Allowing businesses to set up an online store with little to no technical knowledge has been a game-changer, but with so many options out there, it’s not always easy to know which e-commerce platform is best for your business needs and requirements.
At MVP Factory we work together with businesses in the e-commerce space and understand the specific challenges facing companies and brands looking to establish an online store.
When deciding which e-commerce platform to use, it’s vital to define your needs. Each platform has its individual benefits—and limitations. Finding the best fit for your online store depends on a variety of factors.
How is your team set up? Do you have experts in-house, or are you relying on freelancers? It's important to consider whether you’ll always have technical help at hand to manage and maintain the store, and how much maintenance you’ll require.
Also, think about how scalable it needs to be. How big is your shop? Will you need to implement other services? Knowing your longer term plans will help you to choose a solution that can scale with your business. Failing to plan for this in advance can leave you with a store solution that isn’t fit for growth, wasting both time and money.
But before we get to this stage, what solutions are out there? And should Shopify be your go-to choice? We’ve rounded up some of the key players in the market to help you better understand their offer.
Shopify is one of the most popular choices for anyone setting up an online store. It starts simple, but it stays that way too—so while it can be a great choice if you’re just starting out, it does come with some limitations.
Shopify is used by every imaginable size of shop: from individuals selling homemade products, to D2C brands like Gymshark and Allbirds, and large corporations such as Whole Foods.
Shopify’s speed of implementation, low price, and ability to offer almost everything for a small store within its ecosystem makes it a great choice for creating a quick MVP, and it’s often our go-to for exactly this purpose.
With plans ranging from Lite up to Plus, there are options to suit all businesses, offering the ability to scale. But once you want to venture outside of Shopify’s set structures and start customizing, you’ll discover its limitations pretty quickly.
Magento: the big open source alternative to Shopify, and a huge part of the e-commerce landscape. While Magento might be a big name in e-commerce, from our perspective, this one comes with a disclaimer: don’t—unless you really know what you’re doing. Large corporations including Ford and Coca-Cola use Magento, underlining its big name in the industry.
As you can see, Magento does come with some big pro points—it’s a huge player for a reason. But it’s not a platform that we at MVP Factory generally recommend. It’s flexible and you can do anything with it, sure, but it’s hard to implement correctly, hard to manage, and hard to scale, none of which make it an ideal choice for a quick MVP, or for a scalable business.
For projects and clients that require something outside of the basic structures offered by Shopify, this is an option we love. Besides a wide range of other services, Crystallize offers a headless e-commerce service and is typically used by larger companies and enterprises.
Thanks to its headless architecture— a decoupling between the front-end and the back-end of an e-commerce application—Crystallize allows brands to optimize their front end customer experience. The larger your organization becomes, the more likely it is to benefit from the advantages of headless commerce.
WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress, allowing page operators to easily turn their existing WordPress website into an e-commerce shop. Be aware, however, that good knowledge of WordPress is required, and the vast amount of different features available may be overwhelming if you’re new to e-commerce. If you do already have a WordPress page up and running, WooCommerce may well be the ideal solution for you.
While these are 3 solid options for various business cases, there are other platforms and solutions out there, including Big Commerce, Spryker, and Commerce JS. Each offers its own pros and cons, be it pricing, flexibility, or specific technical capabilities.
With so many options, it’s not always easy to know which service offers the best solution, but at MVP Factory we can help you to define exactly what you need and choose the solution that makes the most sense for your business.
Regardless of whether you’re coming to us with a technical solution in mind, or already implemented, we’re platform agnostic and can deliver on any platform. But we also don’t hesitate to challenge our clients to ensure that choices make sense for each individual business case.
Our freelance platform MVP Match means we’re never limited in our options and always have specialists on hand for whichever technical solution offers the best fit. Having access to top tier tech freelancers allows us to first identify the best solutions and then find the developers with the expertise to match.
Whether you’ve already got a business concept you’d like to discuss with us, or need advice on where to start, we offer help and support every step of the way. Get in touch!