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Steps to set up an online store, part IV: Platforms and tools

09/27/2016 - Jordi Ordoñez

By this point, you will have heard talk of countless platforms and tools to create your store online.  But, how do you choose the best one?  This is where we come in with this helpful post.

To know what tool you should use for your online store, the first step is to define the scope of your project.  For example, know if you’re going to create a simple online store, one with 1,000,000 products, a Marketplace, an online download service, etc.  With this information, we can decide on one platform or another.

First, let’s put all the market alternatives on the table.  I’m not going to list them all, as this post would be a mile long.  I’ll put the most recognized ones in Spain since it’s our area of interest:

iu-ux

The best known and most used is Magento, though Prestashop and Woocommerce aren’t far behind.

Why is Prestashop used more? For its simplicity, its popularity created in France, which is right nearby, and because it’s free.  Magento and Woocommerce are free too but they’re not as popular. Great.  Let’s cut to the chase.  Consider defining these points when choosing a platform:

Type of online store: normal store, store with digital products, Marketplace, online download store, or another type of store.

  • Quantity of items in the catalogue: a few, some, a lot (define a number)
  • What will happen when the customer makes a purchase? I have a points program or loyalty program, I need to keep track of my customer and put them in my database, I need to plug in a CRM for my online store…
  • Applications that are connected to the online store: CRM, ERP, an app that integrates the catalogue
  • Rules for customers: all have the same price or I have groups of clients, I mix B2B and B2C…
  • Languages, types of currency, and sub-stores that the online store will have
  • Users and roles that the online store will have
  • Visitors that the online shop will have
  • Payment methods and shipping options that the online store will have
  • Implementation of SEO one page that will be on the webpage (basic or advanced)
  • Main audience of your online store (what country are they from)
  • Search filters that your store will need

Based on these points, we can define these three types of projects:

  1. Simple projects: Woocommerce, Magento, Prestashop, Shopify and other cloud platforms

    plataformas-ecommerce-1

  • Fewer than 100 products
  • Physical or downloadable products
  • A single language or multi-language
  • A single currency or multiple currencies
  • One store
  • No store hierarchies
  • Different user roles for the online store
  • Standard payment methods
  • Once the user makes a purchase, it’s not necessary to do anything else in terms of a points program, CRM, segmentation, etc
  • Communication via email with the customer through transactional emails
  • Online chat integration
  • Simple SEO one page
  • No Marketplace
  • No online subscription service
  • B2B and B2C have the same rules
  • No differentiated user groups
  • The categories and product sheets have the same design

 

2. Medium projects: Magento, Prestashop, Shopify

plataformas-ecommerce-2

  • Up to 10,000 products
  • Physical or downloadable products
  • A single language or multi-language
  • A single currency or multiple currencies
  • One store or many
  • No store hierarchies
  • Different user roles for the online store
  • Standard payment methods and other payment options
  • Once the customer makes a purchase, we can tell them about our points program, CRM, divide them up by groups, etc.
  • Communication via email with the customer through transactional emails
  • Online chat integration
  • Intermediate-advanced SEO one page
  • Simple Marketplace
  • Online subscription service
  • B2B and B2C have different rules
  • Differentiated user groups
  • The categories and product sheets have the same design

 

3. Big projects: Magento

plataformas-ecommerce-3

  • More than 10,000 products
  • Physical or downloadable products
  • A single language or multi-language
  • A single currency or multiple currencies
  • One store or many
  • Store hierarchies (1 mother store and other sub-stores coming off of it with their own rules)
  • Different user roles for each of these stores
  • Standard payment methods and other payment options
  • Once the customer makes a purchase, we can tell them about our points program, CRM, divide them up by groups, etc.
  • Communication via email with the customer through transactional emails
  • Online chat integration
  • Advanced SEO one page
  • Advanced Marketplace
  • Online subscription service
  • B2B and B2C have different rules and even distinct stores and designs
  • Differentiates user groups with advanced configurations
  • The categories and product sheets have different designs

 

As you can see, Magento takes the cake.  It works for simple projects and for the hefty ones.  For everything else, personalization and customization (according to budget, obviously).

These are the main characteristics of the projects to decide which platform we should use.  However, they’re not all here so if you didn’t find what you were looking for in the aforementioned lists, you can always ask in forums or hire an e-commerce consultant.

We’ll see you in the next chapter 🙂

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