The top 15 best e-commerce CMS platforms in 2020

Updated: August 10, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director

Selecting the right e-commerce CMS platform for your webstore is one of the most criticalsteps to consider when planning to sell something online. The choice itself might be challenging as many different platforms are available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

This article will go through several different e-commerce CMS platforms, noting each one’s features, advantages, benefits and disadvantages.

Magento

Magento is one of the most popular open source CMS platforms out there, with a considerable 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 need(Magento Cloud, Magento Community and Magento Enterprise).

Besides from the previously mentioned features, Magento also supports different languages and currencies, is SEO-compatible, can work with B2B integration and much more.

Shopify

Shopify is a solution that doesn’t require you to install any software for it to work - this type of solution is called Software as a Service (SaaS). Smaller business may enjoy Shopify’s extensive catalog of both Themes and Templates with many variations.

Other features that Shopify prides itself on are 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 starting businesses. There is even a mobile app that helps with managing a store from almost anywhere. And if you’ve encountered some problem, Shopify support is ready to help.

However, Shopify is not perfect, there are some downsides as well. The most prominent disadvantage probably be the additional transaction fee when not using Shopify’s own payment system.

BigCommerce

One of the key features of BigCommerce as a CMS platform is its ability to provide back-end support to its 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.

Its 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

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 are a developer. Not all features are as good as they could be though, technical support can be lacking at times, and the overall capability of osCommerce to work with large businesses is quite questionable in general.

OpenCart

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 and the usual advantages like supporting different languages and currencies, having a wide variety of templates and 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 would expect and even that can be fixed by finding necessary performance plugins or modules.

WooCommerce

The core of WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. Its open source nature makes it anan immensely popular platform that has both extensive features and a user-friendly interface. WooCommerce is both free and extremely flexible, making it a great choice for all kinds of e-commerce startups.

One of its core advantages could also be considered the WooThemes – it is 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 are still there nonetheless. For example, by nature, WooCommerce supports only WordPress plugins, which might be crucial for some specific businesses. Although the platform itself is free, the plugins are not, which may be a critical factor for users who cannot afford to spend muchmoney on their online store.

PrestaShop

PrestaShop’s free and open source nature makes it a good choice when looking for an e-commerce platform. Built with PHP and MySQL, it is specifically designed to handle any type of online stores without license fees. There are also various payment gateways like Paypal, Google Checkout, and more.

Compared to other CMS platforms, PrestaShop is less demanding for the hardware, meaning you might save money on your server host. It is free, but with a premium version available as well. It is also one of the few platforms that purposefully limit their possible scalability to work better with small and medium sized companies.

You will still need to purchase several specific modules, 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

SAP Hybris is a multichannel e-commerce CMS platform that has a lot of integrated tools and services available. It can work 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 the cloud and uses an integrated CRM framework. It exists since 1997 and is one of the originals when it comes to the e-commerce platform market. Additional advantages of this platform are product and salesmanagement, 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. There are also some problems with CMS in general, reported from both users and developers.

Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce was not specifically designed for the e-commerce business, butnevertheless evolved towards this. The focus is on digital marketing support and enterprise-level CMS.

It is not free, though once you have bought a license – there is no limitation for its usage and no licensing cost. The open source nature of this platform makes it a fairly solid choice for middle-level businesses.

Drupal’s other side as a platform is its complexity; it is not as bad as some other examples, but it is not as user-friendly as other plugin-based platforms, which would probably make it hard for most amateur developers to work with. Another problem with Drupal is its demanding system requirements and an extra fee for switching in general.

Wix

Wix is another exclusive cloud-based web development platform that might be good for your e-commerce needs. Wix is a great choice for smaller companies with its template-based design and customization capabilities that require little to no coding knowledge.

A variety of marketing and financial tools are also 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 cannot change the template of your already existing website, so you will have to tear it down and start from scratch. The customization options are also limited to everything available in the interface itself, with no access to the website’s code.

VirtueMart

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 expand its customization capabilities greatly. There is also an option to see your in-depth shop statistics for each period.

However, to actually sell something, you will need to buy a specific plugin, since VirtueMart itself does not offer sales functionality. It also lacks the number of payment gatewaysavailable and the payment process itself can get quite complicated at times.

SquareSpace

SquareSpace is a platform that enables you to create a website with little to no effort, including everything you need to make the site in question to function properly. It is relativelycheap and also extremely user-friendly.

Unfortunately, that user-friendliness comes with a price. SquareSpace, as a platform lackscustomer support, has little to no advanced marketing tools and changing your own content can become an incredibly long and complicated process.

Pinnacle Cart

Pinnacle Cart is a relatively popular PHP-based e-commerce platform designed with marketing in mind. Its scalability is also pretty good, it works fine no matter how many items you sell.

One crucial thing that Pinnacle Cart lacks is the POS (Point of Sale) system, and most competitors have that included in the basic service. There are also some limitations on both storage quantity and available bandwidth, which might create a lot of inconveniences for bigger stores.

Core Commerce

Core Commerce is one more example of a platform designed to work with small or medium-sized businesses, including easy navigation, a user-friendly interface, vast integrationcapabilities and a lot of customizability in general.

On the other hand, CoreCommerce is known to have some difficulties with their uptime in general. Add to that a moderately high learning curve - and you get Core Commerce the wayit is.

Conclusion

In summary, it is hard to say that one e-commerce CMS platform will suit everyone. It is far better to determine what exactly what you want from a CMS platform based on the specific needs and purposes of your business.

If you want to get basic e-commerce functions only, you probably don’t need the more versatile and sophisticated options, which means one of the smaller and simpler platformswould be your best bet. Alternatively, you may want your future site to be extremely flexibleand/or suit your specific preferences. This would mean that you’ll be choosing between more elaborate options with a lot of coding included.

About the author of this article

Ilse Lauwens
Director Marketing

As Director Marketing, Ilse Lauwens is driving and executing the marketing campaigns for Virto Commerce looking for synergies and opportunities, while understanding customer & partner needs in the different markets. Ilse has held marketing management roles on a Belgian and European level at different industry leaders in IT, such as WordPerfect, SAS Institute, Cognos, Microsoft and Sitecore.