In the past if you wanted an online shop, it used to be quite a challenge. It involved complex websites with often complex, desktop software in order for you to manage your orders successfully. The websites were awful, the software was awful and all in all managing your shop was an extremely complex process. Sure, many people managed it but for the tech newbie to come along and go from novice level to running a successful store, well, it was virtually unheard of.
Thankfully, things change and we now have several completely web based e-commerce solutions available and due to their popularity, predominantly due to ease of use, there are now hundreds of thousands of themes available so you can not only manage your shop with ease, but have it look good too!
In this article we’ll take a look at a few of the major players when it comes to e-commerce web based solutions. We’ll look at Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce but there are a plethora of others out there should none of these suit your needs. Most shops use the below though and there is a reason for that, they’re REALLY easy to get to grips with.
This is my favourite platform of the bunch. Primarily because it’s so easy to use. Magento is an open source platform which means it can be developed upon with ease. This has led to an influx of plugins and themes which as a result has made it one of the most commonly used platforms in the marketplace. It also helps that is is completely free (unless you want a high end enterprise solution). Whilst Magento will do what you expect as far stock control, output of products and payment processing, it also has a lot of features for search engine optimization and traffic. This makes it much more than your run of the mill e-commerce solution. The amount of themes available for Magento is second to none and given the simplicity and ease of setup you can have your store up and running in no time. If you do get stuck though, there are a ton of tutorials to help you through the process.
This is one of the more popular paid ecommerce solutions but with that premium price tag you do get a lot of features. Like most software applications, Shopify is no different. The price plans are tiered based on your use. But if you’re running a relatively small store the pricing is more than affordable. All of the price plans have unlimited products, no restrictions but the cheaper your plan the more you’ll end up paying on your credit card processing fee’s. It is worth noting that only the “basic” plan will allow you to have a fully fledged online store.
WooCommerce is the e-commerce platform offering from the ever popular WooThemes. As you might have guessed it is fully WordPress based which might be a help or a hindrance depending on your love of WordPress – or equal hate. As expected with anything WordPress based, it’s easy to use, customize and the amount of themes at your disposal rival the options from Magento. It’s a handy piece of software should you wish to integrate a store to an existing site rather than solely run an e-commerce store with nothing else.
Like Magento, WooCommerce is free and is one of the more popular stores out there. As with Magento, it’s extremely easy to develop on should you have more experience than the average use.
With the platforms above, you should have everything you need in order to build out your shop. If you’re just starting out I wouldn’t bother giving any other platform a look-in – they’re too confusing and any of the solutions above will be more than adequate for your given needs.