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Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce – Which Is The Best Platform For My Online Retail Business?

By Maria Hickey on October 11th, 2022

When setting up your first online retail business, knowing which eCommerce platform to use can be confusing. There are many more eCommerce providers these days that are worth considering than in previous years, so you need to carefully consider which features are most appealing and ideal for your online business.

Budget is also another careful consideration. Knowing how much you can afford to spend on setting up and managing your eCommerce site will also be critical in making the right choice. However, don’t forget that no matter which eCommerce platform you choose, you will need to protect yourself and your business with online retailer insurance. You need to factor this expense into your budget too.

While business insurance may not be the first thought on your mind, it will protect your business from the many risks that come with this industry. Online retailers share many of the same risks as physical retail shop owners, so protecting yourself from professional mistakes, a stock that gets stolen or lost in a fire or flood, customer injuries and compensation claims is essential if you want your business to survive and thrive.

What Is An eCommerce Platform?

Ecommerce platforms are online shopping platforms that enable online retail business owners to sell products or services online. Ecommerce software provides an attractive and easy-to-use customer-facing front end and all the back-end functions you need to manage your online shop.

These digital commerce platforms deliver everything you need to run an online business, such as accounting, order processing, inventory management, and customer services. The alternative would be to build your online shop by piecing together software solutions that may not be compatible and wouldn’t function efficiently.

Using an eCommerce platform that integrates all your needed business and commerce functionality into one software-as-a-service (SaaS) model is much easier and more straightforward.

Why Do I Need An eCommerce Platform For My Online Store?

Using an eCommerce platform is a viable way to enable you to sell your products or services directly to your customers via your own online store. These platforms all you to gain complete control and visibility across your business on a cloud-based platform.

You can deliver innovative customer experiences, style and customise your brand to differentiate yourself from your main competition through one comprehensive, integrated solution. Your eCommerce platform will provide you with:

  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Content management
  • Customer support
  • Marketing
  • Order and inventory management
  • Pricing and promotions
  • Procurement

The eCommerce platforms of today provide a unified business environment that is easily scalable, so your online store can grow and expand with you as your business becomes more successful.

We look at the best eCommerce platforms in the UK that are the most popular, high-performance options in a little more detail to help you decide which is the right choice for your online retail business.

Shopify:

  • What Is Shopify?
    Shopify is one of the best UK eCommerce sites and offers powerful selling tools. It is ideal for online retailers planning to deliver large or complex inventories, who plan to grow and scale their business rapidly to become a significant player in their chosen niche.
  • How Much Is Shopify?
    For new eCommerce business owners, you can start with the basic package at £19 per month (current price at the time of writing). However, if you plan to rapidly grow and expand your online store, the Shopify package is a better option and comes in at £49 per month. The Advanced package is a better choice for a scaling business that relies on advanced reporting to analyse and plan targeted marketing approaches and control inventory. The Advanced package costs £259 per month.
  • What Are The Pros Of Shopify?
    Ease of use is probably the number one pro of using Shopify. The platform is easy to use, enabling you to create and launch a stylish, personalised eCommerce store within days. Shopify has simple click-and-build features that make it easy for novice store builders. The back-office features are easy to navigate, and you get plenty of advice and help from the support team if you get stuck. Shopify design themes are high quality, stylish, responsive, and mobile-friendly. Shopify has multiple built-in tools capabilities, free and paid themes and plugins. It comes with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for speed enhancement, enabling eCommerce sites to deliver content fast to mobile shoppers.
  • What Are The Cons Of Shopify?
    Firstly pricing. The monthly subscription fees can impact your bottom line. The basic plan doesn’t offer professional reports, which can be essential for a growing business that wants to use analytical data to formulate its marketing plans and monitor trends. Shopify customisation uses the Shopify Liquid setup, which could be too technical for non-experienced developers. While Shopify enables you to run a blog, create social media integrations etc., the built-in blogging software is not as user-friendly as other options such as WordPress. Shopify has a lock-in feature, which limits your ability to migrate your store to another platform, making it tricky to move to another provider.

Wix:

  • What Is Wix?
    Wix is a drag-and-drop store builder and eCommerce platform. It has over 110 million users worldwide and is a hugely popular choice for first-timers for its simplicity and user-friendly features. Wix has significantly improved since its earliest inception, so much so that it scores top marks with eCommerce platform reviewers.
  • How Much Is Wix?
    Wix is much more cost-effective than Shopify, starting at just £7.50 per month for a basic plan, and its eCommerce plans from just £15 per month. Wix also runs frequent special introductory offers, so you can save even more money by taking advantage of a promotion.
  • What Are The Pros Of Wix?
    The main advantage of Wix is that it is very affordable. It has a whole range of tools available at the touch of a button and is an ideal choice for those with fewer tech abilities. Wix is well known for its ease of use, so first-time store builders will have little trouble navigating and choosing their options.
  • What Are The Cons Of Wix?
    While the tools and features available are impressive, we feel they are not good enough to cope with online retail stores with a large or complex inventory. We would say that Wix is an ideal choice for those wanting to set up and run a smaller online store, but if you plan to grow and expand your store, it would be better to go with Shopify for its larger scale and flexibility.

WooCommerce:

  • What Is WooCommerce?
    WooCommerce powers more than 25% of eCommerce stores in the top 1 million sites worldwide. It is a plugin that helps you to build an online store using WordPress. It allows you to sell digital and physical products online through your store, take order payments, manage your inventory and is very user-friendly. It is ideal for those who have never built an eCommerce store.
  • How Much Is WooCommerce?
    WooCommerce has no setup costs or monthly fees. This makes it a super-affordable way to sell any product or service from your store. It is an open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress, so while you don’t pay anything to use WooCommerce, you will need to pay for a WordPress site.
  • What Are The Pros Of WooCommerce?
    You can add the WooCommerce plugin to any WordPress site and set up a new store in minutes for zero cost. You are provided with various features, including secure payments, configurable shipping options, and more. WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform. It is one of the best eCommerce platforms for startups familiar with WordPress.
  • What Are The Cons Of WooCommerce?
    A significant issue of using an open-source platform like WooCommerce is the lack of available support when you need it. It can take time to have your questions answered. You need to take on full responsibility for maintaining your site, which means using forums to solve problems or paying for a professional to fix issues for you. If you are unfamiliar with WordPress, you will have a steep learning curve in getting used to operating WooCommerce as it has a similar interface.

Which Is Right For My Business?

Choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business will depend on many factors, including your available budget, what free features you can make good use of, and if you can easily link your eCommerce store to your social media accounts or other applications.

If you only plan to stock a few niche products and are happy to maintain a small online store, then Wix is one of the best UK eCommerce sites and may be your best option. However, if you plan on selling an extensive range of products, you will need something more powerful that will allow you to list all of your products, such as Shopify.

The ability to customise your online store and make it stand out from your competition should also be a priority if you don’t want to get lost in a sea of generic online stores.

Conclusion

Before jumping in and starting your eCommerce site, there is much to think about. But before you launch your business, protect it from the many common risks online retail stores face, especially those selling products to customers.

Protecting yourself and your eCommerce site with the correct Online retailer Insurance should be a priority. You don’t want to lose all of your money, time, and effort spent building your business to a costly compensation claim and legal fees. Find the ideal fit for your needs by exploring the various types of business insurance that Brisco Business offers.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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