Online stores have become increasingly important in recent years and store sales are often no longer sufficient to run a profitable business. As a result, operating a web store is becoming increasingly important, at least as a secondary sales option, even for smaller retailers.
However, running a successful online store is not easy. The difficulty already starts with the choice of the store system, as typical basic functions are often no longer sufficient. The requirements for a store system also vary greatly - depending on the business model, industry and your experience in online retail.
To make your search a little easier and to give you an overview of your options, we have compared the most important store systems in this article.
- What is a store system?
- Advantages of store systems
- Online store software comparison: Which store software suits you?
- Choosing a store system: this is how you should proceed
- Store systems comparison: The 5 best webshop providers at a glance
- 1. Shopify
- Frequently asked questions about the store system comparison
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What is a store system?
A store system is software that enables entrepreneurs to sell their products and services online. It usually forms a modularly expandable basic framework that can be extended with apps, plugins or modules. Such online store software typically includes the following features: a database of product information, an administrative database, a presentation system, a payment gateway, a web tracking system and other tools. Common pre-built store systems include Shopify and Shopify Plus.
Advantages of store systems
If you want to run an online store and build an online business by selling items, you should take a look at the different online store providers. Most online store solutions offer similar features like:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Themes & Templates
Product and customer data maintenance
B2B and B2C possibilities
Various interfaces to third party providers
Support by phone or e-mail
Practical drag-and-drop editors
Functions for marketing and data analysis
Clear backend for order management, shipping and accounting
SSL encryption and functions for legal security (e.g. cookie banner)
Reading Tip: You can offer these payment options with Shopify Payments
Online store software comparison: Which store software suits you?
Basically, a distinction is made between four different types of store systems, which we would like to discuss in more detail below:
1. SaaS solutions (rental store systems)
A "Software as a Service" (SaaS) model offers a modular e-commerce system. With this out-of-the-box solution, you can quickly and easily create your own store. You can choose from various designs for this purpose. The operation and subsequent management are intuitive and can be customized yourself at any time. Many providers of SaaS solutions provide free trial periods or demo versions.
Suitable for: A rental store system is advantageous for e-commerce beginners, as such a store can be set up quickly and is ready to sell immediately. In addition, you usually pay only a relatively small fee per month.
Example of a SaaS solution: Shopify.
Kostenlos verfügbare Shopsysteme werden als Open-Source-Software bezeichnet. Frei zugängliche Shopsystem-Softwares unterscheiden sich zum einen in Eignung und Anforderungen für den deutschen und internationalen Markt. Zum anderen sind sie für verschiedene Zielgruppen unterschiedlich gut geeignet, je nach möglichen Schnittstellen, der Verfügbarkeit von Plugins oder Add-ons sowie der Benutzerfreundlichkeit.
Geeignet für: Open-Source-Shopsysteme sind eher für technisch versierte Shopbetreiber zu empfehlen, da sie selbst eingerichtet werden müssen. Dies bringt jedoch den Vorteil mit sich, dass Open-Source-Lösungen häufig auch stark an die eigenen Bedürfnisse angepasst werden können.
Beispiel einer Open-Source-Lösung: PrestaShop.
2. Open source solutions
With so-called on-premise solutions, software licenses are purchased for the store system itself, which means that the software can be adapted to your own needs and those of your customers. You buy or rent the software for a certain period of time and run it either in your own data center or on servers rented by you. The service provider only provides the software. Agencies often support the implementation so that the software can be optimally adapted to the company.
Suitable for: Such a "complete e-commerce solution" is the best choice for demanding users who have the necessary time and resources for the technical implementation as well as the administration of the software.
Example of an on-premise solution: CosmoShop.
4. Webshop plugin solutions
For an existing website based on e.g. WordPress, an online store can be created with the help of plugins. So, in this case, an additional software component adds a webshop to the homepage without the need for a separate solution.
With this mostly free variant, it is important that you meet the requirements of your target market. The easy installation and integration of an existing website is contrasted by the limited functionality, which requires the purchase of additional extensions.
Suitable for: E-commerce plugins are more suitable for store beginners. However, they are not recommended for larger stores.
Example of a webshop plugin solution: WooCommerce.
Reading Tip: Are you wondering, "On-premise or cloud - which is better for my store system?" Then you've come to the right place.
Choosing a store system: this is how you should proceed
Before you start looking for a web store provider that suits your needs, you should consider what your e-commerce business model should look like, how much you are willing to invest and which features you absolutely cannot do without. To help you create this so-called requirements profile, we have compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself to find out your individual needs:
How much can and do I want to spend?
Do I want to create my store myself or work with an agency for this?
How big does my online store need to be and how big should it possibly become in the future?
How much experience do I have in online commerce?
Is the store system designed for B2B or rather B2C trade?
Which functions are particularly important to me?
Do I want to have the option of multichannel sales?
Which payment options do I want to offer in any case?
Which merchandise management system do I want to use?
Should my store be multilingual and would I perhaps like to internationalize at some point?
Which service providers and interfaces would be available to me for this online store solution?
You can use this list of questions to select your store system and check off which of your needs are met and which are not for each solution. In the end, you'll be able to decide quite easily which e-commerce platform meets your requirements the most.
Store systems comparison: The 5 best webshop providers at a glance
In our online store comparison, we now take a closer look at 5 of the most well-known web store providers. In particular, we want to look at the features as well as the advantages and disadvantages and find out for which retailer which online store provider is best suited.
If you have already read other articles about a store system comparison, you will have noticed that Shopify is predominantly rated very well. This is not by chance, because the e-commerce system shines in many relevant points. Among the biggest advantages of Shopify are its ease of use and flexibility. The store system offers its own app store with over 6,000 apps, which can be used to easily adapt the online store to one's own needs. Although Shopify offers so many customization options and numerous functions, no programming knowledge or other in-depth technical skills are required to use it. This is probably also the reason why almost 4 million Shopify websites are already live in 2022. This large community is always on hand to offer advice and support to newcomers. However, Shopify merchants can also contact support around the clock if they have any questions.
Resumption of canceled purchases
Large app store
Extensive online payment gateway (Shopify Payments)
Various marketing tools
Reports and analytics
Discount codes & coupon codes
Example of a product page in the Shopify store system, SEO-relevant data can also be stored here.
With Shopify, online merchants have the option to take advantage of a 14-day trial period. After that, they can choose one of the following price plans:
Shopify Starter: 5 € / Monat
Shopify Basic: 27 € / Monat
Shopify: 79 € / Monat
Shopify Fortgeschrittene: 289 € / Monat
|All-in-one platform Neither experience nor programming knowledge required Suitable for stores of any size 24/7 support Inventory management and shipping processing features Shopify POS||Transaction fees with external payment platforms Only 10 templates are free of charge|
Suitable for: Shopify is the right solution for online retailers who want a lot of features but don't have the resources to program them themselves. A big advantage is that the store system can grow with you, allowing you to easily connect brick-and-mortar retail and the web store. Moreover, you can offer services and digital products in your Shopify store in addition to classic physical products.
Shopify Plus as an enterprise solution
In addition, Shopify offers companies looking to scale quickly an attractive alternative to the basic plans with Shopify Plus. The benefits of the enterprise commerce platform are:
a personal support manager
the possibility to create up to 10 different stores (international stores)
unlimited number of employee accounts
11,000 check-outs per minute
personalized customer experience with Shopify Scripts
Easy automations with Shopify Flow
Use of Shopify Launchpad to automatically turn on and off website elements at different times
Lower transaction costs (0.25% instead of 0.5% to 2.0%)
All in all, Shopify Plus is a platform for large online retailers. The enterprise commerce platform offers more features for better scalability, more flexibility, and better customer service.
Large online stores like Shape Republic rely on Shopify Plus to offer custom features like bundle options.
Reading Tip: Learn when you should take the next step and switch to Shopify Plus.
A Jimdo store is also up and running after just a few minutes. Unlike Shopify, however, the products here are limited to 100 pieces.
Social media marketing
In the Business & VIP package there is a discount function
With Jimdo you can choose from 3 different price packages:
Basic: 15€ / month
Business: 19 € / month
VIP: 39 € / month
|Easy to set up and use Relatively inexpensive German server||Few features Limited range of functions No sale of digital products possible No real drag & drop function|
Suitable for: Jimdo is a good solution for online merchants who are just starting to sell online and just need a small store with few features now and in the future.
While Wix is known for its website builder, it also offers a solution for online stores. This online store builder is called "Wix Stores", is easy to use and takes care of the store system and hosting for you.
Wix Stores Features
Drag & drop function
over 500 templates
relatively large number of payment service providers
Wix Stores Prices
Wix does not offer a free trial. There are 3 different price packages:
Business Basic: 23,80€ / Monat
Business Unbegrenzt: 35,70€ / Monat
Business VIP: 52,36€ / Monat
|Quick setup Easy to use No additional transaction fees||Sobald der Shop live ist, können Templates nicht mehr gewechselt werden. Kein deutscher Support Keine Warenwirtschaft-Schnittstelle Längere Ladezeiten bei Mobilgeräten|
Suitable for: If you are creating your first online store and have limited technical skills and budget, Wix Stores can be a good solution for you.
Reading Tip: Get inspired by these 20 Shopify examples for your own store.
Gambio Cloud is a store system from Germany and has the great advantage that it offers you legal security and suitable legal texts. Unfortunately, however, Gambio does not offer such an extensive app store to add additional features to your own store.
Integrated warehouse management
Just like Shopify, Gambio also offers a 14-day free trial period. You can choose between 3 different price packages:
Start-Up: 17,96€ / month (1 user)
Small Business: 44,96€ / month (3 users)
Professional: 93,72€ / month (Unlimited)
In addition, Gambio also offers a version for 149€ per year where you can take over the hosting yourself.
|Hosted in Germany No additional transaction fees||Few integrations Contract duration of 12 months English only support|
Suitable for: If it is important to you that your webshop provider is from Germany, but you can do without a wide range of integration options in return, then Gambio is a very good solution.
WooCommerce is an open source store system designed for WordPress websites. This means that, like WordPress, you can customize a lot of things to suit your needs. Installation is very quick and easy, just like any other WordPress plugin.
More than 400 extensions
Possibility to sell physical and digital products
Like WordPress, WooCommerce is also a free open source software.
|Many apps and extensions Large community High customizability||The store hosting incl. updates and maintenance has to be done by yourself limited support WordPress experience required only available in English|
Suitable for: If you are tech-savvy and HTML as well as CSS are familiar terms for you, WooCommerce can be a good solution for you. However, if you just want an online store without having to worry about updates and maintenance, WooCommerce is the wrong choice.
Reading Tip: WooCommerce vs Shopify - we compared both systems!
As you probably noticed yourself during our store system comparison, there is no one, best online store provider. The choice of the right store system depends on countless individual factors, so no blanket statement can be made about which webshop provider is best. The most important criteria are usually the budget and the personal business model. Especially with our test winner Shopify, you can build a low-cost and low-risk online store that offers options ranging from dropshipping to selling subscriptions. With the option of individual expandability and fail-safe cloud hosting, this will give you a sustainable online store that will set you up securely for the future.
E-commerce systems are, next to marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, the best way to build an online presence. In contrast to these, however, they offer significantly more freedom in terms of design, user experience and storytelling. In addition, most store systems have interfaces to the highest-traffic marketplaces, so having your own online store and selling on marketplaces are not mutually exclusive. When choosing your online store solution, you should always make sure that it is a comprehensive control center that combines all sales channels. It should allow you to control everything from inventory to marketing, process payments, and seamlessly access all the tools relevant to your online business.
You need help with your store? Feel free to contact us and we will gladly help you out.
Frequently asked questions about the store system comparison
Which store system is the best?
Shopify is considered the best all-rounder for online merchants. Nevertheless, there are also many other good store systems for different use cases. When choosing your online store provider, you should consider how tech-savvy you are, how much budget you have and what features the e-commerce system absolutely has to have.
What store systems are available?
There are basically 4 different types of store systems:
SaaS solutions (rental store systems)
Open source solutions
Webshop plug-in solutions
In the article you will learn the differences. And get to know store systems like Shopify, Shopify Plus, WooCommerce, Wix or Jimdo.
How much does an online store cost?
The costs for your own online store can be quite different. If you choose an online store builder like Shopify, prices start at €5 per month. Sophisticated enterprise solutions like Shopify Plus are naturally more expensive due to their range of functions.
Which store system for dropshipping?
Shopify is the best choice for dropshipping. All you need to do is install the Shopify app DSers to find products and import them into your store.