Do you think all web app development platforms for E-commerce are created equal? Think again. According to research by Accenture, the world E-commerce market is slated to grow to $4.9 trillion in 2021. But that’s not the interesting part.
The study says that 43% of online customers prefer personalized Ecommerce shopping experiences and 41% switched companies due to poor personalization and 74% disliked being shown irrelevant content.
When looking for web app development platforms for Ecommerce in 2019, there are many factors that come into consideration. Is the platform open source or paid? What is the level of customization that the platform offers? Do they integrate behavioural analytics with customer information? What specific features do they offer to users and developers? What is the level of scalability that is possible with the platform? Is the platform compatible with the many new and diverse technologies that are making their way into the e-commerce world?
Open source platforms
These are app development platforms for ecommerce that are built on open source technology. The benefit of open-source app development platforms is that you have some excellent options like Magento and ZenCart, which offer services that are as good as any custom platform. Open source has many advantages for the developer. Its framework allows for many free third-party plug-ins, extensions and enhancements that can be added according to the needs of the platform. For example, IKEA came up with an augmented reality feature on their website, which allowed customers to see how their homes will look with the products in it. The sky’s the limit with open source platforms!
Magento open source
Arguably one of the best web app development platforms that’s available in the market, Magento has an astonishing number of benefits for its customers. Scalability is easy because Magento is error-free in its maintenance of huge amounts of data. It can also handle support in different languages, is built for SEO, is customizable, and also allows you to sell multiple products. The downside to Magento is that you need to be an experienced developer to make full use of it.
The biggest advantage of Zencart? You don’t need extensive coding expertise. User-friendly, easy to build and offering a wide range of beautiful customization options, Zencart is perfect if you don’t want to spend most of your time poring over open source documentation resources.
It has a huge support community, offers multiple payments, customer modes and shipping options are secure and offers many themes and options for customization.
It does come with its share of problems, though. There is no direct support. Scalability can be an issue, as software upgradation has been known to cause problems on this platform. It is also not built for SEO, which means that you should purchase add-ons that help boost your platform’s search engine rankings.
Woocommerce is an open source WordPress shopping cart plugin that helps you turn your WordPress site into a store. It requires very little expertise or customization and works seamlessly with WordPress. Woocommerce is known for its one-page checkout and its extension library, which allows you to add features like discounts and coupons with great ease.
Woocommerce can come with its fair share of hosting and domain name expenses. It is a steep learning curve but once you get a hang of it, it is easy to use but is still one of the most popular web app development platforms in the market.
Perfect for start-ups and newbies, Opencart allows you to upgrade your software without having to pay extra. There is no payment for maintenance and customization is easy. Beyond a point, though, customization becomes problematic if you want to add many more features. Suffice it to say that experienced coders never choose this one but for a start-up that wants to build a clean and simple e-commerce experience with not too many features, it is perfect.
Opencart has many themes, extensions, and add-ons but nowhere does it have the variety that a Magento offers. Having said that, it is hassle-free and easy to use, making it perfect especially for hyperlocal stores.
It is known worldwide as a great content management platform, but WordPress has grown bigger in its scope and is not just an open-source CMS. The biggest advantage of WordPress is that you can combine your e-commerce store with a lot of content marketing and management tools. WordPress is also easy to use and has an expansive number of plugins that add more value.
WordPress also has what you need for E-commerce – an intuitive interface and superb, easy-to-use SEO tools. It can be used by both the newbie and the advanced coder and has something in it for everyone.
The problem with WordPress though is that it is not an online tool but software that needs to be downloaded and installed. Added to this, you need to host the website and also buy a domain. But that’s not the real problem. You will need to spend time on other compulsories like website design and the accompanying plugins, not to mention having to configure your E-commerce store on your own, payment options and all. However, with options like Woocommerce (which occupies 10% of the market share, only a little behind Magento’s 12%), once you set it all up, the sky’s the limit with WordPress.
Armed with multilingual and multi-currency features, X-Cart is intuitive and has a host of advanced features that allow for brilliant customization and is perfect for enterprise stores. If you are looking at scalability, then this is the perfect option for you because you have an unbelievable array of features at your disposable and can grow your business multi-fold. You can also avail of excellent developer support. Multivendor selling is possible, a comprehensive marketplace integration toolkit is there for the taking, and the paid version doesn’t cost as much as other paid alternatives.
X-cart is not your cup of tea if you aren’t a seasoned developer or don’t plan to hire one. You need an experienced hand to make use of its many features.
Perfect for small businesses and a new player in the e-commerce space, Prestashop is easy to use and can help you build your store from scratch. It also has some of the most beautiful themes on the Internet. When it comes to its features, it offers many options for customization and also offers good multivendor support, but you can’t cross-sell products on this platform.
Prestashop is perfect for start-ups but does not provide the scalability of a Magento. For small businesses, though, it is perfect and even helps you choose its themes and features depending on what you need out of your e-commerce web development plan.
Custom app development platforms for e-commerce
With custom E-commerce websites, you have greater control of your platform and do not have to depend on a pre-built framework and its limitations. From the appearance to the amount of data you want to collect on your customers, custom e-commerce platforms allow for greater customization and optimization.
Shopify is one of the most popular custom web app development platforms. An all-in-one e-commerce toolkit, it offers an astonishing number of functionalities. The biggest advantage of Shopify is that you need no development experience whatsoever. Scalability is guaranteed, and you can add more advanced features as your store grows. You can use it offline or online, you can sell whatever you want and add in complex transactions and layers to the platform. You have excellent technical support. Shopify’s interface is also easy to use and most importantly, it offers a huge app store with innumerable paid and free apps.
The downside? The app installations can be cumbersome at times. Also, you can only sell from certain countries by using Shopify.
With Bigcommerce, you have full CMS functionality, excellent SEO options, and a great set of features that is value for money considering its price plans. One of its best features is its card abandonment saver feature, which allows for three automated emails to be sent to potential visitors (Shopify allows only one.) This is a huge deal and has a significant impact on your business.
The problem with Bigcommerce is that you will have to pay a significant amount for the cart abandonment saver feature. Also, if you exceed an annual sales limit that Bigcommerce sets for you, you will be forced to upgrade to a costlier monthly plan.
Other custom options
There are many other custom e-commerce options available, depending on your business and the level of customization you need. Volusion, for instance, is particularly useful for online retailers who want to combine hosting and site-building capabilities without too much work or any technical knowledge. Ecwid is another custom web application e-commerce platform that is easy to set up, allows for seamless social media integration and offers great E-commerce tools.
In the end, whether you want to choose open source or custom e-commerce platforms, look for features that your business needs the most, whether it is scalability, ease of use, pricing, customization or excellent E-commerce tools that are vital to your profitability.