E-Commerce · Mobile Platforms

What is the best e-commerce platform for an existing online-only single store retail business?

Piper Cole CEO at Colbrook Kitchen

July 8th, 2016

Colbrook Kitchen has been in business for over 5 years. When we launched, we selected Magento/Community Edition as our platform: owned by eBay, robust feature set, upwardly migratable, lots of extensions, etc. And we have learned (somewhat) to manage its complex backend … but we fear that its depth/complexities may be adversely affecting our organic search results.

Our development team has moved on to other things, and we need to cleanup and revitalize our site and make it mobile friendly. We’re concerned that another platform may not provide the same robust functionality.

We see our options as follows:

  1. Stay with Magento (Community? Or upgrade?) and find an experienced, reasonably priced development team … who have you worked with that you can recommend?

  2. Migrate/Rebuild on WooCommerce (Woo seems to be the upgrade path from WordPress, and we’re not a WordPress site, or

  3. A different platform or approach

Mike D Sport Analytics Technology

July 8th, 2016

I have built, and currently manage many ecommerce stores with my team.  I use different platforms for different needs, hope this helps:

Magento - use only if you have a good tech team, at least a developer and server admin.  Only reason I would us is for enterprise type system where you can custom integrate into your existing IT systems / DB's for better automation.

Shopify - I recommend for retailers launching their first ecommerce business; they can do with ease and style.  I also use for stores with smaller product lines and where needs are more basic.  This platform is easier to get up and running, but costly (or impossible) to get into larger more custom needs.

Big Commerce - I use this one for stores that have more fine tuned needs, or potential to grow larger.  It can handle much more business scenarios than Shopify, but tradeoff is on the additional complexities to configure and launch.  Can be overkill for some small retailers, but can handle them too. I find templates are not as good with Big Commerce as with Shopify.

Also, i find Shopify integrates more openly out there, Big Commerce 'new' system falls short on getting their API's to catch up.

A side note, there are other lots of great systems out there too, I just use above. I also use WP for ultra lightweight stuff, and I've looked at Lemonstand as pretty compelling local platform.

John McCarthy I help businesses achieve their new customer acquisition, retention and customer lifetime value goals.

July 8th, 2016


I agree with Craig.

Throwing out names of platforms without an understanding of the requirements is putting the cart before the horse, if not potentially reckless.

Search Google for "srs template" - software requirements specifications and figure out what your business needs.

Then evaluate the platforms against your short and long term business needs. If your development team has moved on to other things, I would recommend that you consider both a hosted (cloud) and installed platforms in your solution set.


Kate Hiscox

July 8th, 2016

Hi Piper,

It depends on the number of products you have. I've worked in ecommerce and supply chain management for 15+ years and have relationships with most of the major platforms. Shopify is fantastic for a smaller number of products. BigCommerce is very powerful for automated product relationships and one of the easiest when it comes to variants. 

I'd try to keep it as simple as you can or you'll fall into a time sink as you've seen with Magento.

Happy to hop on a call and chat through your objectives if it helps. I've built and sold two successful ecommerce stores so I've pretty much seen it all!


Antony Nicodemous Entrepreneur... What the mind can conceive it can achieve !

September 9th, 2017

There's a new kid on the block now with No Set up fees, no monthly or maintenance fees and which offers a ready made customer base who would be paid to shop at your store. In Soft launch now, full launch early November though up and running already.Message me for more details.

Chrissy Shea Entrepreneur and Marketing Strategist

July 8th, 2016

Look at Spree Commerce (bonobos).. and if not that, i would go with shoppify over woocommerce/wordpress (it's a little clunky).

Joe Rodriguez Product Manager: Lover of Legos, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.

July 8th, 2016

Shopify and Bigcommerce are great platforms and easy to use with a collection of apps and add ons to help you.  There are a lot of development services out there who specialize in store development and migration.

Mike Burda Sales and Business Development at Smile Software

July 8th, 2016

Can you be more specific as to what you are seeking in an e-commerce solution? 

Craig Smith Cross-border Ecommerce Executive

July 8th, 2016

From looking at your "ordering'delivery" FAQ, it appears that you do ship some orders internationally.  From my perspective, one of the biggest considerations would be whether you have you sights set on expanding your cross-border business.  The open source solutions Magento, Woo, etc. have been intrinsically more flexible that the SaaS alternatives, however, I'm seeing that beginning to change. Shopify and BigCommerce are aggressively looking to make their solutions more flexible in response to the fast-growing cross-border trend.  These SaaS solutions tend to be less expensive and easier to maintain.  So before I'd make a recommendation, my first question has to do with your growth strategy- staying focused domestically or making a play for global markets...?

Adam Levenson CTO & Co-Founder at Digital Operative

July 8th, 2016

There are a lot of factors here and their is not straightforward answer. Magento is definitely powerful but requires a lot of technical knowledge to do correctly (I know, we are a Magento solutions provider). 

I would need to know more about what your challenges and requirements are before making a recommendation. In addition, budget and the skill-set of your team is also an important factor. I will say that moving off Magento to something like Woo will result in a lot of missing functionality. Woo commerce is not even on the list of recommended platforms IMHO, but again its important to know what you need to run you business and find a solution that matches that rather than trying to fit your business into a piece of software.

Craig Smith Cross-border Ecommerce Executive

July 8th, 2016

Well said, Adam, "...find a solution that matches your business rather than trying to fit your business into a piece of software."  Piper, your question has much more broad considerations and implications- at a minimum, you might consider drafting a requirements document to fully define the scope and scale of your needs.