15 Best e-commerce CMS platforms in 2020
Updated: January 20, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director
Selecting the right e-commerce CMS platform for your webstore is one of the most important steps to consider when planning to sell something online. The choice itself might be challenging as there are many different platforms available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article we’ll go through several different e-commerce CMS platforms, noting each one’s features, advantages, pros and cons.
Top 15 E-commerce CMS platforms
- SAP Hybris
- Drupal Commerce Wix
- Pinnacle Cart
- Core Commerce
- Virto Commerce
Magento is one of the most popular open source CMS platforms out there, with a huge number of features and services available. It prides itself on having high performance standards and also scalability, making it fit for a wide variety of businesses, from small companies to enterprise-level clients. Their customization options are quite extensive as well.
There are several possible versions of Magento available depending on what you want from it (Magento Cloud, Magento Community and Magento Enterprise).
Aside from the previously mentioned features, Magento also provides support for different languages and currencies, is SEO-compatible, can work with B2B integration and much more.
Shopify is a solution that doesn’t require you to install any sort of software for it to work - this type of a solution is called Software as a Service (SaaS). Smaller business may enjoy Shopify’s extensive catalogue of both Themes and Templates with many variations.
Other features that Shopify prides themselves on is their third-party app integrations, their performance in general and their adaptability to other devices, like tablets or smartphones. It also has a pretty low price for their services in general and is loved by most of the starting businesses. There’s even a mobile app that helps with managing a store from almost anywhere. And if you’ve encountered some sort of problem, Shopify support is ready to help.
However, Shopify isn’t perfect, as there are some disadvantages there, too. The most prominent disadvantage would probably be the additional transaction fee when not using Shopify’s own payment system.
One of the key features of BigCommerce as a CMS platform is their ability to provide back-end support to their customers. Clients also note BigCommerce’s simplicity and an abundance of features available. That usability is a significant advantage for any company’s potential revenue.
Their feature list also includes inventory management, checkout option variety, official support available anytime, and more.
That being said, BigCommerce has essentially no entry-level plan, and more complicated levels cost quite a lot of money. The lack of themes available can also be counted as a negative point for BigCommerce.
OsCommerce is an open source e-commerce platform that looks somewhat like an older version of Amazon. It has existed for over 18 years, however their download numbers are not as high as one would expect.
Despite its age, osCommerce is still a good platform for your e-commerce needs, with features like quick setup, reasonable price policy, and relatively easy customization if you’re a developer. Not all features are as good as they could be though, technical support can be lacking at times, and overall capability of osCommerce to work with large businesses is quite questionable in general.
OpenCart is widely considered to be one of the most popular CMS platforms in general, boasting their flexibility, scalability and user-friendliness. It also has a very active community in general and the platform itself is always striving to be even better than before.
OpenCart is an especially popular choice for starting or just small businesses in general because it needs little to no knowledge of the coding and such to set up your own online shop. All of that is replaced by a large choice of plugins with almost limitless capability.
OpenCart can also be praised for its ability to easily work with multiple stores, as well as the usual advantages like supporting different languages and currencies, having a wide variety of templates, as well as all kinds of extensions and modules for you to work with. It can be stated that the overall performance of OpenCart without additional plugins might be a little lower than you’d expect, and even that can be fixed by finding necessary performance plugins or modules.
At its core, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. Even so, its open-source nature makes for an immensely popular platform that has both extensive features and user-friendly interface. WooCommerce is both free and extremely flexible, which makes it a great choice for all kinds of e-commerce startups and such.
One of its core advantages could also be considered the WooThemes - it’s a theme/template shop that has an enormous amount of both free and paid themes and templates for basically any possible situation.
The limitations of WooCommerce are few and far between, but they’re still there nonetheless. For example, by nature, WooCommerce supports only WordPress plugins, which might be crucial for some specific businesses. While the platform itself is free, the plugins are not free, which may be a critical factor for users that can’t afford to spend a lot of money on their online store.
PrestaShop’s free and open source nature makes for a good choice when looking for an e-commerce platform. Built with PHP and MySQL, it’s specifically designed to handle any types of online stores with no license fees attached. There’s also various payment gateways like Paypal, Google Checkout, and more.
Compared to other CMS platforms, PrestaShop is less taxing hardware-wise, meaning you might be able to save money you’ll spend on your server host. It is free, but with a premium version available as well. It’s also one of the few platforms that purposefully limit their possible scalability to work better with companies of small and medium size.
You’ll still have to purchase some specific modules, though, if they are not included in the premium package. There were also reports of errors with payment gateways, which might be crucial for smaller businesses in the middle of their work.
SAP Hybris is a multichannel e-commerce CMS platform that has a lot of integrated tools and services available. It is capable of working within both B2B and B2C markets and performs the best in specific industries, like finance, telecommunications, media, insurance, retail and manufacturing.
SAP Hybris as a service is based entirely in cloud and uses integrated CRM framework. It has existed since 1997 which makes it one of the originals when it comes to e-commerce platform market. Additional advantages of this platform are product and sales management, sales automation, agile charging, etc.
One of the major problems with SAP Hybris is its cost - it starts from $50k per project. This immediately cuts out a lot of small businesses. Also there were some problems with CMS in general reported from both users and developers.
Drupal Commerce was not designed to be specifically for e-commerce business however, it evolved into this nonetheless. Its focus is on digital marketing support and enterprise-level CMS.
It is not free, though once you’ve bought a license - there’s no limitations for its usage and no licensing cost. The open source nature of this platform makes for a pretty solid choice for middle-level businesses.
The other side of Drupal as a platform is its complexity; it’s not as bad as some other examples, but it’s still not as user-friendly as other plugin-based platforms which would probably make it hard for most amateur developers to work with. One other problem with Drupal is its demanding system requirements and an extra fee for switching in general.
Wix is one more exclusively cloud-based web development platform that might be good for your e-commerce needs. Wix makes for a great choice for smaller companies with its template-based design and customization capabilities that require little to no coding knowledge.
There are also various marketing and financial tools available, as well as social feed and easy drag and drop customization of existing templates.
With the focus on template-based customization comes a hefty price -- with Wix you can’t change the template of your already existing website, so you’ll have to tear it down and start from scratch. The customization options are also limited to everything that is available in the interface itself, with no access to website’s code at all.
VirtueMart is a Joomla-based expansion that is simple to use for both beginners and experts. It uses several types of components, modules and plugins to greatly expand its customization capabilities. There’s also an option to see your in-depth shop statistics for any period of time.
However, to actually sell something, you’ll have to buy a specific plugin, since VirtueMart itself doesn’t offer any selling functionality. It is also lacking in the number of payment gateways available and the payment process itself can get quite complicated at times.
SquareSpace is one more platform that allows you to create a website with little to no effort, including everything you’ll need for the site in question to function properly. It is quite cheap, and also extremely user-friendly.
Unfortunately, that usefulness comes with a price. SquareSpace as a platform lacks customer support, has little to no advanced marketing tools and changing your own content can become an incredibly long and complicated process at times.
Pinnacle Cart is a relatively popular PHP-based e-commerce platform that’s designed with a marketing perspective in mind. Its scalability is also pretty good, it works fine no matter how much items you’re selling.
One crucial thing that Pinnacle Cart lacks is the POS (Point of Sale) system, and most of its competitors have that sort of thing included in the basic service. There are also some limitations on both storage amount and bandwidth available, which might create a lot of inconveniences for bigger stores.
Core Commerce is one more example of a platform that’s created specifically to work with small or medium sized businesses, this includes easy navigation, user-friendly interface, vast integration capabilities and a lot of customizability in general.
On the other hand, CoreCommerce is known to have some difficulties with their uptime in general from time to time. Add to that a moderately high learning curve - and you’ll get Core Commerce as it is.
In summary, it is hard to say that one e-commerce CMS platform will suit everyone. It’s far better to determine what exactly do you want to get from a CMS platform based on your business’s specific needs and purposes.
If want to get basic e-commerce functions only, you probably don’t need the more versatile and complex options, which would mean that one of the smaller and simpler platforms would be your best bet. Alternatively, you may want your future site to be extremely flexible and/or suit your specific preferences, and this would mean that you’ll be choosing between more complex options with a lot of coding included.