Starting an online store is a very exciting experience.
From choosing a product you love, finding a website design that makes your jaw drop, and deciding on how you’re going to market your business, there is a lot to think about.
So its no wonder that most new merchants miss one of the biggest decisions that they need to make - Deciding which ecommerce platform is right for them.
A little bit of research and careful planning now can save you tens of thousands of dollars of re-development in the future.
To help you make the right decision, below are the 6 elements to choosing the right platform for your business.
1. How many products will you sell?
All platforms are created for different purposes. Some are great for a few dozen products, while others have been built specifically for large catalogues.
For example, Wordpress is great for small start up stores, however if you want to load 300 or 3,000 products into it you’ll have a bad time.
For these larger stores we recommend you consider magento.
The sky's the limit when it comes to what you can do from your site, but the question is, do you actually need hundreds of features?
As a general rule of thumb, the more features you add to a platform, the more unstable it becomes.
All platforms such as Magento, Wordpress and Shopify come standard with the basic ability for you to sell products.
If you do however want to become creative with adding new features, then I suggest looking into Magento as there is over 10,000 extensions available to make upgrading easier.
3. Primary objection of the site
What is your primary goal from the site - To make sales, or to supply a wealth of information?
Traditionally, ecommerce sites have been built on the basis of a ‘traditional store online’ which is how Magento is set up. This approach has worked well for years, but with the market warming up, there are other company’s such as Great4You who are changing the model entirely.
Great4You is positioning itself as an Authority site, which then sells products on the side. Where this approach isn’t as direct, the owners believe that it will give them much larger flexibility. For this they have used wordpress as it provides a great content first framework.
4. Level of control
If you’re happy with less control over your site, then there are very affordable ways to get started.
Services like Shopify and Bigcommerce provide low monthly payment options where you can start a store on their framework.
They handle the hosting and all the technical side of things which makes your life easy.
The downside however is if you want to make major changes you are restricted as you don’t own the software the site is built on.
At the end of the day, most of life's decisions come down to budget.
As a rule of thumb the more powerful a platform is, the harder and more expensive it is to build. Here are some rough guidelines for costs to build with different platforms: