In this section you will find:
main types of platforms for the sale of products and services onlin
The potential solutions are essentially of two types: CMS platform – content management system – or custom development.
Among the CMS platforms are SaaS solutions and open source solutions.
SaaS solution – Software as a Service. Choosing this solution means using an existing sales software and creating a shop in which to place the products for sale; the solution is key-in-hand, does not require any intervention on the software and the possibilities for customization are limited. An example of this solution is that proposed by Shopify.
Solution – Open Source. Choosing an opensource solution means using software developed by a community of developers. The software must be installed on a server after which it can be used to create an e-commerce site. The possibilities for customization are greater than the SAAS solution but also the complexity is greater. The examples that we propose below are those of Prestashop or Magento. This category also includes Woocommerce: a specific plugin for WordPress.
In the case of custom development, the software is created specifically and subsequently installed on a server. In this case, the possibilities for customization are extensive, but the difficulties and costs of implementation and management are often unjustified, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
In this section we present a focus on four alternative solutions: Shopify, PrestaShop, Woocommerce and Magento. We experimented with the four solutions working directly on the platform for Shopify and on support sites for the other three. Shopify offers a temporary free trial and you can experiment with the product without having a site of its own. PrestaShop, Woocommerce and Magento require a domain and a hosting.
To experience the services and opportunities offered by Shopify it is possible to subscribe the service for a free trial: there is also a beta version that provides a basic level for setting up an online store. There is possibility to get free Business lessons.
Buy Button – This service by Shopify allows merchants to generate an integrated product card and a check-out that can be placed on any type of website
The declaration of the home page is very promising – “Our mission: to allow everyone to have a successful online store. We develop open source software for e-commerce in collaboration with our community. With over a million users, PrestaShop is today one of the most used e-commerce platforms in the world”. It gives impression of an area of comfortable and reasonable accessibility. The “demo” section invites you to visit the features that are equally appealing: it also allows a visit to the dashboard to understand what are the features of the platform. On the Prestashop Youtube channel, many informative videos are available, including one that gives you instructions to get started.
PrestaShop is, in its basic functions, a relatively simple system. The platform is in English; It is equipped with an efficient support section and the menu is linear and clear. The insertion of products (physical or virtual) is guided through a series of windows that require insertion of images and descriptions, quantities available, etc. The basic functions can be integrated with the addition of modules.
Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin, the most famous CSM in the world, both for websites and for creating blogs. The plugins available on WordPress that allow you to integrate the basic features are very many; among these there is Woocommerce: an extension that allows you to turn a site into a real e-commerce platform.
To learn more, you can visit the platform presentation site where you can find all the information you need to understand Magento’s operating mechanisms. In particular, we suggest you visit the page dedicated to “small business”.