8 eCommerce Platforms 2019 - Khaos Control Cloud

2017 saw nearly 660,000 companies established, with similar numbers being predicted for 2019 (1). With this in mind, we’ve made a blog all about some of the best and brightest in eCommerce platforms for the new year. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but highlights some of the platforms on our radar.

This blog will give you a brief overview of the solution, rate it out of 10 (and give a reason for that rating) as well as a breakdown of what we feel was its most forward-thinking update of 2018, because after all, if the best update of 2018 was awesome, then 2019 is guaranteed to hold even more gems. Just a heads up, this list isn’t in order of best to worst, it follows a normal list format.

Shopify

shopify homepage
A Canadian based company specialising in a platform solution for eCommerce sellers. You’ve most likely heard of Shopify before, as one of the biggest names in eCommerce platforms, they’re in every nook and cranny of the internet.

Best update in 2018

2018 for Shopify saw the introduction of Shopify Marketing. This provides users with the ability to launch, track and optimise effective Google and Facebook ads directly in Shopify. This feature is especially great for those with limited knowledge of the advanced advertisement settings in Google and Facebook; you can run these ads straight within Shopify and use its intuitive interface to track ROI without having to become a marketing expert. Alongside marketing, Shopify also introduced discounts, so users can run discounts such as BOGOF or percentage-off offers within Shopify.

Who is the platform great for?

This is the perfect platform for small sellers. It provides a one stop shop for creating a business, starting to sell and market and then growing as the business finds its feet. The platform is scalable and so while marketed towards small sellers, would suit medium and large enterprises as well.

Any downsides?

Pricing is one that sticks out to us as a main downside – there is a massive jump from the normal package ($79 p/m) to the advanced package ($299 p/m). This means for a business that has seen success and growth and would therefore need the features contained within the advanced package, a high initial cost and investment to get the advanced package compared to the normal one. The modular nature of Shopify may limit some businesses, depending on what features you require. It’s not an ‘all for one cost’ solution, you pay for what you require, but sometimes what you require is more than you can afford.

Rating

7/10 – a solid solution for small business owners, good support and features. Only downside is its modular nature and pricing brackets.

Magento

small businesses magento
Completely open source eCommerce platform written in PHP. This scalable software has been developed by a huge community of users, developers and product marketers.

Best update in 2018

PWA studio is by far our pick for best Magento update in 2018. PWA, or Progressive Web Apps, are a massive player in delivering superior mobile experiences in the smartphone centric landscape of today. Simply put, this update enables users to deliver app-like shopping experiences in the mobile browser of their customers. PWA studio provides tools to make it faster and easier to build Magento-powered PWA experiences, and as an open source initiative it’s its own individual entity, designed to make the customer experience more reliable, faster and simpler.

Who is the platform great for?

While its community edition is free to download, you do need to source your own hosting, as well as to install, setup and configure the platform. This may be difficult for first time business owners, and therefore is most likely suited for medium to large businesses who need a scalable platform to grow as they do.

Any downsides?

The biggest downside is also one of its greatest strengths: its open source nature. If you’re a business owner with little to no experience in coding, you’ll have to shell out money for third party programming fees and source external programmers to work with even the most basic Magento package.

Rating

6/10 – this solution is suited for medium sized businesses with a team big enough for a programmer or two to work with the Magento platform. Can be a great starting point for businesses expanding quickly who are still using more archaic recording and organising methods (like Excel spreadsheets).

BigCommerce

homepage of bigcommerce
One platform known for its ease of use, as a hosted SaaS (a method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers) platform it ensures start-ups don’t need to outsource any web hosting, which can help keep upfront start costs to a minimum.

Best update in 2018

Shopping in Instagram Stories became available for all BigCommerce customers during 2018, which was a gigantic step forward for the platform regarding keeping their users inline with new trends. As one of their more recent updates, users of BigCommerce can take advantage of the rapid growth and consumption of Instagram Stories and use them for selling their products, all through the platform itself.

Who is the platform great for?

There’s a plan for everyone with BigCommerce – there’s low cost packages for small business, and larger ones for most established businesses with an overall high net value.

Any downsides?

While there is a package for every size of business, there are some limits within the packages. One limit is BigCommerce’s cap on the number of annual sales you can make depending on your package choice. Most small businesses would probably opt for the standard package, and this would limit their functionality if they were to go over the annual sales limit. Effectively forcing a small business to upgrade for a higher cost just to gain the full functionality of the solution is the main downside of BigCommerce, and something to consider before becoming a user.

Rating

5/10 – a good solution, however the potential ‘hidden’ costs (i.e. the annual sales limit for the standard pricing package leading to the potential of a premature upgrade to no longer have the limit and driving up costs) and limits to the packages knocked a few points off for us.

WooCommerce

small business woocommerce
With its direct link to Wordpress, WooCommerce is an open source plugin for retailers beginning their business ventures. The WooCommerce plugin can be downloaded straight into an existing Wordpress site and is a time saver for those using Wordpress that need a back-office management solution.

Best update in 2018

During 2018 WooCommerce introduced WC Admin. This is a JavaScript-driven interface for managing your WooCommerce stores and is focused on improving usability with increased reports functionality, better notifications and a key-metric dashboard. WC Admin isn’t ready to run on production sites, however there’s a beta version available for use, with a tried and tested version being rolled out in 2019.

Who is the platform great for?

WooCommerce is designed for startups who have a goal of countrywide or global growth. It’s customisable, theme-based nature means it’s easy to set up and use, and so might be great for a business or individual just starting out.

Any downsides?

WooCommerce is a plugin, so users would have to find a third party to host their website. Saying that, WooCommerce is exclusively for Wordpress customers, and they are likely to have hosting as part of their Wordpress site.

Rating

8/10 – free solution for those using Wordpress, in our minds it’s a great tool for startups and people looking to get into business that don’t have a lot of initial startup capital.

Squarespace

small biz squarespace
Primarily a website building tool, Squarespace specialise in providing aesthetically pleasing templates to build your eCommerce site around. They also have a level of stock control and inventory management built into the solution, so can be great for SMEs who are looking for an all-in-one package.

Best update in 2018

While there were a few notable updates in 2018, we think the Squarespace integration with Unsplash takes the top spot. The new integration enables users to access thousands of high quality, royalty free images that can be inserted straight into their Squarespace website. This saves time creating images and make it simpler for users to maintain the design of their site if they’re not naturally designers and/or cannot afford outsourcing design talent as a startup.

Who is the platform great for?

Small and medium sized businesses would benefit best from the Squarespace platform, especially those selling in the fashion and textiles industry (as a lot of Squarespace templates are perfect for the aesthetic of those selling fashion or home items).

Any downsides?

Squarespace, while advertised as an eCommerce selling platform, isn’t really suited for eCommerce sellers who put that before anything else. The functionality is there but users will struggle if they have thousands of products or listings, for example. If you’re a seller who has a handful of products and you want a website for lead generation or as more of a portfolio, it’s a great fit. However, if your business is purely eCommerce-centric and needs more functionality out of a solution like a CRM, accounting functionalities and integrations with other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, Squarespace probably isn’t the one for you.

Rating

6/10 – a great tool for building websites, and suitable for small sellers, but it’s lack of advanced eCommerce functionalities lets it down as a platform.

EKM

website EKM
Branded as an eCommerce website building tool, EKM is a UK based company offering SMEs the ability to start selling online quickly and easily.

Best update in 2018

EKM has seen some great changes in 2018, however we decided to revisit one of their coolest features which potentially sets them apart for some users – Evolution Mode. Evolution Mode is a unique feature which allows users of EKM to stay ahead of the curve. It means that your shop will be continuously optimised, from design to performance, at no extra cost to you. This feature does the work for you, and in usability terms means that the Evolution Team will review your shop and suggest tweaks, fixes and improvements, leaving you in optimum selling condition.

Who is the platform great for?

While they have packages for all sized business, we’d suggest users who are running a medium to large enterprise to consider EKM.

Any downsides?

EKM may not be the best for businesses just starting out; their ‘basic’ pricing package (which most startups would go for) limits the number of products you can list to 500. If you’re a small seller with a lot of stock, you may struggle with this limit on EKM.

Rating

8/10 – affordable monthly solution for medium-sized businesses, comes with some great, ahead-of-the-curve features to put you ahead of the rest.

Wix

homepage wix
Cloud-based web development platform designed primarily for users to create HTML5 websites and mobile sites using drag and drop tools. Wix has developed its own online business manager, allowing users of the tool to control aspects of their online business, all within Wix.

Best update in 2018

One of our favourite Wix updates of 2018 was the development to enable store owners to send coupons via chat. You can send a coupon to a store visitor you’re chatting with right within the Wix mobile app, using a handy coupon button. This is a great feature to help boost conversions and encourages visitors to purchase items from your store, as well as adding a personal touch to a more impersonal way of customer communication.

Who is the platform great for?

We’d say Wix is great for those starting out in eCommerce. If you’re new and want to try your hand at selling online for the first time, Wix can be a handy little tool that gives you access to online payments, 1000s of templates and intuitive building tools.

Any downsides?

Like Squarespace, Wix starts to lose usefulness the bigger an eCommerce store gets. With a lack of scalability, multichannel integrations and a poor inventory management system, as your store grows, you’re most likely going to need a more dedicated back-office system.

Rating

7/10 – a simple and useful website tool for startups, a few points lost due to lack of multichannel integrations like Amazon and eBay.

Khaos Control Cloud

front page Khaos Control Cloud
We don’t mean to toot our own horn, but we’ve added ourselves for a bit of variety. As an all-in-one cloud-based solution, Khaos Control Cloud is designed for SMEs to control the day-to-day processes in their business.

Best update in 2018

The update we’re most proud of this year is our integration with Xero. The update expanded the accounting options for our customers, by integrating the back-office solution of Khaos Control Cloud with the advanced accounting functionality of Xero, it opened up our customer base and meant our customers can get a lot more out of Khaos Control Cloud than they could before.

Who is the platform great for?

Khaos Control Cloud is designed for SMEs who have experienced rapid growth and need to move from manual business management processes like spreadsheets, to a simpler and more automated solution.

Any downsides?

The solution doesn’t currently support those who need SCS (size colour style) for their business. This is used primarily by those in the fashion industry and is used to build up product profiles of four different elements. It essentially means users can drill down into a product based on the variety of colours, sizes and other variations it comes in, which is useful for those selling products like t-shirts in a variety of colours and sizes. While this isn’t currently available in Khaos Control Cloud, it is coming soon. Watch this space for that update.

Rating

8/10 – inexpensive, scalable solution for SMEs. Some points lost due to its lack of functionality for clothing sellers.

So, there you have it. 8 eCommerce platforms that we think are worth keeping an eye on in 2019. If you made it this far, thank you for reading. If you’re interested in finding more about Khaos Control Cloud, check out more here.

SOURCE:
(1) https://www.ft.com/content/cb56d86c-88d6-11e7-afd2-74b8ecd34d3b

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