Top Ecommerce Platforms to Build your Business Online

Comparing top e-commerce platforms: Shopify, StoreHippo, Magento, Woocommerce, Opencart

It’s 2019 and if you think that it’s too late to build an online store to expand your business, think again!

Don’t give up so easily.

Yes, there are too many online stores, marketplaces, dropshipping and logistical services serving up their goods and services to their customers right on their doorsteps.

But if you feel that the online world is saturated with such players and there is no room for more, you certainly are missing the juggernaut that is ecommerce!

Don’t believe me?

Let the facts and figures do the talking and tell you why it is a good idea to build an online store and take your business online.

So, here we go:

  • Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.9 trillions by 2021. (Source)
  • Social Media is becoming increasingly popular and it is a great tool to target the current generation of millennials. These platforms are full of opportunities and help brands to engage with consumers. This had led to an increase in conversions by 73%. (Source)
  • 73% of online buyers opt for omnichannel shopping. (Source)
  • Mobile internet usage has peaked to 48% as of 2019 and that is a driver for the rise of mobile commerce. (Source)

Don’t you find these trends encouraging enough to make you jump on the ecommerce bandwagon? Ready to find your way into the world of ecommerce? All set to innovate and make your services and products stand out in the market? Have your business plan ready?

Now, all that you need is the right solution to build an online store and get started in the world of ecommerce. But before you take the leap cross-check the most important attributes your ecommerce solution provider must have to make your business a success.

  • Easy and affordable to use
  • User-friendly navigation
  • Site speed and minimal loading time.
  • Organization of products
  • Powerful discount engine
  • A mobile-ready platform that works on multiple devices
  • Multiple payment options with competitive shipping options
  • Integration of SEO and social media marketing.
  • A secure platform to build an online store.
  • Helpful customer service and support.
  • Various options to customize your online store and its scalability.

Keeping these factors in mind, you can either design an online store in house from scratch yourself (albeit it would mean heavy investment to set up everything, hire experts to maintain and run the same etc.) or you can just subscribe to one of the top ecommerce platforms (less cost and responsibility for the functioning and maintenance of the website) and make your life easy.

If you are looking for such services for your business, the following are some viable options for ecommerce solution providers that you can consider:

1.Shopify

Shopify needs no introduction and is popular among ecommerce platforms. Since its inception in 2006, Shopify has grown substantially and facilitated a lot of businesses. Shopify not only provides tools for online retail but offline as well. With an ‘easy-to-use’ interface, it is designed for the entrepreneurs that are just trying to get a start in the world of ecommerce.

It is more suited to small scale business with limited capabilities. Its usage doesn’t exactly require a lot of technical know-how but learning it’s proprietary code ‘Liquid’ can be a bit challenging, while you build an online store. If you are a small business owner looking to start somewhere, Shopify can be a good option. Its analytical and management tools help you monitor a lot of activities and provide multiple options that can enable you to scale up.

Benefits of using Shopify

  • Provision of various POS tools helps in the management of offline stores.
  • Integration with Amazon services makes multi-channel selling easy.
  • Shopify has plenty of third party add-ons in their ‘Shopify app store’ to improve sales, marketing and social media strategy.
  • Their ‘Fraud Analysis’ feature helps identify fraudulent orders to avoid loss in the form of chargeback fees.

Limitations

  • Compared to other top ecommerce platforms, the plans are a little bit pricey and overall backend features are limited.
  • Since it mainly focuses on small businesses and budding entrepreneurs so Shopify plans might not be that suitable for B2B players. For that, you need to venture into ShopifyPlus at a higher price.
  • Shopify uses Liquid which is their proprietary coding template written in Ruby, so that might create certain complexities while back end customization for someone who is not familiar with it.
  • Shopify has plenty of third-party add ons but they all are exclusively priced and might add to your store set up expenses.

2.StoreHippo

When it comes to feature-rich top ecommerce platforms, with a plethora of customizable options for your online store, there is no one better than StoreHippo. Catering dominantly to B2B players, this is the right ecommerce solution for a diverse range of online businesses. With an organised supply chain framework and an integrated logistics partner, Shipkaro, business operations really become seamless.

StoreHippo’s services are vast and benefit not only big companies but individual entrepreneurs too. StoreHippo also offers multiple marketplace integrations and also supports multiple payment methods making your online store a versatile one. StoreHippo top ecommerce platform has a well rounded and stable solution for every stage of a growing business. If you have any out of the box ideas for your online store, be sure to check this site out.

Benefits of using StoreHippo

  • Their ‘Multi-Seller’ feature enables users to manage multiple sellers on their store. Sellers can run both the ‘Marketplace’ and ‘Inventory-led’ store simultaneously.
  • Because of the integrated logistics partner Shipkaro, users get the option of discounted shipping, as well as other features to customize their logistics operations within the country. You can build an online store without worrying about the concerns of shipping.
  • The multi-store feature helps store-owners to manage multiple storefronts from a common dashboard. These stores can have their unique layout, inventory, pricing, promotions etc. based on locations or products.
  • A wide range of B2B features such as pricing management, audit logs for added security, enquiry generation, customized forms and tax rules, user management etc helps backend operations to be more streamlined.
  • Incorporation of technology like PWAs, MEAN helps in building a dynamic online store which can also be customized as Device and Platform-specific.
  • Another aspect that makes it a top ecommerce platform is its ease of use and DIY structure. The flexible and scalable solution can be used by anyone who knows how to operate a computer
  • Their design themes are free and easily customizable with mix and match option.

Limitations

  • Automated logistics limited to India only. Global logistics is also supported, they just don’t have it pre-integrated
  • No POS services yet but they are still working on it. Currently focussed on Online platform.

3.Magento

Magento is one of the most talked-about turnkey ecommerce solutions worldwide. Adobe acquired it to cater to all kinds and scales of businesses. With Adobe’s forte of content creation, advertising, combined with Magento’s open-source e-Commerce platform they are trying to attract businesses looking for top ecommerce platforms vis-a-vis B2B and B2C market.

Despite security vulnerabilities due to its open-source roots, it has still managed steady growth in the market. Magento seems to offer a lot when it comes to B2B ecommerce such as Multi-Channel selling, integration with back-end systems, cloud-based commerce and extensive native B2B functionalities.

Benefits of Using Magento

  • A wide array of flexible features can help you do practically whatever you desire to do with your online store.
  • User-friendly admin interface to manage multiple websites and stores accessible from a single point makes it convenient to build an online store.
  • Higher paid plans include dedicated launch managers for clients who will help coordinate in technical activities and 24/7 incident resolution support.
  • The platform is highly scalable and can be used with businesses of any size and can be customised dynamically.
  • Themes and designs for the online store can be built up from scratch.

Limitations

  • Not suited for small businesses as direct annual support from Magento can cost a lot.
  • A wide array of features can be over complicated for a newbie who is looking for manageable top ecommerce platforms.
  • To avail the full capabilities of its scalability, a Magento stores needs its own dedicated server which would add to the operational and maintenance costs.
  • Large database for big businesses can lead to indexing and speed issues if hosted on a shared server.
  • Security concerns are still sizable as Magento customers still face issues like targeted phishing attempts, SQL injection, remote code execution and cross-site scripting.

4.WooCommerce

What initially started as a plugin to design themes of Wordpress websites, WooCommerce has gained some real ground as a top ecommerce platform for small to large scale business over the years. It is now, one of the most popular ecommerce solutions to build any kind of website using Wordpress. With a facile content management system, users accustomed to the platform can create an online store in minutes.

WooCommerce is not only a vigorous ecommerce platform on its own but it also provides you with the option of integrating with external ecommerce services. There are external plugins available to increase the website’s functionality while you build an online store. A lot of websites on the internet are built on WordPress, boosting WooCommerce’s a huge presence in the ecommerce market.

Benefits of using WooCommerce

  • It is open-source, so a huge scope for customization depending on the user’s choice.
  • A lot of plugins and third-party integration options available to enhance the website’s functionality.
  • A vast community of Wordpress experts and developers to connect with.
  • Base plugin practically free to use.
  • Use of Wordpress makes it a very SEO friendly platform.

Limitations

  • A top ecommerce platform, relying on plugins for every simple functionality can be a turnoff. Those plugins can cost users a lot depending on the range of functionalities they want for their website.
  • If the user is a first-time WordPress user, then the system may be quite complex to use and might involve a steep learning curve to get acquainted with.
  • Support and troubleshooting are not convenient for the user.
  • User will have to take care of site security, updates and maintenance because of self-hosting.
  • The system can be glitchy, confusing to use and bugs can get neglected for quite some time.

5.Opencart

Opencart is an online store management system which is another open-source top ecommerce platform. Like Woocommerce, it has a core+plugin functionality which means you get to customize your online store however you deem fit. If you are looking to build your online store from scratch with minimal investment, open-cart can be an operable option. Since it is open-source, it also has a huge pool of developers forming a community who come up with their extensions for others to use in their online stores.

Benefits of using Opencart

  • Base software itself is free and once your store is up and running, maintenance cost is on the down-low.
  • Like Woocommerce, it is open-source so the scope of customization is high.
  • Its interface is easy to understand and manage.
  • A huge community of professional developers have made numerous extensions available for others to use and customize their store.

Cons

  • To build an online store initially here can be tedious as there are certain requirements like cURL, PHP, Database. This might be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know what he is doing.
  • Since its open-source, its best suited for people with development skills and knowledge, sometimes making it quite difficult to customize.
  • Not very SEO friendly.
  • Core product may be free but extensions to enhance functionalities can cost a lot.
  • A lot of issues still are prevalent in this platform such as security, speed, support.

Conclusion

Now that you have a detailed understanding of these top ecommerce platforms, you should check each one of them vis-a-vis your business requirements. Evaluate their overall features, value-added services, ease of use, affordability etc. and see which of these aligns best with your requirements.

Ready to build your online store? Get started by reviewing the free-trial of these ecommerce solution providers and carve your niche in the online world!

He is an ecommerce expert with 7+ years of experience.With hands-on experience of handling B2B and B2C ecommerce projects