How To Choose The Best eCommerce Platform for Retail Business?

best ecommerce platform for retail business

Not sure which is the best eCommerce platform for startups and small businesses in 2024? This blog has the answers you need!

According to Forbes, eCommerce sales are predicted to go up by 10.4% in 2023, reaching more than $6.3 trillion around the world. This number is set to get even bigger in the coming years, showing that borderless eCommerce can make good money for online sellers. By 2024, about 21.2% of all retail sales will be happening online.

Undoubtedly, having an online presence is a must for any business in today's digital age. But, not all eCommerce platforms are the same. There are many factors to consider when picking the best eCommerce platform for your retail business, like ease of use, integrations, payment options, etc. We're here to guide you through these factors and how they affect your online store performance and growth. Check them now!

5 best eCommerce platforms for small businesses

Every seller claims they're quicker, more dependable, and better suited for things like search engine tricks and handling credit cards securely. But what's the real deal? 

We thought, let's check out the top eCommerce platforms for their features, performance, ease of use, monthly pricing range, and when they work best.

 Aspect Shopify Magento BigCommerce WooCommerce Wix
Overall rating 4.5/5 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/5
Best for Small to medium-sized businesses Large and complex businesses Medium to large-sized businesses WordPress users Beginners and small businesses
Monthly pricing $29 - $299 Free - Custom $29.95 - $299.95 Free - Custom $23 - $49
Payment gateways 100+ 150+ 65+ 100+ 40+
Performance High High High Medium Medium
Features All-in-one solution, multichannel selling, app store, SEO tools, analytics, marketing tools, etc. Open source, scalable, customizable, multi-store management, SEO tools, analytics, marketing tools, etc. All-in-one solution, multichannel selling, app store, SEO tools, analytics, marketing tools, etc. WordPress plugin, flexible, customizable, inventory management, SEO tools, analytics, marketing tools, etc. Drag and drop website builder, app market, SEO tools, analytics, marketing tools, etc.

Ease of use Easy Require coding skills Easy Easy Very easy

Did you pick the right eCommerce website builder after checking out the table? Well, it's not as easy as that. A smart business owner will keep looking at the features of that platform and decide what's important and what's not. So, what should you focus on right now? Let's scroll down!

8 important factors in choosing the best eCommerce platform in 2024

Online shopping has become a popular and convenient method for purchasing products or services, especially in the post-pandemic era. According to Statista, 74% of U.S. consumers prefer to shop online rather than in physical stores

Therefore, picking the right eCommerce platform is pivotal for your success, whether you are launching a new online business or expanding your existing brick-and-mortar store to the digital world. 

First, think about how your business works and what you really need from an eCommerce platform. For example, if you already have lots of loyal customers and a strong brand, you might not need fancy marketing tools. But if you sell digital stuff like software or ebooks, you need a platform that can handle downloads and licenses. 

Now, let's check out the 8 core factors to look for to make sure your online store starts well.

1. Store functionality, architecture and ease of use

Customizing your online store is about changing how it looks and works. Different eCommerce platforms let you customize differently based on their architecture and source code. Therefore, it's wise to compare the architecture as the first step to determine which eCommerce platform is most suitable for your needs.

The architecture essentially defines how the front and back components of the website communicate with each other. 

  • The front encompasses what customers visually interact with, such as product pages and payment methods. 
  • Conversely, the back manages data and processes, overseeing tasks like inventory management and order processing.

There are two types of eCommerce platform architectures: traditional and headless.

In a traditional platform, the front and back are linked, sharing the same code. It's easy to set up and manage, but it limits customization and speed. Traditional platforms can be open-source or SaaS.

  • With open source eCommerce platforms, you can access, change, and share code. This means you have full control and can customize everything, but it does demand coding skills.
  • SaaS platforms are online services where the provider manages hosting and updates. Using it is easy, though it offers limited control. 

Now, it is about a headless platform with separate front and back parts talking through APIs. Merchants can create their own front experiences without changing the back. This allows more freedom and creativity. Besides, headless platforms can also be open source or SaaS.

  • Open source headless platforms allow you to access and change code and APIs. With these, you can create your systems, but it requires coding skills.
  • In contrast, SaaS headless platforms handle backends, letting you use APIs for frontend freedom. It's easy to use and provides more control and capability. 
Platform Open Source Headless SaaS
Shopify ❌ No ✔️ Yes (Shopify Plus) ✔️ Yes
Magento ✔️ Yes ✔️ Yes ✔️ Yes (Adobe Commerce)
BigCommerce ❌ No ✔️ Yes ✔️ Yes
WooCommerce ✔️ Yes ✔️ Yes ❌ No
Wix ❌ No ❌ No ✔️ Yes

2. Website design

Your website's design plays a crucial role in your business – it's like the first impression you make on your customers. Nowadays, people expect websites to look great and be easy to use. When you're starting an online store, it's vital to choose a theme or template that really reflects your brand

You don't need to be a coding expert. Just find something that suits you. Many platforms offer both paid and free themes. To figure out what works best for your store, try out different themes on your preferred eCommerce platforms. Upload some placeholder content and preview how it looks. 

Lastly, don't forget to pay attention to things like how it appears on different devices, how easy it is to use, and whether it can grow with your business over time. 

=> You might like: How To Customize Shopify Website for Holiday Season: Basic And Advanced Theme Customization

best ecommerce platform for retail businesses

3. Pricing and processing fee

Most platforms have a monthly fee, and there are processing costs, too. Sometimes, a platform might have a low monthly fee but high processing fees. So, think about how much you sell to figure out which one gives you the best value.

The second advice is: Don't just look at the money – think about what you get for it. Saving a bit at first might seem reasonable, but not if it means losing essential things your business needs.

As a result, if you want to make your budget and needs match, list the things you must have and some nice-to-have things. The best eCommerce platform for beginners should have all the must-haves and as many extras as you can fit into your budget.

Platform Monthly Pricing Free Trial Processing Fee
Shopify $29 to $2000 3 days 2.15% to 2.9% + 30¢
Magento $0 to $2000 Demo 2.9% + 30¢
BigCommerce $39 to $399 15 days 2.59% + 49¢
WooCommerce Free - Custom No 2.9% + 30¢
Wix $23 - $49 14 days 2.9% + 30¢

=> Related blog this week: Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which Platform Is Better? (latest updates 2024)

4. Multiple payment gateways

Businesses that offer customers different ways to pay tend to sell more, as studies show. 

  • A survey by Statista found that 11% of people might leave their shopping cart if they can't use their preferred payment method. 
  • Furthermore, 19% might abandon their purchase due to concerns about the website's safety. 

These statistics indicate how important it is to have reliable payment gateways for your online store.

best ecommerce platform for retail businesses

Even though e-wallets are becoming more popular, they're not the primary way people pay yet. So, when choosing the best eCommerce platform for small business, make sure it provides your customers with enough payment choices. Doing so will provide your customers with fewer reasons to hesitate before clicking that crucial "order now" button and completing the transaction.

=> Read more: How To Add Apple Pay to Shopify: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

5. Mobile responsiveness

Mobile shopping is becoming increasingly popular every year. 

  • In 2023, approximately 43.4% of all online shopping will be done through mobile devices, up from 41.8% in 2022. 
  • Experts predict that by 2024, m-commerce will double, reaching $534.18 billion in the US. This implies that almost half of all online sales will originate from phones.

best ecommerce platform for retail businesses

As mobile shopping continues to gain popularity, the best eCommerce platforms should ensure a seamless and enjoyable mobile experience for customers on their phones. Everything, from design to navigation and checkout, must be optimized for mobile devices. Otherwise, customers might switch to other stores that offer a better mobile shopping experience.

6. SEO friendliness

Many business owners don't realize how vital search engine optimization (SEO) is. But, no, SEO is crucial for your store to succeed, and the best eCommerce platform thinks about SEO from the start. Not to mention, building up organic SEO takes time, and it's much easier when the platform follows the best practices and keeps up with changes in Google's algorithms.

Not all eCommerce platforms for startups and enterprises are the same when it comes to SEO. You need to see what they offer, like updating tags and descriptions, describing images, and more advanced things like organizing product search results. Checking these features helps your store get noticed and do better online.

best ecommerce platform for retail businesses

7. Third-party Integrations

When deciding on the best eCommerce platform for startups, think about 3rd party app integrations and plugins. Not all platforms have everything, so know your business needs. Check out these popular plugins:

  • Accounting: Tell you about money things like sales, taxes, and profits.
  • Email Marketing: Keep in touch with your happy customers.
  • Customer loyalty programs: Let you reward customers for repurchasing your products.
  • Retail management software: Manage daily operations like buying and selling inventory, checking out customers, scheduling employees, and keeping track of finances in your store or chain.
  • Payment & Shipping: Make it easy to get paid and send out products.
  • 3rd party digital tools: Help connect with other tools like marketing systems, CRMs, and ERPs, and lets you customize more.

8. eCommerce platform security

    When it comes to online selling, security is super important. You're dealing with essential things like credit card info from customers. So, pick a platform that's big on safety – look for ones that follow the PCI-DSS rules

    In addition, make sure they give you SSL certificates. These certificates help stop bad things like security breaches and stealing credit card info. It's not just for now, but it helps keep things safe in the future, too. 

    The best eCommerce platform is different for each business

    In a nutshell, choosing the right eCommerce platform is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and before you make a choice, you have to think about what your business really needs. 

    For example, if you have a physical store and want to sell things online, too. In that case, you'll need a platform that can connect your online and offline info. One good option for this is Magento. It's a strong and flexible platform that can handle tricky online selling jobs. Most importantly, if you combine the Magestore POS system with Magento, you can keep track of both online and in-store sales all in one place.

    But remember, Magento isn't the only choice for running a successful online store. Other platforms might be even better for you, depending on your budget, skills, and requirements: 

    • Shopify: It's an easy-to-use platform that's awesome for small to medium-sized businesses. You can sell online, on your phone, or in other places like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and more.
    • WooCommerce: This one is like a unique tool for WordPress. It changes any WordPress website into an online store. It's flexible and lets you control your store if you're into WordPress.
    • BigCommerce: A fancy platform that has lots of cool features. BigCommerce and Magento are perfect if your business is getting bigger and you want to sell more online.
    • Wix: This is a simple and pretty platform that's perfect for beginners and small businesses. It helps you make a super good-looking eCommerce website.

    The best eCommerce platform isn't the same for every business. At the end of the day, you are the one who understands your business the most. Just focus on your goals and what your customers need, and you'll find the platform that best fits your needs.

    Besides, if you need more help or advice on choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business, you can visit FoxEcom. We provide smart and efficient front-end solutions for SMB markets, such as Shopify themes, apps, and storefront builders. Thank you for reading.

    Katie N.

    Katie is digital marketing specialist at Magestore. She has been working in the retail industry for over 4 years and has many experiences producing high-quality content to world-wide readers.