When selecting an eCommerce solution for your small business it is important to take into account how complex it will be to set up, since even if you have hired a company to do it for you, this will impact your cost.  You should also consider how easy it is for a potential customer to find your website online, browse and make purchases.  While there are many solutions available, here are the four options we typically recommend for small business owners based on cost, complexity, performance and ease of maintenance:

  • WooCommerce – good for adding the simple capability to buy a few items from your WordPress website. The plus is that you won’t incur a monthly fee but it is definitely not intuitive to set up and doesn’t have all of the bells & whistles of eCommerce platforms built for that purpose.  You also won’t get the same level of reporting.
  • Infusionsoft – good for adding the capability to buy a few items from your website.  Monthly cost is comparable to the other eCommerce solutions below (when you take into account the difference between the base Infusionsoft version, which you’ll need to buy, and the incremental cost for the shopping cart version.  However, the benefit of this solution is the fancy extras of being part of a powerful marketing automation solution.  You can add it to your existing website and include up-sells, promotions, abandoned cart follow up, and more.

Which brings us to the two eCommerce solutions we recommend for a large number of products with complex shopping cart needs, BigCommerce and Shopify.  While there are other solutions out there, these are both relatively inexpensive to set up for the small business owner as opposed to more cumbersome solutions like Magento.  Both shopping cart platforms we use for development are highly reliable, user friendly, and perform well on search. Below is a comparison table to help you to choose:

FEATURE SHOPIFY BIGCOMMERCE
Basic Plan $29/month $29.95/month
Gift Cards

X

X
Customer Reviews X X
Real Time Carrier Shipping (FEDEX, UPS, USPS) X only on their $179/month plan X on $29.95/ month plan
Annual Sales Limit

None

$50,000 then upgrade plans
Transaction Fees

0% if you use their Stripe, otherwise 0.5%-2%. Stripe only in US, UK & Canada

2.9% + $0.30
per transaction for basic plan, down to 2.2% for higher level plans.
Prepayment Discount

10% for one year, 20% for two years

10% for one year
Templates (personally we don’t like the free templates from either provider although these are an option). Finding a theme you like will be one of your most important decisions since theme customizations (other than changing colors and wording) can be quite expensive.

130 themes, $100 to $180 one time.

60 themes $145 to $235 one time.
Support all major payment gateways (e.g. Worldpay, Quickbooks, Paypal, 2Checkout etc.). If you have a specific gateway you’d like to use we’ll verify for you.

X

X (offer preferential Paypal rates through Braintree & customers don’t need to leave your storefront)
Products & Categories

Can assign
manually or automatically via criteria

Can assign manually
Product Variants

Limited to 3 (e.g. size, color, fabric)

Unlimited variants
Built In Blog

X

X
Abandoned cart notifications (only on upgraded versions with $80/month fee)

1 follow up email

up to 3 follow up emails
Mobile Responsive Store

X

X
Can manage your store on a mobile device

X

Direct integration with alibaba.com to carry their products X
24 x 7 Support

X

X
POS integration for brick & mortar store

X

As you can see, both platforms stack up quite well against each other. For your small business, some key considerations might be:

  • How you want to handle your shipping calculation. You can apply a handling fee to real time rates as a “mark up” on both tools, but if you would like to incorporate a shipping rate calculation you will need to go with a more expensive Shopify plan to do so.
  • How you want customers to pay. If only via Paypal then either option will work but if you want to accept credit cards outside of Paypal from Latin America then you’ll pay extra transactions fees with Shopify.
  • Take a look at the templates offered by both vendors and see if you find one that you like. Colors & fonts can easily be customized but changing layout is more involved so will add cost.

(before purchasing an eCommerce solution, check with us for special partner discounts)