Almost anything you have to sell can be purchased by customers through eCommerce today. It can be a substitute for a brick-and-mortar store or an incredible, digital enhancement that gives your customers more ways to buy from you. You know you have great products and are ready to share your products with customers. However, with so many options for eCommerce, the process can be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at a few of the top eCommerce platforms to help make the process less challenging. I will share the pros and cons of each to help make your decision to get started easier.
WooCommerce is one of the top eCommerce platforms when looking at market share. It is the primary eCommerce platform that is used with WordPress sites. WooCommerce was created by Automattic (the same creators as WordPress) which makes WooCommerce a great choice for adding eCommerce to a WordPress website.
- Easy to add to a new or existing WordPress site
- Stores can use the base WordPress blog
- Can be heavily customized by a web developer
- Large number of free & paid plugins to extend base functionality
- SEO friendly
- Updates are released on a regular basis
- WooCommerce is technically “free,” but most stores require a large number of both paid and free plugins to achieve desired functionality which can quickly increase costs
- Limited amount of included payment options, other payment options require paid plugins
- Updates are the responsibility of the store owner unless using a managed service
- Integrating with other channels (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Amazon) requires additional plugin beyond the base WooCommerce plugin
Shopify is another top eCommerce platform in terms of market share. It is highly recognized in the world of eCommerce and used by millions of businesses worldwide. Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution and is cloud based, which allows for the managing of your eCommerce store from anywhere. Shopify offers plans that start at $29 per month with a free 14 day trial.
- Easy set-up for a new eCommerce user
- Security updates are handled by Shopify as part of the paid monthly subscription
- Wide range of storefront themes to choose from
- Large number of apps available to extend basic functionality
- Sync product catalog with Facebook & Instagram for creating ads and shoppable posts
- 24 / 7 support and knowledge base
- Using a payment processor besides Shopify Payments will incur a transaction fee of up to 2% on top of credit card processing fees (i.e. Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.Net)
- Integration with live shipping rates such UPS or FedEx is only available with Shopify Advanced Plan that starts at $299/month
- Limited base functionality leads to the need for many additional apps to achieve desired results
BigCommerce is another hosted eCommerce solution with a monthly subscription. BigCommerce has a new page builder feature that allows for design customizations without the need for a developer. The optimized one page checkout and SEO tools for optimizing page titles, descriptions, and URLs make BigCommerce a great platform for starting your journey into eCommerce. Plans start at $29.95 per month with a free 15 day trial.
- Security updates and maintenance are handled by BigCommerce as part of the paid monthly subscription
- No additional transaction fees for using the payment processor of your choice
- Easily scale to next level of options without having paying a developer to install new apps or plugins
- Option to sell on multiple channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon
- 24 / 7 support and knowledge base
- Cost of monthly plan can increase as online sales increase
- Theme selection not as large as Shopify themes
- Abandon cart features are not included as part of the standard level of features and require an increased monthly plan
- Blog features are very basic and does not compete with the blog features of WordPress
Square is an eCommerce, website and POS (point of sale solution) in one which makes getting started simpler. With Square you can manage your physical and digital store with one system. There is an option to begin with a free plan and just pay transaction fees of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
- Square is hosted solution so all security and maintenance updates are handled as part of
the monthly subscription
- Square Online integrates directly with the Square credit card reader of Square POS (point of sales)
- Low entry point to get started with eCommerce
- Integration with Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest
- Options for online ordering with pickup and delivery settings at built into the platform
- The free plan does not allow for a custom domain name
- Square branding will be displayed on the free plan
- No option for product reviews with free or professional level
- Basic product set-up without options for detailed customization
We have covered a wide array of options to help you find the perfect eCommerce platform for your business. If you are ready to move forward and start your eCommerce journey, and are looking for an authentic, transparent online marketing partner, we would love to talk with you further. Contact us using our online form or give us a call at (320) 587-8974.