Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Which Shopping Cart eCommerce Platform Should You Use?

Although there are literally hundreds of different shopping platforms for online ecommerce, Shopify and BigCommerce are typically considered the two most popular Shopping Carts currently. When a business has a WordPress CMS (Content Management System) we would consider WooCommerce as the preferred solution for the Shopping Cart. This post will focus on the differences between Shopify and WooCommerce specifically.

For getting a store online fast and easy, Shopify delivers. It’s easy to use and you don’t have to worry about maintenance. However there are down sides to consider, as you don’t own the site and the cost of hosting and apps can get expensive over time. Although you can do a lot with Shopify you’re more limited than you are with WooCommerce which scales for more advanced functionality.

Which ecommerce shopping cart is better?

Which would be better for you depends on what you want from your site. Do you want a store only? Do you want to have a powerful blogging platform? Do you want to own your site and have more control? Do you want to not have to worry about site maintenance? It is beneficial having an informed conversation so that you are aware of the options and restrictions each solution offers.

If you want an online store that’s easy to deal with and you’re willing to pay whatever it costs, Shopify is a recommended choice. It’s simple to use, looks great, has excellent e-commerce features, and hosting and maintenance are taken care of. Support is easy to get if you need it and you can expand your store’s features and functions with a large selection of add-ons. The blogging platform has very basic functionality. You can blog there, but it really is weak at best. It can’t be expanded like a WordPress site can and if you decide you want to move it, you will have to copy and paste or use a plugin that requires lots of work setting up every single post. It’s a good choice for just a store, but it’s not a good choice for a website, or a blog that includes a store. For advanced SEO purposes, Shopify has its limitations. It can be pricey, but the cost is clear and up front.

If you want to choose your own hosting company, have full control over your website, and importantly own the site — and you don’t mind the extra work of running a WordPress site, then WooCommerce the ecommerce plugin on WordPress, is the clear choice. A WordPress site powered by WooCommerce will be cheaper and give you more control. The WooCommerce plugin is free and you can choose from literally thousands of themes, both free and premium, that integrate nicely with WooCommerce. It can be added seamlessly to your current WordPress site. Support for your site is not always that easy because it’s an integration of several systems. If you want blogging to be a big part of your site, then WordPress again is the clear winner. Even though the plugin is free, extensions can cost money and you still have the expense of building, running and maintaining a WordPress site, and the total cost is not so clear.

Considering Shopify

The Shopify dashboard is straightforward. There are ways to see information about existing orders, product inventory, and customers.

If you think you will need a lot of third-party extensions, check out competitor BigCommerce, instead. It has a higher price tag, but it comes with more features out of the box and we have a lot of clients who have been using this product successfully, so you may wind up saving money if you plan to use a lot of advanced features in the long run with your online store.

Shopify offers free, attractive, and modern-looking themes in eight different categories. If you want something more sophisticated, you can visit the Shopify Theme Store, which has more than 100 free and premium templates. Some premium templates are pretty expensive, so keep an eye on your total monthly bill, and of course it is more if you were to have a custom theme created.

Google Analytics

Both Shopify and WooCommerce integrates with Google Analytics.

When it comes to performing shopping cart SEO (Search Engine Optimisation); Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify are considered the best shopping cart platforms:

SEO product tags

Optimise your product pages for search engines with product specific meta tags, titles, and URL handles.

The nice part about Shopify is the ability to do POS (Point of Sale) terminal on the iPad, as well as Facebook Shop. You can extend the store with a range of third party apps.

Mobile commerce ready

Your online Shopify store includes a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart. Your customers can browse and buy from your store using any mobile phone or tablet.

Your own domain name

You can use your own domain name, or purchase one through Shopify.

eCommerce Facebook Stores

A particular benefit of Shopify, is their Facebook store which turns your Facebook for business page into an ecommerce platform. Easily display products, promote them on Facebook, and sell them to all your fans.

Note that WooCommerce on WordPress can be used via a Facebook Canvas page with custom design and development integrating your WooCommerce store into the Facebook Business page.

Social Media integration

All Shopify websites include social media integration, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Similarly this can be achieved with WordPress and WooCommerce.

Marketing your Shopify store on Google Adwords - Google Product Listings

Businesses can sync their Shopify Store with the Google Merchant Center, simply and easily using a direct, automatic API feed to keep their product listings up-to-date.

Shopify directs customers away from the existing domain to its own payment page ( to process actual payments, which may result in abandoned shopping carts if customers get confused about getting redirected to an unknown site and don't want to proceed.

Shopify by default uses its own payment gateway 'Shopify Payments', as well as PayPal Express Checkout. It can also integrate with 70 other payment gateways. Remember that PayPal also charges its own credit card-transaction fees. If you use Shopify Payments, Shopify waives the transaction fees.

SSL Secure shopping cart

All Shopify credit card and transaction information is protected by the same level of security used by banks: a 256-bit SSL certificate.

Shopify also supports Google Wallet, alternative payment systems such as Dwolla, BitPay, Coinbase, and GoCoin, as well as offline payments such as check, money order, and bank deposits.

You can also set up the store to just authorise payments and manually charge the card when ready.

Abandoned checkout recovery

Recover lost sales on Shopify by automatically sending an email to prospective customers with a link to their abandoned shopping carts, encouraging them to complete their purchase. WooCommerce has a variety of plugins that provide this same functionality on WordPress.

Offer free shipping

Improve your average order size by offering free shipping to your customers. You can choose the price point at which free shipping applies.

Gift cards

Your customers are able to purchase a gift card for someone from your store, or you can use gift cards as store credit.

Inventory management

Manage your entire inventory with Shopify. Track stock counts, and automatically stop selling products when inventory runs out.

There is also integration of Shopify into a site, but really they are stand-alone separate entities:

Accounting/CRM integration

Integration can be done via OneSaas for both Shopify and WooCommerce

In Summary

Shopify and WooCommerce are both great choices that serve different purposes and audiences. Shopify is easy to use and maintenance is taken care of, but it is more limited and gets expensive. WooCommerce is free and flexible, and integrates easily into your WordPress site, which you are completely responsible for. The best choice will depend on the needs of your business.

Please note that Vorian Agency does not provide custom development for Shopify, but will perform Shopify setup and configuration for client projects. Vorian Agency provides full ecommerce integration and custom development for WooCommerce solutions on WordPress.

Perth website design and development company Star 3 Media, part of Vorian Agency, an integrated marketing agency located in Perth, Western Australia. Provides a quick and cheap marketing solution for start-ups, home-based, as well as small to medium businesses, to enable them to get online fast with a new website at the fraction of the cost of traditional custom website packages.

Our cost-effective budget website plans, with a low-cost monthly price, enables your business to focus their marketing budget into the online marketing activities that actually drive the Return On Investment necessary to build your business, through creating brand awareness and targeted marketing with SEO, PPC, eMarketing and Social Marketing options.

Get online right now with Perth website design company Star3 Media - Phone 1300 100 333 or email  

2015 Shopping Cart Review References: