eCommerce Platforms

If you’ve reached the point that you want to start an online store, you have a lot of options to choose from. There are so many they can make your head spin, but to make it a little easier to choose, you can break down the components of an eCommerce platform and compare the different options that way. Here are a few things you should take into consideration when you’re deciding on a platform.


If you have an IT infrastructure, i.e, a network, one thing you won’t have to worry about is whether or not the eCommerce platform you choose includes web hosting. If you’re in a server environment like this, you probably have an IT staff or at least one IT person around who has the technical skills you’ll need to determine if your environment is compatible with the eCommerce platform you choose. They should also be able to handle the installation and maintenance of the more technically challenging platforms.

If you don’t have an IT professional around, you have two choices. You can choose a platform that includes web hosting, or you can choose a web hosting service and then select an eCommerce platform that is supported by that hosting service. This should help narrow down the many choices you have.


Now that you’ve narrowed your choices down, you next have to evaluate which eCommerce platforms you can install and configure with the technical skills that you have. Some platforms are simple to install, configure, and maintain; others may require a little more in the way of skills than you can handle. You can either go with the platform you can handle yourself and possibly sacrifice a few features and functions you may want, or you can hire someone to do it for you. That gives you more choices and the versatility you may require, but it means spending more money.


Many eCommerce platforms are free or extremely affordable, and for the most part, you don’t lose too much in the way of functionality by going with a free option. You may be limited by the number of themes or designs available—after all, you do get what you pay for—but most of the free platforms also offer additional functionality for a price. Here’s the part where you decide what you are going to need and what, then compare the add-on costs to the platforms that may offer these functions out of the box. You may find that the bundled package is cheaper in the long run and may even be easier to customize and maintain.