top of page
< Back

Choosing the Right Selling Platform

Choosing the Right Selling Platform

Platform + Performance = Profits


There’s a reason why smart builders spend a lot of time consulting with architects before they start laying bricks. And that reason is because if the foundation of their building isn’t stable, the whole darn building is going to fall down like a house of cards.


Guess what?


Your ecommerce store is the same way. If you pick an unstable or unsecure platform, your whole business is going to collapse beneath the weight of this bad decision. Or even if that sort of catastrophe doesn’t happen, at the very least you’ll lose time and money if you have to start over later with a different platform.


Point is, it’s a good idea to do a little researching and comparing upfront to save yourself time, money and heartache down the road.


And that’s what this report will help you do.


Now if you just drop a search into Google to look for ecommerce platforms, you’ll quickly discover that there are dozens if not hundreds of solutions. These solutions include open-source standalone platforms, as well as third-party platforms that host your store and take care of a lot of the details for you.


Truth is, it’s overwhelming to even start contemplating digging through all of these solutions and figuring out which ones are legit. And that’s why we’re going to give you a short list of the BEST platforms out there. These are the platforms that we’ve reviewed, tested and use ourselves to run our own stores. So all you have to do is compare them to see which one is right for you.


TIP: Of course, one option is to build your own store from the group up by hiring a team of developers. But you know what? It’s a very expensive option, and there are going to be concerns about whether your platform can keep your customers’ data safe. It’s much easier to take advantage of any number of big, secure solutions that others have spent millions to develop. That’s what you’ll find in this list below.


Take a look at these options…



WordPress + WooCommerce


WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS), and WooCommerce is a robust plugin you can use to turn your WordPress site into an ecommerce platform where you sell your own products.


Here are the advantages of using WordPress + WooCommerce:


·         It’s a stable, secure platform. WordPress was originally developed in 2001, and it’s been constantly updated and improved every year since by a large number of developers. The WooCommerce plugin was first developed in 2011, and today it boasts millions of downloads and is one of the top ecommerce platforms.


·         You’re in control. It’s your store, it’s your domain, it’s your web hosting. You have complete control over how you run your store (within the terms of service of your web host, of course).


·         You don’t pay per-transaction fees to the platform. Sure, like any store, you’ll have per-transaction fees from your payment processor. But since you own the store and platform, you do NOT have to pay per-transaction fees to a third-party platform.


·         WordPress and WooCommerce are user-friendly. They both have a lot of online documentation, and you can find peer support communities.


·         WooCommerce is flexible, extendable and adaptable. You can get plugins to add functionality, or let a developer customize the open-source code. You can also choose from many WordPress themes (both free and paid) to create a design that best fits your store.


Sounds good, right? Before you make a decision, you’ll want to check out these disadvantages:


·         WooCommerce paid extensions can add up. The WordPress platform is free, and the basic WooCommerce plugin is free. However, you will likely need to purchase a few plugins in order to get the functionality you want. So you need to be sure you research the core features and plugins in depth so that you can properly estimate your total cost.


·         The tech stuff is up to you. While you’re in complete control of your site (which is good), you’re also completely responsible for the technical aspects of your site.


For example: if something “breaks” (like an extension breaks during a WordPress update), you’ll need to scramble and put in a temporary fix while you wait for the developer to get you a permanent fix.


Another example: If your server goes down, that is your responsibility (or your web host’s) to get it back.


·         Potentially slow loading times. If you have a lot of variations of a product, you may find that your storefront loads slowly – and that’s not good for business.


·         There is no telephone support. WooCommerce offers support through a help desk only. There are third-party businesses that will offer support through the phone, but these are not affiliated with WooCommerce. You can also find peer-supported forums to get help.


To learn more about the WordPress platform, go to


To learn more about WooCommerce, click here.


Now let’s look at another popular option…





Shopify started in 2006 when its developers were looking for a robust, secure way to sell their own snowboards. They quickly realized they had developed a platform that others would want, so they offered to host other peoples’ stores on their platform.


Today Shopify is one of the most popular third-party ecommerce platforms. It’s hosted hundreds of thousands of stores and done tens of billions of dollars in sales. 


Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this third-party platform…


Here are the advantages of using Shopify:


·         It’s secure. This platform has been around since 2006, and it’s being constantly updated to ensure it is secure.


·         It’s flexible and scalable. You can choose from a tiered pricing plan to pick the level that best fits your needs, and then upgrade as your business grows.


·         It’s customizable. Shopify includes both free and paid themes to create a beautiful storefront, plus you can install apps to get more functionality.


·         Good customer support. Not only does Shopify have extensive documentation, but they also offer telephone support.


·         You’re in control. You’re in complete control of your store, but Shopify hosts it for you and ensures it’s secure. This means you can do important tasks such as build an email list of both prospects and customers.


And here are the disadvantages of using Shopify:


·         Pricing uncertainty. Shopify’s tiered pricing is straightforward, as you pay a per-month fee. However, in order to determine your final cost, you’re going to need to know what all apps you plan on installing. Some are free, some are paid, and some require a per-transaction fee.


·         Learning curve. Any platform is going to have a learning curve. While Shopify is overall straightforward, some users may have troubles due to non-intuitive labeling. Still, no worries: you don’t need to be developer to set it up.


·         Checkout cannot be customized. The reason for this is because Shopify is PCI compliant, which is a good thing – it means they’re keeping your customers’ credit card data safe. But on the other hand, you don’t have much leeway with the looks of the order form, which may be a disadvantage if you’d like to create a little more continuity between your store and the checkout process.


Shopify + Dropshipping


With Shopify, you can easily set up a store selling your own products. However, for those who don’t have their own products, another option is to set up a dropshipping business model. An easy way to do this is by using, which offers you thousands of products across many different categories.


NOTE: While AliExpress is a trusted dropshipping solution that gives you the potential for good profit margins, it’s not without its issues. Delivery times can be lengthy since products are coming from Asia. What’s more, customer service/communication is often lacking with this company.


What makes this model so attractive is that you can use the Oberlo app to find products on AliExpress and load them to your store fairly fast. Instead of adding products manually (which can be very tedious and time-consuming), you can drag and drop them into the app and let the software do it for you.


This is a great option for someone who wants a store, but doesn’t want the traditional hassles of stocking inventory and shipping products.


Here’s the next platform for you to consider…




Amazon doesn’t need any introduction, as it’s been around since the mid 1990s, and offering its platform to sellers since 2000. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of selling on Amazon…


Here are the advantages of using Amazon’s platform:


·         Credibility and trust. You’re using Amazon’s trusted brand to help you sell your own products, which is a big benefit. You’re likely to see bigger conversions over setting up your own store.


·         Built-in traffic. Amazon works hard to market your products, including recommending your products to your prospects both on their website as well as through email.


·         Security. Amazon is known for having a secure, PCI-compliant platform, and you can take advantage of this when you set up your store with them.


·         You can use FBA (fulfillment by Amazon). This feature lets you ship your merchandise to Amazon, who then will take care of everything for a fee (including fulfillment, returns and customer service issues).


·         Amazon takes care of the details, such as collecting taxes. This simplifies selling, since you don’t need to know the tax laws for every state.


Here are the disadvantages of using Amazon’s platform:


·         It’s not on your site. You don’t have the control as you do when you set up a store on your own domain with your own web hosting. And that means you also don’t get to capture your prospects’ addresses and other information. And in cases where you receive the customers’ contact information, it is against Amazon’s terms of service to market to them.


·         Fees can be high. Fees vary depending on whether you’re taking care of fulfillment yourself or paying Amazon to do it, so be sure to make comparisons carefully. If you sell as a professional on Amazon, you’ll pay a per-month fee plus variable referral and closing fees.


NOTE: When considering fees, also consider that you will likely have lower marketing costs.


·         Direct competition. When you use Amazon, you’ll have other people on the same platform who are selling the exact same thing, which often results in people slashing their prices to compete. Plus, if Amazon ends up selling your product, then you’ll be in direct competition with them too.


To learn more about Amazon’s selling platform: click here


And now let’s look at the next platform option…





If you’re interested in selling your own handmade arts and crafts, then Etsy is a good option. That’s because people who shop on Etsy are looking for and expect to find handmade goods. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this platform…


Here are the advantages of selling on Etsy:


·         Setting up your store is easy. While it may be a little time-consuming to set up a lot of listings, the process itself is intuitive and easy.


·         Etsy sends you some traffic. That’s because Etsy will refer prospects to your listings via recommendations.


·         Etsy is a trusted brand. And that means you’re likely to see higher conversions by putting your crafts on Etsy versus putting them on your own site. (But of course, you’d need to test this to determine if it’s true and/or if it’s significant.)


Here are the disadvantages of selling on Etsy:


·         You have direct competition on the platform. Even if you’re selling something completely original, there’s a good chance that a copycat will pop up soon and cut into your profits.


·         Fees on low-cost products. If you’re selling low-priced items, the per-listing and per-sale transaction fees will cut into your profits. That’s because the listing fee is a flat 20 cents per item, regardless of how much the item costs, plus a 3.5% transaction fee on sales plus payment processor fees. Be sure to price accordingly, or stick to “premium” (higher priced) items with bigger profit margins.


·         You can lose your own sense of branding. While you do get the benefits of using Etsy’s trusted brand, this can also be a negative when you’re trying to stand out from the crowd. When people share where they bought your handmade item, they’re not going to name you (the artist or handcrafter) by name – instead, they’re going to say they got it from Etsy.


You can learn more about this platform by going to:





This platform is another one that’s been around for a long time – since 1995 – so it’s trusted by both sellers and buyers alike. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of selling your goods on eBay…


Here are the advantages of selling on eBay:


·         You can sell both used and new merchandise. And you can sell most anything, from handmade items to low-priced used goods to high-end merchandise.


·         Built-in traffic. People who visit eBay are buyers, and you’re likely to get plenty of this warm traffic to your listings if you include the right keywords in the title and descriptions.


·         eBay is a trusted brand. And once again, that means (potentially) higher conversions when you sell on this platform versus on your own site, but of course you’d need to test to see if that’s the case.


·         Setting up a store and listings are easy. There are plenty of services that simplify the process, such as templates to create a beautiful listing, and bulk-listing services to make the process go more quickly.


·         You can use the valet service. This service lets you ship your items (for free) to professional sellers, who’ll then take care of everything else, including listing the item, payment processing, and fulfillment. In return for this service, you’ll earn from 25% to 80% of the item’s selling price. Learn more at


Here are the disadvantages of selling on eBay:


·         You have plenty of direct competition on the site. This alone often drives prices down. And since people come to eBay looking for bargains, it’s hard to compete in this marketplace if your prices are higher than everyone else’s prices.


·         Fees can be high, depending on what you’re selling. You’ll pay insertion fees, final value fees, store fees, payment processor fees, and (optionally) advanced listing fees.


Note: you get 50 insertion-fee-free listings for certain types of merchandise per month if you’re a basic seller, and more if you have a store. See for more details.


·         Your payment options are limited. Since PayPal is owned by eBay, that’s the payment processor of choice for this platform. You can also accept payment through your own merchant account. Most other payment options – even checks sent by mail – are limited or restricted in some way. See eBay’s terms for complete details to see if your payment option is accepted.


To learn more about selling on eBay, go to



So which platform is right for you?


Obviously, this is a decision that you’re going to need to make based on your own needs, goals, budget, and preferences. Here are the issues to take into consideration:


·         What sort of products are you selling? Different platforms have different fees, depending on what you’re selling, so you’ll need to take that into consideration when determining cost. You’ll also need to check the terms of service on each site to be sure that the platform accepts your type of product. If you’re selling something prohibited by other sites (such as firearms), then you’ll need to consider selling on your own site (such as by using WordPress + WooCommerce).


·         What is your level of technical expertise? If you have low levels of technical expertise and/or you don’t intend to outsource the development of your site, then you’ll need to stick with third-party, hosted platforms (rather than self-hosted options like WordPress). All you do is pay a monthly fee, and it’s headache free.


·         Do you intend to stock and fulfill merchandise? If you don’t carry inventory, then a dropshipping model is a good option (think Shopify plus the Shopified App and AliExpress), or you can use a service such as eBay’s valet service or Fulfillment by Amazon.


·         What is your marketing plan? It’s a good idea to market your store aggressively in order to grow it as quickly as possible. However, some platforms – such as eBay, Etsy and Amazon – help you with marketing, and you get the benefit of their branding to boost conversions.


·         How fast do you expect to grow? You need to be sure you pick a platform that can grow with you. Consider not only how many products you intend to list, but also what sort of volume you plan on doing. Some options, such as Shopify, let you start with a smaller plan and then upgrade as your business grows.


·         What is your budget? Obviously, this is going to have an impact on your decision. But keep in mind, you don’t want to go for an unsuitable option just because it’s cheaper, otherwise you may need to start over later at a great cost of time and money.


So go ahead and consider these questions carefully, and then visit each site listed above to really compare your options. You’ll also want to check out the bonus resource document for more tools.

bottom of page