Ecommerce gets more complicated every day. Consumers have numerous options to purchase goods and communicate with brands. Merchants, in turn, can choose one of the ways of selling their products:
- on the website;
- via social media;
- on marketplaces like Amazon;
- combining several channels.
Suppose you want to develop a website. This option may seem too technical, as you need to launch the store, purchase hosting, and acquire the domain name. But there is good news.
It’s unnecessary to build a website from the ground up and spend hours programming the main pages and features. You can pick an eCommerce platform to streamline the web development process.
We present three most popular eCommerce website builders. They are Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Although there are many available solutions, these platforms are widely regarded as the most well-known in the industry.
The Most Popular eCommerce Platforms to Consider
Magento focuses on large and fast-scaling online stores. The main difference between this solution and others on the list is its open-source nature. You can acquire it for free, which is especially beneficial for starters.
The website builder gives you the freedom to choose the needed hosting provision and enhance store performance. For example, you can capitalize on advanced technologies like CDN or caching without relying on the platform’s in-built features. Suppose you don’t want to deal with finding proper hosting. You can purchase a cloud version and receive such services from Adobe, a current Magento owner.
Among other benefits is extensive customization capabilities. It lets you go beyond the boundaries of basic website builders and ensure a pleasing customer experience. Magento clients gain control over the PHP code, design, and integrations. The Magento Marketplace offers numerous free and paid extensions to improve the store to outpace competitors with limited solutions.
However, the platform requires solid coding skills, so you’ll need to hire Magento developers to launch and maintain the store.
There are three options:
1. A free Open Source (Community Edition). It’s a popular choice as it satisfies most eCommerce needs without having to pay for it. The Open Source edition allows for downloading extensions if you need paid-version features. They may be free, but be ready to pay up to $100 each for most of them.
2. Adobe Commerce’s (Enterprise Edition) cost is tied to the customer’s Gross Sales Revenue (GSR). If the store earns up to $1,000,000 a year, it has to pay around $22,000 annually for the platform.
This version takes the functionality to the next level. Compared to Open Source, Adobe Commerce empowers large enterprises with the following features:
- Advanced marketing tools;
- B2B functionality;
- Business intelligence dashboards, and more.
You remember that these two Magento editions require additional spending on proper hosting, right?
3. Adobe Commerce Hosted Cloud (Magento Commerce Cloud). It provides cloud hosting services and costs more due to this reason. The price ranges from $40,000 to $190,000 and is based on GSR.
As you can see, Magento entails high spending. It shows the best return on investment (ROI) if the store has thousands of goods, visitors, and orders per hour. Do you need a simpler solution to manage a smaller business? Let’s move to Shopify and BigCommerce.
Shopify is an entirely different website builder compared to Magento. It’s a SaaS (software as a service) solution, so the company keeps your website on its servers and infrastructure. The cloud-based platform may seem costly at the beginning, but it’s the easiest option to start an eCommerce business. Why? Because of its intuitiveness and user-friendliness.
The software has a drag-and-drop interface to get the store up and running, even if the team doesn’t have developers. As Shopify is cloud-based, you may not worry about hosting, security, and other related aspects. But the provider restricts access to the code. So it becomes harder to customize, introduce new functionalities, and integrate with third-party services.
Shopify provides a simple catalog. It also asks you to use the preferred payment gateway. The company takes extra transaction fees if you want another payment processor. They comprise 2%, 1%, or 0.5% of the payment for Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify, respectively. Plus, expect to cover regular credit card processing fees that any other platform charges.
Although Shopify doesn’t have a free version, a 14-day trial is available. Following that, you can select one of the five premium plans:
A. Shopify Lite
It’s a solution for existing websites to add an online payment function. You won’t be able to create an online store here, but you can, for example, monetize Facebook and Instagram, showcase and sell products, accept payments, track orders, and provide live chat support. The service costs $9 per month.
B. Basic Shopify
It’s a turnkey solution for an online store for $24 per month. With this basic plan, you can create a Shopify store and add two accounts. The Basic Shopify plan allows you to do the following:
- upload unlimited products;
- create promotional codes for discounts;
- offer gift cards;
- place orders manually;
- sell in five languages.
In addition, you can be sure of the transaction security. Shopify provides an SSL certificate and built-in tools for analyzing orders for fraudulent attempts. Plus, you can receive Shopify customer support.
The standard Shopify plan is $69/month and is suitable for growing companies. It includes the same basic plan features and more, such as five employee accounts, reports on the goods, demand, and income status, with a lower transaction fee.
D. Advanced Shopify
This Shopify plan costs $299 per month and gives you access to all the Shopify features. The solution is suitable for large and scaling commerce projects. It supports up to 15 employee accounts, and the transaction fees are the lowest compared to the rest of the plans. Another feature is the improved builder for creating simple and advanced reports.
E. Shopify Plus
This plan adapts to the needs of large corporations that aren’t satisfied with the existing pricing solutions. The service cost varies depending on the client.
Shopify is the best platform for small stores that can’t afford big IT departments or partnerships with development service providers. It offers simplicity in launching and managing the store. However, the software may lack flexibility or cost too much due to extra transaction fees.
BigCommerce is similar to Shopify, as it’s also a SaaS eCommerce platform. It lets you operate the store in a browser if there is a stable internet connection. BigCommerce also aims at smaller online stores and beginners due to its simplicity and a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to building websites. You don’t have to hire experienced coders to install the program, upload products, and specify prices.
This solution may seem a bit more difficult than Shopify. But it’s still less complicated than Magento. It may take some time to learn, but the main benefit of making these efforts is a more powerful store with customized features. For example, BigCommerce allows you to manage the main site metrics.
You can track information such as traffic amount, last orders, and profit, among other data. Besides, the program has a built-in blog feature. It allows you to post articles, news, and case studies to attract additional organic traffic to the storefront.
BigCommerce offers a 15-day trial period before opting for one of the four existing plans:
1. Standard Plan
It costs $29.95 per month and includes the following features:
- unlimited products, storage, and bandwidth;
- multiple sales channels;
- ability to accept credit cards and PayPal;
- no transaction fees;
- live agent support round the clock.
This solution is best for businesses with sales of up to $50,000 annually.
2. Plus Plan
It is $79.95/month. Here we talk about companies with sales up to $150,000 per year. What does the plan include besides standard features? It allows you to segment customer groups, save abandoned carts, and automatically send emails reminding users to complete the purchase.
3. Pro Plan
It is suitable for businesses with up to $400,000/year. To get all the BigCommerce features, you’ll need to pay $299.95 monthly. You’ll also get access to Google Reviews and an in-shop search filter feature.
4. Enterprise Plan
It serves large enterprises, but you’ll need to contact the support team for pricing terms. This plan gives you a dedicated SSL certificate, IP address, and priority support.
BigCommerce is ideal for smaller companies to grow in the future. If you don’t need complex solutions from the start but wish to have a platform with numerous built-in capabilities, this platform will suit your needs.
So Which Is Better for You?
What do you need to run a store? The most straightforward way to build an eCommerce website and manage its content is to opt for an eCommerce platform. However, there are myriads of vendors on the market. What should you choose?
The choice will determine the ability to grow the business, deal with management costs, and integrate the store with other services. Some website builders provide full control over the code. Others let you edit the content right on the page without handling technical aspects.
SaaS (a hosted solution) main benefits include:
- free themes;
- drag-and-drop customization;
- faster speed to create a website without solid coding skills;
- customer support from the solution providers.
However, such platforms are often harder to scale than open-source options.
We’ve compared the top three platforms: Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce. They differ in the ease of use, pricing plans, and other crucial aspects to consider when launching the store. Determine your objectives and weigh the pros and cons. It will minimize the need to migrate to another product in the future.
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