Choosing CMS Platform for Your E-commerce

Choosing CMS Platform for Your E-commerce

Choosing the right ‘shopping cart’ platform for an Internet store is a complicated issue for most of those starting their online businesses for the first time. Therefore, in most cases, Internet (digital) marketers try to postpone the decision on the choice of platform for as long as possible. 

So, what is the best shopping cart for your e-store? In this text, we will try to investigate this issue and help all online merchants who have exactly this dilemma. We collected all available information about the most popular platforms and, based on that, created a ‘pros and cons’ list. But before the list itself, we must first understand the basic elements of modern shopping carts, and even before that… don’t forget to include an email marketing campaign to drive sales to your e-commerce. 

Email marketing is important because it connects businesses and customers directly, allows retailers to capitalize on the growing trend of personalization and collection and testing of data-driven insights, and is the most effective way to segment and target customers with customized offers and promotions. To get the most out of a good email campaign, you will need a solid platform, for instance, Benchmark, that can handle the segmentation demands of today’s marketing trends. It is proven that e-commerce clients who receive several abandoned shopping cart emails are more likely to complete the transaction than those who just receive one, the so-called ‘follow-up’, email.

Types of Shopping Carts

Hosted Shopping Carts

They are simple and easy to implement and use. At the same time, they are limited in functionality because they are hosted by the company that made and maintains the shopping cart. 

Hosted shopping carts are recommended for beginners in Internet commerce. Due to a variety of constraints, the trader may not be able to fully customize the business to meet all of his needs and preferences. The cost associated with such solutions is usually a monthly fee that, in addition to using the software, includes hosting and security features (SSL).

Platforms Hosted by the Merchant

These are the solutions of the so-called ‘open-source’. They can be downloaded and used for free. However, unlike hosted solutions, the merchant must manage his own infrastructure and purchase his own SSL certificate. Furthermore, compared to hosted systems, managing such shopping carts can be more difficult. The merchant has complete control over the site’s upkeep and updates. 

A significant advantage of such solutions is that the retailer, with the help of developers, can access each line of code and adapt the store to any specific needs and desires. In addition, with such solutions, there are thousands of add-ons (plugins, modules, extensions) and patterns (themes, templates) that can be acquired free of charge or purchased.

Most Popular CMS Platforms

WooCommerce (Merchant-Hosted Platform)

The popular ‘Woo’ is, in fact, a module owned by WordPress. Woo is most known for its plugins, and it is perfect for small and medium businesses looking to set up an online store to sell a limited number of products and services.

Pros: Free and easy to install and with unlimited customization options and a large number of available extensions. The biggest advantage is that there are millions of individuals in the world who work on this platform so help can be obtained relatively easily. If you already have a WordPress site, all you need to do is install free WooCommerce and then access the thousands of available visual templates and modules. The advantage is that such an online store can use all WordPress functionalities (e.g. Blog).

Cons: WordPress, as one of the most popular platforms, is also one of the most targeted by hackers. As a result, it is important to maintain and upgrade the system’s new available versions on a regular basis. A huge number of plugins available often leads to inefficient use, which causes the store to slow down. In our perspective, such a solution necessitates the trader hiring someone to be in control of the platform.

OpenCart (Merchant-Hosted Platform)

This is one of the platforms whose importance and the number of users are constantly growing.

Pros: It has probably the best-reviewed and simplest user interface. All default themes contain a decent set of functionalities. In addition, the settings are easy to change and adjust. It has a large number of integrated modules for deliveries and payments.

Cons: Limited number of additional functionalities as well as limited adaptability. Problems with SEO are also known. It is not the most suitable solution for large online stores.

Magento (Merchant-Hosted Platform)

This is probably the best solution for large Internet stores. It is the result of many years of experience in the field of e-commerce.

Pros: One of the most advanced platforms. It offers customer support features. It has a marketplace for add-ons where users can find a large number of tools, extensions, templates, etc. The big advantage of Magento, the same as with WooCommerce, is that a large number of developers work on the platform, i.e. there is healthy competition.

Cons: You will need to get used to the admin interface because it is not always intuitive. But we believe that the biggest problem with Magento is its ‘slowness’. Of course, this flaw is relatively easy to solve with a more serious hosting package, which brings the performance of the store to a satisfactory level.

Shopify (Hosted Platform)

With over 100,000 online stores, Shopify is undoubtedly the most popular option in this area. It is ideal for small and medium Internet stores. Shopify is, by the way, a sought-after platform among so-called ‘dropshipping’ retailers.

Pros: With a variety of well-designed templates, the platform is relatively simple to set up. It includes an iOS app for online store maintenance, inventory management, ordering, and customer contact.

Cons: This is not the cheapest solution. As the number of sales grows, the monthly price of its use becomes more and more expensive. The choice of supported Payment Gateways is limited, and to use some, it is necessary to use an intermediary in the integration, which leads to additional costs. The trader has limited control over the appearance of the checkout process.

BigCommerce (Hosted Platform)

This is a platform used by CNN, Food Network, ABC News, GQ, and other large and world-famous corporations, among others.

Pros: It integrates on eBay, Facebook, Shopzilla, and PriceGrabber. BigCommerce allows you to accept payments through a variety of Payment Gateways, including PayPal and Google Checkout. The platform offers a complete package that includes a shopping cart, product catalogs, payment gateway, marketing tools, and a store optimized with mobile devices. The user interface of the admin panel looks clear and easy to use.

Cons: At the beginning of use, the platform is significantly cheaper, and then the fees increase over time. The platform is quite customizable, but without complete control and does not have the best customer service.

Key Factors to Consider Before Making a Final Decision

Why are you creating an online store? Do you want to sell a small number of items or do you hope to make a huge Internet ‘supermarket’? Is the shopping cart easy to install as well as set up and use? Is it flexible and how flexible? Does it have built-in SEO functionality? Can it be used in multiple currencies and multiple languages? Is it compatible with appropriate banks and payment gateway systems? Does the platform provide a support and maintenance service? What payment methods does it support? Are there any restrictions on transactions (by type, number, etc.)?

Finally, the success of your online store also depends on whether you have the right tools at your disposal.

This includes proper shopping cart and a reliable payment gateway.


Whichever platform you choose, it cannot satisfy all your needs and desires. So we suggest you focus on your priorities and choose a platform that can meet at least 75% of your requirements. 

Think about your budget and take some time to analyze the available platforms and match them to your specific requirements. Only then make a final decision. And most importantly, try to first determine what your online store needs and can get from the shopping cart. Take a look at the demo versions of those platforms that are shortlisted for you, ask questions, and test them before you apply them to your online store.

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