by Renee

3 min reading time

E-commerce platforms in Europe: which one suits you best?

earnings

3d visuals 14 | Staxxer

 

For e-commerce sellers aiming to broaden their business horizons and enter the European market, selecting an appropriate e-commerce platform is a crucial first step. This platform should not only be user-friendly and align with your needs as an entrepreneur, but also comply with various local regulations, including those tricky cross-border VAT issues. Let’s take a closer look at the market leaders and analyze the advantages they offer for your cross-border ambitions.

 

Shopify

Shopify is renowned for its ease of use and scalability, making it a favorite among startups and growing businesses. But what about selling on an international scale?

  • Multilingual support: shopify supports multiple languages, essential for a local shopping experience.
  • Various payment methods: accept payments through local gateways, potentially boosting customer trust.
  • Suitable for both beginning and seasoned entrepreneurs: you can make it as complicated as you wish.

It sounds promising, but there is some criticism. Some users find that the more advanced international features are only available on the more expensive subscriptions. So, flexibility comes at a price on this platform!

WooCommerce

As an open-source platform, WooCommerce offers a world of customization options – perfect for those unique European markets, right?

  • Numerous plugins available: enhance your WooCommerce store with additional (free and sometimes paid) plugins. you can automate processes like payments and shipments. Moreover, these plugins are well-maintained, ensuring smooth operation.
  • WooCommerce is ultra-flexible: if you have something in mind that you want to sell, you can sell it with WooCommerce. That includes physical products, digital products, subscriptions, appointments, and much more. With WooCommerce, you can literally sell anything you want.
  • Community support: there is an extensive community for assistance, though official support sometimes falls short.

The flexibility of WooCommerce is appealing, but without a dedicated development team, navigating through the sea of plugins and regulations can be overwhelming. A more in-depth comparison between WooCommerce and Shopify is provided in this article.

Amazon

Selling through Amazon – the e-commerce giant – seems a no-brainer for accessing customers throughout the EU. But is bigger always better?

  • Huge customer base: immediate access to a vast European audience.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): FBA provides you with logistic solutions that make shipping within the EU simpler.
  • Strict guidelines and competition: On the other hand, Amazon’s rigorous rules and intense competition can create a challenging market environment.

Amazon offers visibility, but at a cost. The platform charges substantial fees, and your branding can get lost in the enormity that is Amazon.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce likes to emphasize its built-in features and scalability. Wouldn’t this make it ideal for international expansion?

  • Built-in sales channels: Easily sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • No transaction fees: Unlike competitors, BigCommerce doesn’t charge extra fees per sale. 
  • Strong security measures: With advanced security features, you needn’t worry as much about data breaches or compliance issues, a significant concern when entering new markets.

BigCommerce can be a solid all-rounder, but watch out for potential pitfalls in the cost structure as your business grows. Besides, due to its plethora of features, BigCommerce can sometimes be overwhelming for newcomers or those seeking a straightforward store solution.

 

Back to you!

So, what’s the best route for your brand? That decision ultimately rests with you. Each platform has its own unique set of advantages and challenges. It’s essential to choose a platform that not only works for your brand today but can also grow with your ambitions and the ever-changing regulations.

Making an informed decision requires a deep understanding of not only your business needs but also the complexities of international e-commerce, including VAT reporting, local consumer preferences, and so on.

Are you ready to take the leap and elevate your brand to new European heights? Make sure you’re equipped with expert advice and a clear strategy. Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance; navigating the nuances of European e-commerce laws and platforms is no simple task. Schedule a non-binding consultation below: your international adventure awaits!

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A young man in a black sweatshirtvat filing, smiling in front of bushes.
Yonis Brander

VAT consultant

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