Thinking of starting an online store? Here are the top 10 E-commerce Platforms in India for Small Businesses in 2021 for you to choose from.
So you have decided to start an online store – congratulations!
You have taken the first, all important step in an exciting journey. By now, you\’ve decided what you are going to sell, and the next task is to figure out how you\’re going to sell it. This can seem like an overwhelming task, but it needn’t be!
Online shopping has increased rapidly in India, as the pandemic has forced most businesses to start an online presence as well. It is estimated that 6 million new people enter the ecommerce market every month. According to the Indian Brand Equity Forum, this market is expected be worth $200 billion by 2026. That\’s huge!
You want a piece of that pie, and you can very well get it. Your first step will be choosing an e-commerce platform for your business, which you will use to sell your product or service. You\’re probably aware that you can sell your products through Amazon or eBay, but those aren\’t e-commerce platforms, they\’re marketing channels. To really own your business, you need to set up your shop on an e-commerce platform.
What is an E-commerce Platform?
An ecommerce platform is the place that holds your online store, and where you control every aspect of it. It is software that displays your products, processes payments and offers all the other services that running an online business requires.
If you were to build a software to do all this by yourself, it would involve an immense amount of work. E-commerce platforms, on the other hand, have all this already done for you, and you can make use of the existing functionality while also easily adding your own customizable features.
All the information about your business and products will have to be stored somewhere, and this is where hosting comes in. Some e-commerce platforms have in-built hosting, while others don\’t. We need to understand the different types of e-commerce platforms and their hosting systems in order to make an informed choice.
Types of E-Commerce Platforms in India
CMS-based/Self-hosted E-Commerce Platforms
CMS or Content Management System e-commerce platforms require you to get your own hosting, which is why they are also called self-hosted. You will either have to have your own server or rent server space from a third party provider. Here are some of the benefits of using a CMS e-commerce platform:
- More control – When you use a self hosted e-commerce platform, you have more control over the functionality and appearance of your website
- More options – CMS platforms come with an option to add any number of plugins and extra features that you like
- More customization – With the online shopping sphere changing rapidly, a CMS e-commerce platform enables you to add and remove features with ease for a completely customized site
- Ease of expansion – Since the server is hosted elsewhere, you can make it as big as you like, and there are no restrictions on products or categories
This should give you a basic idea of the type of e-commerce platforms in India today. There are many options available in both categories and choosing the right one can be a little confusing, especially for a beginner. To make things easier for you, we\’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 e-commerce platforms in India for small businesses, including both types of hosting.
Hosted E-Commerce Platforms
Hosted e-commerce platforms are hosted on their own servers. You will not have access to their server, but you will be able to access all the features they offer and put up your website right away. Here are some more benefits of using hosted e-commerce platforms:
- Less maintenance – Since the back end is taken care of by the platform, you don\’t have to worry about maintaining the server
- Ease of operation – Hosted e-commerce platforms are easier to use, especially for those who aren\’t too technically savvy
- More time – You save a lot of time you would otherwise have to put into the technical part, which gives you more time to spend on actually building the business
- More support – Hosted e-commerce platforms generally have strong tech support on hand, which means you\’ll not have to face surprise outages or other issues
Top 10 E-commerce Platforms in India for Small Businesses
After reading about the benefits of each type of hosting, you\’ll have come to a conclusion about which one suits your needs the most. Once you\’ve made that decision, you can go ahead and check out the top players in each type.
5 Best Self Hosted E-Commerce Platforms in India
Woo Commerce is the store front add on to WordPress, the blogging platform used by several content creators. Woo Commerce is popular in itself too, used by 59% of e-commerce websites in India, which include 29% of the top 1 million online shopping portals like Weber, Singer and AeroPress.
- Offers easy setup, especially for WordPress users
- Additional features like themes and plugins are easily available
- Offers easy integration with email marketing platforms
- Is cost-effective compared to other platforms
- Has excellent customer support along with community support
- Can be hard to scale up when the business grows
Price: Can be started totally Free
Magento is an Adobe company that offers various features under Adobe Commerce. Magento has over 2,70,000 e-commerce sites on its customer list, including huge businesses like HP, Big Bus Tours, Aldo and Forever New.
- Offers many customizable options with several features
- Provides easy integration with email marketing platforms
- Has potential for expansion so you can grow your business
- Comes with the reliability tag of the Adobe brand
- Has a fair degree of complexity that can be confusing for beginners
- Can prove to be more suitable to larger businesses
- May cause speed issues if the server is small
Price: Magento doesn\’t have fixed pricing; instead, they offer pricing based on the merchandise and order value of the business
3. Presta Shop
Presta Shop started small but has now become one of the biggest e-commerce platforms today, being used by over 1,85,000 e-commerce websites. It now houses some industry leaders like Pylones, Danone and Carrefour.
- Is an economical option for startups, and requires no license
- Provides an easy to use interface to customize the store front
- Offers support for multiple currencies and languages
- Provides special features like email campaigns, automation and sales
- Works best for small to medium businesses, is difficult to scale up
- Lacks consistent customer support
4. Open Cart
As its name suggests, Open Cart is one of the leading open source content management system e-commerce platforms, playing host to British Red Cross, Dropshipper Store and Mi-Mi Store. It is growing fast in India too, housing 16% of all e-commerce websites in India.
- Has a back-end that\’s easy to modify even for beginners
- Provides access to many plug-ins and features
- Offers a wide variety of payment gateway
- Is not SEO friendly
- Customer support can be unreliable
Drupal is a content management system, the second most popular one in the world after WordPress. Drupal commerce was constructed to add on to it, but it\’s grown to become a popular e-Commerce platform on its own. Today Drupal Commerce is home to some of the world\’s most famous brands like Cartier, Lush, Gourmet Box and The Doors.
- Is free to download and use and does not require any license
- Offers easy integration with a blog, when hosted on Drupal
- Provides SEO integration
- May require some technical expertise to handle the code
- Lacks an active support community
5 Best Hosted Ecommerce Platforms in India
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms today, and there are currently more than 5,00,000 stores and 1 million users. Popular Indian businesses like Bunaai, Quirksmith and Mcaffeine use Shopify to run their business.
- Provides several extra add-ons as well as themes and templates for your online store
- Have integrated sales with other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Amazon and Google
- Includes options of over 15 payment gateways and integrations with several logistics partners
- Provide 24×7 customer support in 19 languages
- Is more expensive
- Can be a little difficult to understand for those who are technically challenged
Price: The Shopify plans start at $29 per month for the basic plan, $79 per month for the Shopify plan and $299 per month; for the Advanced Shopify. They also offer discounts for long term plans as well as a free trial for 14 days.
Wix is another popular e-commerce platform that has more than 2000 stores from India, which accounts to about 7% of the entire market. Successful Indian sites like Pavitraa, Prachyam and Cake Central run on Wix.
- The interface is easy to use, offering a drag and drop feature
- Have multiple template options so you can customize your store
- Provides features like domain registration, logo makers and abandoned cart campaigns
- Provides 24×7 customer support
- May pose difficulties when expanding after a certain limit
- Payment gateways in India aren\’t as extensive as other platforms
Price: Wix has different pricing systems for website and for ecommerce. For e-commerce, the most basic Wix plan starts from ₹ 225 per month, going up to ₹ 500 per month for the VIP plan. Wix does not offer free trials.
8. Big Commerce
Big Commerce has become a big name in the area of hosted e-commerce platforms globally. It is estimated that over 60,000 e-commerce sites are built on Big Commerce, including big players like Ben & Jerrys, Skull Candy and Tyler\’s.
- Provides important features like SEO and international sale
- Enables easy integration on third party websites like Amazon, eBay, Google, Etsy, Instagram and Facebook
- Provides the facility of using over 65 different payment gateways
- Easy optimization of the shopping cart on mobile devices.
- Provides additional help and resources through the Big Commerce University
- Customer support has been known to be unreliable at times
- Domain registration is not possible
Price: Big Commerce does not have predetermined pricing plans, instead they create a custom plan tailored to the user\’s needs.
Dukaan is an Indian e-commerce platform that was launched in 2016. It offers a wide range of products and services, including grocery, apparel, home goods, and technology. The site has a user-friendly interface.
Pros of Dukaan
– Wide range of products and services
– User-friendly interface
Cons of Dukaan
– Limited product range
– Competitive prices
Ecwid is a word derived from \’e-commerce widget\’, and that is precisely how it works. This is an e-commerce platform that is a great idea for those who want a quick fix or want to integrate the online store with their blogs or content sites.
- Integrates easily with content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla
- Can be set up instantly
- Is cheaper than other options in this field
- Provides automated advertising on Google
- Has useful features like postage, abandoned cart saver, multi-currency payment and discount coupons
- Many features are available only with the higher end plans
- Some features can take a getting used to
- Doesn\’t have too many apps or plugins to add new features
- Has some restrictions on changing settings for SEO
- Can be an issue for larger scale businesses
Price: Ecwid is one of the few e-commerce platforms that offers a lifetime free plan. The paid plans begin at ₹ 700 per month and go on to ₹ 5000 per month.
At the end of the day, your choice of e-commerce platform depends upon your business needs – both present and future. Always think about where your store is headed, and plan accordingly. Consider all the associated costs when setting your budget, so there are no surprises later.
My personal choice would be Woo Commerce since it\’s free and easily integrates into WordPress, which is the blogging platform that most of us use. If you plan to grow it further or want a hosted platform, Shopify is your best bet to increase conversions.