What eCommerce Platform to Use? Guide for Online Stores
Before launching an online store, businesses often choose to conduct a thorough enterprise ecommerce platform comparison and assessment by parameters. They look for tools and applications offered by leading ecommerce companies to find those that would suit their specific project and online store.
NEKLO as an ecommerce website development company has prepared a mini-guide that overviews three big ecommerce platforms:
Each of them helps meet business requirements and goals in its specific way. The choice should be wise.
Hopefully, the article will become helpful for our existing and potential clients looking to select an ecommerce platform.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before eCommerce Website Development
An online store starts from the ecommerce strategies analysis, b2b ecommerce platforms comparison, and long hours spent on selecting the right one. All of them are different and stress business owners’ attention to different features.
Asking an ecommerce consulting company for help will be a good option before diving into dreaming of design, functionalities, revenues, and visitor counters.
However, before making a choice, ask yourself a simple question:
What is the type & goal of your online store?
First of all, your choice shouldn’t be based on the looks of your competitors’ stores. You might want the same design template and features, but specific characteristics of your business are the only guideline you should trust before the start.
Decide what is important for you taking into account the key points:
- Why ecommerce is the future of your business?
- How big will your store be?
- How experienced are you in ecommerce, marketing, and programming?
- What is your target audience?
- Why online shopping is better for your existing customers?
- What is your budget now and what are your plans for the future?
These points impact the requirements for an ecommerce platform. They serve the same purpose, but every online store is different.
NEKLO is an expert in ecommerce software development. We provide high-class Magento development services, but we acknowledge that Magento is not the only existing solution on the market.In this article, we will compare Magento to its competitors, WooCommerce and OpenCart. These platforms are open-source and free. All the solutions are suitable for different target markets and business sizes. We will consider every CMS feature to provide you with a clear understanding of what benefits and challenges they offer.
In one of our previous articles, our experts answered a number of ecommerce-related questions regarding Magento and other open-source solutions. Check it out to be able to make a wise choice.
What Is an eCommerce Platform? Facts & Numbers to Take into Account
According to the updated stat data, there are upwards of 250,000 Magento stores live on the internet. The brands trusting Magento include Burger King, Wrangler, Coca-Cola, Ford, and many more. Magento handles $155 billion US Dollars worth of transactions every year.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that adds full ecommerce functionality to an existing WordPress site. WooCommerce owns about 27.86% of the market and is still growing. The WooCommerce plugin was downloaded 123 million times worldwide. WooCommerce has about 900 paid and free add-ons to complete any functionality.
OpenCart is an open-source web store management program. It allows managing several online stores from one back-end. This ecommerce platform has a 1% share of all the websites worldwide.
According to the stat data, the customers from the USA and UK prefer OpenCart mostly. Alongside basic functionality, there are about 14,000 extensions available to download.
How Much Does an eCommerce Website Cost?
The three ecommerce software solutions we review are free to download and use. However, some nuances exist.
Magento offers an Open Source edition which is highly popular among the customers. It is free to download and install. However, opting for the Open Source edition, you need to plan the budget for the following:
- Any development issue.
A standard Magento store with a normal set of functions, a free theme, and with no complicated third-party integrations starts from about 15 000 US Dollars.
Magento Commerce edition will suit the needs of mid-sized and large businesses. The total cost of such a solution depends on the average gross sales revenue of your web store per year.
It is also possible to try the benefits of the Magento Commerce plan without spending money on a free demo, but you’ll be requested to provide all the contact information.
WooCommerce plugin is free and has the functionality necessary to establish a functioning online store: calculation of taxes and shipping, a customer area. You can invest in better hosting if you need it or in WooCommerce support and maintenance services.
However, depending on your business size and type, you may need some extra WooCommerce services, like a premium theme. WooCommerce has paid and free add-ons. WooCommerce pricing for extensions goes no higher than 300-400 US Dollars. Themes and templates are relatively affordable, up to 50 US Dollars for a normal theme and up to 100 US Dollars for a responsive one.
OpenCart is also free, but like any other platform, requires hosting and domain. The platform has a very basic set-up, which can be upgraded with the help of an ecommerce development agency. For commercial extensions, the price goes as high as 100-200 US Dollars. OpenCart themes cost up to 200 US Dollars.
What Is the Best eCommerce Platform for a Small Business?
All three platforms are open source. That means, any qualified specialist can contribute to its development: each platform has its developers community and a range of customizations. Technically, there are no limitations to what you can do to your store. But are these possibilities equal for every platform?
Magento is targeted towards larger-scale businesses and enterprises with high revenues. It is reflected in the costs for Magento Commerce edition, extensions, and custom Magento development. Magento also requires a lot of resources to keep the store working fast, like powerful servers. Otherwise, performance issues will be hard to avoid.
Magento is a scalable and cost-effective solution with unlimited potential as far as you can afford it. To add more functionality to your web store, you can use the extensions developed right for this platform. Moreover, an experienced Magento agency, like NEKLO, will provide you with custom extension development in case you can’t find a necessary one on the list.
With the latest Magento version, you get an opportunity to take control over various points, including:
- Theme design;
- Shipping and payments;
- Order management;
- Mobile commerce;
- SEO & Marketing tools;
- Analytics and reporting
- Multiple stores on the same admin panel.
In one of our articles, we have reviewed the key benefits you can get with the updated Magento version.
OpenCart is easy to use and customizable to some extent. It is lightweight and doesn’t require investments into resources to start selling. It is a perfect solution for small local businesses and has all features for productive marketing.
OpenCart review would not be full without mentioning its benefits:
- Unlimited products catalogues;
- Multicurrency and multilingual modes;
- 20+ payment methods;
- 8+ shipping methods;
- Multistore option.
The cons are that customizing possibilities are limited, and you need an extension to perform advanced SEO.
WooCommerce is as flexible as WordPress since it’s a plugin. It is a nice option for small and medium-size online shops. Having a WP blog or website as a base for a store is a good start, and it is much easier to manage than Magento. However, if you plan to develop and grow your business, the platform’s functionality may not be enough for your store later, and you will have to switch to WooCommerce alternatives.
WooCommerce has a vast variety of useful pre-installed features, including:
- Advanced SEO benefits;
- User-friendly interface;
- Extensive designs (you can use numerous WP templates as a theme);
- WordPress content integration.
How to Manage Online Store on Various Platforms?
To manage a Magentо-based web store, you need to be at least an advanced user with coding skills. The bigger your project is, the more you need to learn. The good thing is that the Magento community is very active. Almost everything you need to know is already explained in the documentation and on forums.
If you are not ready to spend your time learning Magento in detail, you can always hire a Magento development company to take full control of your web store. We have provided useful tips on how to choose a Magento website development company in our Blog article to help you make the right choice.
WooCommerce doesn’t require special skills but to manage a web store on this platform, you’ll need some expertise. If you know how to deal with WordPress, there should be no problem for you, it is easy to customize for beginners. With its relation to WordPress, WooCommerce is rather simple to explore due to the documentation and add-ons.
To maintain an online shop on OpenCart, the basic knowledge will be enough. The installation is done in a few clicks. OpenCart has official support, and its community is well-established but still growing. To perform major changes to your website, you might need some help from professional developers.
In general, there is no one-fits-all solution among the ecommerce platforms we’ve revised. When choosing an ecommerce platform, consider your business needs, sales volume, and potential business growth. To help you make the right decision, we’ve summarized the information in a table:
|Business size||Large enterprises||From small to medium||For newcomers, small and medium|
|Price||Free and paid||Freepaid themespaid extensions||Freepaid themespaid|
|Usability||Appropriate for advanced users||Easy for beginners, convenient for advanced users||Easy for beginners|
|Customizability||Unlimited possibilities: vast choice of extensionsand custom solutions||Highly customizable; depends on budget and skills||Сustomizable to some extent; detailed customizationrequires strong tech skills and investments|
|Target market||Goods of any type||Most suitable for subscription and media services||Goods of any type|
|Support||No sustainable customer support, but very large andactive community||Ticket system; support doesn’t extend to third-partyplugins. Expert forums and documentation are available.||Ticket system;Expert forums and documentation are available.|
However, if Magento is the platform you would like to opt for, NEKLO is here to answer all your questions.Contact us through the form on our website and our experienced Magento ecommerce development specialists will find the best solution for your ecommerce activity.