Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Opencart vs PrestaShop vs 3dCart vs SquareSpace vs Wix vs Woocommerce – A comparison of eCommerce platforms

Comparison of Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Opencart vs PrestaShop vs 3dCart vs SquareSpace vs Wix vs Woocommerce.

Amidst all kinds of online marketing efforts, including SEO and other digital marketing, what always stands out as the sole factor impacting the success of your online store is your dedication to an immersive and enriched customer experience. Your market strategies and process efficiencies – everything comes after. If your customers do not have a good experience while they are on your website, then you won’t have sales. It is as simple and as complex as that.

Which eCommerce platforms you choose is one of the first and foremost decisions that will drive your success. eCommerce solutions provided by the top eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, SquareSpace, BigCommerce, Wix, OpenCart and 3DCart power your business and make it scalable in the long run. By choosing one of these best online store platforms, you not only end up engaging your customers with your brand and make their buying journey a smooth one, but also impact your bottom line in terms of sales growth.

eCommerce solutions for small business

The different types of ecommerce platforms available can be categorized in three ways:

  • Open Source.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service).
  • CaaS (Commerce as a Service).

Apart from these, there are two more ways in which an ecommerce platform may offer a hosting environment for their customers.

The two types of hosting environments are:

  • Cloud: Hosted Elsewhere.
  • Self-Hosted: On your business premises.

While in self hosted eCommerce platforms, online store owners choose their hosting and deal with the installations and updates to the software manually, Cloud hosted ecommerce platforms offer hosting for their customers via off-site solutions. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a good example.

Updating a self-hosted ecommerce site can be quite costly and time-consuming, since the developers are required to maintain and update the website manually. The benefits of this kind of hosting however are, more control over your online retail platform, better understanding of data security and greater visibility of your data.

Some eCommerce features you should consider while choosing your eCommerce platform

  1. Hosting environment, uptime and bandwidth, security etc.
  2. Unlimited API call volumes
  3. Fully customizable site free themes
  4. Extensive marketplace for apps and extensions
  5. Responsive site and fully customizable
  6. PCI Compliance mitigation
  7. SEO capabilities
  8. Social Media Integration
  9. Customer Service
  10. Inventory Management
  11. Product attributes
  12. Blogs
  13. Coupons and Discount compatibility
  14. Integrated Ratings and testimonials
  15. Multiple product photo and zooming capability
  16. 24/7 support

Some other features which I have personally feel are usually great additions and are offered by the best eCommerce platforms in 2018 are –

  1. Capability to handle subscriptions/recurring product orders
  2. Drop-shipping integration
  3. Real-time shipping/tracking
  4. Reward points program compatibility
  5. Google Trusted eCommerce Stores
  6. Amazon, eBay and Etsy integrations
  7. Chat Support

eCommerce platforms comparison

Let’s get you a comparison of the most popular eCommerce platforms.

 

  1. SHOPIFY

 

By far the most popular eCommerce platform by search volume, Shopify is considered among the most easy to install and set-up eCommerce platforms today. With the huge range of themes and plugins available for the Shopify online store platform, it can be set up with pretty much zero knowledge of coding. This eCommerce platform allows you to set up your online store and start selling immediately with the Shopify POS. The Shopify Burst allows you to get access to some incredible HD images for your online store. They also make it extremely easy for you to accept credit card payments with Shopify Payments.

Shopify eCommerce Features:

  • Unlimited number of products
  • Website and blog with your own domain name
  • Integrated payment solution
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 24/7 support
  • Discount codes
  • Sell offline with Shopify POS
  • Can integrate Facebook store
  • Multiple shipping apps
  • Inventory and order sync capability across sales channels (e.g. Amazon, eBay, etc.)
  • Full list of tools and features on their website.

Shopify Benefits:

  • 14-day free trial (with no credit card required)
  • Large range of apps and themes
  • Integrated payments makes accepting credit cards easy
  • Unlimited products on all plans
  • Pricing is clearly displayed
  • Shopify Burst

Shopify Cons:

  • Fees can add-up with expansion (e.g. monthly, payment processing, apps, theme, etc.)
  • Blogging platform not as advanced as WordPress
  • Can be somewhat difficult to migrate to a different platform

 

  1. WOOCOMMERCE

WooCommerce is now the most popular eCommerce platform with 11% of the Top 10,000 eCommerce websites using it. The platform is built on WordPress, which makes it one of the best eCommerce CMS you can find. It is free and gives you access to the largest possible range of plugins and themes available on any online platform. However, it requires a tad bit more technical knowledge to set up than some other platforms like Shopify. Additionally, you’ll need to find your own WooCommerce hosting and payment gateway alongside a website theme and custom plugins. Unlike other platforms, there is no dedicated customer service for WooCommerce.

WooCommerce eCommerce Features:

  • Seamlessly integrates commerce with content.
  • Add the options you want.
  • Add unlimited products and users
  • Take unlimited orders
  • Built-in blogging
  • Embed products, checkout and more on any page
  • Edit any part of your site
  • More than 400 official extensions

 

WooCommerce Pros:

  • Cheapest option out of the box.
  • Largest number of themes to choose from
  • Huge range of plugins to choose from
  • Unlimited product selling
  • Easily customizable

WooCommerce Cons:

  • Set-up is not as quick
  • Requires more technical knowledge to set-up than some other platforms.
  • Have to use a third-party payment gateway
  • Many extensions are premium
  • No customer support

 

  1. BIGCOMMERCE

BigCommerce offers some very useful eCommerce solutions for entrepreneurs looking to build  an online shop. BigCommerce is considered to be one of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses, and their standard solution claims that they can increase sales, streamline your business and expand to new channels. For larger businesses, BigCommerce offers their Enterprise solutions, which has a higher level of reliability and some very advanced tools in the offering. They also offer bespoke solutions for B2B businesses. It’s a hosted eCommerce platform and includes integrated payments powered by PayPal alongside other providers. Their plans include unlimited products, bandwidth and file storage, and the pricing is based on the value of sales processed each year.

BigCommerce eCommerce Features:

  • No transaction fees
  • Unlimited products, file storage and bandwidth
  • Direct Sell eBay and Amazon marketplaces
  • Facebook and Pinterest integration
  • Responsive website with single page checkout
  • Free Sitewide HTTPs and Dedicated SSL
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Blog
  • Professional reporting tools
  • Can offer coupons, vouchers, discounts and gift cards

BigCommerce Pros:

  • Unlimited products, file storage and bandwidth on all plans
  • Zero transaction fees
  • Offers bespoke B2B and wholesale solution
  • Large number of apps

BigCommerce Cons:

  • Pricing tied to sales volume
  • Small selection of free themes, paid themes cost $145-$235
  • Integrated payment fees are quite high (but you can use your own solution)
  • Some paid apps are very expensive (e.g. $1,000+ per month)

 

  1. MAGENTO

Magento is undoubtedly one of the most powerful online store platforms, which however, comes at a cost. Their top selling plans cost substantially more than that of their competitor’s, but in exchange allows you almost total control over your online store. Magento has two options – The Magento Open Source and the Magento Commerce. While the former is their free, flexible, open source platform for developers and small businesses requiring specialised Magento web hosting; the latter is their cloud hosted solution and comes for a price. Both the options offer a full enterprise level eCommerce solution, but some users may find the set-up a bit of a challenge.

Magento Commerce eCommerce Features:

  • Customer Accounts & Loyalty
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Order Management and Customer Service
  • Catalogue Management
  • Promotions and Pricing
  • Catalogue Browsing
  • Order Management and Customer Service
  • Checkout and Payments
  • Support for Global Sites

Magento Pros:

  • A strong team of 150,000 developers
  • Customization flexibility
  • Hundreds of extensions and themes.
  • 300+ highly-trained solution partners

Magento Cons:

  • Not very easy to set-up
  • One of the most expensive platform on our list
  • Have to use your own payment gateway
  • Open Source will require dedicated web hosting

 

  1. PRESTASHOP

PrestaShop is an open source ecommerce software platform and is considered to be one of the popular eCommerce platforms with more than one million users. Like WooCommerce, PrestaShop also doesn’t require any cost to use the basic version of the software. However, you will need to do most of the set-up yourself. For starters, you’ll need to decide on the web hosting and acquire your own payment gateway. Premium add-ons are available for PrestaShop that is sure to extend the functionality of your eCommerce business – but most of these are not free. You will also have access to training modules and premium experts to help you build almost every aspect of your eCommerce business, but again, these are not free.

PrestaShop eCommerce Features:

  • Quickly create products to sell online
  • Option to choose a message to showcase out-of-stock products
  • Inventory tracking
  • Configurable shipping methods
  • One one-page checkout capability
  • Quick create an account
  • You can integrate taxes depending on locations
  • Option to configure coupons
  • Social networks integration

PrestaShop Pros:

  • Cheap to get started (apart from PrestaShop hosting)
  • 600 features with 1000+ modules and themes available
  • Premium online training available
  • Custom template can be built quickly with the Starter Theme
  • Translated in 25+ languages

PrestaShop Cons:

  • Requires more technical knowledge to set-up
  • Premium training may seem quite expensive to many
  • Many add-ons cost £100+
  • Need to find your own payment gateway solution

 

  1. WIX

WixStores comes from Wix – one of the leading free website builders. The WixStores is an exclusive offering for online store platforms.  Hence, the platform is expectedly quite simple to get started with, and offers hundreds of templates to choose from. You can also get started immediately with their ad supported version, if you are a start-up working on a really low budget. You can change, customize and edit anything on your online store with the easy Drag-and-Drop functionality, and you can also create responsive websites with Wix.

Wix eCommerce Features:

  • 100s of stunning templates
  • Coupons and discounts
  • Mobile optimised eCommerce website
  • Drag n’ drop online store builder
  • Multiple payment solutions
  • Beautiful product galleries
  • Secure checkout
  • Global tax and shipping
  • Professional store manager
  • 24/7 support

Wix Pros:

  • Great and a huge selection of themes to choose from.
  • No commission from your sales
  • Multiple payment options
  • Huge range of apps
  • Can get started for free.

Wix Cons:

  • SEO capabilities not that strong.
  • No option to export data if you want to move to another platform down the line
  • Adding custom functions is a challenge

 

  1. SQUARESPACE

Squarespace is a cloud hosted website builder, and like Wix, is one of the most popular options for building any type of website online. Their eCommerce platform allows you to set-up an online store quickly and rather easily. They do not have a free plan, although there is a free trial option. They also have relatively fewer payment options with just Stripe and PayPal for now. However, the features they offer are at par with most of the other popular eCommerce platforms. They claim that whether you are a start-up or an established brand, their powerful platform gives you everything you need to run your online store successfully. They offer a range of marketing tools – from search to social to help you engage with your customers, creating a powerful marketing strategy.

Squarespace eCommerce Features:

  • Sell unlimited products
  • Mobile optimised website and checkout
  • SSL Security
  • 24/7 support
  • Label printing via Shipstation
  • Customer accounts
  • No transaction fees on online store plans
  • Integrated Xero accounting
  • Free domain with annual plans
  • Range of metrics

Squarespace Pros:

  • Offer free domains with annual plans
  • Website builder has a range of top class features
  • Affordable plans
  • Marketing tools integrated
  • SEO functionality

Squarespace Cons:

  • Transaction fee of 3% on sales on their Business plan.
  • Limited range of payment options
  • No 3rd party app store
  • Add-ons are limited

 

  1. 3DCART

3dcart is an all-in-one eCommerce solution. The name was conceived from their perspective of the three dimensions of an eCommerce store – namely, Store Owners, Search Engines, and Shoppers. This online store platform offers a complete set of tools to help you build, market and sell from your eCommerce website. You can use additional apps to customise and for some extra features. Their shopping cart software is considered among the best shopping carts you will find among the platforms. They have other solutions like the B2B & Enterprise Ecommerce and simple Buy buttons. Their unlimited plans start at $29 a month and there are no transaction fees. They take pride in saying that they are a leader in advanced eCommerce features.

3dcart eCommerce Features:

  • No transaction fees
  • Unlimited Orders and products
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Full FTP access
  • Can sell on Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook
  • Range of free and paid themes
  • An exhaustive list of apps
  • No contracts. No hidden caveats. No surprise fees
  • PCI Certified hosting with SSL technology

3dcart Pros:

  • Offers complete control over your store including full FTP access
  • Includes a huge range of features, even on their basic plan
  • Also offer a POS solution if you want to sell offline
  • Offer 15 day free trial
  • Real time shipping offering accurate rates, print labels and provide tracking information

3dcart Cons:

  • May not be easy to set-up for first-time users
  • Relatively small number of extra apps available

 

  1. OPENCART

OpenCart is a free open-source platform and can be considered as the best eCommerce platform for small businesses. The platform is built on PHP any eCommerce merchant is bound to derive the benefits of the programming language. This eCommerce platform follows a core-extensions model; and you will need to install certain add-ons if you need a higher level of functionality. OpenCart has enormous range of extensions – almost 14,000 of them. The shopping cart software boasts of an impressive site speed – thanks to the AJAX technology. OpenCart is loaded with all the basic functions a user needs. The OpenCart multi-store function allows its users to manage and monitor multiple stores from a single Admin panel. In addition, OpenCart allows you to have shopping cart facilities, upload unlimited products, categorize them, etc.

OpenCart eCommerce Features:

  • Unlimited products
  • Ability to work with multiple languages and currencies
  • 2 absolutely free demos available
  • Basic SEO features
  • Plenty of professionally designed and responsive templates
  • Active forums

OpenCart Pros:

  • It’s great for market expansion
  • The platform is user-friendly
  • Plenty of templates on 3rd party resources like Themeforest, Template Monster etc.
  • Offers free community and dedicated commercial support

OpenCart Cons:

  • It’s a little difficult than WooCommerce in user-friendliness
  • You are in charge of hosting and security and the expenses thereof

eCommerce Platform List Comparison

Platforms Cheapest Plan Most Premium Plan Free Trial Integrated Payments Overall Ratings

(on a scale of 1-10)

Final Verdict
Shopify $29 per month $299/month 14 days Yes, but can use own solution. Price – 9

Ease of Use -10

Support- 10

Features – 10

Easy to set-up, all-in-one eCommerce solution, no upfront cost and no risk.
BigCommerce $29.95 per month $249.95 per month 30 days Yes, but can use own solution.  

Price – 8

Ease of Use – 9

Support – 10

Features – 10

Low upfront costs and a full range of features included with their standard account. One of the few platforms offering a solution specifically for B2B and whole businesses. The prices of some add-ons such as themes, apps and payments need to be considered.
Magento Free $3,417 per month 30 days No Price – 6

Ease of Use – 9

Support – 7

Features – 10

Fully featured, Enterprise level Ecommerce platform. It’s not the best if cost is a factor.
WooCommerce Free Free NA No, requires extension  

Price – 10

Ease of Use – 9

Support – 9

Features – 8

It is good if you are technically sound and can troubleshoot problems. Great flexibility and customization at the lowest price possible.
PrestaShop Free Free NA No Price – 10

Ease of Use – 6

Support – 7

Features – 8

Cheap but powerful eCommerce platform. Additional support and many plugins are not free.
Wix £10.10 per month £15.57 per  month Free Plan (Ad supported) No Price -10

Ease of Use – 8

Support – 10

Features – 10

It is easy to set up but there might be challenges to add advanced functions or capabilities
SquareSpace £13 per month £37 per month 14 days No  

Price – 9

Ease of Use – 9

Support – 9

Features – 10

Great tool for creating stunning websites. Insufficient payment options and 3rd party apps. Low customization.
3dCart $29 per month $229 per month 15 days No Price – 8

Ease of Use – 7

Support – 9

Features – 9

Large range of features. Visa PCI certified security, real time shipping
OpenCart Free Free NA No  

Price – 9

Ease of Use – 9

Support – 8

Features – 9

Huge range of extensions, ideal for small/medium businesses, guarantees impressive site speed, multi language and currency integrations. Hosting and Security costs to be borne by the user.

 

Conclusion

When you ask yourself “which is the best eCommerce platform”, it can sometimes be really hard to tell how seemingly minor differences there are between the best eCommerce platforms in terms of eCommerce features and performance. It is really your needs that can help you decide which eCommerce solutions you need to choose. I will recommend that you have some frontrunners in your eCommerce platform list, and that is where I think this article will be helpful for you in terms of making the comparison of Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Opencart vs PrestaShop vs 3dCart vs SquareSpace vs Wix vs Woocommerce. Let me know what you think.

 

 

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Fadiyah Sameh

Content marketing specialist @perzonalization, ace writer, loves to read and write on marketing related topics