Picking an ecommerce platform is always a challenge, because it’s an important decision that can have a huge impact on the trajectory that your company takes. And, because it’s such an important decision, there are is a large number of e-commerce platforms out there for you to choose from.
That means you’re going to have to make a choice that can make or break an ecommerce business before it ever gets started. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you and today, we’ll be sharing just a few of the main options that you can look at if you’re seeking an ecommerce platform in 2021 and beyond.
How to choose an e-commerce platform in 2021?
Shopify is the baseline ecommerce platform which is a decent bet if you’re just starting out and looking for something quick and easy that you can use to create a hobbyist site. It’s great for people like artists and makers who are building simple sites for themselves, but it might not be perfect if you’re planning on expanding into an international company.
Part of that is down to the way that Shopify operates, using a monthly pricing model as opposed to being open source like some other providers. You can also find yourself paying high commissions on the sales you make. Either way, if you plan on selling products at any considerable scale, you can expect to pay a premium for the privilege.
As a closed system, Shopify doesn’t have access to as many features and themes as some of its competitors. On the other hand, that also means that if you go with one of their default themes, you can be pretty sure that it’s been thoroughly tested before ever being released.
Squarespace is interesting because it’s almost an ecommerce platform for IT developers. What we mean by that is that as long as you have a rudimentary understanding of computers and technology, you’ll be able to use Squarespace to build an ecommerce site with or without design experience and familiarity with web programming languages.
The downside is that it’s not specifically built for ecommerce and so while it does offer up a certain amount of core functionality, it’s not really the optimum choice. With that said, it does at least mean that you’ll be able to cover off hosting and domain name registration as well as your ecommerce build all through a single provider.
WooCommerce is designed specifically to be used by WordPress admins who want to add ecommerce functionality to a primarily content-driven website. It basically allows you to get the best of both worlds, blending WordPress’s powerful content management functionality with advanced ecommerce capabilities.
It essentially adds on to WordPress like a plugin and so because of that, it’s not quite as powerful as platforms that are specifically designed for ecommerce. With that said, if you’re running a website where the primary focus is the content, integrating WooCommerce can be a great compromise that allows you to tightly integrate the two.
This means that it’s also potentially the best ecommerce CMS for you if you want to link up blog posts with the products that you sell or to natively link to related products in a way that feels natural within the blog’s own design. It’s quite a specific use case, but it’s also one where WooCommerce can be insanely useful.
Magento is the obvious choice, which is why we’ve saved it until last. It makes for a good default pick, but you shouldn’t just blindly go with it before checking out what other ecommerce providers have to offer.
The main reason to pick Magento is that it has a good track record of powering profitable ecommerce sites for companies of all sizes. There’s also a whole heap of third-party functionality out there that you can tap into if you have any specific needs that aren’t catered to by the core functionality.
Then there’s the fact that Magento development is usually pretty affordable by virtue of the fact that it’s such a widely used system and there are loads of developers who are used to working with it. You can cut costs even on research time, because any web developer worth their salt will already have some experience of using it.
With the information that we’ve covered today, you should by now be in a pretty good position to make a decision on which ecommerce platforms are most closely suited to what you and your company are hoping to achieve.
Remember too that an important part of choosing an ecommerce platform is to pick one that can grow with you as you and your company continue to scale up. Best of luck with your ecommerce site!