27 September 2018 | 6 Minute(s) to read
Shopify, OpenCart and WooCommerce are the biggest e-commerce platforms available on the market. Shopify powers over 600,000 businesses, WooCommerce claims to be the web’s “most popular e-commerce platform” with more than 50 million downloads and OpenCart has more than 300,000 live websites.
Shopify is a hosted shopping cart which means it is not a plugin or extension of a website, it is a website itself! Shopify makes launching and managing an online store smooth and effortless. It is known as one of the most dynamically developed e-commerce solutions around.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress e-commerce plugin, ideal for online retailers who are willing to build their online store on the basis of their current WordPress blog or website.
OpenCart is a free open source e-commerce platform based on PHP. Opencart is known for the extensive number of extensions available. It lacks basic tools that are integrated by default in Shopify (payments, reports, SEO tools, discounts and promotions).
Here at Smokeylemon, Shopify is the one we recommend to our clients and we have our reasons:
The biggest enemy: updates
According to our clients’ testimonials, the most annoying thing about OpenCart, WooCommerce and WordPress in general, is the fact that these platforms update frequently. Sometimes your WordPress is up to date but WooCommerce doesn't meet with updates, which generates problems for the front end and back end user.
Likewise, OpenCart offers lots of extensions for you to choose from, but once you have installed them, you need to keep them up-to-date or they will break and cause errors. OpenCart is constantly updating the e-commerce framework with small improvements and this requires the developers of each extension to update their extensions as well. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
Remember every little issue that the user experiences will mean risking your credibility and therefore losing sales.
With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about updates or any technical aspects as they are taken care of. You can concentrate on managing your business!
For websites (particularly e-commerce stores) design is almost everything. Customers simply don't trust a site that doesn't have the right aesthetic or doesn't function as well as it should.
Shopify has (in our view) the most clean, modern and user friendly designs. It comes with more than 54 different store templates, of which 10 are free. Each theme has unique variations so you can customise your site and make it unique. All of them are mobile responsive and have a variety of different colouring options.
The best of all is that Shopify themes are easy to change. You can quickly adjust colours and styles, and if you need, our developers can utilise the platform's specialised code language to make more substantial changes and really make your brand stand out.
Extensions vs no complications
Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce platform. Everything you need to sell online is ready to go, from SEO features to payment and reporting tools. However, if you want to enhance the site, there are many secure extensions to choose from.
WooCommerce and OpenCart lack basic tools that are integrated by default in Shopify. To enjoy these features, you need to add plugins/extensions, there are thousands of extensions available both paid and free. The more extensions you add, the more updates you will have to take care of.
In other words, if you don’t want to worry about the technical running of your store, Shopify is right for you. And it’s the same answer if you want e-commerce tools that are ready to use straight away and in a very intuitive platform.
To use WooCommerce you need an account with WordPress. So if you already have a site with WordPress, WooCommerce is worth a try. However, in this blog we explain why we don’t recommend WordPress as a CMS.
Shopify pricing is very clear and straightforward with a few pricing packages:
The software, hosting and subdomain are included in the basic $29/month plan, and it also includes the SSL certificate which makes your website secure. Great Shopify advantage - regardless of what plan you choose you will be able to the sell unlimited amount of products and enjoy advanced e-commerce functionality - Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter Buy Button, for example.
WooCommerce and Opencart aren’t that clear. They are both free opensource solutions. Yes, they are actually free, but then you have to consider the additional costs that go along with making an online store. You have to consider things like hosting, the cost of a theme, a domain name, any additional extensions and an SSL certificate.
Shopify provides 24/7 support over the phone, LiveChat and email. You’re never left on your own and whatever your problem someone will be available to help. WooCommerce takes a much more hands-off approach to support. The focus is on DIY help sections. These include WordPress-related forums and the WooCommerce community. You have your own WooCommerce account, but support is suitable for people who don’t need trained advisers. If you’re aware of technical aspects of website building, this will suit you just fine. The same happens with OpenCart, the support system is based on Q&A Forums.
When you’re trying to sell products, the longer a problem exists the more sales you risk losing. Plus, time spent trying to solve issues is time you could be spending marketing your store.
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important factors on every website. Having the possibility to manage all the SEO elements easily on the platform is the key to have your e-commerce fully optimised and have more changes to reach the high positions in Google.
Shopify has built-in SEO features to help you optimise your content. Some SEO is taken care of automatically: auto-generated canonical tags are added to pages to prevent duplicate content from appearing in search results, and themes automatically generate title tags that include your store name. You can edit the title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for blog posts, webpages, products, and collections manually, and you can edit the alt text for images.
In conclusion, Shopify has proven to be the best e-commerce platform in terms of usability, security, SEO and design. We can build your Shopify site or migrate your existing one easily. Contact us for a free quote!
Check out some of the Shopify e-commerce websites we created for our clients: