Which One is Right For Your Company: Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, OpenCart?
As the number of eCommerce businesses continues to multiply, so does the number of platforms offering sales solutions. Even for businesses that have utilized one eCommerce platform or another in the past, sorting through the latest options and technological improvements can be overwhelming.
One of the most important considerations is the end user experience. It is crucial for an eCommerce platform to be a successful software solution for your business. To assist with your evaluation of the top eCommerce platforms available today, we provide an in-depth guide on how Magento, BigCommerce, Volusion, Shopify, and Opencart provide the customer experience, and how this could impact your success.
What Matters to Your Customers
Turning browsing into sales is one of the backbones of any successful business, but compared to a brick and mortar store, the customer experienced with eCommerce is radically different. This changes customer expectations, needs, and wants in ways that must be carefully considered and addressed by a good eCommerce business.
When shopping online customers say they want organization, a design that reflects the products, and an intuitive purchasing process. A platform that allows your business to interact with customers in a manner that fits these needs is essential. So, how do the top platforms stack up?
Diversity of Design Options
For any eCommerce business, the best marketing material is a great website. In many ways your website will formulate the cornerstone of branding and identity for the entire business. Your website is your store, and it should be given the same attention and thought as any physical space.
The content management systems of some top eCommerce platforms are thankfully straightforward. Opencart is focused on simplifying the design process. There is a small library of themes to choose from and certain customizations for branding and creating feel. When you look at Opencart vs Magento or BigCommerce, it is apparent that there is a big gap between capabilities for designing your unique site.
Shopify and BigCommerce are the two major players in terms of customization. Both platforms allow users to develop a unique design through built-in software. There are options to customize the layout, heading, color scheme, text, and typography. Shopify’s approach is similar to website development softwares, such as WordPress. There are a large range of themes, which means a new business could develop a layout and look that is different from competitors. However, Shopify focused on making the front-end development simple for users, which places some limits on customization.
In contrast, BigCommerce can be more cumbersome to learn and manage, but the range of options is greater. This eCommerce platform gives businesses a lot of control over the ultimate website. Volusion, on the other hand, relies heavily on its library of themes, rather than individual changes to coding, to please users and end users. The goal of this extensive library is to provide a theme for any type of online vendor.
Payment and Checkout Process
There is nothing worse for a seller than when a customer decides to make a purchase, but is overwhelmed or frustrated by the checkout process. Therefore, ensuring the eCommerce platform you choose has the right payment gateways is essential to converting sales. Perhaps the most important aspect is offering credit card capability and PayPal, which all of the top eCommerce platforms are now able to do.
BigCommerce is integrated with a number of the largest payment gateways. Through this platform you can offer your customers the option of Paypal, Orbital Payment Gateway by Chase Paymentech, Worldpay, Braintree, Stripe, Authorize.Net. This is one of the more extensive integration possibilities. Shopify vs Magento reveals that these platforms offer a similar number of payment gateways, which translates to a similar number of payment option.
Volusion and Opencart are not without options. Volusion provides the option of Authorize.Net, Paypal, and Amazon Payments, among others. The ability to integrate with Amazon Payments can be particularly valuable, because other big players, Shopify and BigCommerce, do not have this capability. Lastly, spent a lot of time evaluating hosted and non-hosted payment gateways, fee structures, and security of payment gateways in order to provide a robust offering to users (and ultimately end users).
Shopping from Anywhere
One of the biggest changes in eCommerce in recent years is the number of end users who are initiating and finalizing purchases through their smartphones or tablets. An eCommerce platform needs to provide a fully responsive, such that customers are just as enticed by the layout, design, and branding on a phone, as on a laptop.
Shopify is among the most well known eCommerce platforms, but Magento has become the most widely used. This is due in part to its ability to translate your website from computer screen to phone screen. The company spent significant time on mobile-friendly SEO and creating designs that will translate on any device. When it comes to Magento vs Shopify, in terms of responsive design, Magento with its attention to detail is the clear winner.
However, another important comparison is between Magento, BigCommerce, and Volusion. Both Magento and BigCommerce are clearly designed for more complex vendors, as noted by the additional options and number of responsive designs. Volusion offers far fewer fully responsive themes, which can be a detriment for certain vendors, but for new businesses or those appealing to an older customer base it might not matter.
The Best Platform for End Users?
Ultimately, the best platform for end users is a business specific decision. There is not a single platform that does everything perfectly, and what works for one fashion boutique may be a hinderance for another. For instance, one business may be heavily invested in the customization of their website and branding, while another business finds that a more simplistic layout and design adequately reflects the vendor and leads to more sales. Yet, when you keep your target end user in mind, you are likely to land on an eCommerce platform that will help you meet new sales goals.
What eCommerce platform do you think best provides the best options for keeping your customers engaged and turning sales? Let us know in the comments!