E-commerce platforms allow consumers to discover products from all around the world. The best eCommerce platforms are user-friendly with thousands of available products. As an eCommerce retailer you can enjoy reduced overhead expenses, but you’ll need to have cash available for inventory and other expenses. To have a successful eCommerce platform it’s crucial to ensure you have a plentiful supply of inventory. In some cases, you may need to use inventory financing. Keep reading to learn more about eCommerce platforms.
What is an eCommerce seller platform?
An eCommerce seller platform is essentially a software that is used to sell goods through the internet. The software creates an interface for consumers to search for products, manage their orders, and pay for their purchases securely. Many companies choose to use an online eCommerce platform for the sake of simplicity, while others may see a benefit of developing their own proprietary platform that they manage internally.
As the online marketplace has grown significantly in recent years, many small businesses are enjoying the numerous benefits that online eCommerce platforms offer to help their products reach their customers.
Why do businesses choose to use an online eCommerce seller platform?
Many small and medium-sized businesses have begun to fully recognize all the advantages that an online eCommerce seller platform has to offer. Many times they are low cost, it is easy to list new products and have them available to consumers instantly, and it can help businesses find customers who are ready to make a purchase. Let us take a look at these advantages in a little more detail.
Advantages of an online eCommerce seller platform:
- Low cost: This is especially important for new businesses that are just starting out and that may not have the upfront capital needed to invest in many portions of the business. For example, a small business may only pay a small monthly fee for the platform to manage their domain and give them the tools they need to start listing their inventory. You may also use dropshipping through a platform that does not require you to make a large upfront investment in inventory. Also, many platforms have built-in marketing tools that help you to utilize social media, Google Adwords, and many other marketing tools at a low cost.
- Easy to list new products: Listing products on your own website through the eCommerce platform is simple and it can be done in a matter of minutes. Simply upload pictures, product specifications, prices, and any other details the platform may require. It then can be published on the web and ready for shoppers to purchase instantly. The platform also allows businesses to create secure, attractive, and reliable websites without needing a large budget, and without needing the technical know-how to do it on their own.
- Find customers who are ready to buy: Not only do online selling platforms make it seamless for customers to make their purchases by preventing undesired roadblocks, it also helps bring customers to the site that are looking for specific items and that are ready to make a purchase.
These are just three of the advantages of using an online eCommerce platform that has helped small businesses expand into the global marketplace in recent years. Other advantages include access to customer data insights, help with brand development, and that online selling platforms are extremely useful for businesses that serve niche markets.
What are some of the most used eCommerce platforms?
There are many reasons that small businesses and individuals have chosen particular eCommerce platforms to help grow their business and to get their products into the hands of consumers. Below is a list of some of the most widely used platforms currently on the market.
Shopify is one of the most widely used online selling platforms that is currently used by over 1.7-million businesses across 175 countries. There are approximately 1.58-million active websites running Shopify as of 2021.
Benefits: Some of the main benefits of choosing Shopify as an online platform are its ease of use, extensive library of apps and third-party extensions, and that the platform accepts an incredible number of payment options.
- A great option for larger stores that have an extensive inventory.
- Allows sellers to sell their products across multiple channels.
- Supports over 100 payment options.
- Contains over 3,000 different apps and third-party extensions.
- Customer service is available any day and any time.
- Higher transaction fees.
- Can be expensive depending on the number of apps and transactions you use to run your site.
Magento currently serves over 260,000, making it another one of the most popular online eCommerce selling platforms available to businesses. There are two editions of Magento, Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. Globally, both the Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce helps to facilitate $155-billion in gross merchandise volume per year.
Benefits: Magento Open Source offers one of the best platforms for individuals and businesses that are independently tech-savvy and that want to use the platform’s powerful capabilities.
- Highly customizable and easy to scale up any type of business.
- Software is free to download.
- Contains many features and powerful capabilities for tech-savvy individuals.
- Not designed for small businesses just starting out.
- Users should possess some developer skills.
BigCommerce was established in 2009 as an alternative to Shopify, and since then, it has grown extremely fast. BigCommerce powers over 90,000 online stores and is used in 65 countries.
Benefits: One of the biggest advantages of BigCommerce is that smaller businesses and businesses just starting out will be able to take advantage of many of the platform’s options to make expanding their online business simple and user-friendly.
- Built-in SEO options for users not familiar with SEO processes.
- Many customizable pre-built site templates make creating your business’s website easy for non-tech-savvy individuals.
- Allows businesses to sell across many different sites from one easy-to-use product dashboard.
- Customer service is lacking compared to other online selling platforms.
SquareSpace was founded in 2004, and since then, it has developed a reputation as being one of the most aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use drag and drop website builders.
Benefits: SquareSpace is one of the most widely used platforms for artists, creatives, and anyone who appreciates that websites can be a work of art themselves. The incredible templates are automatically optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
- Inexpensive, costing only $12 a month.
- Best platform for bloggers, artists, and designers.
- The mobile APP has the same capabilities as the desktop version.
- Allows you to restore deleted pages and posts within 30-days.
- Has a bigger learning curve than other platforms.
Woocommerce was created in 2011 as an answer to help busy online retailers looking for a simple eCommerce solution that did not require a lot of time and effort so that they could focus on other aspects of their businesses. In 2015, WooCommerce was purchased by Automattic who is responsible for bringing WordPress into the mainstream. Currently, over 300,000 online retailers use Automattic online platforms.
Benefits: WooCommerce works directly with WordPress as a plugin to offer eCommerce solutions to one of the number one content management systems in the world.
- Works for the sale of both physical and digital goods with the option to add multiple variants and configurations of the goods.
- Instant download option available for any digital goods.
- The base WooCommerce plug-in is free.
- Compatible with over 100 payment integrations.
- Must be used in conjunction with WordPress.
What is the biggest eCommerce platform?
There are three main types of eCommerce platforms, B2B, B2C, and C2C.
The largest eCommerce platform in the world that participates in both B2B and C2C types of eCommerce is Alibaba with over $768-billion in Gross Merchandise Value. The next closest competitor is Amazon with around $239-billion in GMV.
For only C2C, Shopify takes the largest market share with around $33-billion in GMV.
For strictly B2C, Rakuten has around $31-billion of B2C.
What is the easiest ecommerce platform to sell on?
One of the easiest and most used ecommerce platforms to sell on is Shopify. It is versatile in that it could be used by a large business with thousands of products or a first-time business owner with only a few products. For the small business, Shopify also provides a platform that is one of the easiest to scale your business and to see real growth with little effort. Though Shopify may be one of the easiest platforms to sell on, it may not be the best for your situation. It is in your best interest to research all of the above-mentioned eCommerce platforms to see which one is right for you.
How Kickfurther can help?
Kickfurther can help eCommerce companies secure financing for inventory. Small businesses and eCommerce businesses may struggle to qualify for traditional methods of inventory financing. In addition, they can be expensive. Kickfurther is up to 30% cheaper than other options and Kickfurther does not make business owners give up equity. Instead, Kickfurther allows supporters or investors to purchase inventory on consignment. To get started, small businesses can create proposals including a time frame for producing goods, a specified rate of return, and a schedule for repayment. Depending on your expected cash flow, you can set the repayment schedule between 2-10 months. Kickfurther supporters are repaid in full plus dividends.