Three decades ago, physical presence was mandatory for every physical activity. For example, withdrawal of cash at the bank, purchase of clothes etc. Not any more. In recent times, it is digital technology that has become the fast best option for sales and transfer of funds. The e-commerce industry is all set to evolve, expand into even wider territories in the business field.
As per a survey conducted last year, the number of online purchases have crossed one billion. So if you are interested in starting an online business, you have come to the right place. So gear up your socks and read this article at one shot.
You may have the best online business idea in the world combined with top quality popular rated products, but how will you present them to the world. You need to have an internet presence, correct? And, a online business needs the best eCommerce platform for the initial stages. Agreed, there are many options out there, but selection of the best can be hectic. Please note, other than attracting customers, your websites needs to be always functional and also cheap. So, listed in this article are quite a few of the free or affordable fee e-Commerce CMS solutions to kickstart the online business.
By making use of the e-Commerce platform, you can get automated calculators, pricing elements, customer surveys, email newsletters, widgets to take surveys and polls, product ratings etc.
There are two options when you opt for a e-Commerce Website.
This type is based on Software as a Service (SaaS) system. You can co-ordinate with the company and begin the store. But never can you do the modification and coding, because access will not be provided.
Self Hosted Platforms
Normally hosted on the open-source software platform, you can act as per your requirement with these platforms. You can edit – the major advantage.
Mentioned below are the top 10 e-Commerce Platforms
1. Zen Cart
Do you want the entire world to come to your online store? Then, how about Zencart? It is one of the best shopping carware (will you believe, it is open source?). The other advantage is that this website has been developed by the best experts in the software industry ranging from consultants, programmers, designers to business owners. If you have the basic computer knowledge with technical skills, then designing the website is easy. In fact, the software is a personal home page tool that makes use of many HTML components and MySQL database.
You rarely come across free software which have the same options, support structure and features as a premium one. But Zen Cart beats the other commercial platforms at their own game. Since it has got the license of GPL2, you can easily change the source code as per the requirements of your application. Because of its various payment options, once installed, you can rake in money easily.
Now shall we look into some of the best features in Zen Cart?
- Regardless of winter, summer, autumn or spring, this software offers the convenience of shopping to customers 24X7X365 days a year.
- You can easily update the catalogues for every product. There is no need to alter coding nor are there complex codes in HTML to introduce new products
- You get double technical coding advantages – PHP as well MySQL technology.
- There is no complex route to installation. It is a step-by-step process.
- The template system consists of stylesheets as well images.
The title may spell a different meaning, but it can help your online business in a easy manner. Origijnally, a e-commerce plug-in and too a open source one, it is in line with the reputed Joomla CMS. Because of its nature to work on different platforms, this CMS is not for the average businesses. But if you have sought the services of a experienced programmers for maintenance and design, you can reap the benefits for a long time.
But it has its share of disadvantages, though. It does not have a hosting site or support and so requires a package from another vendor for function. In these days, all e-commerce websites have to be made mobile responsive. But this feature is available only in the iVM store application. You can purchase from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store.
Some notable features are its ability to store every single product information, its purchase and its buyer’s information in separate components. All the confidential information is available only to the administrator. Having a e-Commerce website and not having payment options? Ha Ha! You can easily install PayPal free of cost. This option is ideal for small to medium online retailers with basic technical knowledge.
The plug-in does not come alone, but equipped with nearly 500 features. Shall we look into some of them?
- Technically sound with customizable shopper input form – inventory warnings
- Has Virtual Stock Processing
- You can get multiple benefits such as options for multiple payment, shipping and vendor options.
Are you well-versed in web=development? Then this e-Commerce platform offers the best flexibility option and control to develop the platform with extensions and add-ons. Because of its many benefits, once you become familiar, you do not move away from Magento. And the biggest advantage – the community version is available for no cost. If you have a small to medium based e-Commerce business, you know the best CMS to go for.
If you are a pro, you will find no hassles to add features, enhance the functionality options through installation of extensions via the Magento Connect Platform. But any challenge, you will have to turn to the experts of Magento as it does not have any technical support. For easy challenges, you have the site’s User Forum. Do you want to open a large e-Commerce online store? Then use the Enterprise Edition of Magento.
Following are the features you get from Magento –
- Online Analytics/Reporting
- Marketing Tools and promotions
- SEO along with meta-information
- Site control/management
- Catalogue management/Google Base Integration
- Multi-lingual as well multi-currency support
So you are good in online sales and want to jump on the bandwagon, even though with some web development experience. Yes? Opt for PrestaShop. As per recent reports, this CMS is very easy to install and you can make of the platform. If you ask a website developer to name a open source CMS platform that is free, easily downloadable and has multiple features? Pronto! You get PrestaShop. Number of features – 275 to 310. A few are store management, product management, Reporting, Marketing, inventory management, product comparison, choose the number of products every page, Checkouts and Shipping.
In addition, you get support to various payment getways such as PayPal payments, PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize, Skrill, Netand along in their related APIs.
Since a decade, this CMS is hailed as a trusted e-Commerce Platform in the open source category. Benefits are a vast support and access to 7000 add-ons created by the community. The interface can be used even by a novice in software. On the storefront, you get the best customization options. You can call the CMS platform a ever growing widget store.
The best advantage, however, is the non-limit to the number in products to be uploaded on the platform. The support team provides assistance to even other language users, thus making this platform a truly versatile one.
Can be best described as the WordPress plug-in to develop the e-Commerce store/website on WordPress Platform. Similar to the other plug-ins used to create CMS, this one is also easy to install. It is also decked with features you can expect from the open source CMS. In addition, WooCommerce does have the largest community in e-Commerce platforms.
Do you reside in Pune and want to start a small online eCommerce Store? Then go for Shopify. This CMS platform is mainly for beginners who wants to start online business. There are ready-to-use templates, but you can customize them as per business requirements. This platform is damn flexible and has easy-to-use features.
As per the name, it is a cloud based easy-to-use software. You need not possess any design knowledge, but still can build a appreciable web store. By making use of this platform, you can handle every aspect of a online store ranging from payments, products, coupons and more. Having more than 320 add-ons, but few are affordable but many are free.
Another cloud based CMS platform. It has built-in features that are connected to the dashboard. You do not have to buy the add-on from the app store. And this quality gives them the distinct feature when compared to other competitors. It has numerous loaded features such as Amazon, eBay integration and “Deal of Day.” By making relevant use of these features, you can build a loyal customer base and build a brand name of your company.
You may have seen the advertisement in youtube and television channels for a free website platform. “WIX.” You can easily build the online store for your products. But the main advantage of this eCommerce platform is its unique ability to integrate with other tools such as marketing, promoting, social media as well third party apps. This platform provides all type of templates, and also a drag-and-drop editor option to make the store appear attractive.
Let us imagine, you have worked in the handyman professional service sector for twenty years in Pune. Now you want to start an online company providing every type of components of multinational brands for AC service. So you can opt for this platform as it is clean, simple and always straightforward.
Have you got the required information in this article? Mentioned are few of the top quality eCommerce Platforms that can be used for your online business. These platforms are unique and can be chosen as per your business module. Have we missed a valuable point or do you feel of having a valid doubt? Feel free to drop a comment in the Reviews section. We will take it up in our next article.