As long as eCommerce has been around, there have been companies vying to create the easiest way to get your product or ideas to market - to those millions upon millions of shoppers all over the world - and more.
Within this race you will find several key names, although for the vast majority of eCommerce sites there are really only a handful of products that would be suitable at a reasonable cost - more on costs later.
Which Platform is Best?
Primarily, the initial stage of consideration comes down to whether you wish to host your own service and work on everything on a owned by client server (rented or not) or whether you want to opt for a hosted service. Each has their own benefits, some of which are below:
OWN SERVER (such as WooCommerce)
- You own the platform the site is operating on (with costs)
- Your site is your property and you are not at the mercy of paying monthly fees to a hosted service
- You can change easily, upgrade or migrate as you wish.
HOSTED (such as Shopify)
- System is kept robust and updated by the host service
- Tried and tested in live environments and generally glitch free, also less security breaches as site is regularly updated automatically removing potential zeroday exploits or other vulnerabilities
- Cost is generally simplified to a monthly fee that you can budget on
Our Reasons for Opting for Shopify
The above are just some top level advantages and far from being the end all to your solution. However, from our many years running our own eCommerce stores (many in various industries and concurrently) we have eventually settled on Shopify for the ultimate solution, and we started with our own server hosting solution with a WooCommerce store. Before we travel the road of why we ran with Shopify, ultimately, let us explain that WooCommerce would have to have been the ultimate introduction and had we not used WooCommerce, we may not have identified the fundamental components that had us eventually migrate all sites to Shopify. Below are a couple of reasons we use Shopify, and in no particular order of importance:
- Cost is known upfront - easy to budget for
- Shopify has SSL inbuilt and auto updates - we found a few times that updates conflicted in WooCommerce and we had to repair the site - never occurred with Shopify to date
- Many free Apps to integrate with our store in order to work effectively - WooCommerce is a little more geared to paid apps (Shopify can be too, but you need to research)
- Point Of Sale (POS) App on Shopify supported by Shopify with both App and Hardware options if you select the higher grade POS - from the outset you get access to a free POS (no hardware options and a few other restrictions) that works for most smaller operators wanting to do trade fairs or smaller retail presence - hooked in with PayPal here etc etc
- Great inbuilt SEO, naturally equipped.
- 24/7 chat support should you need it - and effective
There are many more reasons, although the above were the quenchers for us... and our list of clients that we work with daily to assist in fulfilling orders - with both hardware, logistics integration and more.
HTML = WooCommerce Native
For those of you familiar with HTML and other tweaks available through scripting etc, you will potentially feel more comfortable with WooCommerce as your coding skills will be helpful whilst developing/editing your store. As opposed to Shopify, you require very little if any coding skills to get your store fully operational.
Whilst the above is very top level ideas as to why we opted for Shopify, your best bet is to sample all and every platform. Hit up some people you know that already run their own, asking why they use what they do. Some of the most important information is to not limit your future growth or success by limiting your initial choice of website provider/platform to how much will it cost. We say this as costs are deceptive, like how long will it take to update? or to add products too? or to migrate or integrate with anything you wish to do so with? etc etc
My advice would be to trial both Shopify and WooCommerce on some level although if you do not have your own hosting service we would suggest you hit Shopify first and gauge its usefulness to you first. Click the banner above and you will get a few weeks trial set up for Shopify to investigate.
Dont worry, when you start allocate a store name and once you decide you can register a URL and point your own www.yourstore.com.au site to your Shopify store.. Quite simple really, and if you struggle Shopify support or your Host Service tech support can also assist you.
Check out the below short video to see how simple building within Shopify is: