Launching an e-commerce is a huge step, and the transition from entrepreneur to e-commerce professional can be a difficult one. Many e-commerce professionals rely on tools that are widely available at first to get their foot in the door. Thus, the e-commerce platform for easy shop set-up was born.
Unlike marketplaces, which is a logical first-step for many, e-commerce platforms give you more control over the look and feel of your store. The good ones are highly customizable, and often scalable to grow with you (so you don’t end up outgrowing them).
There are three e-commerce platforms that are currently battling for the top spot in the industry, WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento. These solutions are all different and have certain things to offer, and we’ve compiled a comparason of the three with the help of this infographic from Tribe .
Background: A Challenger Appears!
WooCommerce was launched in 2011 by the creators of WooThemes, and is a fully WordPress compatible plugin that allows you to set up and sell easily. Counting 10.8 million downloads and powering 30% of the world’s online stores, WooCommerce owes its popularity to its potential for customization and its simplicity of use.
Staying true to the open-source WordPress community, this platform allows you to integrate into an already user-friendly platform and flourishes with the amount of extensions that others in the WordPress community have created to improve the plugin. Offering many extensions (both free and paid) that you can use to adapt the plugin to your store, the platform is already highly customizable in the free version.
Founded and developed in 2006, Shopify has over 200,000 active stores and has sold over $12 billion online. This store accounts for approximately 4% of all the world’s online stores.
This is a platform that is great for those who want to launch their own site and customize right down to the branding. From those who need something that looks and works great from day 1, to those who want to build it from the ground up, Shopify is one of these platforms that is well adapted for every e-commerce entrepreneur. With several adapted payment plans and an app store offering several different customization options, Shopify is highly scalable.
Founded in 2008, Magento boasts more than 250,000 online stores and over $50B in online sales per year. This platform accounts for 8% of all online stores globally, notably among the top 100k and 10k e-commerce sites on the web.
Magento is for the e-commerce professionals with a bit more experience in web development. With a bit of knowledge, the amount of custom design tools are impressive. It offers two distinct platforms: Magento Community, which is completely free and open source and Magento Entreprise which is the paid version. This is a platform that is well adapted for larger e-commerce sites that are growing quickly and need an A-Z solution for their needs.
The Good: E-Commerce Platforms that grow with you
- WooCommerce profits from an enormous open-source community of experts that are active in forums in case of problems, or if you’re looking for a specific kind of extension.
- There is tons of resources and documentation available freely on the net due to this tie to the WordPress community.
- Integrates perfectly with WordPress, which accounts for half of all sites using a Content Management System.
- There is a multitude of free and paid themes, extensions, and plugins, developed by WooThemes or average users to customize their stores to the maximum.
- The plugin is completely free to download, install, and use.
- A great e-commerce platform that allows for end-to-end customization and scalable resources.
- Simple to implement without a development background.
- 24/7 support via phone, e-mail, and online chat with competent representatives.
- 100+ free and paid templates, plus the app store for even more extensions.
- Mobile and SEO friendly right out of the box.
- No transaction fees if you use Shopify Payments
- 14-day free trial
- Product that is complex, but scalable to every e-commerce professional, no matter the size.
- Solid reputation in the e-commerce industry
- Extremely scalable, there will never be a need to switch platforms.
- Extensive documentation, support forums, training, and certification resources available.
- Free demo available for a trial run.
The Bad (and Ugly): Can be pricey or limited
- The cost of additional plugins and extensions can add up quickly
- You must already be using WordPress to use WooCommerce
- Installing and configuring the plugin could be tricky at first
- Certain advanced features that come standard with other platforms aren’t included in the original plugin.
- This platform isn’t open source, and so it can sometimes mean that bugs might take longer to fix and features to update.
- This platforms starts off at $9/Month and can cost upwards of $300 per month to use.
- Shopify Lite doesn’t allow for store creation.
- Credit card rates range from 2.9% to 2.4% of each transaction, plus $0.30.
- Third party payments get fees tacked on.
- Magento Community requires solid development and programming skills to use to its full potential.
- Magento Entreprise is inaccessible to all but the largest e-commerce owners because of its cost: it starts at over $15,000/year.
- Platform support is all or nothing: Magento Community users only have access to the Magento forums and user community, but have no access to Magento support staff.
Each e-commerce platform has advantages and disadvantages when it comes to deciding what’s right for your business. It’s important to analyze your e-commerce and really think about what you need in order to grow. The three platforms are scalable, and will allow you room to grow when your business becomes a hit (we believe in you!). Regardless of which e-commerce platform you choose, it’s important to make sure that this is the platform that is best adapted for your e-commerce site.
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