In this article, we consider characteristics of the most popular ecommerce CMS and compare them. We discuss key technical features, advantages and disadvantages, available versions and pricing. Read on and get insights on which CMS to choose for your website.
A content management system (CMS) is a special software which allows merchants to create content on their ecommerce websites, publish and modify it if necessary. It is possible to add different types of content, including text, images, GIFs and videos, and admin users can manage it without any advanced technical skills.
A standard CMS contains two core apps that work side by side: a content management application (CMA) that helps users handle content, and a backend content delivery application (CDA) that brings the data into CMA, stores and displays it correctly.
Looking for a CMS platform, you might be overwhelmed with the variety. It is important to take into account the default features provided by CMS solutions and opportunities to customize them in future. Moreover, the choice hugely depends on your budget and scale of the business. In order to protect you from launching your business on an unsuitable platform, we have created a list of the top ecommerce CMS with their pros and cons. Read this article and clear up all the doubts about what solution fits best with your online business requirements.
Magento Open Source: Key features
- Responsive themes and intuitive user interface (UI), enhanced site and catalog management options, easy product and catalog browsing;
- One-page checkout, guest checkout, saved shopping cart and multiple payment gateways;
- Integrated shipping rates from UPS, UPS XML, FedEx, USPS and DHL;
- Extensive order management instruments, international support and comprehensive customer service;
- Advanced analytics, SEO and marketing tools.
Magento Commerce: Key features (compared to Magento Open Source)
Magento Commerce is a paid edition of Magento that provides some extra features, including the following:
- More personalized shopping experience and audience segmentation;
- Dynamic rule-based product relations, instant purchases, content staging and preview options;
- Drag-and-drop visual merchandising;
- Magento Business Intelligence;
- Integrated B2B functionality with such tools as custom catalogs and price lists, company accounts, company credit and quotes.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Magento
- Magento 2 is extremely flexible and customizable along with deep functionality and security both for store owners and buyers.
- As your business grows, the website’s functionality can be extended as well due to high scalability of the platform.
- A large community of users can always provide the necessary assistance.
- Magento 2 functionality can be enhanced with a great number of available integrations.
- Magento 2 is complex and heavy, so it is not suitable for beginners.
- Often the professional help is needed and it may take more development hours to develop a feature (compared to some other platforms). Due to the complexity, the developer rates may also be higher than with other solutions.
- If you decide to switch from Magento 1 to Magento 2, it will be pricey. Not all the modules and themes can be migrated directly.
Top brands using Magento
Ford, Christian Louboutin, Landrover, Monin, Ahmad Tea, Helly Hansen, Liverpool, Sigma Beauty, Vizio, Nestle Nespresso, Björn Borg, Jaguar, Cox & Cox, Olympus, Barbour.
Pricing & Versions
The Magento Adobe company does not charge fees for downloading the Magento Open Source platform. However, you have to pay for professional Magento development. The prices vary in different regions, the hourly rate goes from $25 to $149 per hour.
Magento Commerce is solution which costs from $22,000/year.
PrestaShop open source solution has powerful features yet it is easy to use. Having been initially created in Paris, it is mostly popular in France now.
- PrestaShop is available in 60 different languages and is used by 300,000 shops worldwide.
- A rich variety of themes and 5,000+ modules are available at the PrestaShop marketplace;
- The platform provides easy product management options and the ability to configure payment and shipping methods, content and navigation on the website.
- Advanced SEO and marketing instruments;
- Easy order management, checkout configuration and customers’ groups.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- PrestaShop possesses a user-friendly backend interface and does not require additional technical knowledge to run the website and monitor payments, so it fits well for startups or medium-sized online stores.
- As the platform supports multiple currencies and languages, localization is simple.
- Payment transactions are secured by processing through SSL protocol system.
- The scalability is limited, so Prestashop is mostly used in small and medium stores.
- Another drawback is basic design, which is often considered to be unattractive.
- There is no professional support team.
Top brands using PrestaShop
Danone, Monsieur Chaussure, Papier Tigre, Foot Shop, Maniac-Auto, Bobbies, Charuca, Kumulus Vape, Freshly Cosmetics, Le Chocolat des Français.
Pricing & Versions
PrestaShop is free to download, but professional development will add extra costs. As it is an open source solution, you have to pay for web hosting and a domain name of your shop. If you decide to enrich the functionality of your store and buy modules and themes, it also will bring you additional expenses.
Shopware is popular in the European countries, especially in Germany. It is suitable for both B2B and B2C models available both on premises and as a cloud solution.
- Shopware is an ecommerce CMS known for its scalability and stable operation on all types of devices.
- With powerful PWA and API, sellers can connect with clients across multiple channels and devices.
- The platform offers integrations with various sales channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
- Thanks to extensive marketing options, users can assign a campaign to definite target groups, as well as specify a group or an individual seller and set fixed price and discounts on shipping costs.
- It has reliable SEO tools and advanced media management integrated.
- With Plugin Manager, it is possible to manage extensions in an easier way
- Payment gateways include PayPal, Klarna, credit cards options. Shopware is multilingual and provides access to 100+ currencies and 200+ markets all over the world.
- Professional edition is enhanced with such features as customisable products, extensive sales channels and manufacturer support.
- Enterprise edition is enriched with a B2B suite for complex business models, unlimited staging environments and individual and developer support.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- The combination of advanced technologies and design, thanks to which the platform offers a user-friendly backend and structured front-end. There are over 1,500 free and paid themes and templates available at the marketplace.
- Shopware offers both cloud and on-premise solutions and relatively easy management tools to supervise the shop.
- Users can choose the pricing plans suitable for them and reach out to a large Shopware community for advice if needed.
- The platform itself is quite expensive, and if the users decide to enhance the functionality with additional social media features, it will result in more costs.
- There are Shopware competitors like Magento which offer a wider selection of plugins.
- With its strong focus on German market, the majority of the Shopware community is located in the DACH region, and, as a result, it is rarely used in other countries and most of the materials and guides are in German.
Top brands using Shopware
Philips, Discovery Channel, Mars, M&Ms, Euronics, Dorothee Schumacher, Bruno Banani, Chio, Aston Martin, Mywalit, Borussia Dortmund, Jägermeister and Haribo.
Pricing & Versions
- Starter edition is a basic free cloud option;
- Community is another free edition;
- Professional edition costs €199.00 per month.
- Enterprise edition is the most expensive option, the exact price is provided upon request.
Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform that helps online merchants to set up and manage an entire store easily.
- Shopify is known for its simplicity, as the users do not have a lot of control over the appearance and functionality, but for a newbie seller it is a nice option to start an online business.
- The platform offers blogging instruments, customer ratings, several payment gateways, updates and traffic analytics to manage the store.
- Shopify is mobile responsive and has fast-loading pages.
- The platform has over 100 different payment methods, including PayPal and CryptoCurrency, unlimited products, a number of app integrations and a SEO guide.
- Technical support is available 24/7 through live chat, email, phone, and even Twitter.
- Various sales channels dependent on the country provide the possibility to sell on online marketplaces and social media.
- There are lots of extensions, themes and third-party Shopify apps with additional features for online shops.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- The most significant advantage of Shopify is its simplicity along with extensive features that are logically structured and can be implemented by users who do not possess in-depth technical knowledge.
- Thanks to responsive design and high scalability it is possible to create shops for both small and large businesses.
- Among the frequently listed disadvantages of the platform you can find the absence of standard multilingual features, so if store owners decide to sell worldwide, they have to use additional apps.
- Shop Pay is not available all over the globe, and an extra fee is charged whenever another payment gateway is used to complete the transaction .
Top brands using Shopify
General Electric, Amnesty International, CrossFit, Tesla Motors, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Foo Fighters, GitHub, Bulletproof, The Economist, Heinz, Penguin Books, Harper Collins, BBC, Red Bull, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, David Beckham Eyewear, Victoria Beckham.
- Basic Shopify offers a standard set of tools for $29 per month which is suitable for new businesses.
- Shopify per $79 is usually chosen by growing businesses with 1 retail store.
- Shopify Advanced will cost $299 monthly, suitable for merchants with 2 retail stores.
One more perfect ecommerce solution to level your business up with an open source content management system is OpenCart – a free and multifunctional platform. It is a self-hosted platform based on PHP including HTML elements on a MySQL database. It was launched in 2010 and now over 30,000 online stores run on it. The platform has a useful architecture. It is very simple to use and suitable for small businesses.
If you want to exploit it to the website you will need to consider numerous costly extensions and care about additional plugins to provide SEO and support services. Moreover, any code alterations or deep customization could be successfully carried out by a qualified programmer.
BigCommerce is another one HTML-based ecommerce platform, beyond Magento, with over ten years of presence at the global market. It is a cloud-hosted platform spreading across 150 countries and over 55,000 websites.
BigCommerce offers four pricing plans with various set of functions. The pricing plans are Standard for $29.95, Plus – the most popular – for $79.95, Pro for $249.95 per month and Enterprise. The last one has wide functionality, including API support, custom facets, express routing and priority support.
Running store on BigCommerce, you can develop it smoothly and optimize the revenue generation with the help of such features as default integration with Facebook and marketing services, quick and secure transactions and feature-rich shopping cart. 24/7 support and access to real-time information guide you to the roadmap leading to the success of your business as brands like Toyota, Kodak or HushPuppies already came to. However, being SaaS-based, it is much less customizable and flexible than an open-source and has fewer modification options. It also does not have transaction fees.
3DCart is one of the oldest ecommerce platforms launched in 1997. There are over 20,000 brands that work with software and trust 3DCart their businesses. Among their clients are France Luxe, Atlas Straps and many more from different countries and continents.
It is a cloud-hosted versatile CMS that is considered to be the best for SEO and one of the fastest in the industry. Rich in marketing tools like autoresponse and email marketing it helps to promote the business from the first step. Besides a helpful started plan, it has a loyalty program with access to more than 200 features like category breadcrumbs or customer review system. Apart from many other advantages, it also provides 24/7 support. So, you won’t worry about bugs or payment glitches.
3DCart offers four payment plans: Startup for $19, Basic – $29, Plus – $79 and Pro – $229 per month. It also provides a 15 days free trial. 3DCart is quite an effective tool for small-scale businesses, thus presupposes limited customization and theme options. One more drawback to the point is poor upgrading and shortage in customer support.
SAP Hybris is a java ecommerce platform that came up in 1997. The platform is designed for B2B and B2C companies to improve the customer’s experience and strengthen end-to-end engagement. SAP is a cloud-based CRM, which is used by over 10,000 websites mostly in Europe.
It was created to enhance information flow for the clients and has many relevant features. These include omnichannel retailing, advanced product management as well as top-notch sales performance management. It aims to gain valuable data from the customer to facilitate attracting more visitors.
However, before investing in your marketing advancement, it’s important to know that there could be some challenges as inefficient data exchange between different systems, low retention rates and a high chance of CMR errors. Moreover, even the initial prices are over $50,000 per year. The final costs depend on components and the number of cores.
Drupal Commerce is a CMS framework under the GNU General Public License that once started as a message board and boosted as an open-source project in 2001. It has several similarities with WIX – Drupal Commerce does not require you to be a tech-savvy developer or have any coding experience. The platform is used by over 1 million websites. It has become a popular solution for creating a great digital framework or dynamic content that will scale up your marketing potential for business.
With no license fee and unlimited usage period, this free ecommerce content management system is quite secure. Drupal offers an extensive guide and tutorial videos to build a structured website with high standards. The platform offers multiple modules and systems for payments, marketing tools and shipping options.
Volusion was one of the first ecommerce software. It was created in 1999 and has become one of the leading SaaS platforms across the globe. Volusion has more than 30,000 active online businesses. It provides a variety of useful tools and customization features, aiming to make the platform easy-to-use and successful.
Volusion offers flexible features like built-in education services, 24/7 support, intuitive interface, SEO settings and more. It allows third-party payment integration and bundles, ensures speedy operation with lots of graphics and data while controls security.
The platform is mostly applicable to mid-size and large companies. It offers a 14-days free trial and has four pricing plans. The prices vary from $29 to over $299 per month. If you decide to enjoy the premium plan, you will pay more. Still a plus is that it doesn’t have any transaction fee regardless of the plan. However, there is neither a dedicated app store nor AMP available with Volusion.
Demandware Salesforce is a cloud-based shop CMS that speeds up the ecommerce industry since 2004. It allows users to build powerful and creative web stores and among their clients are top brands like Hugo Boss, Jack Wills and many others.
It is widely used by startups, nonprofits and small businesses. It is an effective tool for B2B and B2C retailers due to its flexibility and useful tools for creating multiple brands on site or managing different items in different locations. Using this platform you can extend your website capabilities with AI personalization, distributed order management and a top CRM.
However, it might be difficult to integrate the store with other solutions. It is also not quite reliable in case of handling the same speed after API implementation. Salesforce ecommerce platform makes your online business smarter and more personalized, but its pricing depends on each customer’s needs.
Squarespace is a helpful website building solution allowing you to develop a website from scratch. It was launched in 2004 and now has over 130,000 websites globally. Its top clients include such brand stores like John Malkovich, Fighting Eel and Edible Boston. It is a cloud service. So, you don’t need to download or install the software as well as buy hosting.
Squarespace has the following benefits:
- Template Switching
- Drag-and-Drop Management
- Dropbox File Synchronization
- Content Downloading
- Automatic Image Scaling
- Custom CSS and others
The solution has four pricing plans: Personal that costs $12 per month, Business – $26, Online Stores Basic – $26 and Online Stores Advanced for $40 monthly. You will also need to pay a subscription fee and cover hosting expenses. The good news is that Squarespace subscription costs about the same as regular web hosting.
However, editing and adding more elements could be harder than it is expected. There is also a lack of advanced marketing tools and no support for third party plugins provided.
WooCommerce is a considerably new open-source platform that is a WordPress plugin. The platform was released in 2011 and gained trust across the majority of merchants and top brands using WordPress. With three million active websites, it was claimed the most popular CMS in 2018.
This ensures a great opportunity to scale up your business since WooCommerce platform allows handling thousands of transactions per minute, endless product listing, and test the webstore performance and speed. Its popularity hugely depends on its good customization options as well as a professional and simple interface.
Being free to download, the platform still needs to spend money on, since all the multiple features, extensions, themes and hosting are paid. You will also need to pay to hire a developer who can update and install complex adds-on if you want your platform to be secure and work correctly.
ZenCart is an open-source ecommerce software that was launched in 2003 and currently has a large and growing community. It is an entirely free PHP platform that uses MySQL database and HTML components and can be employed with almost any host. ZenCart can be operated in 25 languages. More importantly, its code can be customized to match any business needs and can be incorporated in WordPress as well.
ZenCart is rich in features that are easy to set up and has one of the best digital store management systems. There are some brands which use ZenCart successfully, such as EcoEnterprises, Bread and Butter and many more. It has great and flexible payment gateway support, easy-to-handle shipment integrations, advertising tools and also a newsletter functionality. There is also an ability to download around 4,000 third party modules to come up with a personalized feature set for your company.
Speaking about its cons, it doesn’t offer a free domain or SSL certificate. Besides, you will need some professional knowledge to tailor and upgrade the website. Overall, ZenCart is a good fit for a medium-sized business, but consider the fact that it has no customer support and seems to have a bit poor layout.
CS-Cart is a great decision if you need a solution with standard functionality. The software is designed to build a multi-vendor hosted online marketplace like Airbnb or Etsy. It was launched in 2005 and since time gained the trust of over 1,300 retailers worldwide. Its main clients include Mojinterier, N-DUO and Cater Us.
It offers a variety of options to create a marketplace compliant to your type of business. CS-Cart offers a 15-days free trial. After that, you will be offered to buy one from three plans with the cost starting from $1,450 to $7,500 per year.
The platform provides over 500 out-of-the-box features, filters, product variations and bundles. CS-Cart also comprises an effective promotion system, affiliate system and in-built content manager. It works well with different industries, including digital products. However, sometimes it is might be hard-to-adapt for your business needs.
OsCommerce is an ecommerce software helping companies to develop online for almost twenty years already. Its popularity has recently been sliding away, but there are still about 25,0000 OsCommerce websites used by local and medium-sized businesses and considered to be not a great solution for large-scale businesses.
OsCommerce is free as well as its add-ons. Building webstore on OsCommerce you can enjoy quick setup, easy customization process with more than 7,000 free features and reliable product management. However, it is a self hosted ecommerce platform. It lacks technical support that means you’ll need to find a developer to conduct thorough monitoring, protect the website and fix bugs.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of ecommerce platforms to choose for your online business. Each platform has pros and cons that can either empower your online store or not. However, to pick up the best for you, it is important to analyze your business, set up goals and check all the possible solutions. You also can consult with a developer or ecommerce expert to understand what solution is perfect for your business needs.
Don’t know what to choose? Contact the BelVG team and we will help to find the best CMS for ecommerce website.