I always marvel at the various “top ecommerce platform” blog posts I see floating around, and I can’t help but feel that more often than not, said writer doesn’t really know what the hell they are talking about.
So it’s time the world is blessed with my list of the top ecommerce platforms as of July 22, 2016. I’m not going to go into the specific features of each platform, as you should visit their website and experience their pitch yourself…
Miva (formerly Miva Merchant)
Many are going to scratch their head wondering who and what “Miva” is. To put it simply, it is the best ecommerce available, period. End of story. Drop the mic. For those familiar with Miva and its almost 20 year history, this wasn’t always the case. I’ve been working with Miva for about 16 years now and it’s always been my go-to platform. Back in the old days it was easy to design around, it was affordable for any budget and it had everything you needed to run an online store.
The newest version, Miva 9, is by far one of the most advanced and scalable ecommerce platforms ever created. They have used the past 20 years wisely and the fruit of their labor is a glorious thing to behold.
The only caveat with Miva is the price. It used to be crazy-affordable with entry level sites running just $50 per month for hosting and the platform, but once the Miva higher-ups realized their platform really was superior to all others, the finally decided to charge for it. You can still get an entry level store for $79.95 per month, but their pricing model is based on your store’s revenue, so it goes from $79.95 per month to $249.95 for over $100k in revenue and up to $749.95 per month for over $500k. Once your revenue hits 7-figures it’s $1,495 per month. Very pricey once you get over $100k to be certain, but WAY, WAY worth it if you can afford it.
Some would dispute my second favorite platform, but the reality is that for many, if not most of our clients WooCommerce is perfect. It’s affordable, hosting packages with WooCommerce through us start at $15 per month and come with support for the platform to make sure everything is running properly. And even better, it’s an add-on to one of the most widely used and powerful website management platforms on the market, WordPress.
If a feature isn’t built in, there is most always a free plugin available. When in a pinch, developers, designers, cheap theme’s, free plugins, you name it, they’re available.
Visit The WooCommerce Website
I hate putting Magento here. Honestly, I hate Magento. Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually a very capable and scalable platform. That’s why it is by far the most widely used. But it’s a mess, it’s a pain in the butt, and it’s a resource whore. Yes, I just called Magento a whore.
It comes in at #3 for me, because due to its popularity, we are forced to use it where clients demand. I hate it, but we’re good with it. It’s benefits are many. Due to it being so widely used, it has an enormous development community, so there are both free and paid plugins available. And out-of-box it’s already a pretty complete solution so there aren’t a whole lot of things you need to add to it anyway. And like WooCommerce, there are tons of already pre-developed themes you can implement allowing almost anyone the ability to easily throw up a quality store.
The big downside is it’s a convoluted mess. You will find developers all over that dispute that and say people like me just don’t know what we’re doing. The reality is for our clients, Magento is just a terrible fit. To do Magento right takes enormous amounts of time. For platforms like Miva and WooCommerce, that isn’t the case. They are more equipped and optimized out-of-box and therefore cost a lot less to get to market.
I’m a guy that likes to push my clients into “hosted” solutions. Hosting your own platform without help is a bad idea. So platforms like Shopify and Miva are safe bets. Shopify is great because in terms of “ease of use” it takes the top spot. Even if you have very little knowledge of how to set up an online store, Shopify is easy enough that you’ll be able to get through it. Their support staff is also excellent at helping brick and mortar stores get online.
From a price standpoint, they are right in the middle. It’s cheaper than Miva to a degree, but it’s much pricier than WooCommerce.
So if you’re new to ecommerce, and have $29 per month in the budget for a quality platform, Shopify is for you.