What are Ecommerce Platforms?
E-commerce software allows merchants to display product catalogs and trade online. Most e-commerce transactions are B2C (business-to-consumer). Some also support more complex contract negotiation and B2B (business-to-business) transactions functions, such as.
There are two general types of e-commerce platforms: Hosted and Self-Hosted Open Source:
- Hosted e-commerce solutions (monthly and cloud-based billing) tend to be more stable and easier to use.
- Self-hosted e-commerce solutions are more advanced, customizable and free of charge.
E-commerce websites (often referred to as online storefronts) allow buyers to browse the merchant’s catalog and purchase products online.
The hosted E-commerce platform includes a set of prefabricated templates and a themed showcase design. The best e-commerce software for your online business depends on your use case.
- Large Inventory Management
- Display multiple versions of the same item (for example, color and size)
- Manage multiple stores
- means digital and physical products
Scalability is also an important consideration when evaluating product catalog options and features.
Online Shopping Cart
The online shopping cart allows site visitors to accumulate a list of virtual “shopping cart” products prior to purchase. In addition to the cumulative list, the shopping cart software also calculates the total cost, including shipping costs and taxes.
Some platforms offer other shopping cart-related features, such as the obsolete shopping cart tool. They store pending orders and/or send an email to remind customers that there are still items in their shopping cart.
Another additional feature included in some e-commerce products is the ability to advise customers on products. Typically, this is based on customer’s individual purchasing behavior and information about products other customers have been viewing and purchasing.
Online Payment System
Other solutions are integrated into third-party payment gateways. Vendors that provide internal payment processing typically charge transaction fees. Because payment systems need to handle confidential customer information, most e-commerce platforms have standard security measures.
Features of E-commerce Platforms
- Online Store
- List of products
- Online Shopping Cart
- Online payment systems or integration with payment gateways
- Order management and delivery
- The face of the business plant/panel
- E-commerce marketing tools
- E-commerce management
- Customer Behavior Analysis and Reporting
- Integration (e.g. CRM, ERP, email marketing, payment gateway, etc.)
Comparison of E-commerce platforms
Buyers should consider some key things to help them compare e-commerce products more easily:
1. Technical Expertise Required
Does the person or team managing your website have technical/coding knowledge? Some e-commerce platforms are especially easy to use for people with little coding experience, while others offer advanced customization that can be achieved by coding.
Consider whether you can access developers or other people with coding experience to help customize your e-commerce platform. If not, include a wide range of online website themes on e-commerce platforms, or WYSIWYG editor, might be better for your business.
2. Open source and paid software
Are you looking for a free e-commerce platform to get started or more advanced software with all the fantasy and whistles? Especially if you or your team have experience in web design, open-source platforms can be a great way to start building your online store.
Popular open-source platforms include Magento open-source, Drupal and Joomla. On the other hand, if you are looking for an e-commerce platform with access to customer support and various pre-built themes and templates, a payment platform may be a better choice.
3. B2B versus B2C (or both)
Are you selling mainly to the B2B or B2C market? Or is it both? There are some key differences between B2B and B2C sales, which in part determine what your e-commerce platform needs. For example, a company that sells primarily to other companies will need the ability to split the customer base and configure customizable pricing and configuration options.
Some of the essential features of B2C companies include built-in store themes, abandoned cart recovery, and support for multiple payment gateways. Some e-commerce platforms are better designed for B2B or B2C.
Monthly subscriptions to managed products depend on functionality and scalability. Monthly rates range from zero to more than $1,000.
It is a good idea to understand your needs and choose an e-commerce platform based on current and expected needs, rather than focusing solely on costs. In the long run, choosing the e-commerce platform that best suits your business needs will save money, which may not be immediately evident in the start-up phase.