After deciding on starting an ecommerce business, one of the first steps you’ll take is creating a website.
Shopify is a common online store builder, powering over a million businesses.
At the same time nearly 35% or more of the web runs on WordPress, which is open-source and has a plugin called WooCommerce which lets you build an online store on-top of the WordPress infrastructure.
With that in mind there are also other options like Magento and BigCommerce, which are more geared to handling complex businesses that want to sell online.
As you can see you’ll not have a shortage of options to choose from when you decide to take your business online, but which is the right builder for you?
In this article, we will cover all the ins and outs of these builders – exploring first what they have to offer in terms of price and features, then we will do deeper and explain in what areas each excels at, so we can help you build your business.
To begin this list, let's take a look at some of the best hosted builders – meaning, you do not have to get web hosting on your own – then later on we will look at the self-hosted options, where web hosting is needed in order to run your online store.
Our first choice is …
Shopify has emerged over the last few years as one of the most reliable and easiest ways to launch your online store. It is so good that it made it to the top of our ecommerce platforms comparison guide.
Shopify will make it easy and simple to manage nearly all aspects of your online store, all without a big budget or tech skills. It is very user friendly and accepts payments from more than 100 payment processors. That being said, more advanced users can even make it more responsive by adding HTML and CSS markup as you get full control over these files as well.
To get you started off effectively, Shopify has over 100 professional templates you can choose from to build your new online store.
It also comes equipped with SSL certificates to secure your website so that your visitors feel safe buying with their cards from your site.
You also get a custom domain- although this is optional as shopify does give you a shopify domain once you create your store.
With abandoned cart recovery, means that you’ll not miss out on sales opportunities when people dis-engage with your website midway their buying process – maybe due to another activity calling-in their attention.
For example, imagine this, a buyer was on your store, they added an item to cart and just as they were about to fill in shipping and payment information, their baby wakes up and start crying for their attention, so they drop the phone or computer immediately and rush to attend to their child, with cart recovery, you’re able to remind them via email, or SMS/MMS to get back and finish their order – a nifty trick would be to give them a discount, in order to incentivise them to go back and buy.
Shopify sites also enjoy fast load speeds, which are critical to today’s distracted buyer and other powerful tools which all work to help you run your business smoothly, without having to worry about your website.
Read our Full Shopify
Our next builder on the feature is …
BigCommerce is for Big Business.
It provides a powerful builder for enterprise and large businesses to run their ecommerce store without having to worry about complexity getting in the way.
Although you will need to buy a domain name with a domain hosting provider, BigCommerce does offer web hosting. See our guide domain name hosting versus web hosting to learn the difference, if you are not familiar.
Other features include Multi-Channel Selling which allows you to sell across different social media sites, a POS integration system to allow you take orders offline, for example on-location, and SEO tool apps to help your website be discovered in the search engines.
One of the big factors of BigCommerce is the conversion tools.
These help you understand complex business rules in a simple way that lets you increase sales and decrease expenses by shoring in licks on your business.
To learn more about BigCommerce, check out our BigCommerce
The next ecommerce builder on our list is …
Magento requires you to contact support to get a custom pricing, as they do not have a one-fits all approach.
Instead they like to take the approach of first understanding your business needs, so that they can offer a tailor-made recommendation for you.
After you get your custom package, you’ll need a Website Developer Specialized in Magento to help you build your ecommerce store.
This is perhaps one downside to the platform, in that it requires technical know-how, which can slow down most business owners who are not tech savvy.
The simple solution to this, however, is to hire an in-house team or outsource to a third-party to take care of your business needs.
The upside on the other hand is that you get some of the best fluid websites out there.
There is no denying it, Adobe’s Magento, helps create some of the most stunning looking ecommerce websites on the market.
And with tools you are assured of adding even more complex design elements like the ability to preview other related products on a product page, Magento is a top solution for businesses that want to scale fast, but are not afraid of the technical capabilities required.
The next builder we will look at is:
Wix started off as a website builder – but has since integrated an ecommerce solution to its offering.
This means, for beginners they get the same flexibility as they got with normal website design when Wix first came onto the scene.
With features like social selling, Wix provides a great alternative to building an online store.
With tools that allow you to calculate tax, set low-stock alerts and track inventory, new sellers can get by without having to know any of the intricacies involved in running an ecommerce business.
The downside however, is, it may not be most suited for complex e commerce processes like say a Shopify is. Having said that, it is a great option for people wanting to get online and begin selling quickly and fast.
The Next player in this space is a veteran …
Volusion is one of the oldest players in ecommerce platforms, starting in 1999, it has helped and continues to help entrepreneurs get online quick and efficiently.
It lets you simply create a landing page, and then add product pages on-top of that build.
To receive and process payments, it lets you integrate with over 30 payment gateways.
The only limitation however, is that if you are selling digital products, then Volusion may not have the answers you are looking for.
Now that we have seen hosted ecommerce builders, let's look at one of the most common, but self hosted builders.
WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin that lets you extend the powers of WordPress – those being open-source and SERP friendly – to create an online store for your business.
WooCommerce lets you create product listings easily, track inventory, take and fulfill orders and accept payments from customers.
Although you will need a web hosting plan, from a web hosting provider – you will also get the freedom to customize your website they way you like, and apart from the web hosting plans, WooCommerce and WordPress are basically free, meaning they will not cost you on a monthly like most hosted builders will.
The downside however is that it does require web design skills to set up an ecommerce store, although with as many Woocommerce developers as there are – getting help will not be a major concern for a business owner, looking at WooCommerce as the solution to their website needs.
At the end of the day, you want to go with a platform that’ll suit your business needs both for the mid-term and long term.
WordPress offers stability, BigCommerce and Magento are great for Big Businesses looking to expand their operations online.
Ultimately, Shopify just provides a superior option for business owners looking to sell products online. That is why we recommend Shopify above all other builders – but remember, your choice should be based on your own needs.
Want help choosing a platform and coming up with an ecommerce strategy? Book a Call With A Specialist Here.
So, which ecommerce platform will you go with to build your next online store?
Let us know in the comments below.
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