Picking an ecommerce platform is one of the most important steps you will take in your journey as an entrepreneur.
Sure, all ecommerce platforms have the same basic features. You can take payment online and send customer products. It can be hard to tell how seemingly minor differences in features and performance can have a major impact on your bottom line [see infographic] later – but they can.
The last thing I want for you is to load up all your products, customize your site and have it running super slow. Or find out you need to spend an additional $399 a month to sync your inventory to Amazon and dropship products. This is why you need to consider your business model, platform scalability and performance.
We decided to test the claims the top 20 ecommerce website builders make. They all say they’re faster, more reliable, better geared for SEO, etc. than the competition.
But what’s the reality?
How We Tested the Top 20 Ecommerce Platforms
If you want real data, you have to run a lot of tests and have a systematic method of reviewing platforms. We got sick of looking at articles that claimed solutions, argued they’d really analyzed platforms, and had actually done nothing – other than pumping their site full of affiliate links. (Disclaimer: No affiliate links on this site at all).
In addition to taking all the platforms on a trial run, we conducted a rigorous research process that you can read more about on our infographic page.
When comparing platforms, we focused on out-of-the-box features. So a paid solution like Shopify has a lot more features when comparing to a free one like Prestashop or WooCommerce.
You could use the money you save on a free platform to pay a developer to customize solutions to fit your needs, however, so carefully weigh your decisions. After all, as an entrepreneur, you need a feature-rich ecommerce platform you can easily launch and scale with. You don’t want to dump a lot of resources into it before you make a dime.
You probably know how important the words you choose are, but you need something that performs in the real world, not just marketing copy. We looked at a wide range of criteria and weighed each platform’s performance on a scale of 0-100:
- Think twice (0-59)
- You can make it work (60-75)
- Awesome (75+)
Here is a brief explanation about what the scores mean
- Overall scores are an average of performance, features, scalability and ease of use.
- Performance scores are based on (load time, Google speed, mobile friendliness and UX scores, SEO features and rankings).
- Features are based on must have and nice to have marketing features
- Scalability looks at the ability to sell across multiple channels (ex. Amazon integration) as your business grows
- The dollar signs are based on average pricing for all plans.
- $ = <$10
- $$ = $11 -$65
- $$$ = $66 – $110
- $$$$ = $111+
Scores for the 20 Most Popular Platforms
|Platform||Overall||Price||Performance||Features||Scalability||Ease Of Use|
|Yahoo! / AABACO||60||$$$$||86||61||25||90|
|ePages / 1&1||48||$$$||56||41||25||38|
We placed greater weight on features that are more important to startups. This entire post will go into each of our criteria in depth. Lets start with the biggest reason people leave ecommerce sites: load time.