Range of eCommerce Platforms
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Range of eCommerce Platforms


So what I’m going to do is I’m going to
run you through the various platforms and marketplaces that are available to you as
an eCommerce person going from kind of slow, dipping your toe in the water, to large enterprise
level. So at the small level where you’re trying to either sell a small product, market
your products, or dip your toe in—that’s where you’re going to have Amazon. Amazon
is great with their pro-stores. You can register quickly and within a day have your products
available for purchase and Amazon takes care of credit card processing and all of that
stuff. So if you’re selling a product that’s just general in nature, where other people
are already selling it, it’s easy. You don’t need photography; you don’t need a lot of
stuff that you would need when you’re selling your unique product. EBay and Etsy, depending
on your market space and depending on your audience, they may be good as other options
as well. If you want to go a step higher in that continuum— you know, from dipping your
toe in the water to something you want to invest in and possibly build on top of down
the road—that’s where you have platforms like Shopify, Big Commerce, Volusion. Even
for those who are very familiar with WordPress and content management systems, there are
extension systems for those like WooCommerce. Woocommerce is an extension you install on
top of your WordPress blog and it will give you the eCommerce and shopping cart functionality.
So that’s taking it a step further than selling on eBay or Amazon and it’s just
the next step up. Now that you’ve validated your product and you feel that this is a large
term investment for you and you want to make it a larger investment, and have more scalability
and control over things—this is where I’m a big fan of Magento. Magento, their specialty—their
open source community edition—is free really; it doesn’t come with any licensing. The
cost is going to be into the customization, the deployment, the server, the look and feel
of the site. But all the functionality and the logistics are already prebuilt behind
the scenes. So that’s a good solution. And you may deal with webmasters and development
shops that will have their own custom solutions that they may recommend as well. But I highly
recommend Magento as a solution. A step up from that—I think is on the large end—is
what Louis Vuitton and Coach and very large stores use—Under Armor—some of these guys,
they’re using large solutions. Like Magento, but its Magento Enterprise. Magento Enterprise
is the upper end of the Magento Community Edition. Or you’d go with a solution from
GSI commerce where they would custom tailor a very high end solution for you that has
back end integration for you—your stores, shop locators—it may have buy-online, pick-up-in-stores.
It will have implementations that are going to be needed by larger retailers, so that’s
one to looks at. To wrap this up, the last factor I will give you to look at is something
that if you are contemplating which platform to go with: think about borrowed versus owned.
And borrowed are things like renting a house. You don’t own the house; you rent it. So
selling on Amazon Pro, selling on eBay, selling on Etsy, even Shopify, Big Commerce, Volusion:
these are borrowed marketplaces and platforms where you are paying a monthly fee, and you
are using a template to shape up the front of your store, but at the end of the day when
you stop paying, they own it. They being the companies. You don’t own that infrastructure;
it’s their infrastructure but your product. Think of that as a rental scenario. Compare
it to a platform like Magento Community or Magento Enterprise or a custom solution for
that matter. That’s something that lives on your server, you on the files, you own
the experience, and you can change the checkout process. You can add custom functionality;
really the sky is the limit. And you own it at the end of the day. So keep that in mind
as you’re deploying the whole process and as you’re thinking about how you want to
set it up.

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