Online entrepreneurs need to know how e-commerce works, its evolution and ways you can use it to leverage your business. E-commerce has rapidly evolved in the last few years, catapulting businesses into success and increasing their revenue. Through an e-commerce platform, entrepreneurs can launch a business website with little to no capital.
Aside from addressing entrepreneurs’ budget considerations, e-commerce platforms are easy to build nowadays. They are perfect for single proprietors and small business owners who need to focus on core business functions. Because of time and financial constraints, these business owners are unable to hire developers and designers to build an e-commerce site for their online business.
E-commerce platforms have changeable themes, downloadable plugins and other custom features that add a more wow factor to your online store. One does not have to be an expert developer or designer. Some platforms have elements that are easy to shuffle and edit. And whether or not you have an eye for color, you can always change your theme based on your preferences.
Though there are a number of e-commerce platforms to choose from, this article will only zoom in on two. Shopify and YoKart are two widely used platforms that are generally considered friendly to startup businesses. Let us take a closer look at these platforms and their respective advantages and disadvantages:
Shopify made waves in the e-commerce industry for releasing a simple, no-nonsense platform that facilitates trendy mobile shopping. One of the few e-commerce platforms that keep up with the latest e-commerce practices and trends, Shopify successfully tapped into the fashionista market when it first started. It gradually expanded to accommodate other markets and become a well-known e-commerce platform.
In the third quarter of 2017, more than half a million online stores across the globe were using Shopify. Second quarter revenue exceeded $150 million – 75 percent more than its 2016 revenue – with a monthly recurring revenue of $23.7 million.
The site offers various ways to make your business click such embedding Shopify Buy Now buttons on other websites. You have the option to set up your own retail-wholesale packages, sell on Amazon or automate a campaign. You can also connect your online store with your Facebook shop.
Shopify mainly caters to the fashion and apparel industry, which is several times bigger than other industries using the platform. Other popular industries like health and beauty, home and furniture, and food and beverage trail behind by a huge margin.
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- If your business belongs to the fashion and apparel industry, Shopify already provides you with a potential market.
- Shopify has an easy, editable platform that users can tweak to suit their preferences.
- You can choose from a variety of themes and plugins with the option to customize colors, on-page elements, font size, and font type.
- Shopify themes are responsive and can be accessed via any device (mobile, desktop or tablet).
- Sellers can add, remove and edit items from mobile, desktop or tablet.
- The platform encourages customer feedback through an interactive forum and 24/7 customer service support.
- Shopping cart facilitates quick transactions and you can return to your abandoned cart and resume it at your convenience.
- It loads fast (ranks 3rd in desktop speed and 5th in mobile page speed compared to other platforms).
- The site has links to Pinterest, Amazon, and Facebook.
- Generally, a platform is more secure since it is not open-source.
- Shoppers are forced to use Shopify payment; additional charges apply if you opt out of their payment portal.
- Not ideal for multi-vendor transactions.
- Some useful extensions and plugins require payment, which discourages budget-conscious sellers.
- Shopify has its own unique coding style called Liquid that can only be customized if you pay a price.
- The platform is dominated by a single industry.
Overall, the advantages of using Shopify far outweigh the disadvantages. It still delivers the ROI online entrepreneurs need to grow their business. As one of the most trusted e-commerce platforms, Shopify allows start-up businesses to choose a package commensurate with their budget. Though custom features are available, it is not open source. Some may look at this quality at a disadvantage but it actually gives Shopify an edge.
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YoKart brands itself as a “multi-vendor e-commerce platform.” This platform has been helping startups and small businesses gain footing in their chosen niche. While other e-commerce platforms including Shopify also offer multi-vendor options, YoKart is an expert in this field. Its interface has recently upgraded to YoKart V8, which has more features than previous versions.
Global sellers, particularly those selling products on Etsy, eBay and Amazon, have warmed up to this platform. The site has features ideal for businesses with clients across the globe. One online business claimed to have increased revenue by 67 percent after using YoKart.
As per recent statics, South Korea, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom have the most number of online store owners. YoKart has successfully tapped into these countries through its multi-vendor web solutions.
- Global users can take advantage of the platform’s multi-currency and multilingual features.
- Online entrepreneurs can get their own website source code in addition to a lifetime license.
- The site can be downloaded as an app on any device running on iOS or Android.
- YoKart provides catalogs, video tutorials, market data and more to help users understand the ins and outs of their platform and e-commerce in general.
- The availability of various payment gateways speeds up online purchase transactions and eliminates all the hassle.
- You can better manage your store through a built-in analytics tool that tracks and records data useful to your business.
- There is free technical support for one year.
- The site provides options for managing discount coupons.
- YoKart focuses on small businesses so it offers standard packages.
- Security checks undergo three levels.
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- There is less room for customization particularly for stores under a standard package.
- To customize Yokart, you may need to work with a skilled PHP developer, which may add to your costs.
- The YoKart system targets small businesses but often requires technical expertise (you cannot build it on your own).
- Available themes are limited.
- Load speed is not as fast as Shopify’s.
Small-scale entrepreneurs selling their products at various online marketplaces and with some capital to spare would find YoKart beneficial to their business. However, since the platform requires some technical know-how, it may be difficult to customize it without help from a website designer or developer. On the brighter side, YoKart packages are comprehensive and designed to drive growth for any type of business. Pricing is relatively affordable but using this platform means you commit to a specific budget.
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The Verdict: Ideal E-Commerce Platform for Startups
In conclusion, as far as the budget is concerned, Shopify wins. The platform is easy to build and use and has custom features not present in YoKart. However, YoKart’s has more comprehensive offerings (albeit a bit pricey compared to Shopify’s price packages). If you are selling products on Amazon, Etsy and eBay, YoKart would be more effective.
For small businesses doing digital marketing, Shopify is a good fit. The site loads fast with custom features already optimized for search engines. YoKart’s multi-vendor setup can cause occasional loading issues, which has negative repercussions on SEO.
Shopify is ideal for sole proprietors with growing but easier to manage businesses. Because of its simple system, the wholesale-retail industry matches well with this platform. On one hand, YoKart is ideal for small, growing businesses already on the verge of taking off. This platform is compatible with businesses offering many products that cut across various industries.