Choosing an e-commerce platform is the first place to start if you are expanding your brick-and-mortar store to include online offerings or starting a brand-new online business. With so many options available, choosing software can make you feel like you’re in over your head. We’re here to break down three of the most-used e-commerce platform options and give you a better understanding of what’s right for your business. If you want more details or are ready to start the process of setting up your online store, contact us for a consultation today.
Magento is a widely-used e-commerce platform employed by many different industries. Some of the world’s leading companies do their retail business using this software. The vast majority of businesses using Magento choose to use the open source version, which is much less expensive than the Enterprise-level version. Magento does require fairly extensive technical expertise, and you will want a development team on your side if you choose this route.
Scalability: If you have big dreams for your small business, this may be the right option for you. It has enormous potential for growth and change, without abandoning your original plans.
Powerful built-in features: Magento is a robust e-commerce service with extensive built-in options. You can do lots of customization, reporting, and promotions with the default version of Magento.
Accessible learning options: While Magento can be complicated and technical to learn, there is a wealth of great documentation available for it, including a complete user guide that you can access for free any time. They also offer certifications and forums to discuss issues with other users.
Expertise required: If you don’t have a background in development or a ton of time on your hands, you will need to employ a qualified developer. This platform is highly customizable, but it requires the know-how to manipulate your site’s features correctly.
Potentially costly hosting: Because Magento sites are often quite large, many developers suggest using them with dedicated hosting servers only, which can become costly.
WooCommerce is a unique e-commerce platform because it is not stand-alone software. Instead, it’s an integration with the trusted and widely-used WordPress. Because of this, it’s a near-perfect solution for businesses that provide services and want to offer them online – if you offer tax consultations, tarot readings, or lawn care plans and want customers to be able to purchase online, this could be the answer for you! It’s also great for small businesses that intend to stay relatively small long-term. WooCommerce is a popular choice, powering 26% of of the top 1 million e-commerce websites.
Great SEO: Because WooCommerce is integrated with WordPress, there’s generally great foundation SEO. This can give your store the boost it needs to get started and stay visible.
Easy customization: There are many free and paid themes available for your WordPress store, and you can perform further customizations with the help of a developer. This can set your business apart in the online marketplace.
Plugins can add up: While WooCommerce has many useful built-in features, most users find that they need to add extra features to create the store experience they want. This process can become expensive.
May require technical assistance: WooCommerce is one of the most approachable e-commerce platforms for people new to tech. Despite this, it may require some coding to get your content to appear as you would like. Additionally, WooCommerce occasionally clashes with WordPress updates, which might require some know-how to fix. For this reason, it’s best to invest in a monthly care plan that comes with some development time to optimize and protect your site.
Often regarded as a middle-of-the-road choice between Magento and WooCommerce in terms of size and complexity, Shopify is one of the most widely-used e-commerce platforms. Shopify is a stand-alone service built specifically for online retail. You can use themes or fully customize your Shopify site.
Easy setup: Shopify arguable has the shortest setup time of any platform on this list. Getting started is simple and approachable, and the process is fairly intuitive and user-friendly. Themes or customization can help you give your online store a consistent feel and brand.
Range of store size options: Shopify has 3 different price points for stores of different sizes and needs. If your business grows, you can seamlessly upgrade. Your site grows with you.
Great integrations: Because of its millions of users, Shopify has a diverse range of add-ons and plugins. Additionally, it integrates easily with social media platforms so you can advertise everywhere.
Transaction fee: In addition to its monthly user fee, Shopify charges a transaction fee for each sale. While this amount is only 2-3% depending on your plan, it can cut into your margins when you’re trying to start a business in these precarious times.
Lack of uniqueness: Because so many users choose Shopify’s free or low-cost themes, it can be difficult to set your site apart. If you’re not careful, it may begin to feel like all the other Shopify sites your users have seen.
If you’re ready to make your choice with expert help and create a flawless user experience in your online store, get in touch with us today. We can’t wait to help with your project!