Towards the end of 2022 and this year, Europe has been setting new trends in the eCommerce world. Cross-border sales are on the rise, especially in northern regions, thanks in part to the massive advancements in Supply Chain Logistics and Management, a sector in which European countries are heavily involved. In turn, this means that shoppers are no longer tied to their country’s most popular platform, and products are no longer limited to a specific region anymore. Shopping online has never been easier, thanks to the advancement of eCommerce platforms available for businesses and merchants.
Clearing the doubts
At first, eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces may seem like two sides of the same coin, but they’re more like peanut butter and jelly.
An eCommerce platform is a software application that allows a business to create and manage its own online store. It provides tools for creating product listings, processing payments, managing inventory, and fulfilling orders. With an eCommerce platform, businesses have complete control over their brand, customer experience, and data.
On the other hand, an online marketplace is a website or app that brings together multiple sellers to offer their products to customers. The platform manages the transaction process in a marketplace, including payments and shipping, and may take a commission or fee from the seller for each sale.
The European Landscape
Europe is a fertile ground for eCommerce platforms, offering a multitude of options to choose from. Some of these platforms provide open-source solutions, granting users access to customization tools and free resources. Other platforms, geared towards small businesses that lack technical expertise, offer more basic features to facilitate online sales.
Given the diverse number of eCommerce platforms available, let’s explore the most widely used eCommerce platforms in the European arena, favored by online sellers seeking to grow their businesses.
The Top 5 platforms in Europe
When it comes to eCommerce platforms, Shopify, which was founded in 2006, is arguably the most well-known company in the world. Shopify powers more than 4.4 million websites worldwide and is accessible in more than 170 nations. A range of tools is typically needed to administer a commerce business, including those for product administration, inventory, payments, and delivery. By combining these technologies and making it simple to incorporate more essential business tools, Shopify speeds up this process. Shopify currently controls 10% of the global market. The same cannot be said for the European market. The complexity of order fulfillment has proven Europe as a tricky market for the Canadian company to enter, nevertheless, the company is investing in strengthening its partnerships with supply chain companies, to expand its reach in Europe.
Magento is the most popular open-source eCommerce platform in Europe, holding 24.6% of the European market share. Magento, owned by the Adobe Corporation allows businesses to create and manage online stores. It was first released in 2008 and has since become one of the most widely used eCommerce platforms in Europe. Magento offers a range of features and functionalities to help businesses build and manage their online stores such as product management, order management, payment and shipping options, and customer service tools. The platform also supports many integrations, allowing businesses to connect with other systems and services such as payment gateways, shipping providers, and marketing tools. Magento’s strength lies in its flexibility and scalability, the platform is highly customizable, allowing businesses to tailor their online stores to their specific needs and requirements.
First released in 2007, PrestaShop has become one of Europe’s favorite eCommerce platforms with 6.4% of the market share. Similarly to Magento, PrestaShop is written in PHP (hypertext preprocessor) and uses MySQL as its database management system. The platform fuels over 215,000 stores in Europe (2021). In 2019, online shops created with PrestaShop technology generated more than €17 million in sales. PrestaShop provides perhaps the most powerful API allowing developers to integrate the platform with third-party applications and services, such as ERPs and CRMs. One of the significant benefits of using PrestaShop is its community of developers and users, who contribute to the platform’s development, provide support, and share knowledge.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that can be plugged into WordPress to turn it into a powerful eCommerce solution. It also offers a range of features that make it easy for sellers to customize their online store, including customizable themes, templates, and extensions. WooCommerce’s key selling point is undoubtedly its ease of use. It has an intuitive interface and is easy to set up, even for users with little technical expertise. Additionally, it is highly flexible, and highly scalable, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes. It can handle stores with just a few products or those with thousands of products and customers. WooCommerce is currently the second favorite platform in Europe with 19.8% of the market share. Globally, the platform is much more popular, being the favorite eCommerce platform with 36.68% of the market share, and more than 6.5 million websites.
OpenCart, similarly to WooCommerce is an open-source solution. One of the key advantages of OpenCart is its API (Application Programming Interface). It has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy to set up and manage an online store, even for users with little technical expertise. OpenCart has a large and diverse community of developers who consistently add to an already enormous pool of extensions. The platform ranks as the third most used in Europe with 7.4% of the market share.
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