Here at Thrive, we build a lot of E-commerce websites for clients. With every new potential new project, we are always faced with the decision of which E-commerce platform or framework to use, depending on complexity, budget and appearance.
Luckily, we’re fully equipped to handle E-commerce development on multiple levels, which comes with years of experience and knowledge about each of the following E-commerce platforms I will explain in this email.
BigCommerce is a popular “all-inclusive” and self-hosted e-commerce platform. Self-hosted means that you pay BigCommerce to host your website, and all of the files resides on their servers.
BigCommerce is a fairly easy to use system out of the gate, although they do lean more towards “developers,” meaning that making changes to structural items on your website take some general knowledge of HTML and CSS.
All in all, BigCommerce is a favorite of ours because the themes they provide are attractive, and add-on functionalities are relatively cheap compared to other competitors.
Shopify is arguably one of the most popular E-commerce platforms to date. Shopify is similar to BigCommerce in the way that your website and all files are hosted by Shopify. This means that any system updates are pushed in real-time, however this also means that you cannot take your Shopify site anywhere else, should you want to in the future.
The biggest selling point to Shopify is the user-friendliness, a little easier than BigCommerce. The biggest drawback, is that when clients need add-ons to their Shopify site, whether that be a chat system, or custom ordering features, Shopify will “app you to death.” In other words, most of the add-on functions are only available via 3rd party apps which cost anywhere from $5-$50/month, depending on the app.
WooCommerce is our favorite “go-to” E-commerce platform for larger build-outs, specifically those which require a lot of hard-coding, customizations and 3rd party integrations with CRM’s and other systems. WooCommerce is the flagship E-commerce system developed via WordPress, so you cannot take a WooCommerce website anywhere except over to another WordPress site.
The biggest advantage of WooCommerce is the powerful features and nature of the framework, specifically designed for developers and programmers to craft with. The drawback is that the learning curve is a bit more steep, should the user need any advanced functionality. WooCommerce also tends to be a bit more “sensitive” when it comes to system updates, so it’s safe to know your way around the WordPress platform and be familiar with the update process.
ECWID, stands for “E-Commerce Widget,” is one of the newer E-commerce platforms, and in my opinion, one of the easiest shopping carts to use.
ECWID was developed primarily for non-ecommerce websites that would eventually need a shopping cart. Instead of starting from scratch and rebuilding a new E-Commerce site, ECWID allows you to drag and drop their system into any type of website, should it be an old HTML site, WordPress or other framework.
ECWID is reliable, very affordable, and powerful enough to handle most Client’s needs for getting a store up and running. The only drawback to ECWID would be that it is not really designed for any advanced functionality like WooCommerce can handle. But all in all, this is one of our favorites.
In conclusion, when starting an E-Commerce website, there are many decisions to make as to which framework will suite your needs the best. It’s smart to consult with e-commerce professionals to make sure you choose what’s best for your business in the short and long-term.
Thrive Web Designs
Your Boise Web Design Team