Have a plan for online business and looking for the best ecommerce platform?

You’ve landed on the right site.

In this article, we’ll review five popular ecommerce platforms. They all are high-end solutions, but at the same time, they cover different merchants’ needs and require different levels of technical readiness.

For easier comparison, we’ve highlighted the five most important aspects for each solution: ease of set up, design options, SEO and marketing implementation, pricing, and support. These elements will help you see the big picture and understand which ecommerce platform is best for your business.

1. SHOPIFY

shopify-ecommerce-platform

Shopify is a full-stack ecommerce platform. “Now home to 1,000,000 business owners” – as it calls itself. It’s huge, powerful, and ready to host even more entrepreneurs.

If you’re going with Shopify, what should you be ready for?

Ease of set up

The Shopify ecommerce platform hosts online stores. That means this technical solution provides you with all the infrastructure needed to launch your store within minutes. In addition, Shopify liberates you from all website infrastructure like a website domain, hosting capacity, payment gateways, CMS, database configuration, SSL certificates, etc.

Sometimes, tech-savvy merchants lack the freedom to edit the source code of this ready-made e-shop solution. Also, there are limitations in accessing some raw data from the database. But if you aren’t a developer and just need to focus on selling your products over coding the online store, you can do without getting access to that kind of data.

You set up your store and proceed with the next steps toward your business success.

Website design

75% of website visitors assess your site’s credibility based on design only. And it happens in the first 90 seconds they spend on your site. As you can see, website design makes a significant impact on your overall business success.

At Shopify, professional web-designers have built a bunch of modern, mobile-friendly, ecommerce-oriented themes. So you can get top-notch website designs working out of the box.

Design themes can be adjusted to your branding. You easily can apply desired colors and styles. Advanced users may also use the “Liquid” language to make even more modifications to website themes.

Currently, the platform offers eight free of charge and 64 paid website design templates. The price range of premium ones is from $140 to $180. If you find it pricey, start from free ones. They all look great.

SEO and marketing tools

If you don’t find yourself tech-savvy, there is good news for you from Shopify. Next to other technical stuff, this platform also covers site optimization for search engines.

Shopify automatically generates a sitemap.xml, supports best SEO practices, and builds an SEO-friendly site.

In addition, hosting your site on Shopify, you will never have to worry about site speed.

Speaking about marketing tools, Shopify provides a basic toolkit for ecommerce beginners.

But it also has hundreds of high-end marketing tools available in the marketplace. They are both free and paid, but the vast majority of tools provide free trials so you could try them and decide whether they are worth paying or not.

Pricing

There are three plans available: Basic Shopify ($29 per month,) Shopify ($79 per month) and Advanced Shopify ($299 per month). You decide on what features you need and choose the plan. You may also change it afterward.

Plus, Shopify applies transaction fees – 2-3% of order value. You may also need some additional applications that are on top of the pricing above.

Shopify isn’t the cheapest option to start an online business. However, Shopify provides you with a full package – without having specific knowledge, you get your ready-to-go online store.

Help and support

Shopify customer support team is responsive, they do a great job and provide excellent service.

If you get stuck anywhere, you can call or chat with them 24/7. Also, they have forums and a long list of supportive material.

I have also found this great tutorial on Youtube:

2. WOOCOMMERCE

woocommerce-ecommerce-platform

According to BuiltWith reports, WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce solution on Earth. With that in mind, let’s see what it has to offer.

Ease of set up

Two major questions for you: how fast do you want to launch your store and how fluent are you with technical stuff?

If looking for the best web hosting servers, configuring databases, and uploading SSL certificates doesn’t scare you and you already have experience in building websites, you should go for WooCommerce.

This ecommerce platform is different from Shopify. It’s an open-source solution, where you have to set up your store on your own.

WooCommerce is a WordPress extension. So to use it, you have to have a WordPress website installed on your server and then download the WooCommerce plugin.

WooCommerce gives you more flexibility, if you know how to exploit it. Here, you will be fully responsible for the setup and maintenance of your store.

Finding the best website hosting, configuring the database, getting the domain and SSL certificate, and building your WooCommerce site will take you from a few hours up to a few days, depending on your knowledge and service providers.

Website design

In WooCommerce, you won’t find a list of beautiful, default design themes for your store. The newly built ecommerce store gets the theme used on your WordPress website. You can also use the only available default theme tailored for ecommerce – Storefront. It’s free of charge.

However, WooCommerce is well known for its huge amount of resources from outside the platform. Numerous design themes, templates, and extensions might be found in the community forums, and marketplaces like ThemeForest. A lot of them are free. Others can cost you $10-$80.

Note: Before paying for the website theme, make sure that its developer is active and will help you if something goes wrong with applying it to your ecommerce store.

SEO and marketing tools

If you build your site on WooCommerce, you have to take care of the store’s SEO by yourself. Be ready to edit URLs, meta descriptions, build sitemaps, etc. It’s not too complicated if you have basic coding skills.

The good thing is that on the WooCommerce site you can add more SEO-specific information.

Also, this platform should be chosen if you’re considering focusing on content marketing/blogging. WooCommerce provides a wide range of blogging capabilities (all of them come from the WordPress core).

Pricing

Although WooCommerce might target receiving the name of the best free ecommerce website builder, additional and even unpredictable costs come up.

You will have to pay for the website hosting, the domain name, an SSL certificate, website design theme, maybe even for the developer’s help, etc.

It might be $150 per year but it also might run into hundreds of dollars.

Help and support

The way of how you can get help for the WooCommerce site is different from Shopify’s.

Firstly, there is no real-time help.

Secondly, the WooCommerce support team will only advise you on the platform installation, configuration, and use.

The rest of the issues you will have to solve on your own. But there are numerous WooCommerce forums, where developers and merchants discuss how to do things on WooCommerce. You may also find videos on Youtube, Stack Overflow, or you can hire an experienced developer to make things work.

3. BIGCOMMERCE

bigcommerce-ecommerce-platform

BigCommerce is a sophisticated ecommerce platform and a perfect host for large and fast-growing businesses. So if you feel that your business has already outgrown the current solution, BigCommerce might be your best bet.

Ease of set up

This platform isn’t so intuitive and easy to use as Shopify. Also, the terminology seems to be more complicated than in other platforms from this list.

However, if you are tech-savvy, those cons shouldn’t stop you from choosing BigCommerce. The platform is robust and tailored for professionals. It has a lot of advanced features that make your life easier in the long run.

Website design

BigCommerce provides merchants with 100+ ecommerce themes. There are 12 free themes and over 100 paid ones. The price range is from $145 to $235.

After BigCommerce launched the Store Design tool, making adjustments in the website themes has become easier. This tool gives you instant control over everything from background, font colors to logo positions, number of featured products, navigation, etc.

SEO and marketing tools

BigCommerce offers a lot of high-quality built-in features that were developed for making sales. The fully customizable SEO functionality is only one out of many others.

With that said, you can save a considerable amount of money that would spend on other platforms for third-party extensions.

BigCommerce platform empowers you to sell on multiple channels easily, and manage your sales on Pinterest, Amazon, Facebook, eBay from one place.

In addition to that, there is a marketplace with 600+ applications available.

Pricing

BigCommerce has three pricing plans: Standard (for $29.95/mo), Plus (for $79.95.mo/), and Pro ($249.95/mo). There is also an option for custom pricing plans for enterprises.

As on Shopify, on BigCommerce you will also have to pay a transaction fee of 2.2%–2.9% + $0.30.

Help and support

Although help channels depend on the pricing plan you have, BigCommerce assists its merchants attentively.

With the Standard plan, you can expect 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support. Help Center and video tutorials are also available.

You may also expect an onboarding call to discuss your goals and further steps moving forward with BigCommerce.

4. WIX

wix-ecommerce-platform

Wix is a website builder with ecommerce functionality and is known for its intuitive drag-and-drop site editor. It provides hosting, infrastructure, SSL certificate, helps to pick a domain.

Ease of set up

With Wix, building your website is really easy. The WYSIWYG (a.k.a. what you see is what you get) editor makes it doable even for beginners with no coding skills.

You drag and drop necessary elements – menu, text box, images, videos – to the preferred place on your website without even looking at CSS or HTML.

But, once again, Wix is a website builder with ecommerce features. That means you may miss some more sophisticated built-in features.

Website design

Gorgeous website designs are Wix’s trump card. There are 85 website templates available for ecommerce stores and they all are free of charge.

You also may start building your website from scratch. But who would do that when there are so many beautiful templates waiting for you?

However, to be able to employ them thoroughly, you will have to be on ecommerce pricing plans.

SEO and marketing tools

Wix provides necessary built-in SEO tools.

For marketing and overall business organization, Wix has a great set of features. Order tracking, shipping, payment gateways, etc.

What Wix lacks is an automated inventory management solution. So you might need some spreadsheets for this.

For website marketing needs, Wix offers a stand-alone all-in-one marketing solution – Wix Ascend. It helps you to organize your brand communication and promote the brand itself.

For this tool, you will have to pay extra. Plans range from $9 to $45 /mo.

Wix also provides a logo making studio, blog building tool, some email marketing, and marketing automation features. So you will definitely find ways to market your products.

Pricing

Wix offers three plans for ecommerce sites: Business Basic for $17/mo, Business Unlimited for $25/mo and Business VIP for $35/mo

Help and support

Wix has a Help Center, and you can reach out to them via social media channels, email, or phone.

5. MAGENTO

magento-ecommerce-platform

The Magento ecommerce platform is one of the most popular platforms in the world. According to the same BuiltWith report, it’s third globally.

A huge merchant community and old traditions make this platform solid and trustworthy. Let’s see what you can expect from this platform before you actually go for it.

Ease of set up

Magento isn’t the easiest solution for merchants. This platform reveals its potential best with medium and fast-growing ecommerce sites.

Magento provides two types of service packages: Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce (this is a cloud solution).

Magento Open Source platform is somewhat similar to WooCommerce (together with WP). So that means this solution will require your technical knowledge. You will have to take care of website hosting, domain, security certificates, etc. You will need to install and configure a lot of things – all on your own (or with your team).

Meanwhile, Magento Commerce solution provides you with powerful ready-made features, like business intelligence dashboards, Page Builder, advanced marketing, customer loyalty tools, etc. You will even get an account manager, which is impossible for the open-source platforms.

Magento gives you the power of full customization and authenticity. It also has a marketplace where you can find extensions necessary to expand your ecommerce store’s functionality. The sky’s the limit with Magento.

If you have a stable-growing business, technical skills or a budget to hire someone who has them, Magento can be your best bet.

Website design

You can find some pre-built themes in Magento’s marketplace that can be customized afterwards.

Also, hundreds of themes are available in the stand-alone marketplaces like ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, etc. Some of them are free, while others range up to $99.

SEO and marketing tools

There are plenty of in-house site optimization and marketing tools on the Magento platform. If you lack something, you can find it on Magento’s marketplace. Also, you can find some solutions on the Magento forums.

Pricing

It’s getting complex when it comes to Magento service pricing.

For the Open Source version, it’s free. To build your website, you will have to pay for web hosting, domain, some additional extensions.

Meanwhile, the Magento Commerce solution is more expensive. They don’t share their pricing tiers publicly, but it might be something about $18.000 per year.

If you want to get a price for your business, you have to reach out to the Magento team.

Help and support

Magento provides a knowledge base, Magento community forums, and all the resources you need to complete your research and solve the issue.

A dedicated account manager and personal consultations is a privilege only to enterprise-level customers on Magento Commerce.

Wrap Up

In this list, you’ve found the top five ecommerce platforms with high-end features and marketing capabilities. The one that’s the best ecommerce builder FOR YOU depends on your level of expertise, coding skills, and business goals.

It seems that anyone can build an online store on Wix and Shopify. Going with these platforms, you don’t need to waste time for solving technical issues. You can focus on marketing and sales. Beautiful website designs and a long list of features will help you get the most out of your ecommerce business.

Meanwhile, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento are ecommerce platforms tailored for large companies, for old ecommerce dogs, or at least more experienced guys with a technical background. These platforms can provide you with more advanced and customizable business solutions. They are more complex and at the same time more flexible. However, if you have neither technical skills nor strong in-house technical support, consider choosing Wix or Shopify.