You might be a business owner looking to take your business online but asking yourself, “How do I pick the right eCommerce option?”. No matter what size your business, given the current competition in Britain (I write Britain, because that is the market I know) there are about five practical and powerful eCommerce platforms available these days (Magento, Prestashop, Cubecart, ZenCart and WordPress eCommerce). Accordingly, below is an assessment of the top notch eCommerce platforms. The summary below aims to educate eCommerce business owners how to go about choosing a suitable eCommerce site.
Recently acquired by eBay, there is no doubt that currently Magento is the most popular and powerful eCommerce site out there. If you take a look at Google Insights, Magento has even replaced the word eCommerce. At the moment Samsung, The North Face and Nespresso all use Magento to power their online stores. Magento is an open source eCommerce platform, which uses the newest technologies on the web, but initial development is best left to a web development agency.
Support for multi-store and multi-language retailing all from the same backend
Easy integration to third party API with the store
Many add-ons for helping to improve efficiency
Great for large traffic and transactions
Though “state-of-the-art” technology, unless you have a developer who knows the Magento ins and outs, don’t expect a slick site without proper management and development, and a proper investment of cash
On the back-end, you’ll use a full-featured back-office application to manage your online business (including inventory, orders, shipping, and customers) in real-time. If you know what you’re doing you can get a shop up and running with little to no cost outside of development time. There is also a growing community of PrestaShop users who make the shopping cart better every day.
Need website for a straightforward shop, less than 1000 items.
Main advantage – speed
If you need huge functionality, Prestashop has difficult settings for shipping and taxes, multi stores, attributes, etc.
Cubecart (only the previous version is for free):
If you wish to have a professional and credible website Cubecart does the job, although they expect you to have a good understanding of how PHP, MySQL, and GD work for you to set up the software. While downloading this shopping cart is simple, configuring it to your hosting server is not.
Easy to use control panel
Quick to implementation
Looks professional from the customers’ point of view
For use by store owners only if they are technical savvy
Required payment for any good upgrades
Zen Cart (free):
Zen Cart is the outcome of continuous development by shop owners, programmers, designers and consultants. It is a free and user-friendly shopping cart, and is distributed as an open source software. Zen Cart Pros:
Straightforward ecommerce platform
Free and practical
Zen Cart Cons:
Not recommendable to someone who doesn’t want to spend time/money customising it
As online presence is for cheap – for a slick and polished store go somewhere else
WordPress eCommerce (free):
WordPress e-Commerce is a free shopping cart that lets customers buy your products, services and digital downloads online. This plugin is a Web 2.0 application designed with usability, aesthetics, and presentation in mind.
Great use for a simple store with not a lot of items
Lack of official support
Far from being a “state-of-the-art e-Commerce platform”
If you have any questions, there are a plethora of forums and reviews regarding these platforms.