E-commerce is not only here to stay, but it’s here to evolve. Customers have standards already, which are only to advance.

The density of the market raises customers’ expectations regarding their shopping experience. And it doesn’t entirely revolve around product variety. Customer experience is also based on the e-commerce platform you choose for your business.

There are different e-commerce platforms, from the well-known Shopify to Magento hosting VPS for knowledgeable users.

Let’s start by looking at the types of e-commerce platforms out there.

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Types of e-commerce platforms

There are different types of e-commerce platforms, among which the main ones are SaaS, Headless, and Open Source.

SaaS (Software as a Service) includes ready-to-use platforms; you only need to upload your products to their website. With that, there’s a limited possibility of customization. They usually operate on a monthly payment model. BigCommerce and Shopify are examples of SaaS platforms.

Headless platforms manage front-end and back-end sections of e-commerce separately. The idea behind this type of architecture is the extended possibility to customize and experiment with an online store. Headless platforms, for example, allow changes to front-end infrastructure without touching back-end configuration.

Open source platforms offer installing a ready-to-use code for free on your server and using it. This type of software allows for more opportunities for customization. The most commonly used open-source platform is Magento.

Key features to look for

Before you look into e-commerce options, you need to know what to look for in a platform. Here’s a list of vital characteristics of a reliable provider.

Sufficient security

Online transaction in the e-commerce sector is integral to the whole concept. However, when handling financially related operations, you get access to the sensitive data of your customers, which, in turn, should be protected. The details of buyer-seller cooperation must be secured from potential cyber-attacks and data breaches. It can be achieved through a general extensive privacy policy, regular security examinations, and more specific SSL certification, PCI compliance, and many other methods.

Options for customization

Customization in this regard relates to both website architecture and UX design. Ultimately, making a platform detailed and relevant to the product or service allows businesses to stand out. Customized user experience and “behind the scenes” aspects of it improve communication and cooperation between companies and their target audiences.


Your business will likely need room to grow if it hasn’t already. Instead of switching platforms, make sure that the one you choose provides options for support of potentially growing needs and technical requirements of your website. Check if an e-commerce platform can back up more considerable traffic, store more customer data, or upload more products.

Technical support

This feature is essential overall, especially if you manage your business without a developer team or agency. There’s a high likelihood that in the process of customizing your website, you might have questions. Therefore, the e-commerce platform you choose must provide you with the necessary documentation, guides, and responsive client support.

These four features say a lot about how reliable a platform you have your eyes on is.

How to compare and choose the right platform

The “right” platform is undoubtedly a subjective term. Your choice should be based on the needs of your website and its functional requirements. With that in mind, there are several questions, the answers to which can help you determine the suitable option for your business.

How easy is the platform to use?

That is, how easy it is to use for you. Here, you need to take into consideration whether you have some technical knowledge or a developer team working with you. Often, small business owners lean towards platforms that are easy to use, which includes how intuitive it is to set up, navigate the user interface, add and manage products, and some other extended criteria.

How soon do you want to enter the market?

The answer to this question correlates with the answer to the first one. Because some platforms make it possible and even easy to set up a website in a matter of a few days, while some will require much more time.

What marketing features do you need from the platform?

This also extends to SEO capabilities, which some platforms offer assistance with. In this regard, some providers allow you to utilize a “Blog” section on your website. Email marketing can also be featured on some e-commerce platforms as an additional means to turn visitors into customers.

What design features do you need?

Different e-commerce solutions offer different levels of customization. As we figured earlier, the more targeted the user experience on your website is, the better. Thus, it is vital to determine what you are looking for in terms of design capabilities. Platforms can offer various options, from ready-to-use templates or website builders to tools that allow you to craft the website outlook yourself.

What’s your budget?

When it comes to business, financial matters are always important. It is undoubtedly important to be realistic when it comes to being able to maintain your website. When you are just starting out with e-commerce, budget can be a determining factor in platform decision-making. Be mindful, however, that your business may start growing rapidly. Thus, your platform must support the potential growing requirements of your website.


Choosing an e-commerce platform requires some thought, which can make the selection process quite stressful. However, if you determine the needs of your business and link them to the features different e-commerce platforms provide, you’ll be able to make a balanced decision.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.