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23 Apr 20
What eCommerce system do I choose for my business?
'Roundup' is the collection of key stuff we've either been reading, discussing or working on during the month at Avenue.
Are you considering eCommerce and wondering what platform or approach will best suit your stage of business or industry sector? Here's our take on it.
As a general rule, headless commerce is the future, and definitely provides the best user experience and flexibility. So if you have the budget available, we'd always suggest going down this path.
The good news is there's lots of different options you can consider no matter what stage, size or business sector you are in. One size definitely does not fit all!
Early stage startups and micro businesses
The SaaS offerings are probably the best options here, with the business sector you're in perhaps holding the answer to the right option (see specific sector recommendations below).
As a general guide though, Shopify and BigCommerce would be our recommendations, or perhaps WooCommerce if you already have a WordPress website and want to stay on that platform.
Creative artists and designers
Thankfully for artists and designers there's a range of good options, with any of the major SaaS offerings being able to fit the bill.
Squarespace has built a really solid footing within the creative community due to its design focused templates, so we'd definitely recommend checking it out. Functionality wise though it's not as feature rich as a Shopify or BigCommerce, so just be sure all your needs are met first.
All the major SaaS platform websites have template portfolio sections, so look through them all and you'll be able to find the best fit.
If you're really trying to set something up on a tight purse string, Wix is definitely the most economical option, however we'd strongly recommend looking at Shopify or perhaps Squarespace if you're in a creative field and want more design focused templates.
Always check out the features offered though in any system and ensure it meets your needs; this is where Shopify tends to outshine the budget offering from Wix or the more creative template option from Squarespace.
Already have an existing WordPress website
If you're on WordPress already and are happy with your existing site, WooCommerce is without doubt the best platform to integrate.
Small to medium size businesses
The Shopify or BigCommerce platforms will be the ones to consider here, with both SaaS and headless commerce suitable depending on your needs and budget.
Open-source solutions such as OpenCart and Magento are also options should you have developer resources available. However despite being a very sound, feature-rich solution, Magento does have a reputation as being an expensive option should you want customisations done to the core platform.
Large to enterprise business
If you're at the large end of town, a headless commerce solution is by far the best option to choose. It'll ensure your brand and user experience is exactly as needed for your market, and you can then hook into the most suitable platform functionality wise (i.e. Shopify, BigCommerce or Magento).
The answer here relates to the scale of your business and available budget.
If you're an early stage startup or small business, one of the more feature rich SaaS offerings like Shopify or BigCommerce is probably your best bet.
If you have the brand and user experience need, plus budget, a headless commerce solution using Shopify or BigCommerce is without doubt the best way to go.
Cafes and grocers (food and beverage)
We'd suggest looking closely into how the specific features of platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce relate to the actual products you are selling. Both these platforms are excellent, however one may suit your business slightly better than the other.
Checking out the case study sections of a platform's website is a great way to look deeper into this.
If you've got the budget, a headless commerce solution will always be the winner, but a SaaS offering will also do great if you want to limit your initial spend.
Consultation service sales
If you sell your services through booking consultations with customers, there's now some good eCommerce solutions to sell (and schedule) these appointments directly online.
Squarespace offers an "Appointment Booking" feature, and Shopify provides similar tools as plug-in extensions to its core platform through it's app marketplace.
Once you've worked your way through the above and made a decision, it's simply a matter of action and getting the site up and running.
If you're looking into this, be sure to check out our other eCommerce articles: