Picking the right e-commerce platform is like buying the right car. Several factors need to be understood before you find the one that fits you. A Ferrari for a soccer mom of 4 isn’t practical. A minivan for a bachelor is – well – we’ll say it is what it is.
According to Datanyze, WooCommerce holds a significant lead over MonsterCommerce by Network Solutions for the top spot. Magento, Shopify and BigCommerce round out the top 5. But just because Honda is the top selling car in the US doesn’t mean that it’s the one you should immediately buy. Widespread adoption does bring some comfort when analyzing your first or next e-commerce platform, but it’s far from the only metric.
So what should you look for in an e-commerce platform? Glad you asked.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, being able to “cowboy” this install as opposed to hiring an outside agency would be a primary factor. How easy is the platform to install? Maintain? Modify? Is it well documented? Is the documentation written in a language for the average cowboy (or layperson)?
For this category, Shopify is by far the best solution. With great customer support and a turnkey platform, you can go from nothing to selling in an afternoon. No, you may not get everything that you need, but if you’re selling physical or digital products with a “test it out” budget, go with Shopify. It’s rock solid and will deliver on your primary need.
If you’ve got a brick and mortar or you carry inventory managed by third-party applications, scalability to interface with these applications is key. Whether you’re looking to enter the e-commerce game or expand your e-commerce with more sophisticated systems, Magento is going to be your platform of choice. Widely regarded as the most robust of the mid-market e-commerce platforms, Magento brings layers of functionality not found in other small market platforms. A wider feature set does bring additional complexity. This isn’t an option for the e-commerce cowboy, but geared toward more sophisticated users with sophisticated requirements.
If you’re starting out with the primary factor of cowboy-ability but figure you’re going to move into something that requires an outside hand, adoptability becomes your target factor. Little used or little known platforms will typically require an outside agency or freelancer to spend not insignificant time (or your money) to ramp up on a learning curve. Enter WooCommerce. The king of small market e-commerce platforms and the one with the largest user base, WooCommerce provides the ease of use for the do-it-yourselfer but with legs stretching far beyond that basic need.
You’ve got a website and a blog and have things humming on the digital frontier. But you want to add an e-commerce platform while maintaining the look-and-feel of your already established website. Well, chances are you’re utilizing WordPress as your content management system. That is an educated guess since WordPress is run by a whopping 69% of websites that are running a content management system far outranking the next platform down.
If you’ve got WordPress in one hand, then WooCommerce goes into the other. WooCommerce was built as a plugin specifically for WordPress. The two play extremely well with each other and adding an e-commerce platform is as simple as downloading the plugin. If you’ve got infrastructure you want to maintain (and that infrastructure is WordPress), then WooCommerce is your pick.
There’s a lot of options. Probably too many. Getting past the clutter and narrowing focus will help you make the right decision. Need additional help choose the e-commerce solution that’s right for your business? Let us know, we’d be happy to help.