The e-commerce space is thriving, and the industry trends aren’t likely to decelerate as far as the foreseeable future is concerned.

In fact, recent statistics show that 2021’s figure for global e-commerce sales added up to roughly $4.9 trillion and is expected to grow by half over the next four years. That means we’ll be looking at a figure amounting to approximately $7.4 trillion by 2025.

So, whether you run a start-up or an already existing retail operation, utilising the best e-commerce platforms and tools is not an option but a necessity. After all, how else would you stand out from the ever-growing competition?

The E-commerce Landscape in 2022

The e-commerce landscape continues to prove more intense and competitive. In a recent Statista report, 19.6% of global retail sales in 2021 were generated by e-commerce, with forecasts projecting e-commerce sales to reach 25% by 2025. These stats show how crowded the e-commerce industry is becoming.

Global Pandemic and The Acceleration of E-Commerce Adoption

E-commerce continues to snowball, something that may be attributed to several factors. However, one factor stands out – COVID-19.

In 2020, we observed an unequaled shift to e-commerce. According to Euromonitor forecasts, the global annual sales growth of online purchases reached 25% and is still expected to rise by a 9% CAGR before 20

25. With stay-at-home policies and everyone fearing the virus, it is inevitable for consumer behaviour to change, bringing more traffic to online stores.

In fact, in a recent Mckinsey report, we see the extent by which e-commerce has vaulted forward amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In the UK alone, growth increased by nearly fivefold, with other countries also experiencing massive gains.

More McKinsey research shows that individuals have grown more accustomed to shopping online, meaning the shifts in consumer behaviour may remain unchanged over the long term.

More Drivers of E-commerce growth

As earlier mentioned, the growth of e-commerce is driven by several factors. Other than COVID-19, other events and trends that reinforce the e-commerce driving force include:

  • Third-party logistics
  • Variety of payment options for underbanked shoppers
  • Growth of big data
  • Improved political inclination and promotion of online trade
  • Mobile internet penetration

Top 5 E-commerce Platforms

An e-commerce platform is the first must-have tool for your start-up – it’s the software that allows you, the merchant, to create a digital storefront necessary for enabling online purchasing transactions. That said, it’s important to note that e-commerce platforms tend to vary, which calls for you to check out a few options before deciding on the one that suits you best.

However, given the number of e-commerce platforms out there, narrowing it down to one might prove strenuous. So, to make things easier, below are the top five e-commerce platforms you ought to consider.

  • WooCommerce

WooCommerce boasts the most significant market share out of all its counterparts. Being a WordPress plugin, that’s not surprising given that WordPress powers more than 30% of the internet. For that reason, it’s the go-to option for most website owners looking to feature a WooCommerce store on their sites without overhauling their technology stack.   

  • BigCommerce

BigCommerce is common among brick-and-mortar stores, more prominent brands, and even start-ups that wish to accept and process orders online. It has an excellent management system and comes with an assortment of marketing solutions – abandoned cart saver, top-quality SEO, email marketing, blog, etc.  

  • Shopify

Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce service. In other words, it has all you need to build an e-commerce website from square one. Best part? The service employs a built-in drag-and-drop editor, making it simple to use irrespective of your technical skill level.

  • Adobe Commerce

Like Shopify, Adobe Commerce is yet another all-in-one e-commerce platform. It’s pretty popular among medium enterprises, despite proving excellent for small businesses and start-ups. Architecture-wise, Adobe Commerce operates more like WooCommerce and comes packed with many features and custom extensions to accommodate all kinds of business requirements.    

  • Wix

Wix is perhaps the most straightforward website developing tool. Even without coding experience or technical knowledge, you’ll have an easy time building your website from scratch. Like Shopify, it features a built-in drag-and-drop builder that enables you to design a top-quality website in minutes. With all the advanced e-commerce features and an easy-to-use interface, Wix makes an excellent platform for an e-commerce start-up. 

 

Final Verdict

All the 5 e-commerce platforms reviewed and compared above are great. But if you’re looking for more specific recommendations, here you go:

For start-ups and mid-size enterprises without an e-commerce site yet, Shopify is the real deal. It boasts the easiest to use interface, not to mention the most straightforward setup and a full package of features and designs you need to create and successfully run an e-commerce store from scratch.

But if you already have an established WordPress website and are only looking to add an e-commerce store, WooCommerce is what you need. Being a WordPress plugin, it makes it possible to have everything under a single admin panel.    

Building Your E-Commerce Technology Stack

With the e-commerce space proving more competitive, having the right tech stack can help your start-up save on costs, automate time-consuming processes, and enhance logistics efficiency.

From a customer’s point of view, automation alongside other solutions such as efficient and fast returns management, order tracking, and visibility into the delivery process, are key to enhancing the customer experience.  

However, with so much integrated technology readily available, the options can feel overwhelming. Below are the critical areas to build your ecommerce tech stack around:

  • Payment Gateways

Most e-commerce platforms have a built-in payment processing tool, saving you the hassle of sourcing for one. However, it’s best to have a solution that enables your start-up to process orders accurately and speed up the pace of order-to-cash processes. That entails updating order status in real time and notifying customers on progress.

Also, ensure your payment gateway is set up to accept payments from various sources – PayPal, debit and credit cards, digital wallets, WeChat, Apple Pay, Android Pay, or even crypto. Stripe and Venmo are ideal examples.

  • Subscription Tools

As an e-commerce start-up, having a subscription tool may prove helpful in increasing conversions, customer lifetime value, and average order value. Chargebee, Paddle, and Subbly are excellent solutions that can also help you manage your revenue.

  • Accounting Software

With customers, products, and orders, you’ll need to track how much tax you will pay and the sales tax charged in compliance with the government. Doing all that yourself is a waste of time – a handy accounting tool like Xero can handle it.

  • Shipping Services

Excellent cloud shipping services can accelerate the shipping process by ensuring efficient picking, packaging, and last-mile delivery. Great shipping solutions you can employ include DHL, Shipwise, and DPD.

  • Analytics Tools

E-commerce analytics help you understand what your customers need and want. That’s why you need a reliable analytics tool like Google Analytics; to organise and analyse data on customer behaviour and demographics.

  • Digital Asset Management Tools

A digital asset management tool can help you organise and store your start-up’s digital assets, making them easy to use and find. These assets may entail anything from VR and AR renderings to photos, videos, etc. An e-commerce tool like Canto makes an excellent solution.

  • Email Automation Tools

A good email automation tool should strategically generate and release content to convert occasional buyers into loyal customers and attract new users. Klaviyo and MailChimp are great options.

  • Cookie Management Tools

Cookies have various uses, from tracking browsing habits to session management and user authentication. That said, a great cookie management tool like CookieFirst can help acquire user consent to collect their data in compliance with data privacy guidelines.

  • Customer Relationship Management Platforms

Customer satisfaction remains paramount, irrespective of all you do and all the tools you employ. Using great CRM tools like HubSpot and SalesForce can create a satisfying buying experience and engage better with your customers.  

  • Social Media Management Tools

Maintaining a social media presence is vital to any e-commerce enterprise. As such, you need a tool like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Later, or Buffer to update your social media regularly and keep your customers engaged.

  • SEO Management Tools   

Leveraging the best SEO tools for your e-commerce website is essential for maximum visibility and better organic rankings. With a proven SEO management tool like SEM Rush, you can quickly develop successful e-commerce SEO strategies.

Summary

Operational setup proves vital to any e-commerce start-up’s long-term success. With that in mind, it’s important to decide early on the platform and tools to employ on your e-commerce start-up’s website, as that sets a basis for medium to long-term growth.

More importantly, you must take your time when picking the right support team for your e-commerce start-up. And just like with any other decision, do so early to boost your team’s capability.