4 eCommerce Platforms: Which One is Best For Your Business?
Expected to total $5.7 trillion in 2022 (according to Shopify), the global eCommerce landscape is fast-growing and here to stay. Online stores are a profitable way to sell products, and people have become increasingly accustomed to shopping from the comfort of their homes.  In this article, we will go through four leading eCommerce platforms, their pros and cons, and the main things you should consider when choosing the right one for your online store.  


  1. What Features Should I Look For When Choosing an E-commerce Platform? 
  2. The Three Types of E-commerce Platforms
  3. Four E-commerce Platforms You’d Want to Look At 
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • Squarespace
man sitting in front of computer holding a credit card
Start by defining your needs and your customer’s needs.
  If you are reading this, we can assume you know a thing or two about eCommerce. You may even have your store set up or plan to start one. Expected to total $5.7 trillion in 2022 (according to Shopify), the global eCommerce landscape is fast-growing and here to stay. Online stores are a profitable way to sell products, and people have become increasingly accustomed to shopping from the comfort of their homes. And though these numbers refer to the global market, it is valuable data when thinking, “Where is my business now, where do I want to take it in the future, and what are my possibilities of achieving that?” As a starting point, the software you use for each part of the customer journey will make a massive difference in your goals. You’d want to provide a frictionless experience and follow up on your customers to maximise retention and return.  Determining what you want to offer to your target audience is crucial. Start by defining your needs and your customer’s needs (spoiler alert: They’re not the same)  

1. What Features Should I Look For When Choosing an E-commerce Platform? 

e-commerce features
Consider what features will help meet your business goals before fully committing to an e-commerce platform.
It is essential to differentiate one from the other as your customers might not be aware if you use a cloud-based store or a hosted solution, but you will when the time comes to update and manage inventory.  Your customers want a user-friendly interface to search through your catalogue, choose the products they want, and store them in a cart to review before purchasing and processing payment. Simple as that.  However, to make it simple for them, you need to determine what type of hosting is right for your business, what payment options you can offer, and how this platform integrates with other services, such as: 
  • Shipping options 
  • Customer Relations Management (CRM) 
  • Content Management Systems (CMS) 
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Email Marketing Service Providers (EMSP)
  You should also consider your budget, how easy it is to use and manage, whether you need multichannel selling and if the platform includes an SSL certificate. This certificate is essential because it lets customers know it’s safe to input credit card details when placing an order. These platforms can also have features like customer support, a database to store transaction details, order management to improve the customer journey, and inventory management for tracking available merchandise. E-commerce platforms might also have security features and integrations to expand into new channels.  Scalability is also another factor to consider. You want to choose the most affordable solution for your business’s current size that will allow you to scale up in the future. You need a service that can support you throughout this process, as it might be more expensive to start with one option and migrate to another as you grow. The features vary from platform to platform, so you should consider what features will help meet your business goals before fully committing to an e-commerce platform.


2. The Three Types of E-commerce Platforms

types of ecommerce platforms
Open-Source, SaaS (Software as a Service) and Headless commerce.
  There are three types of E-commerce platforms, and it’s helpful to understand what each platform can do for your business. You can choose between Open-Source, SaaS (Software as a Service) or Headless commerce.
  • Open-Source: These are e-commerce platforms where the source code is publicly available and can be modified by anyone. Examples of open-source e-commerce platforms include WooCommerce (a plugin for the WordPress CMS), Magento, and PrestaShop. Open-source platforms are often free to use but may require more technical expertise to set up and maintain.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): These are hosted by a third-party provider, and users pay a subscription fee to access the platform. SaaS platforms usually have a user-friendly interface and may offer a range of features and integrations. Examples of SaaS e-commerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace.
  • Headless commerce: These are e-commerce platforms where the front end (the part of the platform that users interact with) and the back end (the part of the platform that handles inventory management, order processing, etc.) are decoupled. This means that users can customise the front end of their online store without affecting the back-end functionality. Headless e-commerce platforms are often used by larger companies that regularly require changes to their front end and count on a dedicated developers team to provide maintenance.


3. Four E-commerce Platforms You’d Want to Look At 

Fpur ecommerce platforms you might want to look at
Knowing your possibilities and limitations will make it easier for you and your team to decide which is the right fit for your business.
Now that you know which features to look for and the types of platforms you can use, we have short-listed some of our recommended top e-commerce platforms to help you decide which might work best.
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • Squarespace
    Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create online stores and sell products online. It provides users with a simple and intuitive interface for designing their store, managing inventory, and processing orders.  Pros:
  1. Very user-friendly, making it easy for beginners to set up and manage their online store.
  2. The large app store allows users to add functionalities such as social media integrations, email marketing, and shipping tools.
  3. Provides SSL encryption for all transactions and fraud detection tools.
  4. Mobile-responsive designs make it easy for customers to browse and shop on their mobile devices.
  5. Shopify can handle stores of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, with pricing plans that scale as your business grows.
  1. Charges transaction fees for using external payment gateways, which can add up and impact your profit margins.
  2. Making extensive customisations to your store’s design can be challenging.
  3. While Shopify’s pricing plans are reasonable for small businesses, larger businesses may find the fees high.
  4. Shopify’s SEO capabilities are limited compared to other platforms, which might impact your search engine rankings.
  5. While Shopify provides an excellent platform for selling products, you don’t own the platform, and you are subject to Shopify’s terms and conditions.
  WooCommerce is a popular open-source plugin for WordPress. It is designed to be user-friendly, customisable, and scalable, making it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.  Pros:
  1. User-friendly and easy to install. An excellent option for beginners.
  2. A wide range of themes and plugins allow users to customise their online store to their brand.
  3. Can handle small or large eCommerce sites without issue.
  4. Users can access various WordPress features and plugins.
  5. WooCommerce has a large community of users, developers, and contributors, so many resources are available for troubleshooting and customisation.
  1. You must have a WordPress website, which may be a limitation for some businesses.
  2. Some plugins may not be compatible with WooCommerce.
  3. Technical maintenance is required to keep your store running smoothly. WooCommerce requires regular updates and backups.
  4. While it is free, there may be additional costs associated with hosting, themes, and plugins.
  5. Official support is limited to paid plans or individual developer licenses.
  Magento is an open-source platform that was first released in 2008 and has since become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world, powering over 250,000 online stores. Although it offers a range of features and customisation options, it may not be the best choice for businesses with limited technical resources or budgets. Pros:
  1. Extensions and plugins allow businesses to customise their online store to their needs.
  2. It can handle large amounts of traffic and product catalogues, making it an ideal choice for businesses with a high volume of products and customers.
  3. Magento is SEO-friendly, with features like meta tags, sitemaps, and URL customisation that help improve search engine rankings.
  4. It supports multiple languages and currencies, making it an excellent option for businesses in various regions.
  5. A large and active community of developers and a wealth of resources are available to help businesses troubleshoot issues and improve their online stores.
  1. Magento can be quite complex to set up and configure, especially for businesses new to e-commerce.
  2. Companies may still need to pay for hosting, development, and maintenance costs.
  3. Requires significant server resources, which can slow down the performance of websites if not configured correctly.
  4. It can be vulnerable to security threats if not properly secured and updated.
  Squarespace is a website builder platform that allows users to create professional-looking websites without needing advanced coding or design skills. However, if you need more flexibility in design or more advanced blogging capabilities, Squarespace may not be the best choice. Pros:
  1. Squarespace is known for its easy-to-use interface that allows users to build a website quickly and efficiently.
  2. Professionally designed templates are all customisable to suit your needs.
  3. All Squarespace websites are designed to be mobile-friendly, ensuring that they look great on any device.
  4. Built-in tools to help you optimise your website for search engines, which can improve your website’s visibility and reach.
  5. Built-in e-commerce capabilities allow users to set up an online store and sell products.
  1. Though Squarespace templates are beautiful, they can be limiting in terms of design flexibility. Customising a template beyond its basic options may require advanced coding skills.
  2. Not the most affordable website builder out there, with pricing plans starting at $12/month.
  3. Fewer third-party integrations compared to other website builders. This can limit your ability to add functionalities to your site.
  Choosing the right platform for your company can be tricky, but knowing your possibilities and limitations will make it easier for you and your team to decide.  Some options listed above work best for small businesses, and others will be the perfect fit for larger enterprises. Consider your budget and all the extra layers of work you might need to cover, such as third-party plugins you’ll need to install, integrations you might have to purchase, or even hiring a developer’s services to create an intuitive and seamless customer journey.  Our pick of the bunch is Shopify, as it has the most intuitive platform, with the most extensive range of plugins and apps and fantastic options for customisation and support.  As Klaviyo specialists, we recommend Shopify as they have invested heavily in integrating e-commerce stores with Klaviyo, so we only see their partnership and service improve over time. Learn more about our Specialist Klaviyo Support. We can offer guidance and support while setting up your e-commerce store with growth-focused marketing and using the Scaling Up Methodology to help your business succeed.   

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