Data in the article is updated to 2020
WooCommerce, Shopify, and Squarespace Online Stores are the most popular eCommerce platforms, and they are used on 871,30, 272,964, and 256,606 websites respectively, as of February, 2020.
Among those websites using an eCommerce platform, notable names include:
- Clickbank, which is an online marketplace for digital products. Clickbank uses WooCommerce to sell products.
- Budweiser, the internationally recognized pale lager produced by Anheuser-Busch, uses Shopify on its website to sell branded merchandise.
- The Economist, an authoritative weekly magazine offering insights on news, politics, business, finance, and more, uses Shopify to sell books (audio and print), office stationery, and diaries.
- Endy Sleep, a Canadian online-only mattress retailer, uses Shopify to sell mattresses and received almost $20 million in revenue during 2017.
When a business wants to sell online, its owners must decide whether to build its own online store or use an eCommerce platform to sell its goods or services. eCommerce platforms are popular due to their convenience, low cost, and ease of use.
Few small businesses have the time or the development budget to build a custom store, personalized by skilled developers. Ready-made eCommerce platforms handle many of the more complex issues of building and running an online store, hence their growing popularity.
However, bear in mind that open source eCommerce platforms come with many of the same challenges as building your own store, including hosting, ensuring PCI compliance, and security.
Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms: Pros and Cons
|Platform Name||Websites [SimilarTech data]||Price||Features||Suitable For||Global or Local|
|WooCommerce||490,262||Free. However, you need to pay for SSL certificate and hosting costs.||Integrates with WordPress as a plugin. Shortcodes for products. Unrestricted customization. Product sorting and filtering. Product ratings and reviews.||Small businesses||Suitable for both|
|Magneto||147,025||Basic price: $20,000-40,000. Custom Magneto website price: $40,000-100,000. Magneto enterprise website price: $100,000+||Promotional pricing. Bundle products. Search-friendly URLs. Automatically generated sitemap. Support for multiple languages and currencies. One-page checkout.||Solutions available for small business right up to large enterprises||Suitable for both but targeted at global retailers.|
|Shopify||127,824||Basic Shopify: $29 per month. Shopify: $79 per month. Advanced Shopify: $299 per month||Free and paid themes. Shopify payment provider for credit card payments. Fraud analysis. Free SSL certificate.||Small to medium sized businesses. A separate product (Shopify Plus) exists for enterprises.||Base product aimed at business operating in one country.|
|SquareSpace Online Stores||57,948||Basic plan: $26 per month (billed annually) or $30 paying each month. Advanced plan: $40 per month (billed annually) or $46 paying each onth||Basic: Commerce analytics, customer accounts, checkout on your domain, integrated Xero accounting. Advanced: Carrier-calculated shipping, abandoned cart recovery, automatic discounts, gift cards.||Basic plan supports new, smaller businesses while advanced plan is best for large online retailers||Suitable for both|
|Wix Stores||21,125||eCommerce plan: $16 per month VIP plan: $24.50 per month||20GB storage. Inventory tools. Discount codes. Shipping and tax rules.||Small to medium sized businesses||Best for local but expandable for companies looking to sell globally.|
Magneto is by far the best choice for enterprises because it is the most powerful platform with the widest range of features, including marketing, SEO, and catalog-management tools. Shopify Plus is also a good alternative option for enterprises.
Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, and Squarespace are all solid options for small businesses, and it’s difficult to go wrong with any of them as they provide good online stores with the required functionality to get started in eCommerce. However, understanding their main disadvantages might be helpful in making a choice:
- Spotify: Rigid URL structure and sub-optimal for search engine optimization (SEO) due to unmodifiable robots.txt file.
- Wix: Difficult to change online store template after you choose one. Need to manually notify customers about taxes and shipping charges post-payment.
- WooCommerce: Requires you to use WordPress as your CMS. Add-ons can quickly become costly for small businesses.
- Squarespace: Lacks advanced marketing tools and has some SEO limitations.