A Guide to the Most Popular eCommerce Platforms

Here at Emote, eCommerce is our speciality (just take a look at some of our work). So it’s little wonder we get so many queries about the very best eCommerce platforms for value, performance and features.

We’ve built our fair share of eCommerce websites, and through this we’ve learned that there’s no one superior platform. Each one has its own merits and suitability for different brands and projects, which is why it’s so important to look at each one in the context of the client.

Ready to learn more about which eCommerce platform might be best suited for you? Check out our breakdown and see how they compare.

Ecommerce Website Mockup on Various Devices


As a gold-certified WooCommerce agency, we’re quite familiar with WooCommerce and have built plenty of websites on it.

It’s one of the most used eCommerce platforms available, and for good reason. It’s super flexible, offers lots of existing integrations, and allows you to keep your build light while only adding the parts you need.

The WordPress CMS also makes it great for brands with a dedicated content offering (such as blogs and videos) who are after a website that’s more than just a store.

  • Built on WordPress
  • Modular system
  • Customisable checkout
  • Works with WordPress plugins
  • More than 400 official extensions
  • Fully customisable
  • Embed shortcuts on homepage
  • Easy to categorise and organise products for searchability
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Sort and filter products
  • Unlimited product inventory
  • Can sell physical or digital products
  • Affiliate links
  • Built-in payment processing
  • Different shipping options (e.g. pick up, free shipping)
  • Tax options based on customer location
  • Customer accounts
  • Built-in refund manager
  • Inventory and order manager
  • Email templates
  • Discount codes
  • Staff accounts
  • Product suggestion tool
  • Sales reporting
  • Store dashboard

WooCommerce is technically free to use, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any costs involved. You choose what you want to spend and how you want to spend it, allowing you to customise your store according to your needs and budget.

Additional costs can include:

  • Hosting and domain registration
  • Maintenance
  • Tools and integrations

Ecommerce Platforms Chart


Shopify is also one of the most used eCommerce platforms and, like WooCommerce, offers plenty of existing integrations. It might not be the best option for complex websites, but there are plenty of reasons why it’s so popular.

The specific features depend on which plan you choose— either Shopify or Shopify Plus.

Shopify allows you to create a straightforward website with simple products. It’s quicker to set up and PCI-compliant, meaning it offers bank-level security.

Shopify Plus has quite a few more features and, as a result, more flexibility but it will cost a minimum of $2,000 per month and Shopify Plus also takes a percentage of sales on some payment gateways.

  • Unlimited products
  • Unlimited bandwidth and online storage
  • Shopify point of sale (app & card reader for physical store)
  • Online sales channels (online store, Facebook Shop & Pinterest)
  • Built-in fraud analysis
  • Manual order creation
  • Discount codes
  • Staff accounts
  • Overview dashboard
  • Finance reports
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Built-in theme editor
  • SSL certificate
  • Traffic/custom behaviour & marketing reports
  • Custom domain name
  • Customisable web builder
  • Pay with different currencies, including Bitcoin
  • Tax options based on customer location
  • Tiered shipping rates
  • Multiple languages at checkout
  • Email templates
  • Refund manager
  • Discount codes
  • Product reviews
  • Social media integration
  • Physical or digital products
  • Reports
  • Dashboard
  • Mobile app

Shopify has a few different pricing tiers:

  • Shopify Lite $9 USD per month
  • Basic Shopify $29 USD per month
  • Shopify $79 USD per month
  • Advanced Shopify $29 USD per month
  • Shopify Plus $2000+ USD per month (or 0.25% of your monthly revenue if you make $800,000+ per month)

The features listed above will vary depending on which tier you choose.

Customized Ecommerce Platforms


Want more features than Shopify but not sure you need WooCommerce? BigCommerce might be the perfect in-between solution for your business.

BigCommerce claims to be much more customisable than Shopify. It’s a hosted solution, which means it updates itself. It’s also an Australian brand, so if supporting Aussie businesses is important to you then this could be a great choice.

  • Customisable themes
  • WordPress integration
  • Customisable checkout
  • 70+ discount and promotion options
  • Compatibility with dozens of digital wallets and 250+ currencies
  • Custom search fields
  • Native POS for physical stores
  • Bulk pricing
  • APIs
  • Automated sales taxes
  • Refunds and returns platform
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Wide range of shipping options
  • SSO
  • Hundreds of apps to expand functionality
  • 24/7 technical support

BigCommerce’s pricing tiers include:

  • Standard $29.95 per month
  • Plus $79.95 per month
  • Pro $249.95+ per month
  • Enterprise $400+ per month (based on monthly sales)

These prices can also increase based on sales.

Ecommerce Usage Distribution


Magento is one of the more powerful eCommerce platforms. It offers advanced functionalities and a powerful back-end.

Magento’s capabilities and power come at the cost of a limited blog functionality, a less customisable checkout, and higher hosting and licence fees.  It’s more suited to large brands who are happy to have a team of developers manage their website build and ongoing maintenance as the back-end requires much more tech know-how.

  • Customisable page builder
  • Inventory & order manager
  • Reporting
  • Customisable shipping rules and options
  • Google Shopping Ads tool
  • Amazon Sales Channel
  • B2B functionality
  • Thousands of extensions

Magento is open source, so technically it’s free. But there are many additional costs that are also essential. You can expect to pay a minimum of $15,000 per month for a Magento store.

Additional costs can include:

  • Initial development
  • Themes
  • Extensions
  • Licensing fees
  • Ongoing maintenance

Squarespace Platform Ecommerce Stores


Squarespace is a low-cost platform that offers barebones eCommerce stores. It’s similar to Etsy, but allows you to tweak your store appearance to look a little more unique to your brand.

While a Squarespace store may look a lot more professional than an Etsy store, it isn’t very customisable. You’ll have access to some fundamental features, but you’ll still be restricted to Squarespace’s limited options and templates.

  • Booking calendars
  • Digital & physical products, services
  • Sync inventory/stock levels instore and online
  • Discount codes & gift cards
  • App
  • Customisable templates
  • Unlimited products
  • Shipping calculator
  • Abandoned cart

Squarespace has three pricing tiers for eCommerce stores:

  • Business $35 per month
  • Basic Commerce $40 per month
  • Advanced Commerce $62 per month

There is also a discount for yearly services.

Which eCommerce Platform Is Right for You?

Still unsure about which platform is best for your project? Emote can not only advise you of the best option for your brand, but build custom integrations to enhance and streamline your eCommerce presence.

Ready to get started? Reach out to the digital experts at Emote to talk about your needs today.

Up next: The Importance of Ongoing Maintenance for Your Website

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