Starting a new ecommerce website is hard enough. There are lots of things to think about. Where are you going to source your products, what are you even going to sell? How will you find the traffic/audience to make your project a success? These are just a handful of the things you’ll need to consider. Unfortunately, we can’t really help you with that but one thing we can help you with is how to choose the right ecommerce platform or software to run your store on.
Now I’m not going to lie to you, each piece of software ha lots of pros and cons. Some are better than others and some are downright awful. Fortunately we’re here to help so we’re going to provide you with a run down of some of the more popular pieces of ecommerce software.
This is one of my favourite ecommerce platforms primarily because it’s free. Prestashop at the time of writing has around 250,000 active users which means that they must be doing something right. Like with all of these ecommerce platforms, there are themes in abundance with no less than 2000 available on the Prestashop website itself. You also have the ability to ask experts should you need some kind of assistance.
Magento is one of the more well known ecommerce platforms with a roughly 25% market share. That might not sound a lot but when you consider there are around 200 different plaforms in use at the moment, and they’re major ones, it’s quite chunky. Magento is coming up to being 10 years old now so you know if it’s had that level of success and longevity it must be doing something right.
I would say Magento is the best all around out of the box solution if you’re looking to get your store up and running with minimal cost. Given it’s popularity there are obviously thousands of themes available at your disposal along with a vast array of modules and plugins to perform almost any function or provide any feature imaginable. There are also a ton of tutorials covering everything from the absolute basics right through to developing your own modules.
Woocommerce is snapping at Magentos heels as far as the market share goes with its count coming in at around 23% at the time of writing. Whilst this puts it behind Magento you just know that the competition between these two players is going to lead to lots of bells and whistles being added on. Whether or not this benefits the consumer remains to be seen as we all know that it’s the simplicity people want when running an ecommerce store, not bells and whistles that nobody really needs or wants.
Like with Magento however, there are lots of themes which you’d come to expect from the guys at Woo. Even the default themes that come with it are something quite special. The beauty of Woocommerce is also the integration with WordPress. It’s extremely straight forward to bolt on a shopping cart to your existing blog which makes it a popular choice for those just wanting to offer a simple product or service from within their regular blog. I think this accounts for a lot of the market share. In terms of out and out ecommerce stores, Magento would be my preference but Woocommerce does have its place for the more simplistic builds.
Hopefully the above has helped you make an informed and educated decision. It’s all going to come down to personal preference at the end of the day and it’s not uncommon or unheard of for you to try a few different installs before you find one you’re comfortable using.
One piece of advice, do not get hung up on how the front end of your shopping cart looks out of the box. All of the software above have lots of possibilities available in the way of themes etc. You should be more concerned about the back end, is it adequate and does it perform the functions needed in order for you to run your business effectively.