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Ecommerce Sites: Which Platforms Should I Use?

ecommerce-platforms-review

Take it from someone who’s made the mistake, do not build your website on the wrong platform. The amount of time required to solve any issues and optimize the site in the future is only going to get bigger and bigger. As with most things in life, that goes double when money is involved. So getting an ecommerce site right the first time is all the more critical.

But before you start sweating, there’s good news. The realm of ecommerce website platforms is more diverse and of higher quality than ever before. So let’s look at the four biggest players in this market and see what each has to offer.

What Should You Look For in an Ecommerce Platform?

e-commerce-platforms

But first, we need to know what to look for. There are 6 basic questions you’ll need to ask yourself about any potential platform. The answers to those questions will point you in the right direction.

  • Do you need a developer?

This is a massive question which will factor into others like cost, flexibility, etc. That’s why it comes first, because needing a developer or not changes nearly everything about the rest of the process.

  • How SEO optimized is it?

This should be a concern for everyone. Today, every ecommerce website needs to be completely SEO optimized. Period. End of story.

  • How flexible is it?

If your ecommerce ambitions are fairly straightforward, you may not think this is an issue. However, businesses grow and evolve, so you really want to think about how the platform you choose will allow you to evolve as your ecommerce needs do.

  • How are the available themes?

Few things will turn customers off more than an outdated looking (and functioning) site. So be sure to look at the themes a particular platform has available (and whether they’re paid or free).

  • Cost?

It’s important enough to be mentioned again, but various platforms have hugely varied costs attached with creating a website on them. So be sure you understand your budget beforehand.

  • How many features does it offer?

Lastly, think about everything you want (or could want) your ecommerce site to do. Then, make sure your ecommerce platform offers those features.

Platform
Ease
SEO
Flexibility
Themes
Cost
Features
Rate
bigcommerce

9

7

6

7

5

10

7.3

shopify

10

9

6

9

5

8

7.8

woocommerce

5

9

10

10

8

8

8.3

magento

6

7

10

10

8

10

8.5

BigCommerce

Let’s look at how BigCommerce answers our 6 questions. First, it’s definitely simply enough that you’re likely not going to need a developer. For SEO, the features offered are totally adequate, though not amazing by any stretch. The good news there is that the platform offers a huge range of tools for SEO and other needs. That means great flexibility.

However, there’s no denying that the themes available now (September 2016) are a bit outdated. But you still get a fair amount of bang for your buck. Many essentials which other platforms charge for are included in the price here. Overall, BigCommerce excels when it comes to value.

Shopify

Starting with the good news, Shopify is affordable and has some excellent themes. So it’s accessible to even those with smaller budgets and looks great out of the box. But there are some problems. While the site is very user friendly, that unfortunately translates into a lack of more powerful features without having to opt for add ons (which can be expensive).

The site also offers some of the best tech support out there. So overall, it’s a good option for someone just getting into ecommerce and with a site they don’t plan on expanding with more advanced features. But if you’d like room to grow, it’s best to opt for something more powerful.

WordPress+WooCommerce

Anyone familiar with WordPress will be familiar with many of the pros and cons here. First, you’re almost certainly going to need a developer to run a WordPress site with WooCommerce properly. That means this is undoubtedly one of the more expensive options out there. But what you get for that is impressive.

This platform is extremely flexible, owing in part to the staggering number of plugins created for WordPress. Also, like most WordPress sites, this option is very SEO friendly. That’s good news for anyone interested in this option. So, if you’re willing to work with a developer and pay a bit more, this is a good option.

Magento

Similarly to WordPress and WooCommerce, Magento is a powerful platform with tons of features and flexibility which also probably requires a developer to really use well. Once again, that means features, themes, and flexibility at the expense of cost. The result is that Magento is also better for larger sites with more money to spend and more needs to fulfill.

Which ecommerce platform do you use? How has your experience been? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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Dimitar Raykov

Dimitar is a graduate of the University of National and World Economy and Sofia University in the field of Political Science and International Relations. Besides being SEO expert for Hop he likes to write on music, culture and social justice movements.

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