These days brick and mortar stores are on a decline as E-commerce sales are soaring.

The world is shifting from walk-in boutiques to shopping online from the comfort of your home. The numbers speak for themselves. If you are looking to open up your own shop, you best have an online presence if you want to compete.

This article is for those who have done their market research and want to move ahead with opening an online store. One of the hardest choices is deciding what platform to use.

There are so many options out there and for many non-technical people they all seem the same. The first step to making the right decision is to understand what’s out there and the advantages of each one.

Ecommerce platforms can be divided up into three general types: hosted, marketplace and SaaS.

Let’s started by discussing hosted solutions. This involves downloading a piece of software and installing it on your own server or shared hosting account. This is the most flexible of all options as it gives you freedom to modify the software as needed and gives you more control over tweaking for performance. This is beneficial if you don’t want to be pigeon-holed and need the freedom to process your orders according to your own needs. The downside to this option is that it requires technical knowledge to set up and you do need to pay infrastructure costs. These days however, infrastructure has become a commodity and costs can be negligible.

Marketplace solutions, such as Amazon and Ebay, are the least flexible as you need to process your orders according to their rules. Although you don’t need to worry about infrastructure costs, you have no control over performance, which means if the marketplace is shut down, you’re out of business.

SaaS (software as a solution) platforms, such as Shopify are similar to marketplaces in that you have no control over infrastructure, however they offer a little more flexibility with template design and integrations with third party services. While your store is separate from others who use the service, you are still dependent on that service for maintaining your site’s performance. Again, your store will only remain open as long as the service is a going concern.

Now you know some of the types of systems that are available, which is best for you?

If you are looking to open a store as a hobby, without giving thought to growing, then the marketplace or even SaaS solutions are for you. If you are looking for a long term solution that provides the most flexibility and ability to scale your business, one that gives you more bang for your buck, then the hosted solution is the best option for you. Contact us and we will show you why FutureEcom is the best hosted solution out there.