Ever since I decided to create an ecommerce store I was plagued with choices to select and finalise the “Best Ecommerce Platform“. I initially thought it will be easy as there are many companies which are doing this but was shocked to see that there are too many platform options available who call themselves as the Best Ecommerce Platform.

I read thru multiple articles and synopsis of the platforms but i can not say that there is one platform that fits all.

In my opinion the question should not be to search for “Best Ecommerce Platform” but “Best Ecommerce Platform for Me”.

Once i had this realization i was able to get a better perspective at what i was looking for and a clarity of selection.

The first thing I had to do was to understand who I am and what by ecommerce business requirement is.

Persona 1 – I am a Mom & Pop shop with pretty standard requirements. 

  1. If you are an already existing brick and mortar business who aspires to have an ecommerce website as a channel of sales to your existing business.
  2. If you think that your requirement is pretty straight forward and can live with the standard features of an ecommerce solution.
  3. If you think that you do not need customisations for now at least so that you can test waters and take a more calculated leap later on.
  4. If Ecommerce is another revenue channel for your business and not the only business channel of sales for your business at this time.

You may choose to start an online store using WordPressMagento or Shopify.
Though WordPress with Woocommerce and Magento are open source choices which you can host on your own servers, Shopify will be an hosted solution i.e. you do not need to install anything just pay monthly and get started. Shopify is available on SAAS costing model i.e. you never own the software but just lease it out by paying a subscription fee on monthly basis.

There are a ton of free / paid plugins or themes available for all three of them. These are good options if your requirement is pretty standard not much customization or innovation.
This is also the most cost effective way or cheapest way of starting an online store.

Persona 2 – I am a Business Owner who needs more than a Pretty Online Shop.

Ok so you have a unique idea that needs to be custom built on top of the regular ecommerce solution offered. It could be anything ranging from management of a shipping fleet to onground sales teams to order fulfillments teams. You are not just planning to create an online store but also have ideas on how that store will help you manage your business effeciencies by automation of sales, fulfillment or any other processes in your business. You at this point need a platform and a provider who can offer you the following.

  1. A secure platform with Source Code Ownership so that you can modify it later as and when needed.
  2. A platform that you can host on any cloud or dedicated server.
  3. A platform that can scale hosrizontally in terms of the features or scale vertically in terms of the amount of traffic it can support at a time.
  4. A provider who know about this type of a solution who can assist you in your growth path.

For a requirement like this I recommend that you choose a platform that is built and supported by a company. Open source solutions fail at this level as though you have the source code but the provider who has made it is not supporting you on the same while Saas solutions do not allow customisations of their software solution. Hence WordPress / Magento or Shopify are not a good fit and in case you are planning to start with them you will have to eventually pivot to a more customisable options at a sooner stage of time. This is the Gap that is filled by providers like Retaxis and the Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses offered by them for B2C, B2B or Services Ecommerce.

Persona 3 – I am a Startup Entrepreneur planning to make a Dent in the Universe.

You are a startup entrepreneur who wants to change the way the world works or Disrupt your industry then your need of an ecommerce platform is very different. You need something which is beyond just an ecommerce platform or software. You need something that

  1. Is owned by you or your company.
  2. A platform that is customisable so that if needed it can pivot with you.
  3. A platform that can support high volumes of traffic and can be omnipresent to your customers or other participants like sellers / vendors.
  4. A platform that can help as a technology backbone of your organisation where both your internal & external stake holders can collaborate for efficient workflow.
  5. A platform that can be moulded according to your vision.
  6. A provider who can understand what you are trying to do in the industry and can assist you with the solutions that are needed to be able to do so.

Your requirement is not just of a software platform, your appetite is of a solution that can help you run a large scale ecommerce business be it for aggregation of providers or actual sale of products by sellers, stockist etc. If you dig deeper you need a solution that can later own become proprietary to your business process (an important point for your investors) as well as a provider who can actually customise it for the best fit for your requirement. You can look at the Best Ecommerce Platform for Startups and Enterprise Services offered by Retaxis. They have been active in the Ecommerce space since 2003 and have a strong understanding of startup space.

Summing Up 

For an eCommerce Platform to be called the Best Ecommerce Platform it needs to excel in all the segments/persona’s which I believe is not possible. So in my view when you are looking for an Ecommerce Platform to start an eCommerce business you need to first identify who you are and what is the definition of Best Ecommerce Platform for you or your business. Once you are clear on that you will surely be able to choose the best eCommerce platform for yourself.