The best e-commerce platforms

The best e-commerce platforms

Selling on the Internet has become essential for any business wishing to develop in the digital age. But to effectively create your online store, you still need to choose the technological solution adapted to your activity and business objectives. Hosted or open source e-commerce platforms? Generalist or specialized? Here are the essential questions that every e-retailer must answer.

In this article, we will review the best e-commerce site creation platforms on the market. We will analyze in detail the strengths and weaknesses of each: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, PrestaShop or even Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Ready to make the right technological choice to develop your business? Let's go for our complete overview of the best e-commerce tools currently!

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🥀 What is an e-commerce platform?

An e-commerce platform, also called e-commerce solution, is a software or online service allowing you to create and manage an Internet sales store. Concretely, this platform will provide all the tools and functionalities necessary to develop your e-commerce activity.

There are two main types of e-commerce platforms. On the one hand, hosted turnkey solutions like Shopify or Wix eCommerce which do not require any special installation. Simply register to be able to create your online store. On the other hand, open source solutions such as Magento, PrestaShop or WooCommerce which must be installed on a web server.

These platforms generally make it easy to manage several key aspects of an e-commerce site: product catalog with descriptions, images, prices and variants; payment methods ; delivery and logistics modules; command tunnel; digital marketing and sales promotion; analysis of commercial performance…

Some platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce include the vast majority necessary functionalities in their offer. Others like Magento are very flexible and allow you to add business extensions according to your specific needs.

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🥀 The Shopify platform

Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world for create and manage easily an online store. Available in a hosted version via a monthly subscription, Shopify stands out for its ease of use, the richness of its native features and its large community.

Founded in 2006 in Canada, Shopify now powers more than 1 million merchants in 175 countries. The solution also appeals to very large groups such as Nestlé, Kylie Cosmetics and Red Bull Racing. Shopify is available in several languages ​​including French.

Concretely, Shopify provides hundreds of turnkey features to manage an e-commerce site from A to Z: creation of responsive and secure stores; powerful product catalog; dozens of payment methods; delivery modules; dropshipping and refulfillment; management of orders, promotions, customers; sales reports; and CRM or ERP integrations.

e-commerce platforms

One of Shopify's big assets also lies in its rich ecosystem of more than 6000 additional applications created by third-party publishers. It is thus possible to extend the native capabilities of the platform infinitely according to each e-commerce project to make it a truly unique site.

In terms of designs, more than 100 responsive models are offered to visually personalize your store according to your tastes. Shopify also offers its own liquid templating language to go even further in graphic adaptations.

With its intuitive handling, its unrivaled functional richness and its foolproof scalability, Shopify has established itself today as The reference e-commerce platforms to calmly create an online store full of potential.

🥀 The BigCommerce platform

Launched in 2009 in the United States, BigCommerce is a SaaS solution for creating e-commerce sites. This hosted platform allows you to quickly create your online store using a wide range of native features.

BigCommerce natively includes the majority of components necessary to manage an e-commerce site such as product catalog management, responsive design templates, multiple payment methods, carrier integrations and the creation of promotions.

One of BigCommerce's strengths is its advanced logistics management with privileged partnerships already integrated with leading fulfillment networks such as Amazon or ShipStation to easily outsource order preparation.

On the design side, dozens of responsive templates are offered to quickly personalize your shop in a few clicks according to your aesthetic preferences. And to go further, all the features are accessible via APIs.

With more than 60 e-merchants in 000 countries, BigCommerce has established itself as one of the most competitive SaaS ecommerce solutions thanks to its speed of deployment and its functional richness.

Its prices nevertheless remain quite high compared to certain competitors. But for merchants looking for a turnkey site that's quick to launch, BigCommerce meets precisely this need!

🥀 Magento

Magento is the benchmark for open source e-commerce solutions, published by Adobe since 2018. Based on PHP, this platform has a huge community of developers and exceptional scalability thanks to extensions.

The strengths of Magento lie in its extreme functional richness, the flexibility of web development and its high performance for very large sales volumes. Magento is suitable for both pure players and omnichannel retailers.

The platform allows you to manage a colossal product catalog, advanced designs, the marketplace, specific business modules via API, SEO, predictive analysis… in short, an e-commerce site without limits!

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Its administration interface being less intuitive than SaaS solutions, getting started with Magento requires a longer learning curve initially.

Thanks to its exceptional scalability and the abundance of third-party modules, Magento has established itself as THE reference open source solution for large groups with advanced needs such as Samsung, Olympus or Christian Louboutin.

🥀 Squarespace

Squarespace is a SaaS solution allowing you to easily create carefully designed websites and online stores, without requiring technical knowledge. Launched in 2004, Squarespace provides hundreds of responsive templates optimized for natural referencing in many sectors of activity.

On the e-commerce side, Squarespace integrates everything necessary to create a product showcase site and manage catalog, stock, promotions, payment and shipping. Extensions allow you to enrich certain functionalities.

Squarespace primarily appeals to freelancers, small businesses and artists wanting to create quickly and lower cost a first online store with an elegant design before evolving towards more advanced platforms.

With its intuitive interface, aesthetic templates and well-designed tutorials, Squarespace democratizes the creation of small e-commerce sites for non-technical people wishing to remain independent.

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WooCommerce is an open source extension that allows you to easily transform a WordPress site into an online store. User-friendly and 100% free, this e-commerce solution is experiencing massive adoption.

Concretely, WooCommerce adds to a WordPress site all the key functionalities of an e-commerce site: product catalog, order funnel, payment modules, order management and promotions, statistics, etc.

Its strength lies in its free, easy to use thanks to the ergonomics of WordPress, and the hundreds of additional extensions available to extend the capabilities of the platform.

WooCommerce also offers great freedom of customization of designs by relying on the multiple existing WordPress themes. Developers find it an ideal playground.

With 5 million active e-commerce sites around the world, WooCommerce has established itself as THE open source solution reference for small e-retailers or those wishing to remain in control of their platform.

🥀 PrestaShop

PrestaShop is an open source solution for creating online stores created in France in 2005. Free and translated into several languages, it now appeals to more than 300 e-retailers worldwide.

The strengths of PrestaShop lie in its user-friendliness, its rich functionality, the multitude of extensions available and its very active community. Everything is done to simplify the management of an e-commerce site.

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e-commerce platforms

Concretely, PrestaShop makes it easy to manage product catalogs, design, shopping carts and order tunnels, transport and logistics, payment and taxes and even customer relations. All accessible from an intuitive administration interface.

PrestaShop offers native great flexibility graphic customization and development to adapt the platform to each project. Responsive designs are also there numerous and elegant.

With reduced costs and quick handling in French, Prestashop primarily appeals to small businesses, craftsmen and self-employed people wishing to easily get started in e-commerce, before moving towards more complex sites.

🥀 Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is the proprietary e-commerce solution from Salesforce, the world leader in CRM. Intended for large companies, it shines with its rich functionality, its scalability and its integration with other Salesforce products.

Concretely, Commerce Cloud allows you to manage a fully responsive e-commerce site with advanced catalog management, pricing, multiple sales channels and fulfillment modes and system integrations via API.

One of its strong points is the close connection offered with other Salesforce solutions such as CRM, marketing automation or customer service for a 360° customer view and coordinated campaigns.

Although natively already very complete, Commerce Cloud remains oriented towards large companies with significant licensing and implementation costs. Which does not prevent it from equipping prestigious brands.

With its ultra-scalable cloud architecture, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is primarily aimed at retailers and brands in B2B and B2C with strong growth ambitions in a cross-channel approach.

🥀 E-commerce platform services

One of the main advantages of e-commerce platforms is the ease of use they offer. Businesses can easily create their store online without the need for technical knowledge or programming skills.

E-commerce platforms also offer customizable templates and themes to allow businesses to customize their online store as per their needs.

They also offer functionalities of stock management, allowing businesses to easily manage their inventory and track stock levels in real time. Order management features also allow businesses to track orders and manage returns easily.

Finally, e-commerce platforms also offer marketing features and promotion to help businesses attract more customers and grow their online business. These features include SEO tools, advertising campaigns, loyalty programs and much more.

🥀 Shopify or Prestashop: which one to choose?

PrestaShop and Shopify are two popular e-commerce platforms that offer similar features to help businesses build and manage their online store. However, there are key differences between these two platforms that can influence a company's choice.

First of all, PrestaShop is a open source platform, which means businesses have full control over their online store and can customize their site according to their needs. On the other hand, Shopify is a hosted platform, which means businesses don't have to worry about managing their website and can focus on selling their products.

En terms of functionality, both platforms offer order management, inventory management and payment tools. However, Shopify also offers advanced marketing features, such as creating ad campaigns and customizing landing pages, which can help businesses attract more customers.

When it comes to costs, PrestaShop is a free option, but businesses will have to pay for hosting and extensions. Shopify, on the other hand, offers monthly pricing plans which include hosting and basic features. More advanced plans offer additional features such as advanced reporting and multiple sales channel integration.

Finally, in terms of usability, Shopify is considered more beginner friendlys with ready-to-use templates and an intuitive user interface. PrestaShop, on the other hand, can be more complex for beginners without technical experience.

In conclusion, the choice between PrestaShop and Shopify will depend on the specific needs of each business. Businesses that need full control over their website may prefer PrestaShop, while businesses that are looking for a simple, easy-to-use solution may prefer Shopify.

🥀 Closing

In conclusion, the choice of a high-performance e-commerce platform is decisive when you want to get started in online sales. Hosted or white label platform, native or plug-in on CMS, the options are multiple.

In this article, we have reviewed the main players and their respective strengths to help you evaluate the solution best suited to your project. Shopify stands out for its ecosystem very comprehensive dedicated to SMEs. WooCommerce will rather appeal to WordPress fans thanks to its development flexibility. Magento remains essential for large groups. And PrestaShop your best ally Made in France!

Of course, each solution has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of online business. Take the time to precisely analyze your needs in terms of necessary functionalities, technical resources, budget, etc. before you decide.

Armed with this information and detailed comparisons, there is no doubt that you will be able to select THE ideal e-commerce platform to develop your online business! All you have to do is get started.

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