e-commerce Platform Comparisons
Digital.com knows that small business owners need to be agile when getting a store set up.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform is critical when you need to hit the ground running. And the right platform will help you to grow, market your business, avoid downtime, and expand your product catalog.
We take the pain out of comparing e-commerce solutions by placing all of the key information side-by-side. If you aren’t sure whether to buy web hosting, or use a hosted platform for your store, our expert advice will make the decision clear.
Why Getting the Right Platform Matters
E-commerce is all about delivering a great customer experience. Many of the world’s biggest online stores invest millions in developing their platform. For small business owners, making the right choice is crucial.
- Moving from one platform to another is a huge undertaking for a small business; transferring products, metadata, and user reviews can be extremely challenging, or even impossible
- Every time you switch platforms, there’s a very real risk that your product metadata will be corrupted
- Hiring people to convert data between formats is expensive
- Even a small problem with converted data could crash your entire store.
In all cases, it is far better to start as you mean to go on. You need pick a platform that suits your needs in the beginning so that it doesn’t overwhelm you, and also ensure it has the features that you need to grow your business. It’s a balancing act, and it’s easy to get it wrong.
Digital.com has a team of writers who constantly check and review e-commerce platforms. That gives us unique insight into the market, and it allows us to help you make better choices so that you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes.
How We Compare e-commerce Platforms
All e-commerce platforms will allow you to build a small store very quickly, if you just need basic tools.
But the extra features they offer could make or break your site as it grows.
To avoid disruption and growing pains, you should take a holistic approach to evaluating what each platform can offer. Here are some of the key features to consider:
Ease of Use
Your e-commerce platform should offer good usability for you, the manager, as well as the customer.
You don’t want to have to employ a developer each time you want to make changes. Equally, you don’t want to confused customers with poor navigation. A dated appearance can put off buyers who are used to a modern, slick experience.
Our reviews look at the back-end administration, the shopping process, and the overall design of the finished store.
When you set up an e-commerce store, choice should be at the forefront of your mind. Payment options are no exception.
You might pay for everything with PayPal, but your customers may have another payment method in mind. If they don’t see an easy way to pay, they’ll back out and find another vendor.
We compare the payment processing options from each platform, along with the relevant fees.
You probably have a reasonable idea of the number of products you intend to list now. What about in a year’s time?
If your e-commerce platform caps the number of items in your store, that could become a huge headache later. Sure; you can increase the limit by paying more. But will that be cost-effective?
Host platforms don’t completely negate the need for technical features. Uptime is one of the most important. It tells you how much downtime you’ll suffer before your host credits you.
Even a small difference in uptime can have a huge effect on compensation. Consider the difference between an e-commerce platform offering a 99% uptime guarantee, vs one that offers 99.99%. The former would allow for well over 7 hours’ downtime before you’d be compensated. With the latter, you’d get some kind of recompense after less than 5 minutes’ downtime.
With e-commerce, site speed is key, too. We know that tiny increases in speed cause huge increases in cart abandonment rates. So we factor that in when we write our comparisons.
Your e-commerce store is not an island. It needs to offer integrations with other services.
For example, you might want to segment your customer database according to past purchasing habits. The speed and simplicity of that process will be a critical factor in your marketing plan.
Likewise, you might want to automatically export product data to other sites. And you will certainly need to generate reports so that you can see how your catalog is performing.
We compare e-commerce platforms according to their integration capabilities. We look for integrations with mailing list providers, comparison websites, and Google’s Shopping platform. And we tell you if extra cost is involved.
If your store is offline, you’re not earning money. And if you can’t figure out how to solve problems, you’re going to waste time and money that you should be using to grow your business.
Our reviewers compare each e-commerce platform’s support provision side-by-side. That way, you can ensure you’re getting the best help available.
Trust Our Reviews
E-commerce platforms are positioned according to the type of customers they want to attract. Our reviewers explain clearly what the pros and cons are so that you can make an informed choice.
The right platform for a home-based jewelry company could be inappropriate for a growing electronics retailer. Use our expert guidance to make the right choice now, and you’ll avoid problems later.
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We’ve listed our head-to-head e-commerce comparisons below. Find out what our reviewers think of each one. Just click on the title to go right to the comparison you’re interested in.