10 web platforms and services to build your eCommerce business

In recent years the eCommerce industry has become saturated with software add-ons and apps. Whether you’re just setting up shop or are well-established and looking to make a change, it’s hard to know where to start. To help you figure out which tools are best for your website and business, we’ve rounded up our top picks from the various web services and platforms currently available.

1. Shopify

Shopify is one of the best-known and most widely used shopping carts, which is praised for its easy-to-use dashboard and professional-looking themes. Shopify also offers a large number of add-ons for integrating its CMS with everything from email clients to coupon sites. If you’re looking to push sales on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Shopify is at the forefront of eCommerce integration on these sites so would be an ideal choice.

2. WooCommerce

Over 30% of all online stores are powered by WooCommerce, and with good reason – the shopping cart plugin integrates seamlessly with sites that run on WordPress and is available to download for free. There are a wide range of payment options available for customers (such as PayPal) and plenty of additional widgets for extra functionality and integration. Unlike Shopify you’ll need to find our own hosting and be responsible for keeping the site secure, but you’ll have complete ownership of your site which allows for more control.

3. Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce is a platform that – similarly to Shopify – acts as a CMS that allows you to build and manage your entire website. Across its various themes, the user experience is designed to optimise conversions and streamline the checkout process. It also has the flexibility to deal with multiple currencies and levels of taxation so is great for international sales. Useful features such as SEO tools, reviews, and coupons are all included in the package but extra capabilities and integrations are also available through an app store.

4. Magento

Magento is different from the other shopping carts we’ve mentioned in that rather than offering a hosted solution or plugin, it is an open-source piece of software. This means that you can either use the package as it comes, adding plugins and extensions (of which there are thousands), or develop the code to cater to your specific needs. Unlike other offerings this also means you won’t have to pay a monthly subscription – the open-source software is freely available, as is the option to purchase a substantial customised solution bundle at a yearly cost.

5. Brightpearl

If you’re selling across multiple channels, an eCommerce management tool like Brightpearl could help make things easier. The software allows you to manage inventory, orders, accounting, customer details, suppliers and more in once place. The solution also provides great customer support for those just getting started, as well as additional training and advice if you need it. Apps are available for a wide range of services.

6. Clearbooks

If you’re a large company, chances are you have your accounting all figured out. If your business is fairly new or on the smaller side however, Clearbooks provides an affordable solution to managing the financial side of your eCommerce business. Various integration packages are available to help the cloud-based software smoothly interact with other eCommerce tools.

7. Google Analytics

A key part of growing your eCommerce business is finding out how best to drive traffic through your website and maximise conversions. Google Analytics is definitely the master when it comes to providing you with the data needed to do this. If you don’t have a dedicated marketing team looking after traffic and SEO and have never delved into web analytics before, it can feel a bit like information overload, however there are many ‘how-to’ guides available online as well as full courses to show you how to leverage this data to optimise design.

8. Mailchimp

Poorly designed email campaigns will do nothing to drive business, so consider using a mail client like Mailchimp to construct and send out your newsletters and order notifications. Pricing is competitive (and free up to 2,000 subscribers) and you don’t need to be a professional web designer to put together attractive looking emails thanks to a user-friendly design hub. Importing, exporting and cleaning lists is easy, emails can be personalised to customer interests, and you have control over the level of automation.

9. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a heatmap tool that helps show you where people click the most on your eCommerce website, as well as where users scroll down to. The tool provides valuable insight into how best to optimise your site design, as well as allowing you to conduct AB testing.

10. Picreel

It’s estimated that the average number of online shopping carts that are abandoned before checkout could be as much as 75%. That represents a staggering loss of potential sales, and many companies struggle to work out why it happens. Exit Intent technology from Picreel helps guess when a user might be about to leave your site, by tracking their cursor as they move through your website. If the software thinks a user is about to leave, a specially targeted pop-up or widget appears and gives them incentive to stay. Most of the major eCommerce platforms offer integration.

At James and James Fulfilment, our real-time order management system integrates seamlessly with a wide range of eCommerce software. To find out more about what outsourcing fulfilment could do for your business, contact us.