If you’re curious about how to set up an e-commerce business, keep in mind that one of the most important decisions you’ll make is which e-commerce platform to use. Comparing Shopify vs. WooCommerce vs. Magento vs. BigCommerce is a great place to start—they all have their own unique value propositions after all.
Businesses of all sizes can be successful using any of these e-commerce platforms, but it’s worth taking a look at the customer trends for each option to help you get started.
Shopify, for example, tends to be great for entrepreneurs and small business owners that have zero coding or tech experience. BigCommerce is a bit more sophisticated and customizable, catering to mid-market companies. WooCommerce is suited for tech-savvy business owners that want more customization and already have or are interested in creating a WordPress site. Finally, Magento typically attracts enterprise companies with more complex needs and websites.
Side-by-side Comparison: Shopify vs. WooCommerce vs. Magento vs. BigCommerce
|Monthly Price||$29 and up||Free w/ paid add-ons for more functionality||$29.95 and up|
|Hosting||Included||Not included||Options for Either||Included|
|Domain Name||Included (with .myshopify.com domain)||Not included||Options for Either||Included (with .mybigcommerce.com domain)|
|Add-ons||App Store||Extensions Store||Marketplace||App Store|
|Themes||Many free and paid options||One free theme (Storefront) and other paid options||Some paid options||Many free and paid options|
Shopify is great for business owners with no coding or technical experience, because their sites are easy to set up. It is less customizable than some of the other options on this list, but keep in mind that coding is often required in order to fully personalize an e-commerce store.
Because it is so easy to set up, brands can go to market much faster with Shopify. It also has a comprehensive App Store with tools that you can integrate to deepen the functionality of your store, like a Shopify shipping app.
All Shopify packages come with a domain included; however, it tacks on “.myshopify.com” at the end of the URL. You can upgrade to include a completely customizable URL and Shopify will host your website for you on their servers.
WooCommerce is a free e-commerce platform that connects with a company’s WordPress site. If you already have a WordPress blog or website and want to add a store or shopping cart, WooCommerce is a great an option to consider.
Since WooCommerce is an open-source solution, it has a lot of opportunities for customization. Business owners can download extensions, themes, and other integrations to meet the needs of their business, including a WooCommerce shipping plugin. One interesting side-effect of being open-source is that it’s a bit more of a wild west in terms of add-on quality. The quality control that exists in other platforms is a bit lacking in the WooCommerce ecosystem.
To use WooCommerce, you will also need a WordPress site, hosting platform, and domain registrar in order for your store to go live, which you’ll purchase separately.
Magento is traditionally a good option for larger companies. Magento Commerce provides enterprise-level features right out of the box. It offers a comprehensive, customizable solution to help businesses build the website they need. With Magento Commerce, you’ll have complete control of your e-commerce website. Magento does routinely update its platform, so you can expect to do manual patch and bug updates periodically.
Magento Open Source is focused on providing basic performance and features need to run an e-commerce store. It’s functionality is limited, but you can purchase extensions to fit your unique needs. Keep in mind that while Magento Open Source is free for anyone to use, it does require some technical know-how in order to install and run it.
If you opt for a Magento store, consider a Magento shipping extension to automatically sync orders and streamline your fulfillment.
BigCommerce is another easy-to-use e-commerce platform. It can be further customized, which requires some technical understanding and a slightly higher learning curve. BigCommerce can support large and complex catalogs for stores with more products. It also allows you to customize your metadata for powerful SEO performance. And make sure you take a look at the BigCommerce shipping apps to see if your preferred shipping software can integrate.
Your BigCommerce subscription comes with a free URL on a “.mybigcommerce.com” domain. You can upgrade to a customized URL and BigCommerce will host your website for you on their servers just like Shopify does.
Which is the Best E-commerce Platform?
All of the above e-commerce platforms are great tools—it just depends on what you’re looking for. Comparing e-commerce platforms can be like comparing bananas and oranges. Some businesses may be in need of Vitamin C while others really need Potassium. Take some time to write down your specific business’ needs and then see which tool will support your business the best.
And, before you make your decision, you will want to consider how the e-commerce platform integrates with the other tools you’ll be using. For example, if you’re shipping physical goods, does your e-commerce platform integrate seamlessly with a shipping solution to streamline the order fulfillment process? All four e-commerce platforms mentioned above integrate with Shippo, an easy-to-use, powerful shipping software that can help you print a label in 10 seconds.