What is ecommerce?
Electronic commerce (ecommerce) refers to the business model that allows individuals, companies and brands, to buy and sell goods as well as services through the internet. Ecommerce can be conducted over computers, tablets, smartphones, and other smart devices allowing transactions to be conducted via the internet. Every time a business or individual buys or sells a service/product they’re engaging in ecommerce. The term also includes internet banking, online ticketing, payment gateways, and online auctions.
The growth of ecommerce has also had an impact on the retail workforce, a recent report stated that in the UK online transactions now account for 19% of all retail sales. This figure is predicted to increase to 53% within the next 10 years.
There are many different platforms used for ecommerce such as WooCommerce, Shopify, and many more. From here, I will give you an overall summary of the 2 most popular platforms used today for ecommerce.
WooCommerce is a free open-source plugin for WordPress, which allows you to add the ecommerce feature to a website. In other words, it allows you to turn a standard website into a website with a shopping cart, by downloading the WordPress software and then adding the plugin.
WordPress powers over 40% of websites on the internet, and like WooCommerce it is a free project. This is beneficial to their consumers as it is easier to manage both ecommerce and WordPress on the same system which is user friendly – one of WooCommerces many benefits.
WooCommerce also allows you to get a backup platform if ever a third-party ecommerce platform is down, which could result in data associated with them being lost. Working with high security providers such as Sucuri.net, WooCommerce ensures a more secure online experience.
MAIN FEATURE BENEFITS
There are many features of WooCommerce which include:
- Built-in blog
- Different location customisation (language, measurement units & currency)
- Easy product categorization management
- Attributes and tags
- Ratings of product and reviews
- Products sorting and filtering
Shopify has a different approach when it comes to creating an eccomerce store. Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is not an open-source project that you can install on your web hosting. Shopify is a closed-source hosting tool which means that you do not have access to all the code that generates your store. Instead, Shopify handles setting everything up for you including hosting any software yourself. All you have to do is register for an account and start to add products.
One of the key features of Shopify is that because it is a closed-source, you do not need to install any software or maintain your store yourself – they take care of everything. Obviously this can be seen as an advantage or disadvantage depending on how much control you like to have over running your website and store. With Shopify, you lose the flexibility and affordability you do with WooCommerce, by only having access to the specific features that the Shopify team give to you.
which is the best ecommerce platform for you?
The best ecommerce platform really depends on how much involvement and responsibility you as a business want to have over your e-commerce site. For instance, if you wanted to be able to have access to your site at all times, being able to make tweaks and adjustments to your choice, then WooCommerce would be the best choice for you. However, if you wanted to use a platform that takes care of everything for you, whilst you focus closely on other parts of your business, then we would recommend Shopify.
When you use WooCommerce you will need to purchase web hosting (WordPress) first and then go through the setup process, including installing WooCommerce plugin and working through the handy setup wizard, which will configure your store. Once this is done you will be able to manage your store through a dashboard featuring stats overview and store management. Similarly, to create a Shopify store you will need to register for an account and then go through a simple process of a step-up wizard. You will also be brought to a dashboard where you can add your products.
WooCommerce is also a better option when it comes to payment methods, although both the platforms use lots of large and small payment gateways, WooCommerce does not charge an extra fee for using third-party payment gateways. If this is something that you would be looking for then WooCommerce would be a better option for you as opposed to Shopify.
If you are a business that would like to be very multilingual-friendly through your online store then WordPress and WooCommerce would be able to find several popular plugins to translate your store into unlimited languages. This would be good for businesses who ship products wide world, making it easier and accessible for everyone. If you are just looking to translate your site into a few languages then Shopify allows you to create your store in up to 5 languages which you can manually add.
As you can see WooCommerce allows you to have much more involvement in your site with much more available features. However, if you did want to go with a platform where you can take a more relaxed role, then using Shopify would definitely be the way to go.