What can we do on the internet? It was a common question asked by people when the internet was introduced. But no one thought that the world would completely change through this marvelous discovery. Just imagine a world without the internet. You know that it is impossible to live in a world without this discovery known as the internet if we come back to the question, what can we do through the internet? The best answer is there is nothing you cannot do on the internet. The Internet, which is also known as the Network of Networks, does not only connect all computers in the world. It also connects every human being who uses a computer with an internet connection indirectly, and this connection did not stop as an ordinary connection, and it made people think. Here was where the change in everything started, and eCommerce was introduced.
What is eCommerce?
Just think how we shopped about fifteen years ago. You had to travel to a shop and get what you wanted. Then think about how people earned. No one thought that we people buy or sell through the internet. Time passed with discoveries like eCommerce while transforming the way we buy and sell today, proving that almost nothing is impossible to do using the internet.
In the 21st century, as we all know that eCommerce is a common term used by people. eCommerce has a definition similar to commerce, where the only difference is eCommerce is on the internet. eCommerce is electronic commerce or internet commerce, which gives us an idea that it is on the internet. eCommerce often refers to the sale of the product that exists physically through an online platform, which we will discuss soon. But it can also be described as any commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet. Today, it is easier than ever for creative thinkers to make their ideas a reality. Each year, we can see that new business dethroning, the traditional ideas the way we have always done it.
Here in this article, we are mainly focusing on The Best eCommerce platforms available in 2020.
The Four Standard Business Models
Business is something that you must start with a piece of proper knowledge. Like we need flour to make a cake, knowledge is the foundation for success. So first and foremost we must identify the four standard business models.
There are four standard business models,
- B2C – Business to Consumer
- B2B – Business to Business
- C2B – Consumer to Business
- C2C – Consumer to Consumer
B2C – ‘Business to Consumer’ Business model
The best way to explain The ‘Business to Consumer’ model (B2C) is, it is the process of selling products and services directly by a business to the consumers who are the end-users of the products or services. The companies that sell their product or services to the consumers can be referred to as B2C companies.
For example, imagine a person who purchases groceries from a grocery store for his consumption. Here this person will be the final consumer, and the grocery store will be the business that provides the product to the final consumer. So this business is obeying the Business to Consumer Model.
B2B – ‘Business to Business’ Business model
This business model is a little different from the B2C business model. ‘Business to business’ model (B2B) is a form of transaction between businesses, simply which can be explained as one involving a manufacturer and wholesaler, or a wholesaler and a retailer. The business to the business model refers to a business that is between companies rather than between a company and an individual consumer. The business to the business model doesn’t involve a final consumer in the process.
The best example to understand this model is a wholesale sale business providing its products to a retail business or a manufacturer distributing their products to a retail business. In this business model, services cannot be applied because a service cannot be stored in a place. A service can only be provided by the provider to the service gainer.
C2B – ‘Consumer to Business’ Business model
This business model is a model that has a huge difference from the previously mentioned models. The Consumer-to-business model (C2B) is in which consumers create a small or a large value, and businesses consume that value created by the consumer. It is the feedback of the consumer.
Since our subject is eCommerce we must pay more attention to this model, and we must understand it properly because this model has a great influence on the existence of the business. The best example to make you understand it is when a consumer writes reviews on his blogs, website, and his/her social media profile or when a consumer gives a useful idea for new product development then that consumer is creating value for the business if the business adopts the input. The Consumer to Business model is a reverse auction or demand collection model, which enables buyers to create the price they wish, which often binds for a specific good or service. Inside of a consumer to the business market, the roles involved in the transaction must be established, and the consumer must offer some kind of value to the business.
Like I stated before a businessman should pay more attention to this as the consumer’s feedback or review is more important to understand the mistakes and move forward without doing the same mistake continuously which could bring a huge loss to the businessman and lose the hope of the existence of the business.
C2C – ‘Consumer to Consumer’ Business model
The Consumer to Consumer model (C2C) is a model where customers usually trade with each other, typically through an online platform. Two implementations of Consumer to Consumer markets are auctions and classified advertisements.
The best example is eBay, one of the most used eCommerce platforms. eBay has an option where a person can start an auction posting an item to sell it, and other consumers bid to purchase it. Meanwhile, eBay being the third party charges an amount as a fee or a commission while only being an intermediate of matching consumers.
Before we start a business we must select one of these business models. Now as you know about it, it will be easy to select a model and move on to the next step. But before you move on you must have a piece of knowledge on how eCommerce works. You must at least know the functions of eCommerce, or else you will be lost in the high seas without GPS. As online business work is almost similar to offline business it won’t be hard to understand it.
The whole eCommerce process can be categorized into three main processes.
- Receiving Orders
- Processing order information
- Shipment or Delivery
For a beginner receiving orders is a bit hard because he doesn’t have an existing customer base. So he must create a customer base. Creating a customer base isn’t that hard if you have the skill. It is only identifying the trending needs of people and providing products according to the need. It will not be hard if you get into the flow. As we are speaking about eCommerce first you need a platform to display your product. I will recommend a few platforms which I think are the best according to my knowledge and experience.
- Processing Order Information
Just after you take an order the business process doesn’t end. You must collect all the details of the order and work according to it.
- Shipment or Delivery
This is the most important part as the shipment can decide many things about the business. So the shipment should be high quality where the products are safe and it should be fast. Delaying a shipment increases the fear of the customer so we must pay more attention to it.
Requirements for a eCommerce
Meanwhile, you must know the minimum requirement you need to join an eCommerce platform.
- A good Internet connection
This is very important. Without a fast internet connection, it is a bit uncomfortable and hard to do business activities on an eCommerce platform.
- A computer
A computer with average specifications is alright to start a business on an eCommerce platform.
- A PayPal Account
You must have a PayPal account while dealing with these eCommerce platforms because that is the only way you can do safe transactions. There are alternatives for PayPal but mostly the recognized eCommerce platforms recommend PayPal due to certain reasons. I too recommend PayPal because it is safer to do transactions through it.
Qualities to Run a eCommerce
By the way, before you join an eCommerce platform you must make sure you have these qualities. According to my point of view, a businessman should have these qualities to gain success. I have seen people who had these qualities and gained success meanwhile I have seen people who failed without these qualities.
Honesty is a quality you must have. Without honesty, you cannot experience success. You may gain success without honesty, but I’m sure that the success you gained won’t be permanent. It will only be a temporary success in life.
Same as honesty you must also have patience. You must have patience while dealing with everything in a business. Sometimes customers may act annoyingly, but as a businessman, you must tolerate them, or else it is you who will face the loss. You should keep in your mind that customer satisfaction is the first thing you should consider. Tolerating is hard but you have no choice but to tolerate everything.
Active and energetic
This sounds somewhat different from the others. A businessman should be always active and he should act energetically because if he is being lazy the existence of his business will be at stake. Being lazy may lose your customers. Being lazy may lose your opportunities.
A businessman should be accurate in everything. He should have accurate information so he can provide them to the customers. Faking information will only lose the trust the customers have in you. You must be updated on everything.
You must be confident in everything. Mainly when you arise with problems. You must not be afraid to face it. Instead of hiding or escaping from the problems a businessman should have a spine with confidence to face them.
This something a businessman must-have. He must be a risk bearer. The more the risk is the more the profit you get. I think you may have heard about it.
You must not be greedy
This is where most businessmen go wrong. It is by being greedy. Being greedy will make you lose everything one day so you must learn to control your mind. We indeed need money. But being greedy for money won’t be helpful.
I hope that you will develop these qualities before you start this might be helpful to be successful in business. You won’t realize until you fail. But rather than failing to start with these qualities will be the best choice in my point of view.
Now let us move on to our main point. The best eCommerce platform to use in 2020.
Selecting the best platform is a bit hard. But after analyzing the opinion of people with knowledge and experience meanwhile using my experience I gathered a few best eCommerce platforms into one place. Let us see what they are while discussing the reasons for them to be chosen as the best eCommerce platform among thousands of other eCommerce platforms.
The Best eCommerce Platform for 2021
Okay, honestly it is a crazy thing to select the best eCommerce platform because there are thousands of platforms available.
So just in case to give you knowledge about these platforms, I thought of naming a few of the available platforms:
- Spark Pay
- Big Cartel
The four platforms I recommend as the best platform in 2021 are
Of course! I recommend only five. Rather than testing all the thousands of platforms available my suggestion is to try these five and I am sure you won’t regret it. There are some criteria I considered while concluding. I hope to explain it with a short description so you can clearly understand it without any issues.
The criteria I considered are;
- Features of the platform
- Designs available in the platform
- Customer support of the platform
- Ease of using the platform
Shopify Inc. is a Canadian multinational eCommerce company with headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario Shopify provides online retailers with a set of services including payments, marketing, shipping, and other customer engagement tools.
Why do I recommend Shopify?
Features of Shopify
Shopify is a subscription-based service. Shopify provides you a subdomain and a hosting space for your eCommerce store. Meanwhile, you are free to add your domain name too.
- Product management features are available.
- Order management features are available.
- Multiple payment gateways are available.
- Shopify provides a basic customer management system.
- There are more than hundreds of professional themes available.
- Shopify provides a mobile-friendly interface that is easy to use.
- Provides an unlimited bandwidth.
- Meanwhile, there are many apps based on Shopify available.
Designs available in Shopify
The designs available in Shopify are very neat and impressive, which are modern looking, and that could be able to cover pretty much any niche or any type of business.
Customer support of Shopify
When it comes to the Shopify platform itself, Shopify provides 24/7 support. These are the ways that you can get in touch with the customer care of Shopify, which is highly responsive.
- Live chat
Ease of using Shopify as an eCommerce platform
The signup process in Shopify is very easy and nicely optimized. It takes the user step by step to each stage and doesn’t ask for too much information at each stage. The signing up process may take ten to fifteen minutes approximately.
This is an open-source eCommerce plugin that is used by many bloggers at WordPress. It is designed for small scale to large scale online merchants using WordPress.
Why do I recommend WooCommerce?
Features of WooCommerce
- WooCommerce is a standalone software that should be installed before use.
- It is a part of your WordPress website which is deeply integrated.
- Product management features are available.
- Meanwhile, other management features are available too.
- Order management features are available.
- Multiple payment gateway facilities are available.
- Customer management is available only via third party plugins.
- You can make it mobile-friendly by using different available themes.
- The available bandwidth depends on the host. So different hosts may provide different bandwidths.
- Since this is a plugin of WordPress no records of apps are available.
Designs available for WooCommerce
As I stated already WooCommerce is just a plugin of WordPress, so there is no such specific thing called design in WooCommerce. Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, and as such it puts its content and information like your product listings and other stuff through your current WordPress theme so any changes with the theme you must change through WordPress.
Customer support of WooCommerce
The heart of WooCommerce is a free open source tool. That is good for cost-cutting, however, it also means there is no necessarily dedicated support.
Now, that does not mean you are out of luck. The good news is WooCommerce maintains a public knowledge base that anyone can use to help themself. Additionally, the WooCommerce team offers support for all the paid extensions that they provide. According to them they only support Products that are sold through WooCommerce. Beyond that, you can get community help too through communities on social media platforms such as Reddit and Facebook, etc.
Ease of using WooCommerce
Launching a WooCommerce store is more easy and simple than we think. However, you only need a WordPress website that is working properly. For me, WooCommerce is as easy to use as Shopify.
BigCommerce is one of the best eCommerce builders that became more popular recently. It provides huge scalability for online stores. It has more built-in sales tools compared to its competitors ever existed.
Why do I recommend BigCommerce?
Features of BigCommerce
It is standalone software with a subscription-based service. It is moderately similar to Shopify where it provides a subdomain and a hosting space for eCommerce stores. At the same time, you can have your domain name too. As with other platforms product management features, order management features, and payment gateway facilities are available. Customer management is done through groups. Here on this platform limited themes are available. It has a mobile-optimized structure. However, bandwidth depends on the host which means different hosts can provide different bandwidths. Instead of apps thousands of extensions are available for BigCommerce.
Designs available in BigCommerce
The BigCommerce themes are some kind of similar to Shopify. Themes it provides are a set of nicely attractively designed online store designs that follows a unique style and only need to be adjusted in some places according to your wish. BigCommerce provides you both free and paid themes.
Customer support of BigCommerce
As Shopify, BigCommerce provides its users 24×7. You can get the support you need through the following services
- Live chat
Ease of using BigCommerce
The backside story is BigCommerce is almost similar to Shopify. I mean very similar. They both are cloud-based platforms, and they’re both something that you must sign up for instead of something that you download and install.
Magento is an open-source platform written in the language called PHP.
Why do I recommend Magento?
Features of Magento
Magento is a subscriptions based service providing an eCommerce platform. It provides a subdomain as Shopify and BigCommerce meanwhile it provides a space for your eCommerce store. It also provides you the facility of adding your domain. Same as other platforms I mentioned it also provides product management and order management features likewise it also provides payment gateway facilities. It provides more than hundreds of themes meanwhile it is accepted as a mobile-friendly platform. As Shopify, this also provides unlimited bandwidth. Magento provides you facilities to sell products on social platforms too.
Designs available in Magento
According to my personal experiences, Magento has not got a strong design. So I don’t have much to describe it.
Magento is the same as WooCommerce when it comes to providing support. Magento support depends according to the two packages it provides.
Hosted and paid service.
For the community edition, you will need support from a third party or a community but for the paid service you will be providing support through phone and email.
Ease of use
Getting an online store launched on Magento is even more complicated than on WooCommerce because of the different versions available in Magento. For each version, there are separate steps to follow.
So finally I hope you understood everything said and explained above. All the above details are provided from personal experiences and analyzing the experience of people who used the platforms I mentioned. Hope you enjoyed reading and I hope you got a simple motivation through this. eCommerce is not a hard subject. The only thing you must do is follow ethics and work according to the qualities I mentioned. I guarantee you that you won’t fail if you work hard on this. There are many people who gained success through this. So there is nothing you can’t do. It is only the knowledge you need and a proper mindset.