What is an eCommerce Platform?

An ecommerce platform enables online businesses to control their marketing, sales, operations and website. It is of use to anyone expanding a brick-and-mortar store or starting a business from scratch and has a massive impact on both the stability and profitability of a business.

Without recourse to an ecommerce platform, a business must develop one from the ground up, something that is generally out of the question, or use a plugin, which is sub-optimal for anyone seeking to institute and then develop a business.

There are three principal options when choosing an ecommerce platform

Open-source ecommerce platforms

Open-source ecommerce platforms enable you to customise every aspect of the code. The software itself is free, with the company making its money from paid-for extensions, plugins, hosting or other maintenance fees. They require a business to have some IT expertise and manage the product continually and cost six times as much as the other options.

Software-as-a-service ecommerce platforms

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecommerce platforms are hosted on the cloud rather than in-house, so they charge additional fees. SaaS platforms are considerably cheaper than open-source platforms and adherence to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), hosting, security and product updates are all taken care of.

Headless commerce platforms

The final choice is a headless commerce platform. These are hosted on the cloud and separate the front-end layer from the back-end of ecommerce functionality. The most famous example of a headless commerce platform is Amazon.

What does an ecommerce platform consist of?

The most defining aspect of ecommerce platforms is granting customers the ability to search an online store for products, as well as providing them with access to a shopping cart for each site where intended purchases can be stored and reviewed prior to checking out via a payment gateway. In addition to these three features, an ecommerce platform might also be able to store transaction details, manage inventory and give customer support.

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