The Best Ecommerce Platform
You’ve decided you want to either migrate to or start up on an ecommerce platform, but with so many options out there, it’s hard to know which one to select.
Of course, you have to look at your businesses position, analyse the strengths and weaknesses as well as envisioning where you want your business to be in the future. While many will answer this questions of future position with a simple one: to make more money, but this analysis requires a deeper anaylsis, for example if your selling footwear, you need to answer: what footwear do you want to sell, what demographic do you want to sell too and how is your branding and website going to get you there?
You may have the coolest physical store, that breathes individuality, alternativity and independence, so people actually enjoy being in there, but does your website reflect this personality? A lot of the time, it doesn’t.
Back to ecommerce platforms, there are the two big players in the game and that’s Shopify and Magento. Up until recently, Magento dominated the ecommerce platform field, but Shopify is rapidly catching up with them. You want an ecommerce platform that is going to be able to grow with you and have the ability to evolve, so you don’t get left behind. Both platforms do this but in different ways.
Shopify: To be on the Shopify platform there is a monthly charge, this charge is dependent on what package you choose, so as your business evolves so does your platform. This charge incorporates various charges such as security, support, payment gateway (if you choose to use Shopify’s payment gateway Stripe) as well as your hosting. There is on hand support 24/7 so if you have any issues with your site then there are experts within the Shopify community to help you around the clock. By having this all taken care of, it gives you the ability to focus on what’s really important – converting customerrs through a sleek user journey and making your website work the way you need it too.
Magento: Magento is a free open source platform, but like with a lot of things in life, free doesn’t necessarily mean free. While it’s free to set up you still have to set up hosting somewhere else, many will argue that this is the best option as you have free control over where your site is hosted. Along with an added hosting charge, you will also have to put in place security measures and all of this ends up adding up. Furthermore, there is no official support offered by magento instead there is an established community of magento developers who offer insightful and detailed support to those having issues with the platform. While this information may be correct, the solution is not necessarily instantaneous which presents problems to Magento sites.
Both platforms offer themes and apps to add functionality and elements of customisability to your store, however, Magento is often seen as the one out of the two that has more capability to make your store unique. This is due to the fact that Magento is highly technical, meaning even if you had a basic knowledge of how things work in the back end of a site you would probably still be at a loss as to how customise your site. This brings up problems if you wanted to change something on your site as you would have to hire an experienced Magento developer, adding an unnecessary cost to yourself. Shopify has a massive range of themes, premium and free to customise yourself, while many suggest that all Shopify sites look the same this isn’t actually the case at all. With the help of an agency who are Shopify experts, your site will stand out from the crowd from other more basic themed Shopify stores. However, some functionalities will be the same across all sites such as the ease of the checkout process itself as a simple checkout will more likely lead to a better conversion funnel and therefore rate.
Both Magento and Shopify have a dashboard in the admin panel that gives you the most up to date analytics and statistics on your store, while Shopify won’t necessarily let you look at the store lifetime sales it still has an amazing number of stats that Magento doesn’t. For instance, Shopify will let you look at what users have inputted into the search bar of the site which has returned no product. While you may think this is pointless as a majority of it could be users misspelling products or trends, it is useful to monitor as it can influence your buying patterns. Another handy statistic given to you by Shopify is your conversion funnel rate, so you are able to see the percentage of potential consumers who are adding to cart compared to those who actually reach the checkout and complete a purchase. Conversion funnel rates are essential into understanding why your site may not be converting as well as you had hoped, if you have a massive drop off in the conversion funnel, then it means your checkout process needs scrutinising.