5 Determining Factors To Influence Your Store’s E-commerce Platform
It is indeed true that choosing the right ecommerce platform is a difficult task. You would find a number of software packages, but every platform comes with its own pros and cons. This is so, because all e-commerce platforms are designed keeping in mind the different users with different perspectives.
Setting up an online shop is time consuming, where you have to create, upload and constantly tweak to keep it updated. Therefore, when you decide to create one, check out all the different platforms available before you finally go for one.
What Are The Elements You Would Be Looking For In Your E-commerce Platform?
Let’s take a broad overview of some of the factors that you would consider every time you choose a software for your e-commerce platform.
How do you want your online shop to perform? Definitely, your expectation would be to give excellent performance. But, what are the elements to prove that your e-commerce site delivers excellence?
– Must provide a good user experience
– Good ranking awarded by Google for better performance
– Ability to manage large traffic inflow
Customers shop online and pay their bills by giving their personal credit/debit card information. So, online sites must ensure that their website is security tight. It is therefore necessary for an e-commerce site to follow security protocols and become a PCI DSS compliant. If your site does not follow the layer of security that needs to be undertaken, then you are crazily insane to be putting both your customer’s vital information and your company’s reputation into breach.
Creating an individual customized outlook helps your site to set up its own brand value. You can add you own features and functionalities that give your customers a great user experience. Design templates and features would be another factor, to determine which e-commerce platform you would go for to set up your e-commerce business.
Back Up, Import And Export
Setting up an automatic back-up facility comes as an important part of e-commerce website maintenance. Most e-commerce platform software come with back-up , import and export solution, which might come handy in case your site crashes down some day.
An open source platform gives you access to multiple resources that you can avail for cost-effective solution. There are a large number of platforms namely OScommerce, Magento, Zen Cart that are developed and run on a popular open source platform called the LAMP (named after Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP).
Let us now make a detailed study on the pros and cons of some of the common e-commerce platforms that we know of:
1. Zen Cart
This is regarded as one of the oldest and one of the most well supported platform available. This open source e-commerce platform is said to have evolved from an earlier platform known the osCommerce. It is a free and user friendly shopping cart software and is installed and maintained by a group of like minded programmers, designers, consultants and shop owners. You can use its features to set up an online store for selling both down-loadable and physical products. There are a number of features in it to make your e-commerce platform engaging, like – gift certificates, newsletter manager and discount coupons. You could even expand your e-shop and your admin panel with add-ons, however, too many things could tend to make your store cluttered, and these third party add-ons are not offered by their core functionality. Besides, they tend to come with many security loop holes that would affect the e-commerce platform. Using this platform might need you to have a little of knowledge on programming.
This e-commerce software is simple to use, but that comes with an amalgamation of both good and bad user experience. You can install it quickly and start setting templates and products and get ready to take orders. OpenCart is an open source platform that boasts of unlimited number of products, categories, availability of numerous language and currency options and more than 8 shipping and 20 payment methods. This is search engine friendly and therefore, you do not require to implement any kind of hard work. The platform gives you lifetime support of free software updates, however, adding a new information page like the contact form would turn out to be difficult. In addition, the platform does not have page management function such as a cms.
osCommerce is regarded as one of the oldest e-commerce platforms and powers more than 2,28,700 stores online. Easy to set up and run, you can avail numerous themes and plug-ins to quickly set up an online store on your own. However, the availability of same themes can turn out to be a major drawback, since there could be some other e-store that had been set up, using the same theme. OsCommerce is said to come with several issues related to coding that set an e-store vulnerable to nuances like hacking.
PrestaShop is another open source e-commerce platform that is mainly suitable for small and medium scale industries. This platform can be easily customized and is a PCI-DSS compliant. You can avail every kind of solution to set up your own store with a smooth management system. Though PrestaShop is free, you have to purchase the additional modules to extend your store’s functionality. The software gives a smooth user experience to both shoppers having a slow internet connection and to store owners, for creating and managing their front end catalog and marketing, customizing orders and enabling changes in localization and shipping options as according to their business needs. It is available in 3 languages (namely English, Spanish and French) and 41 translation options. The current version of this software is PrestaShop v.18.104.22.168 and is published under OSL or the Open Software License.
Magento is the most suitable e-commerce platform for companies that require a professional online shop to get started. It provides a versatile platform and its client list includes both big and small players like Nike, Olympus, Henkaa, etc. However, it provides a complex service and probably provides one of the most expensive e-commerce solution. The Community edition of Magento is free and comes with easy installation but you might need the help of a web developer when there comes a need of advanced configuration. The Enterprise Edition is powerful and is full of useful features. However, this edition is expensive with the license cost ranging around $ 12990 per year. This Enterprise Edition provides users with a feature rich platform that helps merchants to set up an online store with an unmatched look and control over the entire functionality of the shop. Merchants can create sites tailored to their business needs with powerful SEO, marketing and catalog management tools.
The above mentioned e-commerce platforms are only a list of a few names. However, there are many other names out there and each comes with different pros and cons. Magento is ever growing and is preferable by most brands around the world. However, the best way to choose an e-commerce platform of your choice is to see that it meets your business requirements.