There are over 1 billion online shoppers today. That’s why investing in the right e-commerce platform is paramount to your sales and growth.
E-commerce platforms make online sales happen. Whether you are B2C or B2B, your products and services need to be available online. E-commerce platforms help you build your unique online storefronts, online shopping carts, online payment systems, and manage your e-commerce marketing.
E-commerce is not just for local transactions- it makes your business go global. Large businesses and small shops alike can find new markets by looking overseas. If you are considering cross-border logistics, you will need to think about the following factors:
- Translation services
- Currency options
- Payment gateways
- Shipping solutions
- Tax compliance
- Intercultural customer service
Two of the most popular platforms are WooCommerce and Shopify. If you are interested in how the two compare, let’s take a look at their features, strengths and weaknesses to see which could be a good match for your organization.
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform built on WordPress with over 4 million installations. Built with designers in mind, this platform can be customized to fit your brand and vision. Features include its WordPress foundation and plugins, open development, endless actions and filters, REST API, documentation, and more than 400 extensions. WooCommerce helps you design a beautiful and SEO optimized online store with any type of product or complex service.
WooCommerce is compatible for e-commerce sites looking to go global. Stores can limit their sales to certain countries or ship anywhere in the world. WooCommerce offers a translation plugin, geolocation services, and WPML for WooCommerce. WPML for WooCommerce presents a separate store for each country you do business in. Each store has a flexible url, targeted SEO, and a seamless user experience for customers in their native languages and currencies. Currency can only be accepted in dollars, but can be presented to customers in converted values. Other plugins target payment gateways, shipping solutions, tax extensions, and customer service forms.
Customers consistently praise WooCommerce for being extremely customizable, easy-to-use, and extendable based on your needs. For those who already have a WordPress site, this solution is an ideal match because your e-commerce store can integrate with your site almost immediately. Reviews also highlight that WooCommerce is a valuable platform at an affordable price.
“Out of the box, WooCommerce gives you all the basics you need to get an e-commerce website up and running quickly and simply. Once you add some extensions, it’s one of the most powerful e-commerce open-source software out there.”
~ Jen Garfinkel-Canseco | Owner – Web Designer/Developer/Marketer | Programmer Jen
Though this solution is a great option for many clients, reviewers still note drawbacks. If you are not already using WordPress, there will be a greater learning curve and some additional tweaking for your site. Also, many cite problems with the need for numerous plugins, which sometimes cannot be updated, integrated well or affordable.
“For various added features additional plugins are required (WordPress). These plugins are not always up to date, maintained or even functioning.”
~ Christine Guenette | Certified Life Coach | Coach Christine Guenette
WooCommerce is a free open-source plugin software. However, there are several associated costs, including hosting plans, domain fees, themes, extensions, running costs and customer service. Because WooCommerce is completely customizable, your budget will be too.
Shopify is a popular commerce platform that serves over a million users. Shopify can be used to sell products online, through social media, at a retail location, or anywhere of your choice. Novices and experts alike appreciate the simplicity and functionality of Shopify. This platform features tools to build your fully customizable website, blog, and online store. Unlimited bandwidth, customer data and inventory, multiple sales channels, Shopify Payments, shipping, and 24/7 customer support are all included.
Shopify aims to make running cross-border logistics simple in 175 countries. This platform offers tools to tailor your business to different languages, currencies and trends. Your business can have multiple storefronts and localized marketing. This solution accepts over 100 payment gateways, features Dual CDNs for global speed and functionality, is Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, and has built-in tax calculations for 70,000 jurisdictions.
Shopify’s Plus’ Partners global program features location, language and currency selectors within themes, POS instances for multiple currencies and local shoppers, robust APIs to connect your global solutions, direct integration with international warehouses and custom global friendly apps.
Shopify customers consistently love how easy Shopify is to use, the availability of quality apps and add-ons, and high-quality customer service. Shopify is a great tool for those who want help building both their website and store. Many love the professional looking themes and layouts that do not require any coding knowledge. This solution is considered a great fit for first-time business owners.
“Using Shopify creating a store is fast, easy and does not require knowledge in software development. Shopify also has great store management features to manage products, collections, tags, and order.”
~ Peter Kanyi | Senior Project Manager | Elahsoft
Though Shopify has enabled many businesses to smoothly run their website and stores, no solution is without its weaknesses. Many reviews claim that the featured apps and more advanced layouts are great, but can be pricey. Others would appreciate better reporting features and advanced order options.
“All the apps make it pricey. I wanted to add things like currency converters and other email marketing which would have bumped my monthly fee up by 100%.”
~ Daniel Choi | Vice President of Sales | Penta Medical, Inc.
Prices range from $29 a month to $299 a month. The most basic package features 2 staff accounts, unlimited products, unlimited file storage, website and blog, fraud detection and more. More advanced packages have additional features, especially catering to point of sale needs.
Starting an e-commerce store can be a challenge in today’s online market. To start out on the right foot, consider all the tools available to you. WooCommerce and Shopify are two of the most popular options. They are both good sales tools and easy to use, but cater to different online business needs. For starters, you can check out customer reviews on top-rated e-commerce platforms to see what best fits your team.
Article written by Taylor McKinney from TrustRadius