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Want to sell online - what are the benefits of a platform

Updated: Mar 20, 2023


The rise of ecommerce has made it easier than ever for businesses to sell products online, but setting up an online store can be a daunting task. Many business owners frequently ask what software should they use to build there ecommerce website. But it is not always an easy answer. That's where hosted ecommerce platforms come in - these platforms provide businesses with a range of tools and services to help them create and manage their online stores. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of using a hosted ecommerce platform and highlight two popular platforms - Shopify and Maropost.


Ease of Use


One of the main benefits of using a hosted ecommerce platform is that it makes setting up an online store easier and more accessible to businesses of all sizes. These platforms typically offer user-friendly interfaces and tools that make it easy to add products, manage inventory, and process orders. For example, Shopify's drag-and-drop website builder allows users to quickly and easily create a custom storefront, while Maropost's user-friendly interface allows businesses to manage their entire ecommerce operations from a single dashboard.


Cost Savings


Using a hosted ecommerce platform can also save businesses money in several ways. Businesses don't have to worry about many complexities and costs for example:

  • Server maintenance,

  • Software updates,

  • Security measures.

These are all handled by the platform provider.


Additionally, many hosted ecommerce platforms offer pricing plans that are scalable and affordable for businesses of all sizes. For example, Shopify's pricing plans range from $29 per month for a basic plan to $299 per month for an advanced plan, while Maropost offers a range of pricing plans that start at $149 per month.


The platform best suited to your business will depend on what the business needs. Costs for larger more complex businesses will be greater than your hobby business out of your home garage.


Scalability


Hosted ecommerce platforms are designed to be scalable, meaning they can grow with your business as your needs change. Whether you're adding new products, expanding your customer base, or entering new markets, a hosted ecommerce platform can provide the tools and infrastructure you need to support your growth. For example, Shopify's platform can handle high volumes of traffic and transactions, while Maropost's platform can scale to support multiple storefronts and international markets.


Customization


Another benefit of using a hosted ecommerce platform is that it allows businesses to create a custom storefront that reflects their brand identity. Most hosted ecommerce platforms offer a range of customizable templates and design tools that allow businesses to create a unique online storefront that stands out from the competition. For example, Shopify's theme store offers hundreds of customizable templates that allow businesses to create a custom storefront without any coding experience, while Maropost's drag-and-drop design tools allow businesses to create a custom storefront that matches their brand identity.


Systems like Maropost and Shopify also allow agencies and designers to add new features and capabilities to suit your business requirements. Generally it won't be available in the start up plans and will need a higher level of license. This development capability can also be used by agencies to create add-ons to existing platforms. But this can save $10,000's when compared to building a bespoke website. A good example is the Zellis Auto which is built using an extension using the Maropost platform.


Zellis Auto


Security


Security is a critical concern for businesses that operate online, and hosted ecommerce platforms offer a range of security features to protect customer data and transactions. For example, Shopify's platform includes SSL encryption to secure customer data, while Maropost's platform includes PCI compliance to ensure that customer data is stored securely.


Data security has become a major issue on all websites but specially ecommerce. New standards have emerged which will impact businesses. A good example is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which has been a European standard since 2018.


Support


Finally, hosted ecommerce platforms typically offer customer support and technical assistance to help businesses resolve any issues they encounter while running their online stores. For example, Shopify offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, or live chat, while Maropost provides dedicated account managers to help businesses with their ecommerce operations.


Platform providers are also quick to provide fixes for issues and to release new versions. These updates are free and generally applied automatically by the service provider.


Platforms and Artificial Intelligence (AI)


AI may be one of the most significant opportunities for ecommerce seen in recent years. There are many advantages and usage possibilities. Since ChatGPT became available developers have been experimenting. ChatGPT can be trained to better recognise answers to specific businesses questions and Chat Bots powered by ChatGPT are already available.


For example AI will drive;

  • personalised customer experience,

  • 24/7 customer support,

  • Increased customer engagement,

  • more powerful and targeted EDM and newsletters.

  • And much more.

But more about eCommerce and AI later.


Planning and Business Requirements


To wrap it up, using a hosted ecommerce platform can provide businesses with a range of benefits, from ease of use and cost savings to scalability, customisation, security, and support. Shopify and Maropost are two popular examples of hosted ecommerce platforms that offer businesses a range of tools and services to help them create and manage their online stores. Whether you're just starting out or looking to grow your existing online business, a hosted ecommerce platform can provide the infrastructure and support you need to succeed in today's competitive ecommerce landscape.



Shopify and Maropost are just two of the many platforms available to businesses today. Getting started needs a plan and an understanding of the business requirements. The platforms providers can give you assistance to make a decision and most providers offer free trials to get you started.


Following is a list some of the major ecommerce platform providers:

  1. Shopify

  2. Maropost

  3. BigCommerce

  4. Salesforce Commerce Cloud

  5. Adobe Commerce (Magento)

  6. Sitecore

  7. Volusion

  8. ePages (AU Shops)

  9. Squarespace

  10. Wix

  11. PrestaShop

These are just a few examples of popular ecommerce platform providers. Each platform has its own set of features, pricing plans, and target audience. It's important to research and compare different platforms to determine which one best fits your specific business needs.


If you have questions or want more information about issues raised in this article please contact us at ShapedLogic.


Author: John Debrincat

Principal Consultant


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