Ecommerce Platform: Simplified Definition
An eCommerce platform is a software application or an online storefront that allows eCommerce merchants to set up a webpage or a website. The website acts as an online store and contains the necessary features to enable eCommerce. The complexity of setting up the website depends on the eCommerce platform chosen. The website created provides a platform to showcase the available products, interact with customers, and accept orders. Additional services regarding order fulfillment are often provided, either by the e-commerce platform itself or by third-party service providers. The e-commerce platform handles all the order fulfillment related processes very often, essentially acting as a third-party logistics service provider.
Ecommerce Platform: Technical Definition
ClickPost defines Ecommerce platform as a storefront or a software application where the buyers and sellers can interact, with the end goal of purchasing a service or product, and where additional services for order fulfillment might be provided, either by the ecommerce platform itself or by a third party service provider, and where the platform simplifies the entire process of going online for the merchant, essentially handling all the operations needed for online selling and acting as a third party service provider.
How does an ecommerce platform work?
An ecommerce platform works by providing business owners an easier way to set up an online store. The process of setting up the store differs based on the platform chosen. Most of the popular platforms offer no-code or low-code solutions and are easy to set up. For more technically inclined users, code-based solutions are available too. Most services also provide the option of opting for add-on modules or services, generally at an additional cost. The services offered by the ecommerce platforms also differ based on your choice of the ecommerce platform. While some of them provide end-to-end supply chain management services, others only provide the storefront and necessary software services
How do I start an eCommerce platform?
If you want to start an e-commerce platform, you need to start by building the backend services for your client and go on to build the services to create their storefronts. Based on the type of solution you choose, this process differs significantly. Do remember to integrate the necessary features like order acceptance and payment services. Easily customizable services and websites are also important and highly sought after in this space. Depending on the number of services you plan to provide, you can also look at providing shipping and logistics services. If you are providing only the bare necessities, it is a good idea to keep a provision for add-on services so that your clients can easily integrate necessary services.
Why do I need an Ecommerce platform?
An eCommerce platform is often necessary for business owners looking to go online as building your own online platform is complicated and expensive. It is an uphill task to build all the services needed to successfully run an online business, and will take a highly-skilled workforce and a significant amount of time to complete. Ecommerce platforms provide you a readymade solution in this regard, with the necessary functions already present and rigorously tested. This works out to be significantly cheaper and faster, and takes away the biggest hurdle of going online.
How to choose an Ecommerce platform?
The e-commerce platform you opt for depends on the specific needs of your business and the necessary services you are looking for. In general, it is a good idea to conduct your research before settling for a specific platform. Do look for services that are customizable, and provide necessary and advanced features. Some features might be provided as add-on modules. Also look at the cost and pricing model of the service you are opting for. If you are technically savvy, open-source options like Opencart can also be considered.
What is the biggest Ecommerce platform?
In the US market, Shopify is currently the largest e-commerce platform with over 32% of independent e-commerce stores using their services. Based on your definition of an e-commerce platform and the metrics you are looking at, Amazon and Alibaba are some of the largest businesses in the e-commerce space.
Which eCommerce platform is the best for small businesses?
When choosing an appropriate ecommerce platform for your small business, it is important to consider the ease of setting up the store and ease of use. You should also look at additional services provided as they can significantly streamline your supply chain. If you are a small business looking to set up an independent ecommerce store, services like Shopify are a good option for you.