E-commerce is basically the selling of goods and services over the internet. An e-commerce store usually encompasses an electronic store front displaying the goods and services you have to sell, a shopping cart for customers to add the products they want to purchase and finally a payment gateway to process payment once the customer is ready to make the purchase either by credit card, PayPal or some form of cryptocurrency like bitcoin.
While E-commerce giants like Amazon, Ebay have cornered major segments of the e-commerce market there is still room for small players that want a piece of the e-commerce pie. The question one should now ask is what platform is best for a small business owner who wants to get an e-commerce store.
There are a couple of options; hire a developer that will charge you an “arm and a leg” to build you an e-commerce store from the ground up or go with a ready-made e-commerce solution specifically tailored to the needs of an entry level to medium sized e-commerce practitioner.
There are solutions that come to mind, we have Shopify, wooCommerce, Bigcommerce, Open Cart, and Magento just to name a few. Of the aforementioned, Shopify and wooCommerce seem to be the options we would most likely recommend to our client because of their ubiquity, ease of use and the level of support each platform provides.
wooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for the omnipresent WordPress platform while Shopify is a standalone solution for merchants who simply more or less rent e-space on Shopify’s servers as they try to sell their wares. Now! Let’s look at each closely.
Shopify, as mentioned earlier, is a standalone solution that does not require to be plugged into any other platform to work.
It requires minimal effort to set up and has a tiered pricing model, so depending on the volume of sales you intend to put out, signing up for any one of the tiered options is what you need to.
Shopify also provides a lot of support for its customers’ which such things as SSL certificates which are a requirement if you want to send customer details across the internet. Other support features provided by signing up with Shopify include:
- Unlimited file storage
- Automatic fraud analysis
- Discount codes
- A Blog module
- A payment gateway
- Daily backups
And a fully functioning mobile app just to name a few. If you would like to see more of Shopify’s features please stop by their website at shopify.com.
wooCommerce, on the other hand, takes a more hands-on approach to e-commerce. For starters, wooCommerce is a plugin so you have a couple of hoops to jump through before you can get to setting up your e-commerce store. You will need to install WordPress from the ground up at wordpress.org which can be a tad cumbersome if you are new to doing things on the web, and then after it has been set up you would then need to install the wooCommerce plugin as an add-on. After setting up the e-store part of whole e-commerce solution, you would then need to find an SSL certificate and a suitable payment gateway to get your store up and running. For more about wooCommerce and it’s features please stop by wooCommerce.com.
So which is better?
As you might have guessed, it depends on the clients’ needs. However to further elaborate I will use the analogy of “buying vs renting a house” to make my point clearer. If you want a ready-made solution that involves little to no code or development work, then Shopify is for you. The downside to this is that you never really own your e-store as you need to make monthly payments to keep your store up and running and this will last for the duration of you having a store with Shopify.
On the other hand, wooCommerce is simply a plugin that does not require a monthly fee from its end users, but you would either have to hire a WordPress developer or be conversant with the “ins and outs’’ of the WordPress platform. Once you have your store on WordPress up and running you only have your server fees that host your WordPress account to pay for. So in other words, more ownership leverage can be swayed with a wooCommerce website.
Using wooCommerce or Shopify for your e-commerce needs have their advantages and disadvantages. No one solution is perfect but the solution you should go with when setting up your e-commerce store should depend entirely on your needs.
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