Choosing the best online platform for your e-commerce business means narrowing down and comparing the top options. Each e-commerce platform offers different features and characteristics, and there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, determining the right e-commerce platform for your business depends on your needs.
Learn everything you need to know about different e-commerce platforms available for building your online store. Find out how each platform stacks up in terms of its ease of use, features, customer support and more. And, see how to determine which is the best fit for your business’s e-commerce needs, brand identity and online customers.
Which Online Platform is the Best Choice for an E-commerce Website?
An e-commerce online platform provides the digital functionality necessary to showcase products, conduct payment transactions and manage your online product inventory. While your website is essential for promoting your business’s online presence, online shopping requires extended functionality. To this end, e-commerce solutions integrate with your website to create a seamless user experience between browsing your website and shopping in your online store.
The best way to choose an online platform for your e-commerce business is to compare the top options in a side-by-side comparison. There are far more options available on the market than appear on this list, but these platforms are among the most popular: Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and Magento. These services all provide a feature-rich and easy-to-use platform with which to build your digital storefront, but some are more flexible and versatile than others.
Shopify – Features, Pros and Cons
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the internet – and for good reason. It is a subscription-based platform that provides space for hosting your e-commerce store. And, connecting your Shopify eCommerce store to an existing domain name is seamless and simple.
The service provides product inventory and order management features to help organize and streamline your sales from an easy-to-use dashboard. Customers can make transactions via multiple methods of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, GooglePay and other digital payment methods. Shopify integrates with other online sales channels, like Facebook Marketplace to enable more access to customers.
Shopify allows developers to create custom website themes using their own CSS and HTML. This means that web developers can reflect your business’s brand identity.
The platform, however, also has a few drawbacks that can impact the platform’s efficacy for your business. For example, Shopify does not include a multi-language store feature with your base subscription. Creating a multi-language-enabled store requires an application that will cost extra. In fact, many features that come standard with other e-commerce platforms may cost additional. These add-ons and apps are subscription-based as well, which can add to your monthly costs. Shopify is good for small to mediun-sized stores.
WooCommerce – Features, Pros and Cons
WooCommerce is a top competitor with Shopify for the most popular e-commerce platform on the internet. WordPress is the most popular website CMS on the internet and WooCommerce runs on top of the WordPress platform.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce is a standalone plugin that only works on WordPress websites. But, like Shopify, it serves to help you manage inventory, orders and conduct financial transactions using multiple methods of payment. Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, you’ll need a host that can host WordPress websites.
The drawback to choosing WooCommerce is the lack of customer support available. Unlike Shopify, there is not a support line to call when you run into issues getting your store set up. If you need help there is a large community, but this can be time-consuming. And the ability of your website development team to customize the design of your store is dependent on the flexibility of your WordPress website’s theme or the skills of your developer.
BigCommerce – Features, Pros and Cons
BigCommerce combines subscription-based services to manage and track product inventories, orders and transactions. It offers server space for hosting your store and it can hook up with a current domain that you already own. Unlike Shopify or WooCommerce, BigCommerce provides shipping details at point-of-sale, as well as advanced sales and inventory reporting for an in-depth view of sales data out of the box.
BigCommerce is a great choice for websites that need multi-language functionality. The software is designed with multi-language functionality that extends to the built-in newsletter feature.
You can integrate BigCommerce with Stripe, Square, PayPal, ApplePay and more – as well as credit cards and other standard methods of online payment. And, BigCommerce offers over 5,000 extensions for adding functionalities, such as accounting and tax help, product sourcing, marketing services – and many others.
BigCommerce also offers flexible customization access for developers. Custom website developers have full access to the HTML and CSS, which is vital to keeping brand consistency between your website and the online e-commerce platform.
Magento – Features, Pros and Cons
Magento is a user-friendly, flexible and scalable platform that has a free basic community service, but its more advanced functions can be pricey. It has an open source platform so the source code can be easily modified for a variety of options, such as customization for currency, languages, coupons and other choices. Magento also has built-in SEO features that allows users to rank higher in search engine searches.
Because Magento has so many extensions and features, it is a complex system and finding and choosing the best options can be overwhelming. And because of its flexibility, Magento has a slow loading time. Magento also works best on a dedicated server.
Which Platform is Right for You?
Each of these three options provides a means of conducting online transactions and featuring your store’s inventory to online customers. But which one is best for your business?
Want to use Shopify or BigCommerce, but your website is built with WordPress? That’s no problem for a skilled custom web development team. Talk to a DOJO Creative Marketing associate for a free consultation on picking the most effective online platform to launch your e-commerce business.