Have you ever had an online shopping and checkout experience that went so smoothly that you wondered what eCommerce platform the online merchant was using?
We have too, and you can bet we found a way to discover their eCommerce solution.
All you need to do is head over to www.BuiltWith.com and type in the domain name of the online store. In one click BuiltWith.com will reveal the site’s eCommerce Platform, web server, advertising networks, analytics software and more. Yes, it’s free.
Using BuiltWith.com is an excellent way of “shopping” for an eCommerce platform before you commit.
Now that you’re armed with this inside information, I want to help you sidestep some (painful) issues we had early on. You are probably Googling information on the most popular eCommerce platforms and getting lots of varying information. The problem with some of the results is they are not making a distinction between eCommerce platforms that are relatively easy for a non-coder to launch and design, and other popular eCommerce platforms that are best for enterprise-level merchants, and should be used only if you have a solid background in coding or a developer on staff who is.
For example, we found a lot of the results will include Shopify, which is beginner friendly with plenty of options to customize even if you don’t have a coding background, with much more advanced options like Magento (self-hosted, and requiring serious technical proficiency), or Volusion, or other options that are great for a company with a code jockey on staff, but not for someone who just wants to get a beautiful site up and selling.
Again, look for the platform that has the most users, which currently is Shopify. More users mean more developers are creating new plugins to extend the functionality of your platform, and a larger community to answer your questions, and greater long-term stability for the platform.
As of 2017, I’d say eCommerce platforms that are really great for the new online merchant to use are entering their “tween” years and maturing fast. Every platform is becoming much easier to work with. The early eCommerce platforms options were more concerned about being hosting options, which is a lucrative area. These early platforms were built by technical teams who were targeting enterprise level businesses (think Nike, etc.) that needed to get selling online. These large businesses have a web staff of designers and coders. Therefore the early platforms weren’t as sensitive to what a non-coder’s experience would be setting up a store. I can tell you, it was miserable. Constant problem-solving. But as online eCommerce platforms have matured, a lot more attention has been paid to making the store interface far easier for a non-technical online merchant to manage—not just in setting up a store, but also having a smooth checkout experience that on the backend links seamlessly to your inventory and shipping software.
We will guarantee that setting up an online store is going to get easier and easier. And, yes, at this point in our experience, Shopify is taking the lead.
You Can’t Make a Mistake, Trust Us
Here’s something that should put you at ease with whatever eCommerce platform you choose. Nearly every top eCommerce platform allows you to migrate your site from one platform to another. It’s in their interest to woo you to their platform so whichever platform you choose as “right for you right now” is perfect. If you change your mind later, there are plenty of platforms that are going to welcome you and your online store with open arms!