There are a number of ecommerce hosting solutions available, each coming with their own advantages and disadvantages. Whether you are starting a brand new business and want to get your platform right from the get go or if you have an existing business and think it’s time for a change it is hard to know where to begin. Ultimately, the best ecommerce platform is reflective of the nature of your business, but this guide should help you work out which ecommerce solution is right for you. Here are some of the most popular ecommerce platforms:
One platform is Shopify- an ecommerce solution that was created to enable businesses of all sizes big and small to create a scalable online store. Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms for a reason. It has a range of great features that are extremely useful when it comes to ecommerce. What’s more Shopify makes it possible for almost anyone to set up an online store without the need to have any coding knowledge.
- Simple to set up
- Easy to use
- 24/7 support
- Variety of tools and apps
- Range of payment gateways available (100+)
- Adding plugins can be difficult at times
- Some themes cost extra
- Shopify takes a cut from each sale
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 9/10
Wix is another ecommerce platform, however, Wix was set up with a focus on building high quality content based websites. An example of a ‘content-based’ website include blogs, portfolios for photography and brochure style sites. Since it was first launched, Wix has developed into the ecommerce solution market by integrating payment and selling features.
- Quick and easy to set up and use
- Customisable themes
- Drag and drop functions
- Plugins and apps available
- Drag and drop can be limiting
- Not scalable without third party integrations which cost
- Hard to switch between templates
- Starting plan does not remove ads from your site
- Limited payment gateways (does not accept Apple Pay)
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 6/10
Next on our list of the best ecommerce platforms available is Squarespace. This platform is an all in one ecommerce solution providing website building and hosting. Its pre-built templates make it quicker to create professional looking websites easily with its drag and drop feature.
- Range of professional templates
- Mobile app making editing accessible on the go
- Variety of subscription plans available
- Can be difficult for beginners to navigate
- Changes are not saved automatically
- Does not have more advanced marketing tools and addons
- Only offers 2 payment getaways.
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 5/10
Another ecommerce solution available is ‘WooCommerce’- slightly different to the others we’ve mentioned so far. WooCommerce is an open source platform which was first designed as a way for online merchants on WordPress. After it was launched it became hugely popular due to its ease of use and installation.
- Makes scalability possible
- Affordable and good value
- No limit on customisation
- Does not charge transaction fees
- Not easy to use for beginners
- Coding knowledge is essential to build the store you want
- You may need to pay a developer to use this solution which can become costly
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 7/10
BigCommerce is next on our list of the best ecommerce platform. This ecommerce solution makes it possible to create and optimise an online store. BigCommerce has a number of built in features that make it suitable for businesses of any size big or small.
- A wide range of useful built in features which saves time installing addons
- No transaction fees
- Little variation between themes
- Not very customisable
- More advanced features can be difficult to understand and use
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 8/10
WordPress is a great platform in which 41% of the web is built on. It is used by all kinds of people from bloggers to small businesses to members of the fortune 500. WordPress allows almost anyone to easily create a secure website with a sleek design without the need for coding knowledge.
- Easy to use and set up
- Integrated functionality tools and marketing plugins
- Customisable templates and blocks
- It isn’t specifically an ecommerce builder
- Not all plugins work well together
- Payment gateways extremely limited
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 6/10
Another open source platform that is great for ecommerce is Magento. This ecommerce solution makes it possible for merchants to sell online with a flexible shopping system. With Magento you are able to create a site, design a site, edit content easily and most importantly, have a functionable online store.
- Wide range of themes
- Largely customisable
- Big community providing user support
- Knowledge of coding not essential
- Takes a long time to set up
- Not very simple making it difficult for beginners to use
- Consider additional costs not included with this platform such as website hosting, domain name registration, security, extensions and more.
- Limited payment gateways
Ecommerce Functionality Score: 7.5/10
What is the best ecommerce platform?
After weighing up the pros and cons of a range of ecommerce solutions available it is clear to see which is the best ecommerce platform. Due to its ease of use, scalability, functionality and cost, Shopify wins every time. However, it is important to consider that the best ecommerce platform for your business is totally dependent on the size of your business, your budget, coding knowledge and other wants and needs. Fortunately most of these platforms offer a free trial which will allow you to test out a few options and decide which you feel is most compatible for you and your business.
To learn more about each of the ecommerce platforms mentioned in this article we have put together detailed reports of each. You can view these comparison reports here:
- Shopify Vs Wix
- Shopify Vs Squarespace
- Shopify Vs WooCommerce
- Shopify Vs BigCommerce
- Shopify Vs WordPress
- Shopify Vs Magento
If you need any assistance in setting up, marketing or transforming your ecommerce business please do not hesitate to contact us. We are currently offering a free site health report and 15 minute consultation.