Nowadays, starting and running an online business can be exciting and lucrative. There are hundreds e-Commerce solutions available which enable the creation of any type of virtual store. Some of the solutions allow merchants to start selling goods in minutes, while others require a bit more time to setup and get ready for the sales process.
However, every product has its buyer. That’s why it is hard to point to an obvious leader amongst the stand-alone shopping carts, API platforms and CMS plugins for e-Commerce. Each solution has its own distinctive features that can meet the needs of many e-merchants. At the same time, these same functions will be useless and even annoying to other store owners.
So, let’s take a deeper look at pros and cons of a few of the best e-Commerce solutions — Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. It will be interesting to find out which is the best!
Magento – the Platform for e-Commerce Professionals
Magento is one of the most popular shopping carts with around 200 000 live stores. Its platform provides merchants with unlimited flexibility and customizability, all without needing to pay a cent. The platform is open source and can be easily changed thanks to open access to the core code.
But let’s ask ourselves a simple question – who can really use it well? The answer, Magento is a solution for highly skilled programmers, so if you are not a programmer then you should get ready to pay for development. Due to this, the platform is usually used by larger businesses that can cover the high costs with a much lower percentage of their revenue.
Let’s take a deeper look at the distinctive features of Magento shopping cart:
It is an open source solution so E-merchants can choose a hosting provider that will meet their business needs on their own. Be sure to first check Magento’s system requirements before selecting your hosting plan and provider.
There is no limit on the number of products or categories allowed, so this shopping cart can easily handle much larger businesses.
An eye-catching design can be created with one of the fully responsive and extremely customizable templates. Nonetheless, any minor changes to that template require a high level of technical skills.
All available payment gateways and shipping options can be added to the store with the help of third party modules. PayPal and a few others are provided by default.
Dozens of product and order management features are provided by default. Moreover, bulk actions provide store owners with the ability to manage catalogues quite quickly.
Merchants can start efficient promo campaigns with the help of Magento marketing options. Advanced coupon code system is an example of a useful tool to increase sales.
This platform can help you to get the highest search engine rankings through its advanced SEO features which are included out of the box. Moreover, there are numerous extensions which will expand your options.
Magento can be integrated with WordPress, which means merchant can easily start a blog to help boost traffic.
Huge online retailers and famous brands recognize Magento as a key to their success. It offers tons of features out-of-the-box that can be expanded with thousands of third-party modules. Moreover, this solution provides a unique feature – multi-store management. Merchants can manage several stores with completely different products, customers, languages, currencies, taxes rules, etc. from a single admin panel.
Magento is the perfect solution for store owners who have been around the block in e-Commerce. It provides almost unlimited possibilities for growth and customization. The platform is free to download, however, custom development can be quite expensive. None the less, the comprehensive set of features provided by Magento will meet the needs of the most unique businesses.
Shopify – an Ideal Solution to Start With
Shopify powers around 100,000 live stores and provides store owners with notable benefits:
There is no need to bother with hosting providers, domain names, server settings, parameters, etc. Merchants can launch a store in a few minutes without any programming skills.
There are no limits for the number of products for all pricing plans, except for the cheapest Starter Plan, which allows up to 25 products. Some other advanced features can also be limited.
There are 100+ mobile responsive design themes, plus users are provided with intuitive Theme Settings and advanced HTML editor for deeper customization. Simply choose the most convenient way to create an eye-catching frontend design.
The most popular payment gateways and shipping options are pre-set and available out of the box.
Intuitive product and order management features provide advanced editing and bulk actions for fast and easy inventory administration for day to day management.
Efficient marketing features are also pre-built into the shopping cart and allow store owners to create coupon codes and create prominent promo campaigns.
It provides efficient SEO options, so you don’t have to worry about low Google rankings.
Shopify can be integrated with WordPress so merchants can easily start their own blog. Posting product reviews or useful articles can increase site traffic from target audience.
All different types of Shopify extensions can be found in the Shopify app store, and offer a unique opportunity to automate much of your business.
According to TopTenReviews, Shopify is recognised as one of the easiest to use platforms for e-Commerce. This shopping cart is paid, but is a ready-to-use solution for a reasonable price. Transaction fee variates from 2% for cheaper pricing plans to 0% for the most expensive.
However, even non-technically skilled merchants can start selling online using this shopping cart. In addition, merchants get high priority Customer Support that can help to resolve any issue that might arise.
Shopify is one of the simplest and most intuitive shopping carts on the market. If you wish to start selling online, but aren’t technically skilled – this is exactly what you need. Launch a store, add products, enable payment gateways, and shipping options, and you are good to go.
WooCommerce – an Ace in the Hole
Launched in 2011 as a free open source e-Commerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce has seen steep growth. BuiltWith statistics shows that currently the platform powers a bigger number of smaller sized live stores than Magento – the world famous engine. In 2014, WooCommerce was named the Technology Growth Award Winner.
WooCommerce provides all required features for selling online, supplementing the other CMS opportunities. Here is a short overview of the benefits of WooCommerce:
It is a lightweight open source plugin with a simple installation process. Merchants can make a choice of hosting provider, domain name, etc. on their own and due to their business needs.
The number of products and categories are not limited, but the platform has a lack of high-end features to handle very large stores.
Because WooCommerce is an open source software, there are hundreds of design themes available from the third parties. WooThemes, the plugin’s developer, also provides fully compatible and easy customizable templates.
Basic shipping and payment options can be changed and expanded with the help of a dozen of third-party free and paid plugins.
Powerful product and advanced order editing features which are provided out of the box can make store daily store management really easy.
Coupon codes are provided by default. Email marketing features, which can be added with the help of plugins, can really help boost sales.
WordPress is known for its SEO friendliness, so your WooCommerce store can easily get on the top of search engine results. Moreover, dozens of advanced SEO plugins can help you to achieve the highest search rankings.
Merchants can also start their own blog powered by WordPress which is a great way to increase traffic. The benefit here is that store management and blogging opportunities are controlled from one WP admin area.
The most common users of WooCommerce are WordPress website owners, who wish to sell their products with minimal effort. However, merchants can launch the store from scratch and select one of the responsive templates, designed especially for WooCommerce. Furthermore, almost all e-Commerce features that are available for other high-end solutions can be added to this shopping cart with the help of available plugins.
The shopping cart offers one of the easiest admin panels, as compared with other open source solutions. So, if you wish to start an online retail store with minimum investments – WooCommerce is the platform that you’re looking for.
To sum up, all of these are powerful and reliable tools for e-Commerce.
Magento is the most flexible shopping cart, but requires a high level of technical skills.
Shopify is an extremely easy-to-use paid solution that limits some high end features.
WooCommerce is a free and flexible plugin for WordPress site owners who wish to sell the goods.
To make the best decision, be sure to analyze your business needs and tech knowledge before moving forward. Keep in mind, you can easily change your e-Commerce platform if you feel your business needs another set of features to grow.