Running an e-commerce website comes with many challenges. The most significant hurdle is finding the right platform for your store. There are many products you could choose from, each one claiming to be the best. Several platforms seem to stand out.
In particular, Prestashop, Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify attract a lot of attention. Each offers a unique way to approach building your e-commerce store. Here is a more in-depth look at how each of them could work you.
Prestashop is an open-source e-commerce platform. You can download it and start using it completely free of charge. It’s built for people who want flexibility and speed when it comes to getting started.
You can modify and extend the script. Since it is open-source, you get direct access to the underlying code. That means that you can make any changes you require. As a result, you can create the perfect online store to fit your needs.
It’s 100% free. Prestashop doesn’t even take a percentage of your sales!
You can reach out to a community. Prestashop has avid enthusiasts all over the world. If you have any problems, just join the community and ask for help.
You can purchase a ready-to-go hosted solution. If you’re not happy to get technical, you can buy a hosted option from a Prestashop web-hosting partner.
You need your own hosting. You will need to host Prestashop on your server. As mentioned above, you can get a hosting package through a Prestashop partner.
There is a need for some technical expertise. You may need the help of a developer to assist you with the installation. You may also need someone to manage the technical side when issues arise.
Magento is an advanced e-commerce platform. It offers you both free and paid versions. It’s been around for many years, so you’re getting a reliable solution. The premium options are built for enterprises with large revenues.
Perfect for 7-figure (an above) businesses. If your company has a high revenue, Magento is the right choice for you. The paid versions offer both high-level functionality and technical support.
You can extend the code. You can make changes to the scripts to fit your needs, which means that you have the flexibility to compete in today’s fast-moving world.
Advanced features. Magento’s advanced featured meet can meet the demands of complex business models. You get stuff like PCI compliance and customer loyalty schemes. It’s also useful for fast-growing businesses that want to scale.
It’s too expensive for most people. The free version lacks several key features needed for a sizeable business. At the same time, the premium options are not affordable for an average company. If you’re just getting started or learning, Magento is not the best way to go.
Technical acumen is a must. To work with Magento, you’ll need specialized expertise. In fact, many companies have a team dedicated to managing their Magento stores.
WooCommerce may be the world’s most popular e-commerce framework. It’s built to work with WordPress. If you’re looking for something that you can customize to fit your needs, this may be the best choice. If you’re already a WordPress user, this is a great way to get started with an online shop.
Perfect for people who are already familiar with WordPress. Since WordPress is the most popular CMS today, WooCommerce is an ideal match.
There is a large community around it. There is a worldwide community dedicated to making WooCommerce better. That includes developers and business owners alike, which means that you ‘ll find answers to any question or issue that may come your way.
You can extend the functionality. You can choose to hire a developer to create extra functionality. There are also many scripts that plug into WooCommerce, both free and paid.
You can start using it for free. There are no fees or membership costs. Just download it, install, and you’re good to go!
You need to host a WordPress site. That may be quite cumbersome if you’re just starting out.
There is some need for technical skill. It’s very likely that you’ll need the services of a developer at some point. Don’t worry about that in the beginning though. As your store grows, you should be able to hire some help easily.
Shopify offers you several ways to sell your products online. The list includes integrations with Facebook, a POS system, and a hosted online store. It is an ideal platform if you’re a beginner. If you don’t want to be bogged down by technical issues, this could be your best option.
Shopify makes it quick and easy for you to get started. This platform has been designed to remove the need for technical knowledge.
Highly compatible with social media. As you may be aware, social media plays a vital role in modern e-commerce. With Shopify, you can sell via channels such as your own Facebook store or the Facebook messenger.
You can modify the look of your store. You have the option to change the look of your shop if you’re inclined. You can access free and paid themes. Your store will be responsive and display correctly on all sorts of devices.
You have to pay for it. Even though you can enjoy a 14-day free trial, Shopify is a paid solution.
You cannot host it on your server. You can point a domain name to your Shopify store with the secure hosting, but not on your own. That may be a disappointment if you like to have full control over your store.
As you can see, choosing the right platform depends mainly on your specific needs. You may want to experiment with a couple to see what works for your particular situation.
You can try each of the above solutions for free, so you don’t have to risk any money upfront. The good news is, at least one of them will make it possible for you to open an online store. Take your pick and get started right away!