What eCommerce System Should I Use

What eCommerce System Should I Use?

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There are a lot of different eCommerce platforms to choose from  Each has advantages and disadvantages to consider.  Some are best for small businesses, others for large corporations.  Some can be created with no coding, others require development.  Some can be up and running in hours, others can take months.

The great thing is that you get to choose.  Options include:

3dcart, BigCartel, BigCommerce, Ecwid, FoxyCart, Jimdo, LemonStand, Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop, Shopify, Squarespace, Volusion, Weebly, Wix, WooCommerce, ZenCart

For this guide, we have narrowed the selection to five for you to consider:

WooCommerce Pros and Cons

According to Builtwith, WooCommerce is the leader in eCommerce, used by the top one million global websites which account for 26% of the market (Shopify is next with 21%).

WooCommerce takes WordPress and turns it into a premier eCommerce store.  If you are looking to do lots of custom work on your website, WooCommerce is the top choice.  If you have an existing WordPress website, you need to consider WooCommerce.

Both WooCommerce and WordPress are free.  You can install them and start using them right away; however, you will have to pay for extras like hosting and plugins.  An extensive selection of plugins is available, and WooCommerce is also highly customizable, allowing you plenty of flexibility in the design of your online store.

There are lots of videos, documentation and community support online that can help you build your WooCommerce website. However, you may actually save yourself some time and frustration by getting help from an experienced person or team.

WooCommerce Pros

  • 100% customizable
  • Leverages WordPress, which is the best platform for SEO
  • Multi-channel selling, including social media
  • Over 50,000 plugins available – to handle whatever design or task requirements you have
  • Many marketing options and integrations
  • Extensive community support resources

WooCommerce Cons

  • For quality development and troubleshooting, you will probably want a good developer if you are doing a serious store
  • Limited scalability for high volume stores
  • Minimal support available directly from WooCommerce
  • Cost of plugins (only some are free)
  • The more plugins you use, the more the website speed is impacted.

We don’t suggest WooCommerce for most DIY folks.  We don’t recommend WooCommerce for stores selling more than 10,000 products.  WooCommerce is a great platform for most small- to mid-market stores; it can provide the exact functionality and look you want.



Shopify Feature Image

Shopify is well-established with a very large user base.  According to Shopify, they have over one million users.

Out of the box, Shopify offers just what you need to run an effective online store.  It is feature-rich and enables you to customize your design and add features you need.  Shopify allows you to sell physical products, digital products and services, as well as drop-ship products.

Shopify is very easy to use for most people, including those who don’t know anything about programming.  The learning curve is quite short.

Shopify Pros

  • Fast website speed and AMP compatible
  • Very easy setup
  • Multi-channel selling, including social media
  • Point-of-sale option
  • Easily accepts multiple currencies
  • Excellent support, including phone support

Shopify Cons

  • Additional fees if the Shopify payment processing is not used
  • Cost of apps can add up quickly
  • Checkout process can’t be customized
  • A rigid structure for URLs
  • Limited blogging functionality

Shopify is an excellent option for those who want to get started quickly as well as for larger companies that need to scale up.  Apps can provide additional functionality, although at an added cost.



Magento Feature Image

There are over 175,000 websites that are using Magento today.

Magento Commerce is one of the top three platforms for eCommerce (WooCommerce and Shopify being the others).  Big brands like Nike and Procter & Gamble use it.  If you have a large budget and high expectations, it can be an excellent choice.

Magento is free for smaller websites; however, there are costs involved for development, because of the complexity and vast customization available.  Magento has an abundance of features that almost no other eCommerce platforms have.  Its multi-country translation capabilities can make it an ideal platform for international companies.

Magento Pros

  • Very Scalable
  • Highly customizable
  • Strong SEO
  • Global Platform
  • Lots of users and community support
  • Mobile site optimizations

Magento Cons

  • Takes a long time to launch
  • High cost of ownership and high level of QA required, due to its complexity
  • Requires skilled Developer
  • Requires a dedicated server to perform well

For a company that has – or plans to have – a large online store, Magento can be an excellent choice.  If selling to multiple countries in multiple languages, you should consider Magento.  The scalability and high degree of customization enables serious marketers to employ the eCommerce strategies necessary to separate them from the pack.



BigCommerce Pros and Cons

With more than 90,000 online stores, BigCommerce is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in the world.

BigCommerce is an all-in-one eCommerce platform used by both small and large companies.  Its easy to use and doesn’t require you to know anything about coding when creating the online store.  The 15-day free trial is an added incentive to try it out.

BigCommerce allows you to sell in places outside of your store, including Ebay, Amazon, Google Shopping, Facebook and Pinterest.  They do have a unique practice of charging extra as a business grows; once your store grows to $125,000 or 2,000 sales whichever is first, you pay the top fee of $199 a month.  For every 1,000 sales after that, you pay another $80 per month.

BigCommerce Pros

  • No extra fees for processing transactions
  • Easy-to-manage shipping
  • 24/7 chat support
  • Multi-channel selling, including social media
  • Flexible and scalable

BigCommerce Cons

  • The more you sell, the more user fees increase
  • Inconsistent website speed in consecutive studies
  • Limited blogging platform
  • No one-click selling option
  • Unable to integrate with other platforms, such as WordPress
  • Free themes are limited to seven; the others are expensive, starting at $170.

BigCommerce is a bit too complex for someone who wants to get started in a day and is not ideal for a store that has a lot of custom requirements.  The speed issue with BigCommerce is something that needs to be considered as speed impacts conversion and search engine rankings.  speed issue is something to take seriously since it’s an important factor in conversion.   BigCommerce can work for many stores;  just make sure you consider the extra fees as you grow.

While The Story has chosen not to create new online stores with BigCommerce, we are experienced and able to enhance and optimize existing BigCommerce sites.



Squarespace Feature Image

Over 100,00 website use Squarespace with Commerce.

Squarespace is a top choice for a simple website with only a few products.

Squarespace has definite limitations, but it’s attractive, takes very little time to build and can be an excellent choice for the DIYer who has few requirements, limited time and a small budget.

Squarespace is a drag-and-drop platform that’s extremely easy to use.

Squarespace Pros

  • Very easy set-up
  • Very attractive designs
  • Quality SEO
  • Good quality blogging
  • Solid support via chat

Squarespace Cons

  • Page speed is poor Limited with marketing automation
  • Backend functionality is difficult to use
  • No app store for more features and functionalities

If you want something quick and professional-looking, and you don’t have a lot of requirements or budget, Squarespace could be your ideal solution.


Which One is For You?

If you’re looking for a very simple online store, the best choice may be Squarespace.  If you’re looking for something more sophisticated that will align with your marketing plan, the choices can be more complex.  The Story can help you identify your eCommerce needs and recommend the ideal platform for you to use.  Contact us for a complimentary consultation.


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