Choosing the best platform to create an online store website can cause you a big headache if you do not have much knowledge on the subject.
For this reason, today, I have prepared this article to explain the 4 most used platforms and to clear you which one best suits your business.
People are stopping shopping in commercial plazas and departmental stores and started shopping in online stores. Thus we have to know the platforms that exist to create an online store and help us enter into the world of eCommerce.
You can create a website from scratch, but there are also many platforms, like everything else, that have their advantages and disadvantages depending on what your online store needs, it will be better to use one or the other. Choosing a platform can be complicated when you do not know about it.
If you have thought about starting your online store website, surely you have had to think a lot about where you should do it.
Is it convenient for you to have an online store?
As we have stated in the beginning, people have changed their buying habits.
We used to go to retail stores before. Now, from a smartphone or a laptop, we can buy from shoes to accessories for the pet.
If you are looking to start a business or create more sales opportunities, it suits you to have an eCommerce. Here I share a few reasons why creating an online store is a good idea.
Lower costs. If you are starting a business and you do not have much money to invest, you need to open an online store.
Unlike having a physical store, in a virtual store you do not pay for the rent of the premises, shelves, you do not pay the sellers, and you do not generate administrative or stationery expenses. You will only pay for the accommodation of your online store (because there are free platforms).
Relationship with the closest customer. The experience of buying online creates your brand. If you offer an excellent service, a good catalog of products and a friendly interface and design, be very sure that people will return to your online store in search of more products.
Personalized attention. It is essential that any online store has its contact page, as well as add the option to chat. When you guarantee good customer service by your store, it gives confidence to the future customer, and you feel satisfied with the purchase process.
Greater reach to the audience. As we know, the internet is global, so your store has a reach anywhere in the world, and customers are just a click away.
If you are looking to grow in the future to reach new markets or generate new customers, it is an obligation to create your online store website.
Trust for the seller and the user. When eCommerce started, there was a lot of mistrust between companies and buyers about the issue of personal data.
In 2018 everything changed. Safer modes of payment have been created; even, it is safer to pay online than physically!
But if you want to see both sides of the coin, in this guide to online stores, you will find everything, so that before creating yours, you have the complete picture.
What to keep in mind for your eCommerce to be successful
The platforms to create online stores have become popular so that you can find hundreds of websites that can offer you these services.
Some are simple platforms to sell a low number of products; others are focused on large companies where sales items would be inventoried for their volume.
If you are starting in the world of eCommerce, or want to create an online store, here are some points you should never miss:
- Have a list of the products that are handled in the store
- Sell products and services, from physical to digital
- Your online store always includes a shopping cart. So that users can add items and buy.
- The ideal thing is to have your brand for the online store and use the custom domain.
- Always manage and see how the products are handled in your store.
- Have additional themes, as well as original designs and use functional extensions.
- No matter what business your online store has, you should always have an option for help and contact.
The idea is to contact web design specialists to guide you and choose what best suits your business
The good and the bad of the most used platforms to create online stores
As we discussed at the beginning, there are many platforms to create online stores, but what is the ideal? We present the platforms most used today to create an online store. You can find the pros and cons of each platform.
Shopify has seen the fastest growth in comparison to any other platform. Today, it has about 500,000 active stores on the platform.
Here are some features that make it the most popular platform these days – and the negative too.
- Its interface is very practical. It is so practical that you can quickly add products, customize the website, and more.
- It has more than 100 templates. The free and paid themes found in the Shopify store are professionally designed. You can also customize them according to your store or your company.
- Wide configuration option. It has a large Apps store where you can choose and customize the functionality of your store.
- Support any time and any day. If you need help with something, this is something you will need. Shopify can support you by phone, live chat, and email.
- Business plan with rapid growth. It has the functionality to handle a large amount of traffic, making the website special and practical at the same time.
- Easy search. You can find apps or ads in the easiest way, that will make you worry less if you need something for your website.
- Extensive knowledge base. By having a large number of users, it has a large knowledge base.
- The transactional charge for each sale. In addition to the monthly service charge, Shopify generates a transaction charge depending on the plan. If you want to withdraw these charges, you have to use the payment method of Shopify.
- The costs are increasing. Although the Apps are free, the updates are not.
- You need to know about programming. For more advanced settings, Shopify uses a very technical code, which means that you have to hire someone to make changes quickly. If not, you’ll have to start being an expert in Shopify.
Magento is an eCommerce platform acquired by eBay. The platform has more than 250,000 merchandise worldwide.
Magento has a community of 150,000 developers who attribute the good development of the platform and the extensions.
- It has tools for the automation of tasks. Magento allows automating tasks so that it is not difficult to execute them.
- Open-source. Magento has a community with more than 150,000 developers and specialists who work on software improvements and extensions.
- A large number of extensions. If there is any functionality that you want to add to your online store, there is no doubt that there is an extension that you can buy from the Magento extension store.
- Infinite features. You can make different stores in different countries, different target markets, and brands with different prices, content, and payment methods by installing Magento.
- Free community. Magento has a free community for small and medium businesses.
- Difficult and time-consuming personalization. The platform will show you how to use Magento. However, having many configurations, people who do not have technical knowledge beyond the basics will need the help of a developer.
- The business version is expensive. While Magento has a free version, if you want something more professional, it can be a bit expensive.
- Expensive maintenance. Needless to say, Magento is the most expensive platform on the list.
- You need to buy web hosting. The hosting has an additional cost along with the version you choose and the extensions.
WooComerce is a plugin that works only with WordPress. In 2015, Woocommerce was acquired by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. To date, it has 380,000 online stores.
- It’s free. The Woocommerce store plugin is free from WordPress.
- Flexible and open source. WooCommerce has a large number of developers and agencies that create extensions.
- A large number of extensions. If there is some kind of feature or functionality that you want to add to your online store, WooCommerce has extensions that you can buy.
- Easy to configure. It is much easier to have an online store here and run it, with very little administration cost than other platforms.
- Easy to customize. WooCommerce is designed to work with any type of WordPress theme; there are hundreds of different paid and free themes.
- Ideal for content marketing. As it is based on WordPress, you can take advantage of the tools used to personalize the blog and build your own brand.
- Work with WordPress. Anyone using WordPress will find it very easy to manage WooCommerce.
- You personalize the products. You can edit the size of the product images, include descriptions, prices, and other settings.
- It can be expensive. The more extensions you add to your online store, the more you will pay through your monthly or annual subscription.
- It does not include hosting. You will have to be careful with the hosting and maintenance settings when doing it yourself, although hiring a person to make this point can be very helpful.
- It is not easy to customize for new users. While basic customizations are easy to configure, if at any time you want to change it, you probably need the help of a developer.
Prestashop is a free and open-source platform that started in 2005. Currently, it has 250,000 online stores worldwide.
PrestaShop can be downloaded and used for free. The extensions are those that have an extra cost.
- Easy to install and configure. All you need to do is download the software and install it on your host. Prestashop also comes with a very friendly interface that gives you a quick view of the status of your store.
- Available in 60 languages. The main language of PrestaShop is English and French. However, you can configure your store to have another word.
- A hundred of contents. The official PrestaShop store has 350,000 configurations, modules, and themes that will improve the experience of your online store.
- Community and support. PrestaShop has a very active user community. If you need technical help, there are FAQ forums; it has online user guides and a forum.
- It’s free. In addition, it does not have any monthly subscription or transaction charges.
- You can include a blog. PrestaShop gives you the option to include a blog to your online store for free.
- Creation of pop-up windows. The platform has the ability to show your products through pop-up windows, so users will not lose the main page or where they saw the product.
- The extensions are very expensive. Adding some extensions or configurations for better functionality can cost up to thousands of dollars.
- It is very simple. If what you are looking for is a platform for a large business, look elsewhere.
- Technical support is paid. If you need help to set up your online store or diagnose a technical problem, you need to pay for the support or if you do not look for the solution in the user forums.
- The designs and the templates are not so formal. In comparison to the other platforms that we have talked about, PrestaShop has not such professional designs to carry out eCommerce for large companies.
Which platform to create an online store is better for you?
If you want to start and have an online store quickly, the best option is Shopify.
It is not only because the company offers a large number of configurations, but because of the very professional looking designs.
I would have no problem recommending this platform to someone who wants to start in the eCommerce industry.
If you are an established company and have a team of developers or have the capital to contract, Magento is a good option for your company.
It is very suitable for large companies that need business-grade software and that they are happy to pay for the proper development and management of the website.
If your company already has a website through WordPress, and you are looking to boost the website or expand your business by creating an online store website, the only solution is WooCommerce.
It is the best way to add a fully customizable store to your site. Install the WooCommerce plugin, and you will get a new section on your website for products and orders.
No matter how many cross-platform comparison articles you read, the only person who knows which platform fits the needs of your store is you. Remember that the platform you choose should allow you to sell the products you offer in the best possible way.
Now, based on the recommendations we read earlier, feel free to choose a few platforms, enter and discover what each of them offers. You can start using the free trial of one or two, so you can see which one works best for your online store. That’s easy!