The trade of eCommerce has heightened at global level and is rapidly picking up the pace. There has been a huge growth in the usage of eCommerce platform & Content Management System (CMS). From food, fashion, electronics, medicine, hotel & cab bookings everything is available at your service. We have got the opportunity to carry the whole world right in our pocket, all with the help of a small gadget.
There are multiple options available when we need to select the CMS. And many of them even don’t have any prerequisite as they are available on open source platform. But is that enough to figure out which platform you need to use to develop your online store. Without right knowledge and expertise you might even get confused. So let us get educated and learn a few tips before we make our selection to build an eCommerce website.
There are two types of options through which you can build an eCommerce website:
- Managed e-Commerce platform
- Open source content Management System (CMS)
You can use any of them, for example if you want to use Managed e-Commerce platform then you can select Shopify & Big-Commerce, and if you want to build your website using open source CMS then you can use Magento, woo-commerce, Opencart etc.
A managed eCommerce Platform is also known as hosted platforms. Yes what you are thinking is right a managed eCommerce platform is hosted on a server. Whereas a website based on CMS is self hosted. All it needs is a space to purchase so you can host it on a server. There is one difference that separates them both and that is you won’t get access to the server in a managed eCommerce platform. Before choosing the platform you must find out the following:
- What are your specific needs?
- What kind of features would you like to include in your website?
- Is the platform flexible enough as per the future requirements?
Now that you have analyzed all these requirements it’s time to make a choice between the two, but take a look at the benefits of both of these frameworks.
Benefits of using managed (Hosted) ecommerce platforms.
Development & maintenance: Working on this platform is easy as it requires zero expertise of coding. So minus the need of a development team and the hosting is also shared, this totally reduces the cost of the server.
Best technical support – Being a user here you get the best tech support and assistance for any issue that you might face in future.
Less complex to work with – These platforms are designed for users with little technical knowledge and keeping in mind the user friendliness of the platform in terms of back end programming.
Benefits of using a Content Management System (CMS)
Can support large stores and sophisticated websites – Many big E-retail brands use CMS framework to handle their online stores as there is no specific limit of products & categories.
Better functionality – You will find numerous plug-in, add-ons & themes in a CMS platform as there is a constant development done by its community of developers. It also allows you to add advanced functionalities which are not possible in case of self hosted platform.
Easy Customization – You will enjoy the freedom of making changes in the features by adding new ones and customize the design that is in sync with your brand. Totally backed by a huge online community there’s a constant innovation happening in different CMS platforms that allows more space for best improvements and better user experience of the sites.
Now that you have made your mind to go for your chosen platform, you should know about some of the best Content Management Systems available in the online market:
A well selected CMS will always fit your needs. We have gathered some information about some of the most popular names of CMS and put them together for your convenience. All these platforms listed below are available on open source and have free community and paid enterprise versions.
Magento: This famous name is now a part of world’s biggest ecommerce house “E-Bay”. Magento is also used by big brands like Nike, Nordstrom, Adidas, Toms, and many others. It is a powerful platform known for its exceptionally rich features. It is an ocean full of plug-in and extensions that allows additions of new functionalities. Leaving you without any worries of hiring experienced developers and reduction in the overall maintenance & development cost.
- It allows you to build a robust platform with amazing functionality and customization.
- Robust platform with a high level of functionality and customizability.
- Availability of end numbers of extensions in the market.
- An active community at your dispense to give you assistance for tutorials and troubleshooting.
- The scalability provided in Magento is pretty high; no need will arise in the future to switch your platform in order to upgrade it.
- SEO friendly.
- It requires a plenteous of server space to operate effectively at high speed. As there are chances of technical problems arising due to speed.
- Many a times it becomes very complex for small business to work on Magento.
WooCommerce – It is an open source eCommerce plug-in for wordpress. For all kind of online merchants whether large or small WooCommerce is an absolute solution. You will also find lots of built-in functionalities of WooCommerce available at WordPress. If you are familiar with WordPress then WooCommerce is a good choice to work with. It is also good for startups and the companies who give preference to cost effectiveness.
- Easy setup- You don’t need to put much effort for setup of wordpress on to your website. Plus it’s easy to get introduced with its functionalities.
- Runs on Wordpess – As they have their own servers so there are no requirement of powerful servers. You will find the availability of a whole range of prized themes & add-ons, and a complete backup by WordPress support community.
- If your business is scaling up at an exceptional pace or you are looking forward to add more features then WooCommerce might not stand up to your expectations.
It is a software program that is fairly popular; It can be easily run on any of the web server that has MySQL & PHP installed in it. Using osCommerce there had been around 100,000 websites built on open source technology. Being one of the most primal open source platforms it has earned itself a large support base with an active forum.
- Easy installation and an easy-to-use interface.
- Active forum with a large support base.
- Large number of plug-in and add-ons it allows addition of more functionalities.
- There are many users who believe that software updates & designs provided are leaning behind and are outdated.
- Benefit of easy implementation of SEO strategy.
- The seamless integration of Drupal makes the creation of blogs or forum more convenient than any other CMS.
- The backup given by the community of developers for upgradation is not as large as Magento or osCommerce.
Open cart lets you deliver your services with lifetime free support & updates on software. It’s pretty simple, all you got to do is to select your template, install and add products. This platform comes equipped with built in order management & multiple payment gateways. Totally “out of the Box” like other CMS Opencart is also a very distinguished platform.
- It is one of the easiest back-end to work over.
- Great features & availability of large numbers of plug-ins.
- You can control & edit the CSS from Admin.
- The support system of this platform is not as comprehensive as compared with other CMS platforms stated above.
- There have been reports by the users about the difficulty for installation of themes.
- Support documentation is not very extensive.
5 Best hosted ecommerce platforms
We are now going to share with you some of the best Managed/Hosted eCommerce platforms.
This name is very familiar with all those people who are anyhow associated with online retail commerce. A very popular platform. It offers comprehensive set of tools for developing and managing the online stores. If you are in process of providing your services worldwide then you definitively would like to give preference to shopify. As you get a free hosting for your site and simultaneously you get a high-end content-delivery network with no extra charges. This is done to ensure that the stores are running effectively without any issues of speed.
- Option to choose from a huge variety of add-ons.
- Incredible store fronts that help you select from a range of excellent professional templates.
- Prompt customer service: 24/7 live technical support, Email & live chat. SEO friendly.
- It is a bit expensive when compared with other platforms.
- The back-end of user experience (UI) is a bit technical and not very easy to grasp.
BigCommerce: It is a privately held tech company that develops eCommerce software for business. Big Commerce is a hosted solution and hence it saves you from the trouble of hiring a programmer as you won’t be investing in an in-house server. It is very easy for the non technical users to work on BigCommerce. As per the demand & feedbacks of the customers, it keeps on adding new features which can be added to your website following a simple upgrading procedure.
- New features are developed continuously.
- It comes with a range of popular payment options, like PayPal, credit card etc.
- Online support via videos & tutorials, phone & email.
- It offers you to choose from a vast array of ready to use themes.
- The style editor feature allows you to change the colors & fonts in many themes.
- It is a big name and there are very little faults that someone might encounter, except one rumor that I have heard that the customer support at times becomes unreliable. But then again there are plenty of alternate solutions available to overcome such problems.
Volusion: It is designed to grow hand-in-hand with your store. Volusion offers a wide range of schemes for users and the enterprise option which is given to the large corporations. It has extensive security feature that gives protection to your online stores from unwanted intruders. It also comes with an eCommerce software that offers lots of feature along with excellent customer support and security.
- It integrates easily with Google analytics, quick books that makes traffic analysis and accounting easy.
- Volusion offers good back office features that let you interact easily with drop-shipping companies and monitors the inventory.
- The add-ons offered by Volusion are not as vast as Shopify & BigCommerce.
- There is no availability of blog setups.
- If you cross the given limit then you’ll get charged. So select your plans keeping in mind your considerations.
Pinnacle Cart is one of the finest available solutions. The Pinnacle cart is one of the most demanded products that help in hosting shopping cart. They have another extensive partnership program that gives you two options to choose from. First you get a Re-branded version, and you get to launch their product under your name and would also be responsible for the marketing. urban outfitters site down . And secondly, you can opt for the downloadable version of Pinnacle Cart which you have to host on your own server. You still would be paying the license fee but you get its full control.
- Comes with automated intuit QuickBooks synchronization.
- It has good features to integrate like Drop Shipping Company(DOBA) & Ship wire fulfillment.
- Professional partnership program.
- The only problem that makes you think twice is the usage limit which is very less even after paying a full amount for the given plan. Even if you are a beginner you should still go for the higher plan so you never encounter the usage limit problem.
Yahoo Store (For Small Business eCommerce):
It comprises of the biggest market share among some of the top most websites. If we take a look at the past then we will find that Yahoo was one of the first who arrived to offer online eCommerce solution. Yahoo is a well known brand and offers bundles of cross selling to its customer throughout the world.
- It offers plenty of offers & discount on useful services.
- It comes with an unlimited set of products, storage & bandwidth.
- It offers impressive set of features, integrated options for payment, shipping & back office system.
- Recommendations are provided on the basis of live insights.
- The usage of Yahoo has declined in the recent past.
- Limited plug-ins & themes.
- The feature availability is provided if you go for an expensive plan.
So far we have listed all the general pros & cons of Managed platforms vs CMS. But your final decision should be based on your business model and requirements. And the most important point is the availability of features, constant support from the developer’s community or the service providers. How flexible and scalable is your preferred platform. Because running an online business is not a straight forward process and it requires constant development to match the pace of your business at par with your competitors.
The demands of users are increasing day by day and online retailers are finding new ways to subjugate this mass. I want you guys to learn about Shoaling, Yes when a group of fish stays together for social reason it is called Shoaling. They stay with each other and swim in a coordinated manner. Most of the fishes shoal for their entire life, this is a common practice which is even followed in the human society. People tend to practice and follow common trends. So the key is to learn on how to direct this big mass unto your favor. This will happen when you bring innovation in your solution. So think “Out of the Box”.