Your business provides a great service, and you want to capitalize on it. Maybe you’ve been selling your product locally for years and want to expand. Or you’ve been providing your services to friends and family for a long time and want to explore the potential of starting your own ecommerce business.
But, with all of the ecommerce platforms out there, you have no idea where to start.
Which solution is best for your company? What features do they offer, and what features do you need? What do you need to know in order to set up your new store?
Read on to discover the features of three major ecommerce platforms—Shopify vs BigCommerce vs WooCommerce—as well as how your business can get started with a new ecommerce platform.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce: What you need to know
Most ecommerce platforms offer a bundle of similar features. Those features might include things like inventory management and tracking or payment gateways and limited automated email functionality.
They might also include emails that go out when someone places an order or an order ships. Most have some way to integrate with various shipping carriers, and tracking emails are part of the workflow.
But every ecommerce platform is best suited to different business types and sizes, so it’s a good idea to do some research on the best ecommerce solution for your business based on the features you need.
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to compare Shopify vs. BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce. Each of these platforms has a hearty set of features for even their most basic plans. They also have the capability of integrating with ecommerce email marketing solutions.
Shopify features and services
Running over 1,000,000 businesses across the globe, Shopify is one of the leading ecommerce platforms for small businesses. With three plan levels—Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify—you can choose the solution that best suits your ecommerce plans.
Shopify targets four primary categories in their ecommerce platform:
- Start: including everything you need to start your business, Shopify has features that allow you to create a logo and business name. You can also generate a custom domain, run ads through social media, and build a comprehensive store with the ability to go anywhere.
- Sell: Shopify offers multiple channels for your customers to make purchases. You can build an ecommerce store or simply add a “buy” button to your blog or website. You can sell online through social media, marketplaces, and more. And, if you want to sell in person, you can do that too.
- Market: with Shopify’s marketing tools, you can reach the right audience using SEO and content marketing. You can run ad campaigns through the platform, and there’s an app that can automate your marketing plan. Reports are also available, so you can get the most of your tools.
- Manage: Shopify has tools that allow you to fulfill orders and ship them with one of multiple shipping carriers. You can use Shopify payments to accept most payment methods, either online or in person. You’ll also get a dashboard and practical store insights.
Shopify offers a robust set of features across their plans. Not all plans include all of these features, so compare them carefully to make sure you get the most efficient plan for your business.
Getting started with Shopify
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, so you can get an idea of whether you like their platform or not. You’ll provide some basic information, including a store name, then choose the plan you think will work best for your company.
Once you activate your trial and select your plan, you’ll be able to take advantage of the suite of features provided for your plan. There may be additional fees to purchase a domain, but Shopify will communicate that to you when you get ready to create your custom domain.
Standout features of Shopify
Shopify includes a tool to create a logo for your business, a path to downloading free stock photos, and dozens of themes to completely customize your store. And they do it with a drag-and-drop editor for people who aren’t savvy in web design.
BigCommerce features and services
BigCommerce offers two levels of service, depending on the size of your business. Each of these service levels has a selection of features and plans that’ll benefit your business. The Essentials service has three plans—Standard, Plus, and Pro—and each of these is for businesses in different stages of growth.
The two primary service levels offered by BigCommerce are:
- BigCommerce Essentials: the BigCommerce Essentials plan allows you to create a powerful ecommerce system that was once only available to larger businesses. This is done with the use of over 5,000 apps and partners that can improve automation and increase sales. There’s also a shipping platform that offers competitive rates with multiple carriers.
- BigCommerce Enterprise: designed for larger businesses with robust catalogs, BigCommerce Enterprise offers launch services and success services. Launch services include things like transferring your catalog to the new platform and the project management of your implementation process.
With a variety of plans and service levels available, BigCommerce offers something for businesses of almost all sizes.
Getting started with BigCommerce
If your business needs BigCommerce Essentials, you’ll be able to start with a free 15-day trial to see how the platform works for your company. You’ll provide some basic information, choose a plan, and build your store.
For BigCommerce Enterprise customers, your business will want to request a demo and pricing. These solutions tend to take a tailored approach, so a little more information may be necessary in order to get a quote.
Standout features of BigCommerce
BigCommerce allows integration with sites like Pinterest and WordPress. They even have integrated emails for things like abandoned carts. And their themes include—for free—the Akamai Image Manager, which optimizes images for different browsers and mobile devices.
WooCommerce features and services
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that creates a dynamic ecommerce platform using extensions. Because it’s open-source, it offers a comprehensive set of features that’ll enable your business to completely customize your store.
Depending on your situation and expertise, WooCommerce is for two distinct groups of people:
- Store owners: regardless of whether your business is selling a physical product or a digital product, WooCommerce can handle any situation, and that includes integrating with a marketplace. You can use PayPal to accept credit card payments, but other payment gateways are available. You can also configure shipping options and locations. WooCommerce even calculates tax for you.
- Developers: if you have more extensive knowledge of building an ecommerce store, you can sell subscriptions and more. Businesses with a robust catalog will benefit from being able to use SKUs to scale their store and track their inventory. And, with all of the available extensions, you’ll be able to craft the perfect ecommerce solution for your client.
Enterprise customers will even benefit from the open-source solution. There are hundreds of extensions available, and dozens from top companies with scalable features.
Getting started with WooCommerce
One thing that sets WooCommerce apart is that it requires you to have a WordPress account to get started. If you don’t have one, you can create one while you’re creating your WooCommerce account. Installing WooCommerce doesn’t cost anything, but extensions may have their own fees.
Once you’ve created your WooCommerce account, you’ll answer a few questions about your role in the management of the site. You’ll also list the category of the site. One thing to note is that this only works with self-hosted WordPress sites, not those hosted on WordPress.com.
Standout features of WooCommerce
Because of their selection of extensions, WooCommerce offers the most payment gateway options, provides the platform for unlimited orders, products, and users, and allows for unrestricted editing of your store—something you don’t necessarily get with the other platforms.
Choosing an ecommerce platform is a big decision—the success of your company may very well depend on it.
Here are some key takeaways on Shopify vs. BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce:
- Make a list of features that’ll be practical for your marketing plan.
- Analyze how many products you need to list and how many users you’ll have on your team.
- Compare features carefully to ensure you’re getting everything you need.
Each of these ecommerce platforms is a great choice for businesses looking to expand their online presence, and they all integrate with email marketing solutions to ramp up your business.
Looking for the right ecommerce email marketing solution for your business? CM Commerce integrates with leading platforms to help you create a fully automated email marketing plan.