If there are many e-commerce platforms to create your online store, choosing the best solution for your e-business is a difficult exercise. It is essential to be well informed about the different options available to ensure you make the right choice. As an e-trader, you face many challenges. Your solution must be the ally of your growth and success.
Aware of the complexity and the wide variety of solutions available on the market, we have listed the most popular in this article.
This article was written by Yves attias, Customer Director at Yateo, Prestashop partner agency.
I – CMS or customized?
Several options exist to create an e-commerce site: but each one requires different requirements. The first decision you have to make is to create your site using a CMS or to make it completely custom. But which option should you choose? Is there a more relevant choice than the other? The best answer depends on your needs, your desires but also on your budget and the time you want to devote to it.
Tailor-made allows you to create from A to Z a unique site, completely personalized and totally adapted to your needs. This method offers you the possibility of having a site that stands out strongly from the competition: none of your competitors will be able to reproduce your online store identically. However, creating a custom site involves a lot of energy, time and a fairly large budget if you decide to go through a professional. In the event that you have the technical skills necessary to carry out this project to completion, creating your site alone still remains a major undertaking.
The second option is to create your e-commerce site using a CMS (Content Management System) or content management system. It’s simply a category of software for dynamically designing, managing and updating websites or mobile apps. They allow your future site to have so-called “classic” functionalities, essential to your activity and present in the vast majority of e-commerce sites.
However, some CMS offer possibilities for customization and you can have control over many elements: this is the case of open-source CMS which are particularly flexible.
There is another type of CMS called “SAAS”. These are much less flexible because the technology used in these CMS does not allow you to have access to the code. You quickly find yourself limited in terms of development.
II – What are the different CMS available on the market?
1 – Shopify
Turnkey e-commerce solution, no download is required to use Shopify. This CMS, suitable for novices or small online shops, is acclaimed by more than 800,000 e-merchants (2019). The Canadian platform is a hit in the digital sphere: its revenues increased by 47% at the start of the 4th quarter.
Shopify uses SAAS technology: you cannot modulate your e-commerce site as you wish. The possibilities for customization are still relatively numerous.
In addition, the free templates offered by Shopify have a very basic design and are little used by e-merchants. You will understand, if you want to have more freedoms, you must abandon the free version and switch to the premium version which remains particularly expensive. Shopify also takes a certain percentage of your turnover: the more your store grows, the more the solution will be costly for you, even with the free version!
Compared to its competitors, Shopify does not offer as many templates in its catalog of its premium version. Even if it has a hundred models, the choice is not very diverse compared to other solutions available on the market.
To sum up, Shopify is a suitable choice for inexperienced users thanks to a well thought out and easy to use interface. The platform can also be suitable for e-merchants who only want to integrate very basic functionalities into their online store. For others, the lack of flexibility will quickly be felt and the costs will add up very quickly!
2- WooCommerce, the WordPress e-commerce module
WooCommerce is an e-commerce module available on the WordPress editorial CMS. It is important to note that this is not at the basis of a CMS dedicated to e-commerce: the performance of the module in comparison with other e-commerce solutions is lower, which can make it next to traditional or unprofessional. In addition, many modules offered in the catalog are not interesting or not very relevant for the development of your online store.
Like Shopify, WooCommerce can be suitable for people starting their e-commerce activity. However, it will be necessary to resort to the help of professionals for the implementation of certain more sophisticated functionalities which can prove to be complex if you do not have certain technical knowledge. For example, the configuration process can be tricky for inexperienced users. WooCommerce gives you some leeway. Being open-source, you have access to the code and have the possibility to modify it if you wish.
In summary, WooCommerce can be a powerful tool but can quickly turn into your worst nightmare if you don’t have some technical basics. In addition, we can note the multitude of hidden costs to have additional functions or modules that will be essential for the proper development of your store.
3 – PrestaShop
PrestaShop is a free open-source CMS (but also exists in the cloud). However, the more your store grows, the more you will obviously have to buy modules to be able to meet your new needs.
One of the most complete e-commerce solutions on the market, this CMS offers many features for an excellent quality / price ratio.
The first great strength of PrestaShop lies in personalization: the platform offers a large choice of templates in its catalog. Completely customizable, you also have the possibility of creating a 100% custom design. However, it is advisable to call on professionals for this process, such as YATEO, a platinum partner agency from PrestaShop.
Second advantage: the diversity of modules. More than 7,000 modules are available in the PrestaShop Addons catalog for an average, very affordable price, around € 70. In comparison, Magento only has 3,000 modules in its catalog and the prices are much higher: it takes you around $ 200 to acquire a module.
In addition, its particularly active community gives it great strength: more than a million people actively contribute to the development of the software.
The CMS is very regularly updated in order to offer an ever more efficient solution that responds to the problems encountered by e-merchants.
Popular with 270,000 online stores, it is a very intuitive and easy-to-use CMS that also has many features already native. PrestaShop is an excellent choice to launch its online store in a sustainable way.
Website creation – Personalized price estimation
Websites Are Us has developed a recommendation engine which allows you to obtain a free detailed price estimate as well as a selection of software and providers adapted to your website creation needs.
4 – Magento
Magento is, alongside PrestaShop, one of the most complete CMS on the market. The solution has two major major strengths:
- Its extensibility: Magento has the capacity to manage a rapid and strong increase in products, traffic, sales…
- Its flexibility: the CMS offers many possibilities for customization and modules that adapt perfectly to your wishes.
In addition, the CMS focuses all its efforts on its premium version at the expense of its free version, making large companies its preferred target.
5 – What about the other solutions?
The offer is large and it is impossible to list all the e-commerce solutions available. However, here are other examples of CMS that you may also find:
- Oxatis: e-commerce solution in SAAS, Oxatis found itself in compulsory liquidation before being bought out in extremis. You will soon find yourself limited in terms of customization!
- WiziShop: like Shopify or Oxatis, it is a CMS in SAAS. This solution may suit you at first, but if your store grows, it will not be suitable in the long term.
- Drupal e-commerce: Similar to WooCommerce, Drupal is not a basic e-commerce CMS. Its use is not very intuitive and the e-commerce management functions offered are not as efficient as those of its competitors. Getting started can be complicated without a solid knowledge of HTML and CSS. In addition, the management of modules is absolutely not optimized.
- Wix: CMS using SAAS technology, Wix currently allows you to create professional websites with an offer that may seem attractive at first. However, sites created with Wix are difficult to find on the internet because Google does not reference them. Using this CMS to create an e-commerce site is not highly recommended since certain essential functionalities (adding products to a basket, ordering, payment, etc.) are not correctly integrated. In addition, many templates are not responsive!
Your choice must above all be in line with your needs. You must orient yourself towards the solution which will allow you to have the best possible performances. Take the time to conduct your research to be as informed as possible: some offers may seem attractive at first glance, but in reality hide many failures!
You now have all the information you need to make the best possible choice to create your online store!