Do I need a Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce website?

Knowing what eCommerce platform best suits your business needs and allows you the flexibility to grow is an important choice that needs to be considered when choosing which platform to proceed with.

eCommerce Platforms

There are hundreds of eCommerce platforms that are available to help a business setup a fully functioning online shop, each vary in terms of features, pricing and ease of use – so a question that we get asked a lot – how can you decide on the best eCommerce solution with that many different options available?

In the past Clicky have used a large number of different platforms and from that experience we have narrowed down our offering and focus on three of the larger eCommerce systems around – Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify. In this blog, we are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Magento – www.magento.com

The first platform on our list is Magento. Magento is an open-source platform written in PHP and was initially launched in March 2008 and soon became one of the leading eCommerce systems for businesses wanting to sell online. Magento mainly caters for medium to large sized businesses.

A lot of larger brands use Magento for their eCommerce website such as Paul Smith, Paperchase, Helly Hanson, Missguided and Made.com to name just a few.

Below are some advantages and disadvantages of using Magento:

Advantages:

  • Cost – Magento offers a free version to download.
  • Features – The platform has a huge number of features and inclusions that are built into the default setup.
  • Scalable – The system allows for the website to grow as your business does.
  • Active Community – Magento has a large active community, so new features, add-ons, and security fixes are regularly being addressed and added.
  • User Guide – Magento offers a comprehensive user guide explaining the features and how to use the admin system.

Disadvantages:

  • Developer Skills Required – You will require development knowledge to make any functional and styling changes.
  • No Customer Support – Should you encounter any issues, there is no customer support, so ensuring you have a website maintenance contract is imperative.
  • Hosting – Magento is very server intensive, so you will likely need a decent dedicated server to host the website.

Shopify – www.shopify.co.uk

Second, on our list is Shopify. Shopify was initially founded in 2004 and is arguably the easiest of the three to setup and also the quickest to get a live functioning eCommerce website – however, this does also have its drawbacks as it has a number of restrictions so mainly caters for small eCommerce websites only.

Most examples of websites that use Shopify are small local businesses who want to offer a quick and easy solution to selling some of their products.

Below are some advantages and disadvantages of using Shopify:

Advantages:

  • Setup – The set-up process is very quick and straightforward, Shopify provides you with a lot of things you will need from the outset.
  • User Interface – The admin screens are fairly easy to navigate, much easier than some of the other platforms.
  • Add-ons – Shopify has over 1,200 add-ons that can be added in order to expand the features.
  • 24/7 Support – Using the live chat on their website, you have the availability for 24/7 support. 
  • Hosting – The website will be cloud hosted, reducing the costs for a dedicated server.

Disadvantages:

  • Code Base – Shopify uses its own language called “Liquid” which requires knowledge of, in order to make any development changes.
  • Customisations – Shopify only allows you to change certain parts of the functionality, whereas other systems allow you full control.
  • Content Management – Shopify has been built strictly for eCommerce websites only, so adding general content pages with features such as carousels, videos, sliders etc are difficult to implement.
  • Cost – Shopify is a subscription-based product, meaning you will have a monthly cost to pay. The more you pay on a monthly basis, the more features readily available to you.

WooCommerce – www.woocommerce.com

And last on our list is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that has been developed for WordPress. The plugin was initially released in September 2011 and soon became a popular choice due to its ease of setup, customisation, and familiarity with WordPress. WooCommerce mainly caters for small to medium-sized businesses.

WooCommerce facilitates a large number of eCommerce websites online today, such as: TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Sony Music, Disney and many local retailers/businesses.

Below are some advantages and disadvantages of using WooCommerce:

Advantages:

  • Cost – WooCommerce is a free plugin to download.
  • Modular – Like WordPress, WooCommerce is fully modular allowing for the addition of plugins and add-ons to the default system.
  • Sell Anything – Sell anything from physical products, digital products, subscriptions, appointments, and many more.
  • Familiar Friendliness – As this is a WordPress plugin, anyone who is familiar with WordPress will be used to the user-friendly interface.
  • Community – Similar to Magento, WooCommerce has a large active community, so new features, add-ons, and security fixes are regularly being added.

Disadvantages:

  • WordPress & WooCommerce updates – Both are updated regularly (which ultimately is a good thing), on the other hand, it also requires a maintenance contract to keep everything up to date and fully secure.
  • Complete Solution – WooCommerce isn’t a complete solution for an eCommerce website, so may have specific functionality you require not available, so would require custom developments.
  • WordPress – It may seem obvious, but it can’t be used without the use of WordPress.

Conclusion

So back to the original question, do I need a Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce website to sell our products? The short answer to this would be Yes, we would suggest the use of one of the three platforms, however, it would totally be dependent on your requirements on what suits your business needs best.

If you are looking for a small, cost-effective, simple and not very feature heavy eCommerce store, then Shopify would likely be your best option.

If you were a small to medium sized eCommerce store that wanted more customisations and features then WooCommerce would be the best solution.

Lastly, if you were a medium to large sized business, then Magento would be the best offering, with its robust system and containing the most features by default.

If you need any help or advice on what eCommerce platform best suits your business needs, then please contact us today – we would be happy to help!

If you need any help or advice on what eCommerce platform best suits your business needs,

Don't hesitate to get in contact with us today our web team would love to help

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Written by Craig Farrall