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

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

23 Replies

Chrissy Shea
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Chrissy Shea Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur and Marketing Strategist
Look at Spree Commerce (bonobos).. and if not that, i would go with shoppify over woocommerce/wordpress (it's a little clunky).
Joe Rodriguez
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Joe Rodriguez Advisor
Product Manager: Lover of Legos, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.
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
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Mike Burda Entrepreneur
Sales and Business Development at Smile Software
Can you be more specific as to what you are seeking in an e-commerce solution?
Craig Smith
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Craig Smith Advisor
Cross-border Ecommerce Executive
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
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Adam Levenson Entrepreneur
CTO & Co-Founder at Digital Operative
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
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Craig Smith Advisor
Cross-border Ecommerce Executive
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 aminimum, you might consider drafting a requirements document to fully define the scope and scale of your needs.
Jonah Sigel
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Jonah Sigel Advisor
Digital Customer Experience & Technology Strategist
So I'd look at Demandware (happy to make an intro) Salesforce just bought them but I think they are great; I'd also look at Shopify. Only disadvantage to that is that they force you to use their payment gateway which can be pricey.
Piper Cole
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Piper Cole Entrepreneur
CEO at Colbrook Kitchen
I'm working on a requirements document that includes both current functionality that we don't want to lose as well as desired additional functionality. I don't want to bore everyone with it, but would be delighted for feedback from anyone who wants to see it.

Does anyone have a template for a website requirements document to make sure we're covering all the bases?
Vishal Wadher
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Vishal Wadher Entrepreneur
CEO & President at atmosol
Hello Piper,

Without knowing your company size, traffic volume, conversion rate and customization its almost impossible to provide a tangible suggestion on what your next platform should be. Having said that, we have helped over 300 retailers with their eCommerce strategies. So we have a solid process down where we can help clients evaluate the right platform for their short and long term needs. By that I mean we ensure clients don't sign up for something that may be an overkill for their size and needs and vice versa.

Magento is very flexible as you mentioned and if you've already invested in the learning curve of maintaining it, then it may be worth while sticking to it. Regarding SEO and organic results, trust me its not the platform. Its simple the execution of a solid digital marketing strategy and then ensuring that is translated into content, code, URL, meta tag, and other updates that may be needed.

I'd be happy to have my team do a review and evaluate your needs to provide suggestions on what platform might be best suited for your needs. Please contact me at [removed to protect privacy] or via our website - www.atmosol.com

Thank you and wish you all the best in your endeavor!
Mike Dahlstedt
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Mike Dahlstedt Advisor
Technology Marketing & Venture Development Professional
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.


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