Which ecommerce platform to choose? The 007 mission

What if instead of tracking down a kidnapped MI6 scientist, ex-007 would be asked to complete another task — to choose the top ecommerce platform for his store?

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The mission: No time to code

It was a mind-blowing 2020 when the world faced a new treatment: pajamas replaced evening outfits and toilet paper turned into a first need luxury item. This made the greatest brands of the world combine their strengths to find the solution and prevent the elegance catastrophe.

They suddenly called to mind one Luxury Hero, with a suit fitting like a glove, and Aston Martin shining like a diamond. Guess who? You're right, it's Bond. James Bond.

Being retired to Jamaica, he was about to start his own business. He gladly accepted the challenge but didn't have much time to spend on ecommerce store development. Besides, he didn't even know where to start. The only thing James knew — he had to build a new online store and running quickly and without bugs. So...

How to choose the best platform for ecommerce?

If you read this article, I suppose you know what an ecommerce platform is. Choosing the right one becomes crucial as that is a backbone of how you will be interacting with your customers. It is your “superpower” that influences buyers’ experience, retention and sales.

But best ecommerce platforms are not growing like mushrooms in the forest. So to find the best one for your business, start from considering the following factors.

1. Ecommerce Platform Price

Even though the elements may look similar, the price may differ a lot. Some platforms include transaction fees, subscription price, additional features, apps, upgrades, UX changes, etc. Those small details may add up and appear as a big number on your bill. Ensure that the features you may need in the future are already included in the price. Here are some of the prices for the most popular platforms:

📌 Shopify - from $29 to $2000 per month
📌Magento - from $2000 per month
📌 BigCommerce - from $29.95 to $299.95
📌 Salesforce Commerce Cloud - from 1% of GMV

2. Payment Options

Some of the platforms provide limited payment options. Others — support a variety of them: Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay or PayPal. These might be options that you don’t want to give up, especially now when digital wallets are one of the quickest and accessible ways to make purchases online.

3. Technical Support

If you are new to ecommerce, technical support may be critically important for your business. Most platforms offer technical support only during business hours in their time zone, while other platforms like BigCommerce, Wix, Shopify are available for assistance 24/7.

4. Security

Security has to be one of your top priorities in ecommerce, since you are responsible for customers, their satisfaction, money, and sensitive data. Make sure the platform you are choosing has PCI compliance, SSL, data backups and fraud prevention. An online store must be protected from hacks and fraud from day one.

5. Scalability

Think ahead to the next stages for your business. If a platform is not suitable for larger businesses, consider a platform that is more flexible in terms of the number of customers, products, etc.

What is the best ecommerce solution for ecommerce?

Okay, Mr. Bond, we're here to help. We've prepared this clear and short ecommerce platforms comparison, so you don't waste time on long searches. Here is the short list of top ecommerce software on the market.

1/ Shopify

Created by a group of snowboarding lovers, Shopify is now one of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses with over 1,000,000 businesses among its users. Between 2016 and 2019, the company generated $319bn in revenue and almost doubled its stock market in a few months of 2020, gaining nearly 11% of the total ecommerce market share.

Shopify Pros

  • Its simplicity and setup easiness - from web hosting all the way to frontend design;
  • Hundreds of “Plug-and-Play” integrations - from analytics to inventory management and pricing apps;
  • In-house payment platform Shop Pay, enabling selling on Facebook and Instagram;
  • All of which enable its users to build a turn-key ecommerce website with the necessary functionality to successfully run and control any online business.

Shopify Cons

  • Product variants are limited to three attributes (size, color, and material);
  • Free features are limited, and paid integrations are necessary to provide the store with certain essential functionalities;
  • Template design customization is also paid;
  • 0.5-2% in external gateway fees (not Shopify Payments);
  • Shopify is global in reach, but the biggest audience of customers is located in North America;
  • Low Scalability. That's why it's usually chosen by SMEs.

Price: $29-$299 per month‍

Best for: small to mid-sized level business‍

Used by: Kirrin Finch, Meso Goods, Brooklyn Museum

2/ Shopify Plus

If Mr. Bond thinks that Shopify isn’t enough for his plans, he should consider Shopify Plus with more built-in functionalities and benefits.

Shopify Plus Pros

Shopify Plus is like an ”all-inclusive” resort in the world of ecommerce:

  • No retainer fees for consultants, system integrators, and developers;
  • User-friendly account management;
  • Fast way to re-platform;
  • Unbounded bandwidth;
  • Quick time-to-market.
  • Ability to automate the majority of the processes with an extension called Shopify Flow. Tasks automation rocks, especially in case he is suddenly called for a secret mission one more time (who knows).

Shopify Plus Cons

  • It may sadden Mr. Bond that Shopify Plus’s monthly subscription fee will match the price of his favorite bottle of Martini.
  • Despite the “all-inclusive” status, some of the plugins and extensions are still paid.

Price: starting at $2,000 / month‍

Best for: mid-sized to large businesses‍

Used by: Lindt, MVMT, Heinz, Nescafe, Kylie Cosmetics, Victoria Beckham

3/ Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Given Mr. Bond's global recognition, he might need a more powerful solution to maintain a huge volume of transactions.

Demandware was founded in 2004 and acquired by Salesforce in 2016. The company was subsequently renamed Salesforce Commerce Cloud. If James Bond has no time to waste on designing and building his store, he should hire professional Salesforce Commerce Cloud developers.

Salesforce unites marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT teams from anywhere with Customer 360 — one integrated CRM platform that powers its entire suite of connected apps. It’s definitely the most flexible and scalable SaaS choice for large sellers.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud Pros

With Salesforce Commerce Cloud:

  • Users can sell across digital and physical channels;
  • Get access to its integrated AI system, providing brands with insights to their customers’ behavior and helping find ways for further growth.
  • Benefit from a mobile-first approach. Everything from reporting to inventory management is made effortless and easier with mobile. It is really a super stable ecommerce software — millions of transactions are processed smoothly.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud Cons

  • It's very hard to find professionals, capable of building a Salesforce web store;
  • The expert community is relatively small, so sometimes sellers may face difficulties with customer support.
  • Not to mention, the more you sell, the more you pay.

Price: for small businesses $25-$1,250 per month; for large businesses $200,000+ per year.‍

Best for: B2B ecommerce and brands with no web experience‍

Used by: Adidas, Schneider Electric, T-Mobile, Toyota, L'Oréal

Read more: Why choose Salesforce Commerce Cloud for ecommerce >

4/ Adobe Commerce (Magento)

Adobe Commerce or Magento is an open-source solution that brings together digital commerce, order management, and predictive intelligence into a unified commerce platform, enabling shopping experiences across a wide array of industries.

More than 250,000 online stores have been created on this platform. The platform code has been downloaded more than 2.5 million times, and $224 billion worth of goods have been sold through Magento-based systems during last year.

Magento Pros

  • A large community of partners and developers that offer support;
  • Highly customizable and flexible solution;
  • Possibility to pick your own hosting and choose the most suitable server;
  • Powerful marketing, SEO, and catalog-management tools;
  • Tons of available free and paid plug-ins;
  • Mobile friendliness.

Magento Cons

  • If James Bond decides to re-platform, it will be one of the worst days of his life.
  • Ok, it’s a joke! But the Magento migration issue still remains the main con. And just like with SFCC, much of the common success depends on highly skilled Magento ecommerce developers or find a Magento agency.

Price: the Open Source version of Magento is free, Magento Commerce/Cloud costs start from $24,000 annually ‍

Best for: enterprise-level ecommerce

Used by: Nike, HP Inc., The North Face, Ford, Helly Hansen.

Get the most to choose the best digital ecommerce platform

A variety of platforms presents an array of opportunities — each fitting your specific needs.

So, to choose wisely, James has to think through his business goals and calculate available resources. We do hope he succeeds with whatever choice he makes.

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