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eCommerce Platform Comparison

 

Given the convenience, accessibility and the efficiency that it has proven to deliver time and time again, it’s no wonder the eCommerce industry continues to grow in massive proportions. As large scaled enterprises, down to individuals who want to sell their goods on online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, it seems that everyone wants a piece of this pie and take a bite from its profit margin.

 

So if you’re looking to have your very own online store, it would be good for you to check out this eCommerce platform comparison when it comes to today’s top ecommerce platforms in order to figure out which of these software solution giants would best fit your requirements, lifestyle and needs.

 

Magento

 

Magento ecommerce platform

 

The Master when it comes to delivering unparalleled services to the biggest enterprises worldwide, Magento can whip its counterparts in the enterprise level since it is  considered as the market leader amongst its competitors in this arena.

 

The secret to Magento’s success in capturing the biggest brands in the market is its underlying technology and architecture; which should not come as a surprise given its robust, scalable, secure and reliable features. And as one of the most coveted platforms in the ecommerce industry, Magento provides cutting-edge solutions targeted towards businesses with specific needs.

 

With high-end features that puts many of today’s ecommerce software to shame, it solidifies its superiority in the market as the platform that is best suited for those ever-growing and expanding businesses. With its advance store modification capabilities, as well as its ability to handle high volume inventory, the Magento Enterprise Edition holds the gold standard when it comes to delivering customized requirements for today’s most complex online store needs.

 

Indeed, the Magento ecommerce platform is highly recommended for those of you who want to make it big on the web. And if you’re sold on this, then you can opt to look for the best magento developers to hire online. These seasoned Magento developers can definitely help you further enhance or develop your online store.

 

By choosing competent, if not certified, Magento developers to create or enhance your ecommerce site, you can sure that the quality of your Magento online store is at par with what the software is capable of delivering.

 

PROS:

  • 24/7 Support
  • As an open source platform, it is customizable and flexible given that you have full access to the code and database – without touching its core functionality.
  • It’s “Community” version is free and is suitable for small businesses. It also offers a wide range of packages that consist of client specific requirements which normally includes payment system, SEO and social media sharing.
  • It is free to download and install.
  • Easy to migrate from and to other platforms.
  • It is Cost-Effective. No additional fees will be charged even if your online store expands and grows – unlike other ecommerce platforms.
  • Self-hosted which means that you own and have complete control of your data. It also makes it more cost-efficient (no monthly fees).
  • Provides good user experience given its manageability and ease of use.
  • Enterprise version includes numerous built in, high-end features that includes:

a) Ads and Events Management – gives you the option for multiple layouts for events or special offers during holiday seasons or for promotional and sale offers.

b) Catalog Management – this feature allows you to upload thousands of product items in a single import

c) Contains Core Product Page

d) Customer Segmentation

e) Customized User Interface – a great feature that you can use to increase conversion by targeting user experience. You can modify the design of your storefront in accordance to the categories. This means that you can have several storefronts using one back-end management system.

f) Flexible Customer Service and Support – it offers great features for the customer which includes printed invoicing and bills; product delivery, shipping, wish list cart management and much more.

g) Marketing Tool – this includes SEO management functions that contains SEO friendly templates, Url rewrites, sitemap and Meta settings.

h) Multiple Pricing Options – this feature helps gather customer information on product preferences. You can also do an array of things related to pricing such as hiding prices to encourage visitors to log in; set up customer group pricing as well as pricing different items easily and efficiently.

i) Mobile Platform Support – Offers numerous mobile friendly templates that ensures responsive stores. This allows mobile shoppers to get a better view of the shopping cart and products on their mobile devices.

j) Modular Design and Templating with Blocks and Layouts – This is used as a basis for a developer to ensure code consistency given that it is not feasible to create code from scratch – especially for ecommerce based sites.

k) Multi-Store Management – Magento has made it extremely easy for developers to make changes with some minor tweaking at the back-end. It is “Multi-Store Enabled” which means managing multi-product catalogs has become very easy. Also, its multi-language support feature allows you to load your store in specific languages; provide localization features and multi-currency, tax options.

l) Multiple Payment Gateway Support

m) Order Management Tools – its order processing integration offers a wide range of order fulfillment solutions from partners such as QuickBooks, NetSuite and ShipStation. This ensures you that you have ready access to pertinent information such as your sales volume report.

n) Product Alerts – helps increase sales. Clients are alerted when items that were previously out-of-stock are now in-stock.

o) Scheduling Tools – automates/schedules tasks such as changing your site’s design themes (e.g. holidays), sending newsletters via email, promotion updates

p) Web Services – contains built-in features for web services such as SOAP, REST, XMLRPC that includes security authentication.

  • Contains a comprehensive resource library for growth, support and store management. It also includes demos and an online community of store owners, plus plug-in developers that you can reach out to for assistance.
  • Has a fast-growing community of quality and certified Magento developers that continuously contributes comprehensive features that helps in the enhancement of Magento ecommerce stores. This also means that technical support is readily available.
  • Has the capability to build as many support modules as needed. In addition, deployment and hosting tools are directly tied to Magento.
  • It has the capacity to host over 5,00,000 products and handle over 80,000 orders (hourly) which is ideal for large enterprises.
  • Offers a wide range of themes (allowing your online store stand out).
  • Regular Magento events such as ‘Meet Magento’ shows the popularity of the brand and ensures you that there are no shortage of seasoned Magento developers.
  • Secure with regular security path releases.
  • It is Social Commerce “Friendly” – which means that it allows you to sell on social media platforms using its free extensions.
  • It offers a vast network of existing extensions (both free and paid at the Magento Connect Marketplace – the largest e-commerce app marketplace) to better scale and enhance your online business store. Examples of these include customer loyalty functionality, barcode creation, adding a blog to your store and increase conversion by using Nosto. This free tool tracks unique visitor behavior and offers them items in accordance to their online behavior.

 

CONS:

  • Advanced Enterprise version costs a minimum of $20,000/year.
  • Competent or certified Magento developers are required to ensure that your site will work in accordance to your requirements.
  • Time-consuming given the complexity of the platform.

 

Best Suited For:

  • Enterprise-level merchants/stores with a large volume of products. 
  • Best for building a self-hosted, full-featured eCommece store on your own; which means running a store using your own server and being able to customize it, in accordance to your requirements/preferences.

 

Shopify

enterprise ecommerce platforms

 

Unprecedented in its popularity, Shopify is the software solution to beat as it holds the title of being the “Queen Bee” in the eCommerce platform industry.

 

As one of the more powerful all-in-one ecommerce platform in the market, its supremacy is undoubtedly its simplicity, wherein navigation and functionality is seamless, effortless and easy – even for a non-techie novice.

 

No wonder it’s used and loved by almost half a million online retailers and business owners worldwide.

 

With its ability to easily upload an unlimited number of products, while having complete control over other variants such as your overall inventory, Shopify makes it easy to sell products online by taking advantage of their plug-ins (or add-ons).

 

You can install free plug-ins or purchase paid ones to help boost your sales, enhance user experience and build your brand online. You can also integrate your store to social networks namely Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and use these popular sites to sell your products and further expand your reach.

 

With elegant design templates that executes a distinct look and feel that caters to any storefront theme, Shopify’s regalities extend to its stellar customer service which makes you feel that there is absolutely nothing more that you could ask for, from a one-stop-shop…until you feel the need to grow and expand your store further.

 

Now if this is the case, it is best to check out Shopify plus for it is considered as one of the best enterprise ecommerce platforms today, and is geared towards high-volume and fast-growing merchants

 

PROS:

  • Ability to upload an unlimited amount of products.
  • Offers 24/7 support (via chat, email or phone) including tutorials.
  • A strong base support from the Shopify community to help you with any issues that you may encounter with the platform.
  • An API that can automate the development of an entire store virtually.
  • Easy setup
  • Easy to customize (for developers)
  • Easy to migrate from and to other platforms.
  • Hosted and supported by Shopify.
  • No transaction fees
  • Offers over 100 free and paid customizable plug and play Shopify templates.
  • Basic Shopify pricing costs about $13 a month.
  • Offers “lite plans” for $9 a month (so you can sell to Facebook or install a “buy button” to sell your good to other sites).
  • Social commerce “friendly” – easily set up a store in Facebook, etc.
  • Responsive web design (works well for all devices).
  • Secure and integrated with major payment gateways.
  • SEO friendly and ready
  • Stellar features include – user-friendly interface with a backend control panel that is simple and easy to navigate.
  • trail option
  • No additional fees based on the sales that you generate (which means no bumping you to a higher pricing tier).
  • Mobile friendly and accessible, with fully developed iOS and Android apps, for quick dashboard access.
  • Over 1500 apps (plugins/extensions) to help in the customization and expansion of businesses.
  • Provides native functionality that triggers abandoned-cart-saver email that sends an email to the storeowner when cart has been abandoned (so you can reach out to potential customers that abandoned the cart and usher them to visit the store again).

 

CONS:

  • There is limitation within the framework since it uses its own code language called “Liquid.” This means that customization and additional functionalities comes at an additional fee per month.
  • Checkout page is not customizable (except the logo & the customized CSS changes).
  • Redirects you away from your domain name during checkout process. This means that you have no complete control over your own data.
  • If you use Shopify Payment, you’ll be charged an additional transaction fee for every sale.
  • Offers 24/7 support – with a fee.
  • Not the most affordable platform given its limited feature.

 

Best Suited For:

  • Beginners with not a lot of technical know-how.
  • Small to medium sized businesses with conventional store requirements.

 

WooCommerce

open source ecommerce platforms

Image source: moviestonight.files.wordpress.com

If you enjoy the ease, simplicity and flow of using WordPress, then you’ll appreciate using WooCommerce as your ecommerce platform – provided that your online store doesn’t handle thousands of orders daily.

 

Think of them as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, both owned by Automattic, and basically tied to the hip – since WooCommerce can only work if you have a WordPress account/site.

 

The great thing about this, is that the transition from WordPress to WooCommerce is pretty easy. On top of that, you get to enjoy the same benefits associated with WordPress when you consider using WooCommerce as your ecommerce platform.

 

Most notably, its content driven feature helps your store rank in Google – as long as you produce quality content that goes well with your online business. Moreover, this platform is very SEO friendly given the way it’s Content Management System (CMS) is set-up.

 

Now with a bit of technical know-how, you would definitely choose WooCommerce over hosted platforms (e.g. Shopify and BigCommerce), given the flexibility that it offers. You see, unlike hosted platforms, you can customize your site in accordance to your preferences without breaking the bank (ahem… Magento) – making this one of the most appealing open source ecommerce platforms to work with.

 

As your store begins to grow, you’ll most likely need additional features to further develop it, and WooCommerce does the trick. With a wide range of plug-ins that assists you in creating a seamless and robust online shopping experience, it’s a fact that WooCommerce can “woo” your customers with its seemingly limitless resources when it comes to the enhancement of your overall store image.

 

So if you’re looking to build beautiful and professionally designed store sites for free, WooCommerce would have to be the platform for your business needs.

 

PROS:

  • A free “open-source” plugin for WordPress that allows full customization since you have full access to the code and database.
  • Offers free core features on a self-hosted WordPress site such as its standard blogging page.
  • Easy transition from WordPress to WooCommerce.
  • Easy to set-up (which could take just a couple of hours).
  • Very user friendly – once installed, you will notice that it is similar to web pages in WP, with extra fields such as pricing, product description, sizes, etc.
  • Great flexibility and customization of features such as the creation of affiliate deals (for bloggers), coupon codes, membership products, downloadable items (e-books), etc.
  • Has a built-in analytics system to gather your statistics such as site traffic, orders, conversions and more.
  • Other notably features that you can easily manage includes customer engagement tools; emails, product catalogue, inventory tracking, localization, delivery status, order tracking, tax setting and more.
  • Offers a vast range of WooCommerce store theme designs for your online store; which looks great on all devices.
  • Additionally, many of today’s paid WP themes include a One (1) Click Demo Import feature that allows you to develop the type of online store that matches what you want it to look and feel like.
  • Is Mobile and offers some of the best SEO features (e.g. Yoast)
  • Has the largest library of plugins to easily create customized solutions for the enhancement of your store (especially as it grows).

e.g.

  1. WP Simple Pay Pro – perfect for those selling only one (1) product or service on their WordPress site.
  2. Go Pricing – a pricing table that showcases multiple product options that supports media elements such as audio, image, map or video.

 

  • It’s self-hosted which means that you own and have complete control of your data. It also makes it more cost-efficient (no monthly fees).
  • Great shopping cart and payment gateway features that includes connecting with payment processors like Paypal, Amazon & Strip – which are easy to install.
  • Abundance of quality WordPress developers which makes it easier and more affordable to hire one.
  • A large community of WP developers means more support (especially with regards to technical issues). Plus they continually develop additional add-ons (plug-ins) to further enhance the platform’s capability to deliver additional quality features.

 

CONS:

  • Coined as a much “lighter” ecommerce platform, it may not be suitable for enterprise level stores.
  • Slightly more complicated compared to Shopify given the coding and customization requirements (if any).
  • As an “open source” platform, security issues may be a cause for concern. This means that you need to be vigilant and ensure that your site is secure and is updated all the time.
  • A fee is required if you want a fully integrated and functional WooCommerce shopping cart.

 

Best Suited For:

  • Small to medium size businesses that requires and/or prefers a more customized site.
  • Perfect for web-shops that have a limited product range (roughly, not more than 10K) and are more content driven.

 

BigCommerce

biggest ecommerce platforms

 

As one of the biggest ecommerce platforms today, BigCommerce is best known for selling products in multiple stores – all at once. This means that if you still want to sell your goods in other third party online marketplaces such as Etsy, eBay and Amazon, BigCommerce can help you cross-list your products while maintaining your inventory; whilst noting down all the places that you’re selling to.

 

Considered as the “Complete Shopping Cart Software for Growing Businesses,” it offers an extensive range of features that assures you of having a positive user experience and high sales volume.

 

Now being pitted against Shopify should not come as a shock given its similar features that includes being hosted platforms with an almost identical dashboard and admin panels – which are easy to navigate. Both software also offer prices at the same range except that BigCommerce does not charge transaction fees the way Shopify does.

 

Another reason why BigCommerce is a great alternative to Shopify is that you have the option to do some coding to further enhance your site (and this is something that Shopify cannot offer without additional fees – yet again).

 

Now if you want to do away with coding, editing HTML/CSS as well as the integration of plug-ins, this would not be a problem. BigCommerce is a full-fledged online store which means that it’s easier to create your online store using this ecommerce platform given its comprehensive built in features that is far more advance compared to Shopify.

 

Until recently, one of BigCommerce’s biggest drawback was its lack of themes, but as of August 2017, it now has 7 free themes and roughly 94 paid ones. The good thing about BigCommerce’s themes is that it gives a more fluid and modern twist that enhances the user’s experience.

 

By adding merchandizing features directed towards categorization, plus offering different sized catalogs, it’s easy to see why BigCommerce continues to be one of the behemoths of the ecommerce platform pack – it just keeps innovating itself to help increase your revenue and build your brand image online.

 

PROS:

  • Offers free and paid themes that are responsive and provides a great mobile experience
  • Coding options are available to further enhance your online store.
  • Great Abandonment feature in its Shopping Cart. This allows the shop owner to schedule a series of up to three emails to help win customers back.
  • It has a wide range of features geared towards increasing your revenue.

 

e.g.

  1. Implementation of Google Trusted Stores & Google Shopping Feeds which can turn searchers into customers.
  2. Built-in features such as analytics, coupons, newsletters, gift cards, reviews, ratings, shipping, tax settings and more – helping improve the store’s productivity.

 

  • Easy transfer of product listings from existing online marketplaces (including other ecommerce platforms) to BigCommerce.
  • It is social commerce “friendly” since you can integrate your store in Facebook. Additionally, it can also be integrated in other third party sites such as eBay and Google Shopping.
  • Offers unlimited products, bandwidth and storage.
  • There is no charge for transactions made.
  • Available support to help you with any issues that you may encounter through their modules/guides, educational videos, visual representations and wizard set-up.
  • Offers support such as 24/7 email and chat, though their phone support does come with time constraints.
  • Offer a vast range of plugins that easily creates customized solutions for the enhancement of your store (especially as it grows).

CONS:

  • Lack of free themes (though they do carry an extensive list of premium themes which are customizable) for that unique look that you may want your storefront to have.
  • Significant Cost Increase in its pricing structure. If you make more than $125,000 in revenue, it forces you to upgrade its Enterprise Plan.
  • Falls short on mobile accessibility which means that quick access to your dashboard and making the necessary changes is cumbersome – especially when your business starts to grow.

 

Best Suited For:

  • Best for small- to medium-sized web stores.
  • Ideal for those who want to sell products in multiple stores, all at once.
  • Great platform for non-technical store owners who want a full-fledge store by having access to an expansive list of built in features to help them enhance their online store.

 

So there you have it, the eCommerce platform giants that have proven their staying power and capabilities when it comes to delivering successful, robust, scalable and profitable stores to online retailers worldwide. To get tips on how to find the right web development and design company that can help you find professional and reliable eCommerce web developers that specializes in Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce, contact our recruitment team at Outsourced today.