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The major difference between the most common e-commerce platforms
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Jonas Hagströmer Theodorsson

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The major difference between the most common e-commerce platforms

E-commerce | 7 minutes

It’s safe to say that you need a website that will be able to face today’s increasingly growing competition in retail. While qualities such as design and content on an e-commerce platform are of great significance, here’s what ensures your business stands out - 


  • Customer Engagement
  • Lead Generation
  • Quality services and processes

These main attributes are the pillars on which you can figure out whether your site is successful in creating ROI (return on investment) or not. 

Therefore, selecting the right kind of platform is essential and we’re here to help you make that decision!

Since there are so many options available, you don’t need to go with the first best platform that you’re introduced to. Allow yourself to seriously consider what your desired goals are and how they fit in with improving your e-commerce website. Do you simply want to increase revenue or do you want to extend your brand name far and wide?  

Selecting the right platform for your business is a significant decision, and we’ve outlined them here - 



1 Homebuilt

This option requires you to hire someone to build the actual platform in-house. This used to be very common but is now used by only a small percentage of companies. 


2 Traditional

You buy a license fee (which is renewed annually) and then let your IT-team customize this platform. The developers and your personnel will then be able to customize on top of the platform and it can later be installed into the cloud. Some traditional platforms to use are Kentico and IBM Digital Commerce.


3 Open-source

This is a similar solution to the traditional platform since it involves the same development procedure. There is no initial cost or a license fee, but you do have other expenses such as upgrades, migration, and implementation. An example of a provider for an open source e-commerce platform is Magento.


4 Cloud

A solution where traditional and open-source platforms are joint in a hosting system that looks pretty different. A lot of cloud-hosted platforms are just legacy platforms that are hosted in the cloud, which means that you still need to work on maintenance and install upgrades. Some examples of cloud-based solutions are Magento Enterprise Cloud and Volusion.   


5 SaaS


This platform is usually built on a single code-base and for a fixed monthly fee, the following are included - 

  1. Maintenance
  2. Security
  3. Server Use
  4. Upgrades 


With SaaS, you’re not required to maintain either the cloud-based hosting provider or a physical server. Just as the traditional option, it’s a licensed product but paid for monthly instead of annually and hosting is included.


The advantage with SaaS is the fact that it’s a quick setup, but there can be substantial monthly fees linked to transaction volumes. The more you turn, the higher your SaaS fees will be. Some SaaS providers include Oracle and SAP.


6 PaaS


PaaS stands for a Platform as a Service, and this is a solution for advanced mature B2B’s where you want to link your e-commerce into other systems that your customers use, like SAP and Ariba. B2B clients can link their purchasing systems straight into your B2B e-commerce. This is vital if you are selling into large companies that have complex procurement systems that they process their purchase orders through. PaaS has extensive API and continuous fees. Some PaaS providers are AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Google App Engine.


5 things to keep in mind when choosing a solution


It’s always wise to keep the future in mind, and even if the cheapest or the simplest solution might seem reasonable right now – you have to ask yourself whether it’s the best option in the long run? 

You need to weigh in how important it is for you to have full control over everything and what you want to achieve.


Open-source is for those who want to have complete control and a lot of flexibility. A great thing with open-source platforms is that they generally adapt quickly to new trends, and bug fixes are usually also quickly available and free. 


If you need more security and feel the need of having support available, you should instead choose a licensed product.  Focus on -


1) Pricing

Regardless of the size of your e-commerce, you need to consider the costs. The costs vary depending on the platform but almost all platforms have a monthly fee. If there is a contract, how long is it and what would it cost if you have to cancel the contract early?


2) Customer service

Some common issues related to e-commerce are server downtime and the need for continuous updates and new software installations. A crash can affect your revenue and if the downtime is substantial – also to your brand image. So look into the various platform’s customer service to see what kind of support is available and at what hours during the day.


3) Tools and plugins

When you’re trying to decide on which platform to choose, many of them will have a lot of different available tools. Try to figure out what tools you need and which ones you’re already using. Some plugins you need are accounting plugins, email marketing tools, customer rewards system and apps in relation to shipping.


4) Security & fraud

You need to look for a platform with a clear focus on security for your customers, which will help you prevent fraud. You also want to make sure that the platform integrates with payment gateways like PayPal and Authorize.net. Make sure that your platform supports HTTPS/SSL and that the platform is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant.


5) User experience

Today you want to choose a platform that is tablet and mobile-friendly. Your customers need to be able to easily access your website and make purchases from their mobile devices. It’s also important to consider things such as: Can you search by keyword or category? How many steps are included when you’re purchasing something? But also make sure just to look for features you really need. 

 Choose a platform that you can scale to your ideal business size and don’t have another, much larger business in mind, because then you will only end up paying way too much money for features you’ll never end up using. 

We’ve written a lot of tips for e-commerce companies, like these:

Keywords: e-commerce, SaaS, PaaS


Sources: https://www.coredna.com/blogs/best-ecommerce-platform






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