Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen a boom in the ecommerce business, and one thing's for sure: it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Statista predicts that ecommerce sales will reach 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026.
With many ecommerce platforms to choose from, how do you decide which one will add the most value to your ecommerce business?
In this guide, we’ll talk about the leading ecommerce platforms and what each can offer your business as we head into 2024 and beyond.
What to look for when choosing an ecommerce platform
When deciding on the right ecommerce platform, it’s essential to look for the tools that will benefit and are catered to your business model. Do your research and make a decision based on your specific needs.
A guide on how to choose the right ecommerce platform for your business: 6 crucial aspects you need to consider
Open or closed platforms - Open platforms are based on open source code and its inherently collaborative culture which allows merchants to build the exact experience their customers and teams need – without limitation. Everything – literally everything – is open for customization, extension, and integration. This is significant to merchants who must differentiate themselves from their competitors, deliver insightful & authentic experiences for their customers, and innovate their way to be future-proof. In the context of open platforms, integrating a digital sales room becomes seamless, offering a powerful tool for personalized customer engagement and sales enhancement. Closed platforms offer a “black box” core in which integrations and limited customization are possible through rigid configuration and predefined extension points. This approach isn’t inherently bad, but it is perceived as very limiting by many merchants.
PaaS, SaaS or self-hosted - A self-hosted solution has certain benefits. Merchants can use the system without the need for a disruptive overhaul; the retail organization has the option to control its own hardware, software, and customer data. On-premise is generally perceived as a cheaper option. SaaS is a good choice for those organizations that want little involvement in the management of the software and prefer an ‘out of the box’ solution for a quick setup. The vendor handles all aspects of the software provision from the applications themselves to the way that the data is used and updates are automated. PaaS is a slightly more adaptable option that provides greater flexibility thanks to the hosting and software coming from a single source. Every customer can leverage the benefits of a service model – the top-of-the-range security and scalability, for example – but it also offers many of the benefits of self-hosted by providing more control over data and applications.
The platform's ecosystem - Each ecommerce platform will have its own ecosystem built around it by technology and app partners, extensions and integration partners, hosting providers, agencies that can help with customization and marketing services and many more. Make sure your chosen platform's ecosystem caters to all your needs and integrates with all other solutions that are crucial to your business.
Multi-channel sales and omnichannel capabilities – If you know you’re going to be selling through multiple channels, find an ecommerce platform that caters to multi-channel sales. If you’d like to read more about choosing the right multi-channel software and the difference between multi-channel and omnichannel, download the free Success in Omnichannel eBook.
Size of your business – Certain ecommerce platforms cater to and work better with different-sized businesses. If you’re a small ecommerce business, look for software that caters to small businesses.
Pricing – Find an ecommerce platform that fits your budget. Most platforms have a monthly fee and ongoing costs as you use their platform. Costs will also vary between self-hosted and cloud-hosted platforms. You may be charged additional transaction fees or GMV-based monthly fees. Whatever you decide for your business, ensure that you are aware of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of you solution. Take all related costs into account and not only the "sticker price" quoted by the vendor.
To help you compare and decide on a platform, we’ve compiled a list of our top 8 ecommerce platforms in 2024. When coming up with our top 8 ecommerce platforms, we factored in different aspects such as pricing, ease of use, software, and scalability. These 8 different ecommerce platforms will help your business reach its goals in 2024.
Top 8 ecommerce platforms in 2024
Shopware is the leading open commerce platform for all your business and consumer needs—in one comprehensive solution. Whether your business is B2C or B2B, physical goods or digital products, you can customize and automate operations intuitively, and without having to write a single line of code.
Shopware has fused performance, agility, and top-of-the-line security into its ecommerce software and gives you complete access to the source code. Hence, you have 100% visibility into your data. Shopware offers solutions for both multi-channel and omnichannel ecommerce businesses. Including great training resources, live streams, webinars, online training courses, and a FAQ forum.
Shopware is particularly popular with former users of Magento 1 and Magento 2. Thousands of Magento 1 users have migrated to Shopware in the past years using the robust Magento migration tool.
Pros: PHP-based and fully open-source platform. Offers some of the best ecommerce automation tools (Flow Builder and Rule Builder). AI first approach and headless capabilities. The best total cost of ownership for most mid-market sized businesses (starting at $5m online sales). Very strong B2B capabilities.
Cons: Not the right solution for businesses that only sell a handful of products.
2. Magento (Adobe Commerce)
Magento is a trusted ecommerce solution with a strong presence and many implementations. Magento offers native multilingual capabilities as well as multilingual documentation. Magento lets you update your pages quickly and uses algorithms to create a personalized B2C and B2B commerce experience from a single-scalable platform.
Pros: 100% international; focused on the demands of several different markets.
Cons: Developers are scarce; typically, a 3-5 month wait to start development. Thousands of Magento 1 and 2 installations aren’t supported anymore. The core platform is bloated with out-of-the-box features with a lot of dependencies and legacy code.
BigCommerce offers a SaaS solution that combines the best of SaaS and API to give you the enterprise integrations and tools you need to customize faster. BigCommerce offers a powerful dashboard that lets you perform any changes you need, as well as extensive user documentation that is easy to understand and up to date. BigCommerce also offers solid customer support.
Pros: The industry leader in 3rd party integrations.
Cons: Very high costs of customization and poor omnichannel capabilities. Very limited frontend optimization possibilities.
Read on: an in-depth look at all available BigCommerce alternatives
Shopify offers a SaaS solution that is simple to set up and requires no technical background. This is a good solution for businesses starting out in the ecommerce industry. Shopify focuses on usability and offers a powerful API. Shopify offers a free trial and currently offers three months of usage for $1/month on select plans.
Pros: Free of charge customer support for every merchant.
Cons: Shopify charges transaction fees that some may consider "hidden fees." Templated approach to building storefronts, all shops tend to look similar. Very limited frontend optimization possibilities.
5. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus offers the same general features and dashboard as Shopify but with a more in-depth twist. Shopify Plus offers some new features not available on Shopify, including access to your stores' code, integrations, different support options, and more. The easiest way to describe the difference is: Shopify is for small to medium-sized businesses, and Shopify Plus is for enterprise-level businesses.
Pros: Offers high international visibility due to its strong marketing.
Cons: Shopify Plus's total cost of ownership can be higher than advertised due to customization costs.
Spryker offers free cloud software based on an open-source development model with well-documented interfaces and no transaction costs. Spryker has experience in wholesale, retail, grocery retail, medical technology, and more. Whether you’re just starting, looking to re-platform, or want to innovate and expand - Spryker has a solution for you.
Pros: Offer immense flexibility through their microservice approach.
Cons: Their complex solution requires longer onboarding times. In comparison to all other vendors on this list, Spryker has very few customers.
7. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Year after year, Salesforce continues to be one of the most trusted names in the ecommerce industry. Salesforce offers the first cloud platform in ecommerce, with software offering no documented performance issues with customers for more than 20 years. The Commerce Cloud allows you to adapt quickly, reduce costs, and increase sales. Their Genie Customer Data Cloud gives you real-time data so you can deliver personalized experiences to your customers.
Pros: A massive global partner landscape; with solid references in the enterprise B2C and B2B market.
Cons: To connect Salesforce Commerce Cloud with the Salesforce platform, you need a firmly maintained connector. Exorbitant costs.
8. SAP Commerce
SAP is reliable and fully international. SAP brings high brand awareness and name recognition and offers your business complete solutions, including ERP, marketing, sales, services, and commerce. SAP offers an enterprise-level solution to help you innovate and drive profitable growth.
Pros: SAP offers extraordinary stability due to the company's large size.
Cons: Their complicated structures and interfaces lead to long implementation periods. Very expensive solution.
Choose the right solution for your business
With all the ecommerce platforms available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the different options. When looking for the right solution, remember to think about your goals. Determine which platform offers the best tools to help you achieve those goals and caters to your business size. In addition, be aware of the specific requirements of B2B ecommerce software, as these can differ significantly from B2C solutions, especially in terms of customer management and bulk order processing.
What is the best ecommerce platform?
The best ecommerce platform is the one that satisfies your specific business needs. Shopware is one of the best platforms for small to medium size businesses. Shopify is the best option for small businesses with only a handful of products to sell.
What is the best open-source ecommerce platform?
Shopware is the best open-source ecommerce platform with a user base of more than 100,000 online shops around the world. With Shopware you own your data, and with full access to the source code, your data is truly yours—no lock-ins, no compromises, no limits.
What are the most popular ecommerce platforms?
Shopware, Magento (now Adobe Commerce), BigCommerce, Shopify, Shopify Plus, Spryker, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and SAP Commerce are the most popular ecommerce platforms. However, the best ecommerce platform for you is the one that perfectly fits your business, and in many instances, Shopware offers the best bang for your buck.
What is the best alternative to Magento?
The best alternative to Magento is Shopware. Shopware is an open-source ecommerce platform for all your business and consumer needs. Whether your business is B2C or B2B, physical goods or digital products, with Shopware you can customize and automate operations intuitively, and without having to write a single line of code.
What is the best B2B ecommerce platform?
The best B2B ecommerce platform meets your unique business requirements. Shopware is excellent for SMBs and mid-market-sized businesses. Shopify is ideal for small businesses with few products.