Do you want to create an attractive website for your eCommerce store but have no idea which platform to choose or where to start? Choosing the perfect eCommerce platform to build your website is the most crucial decision you have to make when opening an online store. eCommerce platforms not only provide a platform for building the site but also offer additional features and plugins to enhance the user experience and provide scalability as your business grows.
There are many eCommerce platforms available to help you create your website and build it however you want. But with so many options, how will you ever decide on one? Thus, we are here to help you pick the best from the best.
The Best eCommerce Platforms
Among the many eCommerce platforms available, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and PrestaShop are the best. Now, you must be thinking we are still not making anything easier for you. Thus, we have prepared the ultimate comparison between these top 4 platforms to help you make the final choice.
eCommerce platforms vary in many aspects such as hosting, security, SEO, pricing, features and plugins, and much more. In this article, we are going to tackle some of the essential aspects.
So without further wait, let’s get started!
The Ultimate Comparison Between the Top 4 Platforms
Shopify offers 3 different pricing plans, Shopify Basic for $29/mo, Shopify Plan for $79/mo, and Advanced Shopify Plan for $299/mo. All of these plans contain different levels of plugins, extensions, customer support, and other advanced shipping and payment methods.
Thus, depending upon your budget and business size, you can choose a pricing plan for yourself.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform and is available for free. WooCommerce offers multiple plugins and extensions to build and enhance your website with increased functionality. Although WooCommerce might be free, it requires a hosting service, domain, and an SSL certificate before you start.
The features and plugins required to kickstart your website on WooCommerce can cost around $20-200 only.
Magento is among the best eCommerce platforms as it is suitable for all sizes of businesses. Magento offers 2 plans, the Magento Community Edition is free of charge and enables you to add plugins and extensions to increase functionality, and the Magento Enterprise Edition is priced at $22,000 and consists of many out-of-the-box features to help you setup.
PrestaShop is another open-source eCommerce platform and enables you to add plugins and extensions to your website. PrestaShop has limited free plugins available. Its premium plugins are costly and require the experience of coding to set them up.
Pricing is the ultimate decision-maker for most, such as startups and small businesses, when it comes to choosing an option. In terms of pricing, WooCommerce is the clear winner because it is available for free and offers budget-friendly plugins and extensions which are not available for other eCommerce platforms.
Magento and PrestaShop are also budget-friendly options but have limited choices in case of plugins and extensions and also limited experts available. Whereas Shopify also offers a justifiably priced beginner plan but is not the optimum choice for growing businesses. Thus, WooCommerce helps you to stay within budget and still create an amazing online store.
2. Out-of-the-Box Features
Shopify offers multiple out-of-the-box features to create an amazing website as it is a subscription-based service. It provides you with a managed hosting service along with a domain name. Other common features include order and product management, 24/7 customer service, along with unlimited bandwidth. Shopify also provides multiple free and premium themes, plugins, and extensions. It is the ultimate option for people who are not familiar with coding and managing an online store.
As WooCommerce is an open-source platform, its out-of-the-box features are limited. Before starting with WooCommerce, you need to buy a domain name and hosting service. Moving on, WooCommerce offers you product management, order management, and the ability to add coupons and discounts on your products. It also offers a wide range of free payment gateways, themes, plugins, and extensions, which you can find in the WordPress WooCommerce directory.
The customer service of WooCommerce is also dependent on the hosting provider you choose.
Magento offers both free and subscription-based services. In the open-source version, it offers an intuitive dashboard that makes it easy to update and maintain your website. It also offers a simplified one-page checkout process to improve customer experience. You can also receive detailed analytics reports. In the enterprise version, you get product management features, apply discounts and create wishlists, etc. The Enterprise level version offers tons of other out-of-the-box features and is a must if you have the money for it.
PrestaShop offers an interactive user interface out-of-the-box that helps you easily manage your online store. It also provides basic features like order management, product management, inventory, and a free SSL certificate. It also helps in optimizing website content SEO. Even with such a powerful set of features provided, PrestaShop is a bit difficult to set up and requires professional help.
In terms of features, all platforms provide amazing options that can help you easily manage your website. Although Shopify and Magento are subscription-based services and include advanced features, they are costly and not manageable by all business owners.
WooCommerce and PrestaShop also offer basic features to kickstart and manage your website. But you need to add additional plugins and extensions to increase functionality.
3. Add-Ons and Extensions
Shopify has an app store where you can browse for free and premium themes, plugin, and extensions easily. The only downside is that the free options are limited and the premium products are very costly. Shopify also supports third-party apps, but due to security measures, very few are integrated properly.
Shopify has applications available for sales, marketing, POS, inventory, customer support, shipping, payments, security, data analysis, and much more. With over 1000 plugins available, you can easily up-scale your website.
WooCommerce has unlimited options when it comes to add-ons and extensions. WooCommerce is compatible with over 50,000 plugins and extensions which you can find in the WordPress and WooCommerce directory. WooCoomerce relies heavily on additional plugins to increase functionality on your website. It is also compatible with third-party applications and allows seamless integration without compromising speed and performance.
With WooCommerce plugins and add-ons, you can get social proof, multiple form builder, customer service, wish lists, waitlists, subscriptions, shipping, and payment services.
Magento has a thriving marketplace filled with hundreds of plugins and extensions to add any imaginable feature to your website. The main categories include payment, shipping, customer support, marketing, SEO optimization tools, finance, and much more. You can find plugins for free or ranging from $30-$500. Magento also integrates with third-party apps and extensions easily.
PrestaShop also has its marketplace filled with many plugins and extensions to build and upscale your website. It has tools available for increasing sales and traffic. You can also find many free modules and themes on their website. The only disadvantage is that PrestaShop requires professional help for setting up these plugins. The use of some third-party apps is also restricted due to performance loss.
In terms of add-ons and extensions, WooCommerce is the one and only winner. It is the most flexible platform and allows you to integrate hundreds of plugins and extensions without affecting your website performance. Its products are also reasonably priced and affordable by many. Whereas Shopify, Magento, and PrestaShop also offer many options but their costs are very high and integration is also limited which could affect the speed.
Shopify enables you to customize its plugins and extensions easily. Although it does have a rigid URL, which is difficult to customize. Shopify is beginner-friendly and thus you can easily make tweaks and changes once you get the hang of it.
WooCommerce is the ultimate champion when it comes to customization. It is not only an open-source platform but also is #1 in popularity thus you can find many experts and developers for WooCommerce that offer their services 24/7. It is compatible with third-party plugins as well and allows you to customize each product according to your brand and style.
Magento is a difficult platform for a beginner and has a rigid interface that makes adding and customizing plugins a huge task. Although, you can easily hire developers to help you out that will cost you extra money.
Customization with PrestaShop is not exceptional. It is a firm platform and thus adding additional plugins is difficult and requires expert help.
In terms of customization, WooCommerce is an excellent choice. It is an easy and flexible platform that enables you to create and customize your website according to your brand and style.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your website is important, otherwise, you will be left with management and performance issues that can be a nightmare for your business. Thus, we have selected the top 4 eCommerce platforms and compared them so that you choose only the best for your business.
Although there is no clear winner here, we have worked with all platforms and found WooCommerce to be the most accessible, flexible, and easy platform to work with. It is also a budget-friendly option for both small and large-sized businesses. It offers tons of plugins and extensions to scale your website without compromising on performance.
In the end, the decision is entirely dependent on your experience, business size, developing experience, and most importantly, budget. We hope by the end of this article you have already decided on the platform you want to work with.