We have clients and friends who ask us, “What are the best e-commerce (sometimes spelled eCommerce) platforms for small business?” We definitely have our favorites, but the selection largely depends on the answers to the following question:
Hard Products or Soft ProductsWith hard products, you’ll need your e-commerce site to calculate shipping and inventory. Soft products like software, apps, ebooks, and services only need an online delivery method and confirmation.
Projected Sales VolumesSome of the best e-commerce platforms for small business are structured in a way more beneficial for smaller sales counts of big-ticket items, such as a per transaction fee. Others have a flat structure fee, favoring a high sales count of a lower priced product. Other percentages of transaction options exist, as well.
Shipping NeedsWe have clients who have some complex shipping needs. Some have multiple product sizes and weights. Various groupings of the products (example, 1 large product and 2 small products) can go into a single box. This single box shipping rate is different than if ony a large item were in it. Some clients need Graphic Design Fort Worth, TX to delineate how many items can go into a single box before a second box is needed. Shipping complexity definitely plays a large role.
Technical HelpAll e-commerce sites have their strengths and weaknesses. Some of the best e-commerce platforms for small business are more flexible in how they can be structured and have additional robust features. These platforms often exceed the coding abilities of the small business owner. Consider the cost of hiring an outside coder for initial platform implementation and ongoing updates for adding more advanced features. Sometimes the best e-commerce platform for a small business is a simple plug-and-play option. Just know you are going to be beholden to the limited style templates and might be missing some features you ultimately need.
E-commerce Plug-in versus E-commerce PlatformPlug-inWordPress is the current king of content management systems (CMS) for many small business owners.
If you don’t know a great deal about how websites are designed, picture your own car. Think of your CMS as the car’s engine hidden under the beautifully styled body (CSS) that presents itself to your views. Your site visitor, like a passenger, never sees the CMS itself. It’s where all the coding, copy and graphics for the site are input and managed.
Some of the best e-commerce platforms for small business are simple plug-ins to the WordPress CMS. (WooCommerce is an example). While these are the easiest to get up and running, consider that any upgrade to WordPress (which happens on the WordPress developers end, not yours), can cause your CMS e-commerce plug-in to not be compatible. This can either take down your entire site, or at a minimum, shut down your store. There are two remedies when this happens:
PlatformAmong some best e-commerce platforms for small business are stand-alone applications. Many of them, like shopify, allow (and require) you to create your entire site on their platform. The benefits? They are stable and are not subject to the whims of an e-commerce plugin/ CMS upgrade (see above) taking down your store. One limitation is that most of them use a templated format to present both your store and site to your site’s visitors. This can limit the choices you have in the appearance of your site. They are also notoriously bad for Search Engine Optimization. Because they are robust stand-alone platforms, they can be more difficult to implement, and we’ve heard complaints from business owners about it being a pain to add their own pages and new content.
A Phenomenal Comparison Guide to E-commerceWe also want to provide you the tools you need to begin researching on your own. Here is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the best e-commerce platforms for small business we’ve ever seen!
We’re a full-service creative marketing agency in Fort Worth, TX serving clients in DFW, Texas, and across the nation. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a large international corporation, we have clients just like you that are already benefiting from our marketing services. We love helping our clients see a measurable growth in their revenue.