Comparison Of eCommerce Platform vs. Professional and Open Source eCommerce Solutions

Pros and Cons of Three Main eCommerce Platform Options

There are an extremely large variety of eCommerce solutions available, and no matter what size eCommerce business you are (or what size you are hoping to become) there is an eCommerce solution out there for you. In order to help you determine what eCommerce solution will work best for you, this article will detail the pros and cons of eCommerce Platforms vs Professional and Open Source eCommerce Solutions.

eCommerce Platforms

eCommerce platforms are an incredible resource for the average business owner. It gives you an easy-to-use admin dashboard to create and enhance your own website, it keeps track of your inventory, your data, and customer and shipping information. It can provide you with a reliable setup and a way to easily stay on top of your business.

eCommerce platforms aren’t perfect, though, and there are several areas that tend to have trouble with eCommerce platforms that you should be aware of. The biggest disadvantage, while a lot of eCommerce platforms do make the admin intuitive and user-friendly, many templates have the tendency to be one-size-fits-all. There is still only so many customizations you can make beyond the basics (text, color, etc), and the sort of mass-produced templates can cause your website to not look as unique as you may be hope. There is a solution to this, by hiring a developer with experience in your specific eCommerce platform, like 1 Digital Agency, they can help you further customize your eCommerce platform through the website’s code.

The eCommerce platform can also struggle with business growth and website demand as your business and revenue increases. Most eCommerce platforms are directed towards specific niches of business (small, medium, large) and so if you are looking to grow your business, you may find issues with the software in the long run. This can force you to change eCommerce platforms, which requires data migration. This can be tricky without professional help; 1 Digital Agency is also skilled in migrating data when deciding to move from one eCommerce platform to another.

Professional eCommerce Solutions

Professional eCommerce software is most advantageous for smaller business owners who are running on a smaller scale and don’t feel the need for advanced customization or added features. This allows for you to spend less time operating and managing your business because it is essentially set up for you through the professional eCommerce software.

However, this can become an issue if you decide to expand your business or if it grows beyond the capacity of the professional eCommerce software. Because of the limited nature of the design flexibility, if you feel that certain areas of your business will need adequate room to grow and that your eCommerce solution will need to be sensitive of that, maybe a professional eCommerce solution isn’t right for you. Also, because of the limited nature of the software, you should also anticipate limited support and warranty.

Open Source eCommerce Solutions

Open source eCommerce solutions are marketed towards eCommerce business owners who have the experience and technical savvy to properly maintain the open source application, and who want a large amount of flexibility when it comes to customization. There are a number of pros that makes open source eCommerce solutions attractive to eCommerce business owners. First of all, open source eCommerce solutions are often free. And, they don’t require any licensing, so your ownership is also free. There aren’t any licensing fees that are required for you to run the application, which will also reduce your costs.

There is also a wider range of customizability with open source eCommerce solutions; this can help a business to tailor the application exactly how it needs to fit into their already existing business. A web developer who is familiar and experienced with your open source application can access the code and help you adapt it to how you want it. You can further adapt the customization and functionality of your open source eCommerce solution through both modules and apps. This is not applicable to every open source software, but many will let users build on top of the existing platform.

As nice as open source software sounds, there are cons just like with any other eCommerce software. First, running an open source eCommerce solution requires more maintenance in order to make sure that it’s running smoothly and enhancements are being made as needed. This means that you have to make sure it’s properly staffed and looked over, which can cost you more. The security for open source software is also more vulnerable than with other eCommerce solutions. Due to the fact that open source software is sharing all the coding and software information, this means that hackers can also have this information, which can put your site at greater risk. You can also run into upgrading issues with any apps or modules that you’ve added to your open source software; the open source update may negatively impact the functionalities you’ve added. And finally, open source eCommerce solutions often don’t provide as much support as other solutions.

Despite the pros and cons of eCommerce Platform vs. Professional and Open Source eCommerce Solutions, there is so much diversity within the eCommerce industry that you are sure to find the eCommerce solution that fits best for your business. Have any questions about this article or the difference between available eCommerce platforms? Leave a question in the comments below and a professional digital agency will jump in and answer!

Comparing the Customer Experience of the Top eCommerce Platforms: Magento vs BigCommerce vs Volusion vs Shopify vs Opencart

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

bigcommerce magento

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!