Ireland’s eCommerce market is worth over €8 billion in 2022 – and it’s set to grow by almost 15% annually over the coming years. If you’re looking to get a slice of the action, there are a range of eCommerce platforms ready and waiting to help you do it. But which is best?
Here are eight of the most popular eCommerce platforms for Irish companies with pros and cons to help you decide where to sell your products online.
Starting with the most popular, WooCommerce accounts for a whopping 25% of the top 1 million eCommerce sites globally. It’s not hard to see why. WooCommerce is essentially an eCommerce plugin for WordPress websites. That makes it quick and easy to turn an existing website into an online store, which is ideal for brick-and-mortar retailers who are ready to dip their toes into the online marketplace.
WooCommerce and WordPress are user-friendly, cost-effective and great if you’re looking for customisation. The open-source platform allows you to choose from a wide range of themes and plugins, code yourself, and connect to 3rd-party technology solutions. However, with so many options and parties involved, this can result in websites that are loosely pinned together with solutions of varying quality and significant ongoing upkeep. Each plugin and technology added to an overall WordPress solution can also quickly add up to make what seems to be a low-cost solution more expensive than planned.
The main benefits of WooCommerce include:
- Arguably the best platform for SEO with guides and plugins to help you along the way.
- Cost-effective with free installation, reasonably priced extensions and no transaction fees for third-party payments.
- Practically limitless customisation with well over 50,000 plugins.
- Easy to integrate with third-party WooCommerce fulfillment services.
Why is Shopify so popular? Simple – this is the best platform if you’re looking for an easy eCommerce business management experience. Shopify is an all-in-one solution, including hosting, security, and the website software itself.
Shopify provides a choice of more than 70 pre-designed themes, so you can simply select a store layout and get started. Everything is built in and ready to go, from product pages and payment options, to valuable features like abandoned cart recovery and discount codes. This makes it the quickest and easiest way to get your online store live.
The main downside of Shopify is the cost. While the all-inclusive price is a good value considering that you get everything you need, apps on the platform can be quite expensive compared to other solutions. Shopify also has transaction fees, unless you’re using Shopify Payments. However, it’s a small price to pay for so much quality and convenience that can get you selling more, faster..
Here are the main advantages of Shopify:
- Quick and easy to build your online store from scratch, even for complete beginners.
- Hosting and security provided as standard.
- Wide range of built-in features to improve user experience and increase sales.
- Seamless integration with social media sites, other selling platforms like Amazon and eBay, and Shopify fulfillment services.
- Optional upgrade to Shopify Plus for more features and unlimited staff accounts with customisable permission settings.
Next up is Magento. Like WooCommerce, it’s an open-source platform, meaning it’s highly customisable. That’s paired with an active community of users who develop plugins and provide support. The main benefit of Magento is the platform’s flexibility when it comes to location. You can choose from multiple languages, currencies, and pricing options for different audiences, allowing you to sell in different countries without compromising on user experience.
All that said, Magento is quite demanding in terms of know-how. You may require third-party developer assistance to get the most out of the platform and your store. It’s also one of the more expensive options if you want to go beyond the community version.
Amazon is Ireland’s biggest eCommerce site in terms of revenue. In addition to its own products, the platform allows sellers to create their own store using the Amazon Seller App. The main benefit here is that you become part of the most well-known eCommerce marketplace. With that comes a big boost in traffic and instant trust from potential customers.
It’s easy to set up your store, but you do face significant competition, given that there are so many other sellers on the platform selling similar (or even the same) products. While you won’t need to pay for your own site, there are fees for your plan and commission taken on each item sold. It can also be costly and challenging to manage fulfillment with Amazon’s fulfillment service, unless you opt for specialist Amazon FBA and Amazon FBM solutions.
eBay is another platform where you can have your own store without your own site. Like Amazon, it’s easy to use with customer traffic and trust instantly available However, it’s also equally as competitive as Amazon when it comes to selling on the marketplace. The main difference between the two is that eBay allows you to list a certain number of products for free, depending on your plan. That means you’ll only pay a ‘final value fee’, also known as commission, making it ideal for anyone who is just getting started.
Linnworks is an inventory management system that allows you to sell through multiple eCommerce platforms, all from one central hub. It integrates with all of the platforms listed above and more, so you can maximise exposure and profitability. The clear benefit of Linnworks is that you can list, process, and monitor orders all in one place. The main downside is its pricing, with that all-inclusive service coming at a premium.
Taking things one step further than Linnworks, Skubana is an inventory management platform that offers management of multiple fulfillment centres. That’s paired with automation tools which apply routing directions or packing instructions to save you time. As you can expect, this also comes at a cost – with pricing the main drawback cited by Skubana customers.
Unlike most of the alternatives, EKM is targeted specifically at individuals and small retailers. You get a choice of themes to make setup easy, with essentials like security included.
One of the main advantages is that you get a dedicated account manager for advice on technical assistance. That makes it ideal for true beginners who want more personal support and reassurance for their eCommerce journey.
However, the platform is quite limited in terms of SEO features. Many users also become frustrated by the limits on revenue, product numbers, and user accounts for each of their plans. For example, a Basic plan is limited to 500 products, 1 user account and £50,000 per year (or the equivalent in euros) in revenue.
Which eCommerce platform is best for you?
Ultimately, the best eCommerce platform for you depends on where you’re starting and where you plan to go. You’ll need to take into consideration your experience level, budget, the size of your eCommerce operation, and how you plan to expand in the future. Technical aptitude and your preference for customisation vs. out-of-the-box functionality are also key considerations.
However, your choice of platform isn’t the only hurdle to eCommerce success. Whatever choice you make, you’ll need to be prepared to pick, pack, and ship orders quickly and accurately to meet customer demand. That’s known as fulfillment – and it can make or break your eCommerce business.
At Autofulfil, we make things easier with hassle-free fulfillment services in Ireland. By integrating your eCommerce platform with our warehouse management system, we can automatically receive orders, fulfill them, and update your inventory. We integrate with all of the eCommerce platforms listed here free of charge, to get your products from your online store to your customer’s doors. Get started in less than a week! Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you launch and scale your eCommerce business.