Are you thinking of getting into e-commerce? Good. Are you planning on using hosted e-commerce platforms for your online store? That’s also good but take a moment to read this e-commerce platform comparison first.
Entering into e-commerce is no joke. As of this year, e-commerce sales accounts for 10% of all retail sales. Ten percent is arguably a small percentage but it actually amounts to $2.35 trillion! Even so, a lot of e-commerce ventures are still unprofitable and eventually fail. There are a variety of reasons and circumstances that lead to an e-commerce site’s failure but one cited is the selection of the wrong e-commerce platform.
It’s not just about design and cost. There are lots of things to consider in selecting the right e-commerce platform. In this e-commerce platform comparison, we will take a closer look at the advantages and limitations of five e-commerce platforms: BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce.
BigCommerce vs Magento vs Shopify vs Wix vs WooCommerce
What features should you look for in an e-commerce platform? There are three main things to consider:
- Features – does the platform’s features fit your specific needs?
- Integrations – the platform should allow the easy integration of extensions, modules, plugins, etc.
- Pricing – your budget should have an allowance not only for the hosting fees but also for other fees and expenses.
Another thing to consider is the platform’s structure in context to the size of the e-commerce site you want to build.
BigCommerce claims to be the number one e-commerce platform. BigCommerce websites are customizable and scalable. This e-commerce platform also takes pride in powering websites all over the world. They have a showcase of some of their most successful clients.
BigCommerce Features :
Some features that BigCommerce excels at are with form fields and its streamlined marketplace integrations. It also has an average of 99.99% uptime and three times higher mobile cart conversion. Other features of note are:
- Responsive and streamlined templates
- Highly customizable and testable website design
- SEO friendly
- Easy migration to the platform
- Comprehensive e-commerce CMS
- Acceptance of a wide variety of payment providers
- Inventory and order management
- Syncing of inventory from social media and e-commerce marketplaces
- Multi-level security for PCI compliance
- Built-in e-commerce tools (ShipperHQ, Avalara, etc.)
BigCommerce Integrations :
BigCommerce allows integrations with marketing channels, apps, and third-party providers which can also include APIs. A lot of integrated services are platform partners. These services range from email marketing, merchandising, accounting and tax, etc. These integrated services are either free, on a free trial or billed monthly.
BigCommerce Pricing :
There is a 15-day free trial but the Pro plan saw a price increase from $199.95 in 2016 to $249.95 this year. BigCommerce claims that it only costs a quarter of the cost in platforms like Magento. It also doesn’t have additional fees for hosting, maintenance, and updates.
The platform’s features look quite appealing but there’s always a negative side to everything. Even though BigCommerce is packed with features, it is still on the expensive side of e-commerce platforms. Also, it advertises that it is for all sizes of business, the platform itself is leaning on businesses that are already scaling rapidly. Though the brand had recently updated, the user interface still needs some work.
Magento e-commerce is already renowned but in this e-commerce platform comparison we’ll find out if it really lives up to its reputation. Magento’s open source and agile platform powers more than 200,000 e-commerce stores which include popular brands like Samsung and Ford.
Magento Features :
Some of the commonly cited features of Magento are its Mobile Commerce, up to 500,000 product inventory, and the platform’s capability to handle more than 80 orders per hour (with 99.99% uptime). Another selling point is their 24/7 support. Magento also has specialized products and solutions for specific industries and business needs. General product features include:
- Fully responsive and customizable templates
- Integrated mobile HTML5 and native apps
- SEO friendly
- CMS for informational landing pages
- Support for different languages and currencies
- Multi-site management
- Seamless order management
- Seamless importing, exporting, and management of inventories and customer information
- Admin permission and user roles
- Built-in marketing, promotions, and conversion tools
Magento Integrations :
Magento e-commerce boasts of over more than a thousand high-quality extensions and integrations. Extension categories include accounting and finance, marketing, content, customization, etc. Extensions are partner services and either come free or as low as $25.
Magento Pricing :
Magento has a free plan in the form of its ‘Community Edition’. This is for businesses that earn less than $500,000. Premium plans or products (Enterprise Edition and Enterprise Cloud Edition) regularly reach up to $18,000 per year. This license fee increases this year to $24,300 (this is only for Magento 1.x Enterprise stores).
Even with the extensive and well-organized feature categories, Magento license fees are still quite expensive. Most of the time, there’s a need for extensions and software customization wherein you need to shell out some money so things won’t actually 100% free. The software customizations also require some deeper tech knowledge.
Shopify e-commerce is arguably the most well-known among budding entrepreneurs. It offers different ways/locations to sell: in an online store, Facebook shop, retail package, among others (coming with hundreds of e-commerce apps) . Shopify also powers stores from a variety of industries. As of this year, about 400,000 businesses run on the Shopify e-commerce platform.
Shopify Features :
One of Shopify’s most notable feature is the POS (Point of Sale for retail stores) System. This system allows retailers to seamlessly integrate Shopify Payments on their store whether they are receiving the payment in person or online.
- 12 free templates and 100+ professional themes
- Strong branding and customization options for online store design (includes HTML and CSS editors)
- SEO and marketing (email and social media)
- Mobile commerce ready
- Comprehensive shopping cart tools and security features
- Acceptance of about 70 payment providers
- Store, customer accounts, and order management
- Inventory management and product organization
- Level-1 PCI compliance and 25-bit SSL certificate
- Built-in analytics tools
Shopify Integrations :
There are lots of third-party integrations available in Shopify. Most of these integrations are e-commerce plugins and tools. There are plugins for accounting, email marketing, platform migration (importers), digital downloads, etc. These plugins start free to about $300 a month depending on the features.
Shopify Pricing :
Shopify has flexible pricing ranges. There’s also a 14-day free trial that allows access to the basic features. After the free trial, you can select a plan and pay monthly without any contracts or setup fees. If you choose to pay for an entire year, you’ll receive a 15% discount.
There are transaction fees for the use of third-party gateways or providers. The fee can reach up to 2% unless you upgrade your plan. There’s also an issue about the limitations in product attributes in the inventory. You cannot add additional details since the attributes are limited to color, material, and size.
4. Wix :
Wix e-commerce excels in visual showcases. Wix.com is basically a cloud-based development platform. They have millions of users worldwide that use their services to create professional-looking websites – for free. The platform has about 500 templates coupled with a variety of interactive tools.
Wix Features :
Wix is available in 180 countries and is constantly evolving. Though it isn’t technically an e-commerce platform, it offers e-commerce features and tools are more than helpful in providing solutions for entrepreneurs. Setup is also easy and doesn’t need complex tech knowledge. There are also video tutorials available to make the setup process easier. Ten of these features are:
- Designer-made templates and large image database
- Drag and drop website builder and Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) technology
- SEO wiz (personalized SEO plan) and SEO analytics
- Mobile-optimized websites
- Contact management and CRM
- Multiple payment solutions
- Social media management
- All-in-one store management (with professional store manager)
- Free and secure hosting
- Form builder and email list
Wix Integrations :
Wix’s Web App Market enables the easy integration of different web services and apps. Among these are form builders, online payment solutions, customer support services, exclusive Wix tools and much more. Most of these apps are free with an optional premium version.
Wix Pricing :
As with other services, advanced features require a subscription fee. Wix’s pricing is competitive but not all-inclusive. The bandwidth limitation is to be expected with free hosting sites. Premium features available are also generalized and do not specifically address any e-commerce needs.
Wix Issues :
The endless options in terms of website design can seem daunting especially if you haven’t yet decided on the look and feel of the website. On the management side, website analytics isn’t available on the free plan (Google Analytics is available in the premium plans). This is somehow expected but there should be at least basic web stats. Another issue is with product attributes. You can only show the size and color attribute which is very limiting.
5. WooCommerce :
They’re not number one but they’re the ‘world’s favorite eCommerce solution’. That’s a unique claim for WooCommerce WordPress plugin. But it could certainly be the favorite of WordPress users since this plugin is free and can be integrated to virtually any WordPress theme. It also claims to power about 28% of all online stores.
Woocommerce Features :
WooCommerce is highly customizable with the option to develop your own extensions in an open-sourced platform. It is scalable and you can sell worldwide. It is ideal for those who to get their e-commerce sites up and running in no time.
- Modern and trendy design with superior user experience
- Integrated marketing and SEO
- Easy migration to the platform
- Mobile friendly
- Comprehensive CRM
- Bundled with PayPal, BACS, and COD capabilities
- Easy digital and physical inventory management
- REST API to control/restrict user access
- Secure, industry leader (Sucuri) audited code
- Built-in analytics and reporting (Google Analytics)
Woocommerce Integrations :
WooCommerce has a UI for the Webhook system that enables third-party apps to instantly and seamlessly integrate with the plugin. WooCommerce also has an Extensions Store where there are about 300 free and paid extensions available in different categories. Extensions have a maximum price of $299.
Woocommerce Pricing :
WooCommerce WordPress plugin is 100% free.
Woocommerce Issues :
The platforms main issues and limitations center on it being a WordPress plugin. Commonly cited are the lack of a drag and drop builder and the separate hosting.
Ecommerce Platform Comparison Conclusion
At the end of the day, it boils down to which e-commerce platform is the best. We all have individual preferences and certainly not all e-commerce stores have the same needs. In terms of price, Shopify & Wix seem the best options. But Wix isn’t an exclusive e-commerce platform and Shopify is more successful in this regards. You can’t also discount Magento and WooCommerce’s popularity and BigCommerce’s comprehensive features.
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