E-Commerce CMS Comparison: How to Choose the Right Platform?
One of the most complicated stages for e-commerce entrepreneurs when building an online store is the choice of an effective web resource. Since the development of a website from scratch is a quite difficult and time-consuming process that requires an assiduous approach and crucial investments; business owners prefer to use a content management system (CMS) providing all the necessary trading features in one place.
Nowadays, in the market, you face a great variety of paid and free CMS solutions differing by unique sets of functions, purposes, modification, flexibility, cost and other working characteristics. Considering your requirements, budget, and further plans in business development – here is how you can deal with the main parameters in check.
Hosted Platforms v/s Self-Hosted Platforms
To start with, it’s necessary to determine the foundation of your future website: Whether it will be a hosted or a self-hosted platform? For those who are hearing these terms for the first time, below given is a comparison of features with respect to both types of CMS: Customizability, Cost, and Technical Support.
This is the main criterion distinguishing hosted e-commerce platforms from the self-hosted ones.
Hosted: This solution allows you to launch the website straight away. By choosing a hosted platform, you can get a fully functional online store without excessive efforts. This is a great decision if you have a lack of time or technical knowledge base. However, keep in mind the functionality of such a website is restricted by the limits of the platform.
Self-hosted: Building an online store requires a strong set of technical skills. If you’re ready to pay a substantial sum to a development team, it’s fine. Self-hosted platforms give you full control over the website functionality, and it is much easier to optimize in the future.
Price comparison allows you to discard unsuitable options immediately.
Hosted: A software-as-a-service (SaaS) is the most common model for operating websites. In this case, you pay a monthly fee to the hosting provider to help you avoid huge initial investments. Nevertheless, pay attention to the fact other costs can be added later.
Self-hosted: If you want to outsource the set up of your online store, be ready to get an impressive invoice, with at least three zeroes. On the other hand, if you decide to figure out how things work and perform the technical part on your own, think about the valuable time you’ll spend on it. In any business, time is money, and in some cases, it’s more reasonable to sacrifice a few hundred dollars than a few hours.
3. Technical Support
From time to time, any software may provide certain pitfalls, flaws, and bugs when using. The time spent on their resolution is a crucial factor for any e-commerce business, where every second count.
Hosted: The technical support is included in your monthly fee, so you can be absolutely assured that all your issues will be resolved. However, this feature doesn’t protect you from unexpected problems requiring more time to fix.
Self-hosted: Hosting providers usually offer technical support regarding server problems, but if your issue is connected with the software, you are on your own (although they may at least redirect you to a developer).
Determination of a platform foundation makes the final choice of a content management system easier. The top eCommerce development companies have a wide range of modern CMS options. Make sure you choose the best one to turn your crank.
What aspects are of the highest priority for you when choosing? Is it functionality (even if you don't plan to use all included functions), a variety of patterns, or cost? To answer the aforementioned questions, a list of most popular and effective CMS has been constructed below:
If at the previous stage, you chose a self-hosted platform type, get acquainted with these systems:
- Magento: This free CMS is the world's leading digital commerce platform providing a high level of flexibility for B2C, B2B, and hybrid solutions and control over your eShop development. It has all necessary settings and extensions and is highly scalable. Magento is perfect for small and medium e-commerce businesses.
- WooCommerce: Known as a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce is free and easy to install. It has almost all the features expected from the self-hosted CMS: open-sourced, individual approach, and basic analytics.
- OpenCart: This CMS is suitable for people with development and web design experience. It can’t boast of the ability to be scaled but still provides an abundance of brilliant features: unlimited categories, products, multilingualism, reports, etc.
- PrestaShop: This free CMS is easy to install and allows you to manage your store in real-time. It has nearly 300 useful features, including store and product management, SEO, checkouts, delivery, etc.
- osCommerce: This is one of the most reliable CMS platforms with a wide support network and more than 7000 add-ons. It is easy-to-use and gives eShops numerous important opportunities as complete control over customer orders, multiple currency support and more.
In case you chose a hosted platform, pay special attention to the following options:
- Shopify: Shopify attracts traders from all over the world with its advanced e-commerce and marketing features: e-mail dispatch templates, customer categories, and direct supplies.
- BigCommerce: This CMS can be proud of its unique functionality containing an integration with the main payment gateways like PayPal, Apple Pay and Stripe, and multiple marketing tools designed for sales on various platforms, including Amazon Marketplace, Facebook, and eBay.
- Wix: The possibility to install the app from App Market and a format of a free web constructor clearly distinguish the Wix platform from others. Numerous design features and templates allow users to create a maximally customized online store and modify its elements in a tick.
- Volusion: This platform is one of the easiest to use when building a website. You’re able to preview your site and edit many items directly in the preview window. HTML and CSS editors are also integrated if you’d prefer to customize your store that way. Moreover, it’s compatible with more than 35 different payment gateways and can be integrated with Amazon and eBay.
- 3dCart: This CMS can be deservedly called the best e-commerce CMS by SEO parameters due to its truly rich SEO features (integrated into Google, Yahoo! and Bing) and social media integrations (with YouTube, Twitter, etc.). In addition, you can turn a WordPress blog into an online store with the 3dCart WordPress e-commerce shopping cart plugin.
eShop owners should remember the main formula for success, “business = sales” but the engine of an online store is not a guarantee. CMS is only a tool for realizing your ideas and plans. The creation of a website is about the value you bring to users: actuality, functionality, and content. Concentrate on your business and its development. Then, choose one of the best Content Management Software (CMS) to help you achieve the desired results, attract new customers and increase sales.