How to choose the right E-commerce platform for your business

E-Commerce Platforms: Which One is Right for Your Business?

Launching an E-commerce business can be a challenge – from marketing through to branding and product development, every decision needs to be carefully thought through in order to achieve long term success.

However, one of the biggest decisions that’s not often discussed is which E-commerce platform to choose – choosing the right one is crucial, as it needs to meet your businesses needs early on in the start up phase but also scalable to match your requirements as your business increases in size.

One of the most common issues we see is companies who have selected the wrong platform to begin with, and then face major headaches (and often a big bill) to rectify the problem further down the line.

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss three of the most popular E-commerce platforms – shopify, wordpress and magento – in order to help you make an informed decision on which one is right for your business.


Shopify is one of the most popular E-commerce platforms on the market, with over 175,000 businesses using it to power their online stores. Shopify is a fully hosted platform, which means that all of the technical aspects are taken care of by Shopify themselves – meaning that it’s a great option for businesses who don’t have an in-house development team.

Shopify also has a huge app store, which offers a wide range of plugins and integrations to help businesses tailor shopify to their specific needs. Some are free while others are paid for extras, but for reasonable amounts of money it’s an easy way to obtain additional features to your store without the need for a developer.

The main downside of Shopify is that it can be more expensive than some of the other options on the market – Shopify adds on additional fees for services like credit card & PayPal, so you’ll pay more per sale than you would on other platforms where you integrate with the payment providers directly. However, we feel that this is offset by the fact that you’re getting a lot of features ‘out-of-the-box’, as well as peace of mind knowing that Shopify will take care of any technical issues.

For long term growth, Shopify offers their ‘Shopify Plus‘ service – used by many big established companies, such as Pure Electric, so while it’s maybe not the most scalable solution compared to others, your company value would have to hit the high 7 figures annual turnover and have a huge amount of complexity in the back end before it became an issue.


WordPress is one of the most popular site building platforms on the internet, with over 75 million sites using it to power their content. Whilst WordPress started out as a blogging platform, it’s now evolved into a fully fledged content management system (CMS) which can be used to build anything from a simple blog to a complex E-commerce website.

WordPress is an ‘open source’ project, which means that the code is freely available for anyone to use and modify – this has resulted in there being a huge community of developers who create plugins and themes (templates) for WordPress sites. This is both good and bad – it’s great as there’s usually a plugin or theme available for almost anything you want to do on your site, but it also means that there are some poor quality ones out there too, which can take time

WordPress alone isn’t an E-commerce solution, however plugins like Woocommerce add on the E-commerce functionality. It’s not as quick and easy as Shopify to set up, however it’s also not overly complex and can be done with a bit of technical knowledge. And because it’s open source, it can be heavily customized to match your businesses needs – meaning it’s a great option for businesses who have specific requirements that need to be met.

If keeping costs down is your number one priority, then WordPress is the cheapest solution there is – with no additional fees to pay beyond domain and hosting, it can run a lean operation which helps to improve profit margins.

The downside to this is that plenty of the ‘free’ options don’t look fantastic out of the box, so plugins, themes and other add-ons are required which can quickly add bloat and complexity to your website, slowing it down and making it look unappealing to the customer.

One of the other downsides of WordPress is that because it’s so popular, it’s often a target for hackers – this means that you need to keep your site up to date with the latest security patches, as well as using a good quality web hosting provider, however this shouldn’t be an issue as long as you follow recommended guidelines


Magento is an ‘open source’ E-commerce platform, similar to WordPress & Woocommerce. Founded in 2007, it quickly developed into a powerful and sophisticated E-commerce platform that allowed 7/8 and even 9 figure businesses to scale significantly. Magento was acquired by Adobe in 2018 for $19 billion dollars, which showcases how popular and powerful it is.

Magento makes up 12% of online E-commerce stores and is used by some of the biggest brands in the world, including Liverpool FC and Burger King. It’s a very complex piece of software, which can do pretty much anything you want – however that comes at a price.

Magento sites generally require more technical knowledge to set up and maintain than Shopify or WordPress/Woocommerce, so unless you have an in-house developer or agency to help with this it’s probably not the best platform for small businesses.

One of the main benefits of Magento is that because it’s so complex, there are very few limits on what you can do with it. This makes it ideal for businesses who have specific requirements that need to be met, as it can be heavily customized to match your needs exactly.

Magento is also a very scalable platform – meaning that as your business grows, the platform will grow with you. This is in contrast to Shopify, which has much more limited scalability.

The main downside of Magento is the cost – both in terms of money and time. It’s a complex piece of software which means it’s more expensive to set up & maintain than other platforms, and because it requires more technical knowledge which would involve an external agency which can rack up into the 6 figures quite easily for a complex site.

Now that you know a little bit more about some of the major platforms available, it’s time to decide which one is best for your business. Here’s a quick overview of each platform to help you make your decision:

Shopify is the easiest platform to use, and is perfect for businesses who are just starting out or don’t have the technical expertise to build a complex website. It is more expensive, especially early on, so if you’re on a tight budget and happy to tackle the more technical aspects of your E-commerce website, WordPress or Magento might be better suited to your needs.

WordPress is a great option if you need a lot of customization or have specific requirements that need to be met and want to keep the costs down. However, it does require some technical knowledge to set up and maintain, so if you’re not confident with technology it might not be the best platform for you.

Magento is perfect for businesses who need a lot of customization and have the technical expertise to build a complex website. However, it is more expensive and time-consuming than other platforms, so if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have the time to invest in building a complex website, Shopify or WordPress might be better suited to your needs. However if you find that your needs aren’t met with Shopify or WordPress and have the budget, opting for Magento immediately can save you plenty of migration hassle in the long run.

No matter which E-commerce platform you choose, make sure you do your research and pick the one that’s right for your business. With so many options available, there’s no reason why you can’t find the perfect platform for your needs.

Want to discuss your E-commerce requirements in more detail? Why not get in touch and we can offer a free consultation bespoke for your business.

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