Which platform to choose for an online store? - part 1

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The decision to choose a system for running an online store is a very important matter, and in this article we suggest how to approach this topic. One of the most important decisions we will have to make in the process of launching an e-shop will be the choice of the platform on which our store will operate.

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Probably some of you already have some knowledge and understanding of the topic. Others are just looking for possible solutions. At the very beginning I want to point out that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. I probably did not discover America with this statement, no less we often forget the obvious, and in the course of implementing a store, changing the platform will be difficult, and certainly costly and time-consuming, which may decide the "to be or not to be" of your online business.

So analyze your situation. Ask yourself some relevant questions. Below I have tried to collect them in a rather loose, but hopefully easy to consume form. In my opinion, these are the most important issues to start with. The list is divided into three categories.


General issues:

  • Do you have an e-commerce strategy? (this is an issue for a separate post and I think we will devote a few paragraphs to it) Are there any constraints from the strategy on the choice of platform?
  • What are your needs in terms of software, its functions, the technology in which it was made?
  • What do you expect from an e-commerce platform?


Technical issues:

  • What skills do you have in implementing stores? Do you have someone on board who is able to help you with store development in the context of changing templates, implementing new modules?
  • If you don't have technical skills and don't have anyone on hand who is proficient in implementing stores, does the selected store offer additional support from specialists?
  • Is it easy to find companies / people familiar with the selected technology?
  • Do you already have a server on which you will implement the store? Is it capable of "hosting" the selected platform?
  • Do you want to combine the online store with other systems (ERP, warehouse, CRM, others) in the future?
  • What product materials do you have? Are there a lot of them? Will you want to import them conveniently into the store?


Functional issues:

  • How standard is your sales model? Do you require a customized approach to store implementation? Have you found stores on the Internet that offer a similar model to yours? Do you know what platform they were implemented on?
  • What functionalities are essential for you? Which ones are optional?
  • Does the platform that you would like to use have all the features you have identified as essential?
  • What about the graphic design? Are you satisfied with the templates available for popular platforms? Do you want to use custom graphics?
  • What marketing tools do you want to use? Does the store you want to implement support their activities, integrate with them?

These are questions that do not exhaust the subject, do not give a clear answer. No less it is a good start to analyze the situation you are in. Answering them will enable you to analyze the available solutions and, as a result, make the right decision.


Importantly: ask yourself the above questions even if you want to entrust the selection of a platform to an e-commerce agency struggling to implement e-commerce solutions. Trust me, the above questions, and probably many more (as long as the agency knows its stuff), will be asked of you. And thinking about the topic beforehand will make it easier for you to talk to agencies and choose the one that knows its job and is able to help you carry out the implementation effectively and without pain.



In the second part of the article you will learn about specific e-commerce solutions and systems. You will also read about their advantages and disadvantages which will make it easier to choose the right solution.

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