Nottingham eCommerce experts – which eCommerce platform to choose

Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Business? Here’s What 78 Industry Pros Think

ACTISmedia were asked to contribute to this Industry Think Tank.  Read the full article >>

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While the high street is fast becoming a ghost town, e-commerce is booming. More people are buying online than ever before. It’s also never been easier to start selling online. Whereas the #1 question for small businesses used to be “how the hell can I afford to get into e-commerce?” now it’s “which ecom platform would work best for me?” You just need to choose one and away you go, sometimes in as little as a few hours. But how do you decide which one to choose? Which platform can help you take your business to the next level?

If you’re struggling with these questions, fear not. We’ve put together this article to help you “figure it out.” How? Well, we talked to the people that really know about this stuff. We reached out and spoke to 78 e-commerce experts, asking each one a very simple yet crucial question: “In your professional experience, what have you found to be the best e-commerce platform for small business?” We let each expert put forward their top 3, and we’ve posted the results below, as well as what each expert had to say. Warning: Some real knowledge bombs were dropped in the making of this article.

So whether you’re just getting into the world of e-commerce or you run an established small business that is looking to increase its revenues by reaching more customers online, this article should help you to hone in one or two options that are worthy of further investigation.

***Who knew that definitions for “small business” vary so wildly?! For the purpose of this article, we defined a small business as “any business that has an annual turnover of $0 – $1.5 million and 1-25 employees.”

Read What The Experts Said (see the full article >>)

Below you can sift through and benefit from the contributions of each expert that collaborated on this article and made it possible (huge thanks to you all!). There is tons of insightful knowledge in there that should go a long way in helping you land on the best e-commerce solution for your small business.

And if you’ve already got a platform in mind and want to see what established industry professionals have to say about it, use the filter to sort the contributions. We hope you find this information of some help!

We’ve extracted our comments…

Andrew Elliott

For over 22 years I have been fortunate to work with hundreds of SME’s, charities, and Church organisations by designing websites. If you’re looking to update your website or you need help with a new project, be sure to contact me at ACTISmedia.co.uk.
    • WooCommerce – “This is THE combination I would recommend. I’ve been creating eCommerce websites since 1996. I’ve worked for tremendously successful web agencies and over the 22 years I’ve seen some sharp practices.Agencies using their own bespoke, hand-written code to create an eCommerce CMS will boast about quality, speed, reliability, but in actuality, the customer is heavily played: paying much more for a website than needs be, needing to wait for new features, and each time an idea is needed to be implemented by the client, then barriers are hit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of quality coding, but not at the expense of the client, and certainly not when there are perfectly respectable alternatives.

      The combination of WordPress and the shopping cart WooCommerce has proven (for my business and my clients) an excellent tool. If one knows what they are doing, then one can create an effective Roadmap to help clients plan, design, launch, promote, and manage an eCommerce website. Choosing carefully which plugins to use, being extremely careful with the hosting platform, then a client simply won’t see ANY disadvantages from using this platform.

      With WordPress, one can easily create stunning designs, implement great CSS, create bespoke designs and user experiences. Websites can be made to work brilliantly on mobiles, tablets, and desktops (remember the difficulties posed by bespoke CMS frameworks in trying to get sites to work well on mobiles – how slow, how costly!).

      WordPress and WooCommerce are updated regularly. If an agency knows what it’s doing then ‘off the shelf’ tools can be used to achieve astonishingly complex tasks.

      Scalability is not a problem either. If you’re an SME with between £500,000 and £10,000,000 of revenue then this is the solution for you. It’s easy to use and can provide everything needed to make online sales. For example, we’ve recently launched a WordPress eCommerce website with over 90,000 products, from multiple suppliers, with bespoke customer tiered pricing, full stock-control and more.

      With Magento this would have cost in excess of £20,000, with a bespoke solution… well, much, much more. But with WordPress, well, let’s just say the client got the deal of the century.

      WordPress allows the web agency to use its skills and experience to help get an eCommerce website up and running quickly and to help clients start selling quickly… rather than being stuck in the quagmire of waiting for coders, CSSers, designers, and digital marketers to all complete their work first (and then more than likely be stuck with an out of date platform)!

      I cannot shout from the rooftops loudly enough just how effective WordPress is for an SME. Often SME’s don’t have the staff to learn about websites and eCommerce, but they can be taught to manage a website, especially if it’s been built with WordPress. Furthermore, if they get stuck then there’s a plethora of help and advice on the web (the same can’t be said for custom CMS’s can it?).

      Finally, if the client gets fed-up with the agency, as WordPress and WooCommerce is Open Source, then the core of the website is Open and GPL Licenced, meaning the website can be zipped up and given to another web agency, instead of being stuck in the hands of a web agency who can all too easily hold a website to ransom.

      I fully support the WordPress & WooCommerce combination.”

  • Magento – “Magento is good. But boy is it bloated. It takes quite some server resource to run it (it has so many modules, which requires better hosting and that of course means passing on the cost to the client).It also takes a long time to configure… it’s just not as flexible as WordPress. Yes WordPress isn’t as well thought out when it comes to the database structure, but does this truly matter to the client or their visitors? Certainly not! If the web agency knows what it’s doing then WordPress will beat Magento hands down. Some say Magento is great for reports, this is true, but we’ve managed to arm ourselves with a wide range of tools to help clients drill down through tonnes of data to understand what’s happening on their website(s)… whether it’s connecting to an older Sage Line 50 software, or to a modern Cloud based accounts package, WordPress handles this all too easily.

    Bottom line: Magento is good. But, the client will need to be charged more and it will take more time to complete. Why would anyone do that? Probably because they’ve been told that WordPress is the poor relation, but often I find that these comments come from coders who are effectively protecting their own jobs, their own purpose in the world. After-all, if WordPress gets any more popular then these very same coders (if they wish to stay in low-to-mid-level eCommerce development) will need to join the ranks of WordPress proponents or go and work for WordPress themselves!”

A third platform? Not going to suggest one. Oh, WordPress. Have I mentioned WordPress?

THINKdifferent DESIGNdifferent

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