It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options out there when you want to start selling online from your own website. In this article, I’ll go over 3 of the best E-Commerce platforms you can use in 2021. The best part about this review? I’ve personally tried them all.
These are my Top 3 Picks:
- Shopify — Best All-Around E-Commerce Platform
- WooCommerce — Best For Existing WordPress Sites
- OpenCart — Best Free E-Commerce Platform
#1) Shopify — Best All-Around E-Commerce Platform
Shopify is a very robust all-in-one Ecommerce platform that you can quickly set up and start selling online. Right out of the box, Shopify has all the tools you need to successfully launch an ecommerce store. It also has a great user interface making it very easy to pick up.
Shopify also allows you to get a good picture of how some of your marketing efforts are paying off. How many sessions did it take for a customer to convert? Where did that customer come from? You can quickly look at these metrics and many more right from the Order page.
Shopify is not free, and it is the only platform on this list that you have to pay for ongoing use. It has 3 pricing tiers at $29/m, $79/m, and $299/m + a small free per transaction. For small stores just starting out, you can’t go wrong with the $29/m package. However, if multiple people need access to it, consider the $79/m plan.
Prior to using Shopify, I’ve used many E-Commerce platforms including WooCommerce, Magento, and OpenCart. So far, I’ve had the best experience with Shopify and it would be my go to option for larger stores.
Some things I do not like about Shopify is the monthly fee, as well as the programming language used for it’s themes, Liquid. PHP is usually the most preferred choice for many developers.
#2) WooCommerce — Best For Existing WordPress Sites
WooCommerce may be your best option If you already have a website built on WordPress and you want to continue using the same platform to start selling online. With WooCommerce, you can very easily integrate it into your existing WordPress website as it is compatible with many popular themes.
Note that if you have a custom made theme, then it could be a little more tricky to implement and you might need some help. You may also consider using a theme that’s already compatible with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is free but many plugins require an ongoing subscription fee which can be a problem for some. For example, if you want to charge your customers a monthly subscription fee for a product or service, you’ll need to pay $199 per year for the use of a subscription plugin. This is roughly $16 per month just for this ONE plugin, which is already half of the basic Shopify package (which does include this feature out of the box).
I’ve not had the chance to extensively use WooCommerce as much as I’ve used the other platforms included in this list but it is easily the best one to use if you want to run your WordPress website or blog alongside your store and manage everything from within the same platform.
If you are considering WooCommerce because you have an existing WordPress website, be sure to look at the list of features it includes as opposed to what you’ll be needing to ensure you do not have to buy too many add-ons or it will quickly turn into a paid platform.
#3) OpenCart — Best Free E-Commerce Platform
OpenCart is a great option if you are looking for a solid standalone ecommerce platform with no ongoing costs. It stands somewhere between Shopify and WooCommerce in that it comes packed with many great features out of the box, has a great user interface, and does not require a subscription fee for ongoing use.
Another great feature of OpenCart is OCMod, which essentially allows you to make changes to the code without really needing to change it directly. However, you might want to consider watching a tutorial on how to use this feature.
The best thing about OpenCart is that it is free and many popular web hosting services include a one click installation service allowing you to easily try it out before you commit to using it. The platform also has an extensive library of free plugins and themes.
OpenCart was the first Ecommerce platform I used and I was pleasantly surprised with it. Since I used it, the platform has grown significantly and added many great features.
OpenCart is an option I would recommend if you do not have an existing WordPress website (or want a separate store front) and want a free option from a platform that has most of the features you will need out of the box.
What I do not like about OpenCart is that there is much more limited support compared to the other 2 platforms on this list. There are also far less active and maintained plugins available. Outside that, it is better than many other ecommerce platforms out there.
These are all great choices to consider and I would recommend any of them to someone who wishes to open an online store. It would really come down to your particular situation. Do you have a WordPress site and want to sell from it? Then WooCommerce would be great for you. Do you want a free option that does not need WordPress to work? OpenCart can be a great option. Do you want the best out there and don’t mind paying an ongoing fee for it? Shopify is your best bet.
In terms of SEO, I would say they are all pretty good choices if you take your time to optimize your On-Page SEO, internal links, and avoid the use of extensions you don’t need.