What E-Commerce Platform Should You Use

26 January 2021

If you sell products as part of your business, the importance of having an online shop is unquestionable. Online shopping is constantly growing as more and more customers are turning to the internet rather than the high street. This trend is only getting more obvious with the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers ourselves we get it don’t we? It’s easier, more convenient and safer to shop online than venture outside for our retail therapy, and now we’ve got a taste for it it’s not going away.

Retail businesses are turning to the internet to help boost their sales and catch more customers, and if you run a retail business you may very well be doing the same. However, when setting up your online store there are a huge amount of options out there. If you’re looking to set up an online store it might be difficult to know where to start! We hope to break down the most popular platforms on the market and shed some light on what you should pick! Here is our break down:


Woocommerce is an open-source plugin built as part of WordPress. As it’s a WordPress plugin it uses many of the familiar features of the WordPress CMS. If you’re familiar with WordPress then Woocommerce is very easy to pick up. Being part of WordPress means it’s well supported too! There are a huge range of extensions available to adapt your store how you need. Features such as event booking, subscription services etc are all available with Woocommerce extensions. Another advantage is if you’re already running a WordPress site adding Woocommerce is easy to do. If your site runs a purchased theme it’s likely adding a storefront is already built into your site frontend!

Keep in mind though that official Woocommerce extensions can be expensive. Woocommerce is free but if you want to add a subscription service for example the extensions for this can be pricy. However, most online stores will be happy with Woocommerce out of the box.


Shopify was originally developed to create a platform for selling online in the easiest way possible. It’s ease of use is an advantage, with design integrated as part of the system, lots of guides to help users and the option to buy site templates if you don’t like the standard options available. There is a community of developers making free and paid for apps to extend your store, along with 24-hour support from the Shopify team.

The pricing structure locks you into ongoing costs, which can be annoying. Shopify charge a monthly fee for its system and being financially tied in can put pressure on new businesses. It’s also important to pay attention to what package you buy and what comes with it! Many users end up being forced to upgrade their packages as certain features are closed off to them. Certain key features you my assume would be built in require installing apps to achieve. It isn’t necessarily as out-of-the-box as you might think!


Magento is a very popular e-commerce solution for large businesses who have significant turnover and a wide product range. Some top brands like Ford, Sigma, Land Rover, Nespresso and Olympus use or have used Magento for their stores. It is a very robust system with a wide range of extensions available to customise your site, along with developers who can build bespoke options for you. It’s biggest plus is this flexibility! As well as this, Magento sites can easily scale as your business expands and with built-in SEO features you can make the most of your online presence!

However, with this scale and flexibility comes complexity! For a newcomer to e-commerce Magento is difficult to set up and manage. It’s important to have an understanding of HTML to manage content and ongoing maintenance. Magento is also likely the more expensive option! Development, hosting and management of a Magento site will probably cost more than any other in this list. Ultimately if you don’t need the vast range and customisable functions of Magento it’s not worth it!


Wix and Squarespace have offered simple, design focused websites for many years. More recently they’ve expanded into offering e-commerce solutions. The main advantage for these platforms has always been its ease of use. Unlike traditional web development, they are frontend focused. This means that you edit your site while looking at the layout live. You can drop in text, images and graphics in a live view then drag them around and position them how you like. Making something that looks good and how you want it is much easier than working in code.

The issue with this kind of system is that you are kept separate from the code and have very little control over it! These kinds of sites write the code for you based on what you visually put together, and the code they write aren’t always the best. From a technical aspect your site might be running more code than would be necessary if it were built bespoke. More code means sites run slower, more prone to break and not be universally compatible.

We at LMD Design have created sites across all of these platforms and to know which would work best for you it’s important to know what you want out of your site. Many online stores fail as they don’t have a clear goal from the start. There are many options out there for online stores so getting this foundation right at the beginning is vital!

If you’re looking to launch an online store as part of your business we’re here to help! Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your options.

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