easier with 3DCart than with BigCommerce or Shopify, so while knowledge of HTML and CSS is certainly helpful, it’s not necessary if you want to change the theme.
They also have many paid programs that can make your online store even better. Not as many third-party providers have created apps for 3DCart as Shopify and BigCommerce, but there are plenty. All plans, starting at $29 per month, now include unlimited products and broadband. However, there are some very popular items with much more expensive plans.
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Like BigCommerce and Shopify, things like email, autoresponders, product Q&A, and abandoned cart savers are only available on the more expensive monthly plans. Most of these things can be added as programs for less than switching to a much more expensive subscription.
The bottom line is that no shopping cart is perfect and every store has its own unique needs. What is perfect for one type of online store may not work for another. It is best to take advantage of the free trial that each shopping cart provider offers. Choose the one that best fits your specific shopping needs and for the best overall monthly price.
Overall, Shopify is my top pick for any newbie or small business starting to sell online. Setup is a breeze, with multi-channel integration with Facebook Shop and Amazon, secure Shopify payments, and internal Shopify Shipping for label printing.
Together, it offers full order management and package fulfillment from a single dashboard, all for $29 per month. It also integrates with many of the top small business fulfillment centers, dropshipping programs, and print-on-demand providers for those who want hands-free fulfillment. Their customer service is also excellent. Every time I call I get a friendly and knowledgeable professional.
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Ecwid is my go-to choice for small businesses that want a full-featured online store combined with a blog-style content website. It integrates directly with WordPress so small businesses and brands can maximize user experience with any type of content that drives engagement. This combination unlocks everything WordPress can do: blog posts, videos, reviews, forums, contributors, and more; plus sell products in a fully integrated store.
Ecwid is not free like WooCommerce, another best WordPress store plugin. But for a web novice or a busy small business owner, Ecwid is easy to get started. Plus, it costs about half the price of Shopify and offers many of the same great native features, such as the Facebook Store, fulfillment center, and print supplier integration.
Square is my top choice for small stores looking to integrate both in-store and online sales into one management system. In fact, it offers a good modern ecommerce platform for free with every account. Users can connect to it in store, on mobile and online sales, inventory management, sales and payment processing across all channels in one convenient dashboard.
The online store may not match all of Shopify’s or Ecwid’s online selling features, but not all merchants need it. Many chain store owners such as coffee shops, bakeries, etc. want an online store to serve their local customers better than selling online. With Square, they can enable customers to pre-order online, order for delivery, and more.
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In addition, it has a customer loyalty feature for frequent buyers. It’s a great platform for combining face-to-face and online sales of all types. This means that Square makes it easy to ship online orders by integrating with ShipStation.
Currently, WooCommerce is the most popular and comprehensive ecommerce platform for small businesses. With about 38% of the entire e-commerce market, it has the largest ecosystem of self-service solutions. For basic e-commerce, you can use it directly with PayPal and Stripe. But there are extensions for every major payment gateway.
If you need more versatility, WooCommerce leads the way for small businesses. With hundreds of extensions and a huge network of thousands of WooCommerce developers worldwide, there’s very little WooCommerce can’t do. If your business is suddenly growing, WooCommerce also has a very high performance threshold at scale if you have the right hosting infrastructure in place. For most small businesses, WooCommerce is the logical choice.
Another solution I recommend is Shopify. Mainly
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