Searching the best eCommerce platform for your online store is a big decision, and one that’s going to have a long-term effect. When picking the final lineup, we have decided to focus on a couple of factors: popularity, overall reputation, features, customer service, pricing and ease of use. The following are some of the best eCommerce platforms we have chosen, which will be the focus of this guide:
- Shopify (www.shopify.com)
- WooCommerce (www.woocommerce.com)
- BigCommerce (www.bigcommerce.com)
- Magento (www.magento.com)
- Wix eCommerce (www.wix.com/ecommerce/)
While Shopify is probably the first name most people think of when they hear “eCommerce”, the actual leader of the eCommerce space is WooCommerce.
According to these numbers from BuiltWith.com, WooCommerce has ~25% market share overall – across the entire web. Does this mean that WooCommerce is, perhaps, indeed the best eCommerce platform of them all? The answer is not that simple.
A quick glance at Google Trends over the past 5 years tells a couple of interesting things:
Thus, Shopify just gets more and more popular in this regard constantly. They promote themselves in multiple places, new people get exposed to the brand every day, and they then research Shopify on the web.
It doesn’t make Shopify the best eCommerce platform out there, but it surely makes it one to pay attention to and examine more closely.
Let’s start by looking through the more noteworthy features of each of our eCommerce platforms. The thing to realize right away is that each of these eCommerce platforms offers basically the same set of “crucial eCommerce features” – features that are essential for every online store. So, where should we put out utmost attention?
Well, when picking the best eCommerce platform, we should probably focus on things that are more niche in their nature, yet can mean the world to your business. That being said, the complete list can be huge. So, we urge you to do your own research and in-depth comparison once you have a general idea of the platform you would like to try.
3. Designs Available
Next, let’s talk about the best eCommerce platform when it comes to design customization. Not only ready-made designs, but also the overall abilities of the platforms when it comes to customizations and adjustments of what the final store looks like.
The result shows that BigCommerce seems to be offering a bit more design customization possibilities than Shopify. There are just more elements that can be adjusted or fine-tuned about the way your store looks and feels. Meanwhile, Wix eCommerce also does well with its Dev mode.
At the end of the day, though, we still consider Shopify’s interface a bit more friendly, and we get the impression that Shopify’s designs need slightly less work before you get them looking 100% right.
But then, there’s also the big elephant in the room, WooCommerce, and its compatibility with thousands of WordPress themes. For this alone, we decided to put WooCommerce in the top place.
4. Customer support
We truly understnad that running an eCommerce store is a complicated thing, and you might come a point where you need help with whatever platform you choose.
Overall, Shopify, BigCommerce, or Wix eCommerce are probably the best eCommerce platform options if you value being able to easily get support.
5. Ease of use
There are two key characteristics that come into play when examining the ease of use aspect of our best eCommerce platform:
- How easy it is to get started and build an online store from scratch.
- Whether the user can reliably handle everything on their own, without any outside help.
When it comes to the overall summary of the ease of use, we have to give it to Shopify, Wix eCommerce, and BigCommerce as the best eCommerce platform. As great as WooCommerce and Magento are, a beginner user will simply not be able to set those platforms up on their own. However, you can find many help on the internet on how to start wiht WooCommerce and Magento.
One important thing to point out is to not get overly excited with WooCommerce’s seemingly attractive pricing. While, yes, the platform itself is free, and all the components needed to make it operational are free, you might need a number of paid extensions to get some helpful additional features.
Shopify charges 2% per transaction if you want to use an external gateway such as PayPal instead of Shopify Payments. On top of that, PayPal also charges their own fee, in the range of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Those things can add up, and especially if you’re just getting started when every penny counts.
As of now, BigCommerce and WooCommerce don’t put any fee on top of your transaction. So, the only fees you pay are those by your payment gateway.
We love WooCommerce for the fact that you can get the bare-bones working setup only for the price of hosting. Simultaneously, love Shopify for their Lite plan.
- If you don’t have a website yet, and you’re a small- to mid-size business – go ahead and try out Shopify. It’s interfact is the easiest to use, the setup is simplest of all the platforms featured, and it gives you the full package of features needed to build and run a successful eCommerce store.
- If you have a WordPress website and you simply want to start an online store as an addition to it, there’s very little point in choosing anything other than WooCommerce. Under the hood, it’s just a WordPress plugin that you can install and keep everything under one admin panel. WooCommerce doesn’t lack in any crucial eCommerce area. You’ll be thrilled using it as the pillar of your online store.