In today’s world of ELECTRONIC COMMERCE (or e-commerce) there’re about eleven most popular platforms to choose from. Let’s count them in an alphabetic order: Big Commerce, CRE Loaded, Cube Cart, Open Cart, osCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop, Tomato cart, Shopify, VirtueMart and Zen Cart. The absolute majority of them is free and open source.
When choosing an e-commerce platform there’re quite a few things to consider. First of all, it’s the level of the platform compatibility with your business model. Therefore it’s important to study the platform features in order to find out whether it will be able to cover and efficiently provide for the majority of your business needs.
Such features as available payment gateways, pricing options and rules, flexibility of managing the inventory lists and categories are of primary importance. If you’re aiming at international clientele multi-language and multi-currency support are to be taken into account.
Since all of the platforms are managed from administration panel, in this respect they’re all equal. Still, having a look at the panel innards is worthwhile for assessing its usability.
Another set of features important for the platform evaluation is the one geared towards your prospective clients. These are features which are instrumental in the visitor interaction with your web store, because these have to be user friendly to make the visitor’s e-shopping experience as convenient as possible. Which in turn will affect their decision to return.
So you need to pay special attention to the way the products are presented. This concerns imagery, descriptions, data sheets, videos, customers reviews and feedback forms. And certainly, you should condider the way the order and checkout processes are handled.
The last consideration point is the platform scalability. There might come the time when you wish to reformat your business model, therefore it’s important that your e-commerce solution would be flexible enough to allow adjustments to the new requirements of your business operation. The scalability is achieved by expansion through add-ons, plug-ins, additional modules and extensions, therefore their availability and diversity are worth checking out when exploring this aspect of the platform.
It should however be kept in mind that when selecting an e-commerce solution, most likely you’ll make certain concessions assumptions, because unfortunately a universal solution doesn’t exist! There’s no best e-commerce platform – they all have their advantages and disadvantages. However, there’s an e-commerce platform which is the best for your business (in a given place at a given time). So the judgement you will make is just about your readiness to choose this very platform and your ability to cope with its imperfections or shortages.
First and foremost, e-commerce solutions exist as content management systems, and therefore the main emphasis in their development is placed upon functionality rather than design. For this reason and because of them being mostly freeware, their storefront default design is usually pretty basic. To satisfy the demand for more elaborate and appealing designs, many companies offer e-commerce themes and templates of varying complexity for different platforms. And that is great, because it means you’re not doomed to using the design you don’t like or order individual custom design for a high price. Instead, you are able to switch up the theme as frequently as you wish! Here’s a selection of some E-commerce templates we’d like to feature today:
Food Store Zencart Template
Fashion Handbags Oscommerce Template
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