How To Pick The E-Commerce Platform Best For You

An e-commerce platform is the backbone of a successful online store. Selecting the right e-commerce platform depends on several factors, not the least of which is the stage your online business is in. There are e-commerce platforms meant for stores that are just starting out, solutions for successful, growing stores and software built specifically for the largest e-commerce sites online.

Those starting out an online only business from scratch might choose to start with something as basic as an eBay store or a Yahoo Store depending on the product set. Assuming we are past that point and want to have a site with its own domain name, branding and style, then the entry level sites might go for solutions like PrestaShop or Magento Go. These hosted solutions are easy to start out with and offer all of the basics you need to run a small online store.

When the stakes raise and you start earning revenues north of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, the need for more enterprise features and customization to your growing customer base emerges. This middle area, typically between $500,000 and $50,000,000 in annual revenue through the site is where Magento Community Edition and Enterprise Edition really own the marketplace. Magento offers a feature-full, customizable solution with a great network of integrator partners to help you tailor it to your needs. Community Edition is typically the choice between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in revenue, but beyond the $1,000,000 mark Enterprise edition becomes the solution of choice due to its, well, more enterprise feature set.

When you get north of $50,000,000 in annual revenue through the site, enterprise class solutions like Oracle ATG, Intershop, Hybris, IBM WebSphere and DemandWare challenge Magento Enterprise edition. Issues at play in this space are multichannel integration for retailers who are selling brick and mortar and not just online, order management systems and ability to manage multiple sites with complex product sets.

Top E-Commerce Platform Profiles:
Magento brings many of the features of the expensive enterprise solutions to growing e-commerce stores and as a result is one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms around. It’s licensing model is relatively low cost and is highly customizable since its built on an open PHP code base, though its order management system integration for multichannel retailers is still catching up to the enterprise players.
IBM WebSphere
A very flexible solution adopted heavily by high revenue retailers, WebSphere integrates with IBM’s Sterling Commerce order management system, Coremetrics web analytics and Unica to provide a full suite of solutions to serve those running large online stores. However the solution can be costly when all aspects of ownership are considered, so revenues must justify it.
Oracle ATG
ATG offers a well-rounded feature set for Enterprise stores including customer engagement tools like personalization and interaction. Oracle’s back end order management systems are not as well-adopted by multichannel retailers.
We hope this article helps you narrow down which solution is right for you. Options range from basic beginner stores like Yahoo and eBay; to starter stores for low revenue retailers like PrestaShop or Magento Go; to Magento Community and Enterprise edition for the fast growing store below $50,000,000 in annual revenue. Beyond that there are the enterprise players.

Good luck finding your e-commerce platform of choice, and remember to use this site to find a software integrator who can help you get the most bang for your buck!

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