Your business is looking to implant an ecommerce solution and a simple search on the web allowed you to find multiple solutions to your problem. But how do select the right one for you when you’re working with very limited means and no IT resource to help you make the right decision, one that will meet your needs as well as respect your budget? This short article will try to help you out in your decision process by giving you a short oversight of the main ecommerce platforms available to you right now. We will be mostly talking about the most important players in the industry for small and medium businesses which are Shopify, WooCommerce and to a lesser extent Magento since that one targets a more specific clientele and usually requires extremely qualified programmers to implement it.
Oversight of the different platforms
With more than 10 million downloads, wooCommerce is used in over 30% of all online shops. Based on the very popular wordpress platform, WooCommerce can be downloaded for free. By implementing various plugins as well, WooCommerce turns out to be a very complete and affordable solution.
Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform. Contrary to WooCommerce, shopify comes with many based options from hosting to payment processing. That makes Shopify a very interesting option since it’s deployment and ease of use make it an optimal choice for many small and medium businesses.
Magento is used in nearly 200 000 online shops. Based on an open source platform, Magento is therefore free to use and can be customized easily by accessing the core code. As mentioned in our intro, the problem you will be facing is finding qualified programmers to complete the task and you will most likely need to hire one if there isn’t already one on your team.
The rest of our article will focus on the WooCommerce and Shopify platforms which are much better suited for small and medium businesses who don’t have unlimited budget to allow to ecommerce services.
Costs, Design and implementation
WooCommerce is free if you’re already running your website on a WordPress platform which will allow you to add the WooCommerce plugin to your existing site. The Downside is you will probably need to add various plugins which are not all free with some of them ranging anywhere from 5$ to 500$ annually depending on your needs. These plugins are for the most part all integrated in Shopify. Although these WooCommerce plugins might look expensive, they all offer you a lot of flexibility in regards to your ROI (return on investment) since they can also be easily removed if they don’t turn out to be worth your investment! WooCommerce doesn’t include hosting which means additional costs since you will have to find a partner who will take care of hosting and securing your website.
On the other hand, Shopify offers a more conventional payment plan with packages starting at 14$ for beginners all the way up to 179$ for unlimited access. Hosting is integrated in the Shopify solutions but will cost you at least 29$ monthly and can increase depending on your needs. Needless to say Shopify may seem more expensive to start with but it’s ease of use, management and deployment make it a solution well worth the price.
One of the biggest pros of WooCommerce is the esthetic of its platform. If you are willing to put in the hours, you should be able to make your ecommerce platform meet all of your business requirements. As for Shopify, you will also get quality themes with many of them being free with a variety of colors as well as being adaptive to mobile technology such as smart phones and tablets. The result is an elegant and esthetic site which meets all of the modern day website requirements. The downside of working with Shopify’s integrated themes is the similarity between online stores that has been noticed by many webmasters.
The implementation and deployment of ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify is relatively quick and easy. In both cases, online stores can be deployed in a matter of hours in the case of simple stores up to a few days for the more complex ones requiring a more advanced interface. Where Shopify has an edge is when it comes to deployment and product creation and offers a better download speed of the online store which responds better to the Search Engine optimization requirements. As for WooCommerce, even tho maybe not as quick as Shopify when it comes to page loading, the different SEO tools available with wordpress plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast make it a more complete solution in that aspect which will give you maximum visibility on google search pages. These tools will also help in content creation which will appeal to the needs of your visitors and those of search engines.
Pros and Cons
Each platform has their lot of pros and cons and it’s important to determine which ones are best suited for your enterprise’s needs. As mentioned above, Shopify offers a more complete base solution than WooCommerce but since nothing is free in this world, this turnkey solution has a price. On the other hand, even though both WordPress and WooCommerce are free, adding various plugins can drastically increase your price. These plugins available for WooCommerce will allow you much more room to personalize and optimize your website’s ecommerce platform. Even though the speed of page loading is not quite as fast as with Shopify, the different plugins available for WooCommerce will allow you to reduce that margin.
Shopify being a much more rigid platform, it offers businesses a much easier platform to use than WooCommerce. Both control panels are simple and allow adding your products easily but Shopify will also allow you to migrate your products by importing them from an existing platform. Where WooCommerce has a real edge is when it comes to content creation platform and search engine optimization. If by your online presence you’re looking to cover a much broader audience than just your local market, the presence of a blog demonstrating your expertise which includes key words will increase your visibility on search engines. You will also need to manage your domain names, hosting and SSL certificates on your own which is something that you won’t have to do with Shopify.
It is important to note that we are not favoring one solution over the other here; both are very complete, stable and easy to use platforms.
Perron Media will walk you through your decision process. Take advantage of our consultation service and make sure to choose the most appropriate solution that will meet your needs and your budget.