5 Best Ecommerce Platforms 2024
What are the best ecommerce platforms in New Zealand in 2024? The easy answer is:
The 5 best ecommerce platforms for 2024 are Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace and BigCommerce. Shopify is the overall best ecommerce platform for 2024. It is user-friendly, low-cost and an excellent all-rounder, particularly suited for small businesses.
Now we know you are probably quite busy, or dislike searching through long articles to find the information you want. So, to help make things easier we have hyperlinked each important section of this article on the side. If you have the time however, we still recommend reading through all the valuable information this article contains.
Why Is It Important to Have An Ecommerce Website?
After the pandemic, online business is booming! Research shows that 87% of customers are buying on online marketplaces and more than 75% of customers now prefer purchasing online.
What does this mean for your business? An effective ecommerce website is crucial to growing your business. This is because shopping online is becoming increasingly convenient for and popular with both buyers and sellers. The happier your customers are the more likely they are to buy from you.
Therefore, having an ecommerce website that is customer friendly and performs excellently should be a priority for any business selling online.
“Going digital is the way of the future,” (D’Souza, 2024).
There are many different ecommerce platforms available. Hence, depending on what you are looking for there could be different ‘best’ one’s for you. To help you out, we have researched and found the 5 best ecommerce platforms in 2024.
Read on to figure out which platform will best suit your business needs. Our top recommendations are Shopify, and WooCommerce, two platforms that we ourselves work on and trust.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Platform
There are a lot of different ecommerce platforms available with diverse features and services. Depending on what size business you have, certain platforms may be more suited to your needs than others. Our advice is aimed at and considers mainly smaller businesses and start-ups.
Here are some of the basic features and services any ecommerce platform you consider should offer:
- Shopping Cart: Any ecommerce site needs to have a shopping cart and an easy to use checkout. It should also offer you abandoned cart recovery features.
- Ecommerce Pages: Your ecommerce website provider should allow unlimited ecommerce pages. If you have hundreds of product pages, you do not want to be paying extra for each page.
- Content Management Capabilities: You should be able to easily manage your content pages. You don’t want to be paying to edit pages, SEO or upload images and products.
- Reporting Features: All ecommerce sites should offer reporting features that allow you to stay updated on sales, inventory and customer metrics. This is crucial to keeping your online business running smoothly. It is also useful because key insights that grow sales often come from analysing customer data from ecommerce stores.
- SSL Certification: SSL certification is pretty much a standard requirement for any website. It’s a way of showing customers they can trust your website. It is important because you cannot expect customers who don’t trust your website to make payments on it.
- Payment Processor: Your ecommerce website provider should offer multiple payment gateways such as Paypal, credit cards, Apple Pay or more. Customers should be able to pay the way they like so you don’t lose customers at this crucial step of the purchase process. Note: Make sure you do your research and find out if the platform you are considering charges transaction fees on payments.
- Social Media Connects: Any good ecommerce site platform should offer you social media integrations with Facebook, Instagram and more. Otherwise, you will not be able to use social media to help grow your store’s business.
- Integration: Your ecommerce website should also be able to integrate with SEO tools and marketing tools like Google Analytics, Hubspot and more. This will make your marketing much easier in future.
Additionally, any platform you consider must be easy to use. You need to be able to easily use the above features. Usually, hosted services are better compared to open-source platforms where you need to know coding to perform actions. However, open-source platforms often offer more creativity and have more features.
Now let’s look into the top 5 best ecommerce platforms in more depth.
Shopify Ecommerce Platform
Shopify is an excellent all-rounder. This is why it is our top pick for those looking to start an ecommerce website and shop. It is an especially great option for small businesses.
Shopify is our top choice because it is user friendly, low-cost and offers everything most small businesses will need. We build on Shopify because it is easy for our customers to use, and they are visually stunning websites. Its interface is quite simple to use. Little to no technical support is necessary. Although, if you do need it, you can always reach out to Shopify’s customer support team or reach out to us.
Shopify allows you to sell from multiple social media platforms, online marketplaces and in person through point-of-sale (POS) systems. Selling through popular platforms such as Facebook, Amazon and eBay allow you to increase your customer reach.
Payment is easy with Shopify’s built-in payment processor. It takes most major credit/debit cards as well as Google and Apple pay services. Also, third-party payment processors are available for an extra fee. This is useful if you want to offer PayPal or other payment methods instead.
Shipping is easy with Shopify’s system. It makes it effortless to complete shipping tasks like labelling and tracking. Also, their inventory management system makes it quick and easy to keep track of stock and orders. Similarly, users can conveniently create detailed product pages with images that integrate, using custom metadata and pricing rules.
Another reason we picked Shopify is because it integrates with almost all the marketing and sales tools your business might need. Shopify allows easy integration with digital marketing tools like Google Analytics, Content Management Systems (CMS), SEO, Email Marketing and more. All tools commonly used by small businesses and marketers to grow their online presence and business.
WooCommerce Ecommerce platform
WooCommerce works excellently with WordPress. It is a popular, low-cost and flexible plugin that adds Ecommerce capabilities to any WordPress website. The integration of WooCommerce with WordPress makes it easy to turn your WordPress website into a profitable online store. Also, WooCommerce has its own payment processor as well as offering third party payment services for PayPal, Square and more.
If you are looking for more customisation for your ecommerce store, without a cookie cutter template, we highly recommend WooCommerce built on WordPress. This platform has all you need to design and build a fully functional and unique store, that suits your business. To see some examples of such websites/stores check out our projects page or Tyre Shop Online.
WooCommerce can integrate with digital tools like Google Analytics & Reporting, shipping, tax and back-end management tools all for free. Its inventory management system is good for basic stock management. However, it does sometimes run into issues when used for high-volume business. WooCommerce allows users to easily view products sold, shipping, billing and customer records.
The extensions WooCommerce offers allows its users to market on social media platforms like Facebook, eBay, Pinterest, Amazon and more. While WooCommerce is free to use and offers a great service, some of its limitations are that you might need to pay for expensive extensions or tools.
If you are already on WordPress, then this is probably one of the best options for you. However, compared to WooCommerce, Shopify is our overall winner for most ecommerce clients, depending on their specific needs.
Wix Ecommerce Platform
Wix is great for adding ecommerce to part of your website but is not ideal for all.
Wix offers a wonderful user experience. It allows users to easily and quick create an affordable ecommerce website and online store. It has heaps of templates to choose from and an easy-to-use editor which allows creation of beautiful ecommerce websites.
Wix is free to use, but the free version does not include ecommerce services. Wix does offer inventory management, you can sort orders, billing and reporting all on Wix’s in-house dashboard. However, Wix only offers three payment options: PayPal, Wix Payments and Alipay.
It offers integration and add-ons like Google Analytics and Facebook. However, it offers less compared to Shopify and other ecommerce platforms. Wix has its disadvantages as with any platform. However, the low-cost and number of ecommerce features Wix offers still makes it a valuable option for some small business owners.
Squarespace Ecommerce Platform
Squarespace is similar to Wix, but offers more creative aesthetics for businesses requiring more complicated designs and product displays.
It allows users to make beautiful online stores with design flexibility. It has a good inventory system and lots of quality features such as SEO and digital marketing tool integrations. Also, its inventory management system is in-house. Its dashboard offers revenue reports and email alerts regarding stock levels. Furthermore, it gives you insights on site traffic and customer data.
It is an excellent option for an all-rounder combining a classy storefront with ecommerce features. Squarespace also offers excellent promotional tools, if your business often runs sales promotions. It allows unlimited products, and you can choose whether to upload products one at a time or in bulk.
Shipping and payment options ae limited when compared to Shopify, Squarespace offers PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay and Venmo only.
BigCommerce Ecommerce Platform
BigCommerce is more positioned for larger businesses, while still catering to small business’s needs. Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce is easy to use to build beautiful ecommerce websites.
It allows you to sell your products and services through social media and online marketplaces like Facebook, eBay and Amazon. BigCommerce offers more than most in payment processing options with over 50 processors to choose from. It integrates with multiple marketing and digital tools like Google Analytics, SEO, CRM and more.
BigCommerce is better than Shopify in terms of its SEO and analytics. It loads pages faster and allows customised metadata, product URLS and page titles. These SEO features are useful to improve customer experiences and Google search rankings. Its inventory management system is also good offering live updates on orders, customers and reports etc.
Which Platform Is Best for Your Business?
The right option for your business depends on what you want from your ecommerce software. If all you are looking for are basic features like a shopping cart, product pages and a payment processor., then you are probably best off going with one of the top 5 platforms we have identified. All the top 5 can perform the basic ecommerce functions required by most small businesses.
Note: Most small businesses do not need advanced functionalities or international selling features.
Shopify is the popular choice with most small business owners because it offers simplicity and is an excellent inexpensive option. WooCommerce is another popular option because it can work alongside existing websites and also offers excellent ease of use.
Which option is best for you also depends on how much you are willing to spend on your ecommerce solution. Most small businesses will require a paid plan. Hence, you need to be prepared to make this valuable investment into growing your business. Also, the cost depends mainly on whether or not you are building your website yourself or working with an agency. If its the latter, have a look through our ‘How to Choose The Right Website Design Agency‘ blog.
Ecommerce platforms have differently priced plans. More expensive ones will offer more features and services compared to less expensive ones. Usually, business plans offer the most features. Make sure the plan you pick includes the specific features and functions your business needs.
Every business will have different needs and so there is no one-fits-all ecommerce solution. The best solution for your business will depend on your needs and budget. To get a better idea check out our article on how much a website costs in nz.
We highly recommend Shopify, WooCommerce and Wix for simplicity and cost efficiency. For more advanced needs tools like Shopify, BigCommerce and Squarespace are all good choices.
Overall, Shopify is top of the list. It is one of the best options out there regarding tools, ease of use and more.
Hint: It is a good idea to try out free trials and demos if the options you are considering offer them.
If you are still not sure which platform is the right ecommerce platform for your business, contact us!