What is the Best Ecommerce Website Platform?
Over the past decade, technology and marketing companies have made great strides in building tools and platforms that allow regular non technical people to build and manage business websites. With this massive influx of new website builder options it’s difficult to know where to begin and which solution works best for your specific situation. Our Philadelphia Web Design team believes it’s important to understand the basics before making a decision.
What to Consider When Choosing an Ecommerce Website Builder Platform
There are many factors to consider when choosing which site builder to use for your website. Some of aspects are related to common sense (ie. cost of platform), while others are only understood by experienced online marketing professional (ie. SEO, plugin compatibility, SKU complexity). It’s important to understand these factors and your specific business needs before deciding on a platform.
Depending on the size and maturity of your business, price can play a major factor. Ecommerce platforms can range from ~$50 per month for a basic Shopify or Woocommerce subscription all the way to hundreds of thousands for custom development of a Magento site.
Search engine optimization is the practice of optimizing your site to maximize the amount of organic traffic you receive from Google. Depending on your acquisition strategy for your business, this traffic can be the largest contributing factor that leads to the success of your company. Before choosing a platform it’s important to understand the basics of SEO, the effect of search on your business, and how each platform impacts search differently.
Similar to Iphone apps, plugins allow business owners to quickly and easily add various functionalities to their websites from 3rd party providers rather than having to create an individual solution on their own. Some solutions like Shopify have an entire ecosystem of third party apps and development add-ons to improve your website and test new features. It’s important to consider if there are any plugins or out of the box solutions available or if you have to create all additional features from scratch on the platform you choose.
Page speed is both a significant ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and important for increasing conversion rates of your existing customers. Some platforms are more or less bloated and perform differently with loading times and page speed. You can usually improve load times of all platforms by upgrading your hosting, utilizing a CDN, and compressing images; but it’s important to keep in mind the impact on page speed when you choose a ecommerce builder platform.
Differences and Similarities Between the Most Popular Ecommerce Design Platforms
Today, Shopify is by far the most popular platform among people looking to get started in ecommerce. You can started a basic store for only $29 per month and there is a huge assortment of plugins and add-ons made for the platform. Larger enterprise ecommerce companies with thousands of SKU’s may want a more customized solution, but Shopify is a great place to get started in the world of ecommerce web design.
Magento is was a popular PHP solution for creating an ecommerce website over the past decade. They generally are more expensive than other solutions, but offer great levels of SEO and customization. If you are a larger established brand and looking to invest $10k-30k in your ecommerce site to have it custom designed, this is a great option.
Woocomerce is a popular option for those with an existing WordPress site that are looking to add an ecommerce component. It can be installed simply as a plugin and features the same great SEO optimized platform that website owners expect from WordPress. Woocommerce is free for basic features and is a great way to test the market for ecommerce on one of your existing web properties, however it lacks some of the custom-ability of higher end options like Magneto.
At a price point similar to Shopify, Bigcommerce offers an easy to use ecommerce platform. While generally Bigcommerce themes aren’t as clean and stylish as Shopify, they offer some great starter solution for ecommerce stores and 24/7 phone and email support.
Conclusion & Recommendations
As you have seen there is not one definite best ecommerce web design platform on the market today. It really comes down to your specific budget and the most important acquisition channels for your business. Generally if you are looking to quickly get started, Shopify would be your best option whereas if you had a larger budget and were looking for a more customized solution than something like Magento may be a better choice. It’s also a good idea to get the opinions of a few professional web designers before making such an important decision.