Oct 19

Comparison of eCommerce Platforms – Scalability and Pricing

A comparison of Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, OpenCart, SFCC, and Magento.


As your business grows, the online store requirements become more complex and your eCommerce platform should be equipped to meet them. For example, if you are planning to expand to other countries your platform should support multiple currencies, languages, accurate tax calculations for each country and be able to generate correct invoices. Even changing the business model from B2B to B2C means new channels and target audiences, and to cater to them your eCommerce platform requires additional capabilities and features.


In this article we will compare some of the most popular platforms on scalability and pricing.

eCommerce platforms being reviewed:

Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, OpenCart and Magento

Shopify

Scalability

  1. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
    • MULTI CURRENCY
      The Multi-currency product from Shopify makes it very simple to start selling in other countries. It allows the customer to choose from several currencies and make payments all within one store. Shopify will do the conversion for you and remit the payment in your currency. The disadvantage of this system is that as the currency rate fluctuates the pricing will change creating confusion amongst repeat customers. The second option available is to create a store for each currency and host them on different URLs. The pricing will be in the currency of the respective country. With geo-IP detection, you can detect the customer’s location and redirect him/her to the local site. However, the disadvantage here is that you have to maintain different instances of your store, sync content between the various shops, and undertake multiple updates to the themes as and when required.
    • MULTI LANGUAGE
      Similar to currencies, you have the option to maintain multi-stores with different URLs for each language. This provides better flexibility, better SEO, and gives you 100% control over your shop. You also do not need any additional Apps to manage content. The second option is to maintain a single store and maintain sub-folders for various languages. In 2019 Shopify launched the Translation API with 3 supporting apps (For example Langify) that allow for mass translations.
    • SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY
      Shopify offers many international shipping Apps with returns built-in. ShipStation, AfterShip, and Shippo are a few of them.
    • INTERNATIONAL TAX AND INVOICING
      Taxes vary from country to country and inaccurate tax calculations can result in penalties and reduced profit margins. Shopify offers a fully integrated tax compliance solution that complies with the complex tax rules of various countries. Avalara Avatax is one such solution that has garnered the trust of thousands of Shopify merchants.
  2. CHANGING BUSINESS MODELS
    With Shopify, scaling your business is quite simple. Shopify offers multi packages that allow for easy point-and-click scaling. You don’t have to worry about hosting solutions or build new architecture, all of these will be taken care of by Shopify.
  3. GROWING PRODUCT PORTFOLIOS AND SALES VOLUMES The enterprise version Shopify Plus has been specially designed to create stores that can cater to enormous traffic and sales surges that come with growth. Performance and reliability are critical in the eCommerce business and your site should be able to handle volumes without crashing or slowing down. Shopify Plus is cloud-based and powers over 600,000 merchants who handle over 80,000 requests per second during peak times.

Pricing

Shopify has a multi-tiered pricing model. The price ranges from $30/mo to $299/mo and it’s scalable with your business. As you upgrade from one plan to another you get to unlock a range of features that will help you sell better and more. Gift Cards, Advanced POS tools, data analytics are a few of them. These monthly pricing plans do not cover third party integrations and Apps required to run your business successfully. Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial.


BigCommerce

Scalability

  1. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
    • MULTI CURRENCY
      BigCommerce has built-in multi-currency functionality that allows you to trade in different currencies and display prices on your website in local currencies. If you have built your store on BigCommerce you can accept payments in over 100+ currencies. The platform is also integrated with leading payment gateways like PayPal and Worldpay to offer local payment methods and enable international trading.
    • MULTI LANGUAGE
      BigCommerce provides native language support allowing you to sell to customers around the world. You can localize your store frontend in any language with translation available through apps and APIs for third-party translation services. The third-party services allow you to maintain multiple storefronts with specific sub-domains for each language. This helps to keep your store well-indexed on search engines.
    • SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY
      BigCommerce Shipping Manager allows you to easily configure the locations you want to sell to and the shipping methods you want to adopt for each area. BigCommerce is natively integrated with ShipperHQ which offers real-time carrier quotes, flat-rate shipping, or weight / value-based rates depending on location and products being shipped.
    • INTERNATIONAL TAX AND INVOICING
      Avalara, TaxJar, Vertex, and Thomson Reuters are a few of the third-party integrations available in BigCommerce to configure your taxes. With these integrations, you can automate your tax management across multiple channels effortlessly.
  2. CHANGING BUSINESS MODELS
    BigCommerce is an open SaaS platform with limitless possibilities. It allows you to seize market opportunities and respond to market requirements quickly. With BigCommerce you can target new audiences anywhere in the world with omnichannel commerce. BigCommerce also comes equipped with CDNs allowing customers to access a store from anywhere in the world without any interruption.
  3. GROWING PRODUCT PORTFOLIOS AND SALES VOLUMES BigCommerce Enterprise has been designed for rapidly growing businesses. It comes with features and customization options previously made available only by on-premise software. BigCommerce Enterprise comes with built-in features that can address the core functionality requirements of larger, more complex businesses. You don’t have to rely much on third-party apps. BigCommerce is equipped to handle large, complex catalogs and supports features like discounts, bulk pricing, and pre-orders. BigCommerce Enterprise version can connect to ERPs, PIMs, OMSs, CRMs, and 3PLs improving efficiency and performance of the store. The biggest advantage of BigCommerce is that it allows merchants to code in the language of their choice, thanks to BigCommerce’s RESTful architecture.

Pricing

In BigCommerce the pricing plan is attached to store’s annual sales. This means that when your revenues exceed the amount set for a specific tier you will be automatically upgraded to the next tier. You have the Standard, Plus, Pro and the Enterprise tiers. You can take a free 15-day trial to test out the platform without any commitment.


WooCommerce

Scalability

  1. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
    • MULTI CURRENCY
      The WooCommerce marketplace offers multi-currency plug-ins that convert product prices into different currencies. Currency Switcher from PluginUs and Multi-Currency for WooCommerce by VillaTheme are a few of the popular extensions available in the marketplace. These plugins allow customers to choose their preferred currency, complete the purchase and checkout. These plugins allow you to add as many currencies as you want. The exchange rate gets updated automatically with data from Google Finance, ensuring accuracy.
    • MULTI LANGUAGE
      WooCommerce sites are not multilingual by default. You need a plugin to enable multiple languages. WPML, Polylang, and MultilingualPress are a few of the popular options. Some of these plugins use Multisite, a core WordPress feature to enable multiple languages. Multisite allows the merchant to create language-specific individual websites and links them all together in one WordPress installation. This system promises better SEO and site performance. WordPress also offers Translation services as plugins where you can use professional translation services for more than 50 languages.
    • SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY
      WooCommerce Shipping, a free plugin from WooCommerce, allows you to ship to more than 190 countries. It comes built-in with the necessary customs forms for each country, making the whole process easy and smooth.
    • INTERNATIONAL TAX AND INVOICING
      WooCommerec tries to make setting up different tax rates for different countries simple and straightforward with various plugins. A customer’s country is detected automatically based on their IP address and prices are displayed with or without tax, depending on the local rules. Taxjar is the most popular plugin amongst WooCommerce merchants.
  2. CHANGING BUSINESS MODELS
    If you are looking to target new customers or add new channels, then it’s time to review your eCommerce site architecture. If you are exploring the B2C route then you need to make sure that your site is search friendly, the buying process is quick and easy, and that you are providing a memorable site visit that will make customers come back for repeat purchase. The operational side needs to be ramped up to handle shipping logistics and marketing efforts need to expand with email marketing programs, better content marketing, etc. While WooCommerce does not offer all these natively, there are third party integrations and plugins available in the WooCommerce marketplace.
  3. GROWING PRODUCT PORTFOLIOS AND SALES VOLUMES There are many businesses with portfolios of 10,000+ products and thousands of sales per day running their stores successfully on WooCommerce. In short, WooCommerce stores are scalable and can handle an unlimited amount of products. However, the challenge is to ensure that the site speed is maintained regardless of the large product portfolio. These can be tackled by choosing the right web hosting solution and plan as these are the key factors affecting site scalability.

Pricing

The WooCommerce plugin is free but you need to incur costs for all third party integrations and plugins required to have a fully functional eCommerce site. For web hosting the costs can vary from $3.95 to $5,000 per month depending on the complexity of your site. Then you have the domain name registration cost and the cost for all the essential features required to run the store successfully. For example, while WooCommerce has a built-in shipping service that connects to USPS and Canada Post, if you want to include other carriers you need to integrate them individually at a cost. Similarly, all other add-ons like POS integration, cart management, SEO functionality all come with a price tag adding to the total cost of ownership.


OpenCart

Scalability

  1. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
    • MULTI CURRENCY
      Currency PRO is an extension from OpenCart that can make your store fully multi-currency compatible. The merchant can choose from the list of currencies and specify the different currency exchange rates.
    • MULTI LANGUAGE
      You can set up a multilingual store in OpenCart with the help of language packs from the marketplace. The language packs are either free or come with a license fee. Once you download and install the desired language packs all you need to do is add the language to the back-end. A language switcher automatically gets added to the home page allowing your customers to choose their preferred language. Now you have to translate your English content into respective languages and update them in the content management system and your multilingual store is ready to be launched.
    • SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY
      OpenCart comes with flexible shipping modules completely integrated with international carriers, for example Global Delivery shipping extension. It allows you to ship your products around the world. You can set shipping rates for different geographical zones and shipping costs are calculated based on the customer’s address. You can also apply free shipping for orders based on cart limits for every geographic zone.
    • INTERNATIONAL TAX AND INVOICING
      Again third-party extensions come to your help for getting taxes and invoicing right for each country. Avalara is the most sought-after solution for tax compliance by OpenCart merchants. With a single, unified API for sales and use tax, VAT, cross-border transactions and exemptions, Avalara allows accurate tax calculations and invoicing.
  2. CHANGING BUSINESS MODELS
    OpenCart offers a pretty basic solution compared to other platforms. The built-in functionalities are limited so when you are looking to diversify into other markets or add new channels and target customers you need to bank on extensions to power up your site for advanced capabilities.
  3. GROWING PRODUCT PORTFOLIOS AND SALES VOLUMES OpenCart lets you manage multiple stores using a single admin panel. OpenCart can also easily manage 1000+ products without affecting the site performance.

Pricing

Like WooCommerce, OpenCart is free to download but that doesn’t mean you can operate your platform free of charge. There are charges for hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, etc. that need to be borne. The other expenses come in the form of extensions and plug-ins that are required along the way.


Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Scalability

  1. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
    • MULTI CURRENCY
      Support for multi-currency sites is limited to certain areas of B2C Commerce. You have the option to maintain a single multi-currency site that supports up to 150 currencies. You can maintain the same site logic and design, catalog and content, inventory, third-party integrations, and order management across all currencies.
    • MULTI LANGUAGE
      Salesforce Commerce Cloud translation integrations provide a seamless shopping experience in different languages. The Translation Workbench feature within Salesforce Commerce Cloud allows you to specify languages for translation, assign translators, and manage your translations through the workbench. Smartling, MotionPoint, Translations.com are a few of the third-party vendors recommended by Salesforce for translations.
    • SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY
      Over 15 third-party providers of international shipping are listed on the Salesforce Marketplace. They help you optimize shipping rates, streamline order fulfillment, and enhance conversions.
    • INTERNATIONAL TAX AND INVOICING
      Salesforce offers advanced sales and use tax management solutions through Avalara, Vertex, TaxJar, etc. Right from automating tax calculations to generating signature-ready PDF returns you can do it all, helping you save time and improve compliance.
  2. CHANGING BUSINESS MODELS
    Salesforce Commerce Cloud is an enterprise-grade eCommerce platform best suited to solve complex business challenges. Salesforce regularly rolls out new features that help improve your site performance without any additional effort. The storage space provided by the Salesforce Commerce Cloud is unparalleled and increases the agility of the server system. This helps you manage traffic spikes without any interruption or slowing down your site. It also offers function-specific integrations for marketing, customer segmentation, CRM, etc.
  3. GROWING PRODUCT PORTFOLIOS AND SALES VOLUMES Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a highly scalable, cloud-based SaaS eCommerce solution. The cloud-based multisite management and localization feature allows you to expand into new markets and launch new brands really fast. The multisite architecture enables merchants to manage multiple brands and country sites all from the same environment, leveraging a common code, processes, imagery, and master catalog. This platform is designed to handle huge demand and traffic spik

Pricing

Salesforce Commerce Cloud pricing structure is highly flexible. It comes in three tiers: Starter, Growth, and Unlimited. Each tier is based on a company’s gross merchandise volume (GMV), ie. the total gross revenue in a specific period. Salesforce Commerce Cloud takes a small percentage of this revenue.
The Starter Tier is for single-store companies with just one website and/or store, and two price books. In this tier, Salesforce Commerce Cloud charges 1% of GMV.
Growth Tier is for companies that have up to five stores and up to 10 price books. Salesforce Commerce Cloud charges 1-2% of GMV in this tier.
The Unlimited Tier is targeted at large companies with greater demands. Under this structure, Salesforce Commerce Cloud charges 2% of GMV as a fee.
This pricing structure is highly appealing especially when you are starting your business,. You don’t have to pay large amounts upfront and you pay only a small percentage of the revenue made.


Magento 2

Scalability

  1. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
    • MULTI CURRENCY
      In Magento, you can configure your store for over two hundred currencies. They can be updated manually or imported into your store when required or according to a predefined schedule. The benefits of multi-currency support are many.
      • Customers are not charged additional fees for currency conversion
      • The price of goods are rounded off
      • The more payment options, the better the engagement with customers
      • Reduces cart abandonment and refunds
    • MULTI LANGUAGE
      Creating a multilingual store on the Magento platform is very easy as there are multiple language packs on the Magento marketplace. There are three ways to develop the front end in various language versions:
      • Create a new website with a unique name for each language
      • Create a new localized store with sufficient differences. For this, you’ll need to create a website, add a store and store view
      • Create a new store view where you just add a localized version of the current store. This is the easiest of the three options.
    • SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY
      Magento offers a multi-carrier shipping and fulfillment solution through Magento Shipping. Magento Shipping offers access to global carrier networks and is seamlessly integrated with the Magento admin tools.
      Benefits of Magento Shipping:
      • Quote, book, and generate compliant shipping labels
      • Improve cart conversion and revenue
      • Dynamic display of competitively-priced shipping options
      • Automate fulfillment processes and track packages
      • Reduce shipping-related costs
    • INTERNATIONAL TAX AND INVOICING
      Magento offers many third-party integrations for accurate tax management. These plugins provide automatic, real-time, and accurate sales tax calculations for each country based on the latest rates and rules, product taxability status, and customer exceptions. They are programmed to handle tax calculations even when customers apply coupons or when promotional offers are present. They also have built-in tools to generate and file signature-ready PDF returns promptly. Vertex is one of the most sought after tax solution providers by Magento merchants.
  2. CHANGING BUSINESS MODELS
    Magento is most suited for businesses that require extreme flexibility. With Magento, you have complete control to scale the platform as your business grows. Magento is one of the most preferred platforms amongst growing businesses because it can support multiple brands, stores, and B2B/B2C customer experiences from a single interface. For B2B merchants Magento offers unique features like Advanced account management tools, a functionality where multiple buyers can share a single account, Request for quote using third party apps and Flexible payment terms, etc.
  3. GROWING PRODUCT PORTFOLIOS AND SALES VOLUMES Magento Commerce is an eCommerce solution with unlimited scalability and open-source flexibility for B2C and B2B experiences. Magento allows you to create unique customer experiences and comes power-packed with features that help you grow in an increasingly competitive market. The modern technology stack, modular codebase and new architecture are features that will boost your digital commerce performance.

Pricing

Magento Open Source is available free for download. You will need to pay for web development, web hosting, and the additional integrations required to launch and maintain your store.
The cost of Magento Enterprise Edition is linked to your online store’s revenue. It is estimated that this cost can range anywhere between $22,000 per year to $125,000. In addition you need to budget development costs and infrastructure (servers, databases, etc.).

Comparison Chart

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *