Shopify vs WooCommerce vs Opencart vs Magento – ultimate e-commerce platforms comparison
Selecting the most suitable e-commerce platform for creating, managing and maintaining an e-commerce website is critically important, as it can be the factor responsible for either the success or failure of your business.
In today’s post there is detailed overview of the most popular e-commerce platforms – Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce and Shopify.
Shopify provides a ready-to-use hosted solution with 14 days free trial for its users, which means that all security, payment, and hosting issues are taken care of. All you need to get your own online store is just register on the Shopify official website.
If you’re already a WordPress user and want to quickly add an e-commerce element to your existing business site, then the fastest and the easiest solution would be a free WooCommerce plug-in for WordPress. Its one-click installation procedure and user friendly interface makes it easy to introduce and use. However, you still need hosting, SSL certificates for payment gateways, etc.
OpenCart is a free and open-source platform which should be installed and hosted manually. Unless you’re a web developer, you may have trouble getting started with OpenCart, so you would need to hire someone to set up and install it as some must have plug-ins for the additional features.
Though Magento is a totally free comprehensive e-commerce platform and was designed for launching the best implemented online stores out of the box, it needs a bit more work to be done before launch. However once it is installed and ready to go, nearly anyone should be able to navigate daily tasks with relative ease.
Also it should be mentioned, that OpenCart, Magento and WooCommerce are totally free and have many out of the box features, but for your Shopify store with nearly the same number of features you should pay a minimum of $79 (or more) per month.
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Shopify also has a theme store where you can find well designed and responsive themes for your online store. But because it is the hosted and proprietary solution, you are not able to add some custom elements.
Though WooCommerce is a very popular e-commerce solution it is still just a WordPress plug-in, so it means that any usual WordPress theme will work fine with this plug-in. There are tons of different themes on the web; you can use some of them or hire a web designer to create your own custom design.
OpenCart extension store is full of both free and paid responsive themes too, so you may choose whatever you like. All of them are fully customizable, so you may create a custom design for your own e-commerce site.
Magento was designed especially for e-commerce site building, which is why nearly all themes in its extension store have user friendly and any device friendly responsive design (which is really important nowadays!). There are 1000+ free/paid and fully customizable themes for nearly any type of ecommerce site, any of which you can try just clicking “Install now” button – all of them are fully customizable.
Unfortunately there are too few free themes in the Shopify extension store, with premium themes starting at $80 (WooCommerce and OpenCart paid themes start from $39 and $10 respectively and Magento’s start at an almost unbelievable $1).
E-commerce platforms features
Shopify may be the most featured ready-to-use e-commerce platform. It has all of the basic features which any small business may need: product cards, order CRM, built-in analytics, payment gateway integrated, fraud analysis, blog, social networks integration, etc. However, you need to pay over $180 monthly (plus transactional fees) to get all these features.
WooCommerce has all of the basic e-commerce features (payment gateways, delivery settings, tax control, stock tracking, etc.) and is totally SEO friendly. It is fully extendable, not only with WooCommerce native plug-ins, but with WordPress extensions or custom solutions too.
OpenCart brings you the ability to have shopping cart facilities, upload infinite products, categorize them, etc. It should be mentioned that one of the main features of OpenCart is the ability of working with multiple languages and currencies, which makes this platform great for marketplace development.
OpenCart has a lot of plugins and extensions, which can provide you with nearly any functionality you want. It is free and open-source, so it easy to implement any desired custom feature.
Magento is the e-commerce platform which is designed for the fast growing and customer friendly business. It is absolutely SEO friendly (though you may extend it with some SEO plug-in) and has all web store functionalities that are fairly powerful to use (no words – just read its features list).
Magento is an open-source platform and extends plug-in architecture, so it can be easily modified and extended with any custom feature you need.
Though there are a lot of features in all of these platforms, most functionality comes with extensions. The most important thing to notice, then, is the extension quantity for every e-commerce platform. So here is plug-in number comparison in the most important categories:
1) Payment gateways extensions
- Magento – 906
- Opencart – 873
- WooCommerce – 11
- Shopify – 41 (for USA)
2) Marketing extensions
- Magento – 1817
- Opencart – no such category in its extension store (need to search exactly what you need in other categories)
- WooCommerce – 70
- Shopify – 287
- Magento – 422
- Opencart – 420
- WooCommerce – 41
- Shopify – 96
In this case, the absolutely leader is the Magento platform with the Opencart following close behind. It should also be mentioned that Magento’s extension store has the most comfortable and usable interface and categories, so it’s very easy to find what you want.
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All of these platforms are well known and widespread, so you can find a lot of tutorials and manuals for any questions just by searching the web or visiting official web sites. All of them have large communities which can help you with any issues you have.
Though all of them provide commercial support for the paid versions of these platforms, WooCommerce and Magento provide special free and paid educational courses, which can help you deeply understand these platforms and use all their features to the fullest.
Which of these e-commerce platforms is right for you? The answer to this question depends on your needs, because all of them are brilliant platforms and have their own purposes.
If you need a fast and easy deployment and/or idea validation or you are going to launch some small e-commerce business, then your choice is Shopify with all its built-in features.
If you already have your company’s WordPress website or you need the ability to integrate custom solutions in the future, and you require more scalability and more control over your site than Shopify can provide, but you also want basic e-commerce features out of the box, then WooCommerce is the great choice to make!
If you understand that a quality, fully feature-implemented e-commerce website makes the deal or you already have some successful business, then Magento – as the most featured and extendable platform – is your best shot, with OpenCart as alternative.
Before picking one of these e-commerce platforms, don’t forget to chalk out the requirements to your own online store and expectations of its future features.
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