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E-commerce platforms: Decide what’s best for your business.

Ecommerce platforms: Decide what’s best for your business

Almost anything you have to sell can be purchased by customers through e-commerce today. It can be a substitute for a brick-and-mortar store or an incredible, digital enhancement that gives your customers more ways to buy from you. You know you have great products and are ready to share your products with customers.

However, with so many options for e-commerce, the process can be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at a few of the top e-commerce platforms to help make the process less challenging. I will share the pros and cons of each to help make your decision to get started easier.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the top e-commerce platforms when looking at market share. It is the primary e-commerce platform that is used with WordPress sites. WooCommerce was created by Automattic, the same creators as WordPress, which makes WooCommerce a great choice for adding e-commerce to a WordPress website.

Pros

  • Easy to add to a new or existing WordPress site
  • Stores can use the base WordPress blog
  • Can be heavily customised by a web developer
  • A large number of free & paid plugins to extend the base functionality
  • SEO friendly
  • Updates are released on a regular basis

Cons

  • WooCommerce is technically free, but most stores require a large number of both paid and free plugins to achieve desired functionality which can quickly increase costs
  • Limited amount of included payment options, other payment options require paid plugins
  • Updates are the responsibility of the store owner unless using a managed service
  • Integrating with other channels (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Amazon) requires additional plugins beyond the base WooCommerce plugin

Shopify

Shopify is another top e-commerce platform in terms of market share. It is highly recognised in the world of e-commerce and used by millions of businesses worldwide. Shopify is a hosted e-commerce solution and is cloud-based, which allows for the management of your e-commerce store from anywhere. Shopify offers plans that start at $29 per month with a free 14-day trial.

Pros

  • Easy set-up for a new e-commerce user
  • Security updates are handled by Shopify as part of the paid monthly subscription
  • Wide range of storefront themes to choose from
  • A large number of apps available to extend the basic functionality
  • Sync product catalogue with Facebook and Instagram for creating ads and shoppable posts
  • 24/7 support and knowledge base

Cons

  • Using a payment processor besides Shopify payments will incur a transaction fee of up to 2% on top of credit card processing fees (i.e. Stripe, Paypal, authorize.net)
  • Integration with live shipping rates such as UPS or FedEx is only available with Shopify Advanced Plan which starts at $299/month
  • Limited base functionality leads to the need for many additional apps to achieve desired results

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another hosted e-commerce solution with a monthly subscription.   BigCommerce has a new page builder feature that allows for design customisations without the need for a developer. The optimised one-page checkout and SEO tools for optimising page titles, descriptions, and URLs make BigCommerce a great platform for starting your journey into e-commerce. Plans start at $29.95 per month with a free 15-day trial.

Pros

  • Security updates and maintenance are handled by BigCommerce as part of the paid monthly subscription
  • No additional transaction fees for using the payment processor of your choice
  • Easily scale to the next level of options without having to pay a developer to install new apps or plugins
  • Option to sell on multiple channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon
  • 24/7 support and knowledge base

Cons

  • The cost of a monthly plan can increase as online sales increase
  • Theme selection is not as large as Shopify themes
  • Abandon cart features are not included as part of the standard level of features and require an increased monthly plan
  • Blog features are very basic and do not compete with the blog features of WordPress

Square

Square is an e-commerce, website and POS (point of sale solution) that makes getting started simpler. With Square, you can manage your physical and digital store with one system. There is an option, to begin with, a free plan and just pay transaction fees of 2.9% + 30p per transaction.

Pros

  • Square is hosted solution so all security and maintenance updates are handled as part of
    the monthly subscription
  • Square Online integrates directly with the Square credit card reader of Square POS (point of sales)
  • The low entry point to get started with e-commerce
  • Integration with Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest
  • Options for online ordering with pickup and delivery settings at built into the platform

Cons

  • The free plan does not allow for a custom domain name
  • Square branding will be displayed on the free plan
  • No option for product reviews with free or professional level
  • Basic product set-up without options for detailed customisation