Woocommerce, Magento or Shopify – which ecommerce platform should I choose?


When launching a new business selling online, there are a number of options available for ecommerce.

We’ve put together an overview three popular and approachable platforms to consider when launching your ecommerce website.



Who’s it for? Shop owners / Startups / Online Sellers

2) Woocommerce. This is a great alternative to Magento if you don’t need as many features and want to get up and running quickly with the minimum of fuss.
Woocommerce is best for those with smaller shops, who don’t need the advanced backoffice features offered by Magento. It’s easy to keep updated and integrates with WordPress, so if you know how to use WordPress, Woocommerce is a gentle step up.


  • One of the most popular platforms around
  • Integrates closely with WordPress (can use same CMS for website, blog and shop)
  • Familiar interface for those who have used Wordpress before
  • Open source – developed and maintained by the community


  • Not as powerful as Magento in some aspects
  • You need to be running WordPress – doesn’t integrate with other CMS



Who’s it for? Established stores / Professional Sellers

Magento is one of the best known ecommerce platforms. The Community Edition is free and powerful. It’s been around a number of years.

Magento offer a premium version for large companies, Enterprise Edition. At $18,000/£14,000 a year, it’s not cheap. For that reason, most Magento users tend to use the free CE version, which still offers most of the features you find in the paid-for version, but without ongoing support.

Perhaps the most widely used option for selling online, Magento is an “enterprise grade” platform. Magento is extremely powerful and offers so many features, but it can be challenging to get to grips with.



  • Open source – developed and maintained by the community
  • Possible to set up complex sales/shopping cart rules and inventory management
  • Has the weight of a huge parent company behind it


  • Higher development costs because of the highly specialised framework
  • Enterprise Edition costs are prohibitive for most small/medium sized businesses



Who’s it for? Online Traders / Small Shops

A (fairly) new but keen competitor, Shopify, although targeted at small business owners, is used by some big names, such as Red Bull.

Shopify is a hosted solution which means you don’t have to worry about PCI compliance, setting up payment gateways, or what happens if your website goes down in the middle of the night.

Shopify’s main benefit is its ease of use and the ability to get up and running quickly – no separate payment gateway is needed, and you don’t need to set up separate web hosting, which is a great option for someone non-technical. You do need to register your own domain name and point it to Shopify. Another plus point is that Shopify provides an SSL certificate for no extra cost, so your website address shows as “secure” in the browser.


  • Quick to set up.
  • Hosted, no need to worry about PCI-compliance.
  • Easy to use and extend with new functionality without technical knowhow
  • Wide range of attractive, mobile optimised themes
  • Provides a POS (Point of Sale) device if you are selling in person


  • Not as powerful as Magento
  • Paid-for themes are more expensive than Woocommerce
  • Not open source like Magento/Woocommerce


Further reading