I’ve been working on a project that involved development of a website and an e-store. Because it is a small project with under 50 products for now and no audience, I was considering two options: building everything on our hosting and using open source platforms, or going with an ecommerce platform as a service. At the end, we chose the latter because we did not want to worry about security, maintenance, credit card processing, taxes, etc. Furthermore, developing the system and supporting it currently is not a viable economic decision for us.
During the process to select the best suitable store, I had to review the available ecommerce platforms, so I would like to share with you here the 3 best options we were choosing from.
3. Shopify – one of the most popular platforms, it hosts over 30 000 shops. Contains CMS system, build-in analytics, social media integration. It has a mobile app support and allows you to use the Shopify API to develop custom apps. The platform is paid.
2. Storeenvy – you can build a custom store, as well as participate in the Storeenvy marketplace (works like discovery system) and it is all free. It is easy to set up, organize your product, set shipping and payment methods and customize your store outlook. It relies on social networking for product discovery.
1. Tictail – a swedish startup that provides one of the easiest ways to build your store. And it is absolutely FREE. It supports dynamic taxation, localization, social media integration. You just need to input your products, link you Tictail account with paypal and decide whether you want a customizable domain or not. If you are not familiar with how to write terms of service or return policy – Tictail will help you with this. As for analytics – still it is pretty simple – gives you how many people visited your store in the past several days, but still usable enough.
If you prefer to build on your own hosting, there are several options to integrate an ecommerce solution in an existing CMS and one of the best I found was Prestashop. You can install it on your hosting and you will get out-of-the-box system with Checkout, client account, build-in analytics, SEO ready, Social Media integration, Marketing (newsletters, loyalty program, coupons and vouchers) and automatic taxation.
Ultimately, we went with Tictail because the people who will be dealing with the site and the store wanted as hassle free solution as possible and the Swedish company provides that.
Here is a presentation I did with more options, if you need to choose as well: