What e-commerce platform should I use for my website?

What e-commerce platform should I use for my website? In recent years, e-commerce has become essential for the sale of products and services. As of 2018, there are more than 2 to 3 million e-commerce websites on the web. Indeed, selling on the internet is not only for big companies or small computer geniuses – but for any business.

If you want to develop your business online, but are neither a web developer nor a marketing pro and do not have a big budget – take a deep breath, it’s not all lost!

Some smart guys have thought about us (who do not run out of energy – just computer skills) and have developed platforms to help you create your own online store.

There are plenty of online store platforms, also called Content Management System (CMS). Some are free, some are not.

Let’s take a look at these solutions.

E-commerce platform: comparing existing solutions

Let’s briefly compare the main e-commerce platforms you most likely heard about: PrestaShop, Magento, WordPress and Shopify.

01 PrestaShop.

prestashop

Since its launch in 2007, the French e-commerce platform now has more than 250,000 merchant sites.

The platform is Open Source, meaning a computer program whose source code is distributed under a license allowing anyone to read, modify or re-distribute this software.

PrestaShop offers a free service and allows anyone to launch their business online. But beware, the costs can quickly climbThe business model is based on its application store (called “modules” on the site) as well as on its paid themes shop.

Advantages :

  • Inventory management.

  • No commissions on sales.

  • Broad offer in terms of paid applications (modules).

  • The installation of PrestaShop is relatively simple.

The inconveniences :

  • Many themes are not responsive.

  • The blog feature is limited.

  • Expensive personalized technical assistance.

  • Almost impossible to keep up to date.

02 Magento.

magento

Officially launched in 2008 in the United States, Magento is an Open Source solution platform, which means it’s open to everyone.

The CMS is free, but, like Prestashop, to have an online store with features a little more developed for the user / client journey, it will be necessary to add paid modules purchased from the Magento application store.

For beginners, the installation of Magento can be a bit more complicated than other platforms.

Advantages :

  • Possibility to have several Magento sites via a single management console (back-end).

  • Allows the online store to host a huge amount of products.

  • Multiple optimization features for your SEO.

The inconveniences :

  • Back office not very ergonomic due to the multitude of default features.

  • The development of a Magento website is often much more expensive than a website on Prestashop or WooCommerce.

  • Asking the help of a specialized digital agency is often recommended for the installation of your Magento online store.

03 Wordpress with WooCommerce.

wordpress

Created in 2003, WordPress was initially a solution to create and manage blogs. But it quickly shifted to a more general direction and now offers a full CMS platform and the ability to create an e-commerce site. WordPress is an open source platform that is currently used by more than 75 million websites, 30% of the entire WEB and 60% of all CMS.

Easy to download and install, so you can start without the help of a specialist. But you can also create a very powerful website/eshop by hiring one of the many WordPress specialized developers.

Advantages :

  • Ergonomic and easy-to-use content management system.

  • Suitable for small and large product catalogs.

  • There are many WordPress developers on the market and it will be easy to find help to develop or maintain your website.

  • With thousands of premium themes available, it’s easy to find the one suitable to your needs. You can also hire a developer to design your own unique template.

The inconveniences :

  • Security: the installation of unofficial plugins may be accompanied by scripts that may endanger your website. If you plan to create a powerful website, it’s therefore important to ask the help of a specialist.

  • WordPress is not very suitable for adding dozens and dozens of plugins and can have consequences on the loading of your site for the user. Once again, the help of a WordPress expert is useful in selecting the best plugins for your website.

Online stores worldwide market shares in 2018

0
%
WooCommerce
0
%
Shopify
0
%
Magento
0
%
Prestashop

04 Shopify.

shopify

Established in 2004 in Ottawa, Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform, which means that it is administered directly from your web browser and all files are stored on Shopify servers. So you can open an online store without having to install anything on your computer. In addition, as for Open Source solutions, you will also have access to (part of) the code.

Shopify is the easiest and cheapest way to quickly start and manage a simple online store. And you always have the possibility to hire a Shopify developer to set up some fancy features.

Advantages :

  • More than a hundred free templates that are all fully customizable and responsive.

  • Unlimited storage space.

  • Back Office easy to use and free support available by phone, chat and email (in English), in addition to documentation and forums as for all platforms elsewhere.

The inconveniences :

  • In addition to a monthly subscription ($ 29 to $ 299), Shopify takes commissions on sales of 0.5 to 2%, which is especially a disadvantage when you make a few hundred sales every month.

  • The blog feature is limited: it is not possible to manage categories.

  • It’s an eShop platform. Other functionalities are therefore limited. If you plan to develop an online store with specific functionalities, you should look for other solutions (WordPress, Magento…).

  • Multi languages and multi currencies are limited, Shopify doesn’t offer more than one currency for checkout.

To summarize

There are other CMS (e-commerce platform) on the web, and for all, the list of advantages and disadvantages are very long, But they especially diverge from one company to another and from one person to another.

That’s why I invite you to think carefully and ask the right questions to choose the most suitable CMS for your needs!

  1. What budget are you willing to invest in an e-commerce platform to create your website?
  2. Do you plan on implementing important features (blog, etc…) on your website?
  3. Are you ready to spend time developing the website?

It’s up to you to find the right solution, but don’t forget that, depending on the evolution of your business, you may need to move your website to another e-commerce platform.