Opening up a storefront on an eCommerce platform is a remarkable way to build, promote, and grow your company on the web. According to the 2020 ARTS (Annual Retail Trade Survey) release, eCommerce sales increased by 43% due to lockdowns during the pandemic. But as we move on from COVID-19, the shift to eCommerce buying will stay.
In 2022, there are so many different platforms to choose from, which might seem overwhelming for eCommerce neophytes. Which are the most user-friendly and intuitive? Which cost the most money? Which are free? Will you need to learn advanced coding? These are all important questions to consider as you weigh your options.
Today, we’ll explore 5 of the best eCommerce sites to utilize for your business in 2022. But first, what is an eCommerce platform anyway?
What is an eCommerce Platform?
An eCommerce platform refers to software that allows online transactions between sellers and buyers; think of it as an internet storefront. Although each hub lets sellers manage media assets, sales data, and marketing outreach, the various eCommerce sites all come with unique benefits and drawbacks. Luckily, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Indeed, without a proper eCommerce platform, an online business will struggle to stay afloat in a saturated market.
Shopify is arguably the most well-known and user-friendly eCommerce website available. It’s fairly intuitive compared to other eCommerce sites, such as Magento. Launched over a decade ago selling snowboards, Shopify soared into the eCommerce stratosphere. Today, Shopify has countless free templates that sellers can choose from, each with quite a few perks. Shop Pay, for example, handles payments and processing with low transaction fees; and Shopify Fulfillment helps manage and deliver customer orders hassle-free. Regarding pricing tiers, Shopify offers three plans:
- The Basic Package ($29.99/month) is ideal for newcomers in the eCommerce game who have occasional in-person sales.
- The Standard Package ($79.99/month) is best for growing business, selling online or in-store.
- The Advanced Package ($299/month) is perfect for larger businesses since you can have up to 15 accounts, up to 8 inventory locations, and advanced reports.
The final key selling point for Shopify lies in its multichannel selling capabilities, which allow you to sell directly from your website, store, or third-party application. That’s right – the sky is truly the limit for businesses using Shopify!
Magento (Adobe Commerce)
Boasting clientele such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and Ford, Magento is one of the more popular eCommerce sites despite its complexity. Magento is most suitable for established businesses because the eCommerce platform allows up to 500,000 products and handles 80,000 units per hour.
The price of Magento depends on how much revenue your business makes. For example, if your business makes less than one million dollars in annual revenue, Magento Commerce will cost $22k while Magento Cloud can cost upwards of $40k. Keep in mind that these are low-end price estimations. Meanwhile, the most expensive Magento package is reserved for companies that make more than $25,000,000 per year. In this instance, businesses can expect to pay $125k for Magento Commerce and $190k for Magento Cloud yearly.
Secondly, businesses wishing to purchase the Magento Enterprise Edition will need to contact a sales agent for an individualized quote. Magento uses your eCommerce store’s average order value and annual online revenue to determine the price. Fees can become pricey at this point, reaching as high as $125,000. This plan may cost a pretty penny, but it comes with premium features such as advanced SEO efficiency for businesses, and AI-driven recommendations based on shopper behavior, and popular trends.
Furthermore, since Magento is an open-source platform, your design team will have full access to the web code. Thus, you can customize the website in any way you wish.
Since launching in 2002, Template Monster proudly stood as a leader in the eCommerce scene because it was one of the first platforms to offer pre-designed templates. Today, Template Monster serves more than 5 million customers worldwide.
Template Monster cost $899 annually, which customers can pay off in smaller monthly increments. Even better, Template Monster offers discounts when hooking up with host websites they partner alongside. More importantly, Template Monster features 120K+ digital products, including designs that customers can use on essentially any eCommerce platform, including Shopify and Magento.
Dedicated customer support is critical to an operational eCommerce website, and that’s where Template Monster truly shines. Do you find the templates too confusing the navigate? No problem! Template Monster will gladly walk you through the onboarding process. With great support and a wide variety of graphics and designs, Template Monster is certainly an eCommerce site worth checking out.
Wix is a solid eCommerce building site that has dedicated support and simple functionality. The platform boasts an intuitive interface with a drag-and-drop website builder, as well as domain registration and web hosting. Wix is a great option for people who don’t have the coding skills necessary to build entire websites themselves. You can always opt for the free version, but upgrading to the paid version will help you get the most value with its premium features. Wix Business VIP, the most expensive plan, grants you unlimited storage and video hours as well as top priority customer care.
BigCommerce, which began in 2009, hosts reputable brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Clarks, and Crest. In terms of price, the “Standard,” “Plus,” and “Pro” packages tend to attract smaller companies. Meanwhile, larger corporations will find value in purchasing the Enterprise plan.
Despite costing roughly the same as Shopify’s services, BigCommerce’s standard plan is more comprehensive than Shopify’s model. In the Standard package, brands can enjoy unlimited bandwidth and storage, gift cards and discount codes, unlimited staff accounts, professional reporting, and much more. The main difference between the Plus and Standard is the customer grouping and segmentation option.
Overall, BigCommerce offers valuable features such as SEO tools, international selling, and multichannel selling on third-party marketplaces.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted eCommerce Platforms
Now that we’ve explored a few of the most popular eCommerce platforms, let’s distinguish between hosted and self-hosted sites.
Think of Hosted platforms as renting an apartment or buying a townhouse – someone else will take care of the repairs, maintenance, and bugs; all you have to do is focus on your business. Forget about fixing coding or modifying the website’s navigational structure because dedicated specialists will handle any changes.
Self-hosted websites are a bit more complex. Businesses operating an eCommerce website on a self-hosted platform must resolve any bugs, fixes, maintenance, and updates. Moreover, self-hosted hubs are typically open-source. This means that fees can quickly add up since you pay for a third-party app to host your data.
Is All eCommerce the Same?
There are four types of eCommerce: B2C (Business-to-Consumer), B2B (Business-to-Business), C2B (Consumer-to-Business), and C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer). Distinct types of eCommerce also raise a new set of questions. How do these business models differ? Which one makes the most sense for your own business?
B2C occurs when a company sells a product or service to a consumer. However, this is not exclusive to physical goods; it can also apply to services like lawn care. B2C often sees shorter sales cycles; as a result, businesses can save time on marketing outreach. However, the drawback to this is that B2C has lower average order rates, and fewer recurring orders than B2B.
B2B is when a business sells to another business. The business can buy products at wholesale prices and resell them for their own business.
In these instances, consumers sell to businesses. Oftentimes these are less traditional types of sales. An example could involve a blogger sharing a company’s affiliate links on their website.
C2C describes a sales trend that recently surged in popularity. These transactions typically take place on third-party platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay.
How to Choose an eCommerce Platform
Statistically speaking, Shopify is the most popular eCommerce website in the United States, with nearly one in three businesses using it for their shop. But if you don’t want to jump on the Shopify bandwagon, how do you make your final choice?
Ultimately the best choice is the one that helps you retain and garner more customers, as well as grow your business. At Premiere Creative, we understand how an eCommerce platform plays a fundamental role in growing annual revenue.