What is an ecommerce platform?

Stripo / Glossary / What is an ecommerce platform?

Global eCommerce turnover reached $4.28 trillion in 2020. In 2022, it is expected to reach $5.4 trillion. Today, you can buy almost everything online — from children's toys to airline tickets and company stocks. In this article, we’ll describe what an eCommerce platform is and what features you need to have while creating your online store. 

What are eCommerce platforms?

An eCommerce platform is software where customers can buy and companies/individuals can sell online.

How eCommerce platform works

The algorithm consists of the following steps:

  • a buyer adds a product to an online shopping cart using eCommerce software;

  • the server receives the request and sends it to the manager;

  • the manager checks if the product is in stock. If it is not, they make a request to the supplier and find out when the product will appear. If the product is in stock, the manager continues to process the request;

  • the buyer pays for the order: the payment system receives a request to accept payment from the client. The system approves or blocks the request. The second is possible if there is not enough money on the account or the card has expired;

  • after confirming the payment, the manager sends a message to the warehouse, where the order is collected;

  • the logistics department delivers the order to the buyer. After the goods have left the warehouse, the client receives a notification by e-mail or phone that the goods are on the way.

Regardless of whether you buy a product or a service, the algorithm is similar.

Benefits of eCommerce platforms for business

It is unlikely that anyone would use this type of software if it did not benefit the business. Therefore, to have a complete picture of what platforms can give to e-commerce businesses, it is worth listing the main advantages hidden behind business platform definition.

  • Fast time-to-market

eCommerce platforms provide all the basic functionality for launching a store right out of the box. Users just have to wrap it all up in a pretty shell and create a pleasant user experience through your website design. Some platforms also provide built-in website builders that allow users to create a simple website from pre-built elements using a simple drag and drop system. All this significantly reduces the time spent to go live.

  • Store works 24/7

Unlike a standard retail store, an online business can work any day of the week and at any time of the day. Entrepreneurs are not limited in any way by the location, the number of store staff, and other stoppers that do not allow continuous product selling. Most of the tasks are automated, and the online store can take orders at any time.

  • No geographical bounds

This benefit extends from the previous one and allows the store to provide its services to customers regardless of their location. Entrepreneurs can easily enter the global market, thereby expanding the audience and increasing the store's profit.

  • Unlimited products

Regular stores are limited in shelf space, which does not allow for the display and sale of many goods. E-commerce platforms eliminate this problem, as only one product will be shown on the website showcase, while there may be thousands of them in warehouses. In addition, it is easier to expand the assortment of goods since you can forget about the capacity of the store shelves.

Things to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform

It is important to figure out what eCommerce solution meets your business’ needs best at the very beginning. To pick the best service, evaluate the following aspects of eCommerce platforms:

1. Interface

It’s about the user-facing design of a web page or application. User-friendly UI (User Interface) is important for eCommerce merchants to provide intuitive navigation — and a pleasant shopping experience — for customers.

2. Design options

Most eCommerce platforms offer countless ready-to-use designs and themes so you can create your online store appearance quickly and easily. To make your website stand out from competitors, you can add unique colors, fonts, or image styles. So don’t forget to explore design customization opportunities your eCommerce platform provides.

3. Store management system

Inventory is your store's life force. If an item isn't available, or you fail to move a product through the proper logistical channels, you can have problems with present or future customers.

4. Payment processing

With streamlined payment processing, you can deliver a smooth and secure checkout experience to your customers.

5. Security

Your eCommerce platform has to ensure safe transactions through the internet. Digital commerce platforms need to gain customers’ trust by putting in place eCommerce security basics: privacy, integrity, authentication, non-repudiation, support, promotion opportunities, and data consolidation.

Ten popular eCommerce platforms on the market

This guide would not be complete without mentioning the popular eCommerce software, which currently forms the backbone of platforms for creating your online store.

  1. BigCommerce.

  2. Shopify.

  3. WooCommerce.

  4. Squarespace.

  5. Magento.​​

  6. 3dcart.

  7. Volusion.

  8. Weebly.

  9. Prestashop.

  10. Wix.