In the digital age, having an online presence is crucial for businesses. Getting the best e-commerce platform for your small business is essential. Ecommerce platforms provide businesses with the tools they need to establish and manage their online store. If you’re a small business owner in the UK, choosing the right ecommerce platform can help you reach more customers and increase sales.
It is an essential part of your business planning to get the best ecommerce platform for your needs. If you only have only one product you don’t need all the bells and whistles that go with stock control and multiple categories. If you have thousands of SKU’s then you want to be thinking about a platform that can handle everything you need to throw at it to make your life simple.
There are so many things to think about when setting up that you need to get the key points covered before you start. In our opinion choosing an e-commerce platform should involve answering the following questions:
- How much is the platform going to cost to run – Check out the monthly subscription.
- Will there be more monthly costs? – What apps do you need to run your business? Are they included in the platform or as an added extra and therefore cost?
- How many products and categories can the platform manage? Is there a limit on number of products before you have to pay more or before it becomes impossible to manage.
- Is it easy to use? – What level of tech are you familiar with? Do you need to know how to code or can you just handle a drag-and-drop builder?
- Get a recommendation Do you know another business owner who uses the platform? Ask them what it is like to run an online store on their platform. What are their issues with it?
- What is the checkout like? – Is it a quick checkout, is it easy to use, does it remember past customers. Can you adjust the checkout yourself? What is the journey like for your customer who is of course your most important stakeholder.
- Product variations – Do you have a complicated product with lots of variations? Can you manage this when adding new products.
- Does the e-commerce platform support video? – Is video going to play a large part in your website offering? If so does the platform let you add video to product pages or do you need an app?
- Shipping integration – How does your ecommerce platform function or integrate with your shipping supplier? Is there an app or is it built in. This could be a make-or-break question.
- Multi-Channel Sales – How does your chosen e-commerce platform integrate with the likes of eBay and Amazon? Can you run your marketplaces from within your website backend or does it need several or one extra app to do so.
We have been in the e-commerce business for over 15 years and like to think we know a bit about selling online. This is why we have pulled together the following list to help you choose your eCommerce platform. Here are the top five e-commerce platforms for small businesses in the UK.
1. Shopify: Best All-Round Ecommerce Platform
Shopify is a popular choice among small businesses due to its user-friendly interface and extensive features. It offers a range of plans starting from £25 per month. Shopify excels in providing multiple inventory locations, making it ideal for businesses with diverse product lines. It also boasts an extensive app market, allowing businesses to add extra functionality as they grow.
Every year, Shopify brings out a new set of Editions. These are a set of updates that transform the way Shopify works. We have been working with Shopify for years and have seen so many amazing breakthroughs in Editions. A few years ago you had to know how to code new pages to build a good-looking set of unique pages. With the release of Shopify 2.0 this became an inbuilt function letting you build and style your own pages using the in-built customizer. On its own, this has been a relation for Shopify store owners.
How much does Shopify cost?
Shopify has a variety of packages depending on the size of your business. The started Basci package begins at £25 per month. You can of course go for the FREE trial which lasts 3 months and only pay £1. This goes right up to Shopify Plus for very large businesses. The cost for this goes into the thousands but can be worth it to run an international store with a high turnover.
What are the benefits of Shopify?
Shopify is easy to use, you can ask any store owner and they will probably agree. Shopify make it easy to add and remove products, manage stock and edit pages. If you get stuck there is a fantastic level of support available to help you quickly. You can also manage your entire business within the Shopify ecosystem if you choose. That includes:
- Email Marketing
- Customer management
- Order control
- Gift Cards
- Merchant Center
- Multi-Channel Selling
What are the limitations of Shopify?
- Shopify users heavily rely on add-on apps that Shopify offers. Most add-ons on the platform are based on a monthly subscription payment model1. This can start to add up and become expensive, especially for growing businesses.
- Shopify allows you to change certain parts of its functionalities, but it’s not as customizable as self-hosted platforms1. Shopify uses a unique setup for customization of their themes versus using something over which you can have more control. Also, Shopify is built with its own language called Liquid, which has certain limitations.
- Lack of data control. Shopify stores all of your store data. If you want to migrate away from Shopify it can be an issue.
2. Wix: Best for Bookings and Services
Wix is a versatile ecommerce platform that allows you to sell both products and services online. With plans starting from £15 per month, Wix offers a wide range of templates and customization options. It’s particularly suited to businesses that offer bookings and services.
It is an easy-to-use platform that has a user friendly interface and makes it easy to manage a small sized store with a few products. Wix offers a wide range of tools necessary for running an online business, including inventory management, order management, marketing tools, and more.
Wix is a great platform for small to medium-sized businesses, it may not be the best fit for larger enterprises due to potential backend load lags with large inventories.
3. BigCommerce: Lowest Transaction Fees3
BigCommerce is another robust ecommerce platform that offers a comprehensive set of features. It stands out for its low transaction fees, making it a cost-effective choice for small businesses. Plans start from $29.95 per month. Big COmmerce does not offer a pricing chart, you have to request a quote which leads us to believe it will be the most expensive one of the bunch.
BigCommerce is an excellent choice for your online store due to its comprehensive e-commerce tools and user-friendly interface. One of the biggest advantages of BigCommerce is that the onboarding and setup process is quick and easy. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert in e-commerce and technical fields, this platform is a great option. It allows you to create a beautiful, modern online store easily. BigCommerce is an all-in-one e-commerce platform that simplifies complexity by providing all the tools and resources necessary to manage a successful business.
Another significant advantage of BigCommerce is its design capabilities. It’s known for offering some of the best design options in the industry. You can create a professional and attractive online store using a variety of templates. Furthermore, BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees, which means you can keep more of your profits. It also offers excellent customer support with a team available 24/7 to help you with any issues you may encounter. With its built-in blog feature, you can publish content and engage with your audience, helping to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your store.
4. Square Online: Best Free Plan
Square Online offers a free ecommerce site builder, making it an excellent choice for startups or businesses on a tight budget1. While it may lack some of the advanced features of other platforms, Square Online provides all the essential tools needed to start selling online
5. GoDaddy: Best for Ease of Use
GoDaddy is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it a great choice for those new to ecommerce. While it may not offer as many features as some other platforms, GoDaddy provides all the basics needed to start an online store. They also run a good support programme with lots of online help to get you started.
GoDaddy is a great choice for your e-commerce store due to its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface. It’s known for its fast and reliable websites with incredible loading speeds. As a web hosting company, GoDaddy ensures that all its websites are secure with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate1. The platform is straightforward to use, making it easy even for beginners. GoDaddy’s all-in-one package has everything you need to get started selling online. It offers a drag-and-drop editor, eliminating the need to learn how to code to put together your e-commerce storefront2. It also provides lots of built-in marketing and inventory management features, and customer support is available 24/7 to help you with any issues2. The checkout process is designed to be a breeze for customers, enhancing the user experience and potentially boosting sales. With GoDaddy, you can get your online store up and running in no time.
Choosing Shopify over other platforms for setting up an online business can be a wise decision due to several reasons. Firstly, Shopify is renowned for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for even beginners to set up and manage their online store. Secondly, it provides a comprehensive suite of e-commerce tools, including inventory management, order management, marketing tools, and more. Thirdly, Shopify websites are known for their fast loading times, which is crucial in the e-commerce space. Fourthly, Shopify offers a wide variety of professional templates and thousands of add-ons to extend the functionality of your store. Lastly, Shopify supports over 100 different payment processors integrated into its website which allows you to accept payment in multiple currencies. All these features make Shopify a robust and versatile platform for your online business.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform depends on your business needs and budget. By considering factors such as pricing, features, and usability, you can find the platform that best fits your business.