Whether you are brand new to eCommerce or a veteran running an online shop, there is always this important consideration of how your current or choosing a right platform is performing at least 95% of the time as your sales grow.
I’m going to do a simple breakdown of eCommerce platforms to being your search and narrow down your choices to find the best fit tailored for your business.
Is there such the Best eCommerce Platform out there?
While there are familiar and widely used platform leaders in eCommerce ecosystem, there is *no “best” platform at all because it all comes down to your specific needs. However, it is possible to find the right platform to fit your eCommerce business model and needs.
There are many options to choose from a variety of eCommerce platforms but there are a couple of things to keep in mind when doing an audit of your eCommerce business needs.
Your Own Shop or Marketplace
If you choose to go with your own shop, it gives you more control over your brand and develop personal experience for potential customers. However, designing a custom shop can take long time to get started while building one can carry high price tag in the beginning but becomes less expensive as you maintain the shop in long term.
If you choose to join a marketplace such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy, they already provide you the tools to get started quickly and easy to use so you can concentrate only on the products you upload and let the marketplace do the work when visitors use search tool to look for a product they desire or need. They also have traffic built in compared to standalone shop which would require different methods to bring traffic and customers. However, the marketplace put more value on their brand rather than your own plus they withhold customer information therefore any customer who purchases your product isn’t fully your customer but through the marketplace.
Next question to consider…should you go with either Hosted or Self-Hosted solution?
Hosted or Self-Hosted Comparison
- Hosted shopping cart software
- Self-hosted source shopping cart software
Hosted eCommerce Solutions
Going with a hosted eCommerce platform makes your life much easier because they usually take care of everything like security, PCI compliance, backups and preventing downtime should the website crash unexpectedly. Most technical details and management are in one place by the eCommerce platform provider. This solution is the best if you only want to focus on your business and customers and not having to deal with technical details where you are forced to make time to learn and manage those details.
Some well known eCommerce platforms:
Going with a self-hosted eCommerce platform it means you are virtually responsible for buying web hosting, download the necessary software and install it to your hosting account. You’re also responsible for security such as SSL and PCI compliance to gain a customer’s trust when shopping on your website. Last thing any customer wants is to have someone’s credit card number stolen or being hacked by third party which should be managed by you as well. This is ideal solution for a small or mid-size business that already have staff in place that can handle this overly complicated process which can be time consuming to learn the technology on top of selling products, servicing customers and building your shop brand. If you already have someone who can handle this part while you focus on selling your products, then you’re in a good place.
Some well known self-hosted eCommerce platforms:
- Zen Cart
However, if you are solo entrepreneur, like most people who start out their businesses, it may be a wise idea to go with hosted eCommerce platform rather than a self-hosted eCommerce platform but you can always make the switch when your situation changes at any time.