Chapter 4

What are the most popular ecommerce platforms?

Here’s a look at some of the most popular ecommerce platforms to help you choose the right solution for your business.

Shopify

Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform for small businesses. It’s fully hosted, so you won’t need to host it or set it up on your own server. The website builder has drag-and-drop functionality so you can build a branded website without coding skills. Features include website design, payment processing, inventory management, marketing tools, and analytics.

Benefits

  • Build a site quickly with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Keep track of revenue and expenditure with the sales dashboard
  • Automate email shipping updates so customers are always in the loop
  • Get a live feed of your finances with the Xero Shopify integration

Things to bear in mind

  • Customisation is limited, so you need coding skills for more advanced modifications
  • Transaction fees and additional fees are charged for premium features

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It’s free to get started and users have lots of customisation and functionality options. It’s a popular choice for businesses that want to add ecommerce functionality to their existing WordPress site.

Benefits

  • Lots of themes and integrations to customise your store
  • Built-in marketing tools to help grow your business
  • Plenty of payment provider options for your customers

Things to bear in mind

  • Extensions, themes, and hosting come with an additional cost
  • The base software is limited, so you need to research and install lots of plugins to make it do everything you want

Adobe Commerce

Adobe Commerce, previously Magento, is a powerful platform fit for businesses of all sizes. It’s scalable, flexible and highly customisable.

Benefits

  • Enterprise-level security keeps your ecommerce business secure
  • Thousands of extensions to customise your ecommerce site
  • Equipped to handle high-volume transactions

Things to bear in mind

  • Requires coding skills to set up and manage effectively
  • Expensive compared to other platforms

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a fully hosted ecommerce solution. It has a wide range of features including website design, payment processing, inventory management, and marketing tools. This makes it a solid choice for businesses of any size.

Benefits

  • Create a great store design with or without coding skills
  • Integrate with multiple POS solutions to sync inventory with physical sales
  • Multiple payment gateway options

Things to bear in mind

  • Features to help recover abandoned carts are only available on the more expensive plans
  • Site speed tends to be slower due to the complexity of backend features

Squarespace

Squarespace is a website builder that doubles up as an ecommerce platform. It’s a popular choice for businesses that want an all-in-one solution for their website and online store. Squarespace is known for its eye-catching designs and modern site templates.

Benefits

  • Built-in SEO tools to improve your site ranking
  • Excellent template and design options
  • Comprehensive analytics via the sales dashboard

Things to bear in mind

  • Limited payment options
  • Lacks integrations to connect with other sales channels

Volusion

Volusion delivers most of the standard functionality you’d expect from an ecommerce platform. Website design, payment processing, inventory management, and marketing tools are just some of the features available. Volusion is popular with smaller businesses that sell products rather than services.

Benefits

  • The mobile app lets you manage your store from your smartphone
  • Multiple payment gateway options
  • No transaction fees, but credit card charges apply

Things to bear in mind

  • No in-built blogging function for content marketing
  • Limited site customisation options

How to choose an ecommerce platform

Ecommerce platforms offer an incredible opportunity to take your products and services to a brand new and much larger audience.

Disclaimer

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

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