As you might know, the eCommerce platform is a software application giving the e-businesses an incredible ability to develop their online store, manage and promote their products, handle orders and shipments, control stock quantity, create sales report, and so on. However, it’s not easy for merchants to select a proper platform for their eCommerce website development projects. Up to now, there are… more than 100 eCommerce platforms on the market, both open source and license. In order to help you make the right decision, I will introduce you top 10 popular platforms and analyze their advantages and disadvantages. Also, I will pick out the best one from my point of view.
Before figuring out the most prevalent eCommerce platforms nowadays, it’s worth noting that there is no platform that can meet all businesses’ sizes and needs but the most suitable platform for certain needs. Therefore, you should take this list of eCommerce platforms for reference and then select a proper one for your firm.
10 Prevalent eCommerce Platforms In 2019
It goes without a doubt that Magento is on the top of the list of the eCommerce platform, with a numerous number of users around the world and preferred by many big brands (e.g.: Huawei, Nike, Ford, Olympus, Christian Louboutin, Liverpool F.C, Burger King, Vizio, Fox Connect, Pepe Jeans, Rebecca Minkoff…).
Magento provides us with two editions: Open Source (free, formerly Community) and Commerce (annual fee, formerly Enterprise) and two versions: Magento 1 and Magento 2 (highly recommended).
There are a lot of reasons for choosing Magento as a solid base for your eCommerce development:
- Full essential eCommerce functionalities
- High flexibility and customization
- Responsive and mobile-friendly default theme
- A wide range of third-party plugins and themes
- Top-notch support from Magento officials and community
- Multiple languages and currencies are supported
- Continuous updates and improvements
On the other hand, Magento has several limitations. Since this is a professional and highly technical eCommerce platform, most of the merchants will not be able to build their websites yourself but hiring Magento developers with the cost from $2,500. Moreover, all of the updates to the latest versions also need the help of the programmers to apply on the site.
In general, Magento can meet the needs and budgets of both small and large eCommerce businesses. If you are a startup, going for Magento 2 Open Source might be an ideal option. Also, you should look for an offshore Magento development company in Asian countries (e.g.: Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, India…) to achieve your dream website at a reasonable price.
The second amazing platform for eCommerce website development that we want to mention is Canadian-based Shopify. Up to now, it has been empowering more than 600 thousand online shopping stores worldwide. People can’t resist Shopify for the following reasons:
- 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Easy to use and quick to set up
- 100 available templates (free & on purchase)
- Powerful eCommerce features
- No need for strong technical knowledge
- Quality support via multiple channels
- Integration with over 100 payment gateways
Needless to say, Shopify is a wonderful option for the beginners – small eCommerce website development that has no need of more than 100 products on the store. It takes an insignificant effort and cost (from just $29/month) and time to start an e-business. If Magento is a complicated dish that you have to spend a lot of time to cook, Shopify is similar to an instant noodle.
However, there are some disadvantages of Shopify that you should pay attention to. This platform does not require a large budget right from the beginning, but in the long-term, it might matter, especially if you want to equip the site with more advanced features. Besides, you might be charged a fee (percentage) on every single transaction in your site.
Another popular option for eCommerce website development is BigCommerce, trusted by more than 55,000 stores including Toyota, Clarks, Ben & Jerry’s, Skullcandy, Bliss World, Woolrich, Cargill, and so on. The number of BigCommerce has experienced considerable growth in recent years.
Similar to the two previous platforms, BigCommerce provides us with a wide range of useful functionalities for:
- Products/ orders/ customers/ marketing management
- 15-day trial
- Hosted e-commerce solution
- No transaction fee
- 40 payment options
- Responsive themes (free or paid)
- Easy integration with social networks
- A lot of user guides
- High level of customization with multiple APIs
As far as we know, BigCommerce requires a certain level of technical knowledge to set up the site due to many complex built-in features. Therefore, it might not be a good choice for the starters. Apart from it, some people are not in favor of BigCommerce due to the following cons:
- Difficult to build a site with the marketplace model
- Just a few options of free themes while the premium ones are expensive
- Cost from $29.95 – 249.95 monthly
It seems that BigCommerce is more appropriate for large eCommerce businesses.
When it comes to drag-and-drop online store builder, it would be a mistake without mentioning Wix. In spite of not being a specialized e-platform like Magento, Wix still provides an array of fundamental eCommerce functions to get you started.
Here are the highlights of this platform:
- The eCommerce plan for small businesses cost $16.50 per month
- Simple to use and set up
- More than 500 templates
- Available image library
- Good option for small firms
- Highly customizable design
- Manage the store via Wix mobile app
- SSL certificates
- Fully hosted
On the contrary, Wix has some weaknesses:
- Limited eCommerce capabilities
- The storefront design can’t be changed after publishment
- Hard to be scalable
Owing to all of the above, we believe that Wix is made for the eCommerce website development projects with a small scale.
If showy and creative website design is what you are looking for, let’s take Squarespace into your consideration. This eCommerce platform will give you a bank of impressive themes and templates with a range of quality eCommerce tools from promotions, sales, inventory and product management. To be more specific, there are full standard options like bulk product upload, inventory management, coupons, shipping, SEO configurations, blogging, abandoned cart management, default SSL, etc. Moreover, the platform has already been integrated with Shipstation.com.
Compared to another drag and drop website builder, Squarespace defeats Wix in terms of the number of products allowed to sell. You will be able to sell unlimited items on the store.
On the flip side, Squarespace has some constraints that you should keep in mind:
- It’s less user-friendly than other platforms
- Heavily depend on in-house features
- Limited shipping and payment solutions
- No marketplace for advanced plugins
- Restricted customization ability
- Monthly payment, starting from $18/month
- 3% transaction fee
In our opinion, like Wix, Squarespace targets small to medium eCommerce businesses but requires a technical background.
Another drag and drop eCommerce website builder appears in this list, which is Volusion. Many people say that Volusion is a “hybrid” of Shopify and BigCommerce platform with the following features:
- 14-day free trial
- Cloud-based and hosted solution
- Allow connection with eBay or Amazon
- Easy to integrate with social networks
- Useful payment options (PayPal, Stripe, AmazonPay, ApplePay)
- No transaction fee
- Amazing insight reports
- 11 free responsive themes
- 24/7 support
Nonetheless, many merchants decline using Volusion because of:
- Less user-friendly
- Impossible to sell digital products
- No blogging
- Pay $99 to have an SSL certificate
- Pay $15-135 on a monthly basis
From our perspective, Volusion would meet the needs of eCommerce SMEs.
Like Magento community edition, OpenCart is a free and open-source platform for eCommerce website development, which offers almost everything you need to start an online store. Moreover, these platforms share many similarities, for example:
- Unlimited number of products
- Allowed different product categories and sub-categories
- Multiple product types and currencies supported
- Informative admin dashboard
- Highly customizable
- Extensive range of themes and extensions
- Lots of integrated payment gateways
- Free SSL certificate
At the same time, OpenCart has some drawbacks related to expensive plugins, limited marketing, and SEO features, bad for scaling, and so on. That’s why this eCommerce platform is not really interested in by large online stores.
Again, let’s discover another famous website builder that enables you to create an incredible eCommerce store: GoDaddy.
From our experience, this is one of the most easy-to-use platforms. You can start selling your products just after 1-hour setup. How can it enable you to do that?
Well, GoDaddy applies the Artificial Intelligence Design (ADI) technology that will help you to create a unique store based on your answers for a set of questions.
Besides modern ADI technology, you can enjoy powerful email marketing tool of this platform.
However, like other platforms, there are downsides when using GoDaddy:
- Just a few payment options
- Only one premium plan
- Low level of customization
- No advanced eCommerce features
To sum up, GoDaddy can satisfy the e-businesses that need to build to build their website instantly with minimum effort and no complex requirements.
Regards eCommerce website development for SMEs, Yo!Kart is worth your consideration, especially when you want to develop a multi-vendor/ language/ currency website (marketplace). The merchants are allowed to take control over their source code with the lifetime license.
Moreover, they can benefit from 12 months of free support and a lot of detailed user guides and video tutorials. Not yet, this is an immensely mobile-friendly eCommerce platform. The cost of startup package is affordable ($250) included hosting.
Some limitations of Yo!Kart eCommerce platform that we can’t ignore are the lot of difficulties when customizing the site.
The last eCommerce platform that we want to introduce is WooCommerce, a familiar name when it comes to eCommerce website development. Thousands online stores are using this platform due to its wonderful capabilities:
- Highly secure payment gateway
- User-friendly admin panel
- Endless products and categories
- Plenty of third-party modules and themes
Since WordPress has been empowering millions of websites on a global scale, WooCommerce also gained trust from e-commerce businesses. However, there are many disadvantages when selecting this platform for your store. Almost all of the features are not provided by default but installing extensions. For instance, you want to add configurable products, you need to find a plugin; you want to add more languages and currencies, you have to install a plugin, you want to add zoom function on images on the product page, again a plugin is required. On the other hand, all of those features are Magento defaults.
So, Which Is The Best Platform For Your eCommerce Website Development?
As I have mentioned before, there would be no “one size fits all” eCommerce platform but the most suitable one for a certain need, scale, and budget of the business.
If you want a solid foundation that enables you to start small but expand easily in the future and fully provides eCommerce features, Magento is no doubt the best choice.
If you want to build a unique and immensely creative store while your number of product is low, Squarespace is a good idea.
If you don’t have a lot of time for eCommerce website development, GoDaddy can make you satisfied with a few hours of setup.
If you have already had a WordPress website and want to go eCommerce, WooCommerce is not a bad option.
Hope that you can find a proper eCommerce platform for your business among our recommended list!