Over the past few years, consumers have made a rapid move towards the online space to purchase products. But this has not been easy for business owners as there’s a lot of competition for them.
A majority of ecommerce websites are built on traditional models that are either pure software as a service (SaaS) or self-hosted platforms.
Confused between the two? Not sure which one will work best for your business?
Read on to find out the differences between the top 5 ecommerce platforms and how to choose the best for your business.
With more than 55,000 stores using BigCommerce, it currently holds a reputation for being the most prominent ecommerce software provider.
With versatile customization options and a powerful content management system (CMS), websites on the platform are easily scalable. It allows users to sell across multiple channels – including WordPress-powered content sites, social commerce platforms, mainstream ecommerce marketplaces and even offline – while managing everything business-related in one consolidated place.
Compared to other platforms, BigCommerce works on a headless commerce model. Thanks to a series of APIs, third-party platform integrations and a hosted SaaS-based site management solution, this model allows merchants to separate their presentation layers and ecommerce platform to attain higher flexibility in content management and delivery. Using this model is beneficial in several ways like development efficiency, seamless integration, and improved optimization.
Even though this platform offers limited free theme options, there are a multitude of premium themes available. However, premium themes are not free and that’s the main drawback for some people.
So if you want to start with a hassle-free website that is available with integrated plugins, then this one’s for you.
Shopify was founded in 2004, and they have always been several steps ahead when it comes to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the ecommerce market.
The easy-to-use platform allows their customers to establish their brand online easily. Customers can register a custom domain name and choose one of the most suitable themes for their business. The platform also supports all the popular payment gateways and has an unlimited bandwidth.
Another impressive feature of Shopify is its ability to integrate a chatbot into a website on their platform. According to a survey conducted by Oracle, around 80 percent of sales and marketing leaders have either used or plan to use chatbots by 2020.
Therefore, choosing Shopify as your platform to launch your ecommerce business is not a bad choice.
The biggest drawback of using this platform is the additional transaction costs. For instance, if you don’t use Shopify payment options, it will cost you additional transaction fees. You are also required to pay extra if you want to add practical extensions to your store. Their own coding language, Liquid, also requires investment if you want to customize it for your use.
Magento is an ecommerce website platform that was released in March 2008. Open-source software, the platform is highly reliable, scalable, and flexible. The platform is available with a large array of features that make it easier to integrate with readily available plugins and apps.
Magento suits the needs of various industries and sectors with its easily customizable features. It allows users to transform their customer experience completely, reduce costs, and track inventory sales metrics. Users can also automate repetitive tasks with the Magento dashboard.
The platform is easy to use, which, in turn, makes it easy for users to launch their website as well as reduce business costs and manual effort.
Magento-based websites require users to have a basic understanding of programming. The complete absence of programming knowledge would make it difficult to use the platform. What’s more, Magento is built as a self-hosted solution, which means that to use it, merchants need to install it on their own servers, so it’s hardly a turnkey solution for entrepreneurs who want to dabble and experiment.
Another big drawback is the price. Although their trial version is available for free, their enterprise version does not come at an affordable price. And if you have no programmers in-house, be prepared to shell out some extra money for third-party programmers.
So if you are running a small business with no plans to expand your services, then Magento may not be the right choice for you.
WooCommerce is not a new name in the world of ecommerce. It is used by many people because it is available as a free WordPress plugin. Armed with a shopping cart and a secure payment gateway, the platform is also mobile-friendly.
The platform offers a wide range of features to users and allows merchants to enable additional features by installing third-party plugins. This makes it a preferred choice among the ecommerce business owners.
According to the latest statistics updated on WooCommerce‘s website, the platform has been downloaded by around 49,720,724 users and is used by over 28 percent of all online stores.
Although WooCommerce is available for free, there are a variety of hidden costs involved. For instance, integrating the shopping cart requires an additional investment.
The platform’s design and features are not very user-friendly, which means it’s really only a great fit for trained individuals who have an extensive understanding of WordPress. The lack of scalability is another major issue. Getting more products, sellers, and customers into the platform’s database has also been known to lead to slower performance. In simple terms, if you want to take your online business to the next level, then WooCommerce may not prove to be the right choice.
OpenCart is an open-source ecommerce platform that allows users to easily manage their online stores. The platform is available with features that allow you to quickly add or manage new products and process orders.
With an easy-to-comprehend user interface, the platform is also mobile-friendly and allows users to access the admin panel on their phones.
According to the latest statistics from BuiltWith, around 446,094 ecommerce websites currently use OpenCart as their ecommerce platform.
While the best part of using OpenCart is the minimal cost, it does have a number of drawbacks. The platform requires additional plugins to deliver optimum performance even for basic functions like SEO.
What’s more, there is no provisioning for caching in this platform. Enabling caching and improved performance requires the addition of another extension.
OpenCart doesn’t allow you to freely customize, either. So if you are planning to expand, you might face some limitations with this platform.
Make a Smart Choice
Each of these platforms has distinct features and benefits. Collectively, they suit the varied needs and requirements of ecommerce business owners. Therefore, it is important to analyze the needs of your business thoroughly before choosing any of these platforms.
What do you think about these ecommerce platforms? Which is best at meeting the changing market demands? Which of these would you choose? Comment below to let us know.
Gaurav Sharma is the Co-founder of Attrock, a result driven Digital Marketing Agency. He’s a certified Google Analytics and Adwords specialist who regularly contributes to reputed publications like the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and many more. He leverages his experience and knowledge as a digital marketer to help influencers monetize their efforts and eCommerce and SaaS companies grow their revenues. When he isn’t inspiring his team of devoted individuals to achieve more, he can be found globe trotting, sampling all that the world has to offer