Technically speaking they are software that allows business houses to conduct online business transactions. While most E-Commerce transactions are B2C (Business to Consumer) some support B2B or Business to Business transactions based on contract negotiation features et al.
Two basic types of E-Commerce platforms are: hosted and self-hosted open source.
Hosted E-Commerce solutions are billed on a monthly basis. They are found to be user-friendly and stable.
Self-hosted E-Commerce solutions are much more advanced. They can be customized according to business needs. Besides, they are free.
The following are the online capabilities and features:
Online Storefront, Online Shopping Cart, Online Payment Facility, E-Commerce Marketing, and E-Commerce Business Management.
Shoppers get the convenience to browse through the product catalog in E-Commerce websites which is generally referred to as online storefronts.
A set of pre-designed templates and themes for storefront design is part of hosted e-commerce platforms. However, the best e-commerce storefront depends only on your use case. A case in point here is different solutions attempt for managing larger inventories, multiple versions like colors and sizes covering the same item, multiple stores or even virtual v/s physical products. While evaluating product catalog options and features, scalability is a significant point to be considered.
Shopping Cart is brilliantly designed software which calculates the total cost of the accumulated list of products that the website visitors have virtually selected before checkout. The online shopping cart is also capable of calculating taxes and shipping charges.
There are some platforms which offer unique shopping cart-related features, such as cart tools. These features help to save unfinished orders or remind customers about items that are still left out in their cart. The abandoned cart feature usually costs extra or available only in a higher package module.
Designated E-Commerce platforms include in-house payment processing feature. Some e-commerce solutions integrate a third-party payment gateway. A transaction fee is charged by vendors who offer in-house payment processing. Standard security measures are in place as most E-Commerce platforms deal in sensitive customer information and their payments.
Open source is usually referred to as ‘free’ E-Commerce platform. It is best to have this so-called ‘free’ or open source E-Commerce platform solutions if you are planning to invest money in your online business development – an E-Commerce store. We have already explored some of these platforms earlier. We will now compare and contrast additional platforms that are considered ‘free’.
Many find WordPress comfortable and familiar to handle. WooCommerce is the low-cost E-Commerce solution. Powerful plugin, including more than 2,700 themes and regular updates of WordPress and WooCommercewhich gets improved by the day to meet your security needs make them powerful.
For small businesses, OpenCart, which is considered to be very simple to install, could be a great choice. No need for hiring tech-savvy employees and can be kickstarted without much effort. It runs instantly using simple codes. OpenCart allows setting advanced user privileges and separate access for users including groups. Incidentally, even the simple code has its shortcoming; sale extensions and themes may not be up-to-date as per security standards.
This tried and tested solution with rich features and functionality is efficient for SEO use. Magento, which is also considered to be a complex solution in terms of learning and understanding, is extremely scalable with language translation, currency conversion features.