Let’s pretend you are building a house. You have a choice between multiple contractors. One lets you design the entire plan however you see fit. Another has pre-made plans that you can choose from, which are fully functional but may have limitations. This is the same concept when it comes to deciding on an eCommerce platform.

The three top dogs of eCommerce are WooCommerce powered by WordPress, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Each have unique characteristics that may or may not be what you are looking for in an eCommerce sales platform. Some of the important deciding factors may include:

  • Customization
  • Budget
  • Ease of Use
  • Scalability

Basic Differences Between Ecommerce Platforms

One of the biggest differences between WooCommerce and other platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce is the hosting. WooCommerce is a plugin that can be applied to any WordPress website. Nearly one-third of all of the online domains worldwide are built with WordPress.

Both Shopify and BigCommerce are self-hosted. This means that the monthly fee for the program includes domain hosting, speed, and security. Hosting for WooCommerce is integrated as part of a WordPress website.

Customizing Your eCommerce Website

In the earlier example of building a house, WooCommerce represents the contractor that lets you design your house in its entirety. This does require the assistance of a quality web designer. The other two platforms boast that their templates are immediately ready for use, but has their limitations and restrictions.

All three of the platforms are free, but that is somewhat misleading. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have free design templates that can be used for your site. The problem is that these free templates are overall very basic and often have limited functionality and multiple other businesses are using the same template. A premium design can cost over $200, and you may still run the risk that the template does not reflect the exact needs or aesthetic appeal you are looking for. A web designer can use WooCommerce to develop your shop exactly the way you envision it.

Budgeting Your Site

There are costs associated with all of these platforms. The low monthly fee for general functionality of Shopify and BigCommerce is just under $30 a month. This price can increase depending on the volume of transactions and additional features such as shopping cart recovery, reviews, and more. This means monthly plans can run as steep as $275 depending on needs. These additional features can be automatically built in with a WooCommerce site.

Ease of Use

Shopify and BigCommerce are designed to be easy to use without the need of a technical guru. This is not always the case, but the simpler the template, the easier it is to use. The downside is that simple templates will also look and feel basic to the user. Depending on the size of your business, this may or may not suit your needs. Shopify templates are designed by independent developers, which provides more diverse options than BigCommerce. BigCommerce does have additional features that are not available through Shopify, such as requesting product reviews.

WooCommerce can be whatever you need it to be. Though this platform is not ready to go right out of the box, taking the time to create something specific to your shop’s needs could prove easier to use in the long run.

Scalability of Your eCommerce Platform

With any luck, your business will continue to grow. This means that you need an eCommerce platform that will grow with you. Both Shopify and BigCommerce charge additional fees for increased sales. There are also situations where additional features may need to be added. This can be difficult to do on an “out of the box” platform. Changes to WooCommerce sites are much more fluid and can be done in addition to your web designer’s general site maintenance as needed.

Building Your House

When it comes to something as important as your business, you want the very best within means. Out of these three most popular eCommerce platforms, WooCommerce supplies the most customized flexibility to meet your short and long term goals. If given the option, wouldn’t you want a house build with you in mind? Contact the web design experts at Tree Ring Digital to discuss the eCommerce platform that fits your specific needs.