The world has been swept up in eCommerce. It makes sense that the prospect of offering your service or product to an infinite number of customers would be appealing. But how is this possible? Using an eCommerce website builder and platform, virtually anyone can quickly build an online store that is both fully functional and aesthetically pleasing.
But there is a great deal of confusion about the underlying technology of commonly used eCommerce solutions. This may make it difficult for companies to choose a suitable channel to bring their businesses into the digital arena. But worry not! This blog clarifies the difference between eCommerce website builders and eCommerce platforms.
So, let’s dive in.
Difference Between Ecommerce Website Builders and Ecommerce Platforms
Without knowing a single line of code, you can establish an online store from scratch using eCommerce website builders. But remember that you must already have a website as it is essentially a conventional website builder that has been adjusted to meet eCommerce needs.
On the other hand, an eCommerce platform is specifically made for online businesses. It resembles a brick-and-mortar store in digital form. It provides the customers with their first impression of the business you run, the products or services you sell, and the general perception of your company you want to convey.
An eCommerce platform and an eCommerce-based website builder may seem similar. But, they significantly differ in terms of their capabilities and the user experience. So, what really distinguishes eCommerce website builders from eCommerce platforms?
Listed below are some of the differences:
1. Functionality and Ease-Of-Use
An eCommerce-based website builder focuses on providing tools to ensure your online store creation process is as seamless as possible. But, an eCommerce platform is more extensive than just setting up a store and starting to sell products or services.
Some eCommerce website builders offer capabilities that can only be understood by someone with programming experience, even though they are aimed at beginners.
On the other hand, eCommerce platforms are designed to make it as simple as possible for you to launch your business. So, they are particularly built for people with little to no experience in web development.
An eCommerce store must have a user-friendly interface, product display, online ordering software, inventory management apps, payment processing apps, security and data protection, customer assistance, marketing strategies and promotions, and analytics.
You’ll undoubtedly find more of these on any eCommerce platform than with eCommerce website builders. There are some entirely free website builder add-on tools and eCommerce platform tools, while others will have a cost.
With an eCommerce platform, you can expect to receive a more extensive range of themes and templates and personalize them as you like. But, most website builders offer a good variety of ready-made professional designs. Moreover, you can add plugins, add-on software, and features, all of which you should be able to get in vast numbers on any well-known eCommerce platform.
3. Payment Options
The best website builder will let you choose to accept payments through the most widely used payment methods, including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net.
On the other hand, you may be able to accept payments through more than 40 different payment gateways if you utilize an eCommerce platform to create your store. Most eCommerce platforms come with a POS (Point of Sale) system as an add-on or a plug-in. As a result, you may use your online store to track inventories more easily.
There is one general pricing principle: the price of service increases linearly with the complexity of the offering. You can use some free website builders for a few days. Moreover, some website builders are included as a perk with other services, such as web hosting.
But if you want to use an eCommerce platform, you’ll have to pay for it. Mostly, they have low entry-level prices, offer free trials, and a refund policy. But on top of it, they have additional setup costs, pricey add-ons, and high transaction fees to time spent installing, configuring, and customizing your online store.
Of course, there are exceptions, such as WooCommerce and Wix Ecommerce, that give you access to additional plugins and extensions, some of which are also free, as well as free platform usage.
The best website builder designed specifically for eCommerce and supported by a platform (such as Shopify) ought to provide more than the bare minimum in marketing. Meanwhile, most well-known website builders optimized but not designed for eCommerce only offer a few SEO and email marketing capabilities.
Most eCommerce platforms have SEO solutions that will increase the visibility of your website in search engine results (more specifically, Google). Additionally, they offer sophisticated analytics and data reporting. This way, eCommerce platforms allow you to monitor every aspect of your business website and make any necessary adjustments.
Furthermore, you might use various marketing resources and options. They include mobile optimization, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, paid advertisements, affiliate marketing, product evaluations, coupon codes, gift cards, email marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing.
6. Customer Support
Nearly all eCommerce platforms and eCommerce website builders offer step-by-step instructions. And screenshots or video lessons frequently accompany them. An FAQ section, knowledge base, blog posts, and a community forum where you can connect with other users and seek assistance are commonly included in these eCommerce solutions’ self-service options.
But note that the availability, quality, and extent of customer support does not depend on what eCommerce solution you’re using. Rather, the popularity and cost of the eCommerce solution significantly influence the range of customer support options.
For example, open-source eCommerce solutions (such as WooCommerce) allow you to join a robust development community and receive much support when things go wrong. These channels typically require a hefty fee to access professional support channels; this includes a live chat, phone line, and ticketing system). In contrast, the support team on SaaS-based solutions (such as Shopify) is frequently accessible 24/7 by phone, live chat, and email.
The main objective of both eCommerce solutions is to make the usually difficult chore of creating your online store easier, but their functionalities vary. Therefore, it is crucial to know how big your store will be, how much time you’re prepared to spend making it, and how much money you’re willing to pay before choosing any of them.
An eCommerce platform is something to consider if any of the characteristics mentioned above sound like something you could need to sell the products from your company online. It is generally worth the extra expense over the 10 Best eCommerce website builder if the primary goal of your store is online sales.