Top 12 E-commerce Platforms in 2019: What to Choose and Why?
E-commerce is rapidly growing nowadays – more and more online shopping sites, marketplaces and mobile apps start appearing to compete with Amazon or eBay. Statista predicts that more than 2,4 billion people will buy goods online in 2021. That’s why many entrepreneurs seek efficient ways to optimize their business and become successful in the market.
What makes your e-commerce business successful? It is your dedication to customer experience, your effective market strategies, your operational efficiency, the team of specialists and the right e-commerce platform.
E-commerce platforms – CMS, CRM, web constructors, analytics, marketing tools, and many others – help business owners manage their stores online and reach a peak in sales. So, do you want to know what’s the best e-commerce platform in 2019? If you do so, here is our list of top 12 e-commerce platforms that you’ll find in our article.
- ① WooCommerce
- ② Shopify
- ③ Magento
- ④ BigCommerce
- ⑤ 3DCart
- ⑥ Drupal
- ⑦ OpenCart
- ⑧ Prestashop
- ⑨ Volusion
- ⑩ Squarespace
- ⑪ Weebly
- ⑫ Wix
The List of 12 E-commerce Platforms
This article contains a list of the top 12 e-commerce platforms you can use for your own benefits in the business. Besides, you’ll know the pros and cons of various platforms to select the best one based on your needs and requirements.
WooCommerce is an open-source platform that integrates with WordPress flawlessly, so you can run a webshop and an e-commerce store on the same website. However, WooCommerce does not provide the SSL protection and domain name right off the bat as many other platforms do. While WooCommerce is open-source and free, you will have to rent a domain name, a hosting package and an SSL-certificate to run an e-commerce shop. Pricing can vary from as low as $2 to as much as $4,000 per month based on the volume of traffic and computing resources you use.
|✔️ Simple integration into WordPress, |
which is arguably the best CMS around;
|❌ The need to buy a domain name,|
hosting and SSL separately;
|✔️ Full customization and modification;||❌ The open source that means|
|✔️ A ton of extensions and integrations;|| no support aside from paid help;|
|✔️ A huge variety of themes and design;||❌ The need to add many extra extensions;|
|✔️ Selling in one click||❌ Hosting prices can be quite high|
Thus, despite all these shortcomings, WooCommerce is one of the most configurable and SEO-friendly e-commerce platforms. It is a good choice for mid-sized businesses with WordPress expertise at hand.
Shopify is a web constructor that makes the development process accessible to anyone who wants to build an e-commerce website. Users are equipped with powerful tools that are used by top industry leaders. As it is the platform of choice for the Amazon marketplace, you can sell through Amazon directly from your website. There are various pricing plans (from $29 to 299 per month) at Shopify based on the number of features you want to get.
|✔️ Simple store setup and administration;||❌ Too basic SEO features;|
|✔️ Low-load time and high performance;||❌ Stores must mostly rely on marketplace promotion;|
|✔️ Integration with various marketplaces||❌ The checkout procedure cannot be adjusted;|
|✔️ 70+ customizable themes;||❌ The advanced app functionality is quite costly;|
|✔️ Support for 100+ payment gateways;||❌ Little B2B capabilities|
|✔️ 'Point of Sale' options and hardware;|
|✔️ One-click order modules|
Shopify is a decent choice for a small-to-medium e-commerce business that expects the marketplace to drive traffic to the store and requires the basic functionality only – be ready to pay additional fees for using extra features on the platform. You can try out Shopify free of charge for 14 days to decide if it works well for you.
Magento is an open-source platform with a huge community, tons of extensions, granular content adjustments, in-depth SEO and much, much more. It’s a fully customizable option with the help of which you can come up with incredible solutions for your users. But doing that takes a lot of time as it is composed of thousands of little blocks and you need an expert with a guidebook to sort out this mess. Magento as an open-source platform can be downloaded and used completely free of charge. Still, it will take some additional money to run an e-commerce shop on Magento – the basic cost for a Magento-based website with the standard functionality, simple design and without any integrations starts from around $15,000.
|✔️ A huge community to get support;||❌ Stores must mostly rely on marketplace promotion;|
|✔️ Powerful SEO modules;||❌ The advanced app functionality is quite costly;|
|✔️ Integrated functionality and options;||❌ Extra support of professionals is needed|
|✔️ Flexibility and scalability;|
|✔️ High levels of customization in checkout|
Magento supports up/cross-selling, automated email campaigns and follow-ups, 70+ payment gateways and offers literally thousands of modules and extensions. Should you happen to have lots of time and money — you will be able to build a really awesome store with Magento!
BigCommerce is the leading web constructor to create an online store today – there are such famous brands as Kodak and Toyota among its clients. This e-commerce platform boasts of client growth each year. It’s driven by affordable options for large-scale e-commerce operations without transaction fees. BigCommerce allows selling an unlimited number of products loading them quite fast on mobiles. It can also be customized quite extensively and scales well. The standard billing plans go from $30 and end with $250 per month. The customized pricing is available for enterprise-grade stores. Thus, it is still not the best choice for all cases.
|✔️ 70+ payment gateways supported;||❌ Quite expensive templates that|
|✔️ Built-in marketing and SEO features;|| you can use to design your online store;|
|✔️ Masterfully designed themes;||❌ Billing plans are based on sales volumes|
|✔️ Easy setup, organization and management;|| per year - the more you sell, the more you pay;|
|✔️ Lots of add-ons, plug-ins and third-party|
|❌ No one-click sales apps available to manage |
your store on the go
To wrap it up, BigCommerce is a solid choice for middle and large-sized companies that are ready to work with the built-in features, SEO modules, and other possible integrations. If there is no need to have open-source code for further modifications in a project, it is also a good option available today for e-commerce.
3DCart, an e-commerce platform that currently runs more than 17,000 stores and boasts of simple configuration, fast hosting, a wide variety of designs and themes available. With this website builder, you can create and customize a website without writing code. More than 100 payment gateways are supported and integrations with third-party modules are offered on this platform. Pricing begins as low as $19 per month and goes up to $229 per month.
|✔️ Flexible and robust features on all plans;||❌ Many standard templates feel quite outdated;|
|✔️ Proficient SEO features;||❌ Self-service is preferable to support;|
|✔️ Listing an unlimited number of products;||❌ Inconveniences in changes of pricing plans;|
|✔️ 100+ payment gateways supported;||❌ Few customization options are available|
|✔️ Fast web hosting load speed|
All in all, 3DCart is a decent choice for middle or small shops. Even without any technical background, you will be able to build a shop quite easily. Besides, this background would be quite useful to perform more advanced shop customization for better user experience.
Drupal is an open-source platform that helps business owners track orders, build inventory, and facilitate payments in e-commerce. Drupal runs on any platform that supports a web server for running PHP and a database to store content and configuration. There are two pricing packages that allow many merchants to use Drupal: $0-29 per month with basic features and $99-149 per month with advanced functions. This e-commerce platform is flexible and easily integrated with CRM, email marketing, automation, and other marketing-related services.
|✔️ The quick adaptability to e-commerce;||❌ Qualified assistance of developers is needed;|
|✔️ Great community-supported plugins;||❌ Most design templates aren’t free;|
|✔️ Effective content management;||❌ The interface of an admin panel isn’t intuitive for|
|✔️ Multilingual support;|| users who aren’t familiar with coding;|
|✔️ Simple updating new plug-ins, bug fixing||❌ The speed of websites isn’t high|
Drupal is the best choice for companies with complex tasks on the agenda. Pinterest, eBay, and Twitter are in the list of customers using this platform. With effective SEO tools and optimized features, it’s possible to increase sales in any business.
OpenCart is an online store management system that is free and open-source and easily downloaded and installed on a computer. Depending on functionalities, the cost ranges from $0 to $99 per month. The standard package includes such features as an admin dashboard, user management and other options needed for e-commerce.
|✔️ Management of multiple stores||❌ Modules, plug-ins, add-ons and extensions|
| from one admin interface;|| may conflict with each other;|
|✔️ SEO and marketing-friendly options;||❌ Different modules are aggravating to install;|
|✔️ Multilingual and multi-currency support;||❌ Slow checkout experience|
|✔️ Various add-ons are free;|
|✔️ Easily extended functionality|
OpenCart allows users to create SEO-friendly URL links with an intuitive shopping cart. It’s an easy-to-use e-commerce platform that might help your business prosper in the market. OpenCart is a great option for start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses.
PrestaShop is a freely accessible open-source platform that works on PHP and can help build different e-commerce websites with powerful functionality. It offers various modules to strengthen the efficiency of the business, for example, with PrestaShop Ready, which costs $20 per month, you can earn your customers’ trust. The free software version, namely PrestaShop is very configurable, has lots of themes, a huge selection of extensions, basic SEO functionality, 1-click sales, up/cross-selling and more.
|✔️ A wide variety of extensions/modules available;||❌ A tad slower than Shopify or 3DCart;|
|✔️ A cloud-hosted version is available;||❌ HTML/CSS knowledge is required;|
|✔️ Rich SEO functionalities;||❌ Add-ons are needed for basic functions;|
|✔️ An open source that is highly customizable;||❌ No simple integration with third-parties;|
|✔️ The passionate and friendly community||❌ Quite limited multichannel capabilities|
Overall, PrestaShop can be a quite affordable platform for an SMB that does not require extensive adjustments. It can become your workhorse and deliver much value if it can satisfy your functionality requirements.
Volusion is an e-commerce open-source platform with more than 30,000+ merchants that use it. The tool itself is an intuitive one-page website builder with drag-and-drop options. You can use it for 14 days free of charge, then pay $24 or more per month based on the service plan you choose. Volusion integrates well with Amazon and eBay, supports social marketing and coupons, its dropshipping module works excellently. It also has a great onboarding center. However, there are several serious drawbacks, like the inability to host a blog on the same site — you will need a WordPress and a plugin for that.
|✔️ The in-depth configuration of sitemaps;||❌ No built-in blogging modules;|
|✔️ Built-in modules for recurring or||❌ No one-click and cross/up selling;|
| subscription-based payments;||❌ Expensive custom themes;|
|✔️ A clean and comfortable dashboard;||❌ The requirement for a paid SSL|
|✔️ Convenient inventory management and |
shipment tracking module
To wrap it up, Volusion can still be a great tool for shipping physical goods, but it is a bit outdated as of now.
Squarespace is an e-commerce web constructor with a headquarter located in New York. It was developed to handle the shipping of physical goods in 2004. Squarespace is a drag-and-drop website builder where literally everything you need to ship a parcel is built-in. However, it demands a 3% transaction fee if you select the cheapest plan at $16 per month, but this limitation is lifted for $26 or $40. With the latter, you get some more features, like abandoned cart recovery, automatic calculation of shipment costs using the most popular delivery services (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.), as well as a flexible discount system.
|✔️ Straightforward setups;||❌ No built-in dropshipping tracking;|
|✔️ Convenient dashboards;||❌ No integration with Amazon;|
|✔️ End-to-end solutions for simple shipping stores;||❌ No integration with automation tools;|
|✔️ Gorgeous design;||❌ A little bit slow work;|
|✔️ Decent SEO features;||❌ No marketplace for add-ons|
|✔️ Integration with several key systems like ShipStation|
To sum it up, Squarespace is a mule from the pre-smartphone era. It is robust, looks great and gets the job done from a user-friendly dashboard — try to use it on your mobile!
Weebly is an e-commerce website builder with all the basic functionality a starting entrepreneur might need. Moreover, the marketing-automation platform is already in the package. Weebly costs as low as $38 per month for a full-fledged product with a mobile app and plenty of excellent designs and themes. It is a drag-and-drop website builder with a convenient dashboard.
|✔️ The most affordable marketing automation;||❌ High transaction fees;|
|✔️ Design that is free and visually-stunning;||❌ No SEO functionality;|
|✔️ User-friendly dashboards;||❌ No Amazon integration;|
|✔️ The effective administration in a mobile app;||❌ Too simple inventory management systems;|
|✔️ Useful tools for email campaigns||❌ The lack of several important CMS features|
Overall, Weebly can become a great choice for a beginner entrepreneur. Using Weebly is cheap, it gets the job done and you learn how e-commerce works. Then you switch to Shopify and discover that everything you did before can be done much easier…
Wix is a website constructor designed for simple projects – so, dummies unaware of how to code but keen-set to sell online can use it with ease. It provides 72 free and stunning themes — but once you’ve selected one for your shop, you’re stuck with it for life. The basic plan costs just $4, but it is recommended to pay for unlimited bandwidth. If a customer disconnected before checkout, they will have to form their order again, as there is no abandoned cart recovery… It is surprising they have more than 1 payment gateway…Wix provides 20 GB of disk space max and your inventory is limited by 500 products.
|✔️ The in-depth onboarding support;||❌ No SEO, and quite poor other features;|
|✔️ 70+ stunning free themes;||❌ Many advanced marketing functions are not present|
|✔️ Simple and intuitive UI design;||❌ Themes cannot be changed (unless you use Wix ADI)|
|✔️ Efficient configurations and setups|
All in all, Wix is a simple web constructor created for small-sized businesses that help users without solid experience to develop a corporate website or a landing page. You can drag-and-drop various types of content to create fascinating user journeys for your customers. Wix boasts a convenient admin dashboard and their support is truly heroic.
The Best E-commerce Platforms: How to Choose?
Out of the 12 most popular e-commerce platforms we listed above, the best choices for SMBs and large enterprises would be as follows:
Despite a wide variety of preconfigured e-commerce platforms, most of them are limited in functionality. For example, it is better for large enterprises to rely on custom solutions that could be adjusted to specific business needs and goals. Or if your business has special aspects you’d like to cover, you are also welcome to custom e-commerce software development services provided by Mangosoft at a high level.
Below, you can see what functionalities are really important for a good e-commerce platform:
- Abandoned cart recovery;
- No transaction fee;
- RESTful APIs to integrate with various third-party modules;
- The ability to operate with multiple payment gateways;
- Built-in SEO, email and content marketing;
- Inventory management;
- The sales funnel analysis;
- One-click sales apps;
- Upsell/cross-selling features;
- User-friendly UX/UI design for both the owner and the customer;
- The ease of deployment and management;
- High scalability;
- Quick analytics and logging, etc.
To sum it up, different companies will need different e-commerce platforms depending on the business size, type of products sold and e-commerce store model selected. The most important features, however, would be secure billing, convenient inventory management and filtering, efficient SEO capabilities, ability to integrate with third-party modules, email marketing, and analytics.
While beginners have to concentrate on delivering value to their customers and can stick to the marketplaces, they need to manage the inventory and control shipping mostly. SMBs have to think of overcoming the competition, so they will need strong SEO tools and e-mail marketing in addition to the previous set of features. Enterprise businesses have to operate a huge variety of systems, and CMS must be able to blend into the mix flawlessly, so data security, scalability, integration, and configurability become the main factors to consider.
The e-commerce market is booming, and medium-to-large businesses prefer hiring an IT outsourcing company like Mangosoft to develop a bespoke solution for their needs instead of having to deal with shortcomings of the existing market tools.
Top 7 Features of Custom E-Commerce Platform Development
A good web development company will require the teams and expertise in place to develop a custom e-commerce platform for your needs. However, these talents must be proficient with a variety of front-end and back-end languages and frameworks, have good cloud deployment expertise, experience building CI/CD pipelines for software delivery and automated testing. All of this is essential to select the most appropriate technology stack for your project and ensure the time-to-market for your products is as short as possible.
The point is — a really good web development services provider will have all the aforementioned readily available:
- Dedicated teams of developers able to write high-quality code;
- A full understanding of security and scalability requirements, so your bespoke e-commerce platform will be secure by design and highly scalable, to ensure it can handle heavy workloads;
- Knowing the most common platform development problems to adapt them to your project requirements quickly;
- A good understanding of the approximate sales workflow on an e-commerce platform;
- Eye-catching designs and intuitive interfaces to enable successful sales;
- Experienced DevOps engineers to provide automated software delivery, testing, staging, and release workflows, so new features will be added to your product quickly;
- Highly-qualified QA specialists who will utilize automated unit/integrity testing to ensure your e-commerce platform to be bug-free.
There are many hidden reefs in e-commerce platform development. If the billing module is quite easy to implement (as there is a ton of payment processors out there), abandoned cart recovery or SEO functionality can be quite hard to make work correctly, not to mention the need to implement email marketing and other features. The good news is that almost all of this functionality is already available from a variety of modules, which can be securely integrated with any e-commerce platform using RESTful APIs.
You would need at least a front-end and a back-end developer (or a couple of full-stack specialists), a DevOps engineer for enabling CI/CD workflows and ongoing monitoring in production, and a QA specialist – for testing. You’ll also need a Team Lead and/or Project Manager to quickly incorporate customer feedback, delegate the tasks correctly and keep the hand on the pulse of your e-commerce development project.
Timeframes and Cost of E-commerce Platform Development
In general, it takes anywhere from a month to a year to develop a custom e-commerce platform based on the project requirements, solutions, tech stack, and so on. As for the budget, it can vary from $10,000 to $100,000+ based on your business operational expectations and project requirements. The average cost of e-commerce platform development is about $40,000.
There is a table below that describes approximate timeframes and costs of the e-commerce platform development for each business size – from small to large companies. Study it to get familiar with this information.
If you have any more questions regarding e-commerce platform development — contact Mangosoft and we would be glad to answer them and help you make the right choice or develop your own good e-commerce platform tailored to your needs!