Does anybody think the continuous increase in online shopping is going to fade away? We bet no because global retail eCommerce sales are only growing year after year and don’t show any signs of retreat. Especially in this time of the global pandemic, more and more people prefer to shop online rather than leave their homes.
So you want to figure out which of the online store builders is the right choice for you. We are going to discuss the pros and cons of the 5 of them:
Which one to choose depends on multiple factors and questions, including
- Is selling online your main source of revenue or not, and how much are you ready to invest?
- Do you need a scalable platform with attractive eCommerce features or all you need is a simple website?
- Do you have technical skills and or are you looking for an easy-to-use platform?
At the end of the article, we will summarize which platform works best in certain cases and help you make the final decision.
Table of Contents
Best online store builders: Discussing the pros and cons
- 100% for online stores – Shopify isn’t just a plugin that adds eCommerce functionality to an existing website. Nor is it a website builder that offers separate plans for eCommerce. It’s entirely an eCommerce platform that has been built with one purpose – help people sell products online.
- 2,400+ apps on Shopify App Store – Whether you want to translate your online store, start a dropshipping business or do inventory optimization, you will find the desired tool in that marketplace.
- 100+ themes available – Though only around 10% of available themes is free, every business owner will find the ideal theme according to his/her preferences.
- No extra costs for hosting – Hosting a website starts from $3 monthly. No matter which Shopify plan you choose, the platform will take care of your hosting and don’t require additional expenses.
- 24/7 support – All Shopify plans include around-the-clock support.
- 14-day free trial available
- Shopify isn’t cheap – Shopify plans start at $29 monthly. And many features like gift cards, professional reports, etc aren’t included in the Basic plan.
- Transaction fees apply – If you accept third-party payment gateways, you will end up paying transaction fees between 0.5-2%.
The next among our online shop builders is Bigcommerce.
- 100% for eCommerce – Bigcommerce is again a fully eCommerce platform that serves online stores around the world.
- Built-in tools are available – Unlike Shopify, Bigcommerce offers gift cards, professional reporting tools, shipping quotes in the Standard plan that costs $29.95 monthly.
- No transaction fees – Unlike Shopify, Bigcommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees regardless of the pricing plan you choose.
- 24/7 support – All Bigcommerce plans include around-the-clock support.
- 15-day free trial available
- Not so many apps and integrations – Bigcommerce Apps Marketplace offers 100s of apps but it’s less than the number of apps available in the Shopify App store.
- Selling limits apply – You can’t record an unlimited number of sales and keep using the same pricing plan. If your sales exceed the defined limit, you have to upgrade your plan.
- 100% for eCommerce – Magento is also designed specifically for online stores.
- Free to use – Magento doesn’t offer pricing plans because the platform is theoretically free to use.
- Highly customizable – The platform is open source and you can add as many customizations as you want.
- 5,000+ extensions available – Magento marketplace is rich in plugins and even offers filtering options. You can filter the extension category, price, ratings, etc.
- Scalability – No matter how many products you sell, Magento can handle the load. Besides, Magento was recently acquired by Adobe and will become even more robust and flexible, including Adobe Commerce features.
- No official support – Magento offers guides, how-tos, and FAQs so the users troubleshoot their problems. But there’s no support team that will answer your questions and show individual approach.
- Technical skills required – More customization opportunities mean a higher level of technical skills. If you are not good at HTML/CSS, you need to hire a developer or designer that will result in additional costs.Besides, finding Magento developers is hard and their hourly rates are above average.
- Not really free – Even if you don’t need to customize your eCommerce website, you still need to pay for hosting, domain name, and paid plugins.
- Free to use – Woocommerce doesn’t offer pricing plans because the plugin is again free to use. You are free to download it and make preferential changes.
- Extensions and plugins available – According to Wikipedia, Woocommerce offers near 330 extensions and 1,000 plugins as of 2018. Meaning that you won’t feel a shortage of tools to spice up your eCommerce store.
- Just a plugin, not a platform – Though Woocommerce is extremely popular among WordPress users, it’s just a WordPress plugin and not a platform or website builder. And WordPress was initially built for blogging, not selling purposes.
- Technical skills required – Similar to Magento, Woocommerce customization options require a certain level of programming skills.
- Too many risks – Many plugins bring security issues that website owners need to deal with.
Especially if you use free/low-cost or not trustworthy plugins, they will make your website vulnerable instead of making it more appealing.
- Additional costs apply – Though Woocommerce is free to use and modify, you need to pay for your domain name, hosting as well as paid plugins.
- 2 plans for eCommerce – Squarespace has pricing plans designed for online stores and with corresponding features. The Basic Commerce plan costs $26. The platform allows to offer gift cards, send abandoned shopping cart reminders, show discounts, etc.
- Easy to use – You don’t need to be or hire a developer as Squarespace is simple to use. A drag and drop system will help you publish your online store quickly without the need for hiring costs.
- No transaction fees – Neither Basic nor Advanced Commerce plans charge any transaction fees.
- No extra costs for hosting – It doesn’t matter which Squarespace plan you choose. The platform will take care of your hosting and don’t require additional expenses.
- 24/7 support – All Squarespace plans include around-the-clock chat support and email support during business hours.
- 15-day free trial available
- Designed for creating beautiful websites – Though Squarespace offers Basic and Advanced eCommerce plans, it’s been built for businesses that prioritize beauty. But beauty isn’t always equal to conversion and sales.
- Limitations in payment gateway options – There are only two ways visitors can make purchases and buy products – Stripe and Paypal.
Which is the best online shop website builder for you? Wrapping up
So time to summarize what we discussed above about the best online store website builders:
- Shopify is perfect for online stores who want to grow, need advanced features, and high-quality support. Mid-size and large websites who don’t need much customization can really benefit from Shopify.
- Bigcommerce is similar to Shopify but it’s less popular. Besides, the selling limit may create additional problems for you at the end of each year.
- Magento is ideal for large and scaling businesses that don’t want to face the limitations by Shopify/Bigcommerce/Squarespace and seek to do customization according to their strategy and preferences.
- Woocommerce is again an open-source plugin with opportunities for customization but it’s more vulnerable in terms of security. Will best work for small and mid-size businesses who aren’t afraid of technical challenges.
- Squarespace wasn’t originally built for eCommerce but it’s drag and drop system, beautiful templates make it a good choice for online stores. It will best work for those who run small, beautiful online stores and don’t need very advanced features.
If you don’t have time to deal with your online store creation and/or customization process, contact Andava’s web design and development team.
We will discuss your goals, recommend the most suitable platform and help you sell products online with ease and comfort.