There’s no better time to start an online store. Last year, there was over 800 billion dollars in ecommerce sales! And ecommerce sales are not only continuing to rise, there’s still so much room for it to grow! If you also believe that ecommerce is the future, then this is the perfect time to build an online store. Today, we’re taking the 7 best ecommerce platforms in 2022 and comparing their pros and the cons. Hopefully, by the end of this article you’ll know exactly which one to use to build your online store!
Let’s start with Shopify, and while they’re not actually the overall most popular platform (we’ll be talking about WooCommerce later!), Shopify seems to be the most popular platform amongst successful ecommerce entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of great reasons why so many people like you and me are using Shopify. For one, it’s built from the ground up with e-commerce in mind. Unlike some of the other platforms we’ll touch on, right from the start Shopify was all about selling things online.
They also have a ton of apps, plug-ins and integrations, so it makes it really easy if you want to connect to other services. Or if there’s something that Shopify doesn’t have, out of the box, you can add an app or integration and pretty much get your store to do just about anything you want. Not to forget, they also have really beautiful templates and it’s really quick and easy to set up!
Now there are some pretty big cons with Shopify as well, the biggest one being at US$29.99 a month, it’s a little pricey. This price is actually pretty standard for professional e-commerce platforms, but there are cheaper options that we’ll talk about later. We should mention that Shopify does have a 14-day free trial, so feel free to try it out and see how you like it!
Next up is Squarespace, and Squarespace is great if you want to build a beautiful website, but it’s not the best for creating an online store. If you are a band or a podcast and an online store is not the main feature of your site, then Squarespace might be a great option for you. But from the ground up, Squarespace was built to create beautiful websites, but not so much for their e-commerce functionality.
BigCartel is another platform a lot of people are talking about, and the big pro with BigCartel is that it’s free for the first five products that you add. Big Cartel is made for artists and makers, so it’s a good option if you’re selling art pieces. But if you’re looking to sell your own product and you’re really looking to grow an ecommerce store, we just don’t think they have enough features. We will say it’s pretty easy to create a simple small store. And since your first five products are free you can always test this one out! But due to the lack of integrations, apps and features, we don’t think Big Cartel is the best option out here.
WooCommerce is one of those platforms that gets talked about a lot, and we do think it’s actually a really good platform. Now the first pro for WooCommerce is that it’s free!… Kind of. WooCommerce is actually a free plug-in to WordPress. Hosting a WordPress site does cost some money, but it’s relatively inexpensive. There are a lot of plug-ins and it is relatively user-friendly and easy to set up a WooCommerce website. But if you really want your website to look good and perform a bunch of functions then you’re probably still going to need to hire a designer or a developer to do some more of the technical stuff.
Another issue with WooCommerce is that it’s very piecemeal. Meaning if you want added functionality, you’re going to have to pay for it. All the different apps and add-ons cost money, so even though WooCommerce itself is free, the costs do add up very quickly. Another con with WooCommerce is there can be security issues, and there seems to be way more of them with WooCommerce sites than Shopify sites. This is because all the different apps and integrations are a lot more vulnerable on a WordPress site, but overall WooCommerce is a great platform.
5. Amazon, eBay and Etsy
Now the pros with all these platforms is they already have a lot of customers. One of the toughest things about building your own website is getting customers to your website. But the benefit of Amazon, eBay and Etsy is they already have people going to their website everyday. And so if you list your product on any of these platforms, you’re more likely to get sales because people are already there looking for your products.
But the cons for these platforms are that they do usually have high fees to sell. On Amazon, they take 15 and even a little bit more if you use their fba program (which we’ll explain in just a minute!) For eBay and Etsy, the fees vary but it’s still a decent chunk of your profit. These platforms can also kick you off at any time, and that’s the downside of selling with them. It’s not your website, it’s not your platform, you’re playing in someone else’s sandbox and if they want to they can kick you out.
Out of these three platforms, it should come as no surprise that Amazon is by far the most powerful. Amazon made up 50% of all ecommerce sales last year and they have millions upon millions of customers. And here’s the crazy thing – out of every sale that happens on Amazon, two-thirds of them are made by third-party sellers. Also, Amazon FBA is one of the best ways to build a legitimate passive income business. The thing with Amazon FBA is you send any products you’re trying to sell into the Amazon warehouse, and when you get a sale they pack it and ship it out for you! Meaning you could be traveling the world or doing whatever you want – you don’t have to be doing the shipping yourself!
So which should you choose?
Amazon is a great place to start and you can leverage all the opportunity that’s there. But if you’re serious about ecommerce then you’re still going to want to build your own website. If we had to narrow it down to just two, it would be either Shopify or Woocommerce. They both have their own pros and cons and which one you use really depends about how serious you are. If you’re looking to do over $10,000 a month in sales go with Shopify. They’re way more professional, it’s easier to set up and they have more apps and integrations. On the other hand, WooCommerce is great if money is tight. Or maybe you just want to test it out and you’re not sure how serious you’re going to be? You can always upgrade to Shopify along the way!