Which ecommerce platform is right for your business?

Frances Massie, 20th May 19, 5 mins

Occlude ecommerce website and woocommerce back-end by ejigsaw

Over the past 2-3 years, eCommerce has gone through an exciting evolution. The big players, such as Amazon, have made it a personalised and customisable experience for consumers, with the likes of reordering and subscription services, ensuring the user experience is at the centre of the platforms.

Features, such as digital wallets, are becoming more attractive to consumers, meaning startup businesses need to invest in these technologies from the outset in order to compete.

Mobile remains a dominant device with regard to the consideration phase of consumption, with desktop being the most popular device for conversion. This means that, while consumers may not be predominantly converting on these devices, the mobile experience must remain at the forefront of the business’ strategy.

Data has never been more important in the world of eCommerce. Ensuring you have an effective analytics system will mean you can learn about your consumers’ shopping behaviour, gathering information about when and where they are most likely to browse and, ultimately, convert. Utilising data is one of the vital steps in order to be successful in eCommerce.

Below, we outline some of the top eCommerce platforms and explain their features to help you decide which one would be best suited for your eCommerce business.


Magento is an open source eCommerce website founded in 2008. It is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms due to its reliability and scalability. It is easy to use and manage, as well as having an unlimited amount of customisation options. There are more than 9,000 plugins and extensions available to allow for scalability, as well as free social media extensions.

While Magento does have a lot of positives, if you’re not a developer, or you don’t have a team of developers in-house, it can be an extremely complicated platform to set up and has highly technical management requirements. It also has quite a hefty price tag. While it does have a free version, if you require a business version, you could be forking out up to around £15,000.

Is this suitable for you?

If you are looking to sell a large volume of products, Magento is a good choice for your business.


WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. It includes an effective secure payment gateway and shopping cart, however, you will need an additional plugin if you want to start a multi-vendor eCommerce store. It also has an easy to manage admin panel, along with unlimited product categories.

While installing WooCommerce is free, integrating the shopping cart completely with the system requires further investment. To understand WooCommerce also requires a knowledge of WordPress, so if you are not familiar, it may be more difficult to get your head around. The major issue with WooCommerce is the scalability of the platform. As your business and stock levels grow, WooCommerce will begin to struggle to keep up.

Is this suitable for you?

If you know your eCommerce business is going to remain small and you are keen to stick to a WordPress website, WooCommerce will be a suitable option for you.


Canadian-based eCommerce platform, Shopify, focuses on the trending social commerce and mobile shopping niche. The platform has always managed to keep up with the evolving eCommerce trends and technologies, initiating the idea of social shopping, whereby customers can purchase products directly from a social media platform. Shopify has a number of positive features such as abandoned cart recovery, a mobile-friendly shopping cart, and for a small fee, you can incorporate Shopify directly into your Facebook, effectively making it an eCommerce shop.

While Shopify is a great eCommerce platform, especially if your social media platforms are paramount in your marketing strategy, it also has some negatives. If you decide against Shopify Payment, you will be subjected to an additional transaction fee, as well as if you look to use any other useful extensions, additional investment is required. Shopify also has its own coding language, “Liquid”, which requires an incremental price to be paid for customisation.

Is this suitable for you?

Shopify can be beneficial for beginner eCommerce entrepreneurs who require a quick launch with a standard eCommerce solution. There are a number of plans which range from $29 to $299, depending on your eCommerce requirements.


Opencart is an easy to use and lightweight eCommerce platform. Because of its ease of use, the setup costs are generally lower as, for example, a special developer is not required and you do not need any plugins. The platform is also great for order processing due to the large catalogue functionality.

While Opencart may be good for eCommerce beginners, it does have a very limited feature list when you compare it to the likes of Magento. It can also suffer from performance issues from time-to-time, so additional plugins may be required. Customisation options are limited in order to make it more accessible for beginners, but this means experienced developers would probably rather avoid this platform.

Is this suitable for you?

If you are a beginner in eCommerce, this platform is probably the best fit for you. It is easy to use which also makes it more cost-effective for a startup business.

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