When starting an online business there are many different platforms and tools to choose from each with their own unique benefits. I want to cover the 4 most popular platforms and try to pinpoint why you should choose each one.
The four main platforms are Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and Magento.
- Integrations with social media sites, WordPress blogs,
- Easiest setup imaginable, including purchasing a custom domain name
- Own Apps Store with hundreds of apps
- 24/7 support
- A transaction fee for every sale (standard with all ecommerce platforms)
- URL structure is not ideal for SEO
- It is very widely used, so there is a huge support community
- A wide variety of themes and plugins
- Great for SEO because it is a part of WordPress, which is second-to-none in terms of search optimization
- Many themes to get your store to look and feel different
- Sometimes WooCommerce plug-in does not meet with WordPress updates. I have run into periodic issues because of this
- Content doesn’t always look right in the browser by default
- Site maintenance is the responsibility of the storeowner since there is no support or hosted solution
- Requires some code on occasion to get things to look as you wish
- Hosting and domain are included in the cost
- Great knowledge base
- High SEO performance
- Not many apps (compared to the competitors)
- A small selection of free themes
- Annual sales threshold for the each plan
- A lot of built-in features
- Large user and developers community
- Scalability (suitable for selling 10 or 10000 items)
- Tons of ready-made extensions available on Magento Connect
- Support is only available for the Magento Commerce solution, which is costly
- Due to its large size, should only be hosted on dedicated servers only
The size of your business and your plans for the long term will all play a major roll in which platform you ultimately go with so choosing the right one from the beginning is very important.
Since switching to another platform may lead to headaches and heavy expenses, it is vital to make the proper decision at the very beginning.
There are use cases for nearly every ecommerce platform. Here are some questions you should answer before choosing the right for your online store:
- Do you feel comfortable with managing your domain and hosting or is it better to turn to hosted platform? If you don’t feel comfortable, Shopify is the best solution, as it’s easy as pie.
- Are you tech-savvy or is it better to choose user-friendly solution? Shopify is best for the non-techies.
- Is search optimization essential to your plan? I’d recommend WooCommerce or Magento for stores that require Googlers to find their product organically. If you don’t know what search optimization is, your store probably doesn’t need it
- How big is your business?
- How large is your budget for building and upkeep? If you have a small budget you may want to go with WooCommerce as it is a free platform
Based off these questions you should be able to choose the right platform for your business