The top 10 eCommerce platforms (Pro’s and con’s explained…)

This article was published on The Edge Search blog. You can view the article here.

It’s no secret that eCommerce is huge right now.

It’s where all commerce is headed, and It is crucial to be a part of if you want to survive and thrive as a business today. 

Not only is it cheaper to run than a traditional brick and mortar store, but it is also more in tune with the technological shifts we have seen with high speed internet, laptops and more importantly, smartphones. 

Not to mention, eCommerce is even more critical for businesses in 2020 due to an unexpected pandemic, so having a safer way to purchase is of utmost importance if you want to last through this crisis. 

So with these important aspects mentioned, you are now probably asking yourself, ‘’What are the best eCommerce platforms to get started?’’. Well you’re in luck, because this article will go over 10 eCommerce platforms you should consider. 

These platforms are: 

  • Magento
  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce
  • Volusion
  • BigCommerce
  • Prestashop
  • Weebly
  • Squarespace
  • 3dcart

The pricing, pros and cons, features, difficulty level and more, will be gone over to help you make a more informed decision for your business. 

Let’s get started!

1.Shopify

Most likely the first platform that comes to mind in the eCommerce space, Shopify has recently been dominating the market. Interestingly enough, Shopify was Founded in 2004, and launched in 2006 by Tobias Lutke, Scott Lake and Daniel Weinand after an attempt at opening a Snowboarding store. They were dissatisfied with the current platforms available, and therefore sought out to build their own, which became the Shopify platform we know today. 

Like what you are reading? Contact me now to discuss your project.

Pricing

$26 (Basic), $71 (Regular), $266 (Advanced plan), $2000+ (Shopify Plus)

Important features

  • Mobile friendly
  • Ability to link your own domain name
  • Optimized for SEO (Formatting, social media, reviews etc…)
  • In depth analytics on more expensive plans, good analytics on basic
  • Perfect for blogs
  • Fairly simple website building 
  • Allows you to directly edit CSS and HTML code if need be

Pros

  • Built with SEO in mind so that you can rank organically
  • Has hosting built-in to the platform
  • User friendly administration area, which can guide beginners in an easy way

Source: Ecommerce Platforms

Cons

  • Product attributes are limited to Material, color and size. 
  • Transaction fee if you don’t use Shopify payments
  • URL structure is not SEO friendly 

Who is this best suited for? 

Shopify can really work for any level of business owner, from beginner to advanced. Beginners will definitely appreciate the templates, and the fairly simple to follow customization. More advanced business owners will like the fact that there is a balance between automating certain features (web hosting, seo), and that they can also open the code and really customize it. In the case that you have an enterprise level company, Shopify Plus will be the way to go, as you will have all these benefits, plus a dedicated account manager. 

How user friendly is it? 

A little less turn-key than Wix, but still very user-friendly. Create your account, select a paid or free theme, customize and publish your store. The options that you can edit are laid out clearly on the sidebars, and uploading a product is as simple as typing the description, uploading the images and modifying the product attributes; this process can be even quicker if you use Oberlo, which is owned by Shopify. 

2.Wix

After securing investments from various venture capitalists, Wix was founded in 2006 by Nadav Abrahami, Avishai Abrahami and Giora Kaplan in Israel.  Recently entering the mainstream spotlight with their online, and even television ads, their unique selling point seems to be their Artificial Design Intelligence and drag and drop features. Wix is truly a platform for people who are not tech savvy, and just want to get started with a professional enough looking website. 

Pricing

Free – $24.90 per month

Important features

  • Many professional looking site templates available
  • Drag and drop
  • Built in photo gallery
  • Wix app market
  • Mobile friendly
  • Secure checkout
  • Membership includes hosting
  • Order tracking
  • Ability to set up tax rates and shipping rates
  • WIX Artificial Design Intelligence (Automated design based on questions) 

Pros

  • WIX has ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), which will create a website for you based on your responses to their questions. You can also customize the website yourself if additional adjustments are needed. 
  • Drag and drop building, which makes WIX beginner friendly. It also has a built-in HTML5 editor, which allows for very specific advanced customization. 
  • The hosting is free, so this is one less headache to deal with of course…

Source: IsitWP

Cons

  • Apparently, the web page loading speed seems to be slower on mobile than other eCommerce platforms. 
  • Possibly can be a bit confusing, with too many options to customize. 

Who is this best suited for? 

New eCommerce owners who don’t want to do complicated customizations that require coding, and are rather looking for a simple turn-key website and eCommerce store. 

How user friendly is it? 

Wix is great for beginners and entrepreneurs who are not fond of overly technical layouts, and are not very picky. Especially with the Artificial design intelligence feature, it doesn’t really get more user friendly than that, as almost anyone can answer questions. If you don’t mind using templates and a simple design, Wix could be a good fit!

3.WooCommerce

If you are a WordPress fan, this platform may be a perfect fit for you. Acquired by Automattic (Owner of WordPress) in May 2015, and developed by Mike Jolley and James Koster, WooCommerce has seen amazing growth, and as of August 2014 was running on 17.77% of eCommerce stores online. This platform may not be the best fit for non-Wordpress users, but it still has many of the same functionalities of most eCommerce platforms. 

Pricing

Free to use, but paid themes, hosting and other costs can add up. 

Important features

  • Owned by WordPress, so if you have a WordPress site it will integrate smoothly. 
  • Flat rate or free shipping is offered
  • Good quality analytics (sales, inventory, add to carts etc…)
  • Create custom marketing campaigns
  • Ability to properly configure tax settings
  • Has multiple payment gateways (Amazon pay, Apple pay, Paypal, Skrill, BACS etc…)

Pros

  • Analytics are of good quality and detailed. You can use filters to understand your conversions on a deeper level. 
  • When it comes to reviews, there is already a built-in option to leave feedback; you won’t need to download an extra plug-in. 
  • Woocommerce will integrate smoothly with your WordPress website, if you already have one for your business. 
  • User-friendly for the most part. 

Source: WooCommerce

Cons

  • Web Hosting isn’t included, so you will have to pay extra for this. 
  • If you don’t use wordpress, you will have to set-up an account, and then install the Woocommerce plug-in. 

Who is this best suited for? 

If you like WordPress and already have an account, Woocommerce can be a good fit for you. It will be easier to set-up compared to using another platform, but just make sure that you have your web hosting and that your store is getting traffic and sales. If this is the case, this platform will help create an efficient and professional online store for your customers. 

How user friendly is it? 

It is definitely user friendly for the most part. There may be some technicalities you may not be aware of if you are not a WordPress user, but it is a fairly simple to grasp eCommerce platform. It offers detailed analytics, and it can be easily customized. If you already have a WordPress site for your business, but you want to use proper eCommerce tools, Woocommerce is the perfect fit for you. 

You made it this far, so you must like my writing! Let’s get in touch…

4.Magento

Founded in early 2007 and released on August 31, Magento was originally developed by Varien incorporated. Initially going through acquisitions by eBay and Permira Private Equity, it was eventually fully acquired by Adobe in mid 2018. This platform is open source, and has much more advanced settings. To date, it has been used by many big companies such as HP and Helly Hansen. 

Pricing

Up to $100,000+ a year.

Important features

  • Mobile friendly 
  • A wide variety of templates available
  • Completely customizable 
  • Ability to do split testing and in depth marketing (Customer segmentation)
  • Allows you to do polls and target promotions to certain demographics
  • Offer specific catalogs to certain customers
  • Add as many product attributes as you would like
  • Wish lists
  • Increased security

Pros

  • The layout and look is very professional. Not to mention, big companies have used Magento, so this could be a clue to what type of quality Magento offers.
  • More than just an eCommerce platform, Magento offers high level consulting services to grow your business. 

Source: Odoo

Cons

  • WIth the pricing taken into consideration, Magento is made for medium sized to large enterprises with big marketing budgets. A small business can use Magento as well, but they would need to have at least a marketing budget in the 5 figures. 
  • It’s complicated. Magento is best suited for a marketing team and web developers working within the enterprise. 

Who is this best suited for? 

Magento is best suited for Medium sized to large scale enterprises. The customization is endless, and there are advanced features available such as customer segmentation, private catalogs, specific targeting and more. Magento would be very useful for a large scale operation with high numbers of revenue. 

How user friendly is it? 

Not user-friendly. This a more complex solution, and will very likely confuse many of its users, especially if they are not familiar with eCommerce platforms and intricate marketing. Magento is made to be used by a marketing team and web developers, who understand digital marketing at a high level. 

5.BigCommerce

Founded in Australia in 2009 by Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani, they relaunched a previous platform of theirs in August of that same year as BigCommerce. Not as popular as some of the big players in the eCommerce field, it still has many of the same functionalities of most popular platforms. Regardless, they seem to have a following, and in July 2020, they made their first IPO. 

Pricing

$29.95 (Standard), $71.95 (Plus), $269.96 (Pro), Custom Quote.

Important features

  • Optimized for SEO
  • Marketing tools included 
  • Allows you to link your own domain name
  • Includes multiple payment gateways for your customers
  • Has the ability to integrate with popular CRM systems
  • Mobile friendly
  • Fully customizable, drag and drop, but you can also edit HTML and CSS code 

Pros

  • Comes with free-hosting, so this is one less headache to deal with. 
  • Fully customizable themes, with a wide variety of themes available. 
  • Drag and drop building; no need for complicated code if you need a simple layout.
  • Analytics are high level, and in depth. 

Source: BigCommerce Support

Cons

  • No free plan available for casual users. 
  • The price can be a bit higher than other platforms. BigCommerce in reality, is an enterprise solution (used by Skullcandy, Ben and Jerry’s etc…), and therefore will charge higher for its services.

Who is this best suited for? 

This platform is well suited for medium sized businesses, or large scale enterprises. In reality, BigCommerce is a middle ground between Shopify and Magento, because it has regular pricing options, but also offers custom business plans with a dedicated account manager. And, as mentioned before, many big brands have used this platform, so this can indicate its potential effectiveness and quality. 

How user friendly is it? 

BigCommerce is definitely more user-friendly than Magento, and it has many of the same features; not to mention it’s more affordable for most businesses. This platform is a good alternative if you have a medium to large sized business, are new to eCommerce, but require more custom needs to fit your business.

6.Volusion

This platform is another one of the oldest platforms on the market, considering that it was founded in 1999. It has a lot of the same functionalities that you would expect any eCommerce platform to have, but it’s unique selling point seems to be its high quality analytics. Currently 30,000 plus eCommerce stores use Volusion, with 185 million orders processed and counting. 

Pricing

$29.00 (Personal), $79.00 (Professional), $299.00 (Business), Custom Quote (Prime).

Important features

  • If you are dropshipping, Volusion has their own app that deals exclusively with U.S suppliers. 
  • When tracking inventory, no need for additional apps; Volusion’s backend is very in-depth. You can also work with suppliers through the platform, rather than use extra apps. 
  • Integrates Google analytics, but also offers good quality analytics itself.
  • Offers 40 credit card processing options, including Volusion Payments (U.S only). 
  • Allows you to redirect the checkout page on your stores domain. This can help your store appear more trustworthy, and it will make tracking conversions easier. 

Pros

  • Has all the features that eCommerce platforms commonly have; it works right out of the box.
  • High quality support and in-depth tutorials are available. 
  • Business plan includes a built-in CRM and Ebay and Amazon integration. 
  • Has an automated deal of the day feature, that will allow you to showcase a particular product with ease.  

Source: Style Factory

Cons

  • A bit more expensive compared to other eCommerce platforms. 
  • Not very user friendly.
  • Doesn’t have a blogging system built-in. If your marketing strategy includes content marketing, you will have to integrate a blog function afterwards. 

Who is this best suited for? 

Volusion is really best suited for medium, large and enterprise sized businesses. If you are an experienced seller with an already successful business, Volusion can offer you more advanced solutions. If you pay a custom price, you will also get a dedicated account manager which will tailor their services to the needs of your business. This is another platform that seems to be a middle ground between Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce. 

How user friendly is it? 

Not very user friendly. Volusion is really made for experienced sellers, who have a team to handle their marketing, website, and have a large enough budget to do so. There doesn’t seem to be much of a value proposition for small to mid-sized businesses, as it is not user-friendly, and has less benefits compared to Shopify, Wix and Woocommerce. This platform is definitely for more advanced users. 

Like what you are reading? Contact me now to discuss your project.

7.Prestashop

Prestashop is a European company founded in 2007, by Bruno Lévêque. Their site says that more than 300,000 companies use PrestaShop currently, and that their mission is to offer the best eCommerce software through innovation in open source. Being that it is open source, it is fully customizable, but this can be burdensome for SMB’s who don’t have coding skills and good technical skills. 

Source: Prestashop

Pricing

Freemium option + Paid add-ons ($50-$150+) + Other possible overhead (Developers etc…)

Important features

  • Ability to manage orders
  • Specific settings for sales and tax
  • Showcase specific products
  • Allows you to do Marketing campaigns
  • Make custom engaging emails through the platform 
  • Analytics on your store activity
  • Customer service manager

Pros

  • Highly customizable as it is an open source platform. 
  • Ability to integrate an existing store into PrestaShop.
  • Initial store comes with 600 free features.
  • Supports 75 different languages 

Source: PrestaShop Documentation

Cons

  • It starts free, but the add-ons could add up.
  • Free version doesn’t come with an SSL certificate, web hosting, payment gateway etc…
  • Unless you know coding, you will have to hire a developer. 
  • Not very user friendly.
  • Expensive customer support. 

Who is this best suited for? 

This is an eCommerce platform that is really best suited for entrepreneurs who are developers, or SMB’s who don’t mind hiring a coder. It is open source as mentioned earlier, and this allows full customization, but can be a headache for anyone who wants something that will work well and look good right out of the box. 

How user friendly is it? 

Not very user friendly. Compared to popular options on the market, you will struggle to use this platform, unless you understand how to code, or don’t mind hiring someone to help you. 

8.Weebly

Weebly was originally a blogging platform, and was founded in 2006 by Dan Veltri, David Rusenko and Chris Fanini in the United-States. As the platform gained more popularity over the years, they began to integrate coding options such as CSS and HTML, to allow for greater customization; their ‘’WYSIWYG’’ (what you see is what you get) function definitely attracted casual users, but was at times not enough for SMB’s. They eventually integrated eCommerce options into their platform, and were eventually acquired by Square in 2018. They have 40 million plus customers as of date. 

Source: Weebly

Pricing

Free (Basic), $7 (Personal), $15 (Professional) and $30 (Performance).

Important features

  • Weebly promote (Weebly’s marketing tool) 
  • Facebook ad creator integration
  • Shippo integration.
  • One-click taxes option
  • Square payment processing
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Email marketing integration

Pros

  • Has several marketing features integrated in the premium options.
  • Has a relatively low price for market automation. 
  • Editing can be as simple as dragging and dropping.
  • Many free themes available that look professional enough. 
  • Very user friendly, as it has a simple interface.
  • Has a mobile app to manage on the go, and it allows you to print shipping labels. 
  • Option to edit HTML and CSS. 

Source: Weebly

Cons

  • Premium options can be too basic for some SMB’s.
  • Free plan does not allow you to sell goods.
  • Transaction fees.
  • Not very SEO friendly. 
  • The inventory management system may be too basic for some…

Who is this best suited for? 

Weebly is really a platform that is great for beginners. If you are a start-up, low on money, and a new entrepreneur who doesn’t have advanced tech skills, this can be a platform you can use to get your feet wet. This platform is also likely best suited for very small businesses that do not have many products, and have owners running it as a side hustle (ex: a store selling handmade products). Suffice to say, you can pay a bit more on other platforms, and have more options. 

How user friendly is it? 

Very user friendly. It’s a great platform for beginners, and people who don’t have the patience for complicated tech. 

You made it this far, so you must like my writing! Let’s get in touch…

9.Squarespace

Not to be mistaken with Square, Squarespace is another great platform in the emerging line of drag and drop eCommerce platforms. Founded in 2003 by Anthony Caselena, he initially created this platform as a blog-hosting service, but over several years and with increased growth, shifted it to an eCommerce platform. 

Source: Squarespace

Pricing

$12 (Personal), $18 (Business), $26 (Basic commerce) and $40 (Advanced commerce).

Important features

  • Basic and advanced commerce plans include automatic abandoned cart recovery, the ability to sell subscriptions, giftcards, and give custom discounts. 
  • Drag and drop creation.
  • Simple to use; professional look.
  • Integrated eCommerce tools.
  • Domain name services built-in.
  • Built-in analytics functions.

Pros

  • Easy integration with Shipbob and ShipStation
  • Printful included in the app store; perfect for print on demand businesses. 
  • Simple, user friendly interface
  • A great platform for beginners
  • Sleek look for a simple interface with a low price
  • Includes tools to help with SEO

Source: Seven campaign Squarespace

Cons

  • Doesn’t seem to have dropshipping integration like Shopify and other platforms 
  • 3% fee on transactions
  • Site speed is a little slower than expected for the price
  • Lacks marketing automation options to integrate
  • Can’t integrate with Amazon
  • Supports only Stripe and Paypal
  • Has a limited selection of apps to choose from in Squarespace Extensions 

10.3dCart

This platform is possibly a good option for both eCommerce stores and retail stores. Founded in 2000 by Gonzalo Gil, it was originally created to help retailers and manufacturers with online commerce. It currently has a partnership with Square, as they offered to integrate it’s payment gateways on 3dCart. 

Pricing

$9.50 (Start-up store), $14.50 (Basic), $39.50 (Plus store), $64.50 (Power store) and $114.50 (Pro store).

Important features

  • Integration with Retail commerce through a POS.

Pros

  • Unlimited storage
  • No transaction fees on all plans
  • Blog options are better most other services
  • They have a POS to integrate with Retail commerce
  • Allows many integrations
  • Has advanced shipping solutions that do not require an API
  • Has skilled developers to help you in their online community
  • 3dCart apps section includes well known software integrations (Hubspot, Quickbooks)

Source: 3dCart blog

Cons

  • Does not have a drag and drop feature
  • Themes may have an outdated look at times
  • Not beginner friendly
  • Site builder doesn’t have a sleek look
  • Potential issues with their customer support have been reported
  • Potential upgrading issues
  • Does not have abandoned cart recovery as a key feature

Conclusion

So which platform is the best? It will depend on what level your business is at and what you prefer. If you are a new business, Weebly, Wix, and WooCommerce could be a good start. 

If you are a  small or medium sized business, Shopify, SquareSpace, and even WooCommerce could be a good fit for you. 3dCart is good for SMB’s as well, specifically if you have a retail store. 

Shopify is considered to be an industry leader right now, but an added benefit of using the other platforms is that their websites are harder to spy on. 

Many Shopify store owners may get apps like Commerce inspector to look at your store and steal the methods you are using; with the other eCommerce platform options, this is harder. 

If you have a larger business, a bigger budget, and more coding skills, Prestashop, Volusion, BigCommerce and Magento could possibly work to your advantage. These types of businesses need VIP support and security to protect their brand and assets, and these platforms may offer that. 

So with that mentioned, choose wisely, and think of your options when it comes to eCommerce. Hopefully these comparisons have been helpful to you. 

Best of luck on our business journey! 

Ready to get more subscriptions and sales for your SaaS? Contact me now to discuss your project.

Published by Ryan Desantis

Hi, I'm Ryan! I'm a B2B SaaS Content Writer who creates engaging and revenue increasing blog posts and content. Need effective content? Contact me now to discuss your project.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: