Choosing An E-Commerce Platform

Rory Lofthouse

· General

If you’re looking to sell your products online you’re going to need an e-commerce website. You may already have a website into which you’re wanting to use an e-commerce platform, or you may be starting from scratch.

In the following article, we’ve listed some popular e-commerce platforms with a pay monthly, freemium and bespoke website build options.

  1. (Pay Monthly) Online Hosted Shops such as Shopify & EKM, other are available
  2. (Freemium) Magento & Woocommerce
  3. Bespoke E-commerce systems

Online Hosted Shops

Shopify & EKM both offer free trials, something we would recommend trying, as both do differ greatly in the interface, which you could be using daily. We’ve listed some points below to help keep you on track in choosing the best option:

  1. You’re looking for ease of use – how easy is it to input a new product and process orders?
  2. Is there an easy way to add your shipping method?
  3. If you use your domain with the trial, make sure search engines can’t access your website, as this will cause problems later on
  4. If you already have a website with a custom design, how easy is it to get an off the shelf template/design to fit in with either e-commerce system?
  5. How  easy is it to control elements which will help you rank in Google such as URL structure, Content, Page Titles and H Tags?

‘Freemium’ Platforms

Magento & Woocommerce are slightly different in that Magento is a standalone system and WooCommerce is a WordPress Plugin.

Both are free and offer enough to get an e-commerce system up and running. You’ll only start to pay when you’re looking for designs / themes, which can range from £50 upwards for a template for either Magento or WooCommerce.

Where you’ll need to part with more cash is for premium versions of plugins which offer more usability, such as a Royal Mail plugin for automatic pricing of delivery within Woocommerce, or an SEO add-on in Magento. These may be yearly fees.  We’ve listed some key points for each below:

  1. Woocomerce is a WordPress Plugin, so offers wider scope for customisation, plugins & designs, at a lower cost.
  2. Both will run on cheaper hosting but be prepared for slower running websites, the more products & more functionality you add.
  3. Many E-Commerce websites run on either platform.
  4. Free Plugins for SEO can be used on either platform, Yoast on WordPress & ReloadSEO on Magento free trial

Bespoke Ecommerce Systems

So you’ve picked a bespoke web development company’s E-Commerce system. They’ll be happy to show you both the back end and front end and often clients that are running their e-commerce software. Again we’ve listed a few points below to be aware of in the decision-making stage.

  1. On non-bespoke systems, everyone is running off the same code base? Meaning that if “Client A” requests a technical change, will it affect your website. This may positively effect or negatively effect your website, without you knowing. Shocking, but some companies will do this. Not at Bronco – each e-commerce system is bespoke to you.
  2. Make sure you’ve planned out exactly what you need down to the finest detail. This will allow for more accurate pricing from the company
  3. Whilst any initial cost may seem more expensive, remember that EKM charge monthly based on revenue generated by the website, and Shopify offers a pricing structure based on your requirements. Most businesses should be OK with the £60 option, but they do charge a small percentage per transaction.


Your website should be treated the same as the purchase of a new piece of equipment for your business. You are likely to use the website for 5 year’s if not longer and in that time with successful marketing, it can help increase your turnover and grow your business, so choosing the right option first time will save you money.

If your testing the market to see how well your product will sell, then this is where a pay monthly option such as Woocommerce or Magento will work for you as they offer an ecommerce solution for little expenditure.

If your currently taking orders on Facebook or via an offline method and want to move online then EKM or Shopify will be a great option to go for.

If you are looking to expand into an ecommece platform or want to reduce monthly fees from online providers, Bronco specialise in creating bespoke and flexible e-commerce systems from small product ranges to e-commerce systems with thousands of products. If you come to Bronco for an e-commerce website, you’ll get a bespoke platform that only your website runs from and you’ll be in control, with help close at hand should you require it.

You’ll get a bespoke website design and all the functionality that you require, keeping your new website simple to use but offering everything that you need.

Don’t worry that if a few months / years down the line you need to add extra functionality, as this is something we are able to do from eBay stock integration to custom product kit builders with our own in-house team. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you and your business.

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