Ecommerce platforms: which one to choose?

Online shops are our virtual business premises and, as in the offline world, you must choose the one that best suits the characteristics of your business. We must be clear about the ideal size for our shop and the amount of resources we are going to allocate for the creation, support and maintenance of our virtual business.

It is not an easy task to create an online shop. Making the right choice will depend on whether you have a platform that greatly facilitates the development of your business or a burden that harms both your sales and your accounts. That is why we want to offer you a small guide about what points to take into account when choosing a platform and what are the characteristics of the most used ones in the market. At the end of this article you will have a much clearer idea of which one is best suited to your needs.

Step one: what does my business look like?

There are usually two impulses when choosing software: the more expensive one, because we think it is the best, or the cheaper one, because we think it will be more than enough. Big mistake. The first thing we should do before we start looking at the features of the different ecommerce platforms is to review our business: what we are going to offer and what our value proposition is.

That is, if you want an online shop to sell products of your own manufacture, it is best to choose a simple shop with a low cost. If, on the other hand, your goal is to offer a catalogue with a large number of products or because of the characteristics of your business you have to offer an innovative image and design, the ideal is to make a larger investment to have a more elaborate shop.

The ideal is to find a balance between functionality and design, so that it is attractive for the customer and at the same time easy to use.

Once you are clear about this, the next step is to go into more detail about the day-to-day running of the business:

Catalogue volume: how many references am I going to have in my shop?

  • Scalability: am I going to grow in the near future? What needs will arise?
  • Multistore: establish if I need to set different prices depending on the country I sell in or if I want to have a single administration panel from which to manage different shops.
  • Stock management: it is important to define if you are going to manage the stock with the ecommerce tool itself or if you want to integrate it with another external tool, for example an ERP.

Now that you have answered all these questions and you are clear about your needs, it is time to decide between the different options offered by the market.

Prestashop, a classic

 

It is one of the most used CMS in Spain mainly because it is designed exclusively for the creation of virtual shops. Its backoffice system is very complete and powerful, which will offer you a lot of information about your shop, as well as countless possibilities for customisation through programming.

Advantages

It is open source, so you don’t need to pay to use it.

  • Ideal for small and medium-sized projects.
  • It can be easily installed by anyone, you don’t need a technician with high computer skills.
  • The administration panel to manage the day to day running of your online shop is very easy.
  • It works very well on shared servers, so the hosting of your online shop will be cheaper.
  • It has a lot of modules to add a lot of functionalities, because Prestashop was born for ecommerce.
  • It allows integration with ERP (stock management).
  • It has an infinite number of professional and high quality design templates.
  • It facilitates natural positioning (SEO) in search engines.
  • It is multi-language.
  • It is easy to learn and manage; except if you want to tweak the design a lot.

Disadvantages

  • The best modules to add functionality are paid modules.
  • It can be problematic if your catalogue is very extensive.
  • It is not scalable.
  • If you want a complex product page, including fields that it does not have by default, you will have to touch code.

Our recommendation is to choose Prestashop if you are an entrepreneur and you want to set up a small business or you need to sell something specific in a certain season.

Shopify, unbeatable on price

https://www.boardfy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Plataformas-ecommerce-cuál-elegir-shopify.png

It is the ideal platform if you have little knowledge of design and programming. Due to its ease of use, it has recently been gaining ground on the competition. It also has the added bonus of offering enormous scalability possibilities at a very affordable price.

Advantages

  • It is ideal for developing small eCommerce, especially in the initial phase.
  • It is a software in the cloud, so you pay a fee for its use and the platform and web hosting are included. They take care of everything.
  • In a couple of clicks, you already have your online shop because it is very easy to use.
  • It has very professional and aesthetic design templates.

Disadvantages

  • As it is a cloud-based software, you cannot download or modify it.
  • You cannot change or customise the code, you will have to pay Shopify for that.
  • If you want to extend functionalities, you will have to integrate the paid modules developed by Shopify which are quite expensive.
  • SEO works very well in English at the US level, but not so well in other languages.
  • The servers are located in the US, so your online shop will be hosted there. This can give you problems if your customers are in Spain as you would be in breach of the LOPD, since the personal data of your customers will be located outside Europe.
  • It is not scalable.
  • Ideal for small catalogues.
  • It does not offer the multi-store option.
  • Multi-language does not work very well.

Although it is a platform suitable for beginners and small merchants, Shopify ecommerce is fully professional. One example is the Hawkers brand, which in 2016 had a turnover of around 70 million euros using this platform.

Magento – pure power

https://www.boardfy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Plataformas-ecommerce-cuál-elegir-magento-e.png

In case we need a powerful ecommerce, with a large number of products and we intend to continue growing, Magento is the ideal choice. However, you must have professionals with experience in this platform, otherwise you run the risk of not being able to create the shop or doing it with many errors.

Advantages

  • Ideal for large projects.
  • Ideal for multi-shops.
  • It is multilingual and multicurrency.
  • It is a native ecommerce software, so it has plenty of modules to add extra functionality.
  • It allows ERP integration.
  • It is very good for positioning (SEO).
  • You can create a very complete and personalised product page, without having to touch code.
  • It is very robust and stable.
  • Its new versions, when they are released, are very reliable.
  • It is very secure.

Disadvantages

  • It is not advisable to install it on a shared server, you need to buy a dedicated server or VPS so the web hosting will be expensive.
  • The administration panel is complicated to use.
  • The code is complex and heavy, so you will have to hire expert programmers on this platform to customise your shop.
  • It is very difficult to learn Magento, so the management and modification will have to be done by professionals.
  • Magento is not suitable for trying to create a business and test if it works, as developing a shop on this platform takes time, needs qualified professionals (in Magento), and is not cheap.
  • Magento is the best option if you have an ambitious project and money to invest. Nike, Gant or Olimpus have opted for this platform.

Extra tips

Focus on the functionalities of your online shop

Depending on what you want your ecommerce to do or allow your customers to do, you should choose one platform or another. Think about what you want your shop to do, what you want it to offer and what you want to achieve with your shop.

Payment methods

Obviously, the more the better, the more revenue streams you will be opening up. Compare well between the different platforms to see which one offers you more payment possibilities so that you don’t discriminate against certain customers.

SEO positioning

The platform you choose should ensure that you can do a good job of search engine optimisation to get you in the top positions and get people to see your shop. Make sure you can carry out all possible SEO and linkbuilding tasks. This is the way to get your customers to your shop progressively if you do a continuous and quality work.

Choosing the ecommerce platform on which you will install your shop is just one of the many decisions you will have to make to become a successful ecommerce business, but it has a lot of weight in the development of your current activity and future scalability.

We hope that with this little guide we have helped you to choose the right one for your business. And remember, it is only the first step to start generating sales.

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