What Is an Ecommerce Platform? (Know This Earlier than Signing Up)


You’ve determined to make the leap and begin an ecommerce retailer. Congratulations!

Nonetheless, earlier than establishing your store, you could know what an ecommerce platform is.

An ecommerce platform is a software program answer that helps you construct an internet site to promote services or products on-line. ecommerce platform is scalable and gives options like a buying cart, product catalog, order administration, fee processing, and transport integration.

In brief, it’s a significant piece of software program for any on-line retailer!

There are numerous completely different ecommerce platforms on the market, and every has its execs and cons.

That can assist you make the most effective choice for your corporation, we’ve put collectively a brief information to what an ecommerce platform is and what it’s best to search for when selecting one.

And to finish with one thing thrilling, we’ll additionally spotlight a number of the hottest platforms in the marketplace at present!

Let’s go!

An ecommerce platform: What’s it?

Explanation of what an ecommerce platform is

Once you hear the time period ‘ecommerce platform,’ you would possibly consider an internet site like Amazon or eBay.

And it positively is smart that you just’re eager about these two. In any case, they’re each very obvious platforms when buying on-line.

Nonetheless, Amazon and eBay are not examples of ecommerce platforms!

Amazon and eBay are literally examples of on-line marketplaces. Whereas they could look like ecommerce platforms, there are some important variations between on-line marketplaces and ecommerce platforms. (We are going to talk about these beneath.)

So, what’s an ecommerce platform precisely?

Online store custom image

An ecommerce platform is just a software program answer that permits a enterprise to promote services or products on-line by their very own web sites. Along with internet hosting an internet site, an ecommerce platform offers instruments for managing stock, processing funds, and transport orders.

It’s the spine of your on-line retailer that gives you with each device it’s worthwhile to seamlessly construct, market, handle, and showcase your merchandise.

In different phrases, an ecommerce platform helps you create each the forefront of your retailer and the ‘brains’ behind it, integrating components like order, product, and buyer administration right into a understandable complete.

Shopify is a well-liked instance of an ecommerce platform. Let’s check out their menu gadgets when logged right into a Shopify retailer account:

Shopify dashboard menu items - what is an ecommerce platform

As you may see, this ecommerce platform allows you to do issues like:

  • Managing and fulfilling your orders.
  • Including, enhancing, or eradicating your merchandise.
  • your retailer’s analytics.
  • Modifying the looks of your on-line retailer.
  • And rather more!

There are two essential forms of ecommerce platforms: hosted and self-hosted.

Deciding whether or not to make use of a hosted or self-hosted ecommerce platform will be complicated. There are execs and cons to each; finally, it comes all the way down to what’s finest for your corporation.

Let’s examine them out!

Hosted ecommerce platforms

A hosted ecommerce platform is a software program as a service (SaaS) answer that permits companies to create and handle their on-line shops.

The platform supplier hosts the shop by itself servers and manages all of the technical elements of working a web based retailer, from internet hosting to safety to fee processing.

Hosted ecommerce platforms additionally supply a variety of options and integrations that will help you run your retailer.

All you need to do is join and begin including your merchandise! In fact, additionally, you will must give attention to different elements of the enterprise, comparable to advertising and marketing and customer support.

Hosted ecommerce platforms are normally subscription-based, with companies paying a month-to-month or annual payment for entry to the platform. A number of the best-known hosted ecommerce platforms embody Shopify and BigCommerce.

Shopify homepage
Shopify, one of the vital fashionable hosted ecommerce platforms


  • Every part it’s worthwhile to get began promoting on-line.
  • It’s straightforward to get began for anybody.
  • Contains a variety of options and integrations designed that will help you run your retailer.


  • You’re restricted when it comes to customization.
  • You’ll should pay a month-to-month payment for the platform you select.

Self-hosted ecommerce platforms

Self-hosted platforms require you to arrange your personal internet hosting answer and handle your personal web site.

With a self-hosted ecommerce platform, you may affect every part from the design and format of your web site to the merchandise you promote and the fee strategies you settle for.

The truth that you have got full management over your retailer is probably probably the most obvious benefit of self-hosted ecommerce platforms. You’ll be able to at all times customise the appear and feel of your retailer to match your model!

One other vital benefit is that self-hosted platforms are sometimes extra scalable than hosted choices. As your corporation grows, you may simply improve your plan to accommodate extra visitors and merchandise.

The principle draw back of self-hosted ecommerce platforms is that they require a sure stage of technical experience.

Self-hosted platforms are sometimes open-source, and you’ll have to pay to your personal internet hosting answer and any plugins chances are you’ll want.

A number of the extra fashionable self-hosted ecommerce platforms are WooCommerce and Adobe Commerce (Magento Open Supply).

WooCommerce homepage
WooCommerce, one of the vital fashionable self-hosted ecommerce platforms


  • Full management over your ecommerce retailer.
  • Entry to all of your knowledge so you may make knowledgeable selections about your corporation.
  • Usually extra scalable.


  • Not beginner-friendly.
  • It takes numerous time to construct an ecommerce retailer.

What’s the distinction between an ecommerce platform and a web based market?

Hopefully, you’ll really feel like you have got a greater understanding of an ecommerce platform.

Nonetheless, let’s return to the examples of Amazon and eBay.

Why aren’t they categorised as ecommerce platforms? Don’t they help you promote merchandise on-line?

Nicely, sure. However, right here’s the factor:

The principle distinction between an ecommerce platform and a web based market is that an ecommerce platform lets you arrange your personal web site, whereas a web based market is an already-existing web site the place you promote merchandise amongst different retailers.

As you may see, there are over six million third-party sellers on Amazon:

Number of worldwide Amazon sellers

Right here’s an outline desk of the variations between an ecommerce platform and a web based market:

Ecommerce platform On-line market
A web site that sells merchandise from a single vendor. A web site that sells merchandise from a number of sellers.
Execs Cons
Solely pay a transaction payment when a product is offered. Pay a fee to the web market for every offered merchandise.
There are not any different sellers in your web site. Exhausting to face out from the competitors.
Simpler to construct a model. You’re restricted to the web site format of {the marketplace}.
Cons Execs
It prices money and time to arrange an internet site. The web site is already reside; you simply want so as to add your product.
Requires advertising and marketing to get guests to your web site. Instantly entry a lot of web site guests.

So, which is appropriate for your corporation?

In case you’re trying to promote merchandise on-line and wish full management over the client expertise, an ecommerce platform could also be the most suitable choice.

Nonetheless, a web based market can also be an important selection in the event you like its execs.

Finally, each of them will help you construct a profitable on-line enterprise. However contemplating that you just have been fascinated with ecommerce platforms, let’s proceed specializing in them!

8 Issues to search for in an ecommerce platform

Person on a hourglass

Selecting amongst a number of the finest ecommerce platforms generally is a problem.

That’s as a result of there isn’t a single platform that’s the most effective for everybody. As with many issues in life, the most effective answer is determined by your actual scenario.

That can assist you choose the best ecommerce platform for you, we’ve made a listing of some key elements it’s best to be mindful:

  • Ease of Use. Are you able to simply arrange your on-line retailer and add merchandise? Are the back-end instruments user-friendly?
  • Scalability. Can the platform develop with your corporation?
  • Price. How a lot does the platform value? Are there any hidden charges?
  • Fee Processing. Can the platform combine along with your most well-liked fee gateway?
  • Delivery Integration. Does the platform combine along with your most well-liked transport provider?
  • Buyer Help. Does the platform supply good buyer help? Is it out there 24/7?
  • search engine optimization Pleasant. Is the platform optimized for search engines like google and yahoo?
  • Cell Pleasant. Does the platform have a cellular app or responsive design so prospects can store on their telephones?

In case you discover an ecommerce platform that ticks all these packing containers, you’ll realize it’s an excellent one!

The 5 finest ecommerce platforms in 2022

Doing analysis will be fairly time-consuming, so we made a number of 5 high ecommerce platforms it’s best to take a look at in 2022.

Check out the desk beneath for the most effective ecommerce platform choices for you, relying in your wants!

You want: The most suitable choice(s) for you:
One of the best platform general for ecommerce Shopify or BigCommerce
One of the best search engine optimization efficiency WooCommerce
The platform constructed explicitly for dropshippers ShopBase
The most affordable platform Shift4Shop (within the US) or ShopBase
The platform that provides the most effective assets Shopify
Probably the most versatile and customizable platform WooCommerce
The platform with the best setup for a dropshipping retailer ShopBase
What’s the finest ecommerce platform for you?

Tip: On the lookout for an in-depth evaluate of every platform? You’ll discover it on this article!

FAQs about ecommerce platforms

When you’ve got any remaining questions on ecommerce platforms, we hope to reply them right here!

How a lot does an ecommerce platform value?

An ecommerce platform’s prices rely upon the shop’s dimension. A fundamental self-hosted retailer can value as little as $4 per thirty days, whereas hosted ecommerce platforms like Shopify normally begin at $29 per thirty days. Nonetheless, the prices can rise to $1k+ per thirty days for big companies.

Is it troublesome to start out a web based retailer utilizing an ecommerce platform?

Beginning a web based retailer utilizing a self-hosted ecommerce platform will be skilled as troublesome for folks with little technical data. Nonetheless, anybody ought to have the ability to begin a web based retailer utilizing a hosted ecommerce platform, because it isn’t troublesome.

Is Amazon an ecommerce platform?

Amazon isn’t an ecommerce platform. As a substitute, it’s a web based market. The principle distinction is that there are a number of sellers on a web based market, whereas an ecommerce platform lets you create your personal on-line retailer.

Is an ecommerce platform an internet site?

An ecommerce platform isn’t essentially equal to an internet site. As a substitute, an internet site is normally constructed and managed utilizing an ecommerce platform. For instance, Gymshark is an internet site constructed on an ecommerce platform referred to as Shopify.

What’s the largest ecommerce platform?

Shopify is the world’s largest ecommerce platform, though it’s intently adopted by WooCommerce.


Earlier than we go to the conclusion, we’ve created a fast abstract of this text for you, so you may simply keep in mind it:

  • An ecommerce platform is a software program answer designed that will help you construct and handle a web based retailer.
  • Hosted ecommerce platforms purpose to be a beginner-friendly, all-in-one answer, whereas self-hosted ecommerce platforms can require a bit extra technical data to make use of.
  • An ecommerce platform (like Shopify) permits you to construct your personal web site, whereas a web based market (like Amazon) is an current web site the place you may record your merchandise amongst different sellers.
  • When searching for an ecommerce platform to your on-line retailer, Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce are a few of our high picks.


Selecting the best ecommerce platform is essential to the success of your on-line retailer.

There are lots of completely different choices on the market, so it’s important to do your analysis and select one that matches your whole enterprise’s wants.

Hopefully, this information has given you a greater understanding of an ecommerce platform and what to search for when selecting one.

Good luck along with your ecommerce retailer!

Wish to be taught extra about ecommerce?

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