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22
Education Ecommerce: Knowing platforms and their limits: Part 1
Posted by Matt Kinne on 22 July 2016 01:44 PM

Ecommerce options

Starting up an ecommerce store is a huge endeavor. It takes a lot of thought, just like opening up a storefront. There a multitude of things to take into account when you are opening a brick and mortar store: size of the building, location, is there room to grow, etc. Opening up an ecommerce store is no different. When choosing a platform to build your online store, you need to thoroughly analyze all options because you don’t want to be handcuffed down the road when things need to change.

There are many ecommerce platforms on the web and fortunately or unfortunately, they are all unique with different features. Because of these different features, you must choose wisely when picking a platform so your website can grow with your business.

Here at Evolve Systems, our two most prominent ecommerce platforms that we use are bigCommerce and X-Cart with the latter being replaced eventually by OpenCart. We also have plenty of experience with Ecwid and Shopify.

How many products will you be selling?

When picking a platform, one of the first questions you want to ask yourself is how many products are you going to sell and how much volume. There is no need for a full-scale ecommerce site if you’re only going to be selling a handful of items every month. The best option for you would most likely be Ecwid. On the other hand, if you do have a large volume, you want your customer’s experience to be as smooth as possible and probably don’t want to skimp on the basics. That means picking from bigCommerce, OpenCart, Shopify, or another platform.

We have gone and made a table to briefly show the difference between the four platforms. If you would like more information, please go to their respective sites via the links below.

 

Platform

Pros

Cons

Price per month

OpenCart

  • Open source - free

  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Highly customizable
  • Unlimited products
  • Not as easy to customize as the alternatives

  • Web page caching is not provided
  • Free - $0

Ecwid

  • Free with 10 or less products

  • Easy to use, plug and play on Facebook, WordPress, Drupal, etc.

  • Add to any website

  • No transaction fees

  • The more you pay, more support you receive 

  • Free - $0
  • Venture - $15
  • Business - $35
  • Unlimited - $99

bigCommerce

  • No transaction fees

  • Unlimited Products
  • 24/7 support
  • Product rating and reviews
  • Plans are associated with sales volume

  • Theme editor isn't as user-friendly as Shopify
  • Standard - $29.95
  • Plus - $79.95
  • Pro - $199.95
  • Enterprise - Call for pricing

Shopify

  • Unlimited products

  • 24/7 support

  • Free SSL certificate (all plans)

  • Unlimited products

  • Unlimited file storage
 
  • Transaction fee on third party payment gateways

  • Limited customization
 
  • Basic Shopify - $29
  • Shopify  - $79
  • Advanced Shopify $299

Now that we have gone over the very basics of a few ecommerce solutions, it gives you an idea of which direction you need to be headed in. The nice thing about the platforms is they are all available for a free trial of some sort so there is no need to commit to a platform right away. Shopify and bigCommerce offer 14 and 15 day trials respectively. Ecwid and OpenCart both can be used for free, no need to worry about a trial.

Next month we will go more in-depth into what functionality each platform offers and how the differ between each other. Our goal is to help you narrow down which ecommerce solution you will choose in the future.

 


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