The Three Categories of E-commerce Platforms and How to Choose One for Your Business
When you start an online business, there are many decisions to make, the most important one which is your e-commerce platform. This is the backend of your entire operation, the technology that your customers have to interact with for every single sale.
There are dozens of viable e-commerce platforms to pick from. They cover every niche, price point, and level of service imaginable. While it’s great to have options, how are you supposed to choose?
Luckily, most e-commerce platforms fall into a few basic categories. You can separate them into large groups, pick the group you like best, and cut out the rest of your options. This process of elimination will take you much closer to your final decision.
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Here’s a breakdown of the different categories of e-commerce platforms.
These are the platforms that will work for just about anybody. You can run a large business here or start a solo side project and build from scratch. Either way you do it, your needs will be met.
The only downside to general-use platforms is that they aren’t specific. You won’t be using a perfectly optimized version of e-commerce for your exact needs. If you can find a niche platform that suits you, it may be even better than the general use equivalent.
Does your company have a very specific need? If you target a niche market, you should look for a niche e-commerce solution.
There are many different ways that your company can qualify as niche. You might serve a specific market, such as a small region or a narrow age bracket. Your business model may be based on subscriptions, pre-orders, or rentals. Whatever the case may be, if you can identify a niche element to your business model, look for a matching e-commerce platform.
The scope of your company’s ambition should play a large role in choosing your e-commerce platform. If growth hacking is your way of life, you’d better choose a platform that is built to scale.
When it comes managing to a rapidly growing company, open source is amazing. You can tweak your site as often as you need to, keep it updated for your needs at any given moment. This is a time-intensive process, usually requiring at least one dedicated employee just to handle the e-commerce backend.
What If You Aren’t Sure?
If you still feel confused, that’s OK. It can be hard to put an exact definition on your business in the early days. When in doubt, go with a mass market solution. The general-use platforms listed earlier in this guide are a great fit for just about any new e-commerce brand. You’ll find it hard to go wrong with a company as reputable and popular as Shopify, for example.
You can choose the perfect e-commerce platform for you. After that, your business will have everything it needs to succeed.