The Different Types of eCommerce Platforms

Whether you are an online only business or a brick and mortar retail store, ecommerce can help you expand your business by marketing and selling products online. In order to do so, you will need an ecommerce platform. An ecommerce platform is a software that enables purchasing and selling products over the internet. It also allows sellers to manage virtual assets, digital sales, and marketing all in one place. There are different types of ecommerce platforms, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here we will delve a little deeper into the various types of ecommerce platforms so you can decide which is right for your business. 


The purpose of an ecommerce platform is to enable you to have a fully functioning online store where customers can pay for your products or services. The three main types of ecommerce platforms are:


  • Subscription-based
  • Open-source ecommerce platforms
  • Headless

Let’s take a closer look at each of these types.


A subscription-based ecommerce platform is a business model in which customers pay a recurring fee (monthly or yearly) to get scheduled product delivery or anytime access to a service.  This could include replenishing goods or household products such as food, care products, or other supplies on a regular basis. It could also include a personalized selection of products such as choosing your own meals, wines, flowers, etc. It could also mean granting access to services such as music, graphic design, or any other type of service. 


One of the key benefits of subscription-based platforms is convenience and lower cost (brands typically offer discounts to subscribers). Businesses like this model because it provides a more predictable revenue stream. 


On the other hand, subscription-based platforms usually require an experienced technical expert and they also be costly if your online store has a lot of traffic. 


Open-source platforms are free and easy to install. Unlike subscription-based platforms, they are “open” to anyone, meaning anyone can access and make changes to the underlying code. They usually have a wide variety of features that are customizable, which can be great for customizing and scaling your online business. The downside is that it does not come with customer support like a subscription-based platform does. Therefore, it requires a fair amount of technical expertise. 


A headless ecommerce platform is an online store where the customer facing front end and the technical back end are decoupled from one another. This gives you the ability to change different elements of your store without having to change all of them.  This is a great option for tech-savvy business owners who want complete control over their online store and all the data. The downside is that this type of platform can be more difficult to install and does not come with customer support. 

How to Determine Which Platform is Right for You

First, you need to figure out your individual business goals and your target audience. Do you need to offer international shipping options? Do you need a platform that supports different currencies and languages? Next, you need to consider how much support you will need. If you are just starting out and can handle things on your own, you might be fine with an adless ecommerce platform. If you need more help with marketing or customer support, you might be better off with a platform that offers 24-hour support.