Whether you’re just starting off in the e-commerce world or a veteran of online sales, knowing which platform to use is a must. After all, you wouldn’t build a shop in town with shoddy architecture, would you? The same goes for e-commerce platforms, which come in a variety of sizes, benefits, and drawbacks for both sellers and consumers.
While there are dozens of platforms you can choose in your quest for e-commerce dominance, this list has been narrowed down to the most recognizable names. As an aside, Amazon FBA will not be discussed in this analysis, as it will be given its own breakdown in a later article. With that said, the following platforms will be compared:
With WordPress becoming one of the standards among website building over the years, it became natural for the company to branch out to cater towards online sellers. Launched in 2011, WooCommerce is the website builder’s free plug-in for e-commerce users or simply those who need a quick and easy checkout option on their page.
Having such a strong backer as WordPress means that your e-commerce site will have strong SEO results, and you can’t beat its free installation on the website. However, it does become rather pricey when you factor in additional add-ons through Bluehost (as little as $6.95/month for basic hosting). This may not seem like much, but additional add-ons over time results in additional small charges that would otherwise be covered with another platform. WooCommerce also does not handle processing by itself, which requires another source such as PayPal.
With that said, it is the ideal choice for those who intend to use WordPress as their de facto website source.
This Canadian e-commerce platform prides itself on having “everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person.” Compared to the previous platform, Shopify is based on a tiered subscription service, including:
A basic plan for $29/month plus 2.9% and 30 cents/transaction.
A Shopify plan for $79/month plus 2.9% and 30 cents/transaction
An advanced plan for $299/month plus 2.4% and 30 cents/transaction
A Shopify Plus plan for $2,000/month or more and 2.15%/transaction
This pricing plan allows for quite a bit of customization based on your experience level and the volume you may be anticipating. At its basic level, you receive a free SSL certificate, unlimited file storage and product uploads, fraud analysis, and 24/7 support. If you’re just starting out, this may be the plan for you.
On the other hand, it does have weak SEO performance compared to platforms such as WooCommerce and weaker customization at the expense of an easy set-up process. For users who want to go above and beyond in terms of their site’s exposure, Shopify may not be for you. Yet for those of you who look to use drop shipping as your means of fulfillment, Shopify may be just what you need.
Founded in 2009 with roots in the heart of Texas, BigCommerce also offers a tiered payment service depending on your needs. However, their plans include:
$29.95/month for a Standard Plan
$79.95/month for Plus
$249.95/month for Pro
While this may be somewhat expensive for some, they do offer a longer 15-day free trial to tinker with the benefits. Perhaps one of the best features of the site is the multi-channel selling that can occur across sites like Facebook, eBay, and even Amazon. This allows you to promote your business with authority, and the increased SEO customization aids in that endeavor.
In terms of appearance, BigCommerce boasts elegant designs, even surpassing WordPress for theme choices. Such strong choices do come with a drawback: loading times that are inconsistent at best. A diminished user experience because of load times could result in customer frustration or apathy.
Regardless, additions such as real-time inventory tracking help make BigCommerce the premier choice among popular brands and businesses.
Squarespace has grown from an obscure CMS to a popular midroll advertisement choice among YouTube personalities like Binging with Babish. As a result, it made sense for the website builder to tap into the online seller market with its ecommerce option.
At first glance, you may be blown away by how impressive the websites look, from stunning templates to great ease-of-access for users and creators. The pricing is not hard on the pocket, as their plans range from $26 – $40 with varying levels of features included, such as no transaction fees or abandoned cart auto recovery.
On the downside, there are limitations to where you can sell using Squarespace. Amazon integration is not possible, drop shipping is not present, and the lack of customer service support over the phone can be a hassle in an emergency. The glorious visuals also hamper the speed on both desktop and mobile devices.
Squarespace’s e-commerce platform may have some work to do in terms of diving into the world of online selling, but it has quite a head start already.
How can you beat free, especially if you’re selling online? Ecwid answers that question and more with their unique ecommerce platform.
As mentioned, its strongest selling point is that it’s free (though they too have tiered monthly plans that go from $15 to $99). It requires no transaction fees, advertising across multiple social media websites, and SEO tools once you venture into their paid plans.
The free plan is certainly a draw, but it does have drawbacks. The product limit for the first plan is a measly ten items, which can hamper you if you are looking to diversify your inventory. Customization is also lacking in this area, at least compared to stronger visual sites like Squarespace or BigCommerce.
Despite this, Ecwid has one major feature that surpasses the others: a demonstrably strong multi-platform presence. As a plug-in, it can be used on sites such as Wix, Tumblr, Weebly, and even the aforementioned Squarespace and WordPress sites. For a free platform, it shows that price isn’t everything.
Found an e-commerce platform you like? Start building your business today and see how it can be enhanced even further with the fulfilling powers of 3rd Eye Logistics! Schedule your free consultation and watch your e-commerce vision unfold.