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What is an eCommerce platform?

Firstly, befor you go about choosing the right ecommerce platform, you might be wondering what an eCommerce platform even is. It is the digital backbone and little-known hero behind your online store. It allows you to have a shop window for your digital shoppers and essentially, it’s another software platform to go along with your CRMs and Socials but this one allows you to easily upload and manage your products to allow users to buy them!

The great thing is eCommerce platforms have come on leaps and bounds over recent years and along with our expertise and experience no matter how big or small your store we’ll have products flying off your virtual shelves in no time.

Which eCommerce platform should I choose?

There are quite a few platforms to choose from but the most used ones are Shopify (and ShopifyPlus), WooCommerce, NopCommerce, BigCommerce & Magento.

Below we are focusing on 3 of our most popular platforms to help you with choosing the right eCommerce platform:

Shopify is the biggest Ecommerce platform available for all types of businesses.

Shopify is one of the worlds most popular ecommerce platforms and is used by start ups through to multi-million enterprise businesses. Thanks to it’s out of the box tools and features it’s still growing day by day. Shopify plus is also available to those enterprise level businesses with more complex requirements.

Best suited to: best for businesses looking to scale.

Pros:
  • Hosted solution
  • Fantastic SEO features
  • Robust security
  • Scalable
  • Mobile friendly
  • Easy integration with marketing tools
  • Capability to run multiple stores
  • No additional transaction fees
  • Excellent tools for effective selling of high volumes
  • Maintenance and updates are straightforward
Cons:
  • It’s a subscription-based model
  • Transaction fees for all payment gateways unless you use Shopify’s own
  • Additional one-off or monthly costs for apps/plugins and themes
  • Theme based websites with limited design customization, reliance on third-party apps or custom development for certain functionalities.
  • Shopify themes can make you look similar to competitors
  • It is eCommerce first which means it might not be best suited for companies who need or want traditional web pages to explain their offering, although this is improving.
View our newly built Nelsons Pharmacy website to see a shopify build first hand and read the Nelsons case study.
Woocommerce is brought to you by the world’s most popular website platform WordPress. Together they become a powerful tool.

It’s a cost effective option for those already on WordPress or for those who would like something more customisable and configurable than the themes provided in Shopify. Its open source software offers tremendous flexibility in design and functionality!

Best suited to: companies who want lots of customization and don’t want design restraints and those already on WordPress.

Pros:
  • Free to set-up and no subscription required
  • Highly customizable and flexible due to its open-source software
  • More creative freedom
  • Robust security
  • It is SEO friendly
  • Scalable
  • Mobile friendly
  • Easy integration with marketing tools
  • Integration with top payment providers
  • Cheap hosting options
Cons:
  • Requires tech knowledge – Bit of a learning curve if you plan to make updates and edits yourself
  • Takes significant time to build
  • Frequent maintenance and updates
  • It can only be used on a WordPress website (This is a pro if you already have a WordPress site up and running though!)
  • There could be a small amount of additional costs for payment methods and/or plugins
Take a look at one of the many Dealer Sites we’ve created for Harvey Water Softeners, Waterways.
Bigcommerce is a smaller player in the field but with its highly customizable suite of built-in features its growing everyday.

BigCommerce Enterprise solution for business is intended for high-volume businesses the features are able to withstand the huge influx of traffic and to manage the high conversion rate. When clients choose BigCommerce, they will enjoy a 99.99% uptime which ensures that your website will not crash even on the busiest of days. It also offers improvements in regards to filtered search, inbuilt integrations and also speedier checkout processes.

Best suited to: best for businesses looking to scale

Pros:
  • Hosted solution
  • Fantastic SEO features
  • Robust security
  • Scalable
  • Mobile friendly
  • Easy integration with marketing tools
  • Capability to run multiple stores
  • No additional transaction fees
  • Excellent tools for effective selling of high volumes
  • Maintenance and updates are straightforward
Cons:
  • It’s a subscription-based model
  • We will have a longer development timeline due to the enterprise level nature of the platform
  • Fewer payment gateway options
  • Editing interface can be tricky to navigate
  • Theme/template based which limits design customization unless you are willing to pay extra to use apps/plugin or custom code
  • Requires some tech knowledge 
  • Pay quite a lot to avail of abandoned cart functionality. 

So if we had to pick, who did it best:

Ease of use: Shopify

Build time: Shopify

Design: Woocommerce

Marketing tools: BigCommerce

Plugins/Apps available: Woocommerce

Pricing: WooCommerce 

But they all have a time and a place and we’ve used all these platforms for our clients. If you want to discuss choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business, get in touch.

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Get in touch and we can talk about your aspirations, inspirations, and what’s keeping you up at night. We want you to feel confident about your digital presence.
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