Choosing the best ecommerce platform to showcase your products or services requires thoughtful analysis of your business model and objectives. Will you need back office integration? Is design customization important? How much content are you going to provide? Figuring out the answers to these and other questions upfront will help guide you to the ecommerce platform that is best suited to your online sales strategy. The most popular ecommerce platforms we typically use are Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento. This ecommerce platform comparison will help you better understand the pros, cons and best applications for each.
Shopify is perhaps the simplest, fastest-to-market ecommerce platform. Powering more than 1,000,000 businesses worldwide, Shopify offers basic ecommerce themes and fantastic built-in selling tools.1
We find Shopify to be most useful for companies that have a simple purchasing and fulfillment process. You pick one of a few themes, upload your offerings and start shipping out boxes. You can, of course, use your own photos, select colors and add product details, but the platform is not ideal for excessive customization, heavy content or complex fulfillment.
- Premium hosting costs included
- Speed and ease to market
- Dashboard to manage orders, shipping and payments
- Fast load time
- Syncs well with shoppable posts on social media
- Not open source: Limited customization options; plugins are generally nickel and dime add-ons
- Does not support back office system integration
- Not for content-rich sites
Shopify was a perfect match for our apparel client, Wrightsock, because they sell a product that needs minimal explanation and ship it directly to the consumer. No backend integration required.
WooCommerce: The ecommerce platform for WordPress
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce is not a Content Management System (CMS). It is a free plugin for WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS.2 WooCommerce and WordPress are both entirely open source, so you have outstanding flexibility for customization.
We often find WooCommerce to be best for sites that need to integrate content with commerce. Maybe you’re selling a technical service that requires significant customer education, or perhaps you want to regularly release new blog content. With WooCommerce, you’re free to customize and add content all you want.
- No monthly fees
- Open source ecommerce platform: Highly customizable
- Wide variety of themes and plugins
- Built for content marketing
- Strong SEO
- Hosting costs not included
- Frequent updates required for security
- Plugins can increase load time
We selected WooCommerce for Diggo because this complex veterinary service required a content-driven site and a subscription purchase model.
Magento is a popular ecommerce platform for enterprise sites. It’s not cheap, but the platform is powerful enough for complicated backend integration and can handle millions of orders with 99.99% uptime.3
Magento is a great option when the purchasing and fulfillment process is complex. Consider whether your site needs to tie into back office or third-party systems. If so, Magento can make the process seamless for your business and your customers.
- Enterprise-level performance and security
- Open source flexibility
- Highly scalable
- Third-party integration
- Cloud-hosted or on-premise solution available
- Annual licensing fees of $18,000+
- Updates and integrations can be costly
- Requires advanced development
This site for Classic Muscle, an online classic car parts retailer, was built in Magento so it could pull data feeds from our client’s backend systems.
Selecting Your Platform
The bottom line is that there’s no single ecommerce platform that’s best for all cases and companies. Seeking guidance from a skilled website development company like TBE can help make sure you don’t end up with a site that hinders sales or underdelivers on functionality. Contact our web development specialists to discuss your website and find the platform that best fits your brand.