Rolling out an ecommerce store is one of the best ways to make money online. Unlike other site monetization method, creating an ecommerce store helps to create a steady stream of passive income.
Deciding on an ecommerce platform can make or break your business; because once you pick a platform it is harder to back out if it turns into a bad match. In fact, over 60% of medium to large e-commerce site owners claim they should have conducted better due diligence on the platform they selected for their stores.
As there are tons of different options available, it is easy to fall into the trap of choosing the wrong platform.
In this post, I will compare 5 popular shopping cart solutions and will help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
1. Shopify (Visit Site)
Shopify is one of the best hosted ecommerce platforms. The extensive Shopify themes and addons directories allow you to easily build a storefront with Shopify even if you’re not a programmer and novice to starting ecommerce business.
Below are few reasons why Shopify stands ahead of the curve.
- Support: Shopify offers 24/7 support via live chat, phone or email.
- Easy integration: Though Shopify is a hosted platform, it provides seamless integration with your website, Facebook page.
- Shopify payments: You don’t necessarily need to sign up with a third party payment processor like Stripe or PayPal because Shopify offers their own payment gateway. Best of all, there is no additional transaction fee once you signed up for this program.
Is Shopify the best choice for you?
Shopify is possibly the easiest way for a novice to have an awesome looking online store within a few minutes. Comparing to other hosted ecommerce cart, Shopify provides much more polished and attractive themes. However, if you need multi level categories and/or more details per product, Shopify might not be the right choice.
If you are still unsure about using Shopify, refer Shopify reviews for more details.
2. WooCommerce (Visit Site)
We have all know that WordPress is the most popular CMS. But do you know that WordPress is the CMS of choice for almost 23% of ecommerce websites in the Alexa Top 1 million sites?
Because many webmasters are familiar with WordPress, they find it easier to build a storefront with it. In addition, if you’ve an established WordPress based website, all you need to do is to install a shopping cart plugin and start selling products. You can find lots of different WordPress shopping cart plugins. Among them, the most popular one is WooCommerce.
As the popular shopping cart plugin, the main advantage is you can easily find hundreds of different WooCommerce supported themes and add-on plugins in the market, so you don’t need to hire an expert developer to do everything for you.
When WooCommerce is the best choice?
If you’re looking to integrate a storefront with your WordPress blog or if you’re specifically looking to build a brand new ecommerce store powered by WordPress, WooCommerce will be the best choice.
Before jumping in to install WooCommerce, make sure you read the plugin review here.
3. Magento (Visit Site)
Without a doubt, Magento is the clear winner in terms of ecommerce platform market share and is one of the most reliable ecommerce platforms in the market even for big enterprises.
There are currently two Magento versions: Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition.
Magento Community Edition (CE) is the free and open source version released by Magento. Although it has almost the same basic features and source code of their Enterprise Edition (EE), it still misses a lot of enhanced functionalities offered by Enterprise Edition like full page caching and advanced marketing tools especially for the stores that has a larger number of products. However, you can always enhance your store with the right Magento extensions.
And the main difference is the cost. The cost of Enterprise Edition starts at $15,000 and can go up to $200,000 per year whereas the Magento Community Edition doesn’t cost you a single penny aside from your hosting and domain cost.
When Magento is the right choice?
Many entrepreneurs choose to go with popular platforms so they can easily find developers whenever they’ll need to enhance their store. If that sounds like you, choosing Magento could be the right choice for you. Best of all, you won’t need to upgrade to a better solution in the future because Magento is scalable beyond your imagination.
Then there comes the question of choosing between the Enterprise Edition and Community Edition. So if you’re a larger enterprise with lots of products and are capable to spend $15000+ per year, Magento Enterprise Edition could be the right choice. On the contrary, for smaller stores with limited budget, Community Edition is the right choice.
4. Spree (Visit Site)
You might be wondering how Spree gets into the top ecommerce platforms list. In the ecommerce market, it is true that Spree is a relatively new choice, yet it is one of the most promising and fastest growing open source projects in the world.
As an open source platform, it has lots of advantages over its counterparts. First of all, unlike the other major open source shopping carts, Spree is not built with PHP/MySQL but with Ruby on Rails, a web application framework created specifically for online businesses.
As it is a relatively new choice, you’ll find less number of apps to integrate with it. However, if you’re looking to build a completely customizable storefront, Spree commerce could be the right choice.
When Spree is the right choice?
Choose Spree if you prefer simplicity and customizability to too many built-in options and apps. Unlike any other PHP based storefront, including the most popular platform Magento CE, Spree is not a resource beast and doesn’t require extra hardware resources to make the site quicker.
If you’re looking for an ‘enterprise class’ ecommerce solution without paying for license fee, Spree is the right choice for you. It offers almost every feature like Magento Enterprise Edition and the best thing is you don’t need to spend a single buck as the license fee.
5. BigCommerce (Visit Site)
BigCommerce is another popular hosted ecommerce platform for small to medium sized web stores. When comparing to Shopify, BigCommerce provides lots of feature out-of-the-box. If you’re a mid-size business, most likely the Gold plan will be the right choice as it allows unlimited products, storage and bandwidth.
Some of the features include:
- Support: Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce also offers 24/7 support via live chat, email and phone.
- SEO: The SEO options in the BigCommerce are very intense. Unlike Shopify, you don’t need an add-on to optimize your store for search engines.
- Marketing options: BigCommerce is also comes bundled with various promotion features like a coupon system, discounted system, product recommendation system and gift certificates.
Is BigCommerce the right choice for you?
If you’re looking for a shopping cart with lot of in-built options, especially marketing features BigCommerce seems like the right choice for you.
For more details, you can read the BigCommerce review here.
Which one is your favorite shopping cart solution? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.