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For anyone planning to start a new e-commerce business in 2018, it’s important to first understand how the digital commerce industry has evolved in the last 2-3 years and where it’s going. Apart from mobile and social, we have seen that almost every aspect of e-commerce is evolving. Let’s look at the main highlights that will shape and impact ecommerce now and in the future.

With the increased amount of data, Artificial Intelligence (specifically, machine learning) has entered the wider e-commerce world. It hasn’t reached the saturation point yet, but big players like Amazon have led the way, forcing anyone who wants to compete to follow his example. Two features, especially reorder and subscription services – aim to provide a personalized shopping experience based on your previous buying preferences. Level adjustments it has grown dramatically thanks to all the technological advancements we have seen while improving the user experience (like AI, AR, VR) in recent years. Whether it’s integrating chat systems or call-to-action buttons, all the improvements are focused on providing the best user experience. According to Toshio Mogi, associate vice president of strategy and innovation agency, Frog, “the trend of adaptation will only increase in 2018”). Consumers find digital wallets attractive. Therefore, online stores are also adding this new payment option to their websites. According to Finder.com, “An estimated 106.6 million adult Americans are switching to traditional methods of banking and shopping for slightly more advanced technologies: the digital wallet.” It’s a sign for upcoming startups that will invest in the payment features customers are already expecting. Mobile users have grown, but their conversion rate is still low … or are they? Smartinsights found that “… although mobile devices (phone and tablet) accounted for 59% of all device sessions on e-commerce sites, these mobile browsers accounted for only 38% of revenue.” And then later he concluded that “Mobile users come to the site to consider the purchase and decide what products they want. As a result, they are extremely important and should never be ignored. The fact that they go to the desktop to make purchases means you can ignore the mobile experience. “(See related article, Here’s why mobile payments are the future of commerce). Because the role analytics crucial for improving conversion rates, embedded analytics is key to any ecommerce site. If you can’t collect relevant data, you can’t learn about customer behavior, which is at the heart of all conversions. Simply put, focusing on analytics is important to running your ecommerce business successfully.

Keeping these developments in mind, I’ve put together a list of the top seven ecommerce platforms that can help you get started in 2018. Before we begin, let’s just say that in the midst of this survival competition, only the right combination of business model and ecommerce platform will remain because your traction in the e-commerce world depends largely on the type of technology you are equipped with. You need to choose a platform that suits your own different features as appropriate and as unique as your individual business model. Whether you want to start a regular ecommerce store or a multi-vendor market, this list will save you some hard work. In the end, though, only you can determine which platform is best for you.

1. Shopify

Canada-based e-commerce solution, Shopify helps online businesses around the world with an emphasis on the trend of social commerce and mobile shopping. Founded in 2004, Shopify has always kept up with the evolutionary trends and technologies of e-commerce, breaking down advances in powerful add-ons such as social shopping, with your customers never leaving their social media platform to buy from you.

Abandoned Wheelchair Recovery. Lots of themes, plugins and extensions. For $ 9 Shopify you can integrate directly with your FB account and make it an ecommerce store. A mobile shopping cart, reseller mobile apps and many other mobile options are available. 24-hour technical support via live chat, phone as well as tutorials, along with their powerful Shopify community forum.

Even with all of Shopify’s advantages mentioned above, there are some drawbacks to the platform. The most prominent side is the additional transaction fee that you will have to pay if you do not use Shopify Payment. Moreover, many useful and practical extensions require additional investment. Perhaps the most challenging is “Fluid”, Shopify’s own code language, which requires e-commerce shop owners to pay an extra price for customization.

Ecommerce entrepreneurs who need a conventional ecommerce solution can benefit from Shopify. It’s easy to use and can quickly help you get started with your ecommerce business. Based on requirements and budget, you can choose from Shopify packages that range in price from $ 29 to $ 299 per month.

2. Magento

Released in March 2008, Magento is an open source e-commerce platform. Its reliability and scalability have made it one of the most popular e-commerce platforms available today. Many prominent names such as Burger King, Huawei, Pepe Jeans and Liverpool F.C. have their own websites built on Magento.

Open source and unlimited customization options. Usability and manageability. More than 9000 add-ons and extensions to make room for scalability. Free Social Media Extensions An extensive library of resources for demonstrations, new add-ons, store management and everything about ecommerce stores.

Using Magento is not for everyone, especially if the store owner is not a developer or does not have a team of developers working on his team. And there is a price; the basic version is free, but getting a business version means you will need to spend at least $ 20,000 a year. If you do not have programmer staff, be prepared to invest in third party programming costs as well.

For online stores with a large number of Magento products is the right choice. Not recommended for SMEs due to complex setup settings, costs and highly technical management requirements.

3. YoKart

Specially designed for startups and SMB businesses, YoKart is turnkey and contains a rich ecommerce market solution for building multiple stores such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Although many other e-commerce platforms offer multi-vendor versions, YoKart specializes in this area. YoKart with the latest upgrade (YoKart V8) now has an even bigger hit. Multilingual and multi-currency features enable store owners to expand their reach globally. And there are plenty of payment options, built-in analysis tools, rewards and coupon management options.

Done in multi-vendor market solution. The market owner gets the source code of the website (not the box) along with a lifetime license. Mobile-friendly platform and dedicated apps for Android and Apple devices. All price packages offer the same features (except Startup packages). Video guides, detailed manuals, and frequently asked questions for store owners and merchants. 12 months free technical support. Multilingual and more currency. Built-in product catalog system

YoKart, however, has several drawbacks. Given its robust structure, a developer with a broad knowledge of PHP is required to customize YoKart. Also, it’s not open source like Magento. Startups and GoQuick packages provide default themes. Unlike Magento, YoKart is primarily focused on SMB, which means that the required features are already available in standard packages; for large enterprises, an adjustment would be necessary.

SMEs can make full use of YoKart. The startup package is best priced at $ 250 and offers a one-year hosted solution. This is a pragmatic method for testing the sustainability of your business model. Once you are sure of your business, you can easily upgrade to multiple versions; GoQuick, GoCustom Lite and GoCustom.

4. BigCommerce

Since its inception, BigCommerce has been credited with more than 55,000 online stores and has been praised as one of the foremost e-commerce software providers. From well-known companies such as Martha Stewart and Toyota to many small and medium-sized businesses, BigCommerce has helped businesses of all sizes launch their online retail outlets. For ecommerce store owners who lack basic coding skills, the huge list of BigCommerce’s built-in features is really handy.

A huge number of built-in features, including (but not limited to) newsletters, coupons, shipping, taxes and analytics. There is no transaction fee. Relevant topics (paid as well as free) and consistent user experience across work and mobile networks. Easy store integration with Facebook, eBay, Google Shopping and many comparison sites. Easy Setup Wizard, video tutorials, detailed guides with visual illustrations and demonstrations.

For those looking to launch a multi-vendor store like the one on Amazon, BigCommerce may not find the available support that other e-commerce platforms provide with more integrated market models. Another concern with BigCommerce may be the lack of free themes. With only 7 free themes, BigCommerce lags behind other e-commerce platforms, given that most of them offer more than 20 free themes. But that doesn’t change the fact that you get loads of top-notch themes and plenty of customization options to give your store a unique identity.

BigCommerce is the ideal solution for ecommerce entrepreneurs who want a full trade without the hassle of coding, integrating plugins and other technical hurdles. If you can solve the lack of free themes or want to spend on premium themes, BigCommerce is the solution for the e-commerce platform.

5. VTEX

VTEX is a Brazilian provider of a cloud-based e-commerce platform with a gross merchandise value of $ 1.8 billion in 2016. Their customer base includes local business chains from some of the world’s major players, including Wal-Mart, Whirlpool, Coca-Cola. Sony, Disney, L’Oreal, Lego, Staples and more.

One remarkable factor that differentiates VTEX from the rest of e-commerce is its Free cash register download, This specialty is believed to drive organic traffic by 30%, revenue growth by 28% and a whopping 54% increase in conversion rate.

Although the company claims that cloud-based e-commerce technology implements 68% faster than usual, there is still one important disadvantage of VTex for store owners looking to maintain control of their own storefronts: It’s SaaS-based, and therefore you never will have full ownership of the ecommerce store or its source code.

Businesses with an annual turnover of $ 1 million (or more), together with a significant number of monthly transactions, can benefit from VTEX and its significant increase in conversion rates. However, VTEX may be more expensive for SMEs due to higher fees.

6. WooCommerce

A free WordPress plugin, WooCommerce is a name not to be introduced to the e-commerce world. It comes complete with a secure payment gateway and a shopping cart that both work well. Open source and easy to use for WordPress enthusiasts, WooCommerce needs an additional plugin to launch a third-party e-commerce store.

Easy to manage panel admin. Unlimited product categories. Large range of accessories and extensions of all kinds. Secure payment gateway. Good basket.

Installation of WooCommerce is free, but fully integrating the cart into the system requires additional investment. What’s more, if you don’t know WordPress, you won’t know how to use WooCommerce. But WooCommerce’s biggest problem is its lack of scalability; As your business grows and you get more sellers, products, and customers in your database, WooCommerce begins to slow down.

WooCommerce is a viable option if you want to stick to WordPress websites and don’t expect to have a large bulk store.

7. Tictail

Tictail is more like a do-it-yourself market where more attention is paid to custom design, community integration, ease of use and general e-commerce appeal. Fashion designers and retailers can set up their virtual store in minutes.

Tictail requires no technical knowledge to set up your market. Upgrading to Tictail Plus gives you a custom website that you can personalize with your design. Tictail Plus allows you to create your own domain name (URL) and thus reap the SEO benefits.

The lack of payment processors can be problematic at times, especially when other e-commerce platforms offer plenty of payment options. The global market gives Tictail the right to take a commission. However, a custom store (which comes at great prices annually) frees you from paying anything extra for Tictail for every sale there.

If you are planning to go global but are not sure if your business model will succeed or not, Tictail is a great testing platform. However, it is not designed for large enterprises.

Closing thoughts:

An e-commerce platform is not a one-size-fits-all solution that will work for everyone. All of the e-commerce platforms discussed in this article are built for different business requirements. The aforementioned advantages and disadvantages are not what they are about. The list list is designed to help you make the budget decision and choose the platform that best suits your needs.

Different business models and business sizes require different e-commerce platforms. Choose wisely and watch your business grow. Good luck!

Posted: January 14, 2018

The opinions published here by Inc.com are columnists of their own, not the opinions of Inc.com.

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