As stated by Cushla Sherlock, e-commerce is a force that no investor can afford to ignore. E-commerce is a great way to take your business online and sell your products. But, choosing the perfect platform for your business is not an easy task. There are hundreds of platforms available to help you make your dream website. Every e-commerce site will have different needs & priorities. Different platforms also have their distinctive features.
Whilst one provider can meet the needs of many e-merchants, these same functions will be useless and a potential burden to other store owners. Rather than being overwhelmed by the abundance of possibilities, take note of the following analysis of the pros and cons of a few of the best e-commerce solutions- Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify.
Magento is a very popular e-commerce hosting site with unlimited flexibility and the ease of customization. According to web tracker Alexa Internet, Magento is used on 25-30% of the top million sites. Magento also has advanced SEO features and can feature you at the top of the rankings. Magento has 2 versions- Free & enterprise. The Enterprise version is used by big companies as it is very expensive.
Although Magento has some very advanced features like limitless products, multi-store management and expansion possibilities, all these may sound irrelevant for a small business. Not to mention the fully responsive design templates sound great, but will actually burn a hole in your pocket as you need to employ a full time skilled programmer or developer to make the most of its features. Also, be ready for a sizable amount for those maintenance costs, upgrades, patching, CDN check ups, plugins licenses, etc.
- Large community support
- Totally Flexible
- Huge number of plug-ins
- You can add any shipping options
- The marketing options enable you to complete promo campaigns to advertise your customer network
Its advanced SEO will improve your search engine rankings
- Very expensive to launch and maintain
- Requires experienced programmers to launch
- Requires professional maintenance
- Requires lots of time to set up
- Its complex interface can look less attractive
- The number of features can make the site heavy and therefore slow to load
Shopify has the smallest share of e-commerce sites amongst the three platforms discussed here. But, it is also a great option to build your e-commerce site on.
Shopify is a stand-alone shopping cart platform, i.e. you just have to sign in to be hosted by Shopify servers. It also does not demand high technical skill like Magento, but its attractive interface & mobile responsive design theme makes it professional and out of the ordinary. Shopify is based on Ruby with conditional logic. This means that it is very secure and hard to hack into. However, its limited compatibility with payment hosts deters companies from selecting them if the host they prefer cannot be integrated.
Shopify has a large app store for plugins like reviews, chat, etc. Basic apps are free, but you have to pay for more sophisticated ones.
- Very easy to use
- Highly secure
- 24/7 support
- The product and order management makes the day to day running of the store easier
- Some marketing features are built-in
- The SEO options mean that your ranking on Google is not a concern
- It can be integrated with WordPress
- It can get costly as you improve functionality, i.e. you need to buy apps for higher functionality
- It is a closed platform, making it incompatible with many hosts
- Not a good option for content-heavy sites
- A cart site only
- Harder to scale due to subcategory hierarchy
- It has control of your store, acting as a 3rd party
- It includes a domain name and hosting, so you are not in control of this part of your site’s identity.
A wordpress plug-in completely free to install initially. Since being launched in 2011, it has become a famous hassle-free platform to host your e-commerce site. WooCommerce gives you the choice of your hosting provider, domain, and therefore identity. Furthermore, its WordPress foundation can be appealing as the design is simple and flexible with its templates and layout structuring offering an efficient and attractive design setup. Its foundation of WordPress also enables you to easily have a blog accompanying your shop and website that can extend your outreach. Woocommerce also has advanced shipping options.
WooCommerce has been criticized for handling big orders, unlike Magento, making it a skeptical option for big players to consider.
- Capable of selling unlimited products
- Hundreds of design themes are available
- It is based on WordPress, which means that it is SEO friendly and can rank you high on Google search engines
- Very easily installed being an open-source plug-in
- Cheap, flexible & very familiar to users
- It has analytics as a default
- It lacks high-end features
- If you desire a good site, you need to buy add-ons
- It struggles to handle big orders, so large companies may feel limited to truly exert their power
- Works really slow on cheap hosts
- It is hard to scale, so it is advisable to keep it under 50 SKUs
- Security is a concern for credit cards
So what comes out on top?
Now that we have compared the three most popular e-commerce platforms, it is time to decide the winner. There is no winner. It is upto you to decide which platform comes on top for your business. What seems the ideal provider to one business, can be a poor fit to another. It really depends on your budget, type of store you need and your preferences. While Magento can host the big boys like Nike, Oneida, it requires very advanced level of programming. Shopify seems a good option there, but it not recommended for content heavy sites. WooCommerce is a great platform for smooth operations and value rendering SEO, but it may struggle to handle big orders and you need add-ons for some beautification of your website.
So decide and get e-commerce ready. If doubt still persists, we are more than capable of assisting you to build, maintain or change your e-commerce platform.