I often get asked, ‘which eCommerce platform is best?’
My answer… It depends.
Probably not what you want to read but it’s the truth.
It’s kind of like asking, ‘how long is a piece of string?’
If you choose the wrong platform for your needs, you will inevitably run into problems (this is the reason why I’m writing this article – to help you mitigate the risk of running into problems).
For example, if you choose WooCommerce (an eCommerce plugin for WordPress) but you aren’t tech savvy or you don’t have a developer in your team (let’s be honest, it’s just ourselves running the business ;)), you might find WooCommerce difficult to manage, maintain and scale.
On the other hand, if you choose Shopify, Squarespace or Wix, but you want full control over design and functionality, then you might be disappointed.
Table of Contents:
- eCommerce Platform Options
- Market Share of eCommerce Platforms in Australia
- Choosing the right eCommerce Platform
- Which eCommerce platform is best for small business?
- Which eCommerce platform is best for SEO?
- Recommended WooCommerce Stack
eCommerce Platform Options
- There are many more, but these are the most well known.
Market Share of eCommerce Platform Usage In Australia
- WooCommerce (34.38%)
- Squarespace (19.29%)
- Shopify (14.4%)
These stats are taken from a Statista September 2020 report.
I believe Squarespace and Shopify usage has increased since then and is approaching that of WooCommerce. I believe this to be the case because these companies have significantly bigger marketing budgets AND these platforms are much easier to use.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform
When deciding which eCommerce platform is best for your needs, there are many variables to take into account.
The below questions will help you get you moving in the right direction…
You’ll notice that some questions and my recommendations make your decision more difficult. This is because a trade off is necessary in some circumstances. So it depends what is more important to you.
Are you building an online store?
You might think this is a silly question, but it’s important to make the distinction between an online store that sells 100’s of products and a website that has a funnel set up with eCommerce functionality on specific pages.
Are you tech savvy?
If you aren’t tech savvy and don’t have a developer in your team, you will save yourself a few headaches by not using WooCommerce.
So, if you aren’t tech savvy and don’t plan on hiring someone like myself to help manage your online store, I recommend Shopify.
Are you on a budget?
If you are on a budget, I recommend Shopify. You could also try Squarespace but Shopify is made primarily for eCommerce while Squarespace has added functionality for eCommerce. The decider here might be the platform that has the best website theme/template design.
You might be aware that WooCommerce is free, and therefore wondering why I don’t recommend this if you are on a budget. While it might be free, it takes considerable expertise to maintain a WooCommerce website. Time is money. And if you outsource the maintenance, it will almost always cost more than the subscription fee for Shopify where maintenance is done in-house.
So, if you are on a budget and not tech savvy, go with Shopify or one of the other similar platforms (Squarespace, Wix, etc).
If you are on a budget but you are tech savvy, then go with WooCommerce.
The Trade-Off Between More Control and Tech Savvy Requirements
Design and functionality options:
If design and functionality options are more important, then I recommend WooCommerce. If you are using WooCommerce, by default you are using Wordpress, which means you can install plugins like Elementor that give you all the design options you could dream of.
However, even though you are gaining more control over your website, you have to have the necessary expertise to manage everything.
Easy to manage, problem free scalability and no maintenance:
If you absolutely need a website that is easy to manage, has maintenance covered, essentially a done for you eCommerce website, then I recommend Shopify.
However, by using Shopify (or Squarespace, Wix, etc), you end up with significantly less control.
Will you rely on SEO to get traffic? Or will you primarily run ads to get traffic to your online store?
If you don’t plan on driving traffic using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc, and instead are going to rely on SEO for traffic, then I recommend WooCommerce. You will find it easier to optimise your website for search engines by using WooCommerce. My favourite SEO plugin is Yoast SEO.
Which eCommerce platform is best for small business?
The eCommerce platform that is best for small business depends on:
- how you will use the eCommerce platform. e.g. online store vs sales page with payment gateway.
- technical expertise of you or your team
- Preferences towards design and functionality options, i.e. full control OR zero maintenance, easy to manage and generally problem free, but less control.
Money solves everything, so if you have the budget to hire experts, go with WooCommerce.
Which eCommerce platform is best for SEO?
The best eCommerce platform for SEO is also dependent on the aforementioned variables.
WooCommerce is superior out of the box because you have more control.
But SEO specialists can still optimise your website regardless of the eCommerce platform that you choose.
If you are doing everything yourself, WooCommerce is the best. This is because WooCommerce uses WordPress as the content management system (CMS). And with this, you have more control.
Hopefully that helps!
Recommended Stack for WooCommerce
Here is my favourite software stack when using WooCommerce.
- Content Management System = WordPress
- Theme = Generate Press
Final Thoughts About The Best eCommerce Platform
I hope I’ve helped you decide which eCommerce platform is best for your needs.
Need more help deciding? Take the short quiz below and I’ll send you to the best platform based on your answers 🙂
Alternatively, send me an email and I’ll personally help you out.