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June 15, 2013 | Tech | Posted by Craig Baldwin Craig Baldwin

Choosing the Right E-Commerce Platform

After recently chatting with a friend who’s apart of a successful e-commerce business, I started to think – just how important is the e-commerce platform choice? As our service firm frequently experiences, online business clients are always thinking about their e-commerce platform. Be it costs, integrations, scalability, or inventory management. If you’re selling product on the internet, it may be the most important part of your business. So how do you know which one is right for you? Today Sqrl will discuss four different options and give insight on which may best suit your business or firm.

Shopify – This one has been making noise for a while. Many people I talk with are looking to make the switch to Shopify, and one of the first points made always deals with integrations. Lots of tools and features and very easy to use. Since Shopify offers a host of integrations, building your perfect platform, POS, and accounting infrastructure is not that difficult. However there seems to be complaints around limitations on products you can add per category.

Shopify charges a tiered subscription fee with an additional transaction fee ranging from 0-2% depending on the package you select. If you do want to add on those additional integrations, be prepared to pay for those as well.

Magento – Magento is one of the most popular platforms in the game. However not for the small online business. One site suggests businesses with $1M in turnover a year or more are best for Magento. The learning curve appears to be steep when dealing with customization, in other words, not for the Wordpress hobbyist. And hosting and security is on the owner when using Magento.

Magento offers two types of platforms, the open sourced community version, and the more expensive enterprise version. Options and features are aplenty, with great inventory management tools. However a common complaint seems to be lack of great customer service. Something you’ll definitely want since prices start at $15,550 for the community plan and $49,990 for the enterprise solution.

BigCommerce – An out-of-the-box solution which prides itself on ease of use and a clean interface. For the smaller online business in mind, BigCommerce will get your business up and running quickly. BigCommerce will help with domain, hosting, and security. With over 100 templates, tons of tools, and and abundance of marketing options, Big Commerce may be best suited for the beginner.

Packages start at $24.95/month and can run you all the way up to $299.95/month. But that’s it, no startup fees and no transaction fees like Shopify. However B2B support with BigCommerce is tricky, if you need to have relationships with retailers or wholesalers, you may want to look elsewhere.

Volusion – An all-in-one solution that offers a host of templates, which are customizable depending on your HTML knowledge. Volusion advantages include great product management and inventory solutions. While they do have 24/7 customer support, the quality is called into question after doing some online searches. Overall Volusion seems to be similar in ease of use and quality to Shopify and BigCommerce.

Their pricing packages are reasonable, starting at $15/month all the way up to $195/month. However there are limits on data transfers, so once you exceed your GB limits for a particular package, excess fees come into play. There also seems to be complaints about security fees as well, so make sure you do your research before beginning.

If you have any experience with the e-commerce platforms mentioned above, or others we missed, we’d love to hear your feedback. Happy online store management!

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