Best eCommerce Platforms for Your Business

Your product is ready, you've had a bit of success selling at the local farmer's market or online, and reviews are positive. However, sales seem to have peaked, so what you need now is a quality website.

By building a website, you'll greatly expand your business' reach from your local community to the world. Of course, not just any website will work for your needs; you need a website built for eCommerce. Through this guide, you'll learn the best approach to deciding which eCommerce platform is best to meet your business's needs.

Pond Threads offers Print On Demand services for clothing ventures. See what we can do for you.

How to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform for Your Business?

Developing your product and building your website is two-thirds of the process. The third step is finding a quality manufacturer for your wares. Fortunately, PondThreads offers high-quality products, as well as a seamless customer integrated purchasing system. This allows us to get to work making your product the moment we get an order from your website, which will enable you to put more energy into developing a better website and new products. 

Related: PondThreads Services

Calculate the Costs

One of the first considerations when choosing an eCommerce platform is the price. While the initial price may seem attractive, be wary of hidden costs, such as fees revolving around bandwidth use, transactions, server maintenance, and upgrades.

The best platform for a small business is one that is upfront with their costs. The ideal platform will be upfront with their fees and should offer a flat fee or monthly subscription. Sometimes services and upgrades are provided through a tiered approach such as a basic, professional, and business subscription. It's best to review what each tier offers and how useful it will be to your business. For example: while a top tier option that offers unlimited email accounts and multiple domains may seem valuable, these may not have any use if your team is small and may not grow much for a long while. It's generally best to go with the middle of the road option, as the lowest tier options are often severely limited.

Do Your Research

Doing your research is easily an essential step in this process. As a business owner, you must learn everything you can about your options before making the final decision. After all, going with the wrong platform can be costly and possibly yield far less value to your business than a more affordable option.

To ensure you make the best decisions, you should understand your business inside and out, including how to operate smoothly while offering a customer-friendly experience. Keep these needs in mind when doing your research, and don't be afraid to read through positive and negative reviews. It’s recommended you get around twenty reviews before forming your final opinion of the platform you’re considering.

Related: About PondThreads

Make Sure It’s Easy to Use

User-friendly should be at the heart of your decision. You’ll want your website to be accessible to your customers and easy to edit from the back end, should the need come up. Overly complicated website architecture can cause more headaches than it's worth, even if the user experience is high-quality.

Find the Right Hosting Company

Like choosing the right platform, selecting a hosting company is a significant choice to make. Your hosting service is the backbone to smooth customer experience. After all, if your hosting service consistently has server issues, your customers won't be able to access your website and buy your products. When choosing a hosting service, there are several things to consider.

Do they offer round-the-clock service support? If not, consider someone else. The last thing you need is for your server to go down at a prime time with no way to get back online quickly.

Do they offer daily backups of your site? A server crash without a recent backup can be a costly and time-consuming event.

How secure is your server? The threat of hackers, especially those looking to steal your customer’s private information, is not something to take lightly.

Shopify app open on a black Iphone

Best eCommerce Platforms For Your Business

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a tough choice. For your convenience, we've gathered the pros and cons of the top five platforms in 2020.

Shopify

Shopify is among the most recognizable and affordable eCommerce platforms available. However, while it boasts an excellent reputation for its features and base cost, upgrading your site can become costly.

Pros:

  •         Subscription-based service.
  •         Base cost includes subdomain and hosting space for your eCommerce store
  •         User-friendly product and order management features
  •         Unlimited bandwidth
  •         100+ professional designed themes

Cons:

  •         Basic customer management
  •         Transaction fees
  •         Content doesn’t automatically adjust to new themes
  •         Apps cost extra 

Squarespace

Squarespace is a popular platform for websites of all types, and especially useful for eCommerce. While noted for its user-friendly design, Squarespace has a few technical flaws to consider.

Pros:

  •         Affordable tiered pricing structure
  •         User-friendly interface
  •         A built-in email marketing tool
  •         Built-in logo design app
  •         Free two-week trial

Cons:

  •         Limit content export functionality
  •         Poor GDPR compliance out of the box
  •         Lacks autosave function while editing or creating posts and pages
  •         Tax rates no automatically calculated
  •         3% transaction fee

BigCommerce

BigCommerce stands out for its focus on eCommerce and its lack of transaction fees. However, this platform is notable for being one of the most expensive on the market.

Pros:

  •         Tiered subscription service with subdomain and hosting space included
  •         User-friendly product and order management features
  •         Customer management feature
  •         Mobile-optimized design

Cons:

  •         Very pricy with the middle of the road option at $71.95 per month
  •         Yearly sale threshold will upgrade your payment plan automatically
  •         Limited bandwidth depending on the plan
  •         Some coding experience is required for advanced customization

Magento

One of the more popular eCommerce platforms, Magneto boasts a selection of useful features, but a high price and the need for hosting are distinct disadvantages.

Pros:

  •         Subscription service with subdomain included
  •         User-friendly product and order management features
  •         Mobile-optimized design
  •         High-quality analytics module
  •         Free plans available
  •         Unlimited bandwidth

Cons:

  •         Basic customer management feature
  •         Hosting is not provided with a plan
  •         Expensive premium plans

Wix eCommerce

Wix Ecommerce is a separate offering from the traditional Wix website. Affordable and easy to use, Wix is an excellent option for beginners. However, certain apps that may be useful will cost extra.

Pros:

  •         Affordable subscription service with subdomain and hosting space included
  •         User-friendly product and order management features
  •         Mobile-optimized design
  •         Built-in dropshipping from Modalyst
  •         Unlimited bandwidth

Cons:

  •         Website is non-transferrable
  •         Tracking and analytics are premium features
  •         Apps like Site Booster and Form Builder cost extra

 

paying online

Final Thoughts 

After reading this guide, you should now have a good idea for how to go about choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business. Should you watch for hidden costs, know what your business needs in a website, and research your options effectively, you should have an attractive website for your products, but your monthly costs will be within your budget.

For more information on our services, visit us at the official PondThreads website.