What Everybody Ought to Know When Choosing Between eCommerce Platforms

28 Sep 2015

In our latest blog post we compared several eCommerce platforms. We hope it will help you choose the best one for your online store! Let us know if you have any additional questions, we’ll be happy to help!

Are you thinking of digging into the amazing world of eCommerce?

Maybe you’re handy and you can make things, maybe you’re retired and you wish to sell handmade jewellery or you’re already experienced and you want to take everything to the next level?

Maybe you even have an MVP that you would like to share to the world?

Or maybe you simply want to have your piece of this amazing cake that’s getting bigger and bigger every year?

No matter what your idea is, the important thing is that you have the idea.

You probably have energy, enthusiasm and willingness to fight for your idea.

And, in the beginning, that’s more than enough.

You should think of eCommerce as of adventure, summer trip without a care in the world. Understandably, questions arise when planning a trip that can make or brake your business.

And it will probably turn up to be the most important business trip you have ever started.

We wish to help you decide, so we have summed up questions that you will need the answers to, if you’re starting your eCommerce business.

man waiting for a flight

Journey planning

Giving up on displaying your products only on Sundays at your local market and giving up yard sales profit was probably the best idea ever.

Sure, it probably brought you extra money occasionally, but if you have entrepreneurial spirit, amazing talent or need to earn more and give up your nine to five job already, you should go big or go home.

Of course that doesn’t mean that you have to set up your store right away.

But it does mean that you have to set it up eventually.

Then why not do it right away?

The entire world is online, shopping has reached a whole new level, and eCommerce is a multi – billion dollar industry.

That’s why you cannot hold your products back by restricting them to your neighbourhood only.

You might be worried that you don’t have enough products or that they’re not good enough for a proper store.

And that would be a legitimate concern. But that cannot be the reason to give up or wait any longer.

You need to board to this plane right away and you need to know how to find the right gate.

One, seven or thousand products – you know that without online store, you’ll hardly be competitive. In any market.

Will you take someone with you?

Or will you choose to travel all alone?

This decision can be crucial and you have to take it into account when choosing a platform.

If you don’t have hundreds of products you will probably choose a platform that’s easy to manage, fully customisable and relatively easy to use.

You will probably go for the hosted ones, instead of self hosted such as Magento. But, be careful, choosing a platform can be a job itself.

You need to engage into loads of researching, reading, testing and measuring.

It has to be a decision included in your business plan and it should be well thought through.

So, imagine choosing a hosted, fully customisable platform.

You can say, well “I have no idea about online stuff, programming, online marketing and sales funnels.

This way I have nothing to loose and it will be easy.” Nothing comes easy to begin with, and you have everything to loose.

People not getting to see your products IS everything. People not knowing about you is everything.

Don’t loose before you even got started. Another thing is – if you are not into the “online stuff” the smartest thing to do would be – contact someone who does.

Pick a team and pick it wisely. Surround yourself with experts that will know how to create everything you have imagined.

Surviving alone in a crowded market is more than difficult.

Surrounding yourself with professionals, experienced in eCommerce means that you will supported from both – technical and moral side. Surround yourself with entire community by choosing the right platform.

Holding a map for hours and not asking anyone what the right way is, will cost you time and make you feel lost.

Ask for help and ask the right people.Travelling in company always means fun, security and support.

Would you like to share your seat?

Let’s assume you have decided to do everything on your own, and you have chosen one of the platforms that are offering simple set up of your online store.

Let’s assume that you chose a platform where your online store will be shown as nothing but your profile and you will be one of the thousands sellers using the same ways to engage with buyers.

Even if you have payed and got some of the more advanced features, you will still lack functionalities.

If you thought that platforms earn by being generous, you were wrong.

The question is –  how do you feel about sharing your profit?

The thing is, when you are a small business, your profit margins are not usually that high, and that’s why it’s very easy to observe sharing your income with a certain platform – pure loss.

Commissions and transaction fees are something that you should definitely perceive as an additional cost, and you should always avoid it.

On the other hand, choosing to outsource everything and create a proper online store solution that is yours and yours only, means that you will have experienced developers watching your back, and at a lower cost.

Think, how would you react if a flight attendant would try to make you squeeze another grown up on your seat?

Sharing is good, but it’s not always comfortable and desirable.

What about holiday travels?

Running an online store requires loads of challenges. Seasons are switching constantly and you have to keep your store up to date at all times.

Just imagine having huge Valentine’s Day Sale, followed by Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and Black Friday, and not to mention Halloween, Christmas and New Years.

Now imagine just preparing your products in time to sell them during holiday season or optimising your entire store.

Not to mention adding banners, discounts, slideshows, creating coupon codes and gift cards.

It’s overwhelming and you cannot do it alone.

If you decide to do everything on your own, you will be bound to carry heavy luggage all by yourself.

And of course, that can be rewarding.

But not as much if you have to loose lots of time reading the forums, hot topics and blogs.

It’s that time of the year when you should set new goals and relax surrounded by family. Certainly not the time of year to worry if everything is perfect with your store.


Large cabin bag fee

You can of course, pull of everything on your own.

And maybe you even don’t consider it to be a waste of time.

But think – you could save that time and dedicate it to creation and improvement of your products.

And there will be so many questions – from generating coupon codes, product and categories creation, checkout process and delivery.

It can easily take so much time, and distract you from what’s important – your product.

Have in mind that with platforms such as Shopify, for example, you will have to invest into purchasing apps that will make it possible for you to mark best selling products.

Adding live chat is another app that you will have to purchase if you wish to engage and help your customers, and same goes for adding associated products, product recommendations and loyalty programs.

Everything we mentioned should be your team’s concern. You should create tasks and convey your wishes. And that should be it.

So will you pay for additional baggage fee?

Or will you pull the extra stuff out and give up of what might be important?

Coach or first class?

Sure, coach is more affordable, but it will give you limited commodity.

Same thing can be said for platforms that allow you to set up your store within minutes.

In the end, it turns out it costed you more money. And not to mention energy that has been wasted.

When choosing a platform you have to have in mind that things such as email accounts, or hosting plans are not included in the price.

Meaning – additional cost.

Some of the platforms are not that expensive (you can get Bluehost that starts at $3,95 per month) but they require that you pay one year upfront.

Also, if you choose Shopify for example, and you choose Basic plan, you will have to spend additional money in order to be able to generate coupon codes, gift cards or abandoned cart recovery. You will also be disabled from doing business with Scandinavian market since Shopify has not integrated with most used checkout – Klarna.

On the other hand, let’s say you opt for BigCommerce, you will have to choose Enterprise package.

It is the only one that will allow you to have GTS or migrate from another platform. Rules can be so restrictive right?

To sum up, it was simply presented as being functional yet affordable, but in reality, if you want a fully functional online store in the end it will have the same (or even bigger) price than if you would trust building of your online store solution to experts.

First class always wins.

Never take shortcuts

Taking shortcuts is never good and it can especially bring damage when it comes to your eCommerce business.

Sure, you will be faster, but your goal will keep on sliding through your hands.

If you decided to start this journey, make sure you do it right and avoid taking shortcuts at all times.

Always do what’s best for your products and do not be the obstacle to your own progress.

Of course, you will most certainly face delayed flights, a bit of turbulence here or there, and most certainly some rainy days.

When those days happen just remember all the amazing things the voyage brought.

There will always be ups and downs, that’s why you should enjoy the ups to the fullest, and always overcome the downs.

Devoted to one company

Yes, you might think or say that we are biased and you will probably be right.

But having the best service makes you devoted.

All of our trips with all of our clients so far were journeys so pleasant that we have never thought of changing something.

The only thing that is changing constantly is – we’re improving every day. Magento will always be our choice, and we advise you do the same.

Avoid low cost companies and travel like a Sir!

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