The increase in online shopping worldwide has led to the mass adoption of ecommerce platforms for many businesses. Creating a virtual storefront for your company makes it more accessible and convenient and allows you to reach consumers all over the world. However, there are now hundreds of platforms to choose from and it’s become more difficult due to the sheer number of options. Here are some of the pros and cons of the most popular platforms on the market today; Magento, Shopify and Woocommerce.
With 250,000 businesses worldwide, Magento is currently the most used ecommerce platform in the world. Of the other options, Magento is the most customisable. When using the platform many changes can be made to the source code of the site allowing for a very personalised final product, tailored specifically to your needs. This platform also allows for integration with third party sites as needed.
Magento is a feature-heavy platform that offers much more than the average ecommerce site. Businesses can opt for international support, with more languages and currency options, a variety of payment methods, marketing promotions, SEO, Google analytics, multi-site management and much more. Magento is an all-encompassing platform that can cover any of your business needs. Due to the popularity of Magento, the community is huge meaning that there is constant support for any questions and concerns. It also has mobile capability, which is necessary in today’s mobile reliant world. As your business expands Magento expands with you. The fully scalable platform means that once your sales and inventory begin increasing, you are able to customise your platform to grow with you. It is the best platform for a high-quality website and ideal for larger companies looking to easily manage all aspects of its ecommerce efforts.
Being the most sought after platform, Magento is a more expensive option than most if opting for the enterprise version. However, most people opt for the community version which is free and is often more than enough to meet the needs of most businesses. If your business explodes and you want to really take advantage of the platform the enterprise version is then an option but will cost significantly more. Magento also requires a great deal of technological know-how, meaning a team of developers is necessary to ensure you are getting the most out of the service and to make sure everything runs smoothly. That being said, once you have a dev team in place the platform really has no limits on what you can accomplish and offers the greatest flexibility to meet your needs.
Shopify is another popular option in the ecommerce industry. It is considered one of the easiest platforms to set up, even for people with no technical background. There are hundreds of templates to choose from, which can be customised to an extent. The site also offers 24/7 email and phone support to help with set up and maintenance. This is a much simpler platform that is ideal for small companies and first time ecommerce sites.
Shopify provides unlimited bandwidth and transactions, meaning it is a scalable platform that can accommodate your growing needs. Businesses can customise the platform using apps and integrations to meet personal company needs. There is now a Shopify Plus option, which offers over 40 migration tools as well as launch management, making it a simple transition. As a multi-channel platform, Shopify can be accessed from many third-party applications to increase sales and brand loyalty.
While Shopify is a simple platform that continues to grow in popularity, it does have a few setbacks. Most significantly, Shopify uses its own markup language called “liquid” which the average person would be unfamiliar with. This means it would require some extra work to maintain or the hire of a Shopify expert to manage those aspects. Another con is that the platform is not internationally friendly, offering fewer language and currency options which makes it primarily useful for those based in the US or UK. The checkout feature is more difficult to customise and transactions are required to be done via the in-house payment processor at Shopify. These issues can be a deal breaker if your business is interested in international expansion or full customisation, but the added bonus of the Shopify app store and plethora of themes could outweigh the cons for smaller local companies. Lastly, there is no free option with Spotify. Depending on the level of package you go for, there is a monthly fee and then a percentage per transaction.
Woocommerce is an ecommerce plugin built specifically for WordPress. This means that the platform is simple to use for previous WordPress users and that it is easily added to a site created previously on WP. Woocommerce is free, secure, customisable and easy to use.
Due to the large WordPress community, Woocommerce naturally has plenty of community support. As an open source platform, having the support and resources of the community helps to quickly resolve any backend or front end issues as they arise. Woocommerce also allows for an infinite number of products and categories which accommodates business growth. Being coupled with WordPress also makes Woocommerce excellent for content marketing goals with easy blog implementation.
While there are plenty of theme options to choose from, customising the theme can be an issue with Woocommerce. The themes are individually programmed, meaning that customisation varies from theme to theme. This makes it much more difficult to program to your specific needs. Another problem occurs due to the frequent updates to WordPress. Occasionally the updates don’t apply to the plugins immediately and the delay can make Woocommerce operate unusually. Woocommerce is not an all-inclusive ecommerce management platform. As a plugin, you may find the service lacking a lot of additional features offered on both Magento and Shopify. It is also important to keep in mind that while Woocommerce is a free plugin, additional features cost more and in order to get the most out of the plugin you may end up spending much more. Lastly, out of the box Woocommerce seems to come with its share of SEO bugs and is not the most SEO friendly, even when built by a ‘WordPress developer’.
Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business is vital to the success of your brand click to read. Whether you choose to go with the all-encompassing but more technical option Magento or opt for an easier and simplistic platform like Shopify, there is a perfect platform out there to meet your company needs. Big or small, businesses are finding that ecommerce platforms have changed the industry for the better and if you haven’t already you should invest in a platform.