How to choose the best eCommerce platform in 2018?

How to choose the best eCommerce platform in 2018?

Let’s face it, you may have products and services that are just waiting to be the next ‘must have’ item out there, but without the best eCommerce platform on which to market and sell them from you are not going to realise your brands true potential.

Fear not! Below we will take an in-depth look at what the top eCommerce platforms can offer and why selecting the right one for your business really can be a game changer.


What should the best eCommerce platform offer?

Choosing the best platform to sell online means you should find a solution that meets all immediate requirements, but it must also give flexibility in order to meet the growing needs of an increased customer base and continual expansion of your business.

When looking at the most popular eCommerce platforms, each will have functions that make them a stand-out choice for individual businesses. This is why it is important to have a clear understanding of what is offered as well as where your priorities lie. By doing so will help you decide what is the best eCommerce platform for your business.


What are the most popular eCommerce platforms?

‘Majority rule’ should be seen as a factor when it comes to what is the best eCommerce platform available for your business needs, but it should certainly not be looked upon as the ‘be-all and end-all’ of your decision making.

Rather than just looking at which platforms have most users you should take a host of other considerations into account. This is because by understanding which platforms currently attracted the most subscribers it gives a starting point for eCommerce platforms comparison.

The most popular eCommerce platforms are obviously getting things right in terms of being the best platform to sell online and research data as to why is freely available in terms of claims that they offer the best business leverage for your business.

We will go into a variety of things for you to consider later in the article to help with your decision making, this will include a section on what we see as the top 10 eCommerce platforms, but first here are the current 3 most popular eCommerce platforms globally:

  1. Magento
  2. WooCommerce
  3. Shopify

What to look for in the best platform to sell online?

One of the first rules of business you should put in place and adhere to is that you cannot be everything to everyone. Although this is a worthy thought, the truth is that it will be self-defeating and the reality is that you will end up being not very much to anyone!

It is important that you have clear business goals regarding the product(s) or service you are offering. By achieving this it will give brand clarity and allow you to major on the audience you intend to target.

One of these goals is having a clear vision of what your business wants in terms of the best platform to sell online. This choice will not be the same for all businesses due to the fact that individual priorities and preferences vary.

You also need to bear in mind your physical location. The reason for saying this is that what may be seen as ideal eCommerce platforms UK centric may not necessarily be best for those in other global locations.


What are the major eCommerce platform considerations?

Here are 5 things to bear in mind when considering the top eCommerce platforms and which will best suit your individual business needs:

  1. The platform should allow you ease of use to build, customise and confidently run your online store.
  2. It will provide a variety of easy to use tools which will walk you through the entire process from start to finish.
  3. These tools and options should include (but not be limited to) such things as hosting options, design differentiators, pricing and payment choices, marketing tools as well as analytic and reporting tools.
  4. An absolute ‘must have’ with any best platform to sell online is the assurance that the payment security in place is first-class.
  5. Solid back-up and customer support are an essential and something you will rely on. From the moment you decide on what is the best eCommerce platform for your business there is no doubting assistance and support will be required. In all likelihood that assistance will be needed ‘now’, not tomorrow!

Our Ecommerce platform comparisons:

It makes very good business sense to read-up and understand what the most popular eCommerce platforms have to offer. This will add to your knowledge and aid decision making through the review of eCommerce platforms comparison data.

Bearing in mind what was discussed in the ‘what to look for in the best platform to sell online’ section above, you should have priorities in mind when it comes to what you see as the essential ingredients required to help decide on what is the best eCommerce platform for your business.

There is little doubt that these priorities will overlap and interweave, but in terms of eCommerce platform comparisons keep an eye out for such things as:

Price:

Not just initial costs for the price plan that currently suits, but upgrade costs and such things as domain name/hosting costs where applicable

Features:

Consider what comes ‘out-of-the-box’, as well as how flexible and easy to use these features are.  It stands to reason that the top eCommerce platforms should also offer ‘extras’ that help retain your existing customer base as well as attracting new visitors to your online offering. These should include tools that allow you to implement or create such things as:

  • Discount options on ‘special’ offers. This can include multiple item discount, or when a certain sales amount is reached per visit.
  • The banding together of different items to be purchased as a package with discount incentive.
  • Loyalty programs
  • Gift voucher options
  • Gift-wrap options

Templates & Designs:

When looking at eCommerce platforms comparison charts you will find a wide-ranging difference on templates & designs available. For most there will be a generic design to suit their business, but if you have a specific requirement make sure that this can be achieved.

Apps & Add-ons:

The best eCommerce platforms should have their own active apps store. They should also offer comprehensive 3rd-party add-ons that give a good choice of tools for you to take advantage of.

Customer support:

When choosing the best platform to sell online you must place a high priority on the level of customer support offered. Do bear in mind that this will vary dependent upon your chosen price plan. It is also vital that prompt, efficient and informative help is available when you need it.

The best eCommerce platform for SEO:

Before we look at the best eCommerce platform for SEO and what key SEO tools you should have access to, it should be said that no matter which of the top 10 eCommerce platforms you choose, SEO advantage will be best leveraged by availing of a well-respected, professional and proven digital marketing agency.

The reason for saying this is that good SEO is an art and it is only with the benefit of best practice SEO that you will achieve the exposure your brand deserves.

As the best eCommerce platforms for SEO from a DIY perspective go, we have listed below the 6 most relevant ones to be considered. Using any of these while leaning on your chosen digital marketing agency for additional exposure will leave you in an excellent position for brand recognition and increased site visits:

  1. WooCommerce
  2. BigCommerce
  3. Weebly by Square
  4. Shopify
  5. Magento
  6. Wix
  7. osCommerce
  8. SquareSpace

The reality is that the best eCommerce platform for SEO depends on your SEO ability. If you do not have the relevant skill to maximise SEO practices then appoint a company that does. This will allow you to get on with what you do best; running your business.

Best eCommerce platforms for the UK:

For businesses based in the United Kingdom there is a wide choice of best eCommerce platforms UK. Once again, we have tried and tested a good spread of platforms from a UK perspective and consider the most appropriate to be:

  1. Weebly by Square
  2. WooCommerce
  3. Shopify
  4. Magento
  5. BigCommerce
  6. Wix
  7. Prestashop
  8. Bluepark

 

As can be seen, eCommerce platforms comparison data is a very important part of your selection process. While the first 5 comparisons can readily be made, the final 2 may not automatically make your list, but without them you will not make the most of the best platform to sell online for your needs or choose a platform best suited to your physically location. SEO is crucial if you are to get your site out there and give it the attention it deserves. Then the Uk location being essential for those whose business base is in the United Kingdom.


The devil is in the detail:

When investigating which is the best eCommerce platform for your specific requirements you will find that each one has a base offering. This can best be described as ‘essential eCommerce features’ and means they offer a feature set which is vital for fluid, manageable and productive online stores.

This is where the devil is in the detail. What one business owner may see as the best platform to sell online does not necessarily translate to others with different needs

You need to focus on niche factors that are important to you and your business. As you will see in our conclusion, we recommend whittling down your choice and then taking each of these for a free ‘test-drive’ to see which suits you, your business and your style of operation.

This is because each have their benefits and dependent upon your specific needs, one is sure to fit more smoothly into the way you operate. Such analysis and testing will be the cornerstone that ensures your online business not only gets off to a solid start, but is given the ability to grow as brand recognition increases.

The important thing to remember is that you should match your specific requirements to what these top eCommerce platforms offer. By doing so you will quickly understand which is most appropriate for your business needs.


Our choice of the best eCommerce platform:

Top 10 eCommerce platforms:

With the above in mind, here are our top 10 eCommerce platforms. These have been tried and tested and all have a very solid name when it comes to being the most popular eCommerce platforms currently available.

Having taken the overall richness of feature-sets offered by each company, in our view the newly updated Weebly by Square now come out tops as the all-round best eCommerce platform,  WooCommerce comes in second, with Shopify (Read full review) a close third as runner up.

#SoftwareRATINGScoresLINK
1

Weebly eCommerce Solution by Square

weebly-logo
Read full review
Ease of Use
94
Features & Flexibity
90
SEO & Mobility
81
Help & Support
84
Pricing
91
Go To Weebly Website
2

Shopify eCommerce Solution

shopify-bag-logo
Read full review
Ease of Use
85
Features & Flexibity
75
SEO & Mobility
75
Help & Support
90
Pricing
80
Go To Shopify Website
3

WIX Store eCommerce Solution

wix-logo
Read full review
Ease of Use
85
Features & Flexibity
70
SEO & Mobility
75
Help & Support
90
Pricing
80
Go To Wix Website
4

Magento eCommerce Solution

Magento-logo
Read full review
Ease of Use
85
Features & Flexibity
90
SEO & Mobility
80
Help & Support
75
Pricing
65
Go To Magento Website
5

Big Commerce eCommerce Solution

BigCommerce-logomark-whitebg
Read full review
Ease of Use
75
Features & Flexibity
80
SEO & Mobility
90
Help & Support
65
Pricing
80
Go To Big Commerce Website
6

PrestaShop eCommerce Solution

prestashop-logo
Read full review
Ease of Use
65
Features & Flexibity
85
SEO & Mobility
70
Help & Support
70
Pricing
75
Go To PrestaShop Website


Taking all of the above into account and having thoroughly tested all of the top eCommerce platforms mentioned in this piece, we reiterate our strong recommendation that you make a short-list of 3 of the best eCommerce platform providers and then take each of them on a free trial basis to see which you feel most comfortable with.

To clearly show just how close our decision was, below are marks out of 10 for each of these top eCommerce platforms in terms of overall satisfaction. You can check our full detailed reviews of these and more in our ecommerce solutions reviews.

eCommerce SolutionScore
1. Weebly by Square 8.8 / 10
2. WooCommerce 8.6 / 10
3. Shopify 8.1 / 10

 


Conclusion and recommendation:

Weebly by Square gets the nod from us due to its fully focused approach on delivering all the features and benefits you require as a store owner. This is not just for your online presence but also the ‘offline’ abilities the platform can provide.

It would do you no harm whatsoever to trial 3 of these to help with your final decision. This is because it is a decision that should in no shape or form be rushed.

Because choosing the best eCommerce platform for your personal needs and business goals is such an important decision you need to carry out in-depth analysis and reviews.

It will help tremendously to make a list of things you feel are essential for your business. This should be continuously added to the greater your overall understanding of the top eCommerce platforms becomes.

We have mentioned it a couple of times, but, in truth it cannot be stated strongly enough.

When choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business, whittle down your list and then take a free trial of the top contenders.

As well as helping you make this extremely important decision, you will have full peace of mind in terms of how thoroughly your selection process has been.

Click here to try WEEBLY RISK-FREE Today!

Click here to try WEEBLY RISK-FREE Today!


Thanks for reading!

[Review last updated in Dec 2018]

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