Each ecommerce website will have different needs and priorities, which is why choosing the right platform can be tough because each offers different features. When choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business, one provider can meet the needs of many e-merchants, whilst the same functions could be useless and a potential burden to other ecommerce store owners.
It’s important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each platform so that you can arrive at an informed conclusion, and one that will best suit your business. That’s what we help our clients to do during our initial discovery phase, but today we’ve put that phase into article form.
To help you not to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of possibilities, Foundry Digital’s ecommerce experts have completed an investigation of the pros and cons of a few of the best ecommerce platforms out there – WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify.
As we have discussed in previous articles, WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. Indeed, it currently powers 30% of online stores with its appealing user-friendly set up. Unlike Shopify that has control of your store, WooCommerce gives you a choice of your hosting provider, domain, therefore ultimately letting you decide on your ecommerce identity. Furthermore, its WordPress foundation can be appealing as design is simple and flexible. Its templates and layout flexibility offer efficient and attractive design set up and also allows a blog to accompany your shop, meaning that you can extend your audience.
Whilst this vast array of features has huge potential to make WooCommerce a long-term monopoliser of ecommerce website plugins, for larger businesses Woo may not be the right fit. Whilst products are not limited, it somewhat lacks high-end features that would be appropriate for big business. WordPress is undeniably simple to use, but can it communicate everything a giant corporation wants to communicate? Big companies may be deterred from using it for fear of feeling limited by its weakness in handling big orders.
Therefore, it may be large companies that need to think more carefully before selecting WooCommerce. However, whilst it may have its set backs for ecommerce giants, there are pros including analytics and fast loading time that will attract small businesses who are interested in seeing their business grow, and in keeping impatient ecommerce customers happy.
As far as numbers are concerned, Magento is a top dog of ecommerce providers. They host over 200,000 live stores, attracting companies with their unlimited flexibility and the opportunities for customisation. Magento can help you get the highest rankings on search engines through its advanced SEO features, something that can determine who becomes the leading ecommerce business within a certain industry.
Indeed, their benefits do seem appealing to larger companies, with its limitless number of products, and its multi-store management and expansion possibilities. However, such features will not necessarily be of interest to smaller ecommerce websites.
In fact, smaller stores should think before being drawn in by Magento, as whilst the fully responsive design templates they offer sound great in theory these can be expensive to execute. Indeed, a lot of technical skill is needed to develop design with Magento, typically making employment of a skilled programmer or developer necessary to make the most of its features. Whilst employing such individuals is worth the benefit of impressive design for big brands, for smaller businesses this can be an unaffordable and therefore illogical solution.
Therefore, whilst Magento’s features have resulted it being the ecommerce solution for the big boys of online shopping, the perks should be carefully weighed up with the cons before smaller businesses commit.
Finally, Shopify is the smallest of providers investigated here. But just because this ecommerce platform is small, doesn’t mean it should be disregarded. It powers about 4% of ecommerce sites in comparison to the 30% that WooCommerce have been chosen for but it certainly has its selling points.
Shopify offers an all-in-one package which is ideal for small ecommerce businesses. As a third party platform, it takes control of your store, setting up the domain and hosting details for you. This is a sensible option for individuals who consider such tasks mundane, and ones that they’d rather hand over to somebody else. Similarly, the product and order management are both included, and the preset popular payment options make Shopify appear a provider that offers ease. Indeed, it doesn’t demand technical skill in the way that Magento does, but its attractive interface and hundreds of mobile responsive design themes still ensure you have a professional and eye-catching site.
As each ecommerce business owner has their own vision of what an ecommerce solution provider should offer, for some stores Shopify is not the right fit. For instance, Shopify’s ownership of your store may not give you as much control as you want over how your business reaches your audience. Its limited compatibility with payment hosts may also deter companies from selecting Shopify if the host they prefer cannot be integrated.
So, all features of Shopify’s all-in-one, ready-made package should be considered before deciding whether they are suited to your store’s needs.
Well first and foremost, it is important to recognise that there are pros and cons to every ecommerce platform out there. What seems the ideal provider to one business can be a poor fit to another, so don’t follow the crowd when making your choice.
Comparing the features of the available solutions will give you a clear view of which platform is best suited to your ecommerce store’s needs. Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce can each be reliable solutions when paired with the right business. This investigation has highlighted the differences in technical ability that ecommerce solutions can require, with Magento needing programming expertise and Shopify being very easy to use. Therefore, your tech ability, and whether you will be employing someone specifically to develop the store, should be a key concern.
Whilst Foundry Digital’s team of ecommerce experts recommend that you do your research into the best ecommerce solution for you before choosing a provider, remember you can easily change platform if your business needs change, or you find that the one you select turns out not to be a perfect match.
and calculate your budget and timescale