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All e-commerce platforms have one thing in common. They let people come together online to buy and sell products. Most of these platforms support product discovery and come with a virtual shopping cart and check-out. Beyond that, there are plenty of differences between e-commerce solutions like Newegg, Amazon, Shopify, and BigCommerce – just to name a few.

So, how do you choose the best e-commerce platform for your merchandise? You want to go where there’s already an online audience for your type of product. You’ll also want an e-commerce platform that’s mobile-friendly and easy to use. There’s a lot more to think about, so ask yourself these six questions as you make the best choice.

  1. Do you want to host your own store?
  2. Which platform features do you need?
  3. How much can you afford to spend?
  4. How can shoppers pay, and are payments secure?
  5. How can you get the support you need?

#1 Do you want to host your own store? 

You can choose an e-commerce platform (such as Newegg or Amazon) where you upload products or an e-commerce solution (such as Shopify) that has a platform but is more about selling products on your own site. The advantage of e-commerce platforms like Amazon or Newegg isn’t just the large, aggregated audience. You’ll also benefit from built-in search engine optimization (SEO) and a robust feature set. You can continue to sell products on your own website if you’d like but matching the power of a well-established platform isn’t easy.

#2 Which features do you need?

With any platform, the best features to choose are the ones that make your life easier. For example, fulfillment services like Shipped by New Egg (SBN) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) can save you time and space since you’re not storing, picking, packaging, and shipping everything yourself. If you want to leverage omnichannel marketing, consider an e-commerce solution with-in email templates and list segmentation. Some platforms, including BigCommerce and Big Cartel, offer third-party integrations for accounting or can integrate with ShipStation software you may already use.

#3 How much can you afford to spend?

E-commerce platforms typically have tiered packages instead of a la carte features. The more you pay for a package, the more features you get. You could pay for a custom solution instead, but OuterBox Design reports that backend programming can cost anywhere from $2000 to $75,000. That’s a lot if you’re just starting out, but don’t box yourself in no matter what you decide. If you plan to have a large product catalog, you’ll need plenty of room for future SKUs. Also, some e-commerce platforms have both monthly and processing fees. If you’re hosting your own store, remember to budget for that.

#4 How can shoppers pay, and are payments secure?

Some e-commerce platforms don’t offer the ability to pay via third-party vendors such as PayPal, Square, Stripe, or Venmo. Others offer a limited number of third-payment options, and your potential customers might not use these methods. This can lead to frustration and shopping cart abandonment. If the platform doesn’t support third-party payments at all, shoppers will need enough confidence to pull out their credit cards. E-commerce sites that meet ISO /IEC 27001:2013 requirements don’t just seem safer to security-minded shoppers. They meet tough information security requirements.

#5 How can you get the support you need?

Last but not least, it’s worth considering customer support when looking for the best e-commerce platform. When you have a problem, you want to be able to reach a real-life person, whether it’s by phone support, email, or chat. Of course, problems don’t just happen during normal business hours, so find out if 24/7 support is available. Also, the best e-commerce platforms come with online resources. At Newegg, for example, you can find service guides, webinars and case studies in our resource library, as well as articles like this one to help you succeed.