Ecommerce Software: how to choose it 

Today, the success of an online shop depends to a large extent on the characteristics of the chosen sales platform.

ecommerce platform tools

Despite the exponential growth of e-commerce, there are a few key characteristics to be aware of in order to correctly choose the ecommerce software best suited to one’s needs. 

Navigating e-commerce tools is no easy matter, and the final decision always depends on the type of e-commerce you want to create. In this article, you will find all the information you need to help you navigate this delicate choice. I have identified some of the most popular software with which to create e-commerce from scratch. Find out how to create your own e-commerce or dropshipping site with the Digital Coach Dropshipping Course.

 To make the final choice, it is advisable to consider a few essential points:

  • the technical capabilities we possess
  • the team that will work on the platform
  • the available budget
  • the operational characteristics in which we are interested.

E-commerce platforms: 4 main categories 

Open source (free)

Such ecommerce software is easy to find. Until a while ago, there was a lot of mistrust towards anything free. In fact, free registration was associated with insecure or difficult-to-install programs.

Today, however, there is a turnaround, and it has been realized that open source does not mean everything is free.

The characteristics that identify an e-commerce platform with an open source license are:

  • Free access with the opportunity to view and edit the source code,
  • Great advantages in terms of flexibility and customization of the solution.

E-commerce based on a free, open-source CMS costs time to set up and maintain, so it is more suitable for a user with some IT experience.

If we were to draw up a list of what needs to be done to create open-source e-commerce, we would have seven points to focus on:

  • Choose and activate the necessary hosting
  • Install and set up the chosen open-source solution
  • Purchase and install an SSL certificate (handles site navigation security)
  • Renewing the SSL certificate on expiry
  • Updating and maintaining open-source software
  • Choosing the online payment gateway
  • Optimizing content and structure with a view to SEO

Examples of free ecommerce software: among the best known are Prestashop and WordPress.

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One-off ecommerce software 

Apart from a few platforms that are born for a fee, most are free, but customizing them may require a fee.

fees of ecommerce software

A generic example of a free e-commerce legend, but with some paid-for functionality, is as follows: 

 Available as a standard function

 Not available in the basic version

Custom= Needs customization to the code

Add-on = Functions available with add-on modules

Premium only = Functions available by paying, not being included in the basic version

Only self-hosted = only available when hosted on own server

While a more specific example could be the Tax Code Module to be applied to Magento. 

The American e-commerce suite, with many functionalities coveted by the world’s most important e-commerce sites, unfortunately, does not include some very important fields to Europeans, such as the Tax Code.

In order to make full use of all its functionalities – without giving up the European contractual conditions – there are software houses that offer the possibility of adding this field within the common areas of the platform.

Obviously, it has a cost, in this case quite modest (around 100 euros), but other add-ons can be considerably more expensive.

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Fee-based e-commerce platforms with monthly/annual fees

This alternative involves using a hosted platform, i.e., hosted by a provider who makes it available to its customers against payment of a monthly or annual fee.

paid ecommerce platforms

While this type obliges us to make a constant outlay to keep our online shop running, on the other hand, it does not require any unique IT know-how so that you can concentrate more on your core business. Click on the link if you are interested in understanding how to open an online shop.

One example is the Easy Shop, Advanced Shop, and Professional Shop packages made available by the local provider Aruba. 

The differences between the above options are varied, ranging from the maximum number of products handled to the number of languages that can be activated, whether the site is responsive or not, and the connection to other marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and many more.    

Custom-developed e-commerce 

These platforms are created by web agencies and are generally very complex projects because they require the involvement of various digital professionals. This often leads to very high costs.

customized e commerce options

Examples known to all are sites such as Zalando, Yoox, or Amazon, which due to the complexity of their structure, require ad hoc design. 

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The 10 most popular ecommerce software:

Volusion   

Volusion is an American software house founded in 1999, and recently its ecommerce software was judged as the best platform for creating an e-commerce site. In fact, it seems to have the best security system on the market, is very easy to use, and integrates perfectly with Amazon and eBay.

volusion main features

Main features of Volusion:

  • Easy to use for the user to create e-commerce
  • Integrates with Amazon (US and UK) and eBay
  • Best security system
  • 80 free and 350 paid templates
  • Editing on available HTML code
  • Excellent Back Office
  • More than 30 payment methods
  • Management also from tablet or smartphone
  • Zoom for Images
  • Comparison of products on sale
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Perfectly integrated with Facebook
  • 24/7 support via chat

Shopify

Shopify is currently used in about 100,000 online shops and is one of the easiest software to use for creating e-commerce.

shopify pros and features

 Shopify’s main features:

  • Over 20 free templates available to users
  • Html Editing
  • No need to be a programmer
  • Simple and intuitive interface based on drag-and-drop technology
  • Excellent technical support from the company
  • Numerous Tutorials Available
  • Able to manage online shops even with many products
  • It has numerous additional applications (for a fee)
  • High level of Security
  • Mobile-Friendly Back Office

BigCommerce

Bigcommerce is another popular software; in fact, it is currently used by around 50,000 online shops. Opinions on this ecommerce software differ: many users consider it comparable in performance to Shopify, while others do not, putting it in an inferior position. 

bigcommerce primary features

Main features of Bigcommerce:

  • Over 65 payment methods are available
  • More than 100 professional templates are available
  • Drag&Drop technology 
  • The platform is not multilingual
  • Easy and intuitive to use
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Excellent returns management system
  • Customizable URLs
  • High level of security (128-bit SSL certificates)

Squarespace

Looking at the site presentation, you can immediately see that Squarespace’s strong point is its design. In fact, the platform allows you to create beautiful e-commerce sites with fairly intuitive procedures.

squarespace chief features

Main features of Squarespace:

  • More convenient than Shopify and BigCommerce
  • Has fewer functions than Shopify and BigCommerce
  • Squarespace provides several tutorials to learn how to manage the platform
  • Also accessible to those without Html or CSS skills
  • Editing and Design are Squarespace’s strong point
  • Very nice widgets dedicated to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Compatible with Google Adsense
  • SEO-friendly
  • Responsive

Adobe Commerce

Adobe Commerce (previously known as Magento) is certainly one of the best-known and most widely used ecommerce software because it has been on the market for over five years.

adobe commerce main strengths

Adobe Commerce’s strengths are its integration with eBay and its multilingual platform.

Main features of Adobe Commerce:

  • Integration with eBay
  • Several templates available 
  • Offers CMS-like management
  • Systems like BigCommerce and Shopify are easier to use
  • Competitively priced for additional functions

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a platform accessible to all and practically free in most of its functionalities. In fact, you can create a good e-commerce site without having a fixed monthly charge, and thanks to the WordPress features, you can optimize your site for SEO and also manage Woocommerce payments via external plug-ins. If you had to choose between WooCommerce vs. Prestashop, what would you do? You have to know that WooCommerce allows you to create a professional e-commerce site, although the skills of a good web designer will be required for certain customizations.

woocommerce principal features

Main features of WooCommerce:

  • SEO-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Manageable like WordPress
  • Very low running costs
  • Access to HTML code
  • Integrated blog

3DCart 

3DCart helps you successfully create and manage your online store; it is an e-commerce software available in 3 different price profiles (Mini, Professional, Professional Plus).

3dcart key features

Key features of 3DCart:

  • Excellent technical support from the company
  • Easy to use
  • Offers unlimited mail accounts
  • Data transmission speed is limited to 4GB

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is an easy-to-use but very basic platform. It does not include many of the tools found by default in other ecommerce software. Its strong point is an excellent customer experience.

godaddy focal features

 Main features of GoDaddy:

  • Excellent navigation experience
  • Easy to use
  • Limited in tooling 
  • Offers a multitude of integrations
  • Integration with eBay
  • It only works with a couple of payment methods

AShop 

AShop is a good choice for e-commerce solutions for small online shops.

ashop major features 

Main features of AShop:

  • Excellent navigation experience
  • Good design tools for the site
  • Work with over 70 payment options
  • Lacks the ability to integrate with platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and WordPress

X-Cart

X-Cart offers solid functions and is easy to use, but the requirement to pay a monthly license or cloud service fee deters small businesses.

x cart leading features

 Main features of X-Cart:

  • Only company offering TLS 1.2 encryption*.
  • It gives little for free and is very expensive

*The TLS protocol allows client/server applications to communicate across a network in a way that prevents data tampering, forgery, and interception.

Conclusions

To conclude, choosing an e-commerce platform is not an easy job, whether you engage yourself (using an open source, for example) or rely partly on (Hosted providers) or totally on professionals (Web Agency). I advise you to browse and read, trying to understand as much as possible. You do not need a degree in e-commerce, but delving into it yourself is indispensable for moving confidently in a world as complex as it is fascinating, like that of online commerce. If you want to learn more, you can follow our guidelines. 

I also recommend you consult our Managerial and Specialization Courses to dedicate yourself to this constantly growing sector. In particular, to become a manager in this field, the way to follow is the Ecommerce Manager Course. The E-Commerce Specialist Certification, on the other hand, allows you to specialize in this area where companies are looking for more and more specialists. 

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