Starting an online store can be an exciting and profitable venture. More and more people are subscribing and buying goods and services online. There are many affordable marketplaces and e-commerce platforms available, so starting your online business has never been easier.
But, with so many options, how do you choose between WooCommerce and BigCommerce? Shopify and ShopWired? In this article, I’ve put together an overview of three of the top e-commerce platforms for 2022.
Top 3 E-commerce Platforms for 2022
Which e-commerce platform is best suited to your business will vary depending on your business model, needs, and budget.
The platforms I’ve included will cater to small startups through to larger stores looking to move online. They are:
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Shopify will take care of payment processing, the shopping cart, and currency conversion so you can sell globally if you wish.
Currently, Shopify is one of the most popular platforms; big-brand businesses use Shopify to sell, ship, and process payments.
Shopify allows businesses to start online from scratch, even if you don’t have a website already up and running. You will be able to purchase a domain name, hosting, create your brand logo and put together a website using one of the many themes available through Shopify. A limited number (seven at the time of writing) of website themes are available for free – the rest are paid, though there’s no limit on how many paid themes you may purchase.
Shopify will take care of payment processing, the shopping cart, and currency conversion so you can sell globally if you wish. Furthermore, they add some nice marketing perks including their marketing automation feature that helps you create email marketing campaigns, and provides you with actionable reports.
Shopify does not come subscription ready, so if you’re planning on using a subscription model, you’ll need to pair it with a suitable subscription management tool from the Shopify app store. Alternatively, Shopify’s API enables developers to create their own plug-in.
There are four pricing plans available on Shopify, not including ShopifyLite, or ShopifyPlus.
Shopify’s Basic plan currently costs $29/month. This plan gives you:
- An online store,
- Two staff accounts,
- Up to four inventory locations,
- 2.9% + 30¢ cost per online transaction, and
- Basic reports (analytics, finance, marketing reports).
The middle plan costs $79/month at time of writing and includes all the perks of the lower tier, plus:
- Five staff accounts,
- Up to five inventory locations,
- Standard reports (including inventory, and more marketing reports),
- 2.6% + 30¢ cost per online transaction.
Shopify Advanced is the highest tier that is offered as an out of the box solution. It currently costs $299/month, and comes with all the features of both the Basic, and Shopify tiers, plus:
- Fifteen staff accounts,
- Up to eight inventory locations,
- Advanced reports (complete and comprehensive analytics and reports), and
- 2.4% + 30¢ cost per online transaction (0.5% if using a different payment processor to Shopify Payments).
ShopifyPlus and ShopifyLite
ShopifyPlus is aimed at enterprise-sized businesses, while ShopifyLite is perfect for converting your existing website into a store.
At $9/month, ShopifyLite can cost less than your favorite streaming service, and give you all the basics, including use of the shopping cart and checkout system.
- Order management,
- Finance reports,
- Product management,
- Discounts, and
- Gift cards.
One of the benefits of Shopify is that they offer a free, 14-day trial, so you can make sure it suits your business needs before committing.
You can connect WooCommerce to Google Ads, Stripe, Mailchimp, and any other service you might like or need.
WooCommerce is an open-source platform that is technically free. It integrates with any WordPress site, making the website into an online store. In order to set up WooCommerce, you must own a domain name and have web hosting in place.
WooCommerce is easy to integrate with other tools in order to fully customize your online store to your heart’s content. You can connect WooCommerce to Google Ads, Stripe, Mailchimp, and any other service you might like or need.
With the WooCommerce mobile app for Android and iOS, you can manage your store on the go.
Many store themes are available for free, and WooCommerce offer their own pay per transaction system which can be paired with WooCommerce Subscriptions to create recurring revenue.
WooCommerce’s “build how you like” nature means that although it’s immensely customizable, it also takes a lot of time to build and experiment to get right, if you have no prior experience.
The plug-ins on the WooCommerce Marketplace are developed by third parties, and they don’t always work together nicely. It may take experimentation to get your store looking and working exactly how you like it.
Subbly’s specialty is the subscription model – with this in mind, it offers a fantastic subscription management system.
Subbly is a subscription e-commerce platform with an out of the box approach. They offer everything from online store, through to analytics.
You can use Subbly’s drag and drop website builder and templates to create your online store quickly, or link in with your existing site. Subbly allows you to upload your products and design a seamless, customized, and on-brand checkout. Subbly’s specialty is the subscription model – with this in mind, it offers a fantastic subscription management system.
Subbly does not have its own payment processor, so you’ll need to integrate Stripe, PayPal, or a different payment gateway.
Subbly offer four tiers, with prices starting from $14/month to $119/month. Here’s a closer look at what’s included in each plan.
Currently priced at $14/month, Subbly’s Lite plan includes:
- 1.25% transaction fee through PayPal/Braintree, or 1% through Stripe,
- An online store,
- Custom checkout domain costs $2/month,
- One staff account, and
- Unlimited products and subscribers.
The Basic plan costs $29/month at the moment. It includes all the benefits of Lite, plus:
- Custom website domain,
- Local pickup and delivery options,
- The use of gift vouchers,
- Two languages, and
- Churn analytics to help you retain customers.
At $59/month, Subbly includes all of the previously mentioned features, and:
- A custom checkout domain is free,
- Unlimited out of stock subscription emails,
- Unlimited shipping,
- Five languages,
- Cancellation offers, and
- Up to three accounts.
Advanced is the highest tier before Subbly’s custom enterprise solutions. At $119/month, you get everything included in the lower plans, plus:
- All transaction fees are 1%.
- Unlimited languages, for truly going global,
- Branded checkout – display your brand throughout the customer journey, and
- Up to five staff accounts.
Which platform is best for your business?
With both Shopify and Subbly offering 14-day free trials, it might be worth trying both, and seeing which works best for your business. Or perhaps you’d prefer WooCommerce’s open-source nature.
These are just three of the top e-commerce platforms out there in 2022. There are many other viable options depending on your business needs, including BigCommerce, ShopWired, and Wix. My advice is to always do plenty of research, and if a platform offers free trials, take advantage, play around, and see what works.
Thinking of selling software through an online store? Check out my article on the top 3 subscription management platforms for your SaaS business.