Whether launching an e-commerce business or moving your brick-and-mortar store online, you need an e-commerce solution to help you make it happen. Various e-commerce platforms exist to help you launch your store online.
The benefits you get enable you to build and manage a business easily, all while growing your digital storefront. In this article, we’ll assess Shopify, Bigcommerce and Wayfair to help you weigh your options.
From there, you can choose which e-commerce platform fits your business best.
E-Commerce Platform Features to Look For
When choosing between Shopify, Bigcommerce and Wayfair — you must ensure each platform includes a robust set of features.
These e-commerce marketplaces should provide you with the ability to:
- Purchase a domain name.
- Create a mobile-friendly site.
- Customize your storefront appearance.
- Make your site functional through app use.
- Enhance online security.
- Sell products via social media and online sales channels.
- Translate your site into multiple languages.
- Manage inventory and create shipping labels.
- Process payments, orders and refunds.
- Automate tax information.
- Handle high sales and traffic volume.
Luckily, e-commerce marketplaces like Shopify, Bigcommerce and Wayfair offer most or all of these features. When determining which online platform to choose, it’s best to select an option that works best for your small business.
Here’s a comparison overview of each platform.
Shopify is fully hosted and one of the most popular e-commerce market platforms. Yet, it’s no wonder many small businesses host their online store on Shopify.
The design and interface are intuitive and simple. The platform offers scalability and various features, including customizable storefronts and advanced store themes.
Shopify offers different subscription options. Its basic plan starts at $29 per month after completing the 14-day free trial.
- Drag-and-drop website-building
- Easily purchase add-ons to improve the store’s functionality.
- Built-in payment gateways, like Stripe or Paypal.
- Offers inventory management software integration.
- Charges a 2% transaction fee on top of the fee third-party payment processors charge.
- The basic plan has limited features, so you have to pay more to gain more accessible features.
Bigcommerce is easily one of the more popular e-commerce hosting platforms. Small businesses can create their online store or use a WordPress plug-in to integrate it into an existing site.
Bigcommerce offers the first month free, giving you plenty of time to establish your storefront and experiment with it.
You might consider choosing Bigcommerce since it offers a wide range of features, including everything you need to build, manage and grow an online business.
One feature of Bigcommerce you might enjoy is the ability to sell items on sales channels, including Etsy, Google Shopping, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and Jet.
- Does not charge a transaction fee.
- Plenty of integrations with third-party apps to add more site functionality.
- Built-in payment platforms and various payment methods.
- Customer segmentation to enhance the customer experience.
- Cart-abandonment email.
- Plans are expensive, starting at $29.95 per month.
- Plans are based on your online store’s annual sales, which may impact your ability to scale.
- Some store themes are free, but most have an additional expense of up to $200.
Unlike most e-commerce platforms — which allow you to sell various products — Wayfair devotes its marketplace to those who sell furniture and home goods.
Wayfair has over 30 million customers, enlists 11,000 suppliers worldwide and has sold over $5 billion worth of products. The e-commerce platform is innovative-oriented, using 3D renders instead of traditional product photography.
Nowadays, 3D is needed to enhance the visualization of products, and Wayfair provides that. But beyond what it offers, Wayfair has a less competitive environment, making it easier to rank your products and earn more profits.
- Simple to use seller panel.
- Real-time demand feature, making it easy to guess best-selling products.
- Large logistics system and strong network.
- Slower delivery service.
- Limited to categories in furniture, lighting, decor and other home goods.
Choose What Is Right For You
Consider the pros and cons when choosing a platform to help you launch a store successfully. The marketplaces make it possible to grow your business, but you should carefully weigh your options. That way, you can make certain you’re getting all the best features you need to start scaling today.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on customer experience. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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