If you're starting an ecommerce business (or already run a brick-and-mortar business that you are looking to expand online) choosing the right ecommerce platform can quickly become painfully confusing.
With such a wide range of platform choices (and prices) out there in the wild, how can you be sure that the ecommerce software that you choose is right for your small business?
To save you the headaches, we've narrowed it down to our 3 favorite options below:
(in no particular order)
Shopify is the "grandaddy" of easy-to-use ecommerce platforms, offering a comprehensive list of features that allow you to manage and grow your business, all in one place.
Some of the best features include:
Customizable online storefront
Simple payment processing
Comprehensive reporting and analytics
Customer relationship management system (CRM)
With monthly plans ranging from $ 29 – $ 299, the platform is reasonably priced, albeit on the slightly more expensive side.
Downsides of the platform lie primarily with the payment processing fees, with an additional transaction fee being applied if you choose to use a payment processor besides the proprietary Shopify payments system.
Additionally, many of the extensions available in the app store come with a price tag, which can begin to add up over time.
Overall, the Shopify platform has been designed with beginner users in mind, allowing almost anyone with a basic tech knowledge to run their own ecommerce site with ease.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
WooCommerce is developed to run specifically on WordPress, as a plugin, rather than a stand-alone platform. This allows you to turn almost any WordPress website into a fully functioning eCommerce platform, and best of all, its free!
Simple WordPress integration
Basic inventory management
Auto tax calculation
Mobile app access
Now, although the basic WooCommerce plugin itself is free to use on any WordPress site, be aware that this lacks much of the additional functionality of the more costly rivals. If you want to add functionality such as Stripe payment processing less common shipping options, it will cost extra.
Overall, WooCommerce is a great option if you already have a WordPress website setup, or are looking to build your new store on the platform and want a free and easy to use system.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
BigCommerce is another heavy-hitter in the ecommerce space, boasting big-ticket clients such as Ford and Toyota in their portfolio.
As a small business ecommerce platform, BigCommerce is a major contender for first place, with an extensive feature set, and easy integrations with multiple sales channels.
No transaction fees
Responsive storefront themes
Multi-channel integration (Sell through eBay, Google, Facebook etc)
Excellent tech support
On the downside, despite not charging transaction fees like most other platforms, BigCommerce instead places a "Sales threshold" on each of their plans. This means that if your store exceeds the nominal revenue figure, you are forced to upgrade your plan to accommodate. Although not an unreasonable model, it is something to take into account.
Overall, BigCommerce is a feature-rich platform that gives store owners a powerful arsenal of tools at a similar price point to other major players. Their unique "no transaction fee" model can be a cashflow saver for new startups!
The Bottom Line
With such a mind-boggling array of ecommerce platform choices on offer, it's important to focus on your budget, target audience, and business goals when choosing the platform to build (or migrate) your ecommerce business.
Keep it simple by listing your main requirements, then review the top 3 – 5 options, starting with the trusted big names. By whittling down the options and staying focused on your needs (whilst ignoring the "bells and whistles" you will find it much easier to find the platform for you.