Choosing the Right e-Commerce Technology Platform

Samarjeet Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, Iksula Headquartered in Mumbai, Iksula offers end-to-end,creative and cost-effective e-Commerce solutions to internet retailers and brands globally.

Today, opening an online store is extremely easy, and it is one of the best options available for entrepreneurs when launching their start-ups. While it is easy to open an online store,choosing the right e-Commerce technology platform is challenging as the various options make it difficult to select the one that suits your needs the best.

As the e-Commerce market matures with advancement in technology and increasing competition between e-commerce solutions providers, customers today expect a lot from the websites they browse and shop on. Customers, today,are looking for more than just product information or an option to place orders on a website or mobile application; they are looking for a platform that facilitates seamless and healthy engagement with their favorite brands.

Along with an easy setup and abundant customization features, what you should also be looking for is mobile friendliness, social media integration, excellent user experience, search engine optimization, content marketing modules, and customer support. All of these together have become a fundamental need for an online store. Keeping these trends in mind, here are some of the top platforms that are likely to serve the requirements of modern e-Commerce businesses:

1. Shopify: Shopify as a platform works well for small B2C companies that have limited requirements. The platform hosts over 500,000 active online stores. With a focus on social commerce and mobile shopping, Shopify is ideal for modern-day, e-Commerce needs and the platform continues to evolve. For beginners, Shopify is an ideal choice, as
it offers over 100 store themes and templates to choose from, and over 1000 apps and plugins to extend functionality. The themes available on Shopify take the burden of designing and coding a website out of your hands. The templates offer complete control over the look and feel, from the layout to the content and colour schemes.

There are three main aspects to look at when starting an online store: expected traffic, security,and level of customization needed

2. Magento: With a market share of around 18 percent, Magento is one of the most popular platforms today and considered a market leader by many. Due to its reliability and scalability, it is an ideal platform for medium-to-large enterprises. Magento's UX is seamless and hassle-free, and it is an open source platform, allowing you to customize the platform to your specific needs. There are around 9000 plugins to help you scale your operations, which include scheduling tools that let you automate tasks so you can free up time for your core business objectives. It also includes handy marketing tools that let you show promotions based on what customers have ordered. As consumer behaviour changes quite frequently, Magento with its flexible and customizable functionality helps you stay in tune with changing trends.

3. Hybris: Hybris caters to the large enterprises that require efficient back-office systems and premium e-Commerce offerings. It emphasizes omnichannel commerce, which is a practice wherein a customer has the same experience across all channels whether desktop, mobile, in-store or any transactional touch-point. Such a comprehensive approach to e-Commerce broadens profit opportunities and does not limit a business to be dependent one channel. Unlike other platforms that require specialized developers, Hybris has an advantage of being based on Java, which is known by most professionals with an IT background. As a result, businesses working with Hybris have a more substantial talent pool to tap when hiring developers to build and maintain their online store.

4. Big Commerce: Big Commerce currently hosts around 55,000 e-Commerce stores and is versatile enough to handle small and big businesses. It has extensive built-in features such as newsletter templates, shipping and tax management, analytics, and much more. The Big Commerce platform is ideal for businesses that seek an out-of-the-box functionality with a hassle-free setup. It is the best option for those who have limited technical knowledge or a scarcity of time to tinker with the platform on a coding level.

Deciding on the right e-Commerce platform may not be easy, and the numerous choices can lead to analysis paralysis. There are three main aspects to look at when starting an online store: expected traffic, security, and level of customization needed. Evaluating these three points will help you narrow down your options, so when you do make a choice, it is the one that suits you the best.