The growth of multi-dimensional social networking sites perked up sharing methods and communication channels among people. This trend and technology has changed many aspect of our life right from how we search, travel, and shop. While the traditional method of shop-based buying is still on, e-commerce based shopping has captured many of our minds. According to a research report, by 2016 there will be 653 Million people in Asia Pacific region to shop online and 41 Million buyers will account from India. No doubt, why there is an increasing number of vendors tapping into e-commerce to offer great personalized shopping experiences to Indian customers. There are e-commerce giants and there are retail stores who are now developing their online stores with niche product positioning.
Backed by huge discounts and the rising use of smartphones, the Indian e-commerce market is poised to grow 36% during the 2015-20 as per a research report released by Canada-based TechSci Research.
Benefits such as increase in sale, customer satisfaction, wider reach, easy billing, 24/7 access etc are encouraging small and large business to integrate an e-commerce system to their existing/new business. However, many get puzzled about which platform to use that can best power their e-commerce site. e-Commerce Platforms fall under two major categories:
- Hosted (Company will host your store) – This can reduce a lot of your work as it is easy to use and the platform is automatically upgraded with the constant updates.
- Self-Hosted (you will get the software and Web hosting will be your own) – This can help you immensely in customization and create your own branding elements with the UI you wish to integrate. Remember, hosted solution is an interesting move for a quick start but the solution providers can close overnight. You don’t have the codes, you don’t have your content and you might get lost in figuring out the backup.
Considering a lot of trusted factors we have listed 11 best e-commerce platforms, so that you make a wise decision based on your budget and needs.
11 Best eCommerce Development Platforms
1. Shopify – Shopify is one of the leading and simplest e-commerce builder for creating an online store. This web application allows you to create your own store and sell both physical and digital goods. It is a hosted solution, so marketer need now worry about buying web hosting and installing software. In fact, people who have basic knowledge of HTML or CSS can start dealing with Shopify. You can pick from 100+ professional free/paid template to create a beautiful looking storefront along with you have payment solution to accept credit cards and their POS (Point-Of-Sale) application powering retail sale is just amazing. Currently Shopify has 200,000 active retailers in more than 100 different countries!
Notable Features of Shopify –
- Allows selling physical and digital goods
- Integrates retail and ecommerce in one account
- Wide range of templates to choose
- Allows HTML/CSS Edit
- Build-in Mobile commerce shopping cart
- Full blogging platform
- 24/7 Support from team and experts
- 70 Payment gateways
- “Buy Button” helps to add to an existing blog/site
- POS integration
Shopify Pricing – 14days free trial to $179/Month
2. Magento – Many worlds’ leading brands trust Magento for developing their ecommerce website. Because this open-source platform is full-featured and highly customizable according to any business needs. Although small business developers can handle Magento without doubts, it is generally preferred by larger ecommerce developers who are serious about this online selling. Over $50B gross merchandise volume is transacted on Magento annually. Magento is by far one of the best ecommerce development platforms used by many businesses across the world.
Notable Features of Magento –
- Easy to start with great community help
- Flexible to meet unique needs of storefront
- Scalable to grow as your business does
- Great plug-ins and extensions
- Self-hosting simplifies back-end process
- Allow sharing purchase via social networks
- Wide range of integrated payment and gateways
- Point-of-Service allows to access brand catalog both online/offline
Magento Pricing – Free version to $17,900/Year approximately
3. Bigcommerce – Bigcommerce is a cloud ecommerce platform available for the fast-growing brands and individuals. It allows business to setup an online store and sell physical/digital goods. But interestingly it offers some effective tools to market the store as well. These tools help you get more traffic, higher conversation rate and better performance of your online store. Initially the product it aimed at people without much web design knowledge, but it now also allow advance users to edit the HTML and CSS of their site to look as professional as possible.
Notable Features of Bigcommerce –
- Straightforward, user-friendly and intuitive interface
- 24/7 customer support
- Strong marketing and SEO features
- Integration with Alibaba.com
- Supports over 60 payment gateways
- Full CMS available
- Drag-n-drop option for customization
- Automated email remainder for people who abandoned their shopping cart while checkout
- Wide range of free responsive themes
Bigcommerce Pricing – Free 15 days trial – $299.95/Month approximately
4. Volusion – Volusion has been offering all-in-one ecommerce experience to their merchant since 1999 along with professional services, great business tools and dedicated back-end support. Volusion has enormous features, but it lacks the most important “Blogging Tool” which is the key to generate traffic and improve online sale. However, their powerful ecommerce tools can help you build, manage and market your online business without hassle. The best thing about Volusion is that, there is absolutely no transaction fee on every plan and also offers unlimited products.
Notable Features of Volusion –
- No transaction fee on any order
- It is PCI/CISP certified and has own hosting center
- Integrates with lot of third-party platforms and applications
- Wide range of pre-made templates and highly customizable
- All-in-one – Website, shopping cart and hosting
- Unlimited 24/7 dedicated support
- Integrates with large number of payment gateways
Volusion Pricing – Free 14 days trail – $135/Month
5. WooCommerce – WooCommerce is most popular eCommerce plug-in (not a software) available on WordPress. This plugin is absolutely free and has lot of interesting features to build a successful online store. This is a self-hosted service so you have complete control to sell anything from physical goods to digital and also affiliated products from any marketplace. You will find build-in coupons and cross-selling functionality enabled once your store is ready. The plugin really simplify the eCommerce aspect for people to build and manage their online store. WooCommerce by now powers over 30% of all online stores with 11,012,145 merchants worldwide.
Notable Features of WooCommerce
- Easy-to-install eCommerce plugin for WordPress users
- Payment options include, PayPal, BACS, COD and many other payment gateways
- Hundreds of free and commercial extensions for different requirements
- Templates are open-source and requires only basic coding knowledge to customize
- Allows running marketing camaping and getting detailed report on that
- Has comfortable one page checkout
- Beautiful free design themes and plugins
- Get deep integration with WooCommerce using Storefront theme
WooCommerce Pricing – Free to $399 for all wordpress themes
6. PrestaShop – PrestaShop is probably the best free eCommerce platform for all types of retailers that also has larger number of ways to customize their online store. If you choose PrestaShop Cloud option then the company will assist you right from hosting to building the store. If you desire to host and customize your own store then simply download the latest version, however for larger business it is better to get assistance from PrestaShop expert. More than 250,000 online retail shops have been powered by PrestaShop, which proves that the company is not only successful but also trustworthy.
Notable Features of PrestaShop –
- More than 2,000+ beautiful themes with easy customization
- Default templates are mobile-responsive too
- 50+ world-class payment solution and gateways
- Unique customer service tool for complete satisfaction
- Great PrestaShop Addons marketplace
- Amazing build-in SEO features
PrestaShop Pricing – Free
7. Yahoo! Stores – Yahoo! after acquiring Viaweb in 1995 became the first company to bring ecommerce platform to general masses and since then the company is working hard to entertain more and more retailers to build online store. When you look at other available platforms, Yahoo! Store seems to be ideal for medium and large businesses. Small merchants can try out their “Lite” service to get started. Additionally, with a plethora of built-in features built opening and running an online store with Abacoo is fast and effortless for all retailers. Aabaco Small Business has helped millions of business to grow and accounting over $68 Billion sales in different countries.
Notable Features of Yahoo! Stores –
- Beautiful ready-to-use template and easy customization
- Stores are responsive – Mobile, tablets and computers
- Integration with major payment solution – American Express, Master Card, PayPal etc
- Live insights of store activities
- Applications to grow your business
- 24/7 client support
- Scalable to grow with business
Yahoo! Stores Pricing – No Free Trail L – $13 to @$249/Month
8. Edwid – Unlike the above mentioned giant ecommerce provider, Edwid is yet growing, but by now have helped more than 20,000 merchants in India and 900,000 merchants across different countries to start their own online store. Ecwid helps people who already have a website and just want to improve their business by adding an online store. It is more like a store building tool, which let you add catalogs, photos, price etc of your listed product. Edwid allows Point-Of-Sale functionality and also allows taking payment via an IOS device, which is probably their best feature.
Notable Features of Edwid –
- Storefronts are responsive – Desktop, Tablet and Mobile
- Edwid storefront can detect 45 different languages
- Free plan allows selling up to 10 products
- 40 Payment gateways including PayU and COD
- Allows selling simultaneously on web, mobile, social sites and marketplaces
- Ensures secure payment service as validated by Level 1 PCI-DSS
Edwid Pricing – Free to Rs.5000/Month
9. Zen Cart – Zen cart is one of most preferred free open-source eCommerce software solution since 2003. The software is PHP-based so people with bit of PHP programming knowledge can easily put up a store and for those with no PHP knowledge can use their extensive documentation for help. Choosing Zen Cart can be ideal for all business sizes especially small ones who already have web development resources. This software is solid, capable, stable and affordable shopping cart you will come across. However, you might have to compromise on template design and theme if you are not an expert of PHP programming.
Notable Features of Zen Cart –
- Free open source software with source code modification ability
- Great community support from Forum, Wiki, and Faqs
- Extremely easy to install and run the store
- Customizable backend and robust too
- Hundreds of powerful free plugins, with forum supports
- Easily integrates with number of payment gateways
- Allows to use your own domain name
Zen Cart Pricing – Free
10. 3D Cart – 3D Cart is a well-known eCommerce platform helping e-store owners to remain level headed and competitive in the market. 3D card is an award winning eCommerce software that let you create and manage a successful e-store. Working with 3D cart is really simple, especially with their drag-n-drop capability you can move elements with-in template to look as you want. Try out their versatile templates (over 50) and other customizable tools to build a beautiful storefront. This software offers more comfort while uploading inventory in bulk to store than most other softwares. 3D cart also offers a build-in blog option that popular store builder like “Volusion” lack. It has wide range of plans, all have unlimited storage and large number of features to suffice any online store needs. 3D Cart is serving more than 23,000 active online stores and 17,000 happy customers.
Notable Features of 3D Cart
- Charges absolutely no transaction fee
- No software installation required
- Easy to build and customize the store
- 24/7 client technical support available
- Over 200 payment gateways solution including Paypal and Checkout by Amazon
- SEO-friendly Shopping cart
- Mobile responsive shopping cart
- Scalable to grow with your business
- Company is PCI DDS compliant, ensuring higher security
3D Cart Pricing – 15 days Free trail to #129.99/Month
11. Big Cartel – Big Cartel has been a company built by and for artists. And like the artists we work for, we are independent. We are self-funded. We are selling a handmade product. We are doing it the hard way. And we love it.
Notable Features of Big Cartel
- Easy to create an add-on to extend Big Cartel core features
- Easily customize the images, colors, fonts, and options of one of our beautiful pre-made themes
Big Cartel Pricing –Free to $ 29.99
Here is a comparison report considering various factors:
Integrating eCommerce platform is really a future of business that is already moving faster and bringing more profit to large number of retailers. So, going wrong in choosing an eCommerce platform can be an expensive affair, as you may not have to quit the platform only after couple of weeks. The decision is big, so it would not hurt to try out a few options before settling on one.