Although e-commerce is one of the relatively stable industries in these challenging times, it does not guarantee that any individual etailer will survive the downturn we are seeing in the UK economy. However, there is one important step that can be taken to minimise the risk, as outlined within the new E-commerce Platforms Buyer’s Guide.

The most frequently cited rules to protecting any online business are ensuring that both sound business strategies and decent marketing plans are in place.

However, one aspect that is often overlooked, which is arguably the most important element to any successful ecommerce based-company, is the model in which the actual website has been built; in order to make an online store work, several components have to be present, ranging from databases through to operating systems.

Increasingly, we are seeing a greater interest in suppliers who can bundle together several core components to deliver a complete solution:  the E-commerce platform.

Connecting most, if not all, of the separate components within an e-commerce website, a good platform is vital to ensuring that an online business will operate successfully and have a positive financial impact upon any venture.

Established platforms have demonstrated repeatedly that they are able to generate higher levels of revenue, by focusing on elements such as usability and SEO, alongside helping to streamline any business in general. Equally, poor platforms can have a negative effect upon an e-tailer’s practice, and therefore need to be avoided.

Operating most websites is a complex affair, and platforms also help to release any pressure that this causes, by increasing automated procedures and removing the need for any internal or external IT resources.

Already powerful tools, in the current climate of the market, platforms are all the more important in ensuring the survival of e-businesses. But with a growing number of providers, services and solutions, which platform is right for your particular operations?

Econsultancy’s 2009 E-commerce Platforms Buyer’s Guide, provides advice about how to select the right platform, as well as details surrounding the various issues and trends affecting this sector, and will help give valuable guidance in outlining your available options.

The report contains profiles of the following vendors: Actinic, Broadvision, BT Fresca, Design UK, Digivate, eCommera, e-inbusiness, Ekm Systems, ePages, eSellerPro, GSI Commerce, Hybris, Imano, Maginus, Moneyspyder, Motive, Pod1, Quicklive Commerce, Red Technology, Screen Pages, Snow Valley, Venda.