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Best E-Commerce Platforms for 2017

January 31, 2017

I have seen many startups and product marketing heads focus heavily on the external factors of their app without realizing that the success of their app is also dependent on the CMS they use. So, instead of trying to figure out which color scheme would do well for your app in 2017, let’s focus on which platform will be the best investment for you this year.

best-ecommerce-platforms-2017

Shopify

Shopify is a great CMS selection for startups and bootstrapped entrepreneurs alike. That is not to say that more established stores won’t find success using Shopify. It is just that the tools and resources offered by this CMS are easy to understand and implement. For those who are looking to streamline their mobile app design without adding in a big learning curve, Shopify would be a strong pick.

At its core, Shopify is a hosted CMS that offers an efficient setup with relatively easy customization. For example, Shopify offers its users a large volume of preformatted templates that can simplify page presentation and get a storefront up and running without any design delay.

In addition to its easy setup and customization, Shopify has top-line customer support with developed help pages and easy-to-access customer service helplines. In terms of service, Shopify offers a full circle support program for its users to make sure that there are no added difficulties in managing a store, especially in terms of managing security.

Search engine optimization (SEO), tagging and metadata along with easy interaction with Google are all included while using the CMS. Now, for all of its benefits, there are a few negatives to using Shopify as well. The price is perhaps the biggest drawback. Shopify has various levels of service at varying price points. As you would expect, the more you pay, the more you get.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is similar to Shopify in that it offers much of the same streamlined setup, user friendliness and customer support and security. However, when using Shopify, users operate with a fully functional web page with no limits on bandwidth.

Additionally, BigCommerce offers a wider range of features such as allowing the issuance of gift cards and enabling customers to post product reviews. While BigCommerce has similarities to Shopify, the general consensus is that BigCommerce is better for businesses who are looking for larger scale customization than what Shopify can offer. As a result, entry level plans start off higher in price and using BigCommerce may be costlier in the long run depending on needed features.

WooCommerce

For businesses experienced in WordPress, WooCommerce is a CMS plugin that is virtually free to use in conjunction with an existing WordPress page. While it is free, it may have some small costs later depending on how the user wishes to customize certain aspects of their site.

The benefits of using WooCommerce align heavily with the benefits of using WordPress. For example, both systems are open source, which means that customization options are nearly endless. In fact, there are many free tools with WordPress that can help to spruce up  stores should a user desire a specific storefront that may not be available on other platforms.

Nevertheless, just as WooCommerce shares in the positives of WordPress, it also shares in the negatives. Users should remember that as this CMS is WordPress-based, knowledge of WordPress becomes a prerequisite in setting up this CMS. If you don’t yet have the right knowledge, be prepared to invest time in learning how to use it.

Drupal

Similar to WooCommerce, Drupal is also open source. Drupal, as a CMS, offers flexible, versatile programming that also has numerous tools, themes and add-ins that can enhance a customized  landing page. To get right to the point: Drupal offers users a range of customization (similar to WooCommerce) but on a larger scale. As a result, some bigger businesses may benefit from choosing Drupal.

The downsides are also very similar to WooCommerce. Just as with WooCommerce, users of Drupal also need to be familiar with the programming language. If not, there will be a learning curve involved. Besides that, Drupal’s script is relatively bulkier than the one used in WordPress. This could result in slower interactions and server delays.

Magento

Magento is by far the most comprehensive CMS in this list for large scale  enterprises. It offers top security measures, full and enhanced customization, top-line customer support, SEO and mobile application support.

In addition to these features, Magento allows businesses to display their apps in different languages and also accept different currencies for payment. In a way, Magento is the Ferrari of CMS, featuring full customization and nearly endless opportunities for users.

Magento is not priced in the same manner as other CMS platforms. For example, Shopify and BigCommerce offer monthly fixed rate fees regardless of the page’s activity or size. Magento, on the other hand, doesn’t have a structured fee plan but bases its cost on varying factors such as company size, pipeline and activity.

Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Drupal and Magento are all tools that businesses may consider. At the end of the day, all of these CMS choices help users to arrive at a similar end goal. Knowing what your business needs can ensure that the correct CMS is chosen without adding unnecessary complexity and cost.

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