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What are the best e-commerce platforms for your website?

How to Choose the Right E-Commerce Platform for Your Business

E-commerce platforms have transformed the way we shop and sell online. For entrepreneurs and business owners, selecting the right platform is crucial to online success, and if you’ve Googled “best e-commerce platforms” recently, you know there are dozens of options out there.  So, which one is right for your business?

The landscape of e-commerce solutions can be broadly divided into two categories: open-source platforms and software as a service (SaaS), or closed-source platforms. Open-source platforms are just that, open. A community of developers and contributors work collaboratively to maintain and improve the code that enables open-source platforms, adding features and fixing bugs as they go. This software code is free and available for anyone to download, deploy, adapt, and share.

Conversely, closed-source platforms are proprietary, typically owned and maintained by a single company. To access them, you must subscribe or pay a monthly fee. SaaS options typically offer more out-of-the-box features and may be easier for “non-technical” types to implement. Those turnkey accommodations, in turn, come at a higher price.

If you’re responsible for managing an online store, but aren’t a website developer by trade, we’re here to help! We’ve assembled a high-level list of the marketplace’s favorite e-commerce solutions by category (open- or closed-source), ranked on the totality of their native features, ease of use, and affordability. 

Open-Source E-Commerce Platforms: Control and Customizability

Open-source platforms are ideal for those who seek full control over their website’s functionality and design. They require more technical knowledge and/or resources to set up and maintain but offer unparalleled flexibility and customization options.

1. WooCommerce: The WordPress Powerhouse

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that turns your site into a fully customizable online store. It’s best for those already familiar with WordPress. With extensive plugin options and themes, WooCommerce allows for significant customization but might require additional costs for hosting, themes, and plugins.

WooCommerce Product Info
WooCommerce-Related Costs

2. Drupal Commerce: The Flexible Framework

Built on top of the Drupal content management system, Drupal Commerce is a solution that combines powerful e-commerce capabilities with the flexibility and scalability of Drupal, making it well-suited for businesses with complex e-commerce needs and those who already leverage Drupal for their website. The flip side is a steep learning curve, particularly for those not already familiar with Drupal. Setting up and customizing a Drupal Commerce-backed store requires a good grasp of Drupal’s core concepts and some development skills.

Drupal Commerce Product Info

3. OpenCart: The Developer’s Favorite

OpenCart is a free, open-source e-commerce platform that offers a robust set of features out of the box. It’s known for its straightforward setup for those with some technical skills. OpenCart provides a wide range of extensions and themes, though some premium options can add to the cost.

OpenCart Product Info

4. Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento): The Enterprise Choice

Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento) offers a powerful, open-source platform known for its scalability and features suitable for large businesses. It’s complex and requires a developer to get the most out of its extensive customization options. Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community Edition) is free, but hosting and development can be costly.

Adobe Commerce Product Info
Magento Open Source Info
Adobe Commerce Pricing + Related Costs

5. PrestaShop: The European Gem

PrestaShop is a free, open-source platform with a strong presence in Europe. It offers a range of features and more than 3,000 templates to choose from. While it’s relatively user-friendly, some users might need assistance for initial setup and customization.

PrestaShop Product Info
PrestaShop Pricing + Related Costs

Closed-Source (SaaS) E-Commerce Platforms: Ease of Use and Efficiency

SaaS platforms are perfect for those who prioritize ease of use, product support, and quick setup over customization. These platforms typically charge a monthly fee but handle hosting, maintenance, and security for you.

1. Shopify: The All-In-One Powerhouse

Shopify is arguably the most popular SaaS e-commerce platform, known for its ease of use, beautiful themes, and robust support. It offers a range of plans to suit various business sizes, although transaction fees and the cost of apps can add up.
Shopify Product Info
Shopify Pricing + Related Costs

2. BigCommerce: The Scalable Solution

BigCommerce is a strong Shopify competitor, offering a comprehensive set of built-in features and scalability options. It’s designed to grow with your business, making it ideal for both small and large enterprises. BigCommerce has a straightforward pricing model without extra transaction fees.

BigCommerce Product Info
BigCommerce Pricing + Related Costs

3. Squarespace: The Designer’s Dream

Squarespace is renowned for its stunning, designer-quality templates and intuitive drag-and-drop builder. It’s ideal for small businesses and creatives looking for a visually impressive online store. Squarespace is user-friendly, though it may lack some of the advanced features found in Shopify and BigCommerce.

Squarespace Product Info
Squarespace Pricing + Related Costs

4. Wix: The Beginner’s Best Friend

Wix offers a simple, drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy for anyone to build an online store. It’s best for small businesses and solopreneurs. While it’s extremely user-friendly, Wix might not scale as well for larger businesses.

Wix Product Info
Wix Pricing + Related Costs

5. Weebly: The Affordable Option

Weebly, now owned by Block Inc. (formerly Square Inc.), provides a straightforward platform for building an online store. It’s known for its affordability and ease of use, making it a good choice for small businesses on a tight budget. Weebly’s feature set is basic compared to Shopify and BigCommerce but sufficient for starting out.

Weebly Product Info
Weebly Pricing + Related Costs

Conclusion: Choosing the Right E-Commerce Platform for Your Business

Selecting an e-commerce platform depends on your business needs, technical skills, and budget. Open-source platforms offer flexibility and customization but require more technical knowledge or resources. SaaS platforms, on the other hand, provide ease of use and efficiency at the cost of customization and potentially higher monthly fees. When deciding, consider your long-term business goals, current resources, and how much control you want over your online store’s functionality and design. Each business is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.

Need Help Selecting an E-Commerce Solution?

Our crew has experience with a variety of popular e-commerce platforms and would be happy to help you weigh options and select the optimal solution for your organization. Complete the form below, and let us know how we can help!

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