In today’s fast-moving world more and more people are saving their time and money by shopping online. Retail stores can no longer provide competitive prices compared to online shops due to a multitude of additional costs that they incur by having a physical store. Online, visitors can enjoy shopping anytime they want even when they are on the go and with SSL certificates and different payment options, security is longer a concern when looking to buy things online.
But from the perspective of small or medium business owners, who never had an online shop but like to start their own eCommerce website, the main question is – which website platform is the best to sell products? Especially when there many plenty of them to choose from. There is no “perfect platform” and each CMS (content management system) has pros and cons suited to various We will try to cover the main details of the most popular eCommerce platforms, with all their pros and cons, price and upgradability options.
According to the market share studies, these are top 5 most popular eCommerce platforms on the internet:
- Squarespace Online Stores
To begin with, WooCommerce is not a stand-alone eCommerce platform but is a plugin for the WordPress based websites which was initially released in 2011. Since then, it has become the most popular selling platform on the internet. It is completely free, and you can extend the functionality with many other free or paid plugins. The WordPress and WooCommerce community is huge which means that you can always get a helping hand from other users on the internet.
These are the pros and cons of WooCommerce:
- Highly Customizable – You don’t need to be a developer to change basic things
- One of the Best platforms for SEO
- Supports additional extensions and integrations via plugins
- There is big community of developers to hire
- No direct support. You need to browse forums or ask developers for help
- Hosting can be quite expensive
- As there are so many addons, you may run into security problems if you’re not careful
- Woocomerce has only basic features and you need to install plugins or write code yourself for some simpler eCommerce functionality.
Squarespace Online Stores
Squarespace is software as a service platform where you can host your personal websites and online stores. It has simple user interface where you just drag and drop items and you don’t need to have any coding skills. Squarespace is really for those, who want to have a good looking and fast website while not having to deal with hosting or security problems.
- Professional web store designs
- Good support
- Fast loading websites
- Ideal for small businesses
- In order to sell items, you need to buy business plan for at least $18
- Not highly customizable
- Doesn’t support third party payment providers
Shopify is another SaaS (software as a Service) platform. You just pay the monthly fee and you can start selling your goods online. It is really very simple to set up shop as there’s a drag and drop builder. Shopify also has a market where you can buy themes and addons. Most of these are paid ones with few quality free options.
- Stores webpages load very quickly
- Very easy to set up
- Supports multiple channels and social selling
- Addons can be expensive
- You need a professional developer for additional features
- Not the best platform for SEO
Magento is another eCommerce platform which is used by big brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Moschino. Magento is a really powerful and highly customizable platform where a highly skilled programmer is needed for the setup and maintenance. It has a huge community of developers who are willing to work for you or answer question in public forums. Magento is free but it has paid plans for enterprise solutions for large businesses.
- Feature rich and scalable platform
- Great speed and SEO
- Huge community
- Expensive to maintain
- Need a developer for any customization
- No direct support
Prestahop is one of those platforms that can be hosted locally, or you select Prestashop Ready plan for a monthly fee and not worry about the hosting. Even though the platform itself is free, you will find additional costs adding up over time as most of the plugins and themes are expensive to create the shop you truly want. Also, you need to have programming skills if you want to customize your shop on your own.
- Open Source, can download for free
- User Friendly Interface. Ecommerce shop is quite easy to manage thanks to its interface
- Big Community. There are thousands of people using this platform, that’s why you can always expect help from other users in forums
- Freemium platform. Basic features are free, but extensions can be costly
- Need to buy hosting or buy monthly plan
- No direct support from the creators of Prestashop
In Conclusion, nowadays almost everyone can start their eCommerce business on the internet, you just need to pick the most suitable platform. There are many different options to choose from, but if you are a small-medium business owner and you want to start selling your goods on internet, we would recommend choosing WooCommerce. All you need is a fast hosting and domain name – everything else is very easy to manage, even for beginners. If you find you need help with your eCommerce store, you can also drop us a message below and we’ll help you build or customize your site at a price that suits your budget.