When discussing e-commerce selling platforms, which one is the best is not easily answered. Everyone has different goals, needs, ideas and investment capital. Sometimes the type of product that you sell can have some influence on the platform that you choose.
There are many different e-commerce platforms which have gained popularity in the past few years. Shopify is probably the most well-known right now, but there are also others such as Big Commerce and WooCommerce.
So which platform is best?
Choosing one is completely subjective. It doesn’t really matter very much which one you choose because all of them can help you achieve your goals. However, there is always one that will meet your specific needs better than the platforms.
All e-commerce platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. Here we will examine 3 of the most popular platforms and the reasons why you might choose one over another.
BigCommerce has become a very popular choice and is used by some very well-known and successful retailers. They have more features already built in than other platforms, but it comes at a price. The standard plan starts at $29.95 per month and scales upward based on the features you want and the amount of your sales revenue per year.
BigCommerce has fewer apps available than other platforms, but they also offer a lot more functionality that is already built in, so you may not need very many extensions because a lot of features that you want may already be included in your plan.
They have some free themes available. However, if you want a paid theme they can be a little expensive, ranging anywhere from $145 to $235 each.
WooCommerce is a great option for some people, because it’s free, especially if you are familiar with using WordPress. However, it may not always be the best option because there is not a lot of functionality built into the basic program.
While there are lots of free themes available, as well as some free extensions, a lot of the free options available are very buggy and not worth using.
There are plugins and themes you may want to use to enhance its functionality that do require payment, but most of these are a one-time fee, not a recurring monthly fee like some of the other platforms. However, they can be quite expensive, especially if you’re just starting out.
WooCommerce is run on WordPress on your own hosting, so you will have to pay for a hosting account. Other options like BigCommerce and Shopify are hosted on their servers, so your hosting is included in the monthly price you pay.
Shopify is, in a lot of ways, the most ideal e-commerce platform for drop shipping products. It’s an affordable option and the fee scales as your store’s size grows. There are a wide variety of plugins and themes available. Shopify is also ideal for one big reason – Oberlo.
Oberlo is an app that allows you to import products from AliExpress, which is one of the best and probably the most popular site for drop shippin products. It’s fast and easy to keep track of inventory with the app, and has many more uses.
It removes a LOT of the headaches associated with drop shipping, allowing you to focus more of your time and attention on getting traffic and making sales, instead of than dealing with all the other hassles.
Best of all, you can get started with Oberlo for free on Shopify! I have personally used this app and have found their support to be phenomenal and their forums are very helpful, so you don’t have to worry about what you don’t already know about the drop shipping process.
All of the major e-commerce platforms have a variety of free themes which vary in degree of quality and features they offer.
In addition, paid themes for Shopify are more affordable than those for BigCommerce. Shopify’s paid themes range from an average of $100 to about $180, while BigCommerce’s paid themes range from about $145 to $235. WooCommerce themes have a much wider range of prices because many of them are created and sold by external developers.
You can absolutely use a free theme when you are just starting out and there are lots to choose from. However, paid themes usually have extra features that will allow you to customize your site, which can significantly boost your sales.
All e-commerce platforms have a large number of apps which extends the functionality but can be expensive depending on the ones that you choose. You might be able to avoid using extensions in the beginning and add additional functionality later on.
The best thing to do is to research forums, Google, social media, etc. to find out the advantages and disadvantages of each platform. It will also be to your advantage to make a list of features that you want now and in the future as well as deciding how much control you wish to have with your store.
If you want as much control as possible, WooCommerce is your best choice since you will need to provide your own hosting. However, if you prefer to have a lot of support and are willing to follow the policies set forth by another platform, BigCommerce or Shopify would best your best choice.
No Store Option
There is one other option that you may be interested in called Storeless.