Top E-Commerce Development Platforms in 2018

Anyone looking to start an e-commerce business in 2018 should understand how e-commerce evolved over the last 3-4 years and what are the trends for the future. Mobile and social media have now become major players in the e-commerce industry. With artificial intelligence coming into play, the steady development of digital wallets, and customisation offered across the platforms for the businesses, many factors shape the future of the e-commerce industry. Amongst these factors, mobile payments and analytics should always be taken into account. 

Retail e-commerce sale worldwide crossed $2.3 trillion dollars in 2017. The revenue is set to rise to $4.5 trillion by 2021. If you take a look at the figures in 2011, this is almost a 2.5 times increase in the revenue. Over a span of just a decade, the e-commerce industry has become a major stakeholder in retail sales worldwide. Another statistic to consider is the B2B e-commerce sales grossing about $7.7 trillion. This is almost 3 times larger than the B2C e-commerce industry and implies that e-commerce has now become indispensable for the B2B sector. Another key stat is of the mobile commerce that has risen to $1.3 trillion in 2017. (Source: statistica.com)

Your traction in the e-commerce industry depends on the platform that you choose for your e-commerce website and your business model. Either way, the platform must align with the business model when it comes to technology and customisation options. Whether you’re launching a multi-vendor store or conventional e-commerce website, you are responsible to choose the right platform for your website. 

Before you pick a platform, make sure to consider the following: 

  • Front end needs
  • Required integrations
  • Customer management
  • Catalogue Management
  • Site security and architecture
  • Performance and Scalability
  • Mobile Friendly Platform
  • Costs of the Platform
  • Design and maintenance costs
  • Transaction fees
  • Hosting costs

These factors matter and should lead you to choose the right platform for your e-commerce project. But, as mentioned before, only you can determine which platform fits your needs. Each platform has its pros and cons but also its limitations. Today, we give you an overview of the top e-commerce development platforms in 2018. 

WOO COMMERCE

With more than 2.2 million sites operating,  Woo-commerce is the biggest and the most popular e-commerce platform in the world. It comes along with a secure payment gateway and a shopping cart you can smoothly integrate with Wordpress. Woo-commerce is an open source platform that is used along Wordpress and has the reputation to be effective and easy to use. And guess what?! It's true! 

THE GOOD:

  1. Advanced features for larger e-commerce stores
  2. Store credit support
  3. Site-wide SSL
  4. Seamless integration with Wordpress
  5. Product page customization
  6. Ease of creating product variation
  7. Works in Wordpress backend

THE BAD:

  1. Advanced features come at an added cost
  2. Lack of scalability
  3. No multilingual support
  4. Limited range of free templates

THE VERDICT:

WooCommerce is a very good option if you don’t intend to scale your e-commerce store. It is also a great option if you plan to stick with Wordpress in the future.

SHOPIFY

Shopify is a Canadian based turnkey e-commerce solution provider. Founded in 2004, Shopify hosts as of today more than 1.2million websites. Shopify has been helping e-commerce businesses and enterprises with a focus on social commerce and mobile shopping. It has also provided seamless integrations with Alibaba that led to a global rise in the drop shipping industry within e-commerce. The company is well-known to always adapt its features to the dynamic changes of the market and of the e-commerce industry. 

Shopify has also introduced the concept of social shopping where the customers don't have to leave their social media environment to complete their purchases. The platform is highly considered by most of the tech pundits who refer to it as a platform that offers a great user experience. 

THE GOOD:

  1. For $9 you can integrate Shopify with your Facebook and make it a store
  2. Worldwide user base contributing reviews and support
  3. Built-in speed and security for hosting
  4. All the right kind of bells and whistles
  5. Awesome customer support
  6. Digital Marketing integrations and features (if you wish to read more on growing your company through marketing, read this)
  7. Tons of themes
  8. Responsive designs
  9. A huge selection of add-ons

THE BAD:

  1. Expensive
  2. Complex initial set up
  3. Vulnerable to hacking if customized
  4. Not the best  blogging support out there
  5. TOO MUCH SHOPIFY BRANDING
  6. Moving to another platform is difficult

THE VERDICT:

Based on your requirement and budget, Shopify is a perfect solution for the beginner level e-commerce businesses. The packages vary from $29-$299. The selection of the packages should be based on the sales volumes and the orders the site generates. It is easy to use and perfectly suitable to launch a new e-commerce business.

 

MAGENTO

Although Magento isn’t as popular as Shopify or WooCommerce many e-commerce entrepreneurs choose to use it. Magento is perfect for the perfectionist types. 

It consists in is an open source platform and was released in 2008 by Varien Inc, the company that was acquired by eBay. The platform is written in PHP so it provides flexibility and offers great customisation options. The platform counts about 600,000 active websites. 

In 2015, the Magento developers spun out of the eBay ownership. Ever since the platform gained a great traction in the e-commerce industry.

THE GOOD:

  1. Amazing Flexibility
  2. Has features that other platforms lack
  3. Worldwide user community
  4. Scalable and mobile friendly
  5. Great customization support

THE BAD:

  1. Non-community version is expensive
  2. Native developers are hard to find
  3. Slow site loading times
  4. Below average product support
  5. To be able to run the platform, dedicating hosting is a must 

THE VERDICT:

The Magento CMS system is less user-friendly than other platforms on the market but if you know how to code, you will find your way easily and will enjoy its infinite possibilities for customisation. Magento Forums offers great support to the community whenever a problem arises. What is more, Magento has a strong community of users who often share tips and tricks but also workarounds the minor hiccups one faces during the customisation process. For enterprise level stores, Magento is highly recommended.

BIGCOMMERCE

Since its inception, BigCommerce is now serving about 120,000 websites worldwide. The platform is lauded as one of the most prominent e-commerce solution providers. Some huge corporations have sought their assistance in helping to launch their online storefronts. Amongst them,  we can name Toyota and Martha Stewart. The platform offers a vast amount of features that can help anyone who lacks basic coding skills to set up an e-commerce website.

Bigcommerce is a hosted platform and it comes with a turnkey e-commerce solution and directly competes with Shopify. It also competes with the non-turn key platforms like WooCommerce.

THE GOOD:

  1. Education integration
  2. Hassle free speed and security services
  3. Intuitive built-in options and features
  4. All round marketing features built-in
  5. Great customer support
  6. Easy to manage design

THE BAD:

  1. PRICEY!!!
  2. Limited add-ons
  3. Not-so-great inventory management
  4. Too many choices causing confusion

THE VERDICT:

BigCommerce is an ideal platform for e-commerce businesses that want a hassle-free solution to their problems. If you’re looking to spend money on getting premium themes for your website, BigCommerce is the platform you should opt for.

 

NOTABLE MENTIONS:

  • WIX Stores
  • VTEX
  • TicTail
  • OsCommerce
  • PrestaShop
  • Zen Cart
  • OpenCart
  • Squarespace Commerce

 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS 

The e-commerce industry hasn’t hit its peak yet. Today is the right time to onboard into this business and to join an exciting adventure. Selection of the platform to achieve your short-term and long-term objectives is a vital step before you start diving into the other parts of the business. 

Do you have an exciting e-commerce project? Submit a project on GROW Labs and match with the most suitable development agencies to kickstat your next adventure. 



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