E-commerce where to start

Choosing the right e-commerce platform is critical to the success of your business. There are a vast range of solutions available, here are a few of the most popular.

WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for the world’s most popular cms WordPress. It features one-click installation and a user-friendly interface. With over 1.7 million stores using WooCommerce, it is the most popular choice of platform accounting for 39% of all e-commerce websites. WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with WordPress making it an ideal choice for sites that combine information and e-commerce. With many themes and designers now supporting WooCommerce, it has become one of the easiest methods to start selling online.

Magento is a platform built specifically for e-commerce, with a 20% market share its the second most popular e-commerce solution. Magento, specifically Magento 2 is not for the beginner though. Setting up Magento requires a developer from the start and the solution cannot be hosted on a shared server. Once setup is complete Magento itself is easy to operate and populate with products. Magento also features strong SEO compatibility with search friendly URLs. Magento customer range from large corporations through to SME’s.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that comes as a hosted solution. Ideal if you want to minimalise setup costs and perfect for a beginner. There are several Shopify plans to choose from depending on the size and features required for the store. One of the unique selling points of Shopify is that non-technical people can create a website. This can be further enhanced through professional web design. Shopify has over 400,000 active stores.

Bespoke solutions will offer the greatest flexibility when building e-commerce but will normally be the most expensive option. However, if you have a particular requirement that is not met by open source platforms, or you are creating a user interface that is unique, the bespoke solution is your best option. Advantages can be the pure speed of the application as unwanted features that are bundled into open source platforms are not coded. If you’re looking at an annual turnover in excess of 1M then you may have outgrown the open source platforms and require something tailor-made.

Whatever your choice of e-commerce system it’s advisable to combine your development with design to create that professional look and feel to your website.

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