In today’s market, eCommerce is becoming fiercely competitive—the barrier to entry for new businesses is at an all-time low. With so many great options for hosted “Software as a Service” (or SaaS) eCommerce solutions, online merchants are getting the most in value, features, and scalability.
Right now there are a record level of eCommerce platforms. The exhibit floor of IRCE: Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition hosts dozens of them. Here at EYEMAGINE, we have found three eCommerce platforms that rise to the challenge of satisfying most merchants' needs: BigCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.
Whether its security, costs, design, scalability, or performance, these platforms were built to meet your needs.
It makes sense that eCommerce merchants are concerned first and foremost with security. In September 2016, Yahoo! experienced the biggest data breach in history—and in October 2016, the Dyn DDoS attack took down websites like Twitter, Netflix, PayPal, Pinterest and the PlayStation Network, as well as many others.
Running an eCommerce business demands attention to security—but that means different things to different eCommerce platforms.
If you are running on a on-premise open source application like Magento, you the merchant will have to manage and apply the patches yourself—though, in most cases, that really means that your developer(s) will have to manage and apply the patches as soon as Magento announces the new ones. Be aware of the additional maintenance cost and effort, and be sure to factor that into your eCommerce profit and loss.
Are you re-platforming an existing eCommerce business? Are you launching a new brand? Are you on a shoestring budget, or a tight timeframe? In any case, it’s important to acknowledge your high priorities. No matter your situation, startup costs are a large factor.
When startup costs are a significant factor in the decision, you want something that can get up and running with minimal resources. In those instances, your best options are SaaS platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify.
With these platforms, configuring a new store, skinning a pre-existing template, and configuring your product catalog can be done quickly, without heavy development.
Startup costs can start as low as $15,000 for complete builds, depending on requirements.
If startup costs are a concern, pass on Magento. The initial development and configuration for a Magento online store will far exceed that of a SaaS platform.
The design effort that goes into the product being sold should be reflected in the online store. All three platforms, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Magento, offer the flexibility to support a custom design. Know that there will be limitations to custom design at the point of the checkout page and email templates in the SaaS platforms. Magento will offer full customizability in those areas, however be warned that those customizations can be risky.
Does your business plan call for rapid growth from a heavy investment in marketing, or will you be steadily increasing sales year over year?
Your growth plan will impact your eCommerce platform decision. Regardless, BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento all provide what you need to get the most from your platform.
Brands like TOYOTA and Gibson chose BigCommerce to handle their transactions; RedBull and Budweiser chose Shopify. Coca-Cola and Nine West chose Magento as their preferred eCommerce platform.
All of these platforms offer the scalability any merchant needs to grow.
Be sure to anticipate your sales volumes before selecting a platform. Even though the SaaS platforms include hosting, you have to be prepared to make the proper selection of service. Not all SaaS subscriptions will offer the same performance.
If Magento is your platform, performance will be determined by many factors, including, but not limited to: hosting infrastructure, custom code efficiency, caching, CDN (Content Delivery Network), and front-end code minification.
Choosing the Best eCommerce Platform
BigCommerce, Magento, and Shopify are all viable eCommerce platforms.
Which one is best for you?
The most important aspect of selecting the right eCommerce platform is to select one that suits your requirements. Before shopping for a solution, you must know the problem. Does your online store integrate with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system? Does your online store already have a marketing automation platform? Which payment processors do you currently do business with?
When selecting an eCommerce platform, your business requirements will narrow down your options.
Know that the eCommerce platform you start with may not be the eCommerce platform you run on in five years.
Let's talk about your requirements. Our eCommerce experts have been doing this for over a decade.