The best e-commerce platforms to build an online store
Choosing the right e-commerce platform to build a professional online store is a very important step, and an essential element to reach a successful and profitable business website.
Your path will not be free of obstacles, especially if you don’t have sufficient knowledge of the principles underlying the online buying and selling process, and the success that the use of e-commerce platforms is supposed to add to your business.
What are e-commerce platforms?
E-commerce platforms are computer programs (software solutions) that enable companies and individuals to obtain the properties and capabilities that help them start their online store business and achieve sales operations for Internet users.
Sales need software to manage their operations; Such as accounting, order management, inventory management, and others. E-commerce platforms combine these tasks together to provide one consistent and integrated program.
And we can say; they are platforms that provide integrated packages of programs that make the online selling process possible. They provide the ability to display products, the ability to link the store with shipping and payment companies, the ability to manage and track inventory, and others.
Types of e-commerce platforms in terms of how to use:
We can classify it into two basic types:
E-commerce platforms that offer integrated solutions as a paid service:
With a monthly subscription to one of these platforms, you will be able to fully create and manage your store from one place.
It will provide you with the following:
- Store design.
- An integrated control panel to manage your business from one place.
- Connect your store with shipping companies and pay in an easy and simple way.
- Support service for its users.
In conclusion, these platforms will provide you with everything you need to create your online store, take care of all technical matters, while only you will take care of your business and marketing for your store.
E-commerce platforms that offer a software package that you can use on your own hosting:
Many of these platforms are open source, in addition to being free as well.
It gives you the basic software package needed to create your online store, and you have to fully install and manage your hosting.
Here you will need to do the following:
- Fully manage your store.
- Solve technical problems yourself, if found.
There is no official support service for these platforms, but there are often forums and communities where you can ask your questions and inquiries and you will find someone who helps you voluntarily.
Best e-commerce platforms:
First – the WooCommerce platform:
- It is the most famous and important in the world of e-commerce.
- Open source and free.
- Dedicated to working with the WordPress content management system, by configuring the WooCommerce plugin on the WordPress site.
(By configuring this plugin, you can also create a great WordPress online store.)
Some important information and points to know about the WooCommerce platform:
- When you use it, you will need to reserve your hosting and domain name.
- Many features can be activated by purchasing additional extensions via the official WooCommerce website.
- It is one of the best SEO options out there.
- The options for designing the online store are almost infinite; you can buy a template for your online store with the specifications you want.
- There is a large professional team working to continuously develop the platform’s features.
- It is not too easy to use and handle.
- When the necessary expertise is available, you can amend the original code for the addition.
Second – Shopify:
- It is the most important and popular platform in the world of e-commerce.
- Belong to the first type of platform (offering an integrated solution to make a professional online store as a paid service).
- When you subscribe to it, you will be able to get your online store easily and in very simple steps.
- It provides three different packages for their prices and features (the first and cheapest package contains the main features, and the third and most expensive package contains all the advanced features).
Some important information and points to know about the Shopify platform:
- The prices of its packages range from $ 29 a month to $ 299.
- Not the best option in terms of SEO.
- It has more than 70 ready-made templates, and you can choose one of them with the ability to edit.
- You can create a blog for your online store with ease.
- It supports many languages, “including Arabic”, but there are some aspects of the design that are not perfect with the Arabic language.
- You will have to pay a commission on the payments made through your online store.
Third – OpenCart platform:
- One of the most important global platforms for creating professional online stores.
- Suitable for small and medium-sized stores.
- Open source and completely free.
- It is a PHP script that you can download from the official OpenCart website, and it requires some technical expertise to install it on your hosting, and prepare it well.
The OpenCart platform comes with many other features available in the form of additional plugins (free and paid).
On its official site, you will find many free and paid templates, which you can use any theme as you like.
Some important information and points to know about the OpenCart platform:
- In order to build your store with it, you will need to purchase hosting and a domain name.
- (There are some hosts that provide easy setting of this platform on your account).
- With it, you can own a multi-merchant store, and you can create more than one store with the same account and manage them from one place.
- Using the control panel is very easy and simple.
- Not the best SEO option, but it does contain the basics you will need.
- Through it, you can create an affiliate marketing system for your online store.
Fourth – ExpandCart platform:
- An Arabic platform and is available in English.
- It has clients in many countries of the world, and it is a great option for every Arab who wants to create a professional online store.
- It belongs to the first type of e-commerce platform (it is an integrated e-commerce solution, and when you subscribe to it, you will find everything you need to build your online store in one place).
- Offers four different packages, with different prices and features.
- Free trial for 15 days.
Some important information and points to know about the ExpandCart platform:
- It has a good support service in Arabic.
- It has a “Launch My Store” service through which you can assign a professional team to create everything for you.
- Its interface is not perfect (easy but a little outdated).
- It has 4 different packages ranging in price from $ 19 to $ 299.
- You will get exclusive rates with shipping and payment companies.
- With it, you can create a dropshipping store easily, and connect with the best companies in just a few clicks.
- You cannot create a blog for your online store.
- With it, you can easily create an application for your online store.
Fifthly – Magento platform:
- One of the leading platforms in the world, used by hundreds of thousands of online stores.
- It is an open-source platform, it has a free and a paid version.
- The free version is very suitable for small and medium businesses.
- The paid version is intended for large companies, and it has a high price compared to other e-commerce platforms.
- It contains a huge variety of features and options through which you can customize your store as you want.
- This platform is characterized by an unparalleled level of flexibility, (as long as you have sufficient programming experience, you can modify the code and adapt it to the way you want).
Some important information and points to know about the Magento platform:
- It is not suitable for everyone, it requires knowledge and experience in dealing with coding.
- The prices for the paid version are so high that only supermarket owners can afford them.
- It has an intelligent system for suggesting products and achieving the highest level of sales.
- It’s a great option for anyone looking to get visitors from search engines.
- It has a lot of templates that you can edit as you like.
- It does not have a support team, but there are communities and explanations that will help you voluntarily when needed.
Sixth: BigCommerce platform:
- Shopify’s fierce rival, and outperforms it in some aspects.
- It represents an integrated solution for e-commerce through annual or monthly subscriptions.
- It provides three packages whose price ranges from $ 29 to $ 299, and another package is available for large businesses (you can get their price by contacting them and sending a report about your special needs, according to the size of your online store).
Some important information and points to know about the BigCommerce platform:
- Free trial for 15 days.
- Do not take a commission on sales, but set limits for it according to the package (for example, the first package is 50 thousand dollars annual sales, and when you exceed that, you must move to the next package).
- It has great tools to increase your conversion rate and hence increase sales.
- It has the drag and drops feature to build the web store pages as you want.
- Not the best in terms of SEO.
- Not the best in terms of the loading speed of the hosted store.
- It has a very good system for analyzing online store data and making better decisions.
So here, we have covered a great variety of the best-known e-commerce platforms.
There are many other platforms that you can use to build a wonderful online store, including:
Is a site that provides integrated solutions to create a website.
It also provides the ability to create an online store in a simple and easy way, with huge possibilities for editing designs.
works almost the same as Wix.
provides two e-commerce packages (the first at $ 26 per month, and the second at $ 40).
It is a great solution for anyone who wants to build a convenience store at a lower cost.
It is one of the oldest e-commerce platforms.
Offers an integrated solution (Shopify, BigCommerce, and ExpandCart).
It is an open-source e-commerce platform.
If you are using SiteGround hosting, you can easily configure its package of codes with just a few clicks.
Like Shopify and ExpandCart.
It contains a lot of competitive features and advantages, and its prices are the same as those of Shopify.
Some tips that will help you carefully choose the right platform for your online store:
1- What is your need for an e-commerce platform?
The first reason that leads many to fail in their online work is that their needs are not precisely defined, and therefore you have to answer the following questions when you think about choosing an appropriate platform to start your e-commerce:
- What are the most important features that you would like to have from an e-commerce platform?
- What are the features that do not make a difference to you?
- How big are your growth goals?
- Do you have an integrated team, or will you start on your own?
- How much time do you have to learn to interact with the platform?
- Do you need support service or is this not necessary?
Cost is a very important element in making business decisions, and in our case it is!
You need to be clear about the cost you are going to pay to set up the store.
Do you prefer to pay the cost one time, or do you prefer a monthly payment for a platform that offers you an integrated solution?
And what is worth mentioning, that if you choose one of the open-source e-commerce platforms, you will pay for the website hosting on a monthly basis.
3- Technical knowledge and experience:
Do you have appropriate programming experience to work with open-source platforms? Or do you want to deal with a single platform where you can find everything you want to create an online store?
Note: If you have an integrated team, and one of them is good at dealing with code, then the option of open source platforms will be appropriate.
When creating an online store in Arabic, for not having a good command of English, you can rely on one of the Arab platforms such as ExpandCart.
If there is not enough time and you want an easy-to-use platform to quickly build your online store, integrated monthly paid platforms are a great option.
However, if you have plenty of time, and you want to start, experiment, and reach solutions through research and acquired experience, then you should use open source platforms.
There are many e-commerce platforms in the internet world, which differ according to how they operate and how to create an online store through them, although each of them contains hundreds and thousands of successful online stores.
Therefore, you should pay attention to the fact that the success of your online store will require you to focus twice on many other important aspects, such as:
- The competitive advantages of the products you will sell.
- The rate plan that you will follow.
- Your marketing and other efforts.
And always remember that the option that may suit you may not suit others, and the ideal choice for others may be a bad choice for you.
Therefore, we recommend that you reconsider your goals and priorities, understand what you need clearly and accurately, and put your hand on what you are good at and what you lack in experiences before starting.
You do not have to fear anything, as everything that exists in the Internet world is flexible and subject to change.
You can always move from one platform to another with ease and convenience.