There is an endless debate over which eCommerce platform is the best one out there, and the answers vary a lot, depending from the point of view of the person making the evaluation. The truth is that there is no universal answer to this answer. Rather, you should look at the needs of your business, both immediate and the long term ones, and you will find what is the most cost-effective solution that will provide all of the features you need!
We will try to help you with making the right decision and better understand what to take into consideration while making your pick.
Each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the key is to identify whether the weak points would damage your efforts, and whether the strong points are relevant for your business. The differences are rather significant, and there is a need to pay close attention to every little detail in order to make the right decision.
We will take a look at each and every platform separately, and at the end we will try to give you a definite answer based on the group in which your business falls.
Magento is the strongest and the most popular stand-alone eCommerce platform out there. This is the only option on this list that is not SaaS and that requires all the resources from the hardware and connectivity aspect. This means that the initial expenses will be higher, but on the other hand you have a full ownership of your store, and there will be no hidden costs whatsoever.
From the potential standpoint, this platform is fully capable of answering even the hardest of demands imposed by the modern digital market. It is an open source platform which means that you are able to develop, alter, and change many of the aspects of it in order to achieve everything you need.
However, the initial development costs are rather high, as all of the customisations in terms of features need some development work and it is something that can’t be avoided.
Another positive feature is the ability of the platform to provide a true omnichannel experience. It means that it is quite possible to connect all the channels you wish to engage under a single platform. The development in this case is even more significant as this is not an off the shelf solution, but the end result can be more than worth the investment. Of course, this applies only if you have a sufficient budget and clearly defined goals. This does not mean that Magento is not capable of supporting simpler operations, and it should be considered in those cases as well, in case you wish to stay clear of all hidden costs.
Another strong feature is a huge ecosystem of technology partners Magento has. It means that there is virtually any 3rd party service you could possibly need being at your disposal and that there will be no major issues with integrating any of those into your storefront.
There are some downsides as well. As we mentioned already, the initial costs are rather high, especially for the huge projects that require an omnichannel solution that goes both over the B2C and B2B verticals.
The second weak point is related to the versioning. Namely, Magento 1 is still being used by many retailers, but the support for that version of the platform is shutting down, as the company has moved to Magento 2, which is far superior and more modern version of the same. It is not just an update of the old version but a completely new platform, so the migration to the new version is a smart move.
The third issue is the fact that there is a much higher demand of Magento projects than there are certified developers. This is a huge issue since the platform is very complex and the developers that try to catch customers by offering low prices are not certified and have gaps in their knowledge of the platform. This often ends up in disaster since the end product is far from an ideal solution. If you opt for the Magento as your platform of choice, you will do best to choose certified developers ONLY!
Overall, this is a great solution for many businesses who wish to run their operations independently and have the budget to do the development properly.
Kooomo is the strongest of the SaaS options we are discussing in this article. It is a strong platform that allows a full omnichannel presence and most of the features are integrated into the platform which minimises the chance for errors. They have native marketplace connectors which makes it a very handy tool to deploy fast on several channels at once.
It is a very powerful off the shelf solution that is ideal for the businesses that have a strong budget and want to avoid hassle with the development.
A huge ecosystem of technology partners is another strong feature of Kooomo, and to make things even better, the technology partners are available via 1-click integrations! This greatly reduces the costs for further development, and the risk of hitting the wall is non-existent as all the integrations have been carried out on a platform level.
Another strong feature is the fast time to market provided by this platform. It can help you go live in the matter of weeks, and given the complexity of the platform and its potential, it is a very significant feature.
It also provides flexible pricing options, and one of the main options is a revenue share model which is quite handy if you wish to pay just for the sales you made!
It also does not require any hardware resources as it is a cloud based solution. The hardware and the connectivity is provided by the Kooomo, and you have no additional expenses in this department.
There are some downsides as well. First of all, this is not an open source platform. This means that you can’t actually make any deep customisations that would require additional out of the box development. Their development team is the only option you have in those cases, and that takes the control out of your hands to a certain degree.
The initial setup costs are also pretty high, but that is a one-time payment that doesn’t reoccur. After the initial setup, the costs are actually lower, as there is only a need for front-end development, and there are no monthly costs, except for the percentage of the sales made, and even that part is negotiable so you will surely manage to find the right model that will fit your needs perfectly.
Finally, the platform was initially developed as a B2C solution, and although they have introduced some B2B features, they are still somewhat thin in that department. It is expected that in the future they will strengthen this part of the platform.
BigCommerce has been on the market for a very long time now and is rightfully considered as one of the leading platforms for small and medium sized businesses and retailers. It is also a SaaS solution with extended capabilities.
The obvious advantages of this solution lie within the affordability sphere. It is a rather cheap solution initially, yet it has a lot of options to provide. It supports the multichannel approach, and it is cheaper than Kooomo on several levels. First of all, the initial setup fee is significantly lower. However, it is definitely weaker in terms of the omnichannel approach as it achieves most of its advanced features via integrations with the technology partners.
Lately, they have added 6 additional technology partners in order to become B2B capable platform.
Overall, it is a solution that is perfectly suited for the medium sized retailers who wish to get to the market fast and have no requirements for the highly advanced features in omnichannel approach to the business.
As the digital market develops and expands, the BigCommerce keeps the pace with the major changes, and they use a proven and tested recipe to achieve that. It is a secure solution that provides exactly what is promised.
Shopify is the weakest solution on paper in terms of the features. It is a rather easy to use SaaS solution that works on a similar principles as BigCommerce, and they also have a huge number of technology partners that allow them to be extremely capable in terms of expanding their core features.
However, this is one of the financially strongest platforms that invests a lot in the development of their software and their features.
They target mostly smaller businesses via their standard Shopify platform, but they also have an advanced option called Shopify+ which is much more capable, but also much more expensive. Shopify + targets medium to enterprise size businesses, and is still not a major player in the field.
Still, this project could live up to become a major forcer as the company has substantial accumulation of capital they can easily invest wherever they want. Lately, they have announced an investment of no less than $1 billion in order to create their own fulfilment chain. This is localised to the US at the moment, but in perspective it could become a global project and if that happens, they will be easily become the best solution for start-ups and small retailers as they will be the only provider offering the solution that could be compared to Amazon’s features in the fulfilment sector.
They are operating steadily and are one of the leaders globally in terms of the profit generated.
Decision on which platform is the best fit for your business is not an easy one. It definitely varies from case to case and you need to carefully consider all aspects of your business plan in order to identify the best solution.
The best way to do it without making a mistake is to consult the experts. Since we at Studioworx have a deep expertise in each of the said platforms, we could be the solution you are looking for. Give us a call and we will be more than happy of helping you make the right decision!