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List of the best e-commerce platforms 2020 has to offer.

Today, you cannot dispute that the e-commerce space, otherwise known as electronic commerce, has been growing massively since the last couple of decades. This growth can be due to higher consumer interest, participation, and an increase in demand. Presently, massive growth is being seen in the business to customer (B2C) e-commerce, with the aid of the business to business (B2B) e-commerce, and this trend is growing all over the world. In this growth, technology shouldn't be overlooked, as it has been the main driving force behind the evolution and existence of the B2B and B2C e-commerce industry.


It is ideal to know that the increase in e-commerce websites and platforms has helped a lot of people/businesses in such a way that at their own space or comfort zones, they can do business online, ordering goods and services and also have the privilege of enjoying various offers and discounts. Aside from these, most people love to take consent from relatives before purchasing. It's less stressful for people to buy products or gifts to their loved ones through these e-commerce websites and platforms.


Notably, as a business owner, there are ways you can grow your business through the use of e-commerce platforms. You should know that by selling your products online, your shop is being opened to a massive number of people from all walks of life, as the internet is regarded as the biggest market of shoppers in history. Using electronic commerce platforms, you get to sell far beyond your usual consumer base offline, as you will no longer be limited to your physical shop alone.


Wanting to make your business e-commerce enabled, the first thing you should consider is your business's safety. Below, I will be listing some numbers of safe and secured e-commerce platforms that can help grow your businesses.

VASTLO Digital Shopify
Image Source: Unsplash - Roberto Cortese

Shopify

Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce platforms, founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke. It is an inclusive e-commerce platform that allows you to create your website and sell online worldwide. It is a cloud-based hosting, e-commerce platform provider used by businesses to set up shops online. It is easy to use as a content manager system (CMS) to help users manage their websites. It is popular because of its low startup cost, and also it's an easy-to-use interface. Its subscription fee model is periodically based on monthly and yearly. At Shopify, it is easy to run a complete online shop or as low as $29/month. After subscription, you can have everything online in less than a week to startup your business.

The main features of Shopify are;

  • Full customisation website, online store, and blog
  • Unlimited bandwidth, product inventory, and customer data
  • Sell on new sale channels like Pinterest and Amazon
  • They support all popular gateways payment
  • They automate your fulfilment process with 3rd party shipping apps
  • Their award-winning support teams are always on ground 24/7 to help customers in case of any technical issues

Pros of Shopify

  • It is pretty easy to use.
  • Its templates are mobile-friendly- very attractive and fully responsive.
  • Availability of abandoned cart saving functionality on all plans, even on the cheapest $9 ‘Lite’ plan.
  • If you are into drop shipping, then Shopify is a great option for you
  • It has an automatic calculation and application for US, Canadian, and EU VAT MOSS rates.
  • Possibility of Multi-currency sales, although you’ll maybe need to rely on an app to properly implement this.
  • You get to create versions of your site in different languages you wish to (but some limitations in functionality apply).
  • You can use Shopify to sell your products easily on other websites by making use of the Lite Plan’s ‘Buy Button’.
  • It comes with an inbuilt email marketing tool that allows you to host a list of up to 2,500 subscribers for free.
  • The point-of-sale options are comprehensive.
  • It helps you handles the creation and application of product categories efficiently.
  • Easy extension of functionality, thanks to a huge range of third-party apps (although note that you will have to pay to use many of them).
  • Provision of an in-built blog
  • It allows you to create AMP versions of product pages (albeit with the help / additional cost of a third-party app).
  • It provides both iOS and Android apps to enable you to manage your store on the go.
  • There are no transaction fees if you are happy to use the inbuilt payment processing system, otherwise known as the Shopify Payments.
  • It gives you free trial privilege before committing to it.

Cons of Shopify

  • Note that while you can create 100 variants of a product, these can only involve up to 3 product options.
  • Important functionality that you might expect to be provided out of the box often requires the installation of an app.
  • The addition of custom fields such as text boxes or file upload options, whilst doable, is unnecessarily complicated (or involves purchasing an app).
  • Professional reporting functionality is only provided when subscribed to more expensive plans.
  • The inbuilt payment processor, Shopify Payments, allows you to sell from certain countries only.
  • There is always a transaction fee when using a third-party payment gateway.
  • Product images have to be uploaded with the same aspect ratio to display efficiently.
  • The abandoned cart saver is limited to sending one automated follow-up email only.
  • When using a drop-shipping app, it’s hard to be confident that the goods you’re selling are ethically produced.
  • Getting your site to be GDPR compliant where cookies are concerned involves the use of a third party cookie banner app.
  • Although workarounds exist, but there is no longer an official Mail chimp-Shopify integration available.
  • Having the email marketing functionality is nice, but pretty basic

VASTLO Digital BigCommerce
Image Source: BigCommerce.com

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another very reliable e-commerce platform, founded in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani. BigCommerce is an all-in-one platform that allows you to build and scale your online shop. It's designed with full e-commerce features for the growth of your business. It supports multi-channel selling of your products on platforms like  Facebook, eBay, Amazon, etc., and also provides apps that help streamline your operations. The most exciting part about this platform is that there are no hidden or extra charges when you use a third-party payment method. All you need to get started is to choose a fully optimised template.

Its main features are;

  • You can sell everywhere (Facebook, eBay, Amazon, etc.) making use of the Omni-Channel manager
  • Abandoned cart saver feature which helps to send up to 3 automated emails to visitors who didn't complete the checkout process.
  • Set your own promotion rules
  • BigCommerce payment gateways and transaction fees
  • BigCommerce offers many automation tools in their system such as ShipperHQ which calculates shipping rate based on the rules you set and Avalara which integrates with BigCommerce to calculate tax depending on different criteria.

Pros of BigCommerce:

  • It allows you to sync your products to different market place
  • It has an abandoned cart saver feature
  • You can personalise your own promo
  • Zero transaction fees
  • Automated the difficult tasks
  • Platform to grow your store worldwide

Cons of BigCommerce:

  • Plan designed based on sales threshold
  • Premium themes are expensive
  • There is no lite version

VASTLO Digital Woocommerce
Image Source: WooCommerce.com

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is another e-commerce platform and an excellent choice for businesses and individuals who want to expand their business by launching their online store. When using WooCommerce, you get to enjoy free eCommerce plugin that is accompanied by a robust set of tools and features you need to start up with; again, you get full support from their team and from user communities that include software experts and primary business owners.


A general overview of WooCommerce features are; Modern and clean interface, Improve expertise for store owners, Pre-installed payment gateways, WordPress content integration, Set default currency, Total control of the checkout process, Geo-location support, Cart behaviour, Automatic Taxes, Add/Manage Products, Reduce Page loading, Shipping calculation, Product variables, Inventory Management, Geo-location enabled taxes, Multiple shipping methods, custom tax calculation, Restrict sales, Shipping prices, Tax rate definition, Simplified coupon system, Select customer address, Search engine optimisation, Owner verification, Product reviews, discount coupon, and codes, Analyse product and orders, CRM/store management Dashboard, reporting, and support/hosting.

Pros of WooCommerce

  • WooCommerce software is completely free and open-source which means it can be shared with another user.
  • 100% customisation
  • It has great flexibility; this means it can open all kinds of an online shop, regardless of their market niche
  • Optimal security
  • It has a large community of users, developers, and contributors
  • It performs excellently and is hampered with plugins and plug-ins

Cons for WooCommerce

  • Though it is free, you need to pay for the installation of some extensions
  • Template customisation requires a technical capability
  • It can be complicated to use for starters

VASTLO Digital Squarespace
Image Source: Squarespace

Squarespace

Squarespace is a DIY (Do It Yourself) website builder solution. It allows you to create engaging and attractive websites. Squarespace provides an array of features, capabilities, and easy-to-use tools for SMBs (Small and Medium-sized Businesses) and individuals looking to create an online presence through a personal blog or business website. Squarespace software comes with extensive integration, full customisation, and also several inbuilt templates that you can quickly start your online site with.


Overview features of Squarespace are; Modern Templates, Style Editor, Built-in Mobile Website, Responsive Image Loader, Drag-and-Drop Management, Audio Collections, Gallery Blocks, Template switching, Social Links, Content Downloading, Custom (What You See Is What You Get) Editor, Mobile Information Bar, Direct Editing, Automatic Image Scaling, and Site Annotations.

Pros for Squarespace

  • Squarespace gives over 100 sophisticated themes Optimised for tablets and phones
  • Squarespace has a feature-rich commenting feature, Multi-author functionality, Ability to post, AMP support, and you can also host your own podcast.
  • Dedicated and experienced support teams who respond instantly to users
  • Their mobile app on IOS allows you to edit almost all aspect of your website, including pages blog and store

Cons for Squarespace

  • Usability of the website Editor needs to be improved
  • It is unsuitable for a larger website that requires a deep menu hierarchy, and almost impossible to create a multilingual website with Squarespace
  • It has a low page speed, and this could lead to poor user experience

Summary

You should know that nothing on earth is perfect, and eCommerce platforms aren't excluded, but choosing the best platform to open your online store, then you should consider one of these top choices I have narrowed down.

Shopify is currently number one on these choices due to its excellent features and upgrades. BigCommerce is also a platform to consider the business model and performs well for SEO. WooCormmerce is catching up with the leaders like Shopify in terms of features and apps, And Squarespace is perfect eCommerce software for simple stores. Secondly, POD can be run on Squarespace. Again if you wish to expand your business by opening an online shop, you should check out one of these eCommerce platforms.

Contact us if your business requires an e-commerce website. We'd love to work with you.

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