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How to choose a platform for your online store?

Choosing a platform to build your online store with is the worthiest step that will determine the success of your online business. You may have been wondering which platform to go with and what are the differences between them?

Now is the time to clarify that there is no such thing as “the best platform for online stores”, which is suitable for absolutely every store. Every system has certain advantages and disadvantages over the others. Therefore, the choice of one depends entirely on what are your requirements, functionalities, specifics, and processes you want to happen on the site. When you describe all the topics, you need to look in detail at what every platform allows, consult with experts, and choose one.

Another valuable detail is to determine at what stage of growing your online business is. Depending on what are you – a starting small business; a retailer with one or a chain of physical stores who wants to enter the online market; or a big successful online retailer looking for development and new horizons – you can determine the amount of investment you can make to build an online store and choose which platform you can turn to – open-source solution or SaaS.

What are SaaS solutions?

SaaS (or Software as a Service) platforms include content management software, build modules, hosting, and technical support. In essence, they are a package of services. You can manage the store through the browser, and you do not need to install anything or rent hosting.

SaaS solutions are suitable for:

  • Businesses who want to start selling in the shortest possible time.
  • Online retailers who do not have the opportunity or resources to allocate for modification and specification of the site.
  • Retailers who do not have the human resources to deal with the maintenance, security, and stability of the platform.
  • Retailers looking for a solution that does not require high start-up investments.

Well-known SaaS solutions on the Bulgarian market are Shopify, Shopiko, Wix.

What are open-source solutions?

For open-source solutions, you must first install e-commerce software on your server. This platform type is offered both free and open-source and paid created entirely based on your requirements and needs. They allow for customization and the introduction of flexible functionalities.

Open-source solutions are suitable for:

  • Big retailers with extensive experience in online commerce generate high sales and are looking for a way to grow their online store.
  • Business owning a network of physical stores which are recognizable in the market and are ready to sell online.
  • Companies that can devote time and resources to create the perfect online store.
  • Retailers who want to enter a highly competitive market and are looking for quality development to stand out from other businesses.
  • Retailers who realize the need to spend more time developing an online store to achieve the best results.

The most widely known open-source platforms in Bulgaria are – OpenCart, WordPress (WooCommerce), and Magento.

When choosing a platform, you should guide yourself by the following criteria:

  • Are there companies, freelancers, or agencies to develop and maintain your site?
  • Is there a large enough community that has formed around the platform and traders to use it? Ask them for an opinion.
  • What growth opportunity does the platform offer?
  • Are the platform upgrade plug-ins paid or free? If they are not free, be sure to find out how you have to pay the – one-time payment, monthly or annually. Compare with the offers of competing platforms.
  • Is it possible to integrate with external systems – warehouses, ERP systems, PIM systems, etc.?
  • Will you need to train your staff to be able to perform daily tasks.
  • And last but not least, what will be the final price you have to pay for the complete building of the online store.

Conclusion:

Choosing an eCommerce platform depends on many factors such as the size of your business and your desire for expansion, the requirements you have in terms of functionalities and capabilities, and the costs you are willing to make. But the main part is the company/person who will develop the online store, which in the future will be your biggest partner.

If you have specific questions or need advice and guidance, you can contact us at any time.