What is an Ecommerce Platform? Definition, Types, Solution

Bruno Mircevski

Web Hosting Expert ··Ecommerce & WooCommerce

What is an Ecommerce Platform? Definition, Types, Solution

If you’re in the process of deciding to launch an online shop from scratch, an eCommerce platform is a complete lifesaver.

In this section, we will discuss what an eCommerce platform is, types of eCommerce platforms, how to choose an eCommerce platform, eCommerce platform features, eCommerce platform comparisons, hosting for eCommerce, and eCommerce platform vs. marketplace.

What Is an Ecommerce Platform?

An eCommerce platform is a software solution that gives online retailers the opportunity to manage their business. This type of service has customer service infrastructure, inventory and accounting management systems, and eCommerce website builders.

Running an online store is a complicated task that involves plenty of processes, from managing stocks to accepting payments and building a website. Software solutions like eCommerce platforms give you the chance to manage all of these processes and take away the stress and the hassle out of each aspect of the process.

With an eCommerce platform, you will simplify your daily operations since they have all the components you need to grow and operate your online business. Using an eCommerce platform is more comfortable than using many plugins and cheaper than creating software from scratch.

Proper eCommerce platforms will prevent technical issues and system failures, ease the purchasing process for your customers, and aid you in troubleshooting issues whenever they appear. You will be able to boost your revenue, improve your sales process and spend less time assisting your clients with shopping with the help of an eCommerce platform.

Types Of ECommerce Platforms

1. SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms

SaaS eCommerce platforms allow you to remove a lot of the hassle from operating an online business. Instead of developing and building an open-source solution or a customer solution, you basically rent out the platform.

When compared to the other options, SaaS eCommerce platforms are a lot cheaper. The SaaS providers manage PCI compliance, hosting, security, product updates, and every other task that comes with managing your own software.

Examples of SaaS eCommerce platforms include Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce.

2. PaaS (platform-as-a-service) platforms

The PaaS provider hosts the software and the hardware and manages the hosting infrastructure. PaaS and SaaS options are best for smaller companies or businesses that are just getting started in the eCommerce world. They offer professional support and setup, but they typically charge a monthly fee to use the site.

Some PaaS providers are Magento Commerce Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Heroku.

3. On-premises platforms

On-premise eCommerce platforms are managed by their IT staff and hosted locally by the retailer instead of being accessed through the cloud and being set up by another provider. These platforms allow a business to create a custom storefront solution and have control over their eCommerce site. Two of the numerous on-premise platforms are Magento Open Source and WooCommerce.

How To Choose An Ecommerce Platform

The first step in choosing an eCommerce platform is to determine your eCommerce needs. The process of selecting and finding a solution will be made a lot easier once you know what your requirements are. Think about whether you’re planning to expand to more markets and stores, what experience and features do you want your site to offer, how will the orders of your customers be fulfilled, and so on.

The next thing you need to determine is how much you’re willing to spend on your e-commerce platform. Make sure that you go beyond the costs on the surface, such as development and licenses, and consider expenses like consultation, setup, maintenance, and so on. Ecommerce platform costs will vary depending on the solution, the sales volume, and the size of your business.

After you’ve got an idea about how much you’re willing to spend, you should research eCommerce solutions available on the market. After you’ve found the one that suits you best, you can go ahead and pick that one.

Ecommerce Platform Features

Ecommerce Platform Features
  • Promotion opportunities – There are plenty of ways you can promote your online stores with most eCommerce platforms. The main thing you should take into consideration is SEO, so make sure you remember to look for SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms.

  • Support – Technical issues are something that you’re not going to be able to avoid when you’re operating an online store. Technical issues will happen at a certain moment, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. You will be able to reduce downtime and troubleshoot these issues quickly with support from your eCommerce platforms. When researching the support that your eCommerce platform offers, start with the documents on their website. Look for guides, how-to articles, and a FAQs section. Moreover, make sure that you check out the ways to get in touch with their customer support team. See-through which channels you can contact them and how quickly they resolve your issues.

  • Security – The data of your customers needs to be protected. Data leaks and breaches aren’t good for your business. For this reason, you need to look for an eCommerce platform that provides proper security options. The eCommerce platform should offer an SSL certificate and meet the PCI security standards. However, besides these standard security practices, a lot of eCommerce platforms offer extra options, such as protection from DDoS attacks and fraud.

  • Payment processing – Payment processing is something that is essential to an online store, and it’s not as simple as it sounds. You should take into consideration the payment methods that are preferred by your customers, the currencies you work with, the tax system, and more. If you need to expand the opportunities of your eCommerce platform, you can learn which third-party services are able to integrate with your platform.

  • Store management system – In order to operate a store, you need an order management system, a product management system, and a return management system. The eCommerce platform you choose can allow integration with services that provide these systems, or it can offer them as part of the standard package.

  • Design options – Most eCommerce platforms provide plenty of ready-to-use templates and themes so you can customize the appearance of your website very easily and quickly. When picking an eCommerce platform, it’s important to pay attention to how many paid and free templates the eCommerce platform provides.

  • Interface – Any eCommerce platform needs to have an intuitive and user-friendly interface that you will use for the creation of your website. However, using certain eCommerce platforms for building a website might be a bit more complicated since some of them require technical skills, such as WordPress experience or HTML knowledge. Find the platform that will work the best for you; you will need to test out a couple of platforms before. Something you should look for is a platform that will not only let you create pages for your products but also blog posts. This is a feature that might be useful when you decide to write SEO-optimized articles and improve your website search results or acquire new customers with a content marketing strategy.

Ecommerce Platform Comparisons

WooCommerce vs. Shopify

WooCommerce is a more technical platform that will require a willingness to learn or a certain degree of knowledge in order to use it. Comparatively speaking, with Shopify, you won’t need to know any code or have technical skills in order to use it. Something that might be restrictive in the long run with Shopify is that it doesn’t have many SEO apps, while WooCommerce offers you a range of SEO plugins, as well as helpful SEO guides.

WooCommerce vs. Magento

Both Magento and WooCommerce are widely popular, and they have plenty of features. WooCommerce is cheap to set up and easy to use, which makes it perfect for small businesses that need to get off the ground quickly. However, Magento offers a couple of features that eCommerce lacks, such as product personalization, advanced pricing rules, wish lists, grouped items, and product reviews.

Hosting For Ecommerce

Creating an eCommerce store comes with the task of choosing eCommerce website hosting. Choosing the right eCommerce hosting couldn’t be more of an important task – you need a reliable and speedy hosting provider that will offer you good features and support to help your online store succeed.

Ecommerce Platform Vs. Marketplace

Marketplace and eCommerce are two different types of platforms. A marketplace is a platform where customers purchase goods, connect and find sellers. On the other hand, an eCommerce store is a website built with the help of eCommerce solutions such as Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, and so on. If you want to know more about the difference between an eCommerce platform and a marketplace, make sure you visit our blog and check out our blog post!


As you can see, eCommerce platforms allow the back-end and front-end to work efficiently in tandem. Even though it might seem like all eCommerce platforms have the same set of functions and features, we recommend that you dig a bit deeper and do proper research when you’re choosing a platform, especially if you want to establish an online store that will constantly grow and evolve.

Frequently Asked Questions

How customizable is my ecommerce store?

This depends on the eCommerce tool you use. For example, Magento is 100% customizable, and you can amend just about every aspect. Shopify on the other hand has far fewer customization options.

Are there different types of WooCommerce hosting?

You can go for a shared option, which is the cheapest, or upgrade to other business solutions like VPS and dedicated hosting, which are designed to handle more site traffic and come with faster speeds.

How much does WooCommerce hosting cost?

Prices are very reasonable and start from just $3.50 per month at Verpex.

How easy is it to switch between WooCommerce and Magento?

At Verpex we can host either site no problem. However, you’ll need to be aware that there can be some difficulties due to the customizable nature of Magento, and functionality could be lost.

Bruno Mircevski
About the Author
Bruno Mircevski

Bruno Mircevski is a web hosting services expert. He has spent years researching the niche, exploring the most diverse aspects of Shared, VPS, WordPress, Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Servers, Resellers, etc. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he can grant you meaningful insights on our blog, whether you are a beginner or a hosting pro.

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