ecommerce platforms

Choosing the most suitable ecommerce platform for your business depends on a few key factors; your budget, the level of customisation you require, ease of use, speed and scalability, security, the number of plugins and integrations available, and mobile and SEO friendliness.  

Let’s say you plan to start a craft business. You intend to discover rare artisans from different parts of the world, and promote and sustain their craftsmanship by selling their merchandise to the public. It’s one thing to travel and identify such art and craft forms, and a whole other to build a website from scratch to promote their products. This is where an ecommerce platform comes into play.  

An ecommerce platform is simply a software-as-a-service platform that allows you, the retailer/ merchandiser, to host your own website in just a few days or weeks.  

Typically, ecommerce platforms come with a host of pre-setup services like; 

  • Website templates & formats 
  • Product pages 
  • Payment gateways 
  • Feedback/review tools 
  • Multi-channel marketing tools 
  • Customer support 
  • Order fulfilment 

Brands are opting for proven e-commerce platforms as opposed to building from scratch for the following reasons – 

  • They save the time, effort and money otherwise spent on building a website and payment gateway from scratch 
  • They are simple for you (as a retailer) and for your customer to navigate through and use 
  • They promote easy administration 
  • They are more secure  
  • They ensure lesser downtime (as compared to running and managing your own website) 

Having gotten a glimpse into the fundamentals of an ecommerce platform, let’s look at the top 5 ecommerce platforms that will be useful for your business. 

  1. Shopify 

Starting at just US $20 a month, Shopify comes with a host of features that simplifies ecommerce retailing for businesses from start to finish. For a start, it comes with over 70 free and paid website templates that businesses can choose from. It also provides features to help you develop a logo, come up with a fitting domain name, include relevant stock photographs, and choose from business themes. Additionally, as a merchandiser you can make changes to your product pages, inventory, pricing and content from anywhere 

It promotes multi-channel marketing, which means you can market and sell your products across multiple channels like website, mobile app, YouTube, Google, Facebook (ads) and Instagram. In fact, Shopify is known for its great SEO tools. It allows third-party integrations to optimise content across platforms. 

On the payment gateway front, Shopify’s Shop Pay enables easy online transactions with minimal processing fee. If you run a brick and mortar store too, Shopify POS can act as a payment gateway. Being an end-to-end platform, Shopify also provides drop shipping and fulfilment services to its customers. Lastly, it is a secure platform. Its 256-bits SSL Certification secures customer information, card details, phone numbers, addresses and the like. 

Notable Brands that Use Shopify: Netflix, Tesla, FitBit, Penguin Books, Whole Foods, Pepsico, Kylie Cosmetics & more. 

  1. Wix 

While Wix doesn’t provide end-to-end services like Shopify does, the Israel-based ecommerce platform still hosts a great number of features that can help businesses build and market a great website.  

Wix positions itself as a website builder. For a start, it offers 800+ designer-made templates, and services for domain name identification, website design, advanced web development, mobile app development and website customisation with APIs.  

Once the website has been built, it enables its merchant customers to manage orders and fulfilment, and market their business through multiple channels like email, social media, Facebook ads and internal analytics. It also provides payment gateways like Stripe, Square and more, and allows merchants to run abandoned cart campaigns.  

Wix also provides website and mobile analytics into site and page traffic, store performance, product demand, customer base and such. While it has features for inventory management across channels, and SEO integrations, it is not as wide and effective as the features that Shopify offers. 

On the security front, Wix also offers a free 256-bit SSL certificate, which protects website content, customer information (name, address, payment, phone number etc.), and gives an overall advanced, end-to-end encryption for its merchant customers.  

Notable Brands that Use Wix: Forbes, AirBnb, The New York Times, Deloitte, Hilton, Lyft, CBS & more. (Note: Wix is primarily used by larger brands for e-commerce promotions – not to sell products while smaller brands use Wix to setup an e-commerce store).  

  1. BigCommerce 

BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform most suited for enterprise businesses. Much like Shopify and Wix, it offers a host of services that include website development (customised themes, WordPress integration, mobile optimisation etc.), SEO integrations, digital payments, ready-to-use coupons and discounts, bulk pricing and such. It also provides shipping services, reporting and analytics features, and a comprehensive inventory pricing, customising and management system.  

BigCommerce claims to have a 99.99% uptime and performance owing to its high availability infrastructure, and it is secured with an ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification and PCI DSS 3.1, Level 1 certification as both a merchant and service provider. 

While its features are very similar to the earlier ecommerce platforms that we saw, a few common cons that merchant customers have experienced with BigCommerce are – unavailability of certain marketing tools and subscription features, and lack of multilingual options. 

Notable Brands that Use BigCommerce: Sony, Casio, GE Appliances, Skullcandy, Black Diamond, Airtasker, Gillette and more. 

  1. Adobe Commerce 

While Adobe Commerce offers much the same features as Shopify, Wix or BigCommerce, the one big difference in its functionality is that it is suitable for large businesses which want extensive customisation in website and features. The features are built on complex code, which can be difficult to maintain and customise for small retailers.  

Having said that, the platform also proves to be advantageous in many ways; the deep customisation can be a great asset for businesses to experiment and make changes to drive higher ROI and conversions. The platform also has a large community of developers who can work together to solve problems and innovate new features. It also offers a large number of extensions and integrations which can be ideal for businesses.  

Notable Brands that Use Adobe Commerce: HP, Liebherr, Shoebacca, U Mobile, TLC DIgitech, Grace Group  

  1. WooCommerce 

WooCommerce is an open source platform built on WordPress.  

As a Merit expert says, “If you’ve built your website on WordPress, it may be a good idea to use Woo Commerce since it seamlessly integrates. While most of the e-commerce platforms listed above are reliable and top-notch, the question to be answered is – what works for us?. WooCommerce, for instance, is ideal if you’re a content-enabled e-commerce site. If your strategy is to drive traffic using content marketing, then a WordPress + WooCommerce solution works. If, on the other hand, you’re building a pure online store, Shopify is ideal if you can afford its fees and commission. The key is to choose a platform that meets your financial and customer experience needs.”  

WooCommerce offers much the same features as every other ecommerce platform we’ve seen above. However, what makes it different is that it offers both ready-to-use templates to build your website. And, it also allows merchant customers to completely customise their site by building their own code. Other advantages that WooCommerce offers include; including plug-ins and extensions, it costs cheaper than say Shopify. It doesn’t charge a fee on transactions, it offers more than a handful of payment services (including regional ones), it has more options for dropshipping (because it allows more plugins), and more. 

Notable Brands that Use WooCommerce: TechCrunch, Time Magazine, Etsy, Home Depot, Walmart, Singer, All Blacks & more 

Merit’s Expertise in e-Commerce Data and Intelligence  

Our state-of-the-art eCommerce data harvesting engine collects raw data and provides actionable insights  

  • Three to four times faster than standard scrapers  
  • At lower cost  
  • With Increased accuracy (up to 30% compared to standard scrapers)  

Our powerful, new scraper engine can gather massive data sets from multiple sites and geographies in real-time so you can stay informed on customer behaviours and market trends.  

Merit’s eCommerce data engine provides a high degree of confidence in insights generated from analytics – thanks to confidence in the data quality and access to enriched data.  

To know more, visit: 

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