Top eCommerce Companies and Solutions—Opportunities And Observations

Updated · Jun 29, 2022

Anyone looking to start selling online faces a seemingly endless array of choices when it comes to ecommerce platforms and solutions. It can be difficult to know where to start with all the options available. 

This blog will provide an overview of the top ecommerce companies and solutions and the opportunities they can offer you as a seller. 

By taking a closer look at the leading players in the ecommerce space, sellers can gain insights into which platform might be the best fit for their business. Let’s get into it. 

Amazon

There is no doubt that Amazon is the biggest player in the ecommerce game.

The company has been in operation since 1994. It started as an online bookstore, but today it offers a massive range of products and services, from retail items to a streaming service and even web hosting. 

It allows sellers to sell items on its marketplace, either through dropshipping, as a general marketplace, or through “Fulfillment by Amazon”, where your products are kept in this big ecommerce company’s Amazon warehouses. 

Strengths:

  1. Amazon is a trusted brand with a strong reputation.
  2. An established customer base exposed to your products
  3. Assistance with processes such as shipping.

Weaknesses:

  1. Amazon is being increasingly criticized for its working conditions and has been embroiled in several controversies regarding the treatment of its employees.
  2. Fierce competition from other sellers on Amazon that could have similar products to yours. Amazon awards the “buy box” to certain sellers, which basically makes them the first choice buyers see for a specific category.

Of course, if you manage to “win the buy box”, that’ll mean a whole lot more sales for you.

  1. There have been accusations from sellers that the biggest online retailer is “bias” in favor of buyers.

Etsy 

Etsy is an online marketplace that enables users to sell handcrafted and vintage items.

The company was founded in 2005 and today has over 90 million members, with 7.5 million active sellers and 96.3 million active buyers.

Etsy is a popular platform for people who are looking for unique and one-of-a-kind items, as well as those who want to support small businesses. Therefore if you specialize in handmade or bespoke items, or you’re a hobbyist looking for extra income, it’s a good place to sell.

Strengths:

  1. Etsy is a trusted brand with a strong reputation for niche items.
  2. The company has a finely tuned site that makes selling in specific categories easy.
  3. Etsy draws a lot of users looking for products they can’t find at other ecommerce companies.
  4. Etsy supports small businesses, meaning yours.

Weaknesses:

  1. Etsy has been criticized for its lax approach to items that infringe on copyright, as well as counterfeit items. It’s possible your original designs may be copied by another seller that wants to undercut you. 
  2. The company has also been criticized for allowing mass-produced items to be sold on its platform, which goes against its handmade and vintage focus. This is in reference to things that are 3D printed, although attitudes towards it are beginning to change.

Shopify

Shopify is not a storefront or marketplace itself. It’s a Canadian ecommerce company that gives businesses of all sizes the ability to create an online store.

The company was founded in 2004 and today is among the leading ecommerce companies, powering thousands of businesses across the world.

Shopify offers a user-friendly platform with a range of features, such as themes, apps, and 24/7 support. Charge per sale 2.9 and 30c, 2.4 and 30c

Strengths:

  1. Shopify is a trusted brand with a strong reputation for customer service.
  2. The company offers a user-friendly platform with a range of features.
  3. Shopify supports businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises.
  4. The company offers competitive pricing.
  5. Shopify has a global reach, giving you the ability to reach a wide audience with your site.

Weaknesses:

  1. It’s harder to make a store than it is to sell through existing ecommerce brands. You, or someone you hire, will have to build the store and manage it. That also means it’s far more customizable, however.
  2. Some users complain of technical hiccups, but that’s par for the course with Saas.
  3. Building and managing a site is more labor-intensive than selling through an existing site. However, you get to keep far more of the profits. Shopify does charge a fee for each sale, though, at $0.30 and 2.4-2.9%, depending on your price plan.

AliExpress

AliExpress is an online marketplace that enables consumers to buy products from Chinese businesses and manufacturers. Although businesses and users from outside of China can sell on it too.

The company was founded in 2010 and is owned by Alibaba Group, one of the largest ecommerce companies in the world. Alibaba is seen as the Eastern answer to Amazon, and it’s certainly made strides in the past few years.

AliExpress offers a wide range of products at low prices, making it a popular choice for bargain hunters.

Strengths:

  1. AliExpress is a trusted brand with a good track record.
  2. The company is markedly cheaper to sell on than Amazon.
  3. AliExpress has a wide reach.
  4. It is often cheaper for people in the developing world to buy from AliExpress over competitors like Amazon. Therefore it offers an opportunity to reach markets Amazon doesn’t yet.

Weaknesses:

  1. AliExpress has been criticized for a lax approach to counterfeit items in comparison to other ecommerce firms. This could make people skeptical of your items.
  2. Because AliExpress is a Chinese company, some people may be wary of it for political reasons and anxiety about data collection.
  3. Some customers often complain about the quality of Alibaba's products, which, again, could make them skeptical of yours. 

eBay

eBay is an online marketplace where businesses and individuals can buy and sell products. Think of it as an online auction house and marketplace.

The company was founded in 1995 and today operates all over the world.

This ecommerce company makes it quite easy for sellers to list and sell or auction off items while also setting shipping costs and so on.

Strengths:

  1. eBay is a trusted brand with a strong reputation for customer service.
  2. The company offers a user-friendly platform with a range of features.
  3. eBay can be used to sell new and secondhand items.
  4. The company offers good mediation for resolving disputes between buyers and sellers.
  5. The platform has strong protections and is pretty good at locking out bad faith users.

Weaknesses:

  1. Like Amazon, eBay sellers often accuse the ecommerce firm of being biased in favor of buyers, to the detriment of sellers. 
  2. Despite getting better at banning bad-faith actors, eBay still sees a lot of scams. Scams are directed at buyers and sellers, but forum discussions frequently focus on the experience of sellers. 

DIY Alternatives to Established Platforms 

Besides the platforms mentioned above, you can also make use of some more DIY solutions, like Magento or WooCommerce.

Magento 

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform that powers millions of ecommerce stores. Being that its open-source, it’s free to use and offers a lot of potential for customization compared to other top ecommerce brands.

The only downside is that similar to, or perhaps more so than Shopify, you’ll have to do a lot of the heavy lifting. There are a range of Magento hosting solutions available if you want to take advantage of it, and maximize both your profits and your control.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a plugin that allows you to add ecommerce functionality to your WordPress site. It’s renowned for being a more beginner-friendly DIY option. 

Just like Magento, this top ecommerce company is supported by a wide range of hosting services made specifically to help you get the most out of it. Like any DIY option, you’ll have to do more work, but you have greater control and potentially lower overheads.

Wrap Up

eCommerce is booming, and there are several companies that present solutions for businesses of all sizes. In this blog post, we’ve looked at the top ecommerce companies and the various things they have to offer.

Choosing a platform is a big step, but remember, you never have to be confined to one. You can experiment with them as you and your needs grow. 

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Garan VR
Garan VR

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.