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20/05/2020 Luke Hilton

Comparing online selling platforms

If you ever had any doubts, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak will have convinced you of the need to make your products available online. Now that you’ve made that decision, you need to consider which eCommerce platform is right for your business. There are several options, but the three major contenders are Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento.

Shopify is a simple and cheap way to give you the basic features you need to take your retail business online. You can integrate your in-person Point-of-Sale business with sales through your website, social media channels, and on online marketplaces. It comes with built-in marketing and product management tools to meet the needs of a new small business. Built on a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, it is cloud-based and centrally hosted, and carries the key advantages of accessibility, compatibility and operational management. It is fast, and its subscription model is affordable and reduces upfront costs.

BigCommerce aims to bring the capabilities of an enterprise solution without significant cost or complexity. Like Shopify it is also built on a SaaS platform, but has more tools to assist you to build, innovate and grow your online retail business. It has a level of flexibility and extensibility that just doesn’t occur with Shopify, though it does share its simplicity of set-up. Unlike the drag-and-drop Shopify, BigCommerce has several pre-built plug-ins to frontend CMS and DXP systems like WordPress, Bloomreach and Drupal.

Magento is the world’s leading eCommerce platform, handling over $100 billion in retail sales annually. It is the only platform that gives you the power to create unique and engaging shopping experiences. In addition to a broad array of out-of-the-box features, there is a vast marketplace of third-party extensions that are available for incorporation into your site – and all of these are customisable to an extent unrivalled on other platforms. Having started as an open source platform, it has been developed and honed over years by countless contributors, explaining its robustness and unparalleled capabilities. Magento sites can be hosted on-site, by third parties, or cloud-based – unlike its competitors. Only it can offer the highest levels of security.

Important features of Magento include:

– facilitating flawless brand interactions, giving customers a personalised experience delivering them smoothly along a path to purchase

– providing an omnichannel experience for customers that brings your goods and services to them wherever, whenever, and however that wish to shop

– allows for data driven commerce, with the efficiency, automation and access to data required to compete in the modern landscape

– being the most powerful platform, it enables businesses and their customers to engage with confidence, providing high performance, security and innovation

Put simply, these three platforms operate on a spectrum from low cost with limited functionality to high cost with unlimited functionality. 

Magento packs the heaviest punch, though it is the more expensive platform option and does represent an upfront cost to launch. At Playhouse we believe in Magento, possibly as a reflection of the calibre of clients we work with. Accordingly, we are a certified Magento Solutions Partner. 

Despite our love of Magento, we understand that the cost to launch is an important consideration for businesses, so we have developed a basic core option that can get your business online quickly and affordably, but still maintains the power of Magento and the option to upscale and take full advantage of its near-limitless scope.

With decades of experience and as a certified Magento partner, Playhouse can help your business maximise its online sales capabilities. Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any other other eCommerce questions you may have.