E-commerce was already big business—in 2019, worldwide online sales topped $3,5 trillion USD and accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales. That global e-commerce sales figure marked an 18% increase over the year prior and we’ve seen adoption skyrocket due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you are just entering the world of online selling or are wondering if there may be a better solution for your company’s specific needs, how can you choose the best e-commerce platform?
Each platform has pros and cons and is better or less suited depending on the goals. There is no solution that fits all. Goals, the size of your organization, the savviness of your internal team, your long-term objectives, systems architecture, systems in need of integration, existing workflows, need for a quick reactivity to the market, marketing sophistication, budget and timeline—all of these factors influence your choice of e-commerce platform.
While we are agnostic in the e-commerce platforms we support, in this article we explore three top platforms that cover the full spectrum of a SaaS for small business, enterprise, and open source.
Shopify is better suited for small to medium-sized businesses willing to build or replace their e-commerce. As a SaaS solution, it comes with a very large number of functionalities.
- SaaS solution so there is no need for hosting; Shopify takes care of it all.
- No PCI compliance is required if using Shopify payments and for all gateways approved through Shopify.
- Many functionalities and options.
- Quick to implement.
- Offers templates for the design which can streamline implementation.
- ShopifyPay makes implementation easier as it does not require a gateway integration.
- Apps to integrate with numerous outside systems such as Clover, Hubspot, Salesforce, Sage, etc.
- Customers can easily maintain their site and focus on their marketing. The CMS is easy and enables customers to be very reactive.
- SEO is easily managed.
- Offers the least expensive solution.
- Does not scale as well after a certain size, even if the customer is on Shopify Plus.
- Sometimes has downtime.
- Apps can slow down the site if not selected carefully.
- Each element is a separate price tag, so the invoice can rise quickly if no optimization is done.
- A lot of apps, so the customer needs to know how to make the best choice and what an e-commerce store needs to be efficient.
Comparable e-commerce platforms in this category are: BigCommerce
Magento is better for medium to large organizations with a somewhat unique business model. If the organization is a mix of content and e-commerce, for services or where a lot of customization is required, Magento is certainly the best choice.
- Magento 2 now offers a hosted option.
- Highly configurable as it is open source.
- Allows the highest level of configuration so you can be very creative and different.
- Very versatile CMS that can adapt to existing workflows.
- Huge community; easy to leverage.
- May need to have a hosting solution, depending on the solution chosen.
- Requires development.
- The CMS is not easy to use for non-savvy people. Still requires HTML to make changes, so the organization can be either dependent on a development team or less agile to react to the market.
- Requires more testing at the end of the implementation cycle so will take longer to clean up.
- Need to build design and CSS from scratch.
- Requires PCI compliance.
- Requires making all the integrations and connecting the APIs.
- Requires gateway integration.
- Needs to optimize for SEO.
- Can become expensive when everything is factored.
Comparable eCommerce platforms in this category are: WooCommerce, Drupal or Prestashop
This is often the best SaaS solution for larger organizations.
- SaaS, so faster and easier to implement.
- Connects with the Salesforce Suite so we can leverage Einstein, CRM, Productivity, workflows, etc.
- A lot of functionality coming out-of-the-box.
- Great analytics and data modules integrating even predictive intelligence. For data junkies, it is heaven.
- Great site speed that can handle a lot of load.
- A lot of marketing functionalities (basically all the promotions that one can ever imagine).
- Possibility to split traffic and do A/B testing.
- Need to have a Salesforce administrator on staff or outsourced.
- More expensive and convoluted pricing structure.
- Salesforce is a big organization, so support is not always responsive.
- Confined to the Salesforce development roadmap.
Comparable eCommerce platforms in this category are: NetSuite SuiteCommerce, Hybris, Oracle ATG or IBM Websphere.
If you just want to play with easily accessible platforms, you can always give Weebly or Squarespace a try.
What’s most important is that the e-commerce platform you choose meets your company’s needs today and that it is capable of growing with you. Looking for expert guidance in evaluating your options? Let’s see how we can help.