Starting an online shop and selling direct using an e-commerce software or platform is one the smartest steps a business can take. But what’s the best eCommerce platform? Is there a cheap eCommerce provider that’s also the best. Cheap – and best. That’s like e-commerce utopia, right?
Building an online store involves many considerations. Probably the first question is how you’re going to promote it, otherwise it’s the equivalent of holding a party and forgetting to tell people the address. But we’ll tackle that issue in a later post. For now, the first important decision is how to power your e-Commerce site.
We have experience of developing online stores with a range of e-Commerce platforms, so the information provided here is based on our experience.
Hosted Vs Unhosted
There’s two main categories – hosted eCommerce and self-hosted. Hosted means that your software and servers will be managed by the eCommerce provider. A hosted or ‘managed’ e-Commerce solution is hosted on a server that you cannot access to. Examples of these are Shopify and Squarespace. Self-hosted means you, or more likely your website design agency, will set-up, maintain and manage the software on a hosting provider like Media Temple, TSO Host or Rackspace, or your own company servers.