Standing on the verge of building your new e-commerce platform? Well, you probably have one major decision to make – which e-commerce platform to choose? As a matter of fact, there is no one-size-fits-all in regards to online business.
Though there are certain tactics and strategies that make your e-commerce platform a success, it basically starts with few basic decisions that need to be addressed beforehand like your budget, visibility, SEO, design preferences and size of your online store.
Since there are a wide variety of e-commerce platforms available today, the major question is which one to choose. Today, in this article, we are here to help you make the decision easier by comparing the major platforms on the basis of certain aspects including popularity, ease of use, SEO effectiveness and many more.
Well, not every person is familiar with developing and programming languages. Being a novice store owner, ease of use is of the utmost importance for you. It does not matter if the platform has so much to offer if you certainly don’t know how to bring out the best in them.
The platforms we are discussing today have one thing in common that all have easy to use dashboards.
Magento is considered as the king in the world of e-commerce platforms. However, Magento was built by developers for developers and so you may find a steep learning curve while using Magento. In order to use Magento to the fullest, you would need technical knowledge of HTML/CSS/PHP.
Opencart is a straightforward e-commerce platform that does not make you learn or master any rocket science. It comes with an extremely user-friendly interface and lets you configure your products and website in a matter of few minutes. In addition, Opencart is under active development and runs on any server configuration provided that support PHP and database.
Shopify is considered as one of the easiest e-commerce platforms. A handy dashboard makes it a lot easier to customize the appearance of your website, adding or deleting products and much more. In addition, Shopify asks you whether you are moving from the different platform during the signup process. If so, it allows you to import products from your previous store. Basically, there is a reasonable learning curve with Shopify.
CS-Cart is available as a free licensed e-commerce platform which is not only extremely convenient to use but also offers many advanced features. Even if you are not familiar with any programming language or HTML/CSS, you can still add, edit, delete or change within CS-Cart without any headaches.
Next to CS-Cart, Bigcommerce has the simplest and sophisticated dashboard with clear instructions for setting up an e-commerce site in a matter of few minutes. Bigcommerce’s dashboard is quite similar to Shopify in terms of customization options, modules for accepting credit cards and much more. In addition, the design features are pretty simple in comparison to other platforms.
Budget plays a crucial role not in just deciding which platform to choose but also other important aspects of life.
Magento: Magento is an open source platform and can be used for free of cost.
Opencart: Opencart is also an open source and free platform. Although if you still want to contribute and help, you can donate your development time, spread the word about this amazing e-commerce platform, upload an extension and translate it.
Shopify: Shopify is available in different packages starting at $14. Shopify is an ideal platform for those who are looking to scale up real quick since it offers features and performance to handle large amounts of traffic.
CS-Cart: Like Magento and Opencart, CS-Cart is also available for free of cost. However, CS-Cart offers three plans including free mode, lifetime and multi-vendor lifetime at $0, $385, and $1450 respectively. Being a novice developer, you can try your hands at the free mode and learn the basic and advanced versions of this platform.
Bigcommerce: Bigcommerce is also available in three plans starting at $29.95 and the most expensive one, being available at $199.95. Bigcommerce may be the most expensive e-commerce platform available but it is perfect to converting your site into something special and earn better ROI.
A design is one of the most important factors of the online world. Your website design is the first thing that appeals to the visitors and consequently converts them into potential customers. As a matter of fact, even though your products and services are outstanding, it wouldn’t capture the attention of your visitors if your online store looks horrible.
Shopify is a platform that offer various professional themes for your online store. While Shopify does offer some of the best templates, Magento has a great collection of themes and extension though some of these themes are paid and fall between $90 and $200.
Compared to Shopify and Magento, Opencart has fewer themes which are available both free and premium. Premium themes usually cost between $60 and $70, which is way cheaper than Magento themes. The cost of running an Opencart online store does not seem to be pretty expensive.
CS-Cart, on the other hand, offers modern yet simple themes. CS-Cart themes are an ideal option for those who are looking to give their e-commerce platforms a modern, sophisticated and elegant look.
Last but not the least, Bigcommerce offers one of the best themes among all e-commerce platforms.
Having a platform that offers limited themes and features isn’t going to solve the purpose. There are times when you need to extend the functionality of your website and improve its performance. This is where additional features and apps come into play.
If you want a platform that provides a huge variety of features and apps, you should rather go with Bigcommerce or Shopify. Both the platforms offer more than 100 different features and apps to choose from that can be easily incorporated into a website.
Another great deal would be to go with Magento that also provides access to a wide variety of add-ons and extensions. CS-Cart and Opencart, on the other hand, lag behind in the race with limited features and add-ons.
Running and maintaining an e-commerce website is no laughing matter especially when you set up your online store without any help. Therefore, constant help and support are necessary.
Shopify and Bigcommerce provide around-the-clock support through live chat and support.
However, Opencart provides support through community forum and email. Keeping the investment required in setting up an Opencart store in mind, support you get in return is worth the time and money.
CS-Cart and Magento also offer only email support to the customers.
The list of five e-commerce platforms discussed above are considered as the best; however, it all narrows down to personal preference. No matter, who you consult before setting up an e-commerce store, the best judge is only you. You can only decide whether you like the features and themes a platform offers or not.
Note: Before you dive into buying any one of the e-commerce platforms, it is always suggested to try and start with the free version. This way you can play around and see which fits your requirements and needs.