E-commerce will continue to skyrocket and is expected to become the largest retail giant in the world by 2021. Every year more and more people purchase clothes, shoes, toys, and more from different online stores. If you’re thinking of selling online, now is the perfect time for you to launch an e-commerce website. Brick and mortar stores are quickly adapting to the tides making sure they are able to serve their customers better.

BUT which e-commerce platform should you use? There is a long list of e-commerce platforms available for us to use and choosing which the right one can be quite overwhelming. Let’s focus on three platforms: Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce.

Shopify

Shopify is well known for its easy set up with an array of themes to choose from to design your store. The way the platform has been designed is to make it easy for even beginners, with no coding knowledge, to set up their own store. There are certain features you need to take note of if you wish to use Shopify:

  • Provides unlimited web hosting where you will be given unlimited email forwarding and your own domain.
  • Shopify has a ready Payment Gateway so you can see all sales and payout details and keep track of your money. You can accept payments from 3rd party providers available in your country.
  • Design your store the way you want with Shopify Themes. You can choose from free and premium themes. If you’re willing to spend more on the design, premium themes cost between $100 to $180.
  • To suit your need, Shopify has Extension Apps such as live chat, drop-shipping, automatic currency conversion, variable shipping rates, and accounting software.

Today, Shopify is a successful e-commerce platform due to its user-friendly nature and readily available complex apps for bigger businesses.

Magento

Magento is a powerful e-commerce platform that gives you more leeway in terms of customising features in order to promote your products and communicate with your customers. How it works is somehow similar to WordPress but you’ll need a skilled developer to help you set up your store or make even the slightest update. Magento has so many features you’d want to have when you open your store.

  • To use Magento, you would need to find a hosting account which can handle a resource heavy platform such as Magento.
  • The Magento Marketplace is filled with themes and extensions (but you can purchase from third-party theme stores). Investing in good themes and essential extensions may cost you a lot of money as well.
  • Using Magento has some similarities to using WordPress but their major difference is that Magento is an exclusive e-commerce platform and not a plugin like WooCommerce. As an e-commerce platform, it also has an automatic payment gateway partner, PayPal, and lets you add more in the future.
  • Magento offers a premium, Enterprise Edition, for you to use its software which costs a whopping $18,000 per year. Now, this amount of money might not be the average budget of a business owner, especially someone who just started, but will pay off in the future. Store owners would love these features: single page checkout, integrated shipping rates, SEO, analytics and reporting, newsletter management, wish list, product bundling option, up-sell and cross-sell, customisable coupons, automated website back up, abandoned cart emails, and CMS.

Magento is used by many large scale e-commerce companies and 3rd party e-commerce fulfilment companies due to its wide range of features and how powerful it can be for large volumes of orders. If you’re a startup and looking to investing a ton of money on scaling your business, Magento might just be the one for you.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is another fairly easy tool to use especially when you have some WordPress background. Unlike Shopify and Magento which are e-Commerce platforms, WooCommerce is just a plugin on WordPress. You can install it for free on your WordPress powered site. This means if you have a blog or a website using WordPress you can easily start selling online just by installing WooCommerce as a plugin for free.

  • WooCommerce comes with PayPal as a built-in payment gateway and an option to add more in the future. Customers can also purchase products from your website in their preferred currency.
  • You can design your store the way you want using the existing layout of your website or if you’re starting from ground up you can choose themes from WooCommerce’s StoreFront or from third-party stores.
  • WooCommerce has extensions you can use for specific uses on recurring payments ($199), cart add-ons ($29), and more.

WooCommerce is undoubtedly one of the easiest to set up especially if you already have a background on WordPress. You can play around the creation of your store and add more plugins or extensions to make the experience of your customers better when they visit your online store.

Have you thought of which e-commerce platform to use for your online store? If not, because they can all be equally awesome for you, there are still some points you need to consider such as your budget, plugins, integrations you’ll need, SEO, scalability of your store, interface, Marketing Campaigns you can do, and mobile compatibility. Consider these first then it will be much easier for you to choose which platform to use. No matter what you choose, the success of your store is all up to your diligence and perseverance.