Launching an E-Commerce store? What platform to choose? Please see below our thoughts on some of the most popular platforms out there.
WordPress has been around for a while and if you already own a WordPress blog/vlog/site it might be the perfect low-budget option to get started. As much as we all love WordPress, building a new E-commerce site using WordPress may not be the most practical idea. Originally WordPress was developed as blog software without E-commerce support. WordPress could be used for building wonderful LMS (Learning Management Systems) for online courses, or for multi-million dollar blogs, vlogs, and business websites, but for e-commerce stores and marketplaces – its a little too much of a stretch frankly speaking. Even though you can make WordPress work – it would need much love and plugins in order to achieve E-Commerce experience that other E-commerce oriented platforms offer out of the box. Plus all the security concerns. When developing on WordPress many new entities become a variation of a ‘post’. You can do a lot of things with it, but its just such a post. Use WordPress for a great blog with an e-commerce store built on something more sales oriented.
If you are looking for an experienced team to help you with maintaining your WordPress site, check out our Outsourced WordPress Design & Development Services.
Great solution for smaller / medium sized businesses for its simplicity and reliability. Shopify is the easiest platform to launch from our list. It’s a hosted service, so if your requirements fit into its limitations there will be no operational costs besides monthly fees (from $29) and 2.9% + 30c for credit card processing fees.
Shopify App Store offers many apps that extend store functionality. You can also create custom apps connected to Shopify platform via API and embedded frames. This allows creating a highly customized experience. Which means that after customizing the heck out of it, you start thinking that it might have been easier with an open-source platform.
- Customizing using private apps also means that besides running Shopify you will also need to run a separate server / hosting for your apps;
- Unless you are using ‘Shopify Plus’ you have no control over Shopify backend code, so sometimes it’s not trivial to develop complicated things;
- Any customizations and additional data for products are stored in product meta fields. Any additional store data is saved in store meta fields or on your own backend connected via API.
- Shopify has auto-scaling built-in and it had performed very well during the Black Friday, keeping the response time the same as if it was no load at all.
- If you want to have international support with different languages and currencies, you will need to create a new store for each of those countries / languages / currencies.
Moving highly customized themes and logic from staging to production is also a non-trivial task and requires some time for manual transfer. Unless you use a paid app that can do the data transfer for you. If you have been using meta-fields for customizing your store you will need to install an app that allows exporting/importing those custom meta-fields as well. The explicit limit on the number of possible product variations (100) can be a hassle to overcome when trying to fit in custom experiences with numerous SKUs.
Though powerful, but overly simplistic interface and minor limitations of the platform functionality limit the imagination of an avid Magento user.
If you are looking for an experienced team to help you with building your Shopify store, check out our Shopify Design and Development Services.
Magento 2 is a great solution for medium-large Enterprise stores that don’t have that ‘technology first’ approach but still, want full control of their E-commerce platform & hosting environment. Magento has hundreds of plugins, well-established ecosystem, and a global network of certified developers. Community Edition is free. There are no additional charges. However, the platform is very resource hungry and requires skilled engineers for support and maintenance.
There is no autoscaling out of the box. Scalability has to be accomplished by engineers utilizing additional software and server configuration. Magento 2 offers a much better user experience on both frontend and admin panel than Magento 1. It has a very strong caching mechanism built in and has evolved significantly in terms of the libraries used for creating front-end experience.
It is also fair to mention that Magento has been an inspiration for a lot of new e-commerce platforms that emerged in recent years due to its very well thought through architecture and flexibility. There have been a lot of comments in the development community that Magento 2 takes more time to develop because of such an aggressive caching.
Nevertheless, since this is an open-source platform where you have access to the code base with the right resources you can make it fully fit your needs and custom flow. If you have a complex store with custom logic on the frontend (category / product / checkout / cart / account pages ) and backend – Magento 2 is the way to go over the previously mentioned platforms.
If you want a full control of your e-commerce platform & hosting, Magento 2 combined with Kubernetes on Google Cloud is a serious solution for scale.
If you are looking for an experienced team to help you with building your Magento store, check out our Magento Design and Development Services.
It’s a new Meteor.js based E-Commerce platform that aims at solving problems that Magento has at scale. Many large Enterprise Magento customers that we know, started developing their in-house Node.js+React.js based E-Commerce applications to get a technological advantage over the competition. Why not use an open-source reactive framework for that?
Reaction Commerce is an open-source platform that has the power of Meteor.js under its hood. Reaction Commerce also offers managed Reaction Commerce hosting platform, which means that as its Enterprise user you get both: full access to the application and data with a scalable hosting that is fine-tuned for your needs supported by the platform developers.
There are a number of layout changes from Magento as well. Login / Create Account / Cart do not exist as separate pages. They are represented as popups out of the box. Account pages and order pages are also different in layout from what you might be used to see in Magento. According to the Reaction Commerce Team, if your sales are over $10mln a year and you are looking for a cutting-edge E-commerce platform that is way ahead of the closest competition in terms of the technology used – Reaction Commerce is for you. Backed up by GV (formerly Google Ventures) in its recent A round, Reaction Commerce is an exciting preview into the future of E-Commerce.
You will need some patience and skilled development resources in order to make the most out of all the flexibility that Reaction Commerce offers out of the box, but the result is well worth it.
The community for Reaction Commerce is rapidly growing and it’s exciting to see the future of E-commerce take a new turn. Implementing the new generation software has a learning curve but if you do it right you will take the user experience to the new level.
If you are looking for an experienced team to help you with building your Reaction Commerce store, check out our Reaction Commerce Design and Development Services.
Overall the choice for a new E-Commerce store depends upon your business goals and revenue. If you sell for example for $1k per week there is no point for you to sign up for Magento or Reaction Commerce at all. Use Shopify or any other hosted platform with a minimum fee. However, if you sell for $10k+ per week you certainly want to explore a more custom solution that will take your business to a new level. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of other E-Commerce platforms that can get you where you want. BigCommerce, OSCommerce, Moltin etc. If you use any other platform and would like to share the benefits of it – please feel free to comment below!