There’s no one e-commerce platform that’s a perfect solution for every storefront site. The right choice for you and your business will be the one that serves your unique needs best. But when you’re sifting through product demos and marketing materials, it can be hard to know which one does what.
Generally, you’ll want to choose an e-commerce platform that:
- can scale with your business
- suits your budget
- you can easily maintain
Additional considerations include the need for ongoing support from your e-commerce platform and whether you need a platform that does more than simply handle transactions.
To help you navigate this complex, ever-changing space, we’ve broken down some of the most popular e-commerce tools by usability, scale, and technical capacity so you can make the best choice for your business.
Best E-Commerce Tools for Big and Small Sites
WooCommerce (for WordPress)
If you're already familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce is a powerful plugin that can turn your WordPress site into a fully functional e-commerce store. It's highly customizable and offers a lot of flexibility.
You’ll need to have your own WordPress site already established before installing the plugin, which means securing your own hosting services. Once set up, WooCommerce can scale up to suit any existing WordPress site. With the right governance and dedicated development resources, WordPress can handle large sites as well as small. Managing a WordPress site is no small task, however, so having an experienced WordPress partner like Northwoods can be an absolute game-changer.
BigCommerce is an enterprise, scalable e-commerce platform suitable for businesses of all sizes. It offers a variety of built-in features, including marketing tools and multi-channel capabilities. BigCommerce also offers support and other resources to help business owners improve their e-commerce site. It does offer themes and templates of its own, meaning it may not be the best fit for those with an already established site.
BigCommerce also integrates well with existing apps and services, including those offered by its extensive list of partners. It’s generally considered a strong tool for anyone looking to boost sales and grow quickly. Small businesses might find Shopify a bit more user-friendly, but BigCommerce does slightly more feature-wise than Shopify will out-of-the-box.
OpenCart is notable for being a free, open-source store management solution. Users only pay for the many extensions and third-party apps that can integrate into the service.
This is a tool that you use in conjunction with an existing site, which makes it a perfect fit for businesses with skilled developers on staff. Being open source, it’s a deeply flexible and adaptable tool, with plenty of community resources to create the store experience and back-end visibility you need. This may not be the best fit for every organization, but it has powerful tools for those who can make the most of them.
Great E-Commerce Platforms for Small Business
Shopify is a user-friendly platform that is great for web novices and small businesses. It offers a wide range of templates and apps, making it easy to set up an online store without much technical knowledge. Shopify’s tools can help you build a dedicated, standalone storefront portal. That means less work on the hosting and domain side of e-commerce setup, as well.
That model does place limitations on Shopify’s capabilities. It’s mostly aimed at smaller operations – but it does specialize in providing analytics typically reserved for businesses with a marketing budget. You can get basic insights into your customer funnel, which may be enough for small businesses and individual sellers.
Wix is a popular website builder that also offers e-commerce functionality. Wix is known for its very easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, which makes it a great fit for those with limited web experience. Wix provides a variety of templates but also allows a surprising degree of aesthetic customization.
However, when it comes to larger inventories and more custom functionality, Wix doesn’t have as much to offer. While it does have its own analytics tools, you’ll be mostly on your own to get more in-depth user insights. For small businesses and individuals looking to put up a quick site and take orders, that won’t be an issue. But it may not be a great fit for a larger e-commerce-based business.
Squarespace and Wix are built for similar users. It's a good option for small businesses and individuals looking to sell their products online. Its design templates are eye-catching and simple to use, as are its content editing tools. It also integrates well with Stripe for payment processing.
It also can struggle with large-scale e-commerce operations. Managing large amounts of content can be a challenge of its own in Squarespace. If you have an exhaustive inventory of products, managing those can be a nearly impossible task. On the other hand, for a small, simple e-commerce operation, Squarespace might offer plenty of muscle to do the job.
It’s important to do your research to evaluate the pros and cons of various e-commerce solutions to determine which one will meet your needs best. Use this list as a helpful starting point.
If you’re looking for assistance selecting an e-commerce solution for your company, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our expert team will help guide you to the right choice based on your unique needs.