Home – New Forums Selling online bigcommerce versus drupal versus wp

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  • #986494
    Jenny Spring
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    I’d love to hear what you would advise a client who is building an ecommerce clothing business.

    Which platform and why?

    Or does it make a difference?

    Thanks in advance!

    Jenny

    #1158077
    LucasArthur
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    Hi Jenny

    Hope you are well… i have missed a reading your posts of late, been side tracked :)

    Whilst i do not have the best advice, i do think this will be a great post to follow and with some heated conversations… I personally use WordPress and find, for my needs, to be fairly robust and complete with its offerings bundled with WooCommerce and some additional free and paid plugins.

    With a little tweeking i could make it more exceptional, although it is doing its job at present.. What i could alter would be having custom CMS done on the front end, which i have identified whom i wish to use for this, just not moved on it as had some other priorities of late..

    Also, i have complete control over the site (can be a bad thing on occasions) and no ongoing costs other than my SSL and Hosting service.. Can have as many products as needed, etc etc and there seemed to be better merchant facilities to plug into for the Australian interface than the other guys.. when i did my research..

    Again, i know its not a direct answer but i have enjoyed WP and do look forward to reading more as always looking to improve if it can be said why to change..

    Cheers
    Jason ;)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1158078
    John Debrincat
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    Jenny Spring, post: 182265 wrote:
    I’d love to hear what you would advise a client who is building an ecommerce clothing business.

    Which platform and why?

    Or does it make a difference?

    Thanks in advance!

    Jenny

    So why stop at those 3.

    One hosted in the USA but a decent platform, the others open source reasonably flexible but high maintenance.

    No Australian based solutions at all? Yes I know BigCommerce started here at Interspire but it is USA based and motivated now.

    What do apparel and fashion sites use as a solution and which best fits the business requirements, model, capability and budget.

    Here are a few fashions sites as examples: – FashionistadepotMitch DowdJimmy StuartLee Mathews

    What would be the key issues and the business requirements that you have to resolve for a clothing site and how do you go about it? There are better questions than what technology.

    All businesses have varying needs for integration with other systems like stock management. Clothing and apparel businesses have some unique 3rd party back end systems that need to be worked with. That is apart from the normal issues of shipping and payment.

    Clothing / apparel / fashion / accessories are also high on the social media radar and need good social media pages and connections. Specially Facebook and Pinterest for women’s fashion.

    The 300 pound gorilla in the room is Magento which powers many fashion sites but that decision generally comes with a high total cost of ownership and maintenance.

    So bottom line it is not a platform issue as such and certainly not those three.

    John

    #1158079
    Jenny Spring
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    SimplyReplica, post: 182269 wrote:
    Hi Jenny

    Hope you are well… i have missed a reading your posts of late, been side tracked :)

    Whilst i do not have the best advice, i do think this will be a great post to follow and with some heated conversations… I personally use WordPress and find, for my needs, to be fairly robust and complete with its offerings bundled with WooCommerce and some additional free and paid plugins.

    With a little tweeking i could make it more exceptional, although it is doing its job at present.. What i could alter would be having custom CMS done on the front end, which i have identified whom i wish to use for this, just not moved on it as had some other priorities of late..

    Also, i have complete control over the site (can be a bad thing on occasions) and no ongoing costs other than my SSL and Hosting service.. Can have as many products as needed, etc etc and there seemed to be better merchant facilities to plug into for the Australian interface than the other guys.. when i did my research..

    Again, i know its not a direct answer but i have enjoyed WP and do look forward to reading more as always looking to improve if it can be said why to change..

    Cheers
    Jason ;)

    Hey Jason — ‘good busy’ I hope?

    Thanks for your feedback.

    As a online sales and marketing advisor, I like WP as the front end. It allows us to do some pretty good opt in testing and customization on an as-needed basis.

    But the ecommerce component is a heated battle.

    I’m looking forward to some good discussion here.

    Jenny

    #1158080
    Jenny Spring
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    John Debrincat, post: 182273 wrote:
    So why stop at those 3.

    So bottom line it is not a platform issue as such and certainly not those three.

    John
    Hello John

    As usual you put forward an experienced perspective.

    I’d like to ask some clarifying questions please —

    No Australian based solutions at all? Yes I know BigCommerce started here at Interspire but it is USA based and motivated now.

    So what? Will a potential consumer audience far greater than Aussies, is that a bad thing?

    What about Volusion. I didn’t ask this, and I understand that this is the #1 ecommerce platform by # installations. Being big isn’t always better, but it does usually mean you have some extra cash to build in important features.

    Jenny

    #1158081
    Greg_M
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    I think it’s less the platform, than the savvy of the operators, and developers (from both a retail and technical point of view).

    I’ve used most of the open source platforms, and been in the back end of a couple of hosted solutions (e.g. Bigcommerce, Shopify and Squarespace) and I think you can argue till the cows come home which one is best.

    None of them are worth a cracker, if you don’t know what you’re doing, from both a business and technical point of view.

    If you have a unique product line, and little capital then why not have a go with any of the open source “carts” or plugins? Chances are you’ll fail, and probably get ripped off by a slippery SEO team when you get desperate.

    I don’t do ecommerce, but I have advised clients … step one, get someone with a track record (not me) to develop the site. Step two, if you’re not technically savvy (99% who ask) … go to a hosted and managed platform, the risks associated with having a serious business portal on unmanaged shared hosting are seriously underrated … OK to test the water, but beyond that, no way.

    If I had a serious online retail idea, clothes, whatever … I’d be talking to JohnD or someone like him … not DIY, and that’s coming from someone that does know how to code, and manage a remote VPS server from the command line. The issues of maintaining a secure and fast site needs a specialised team.

    Wordpress (or most open source stuff) for example is a clever platform, and in the right hands is obviously a fine solution, but I see heaps of sites put up here for review, that that look pretty, make all the right noises from a visual design perspective. BUT, take forever to load …are full of badly configured and piggy backed JQuery plugins manipulating the DOM, and making them virtually impossible for an SE to index. Add in crap copy (or more often, virtually none) badly
    configured images, and you have the life blood and staple resource for SEO’s to make a living from.

    I won’t even mention the mess you’ll be in if you get hacked on shared hosting (been there, done that), because you haven’t “hardened” or maintained your site properly … all too hard IMO.

    Hosted and managed platforms (regardless of the underlying framework) at least give you the basics to get started properly.

    I think it’s why they’re seeing growth, while it’s getting harder to start with an open source “kit”.

    My $2.50 worth.

    #1158082
    John Debrincat
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    Jenny Spring, post: 182276 wrote:
    Hello John

    As usual you put forward an experienced perspective.

    I’d like to ask some clarifying questions please —

    No Australian based solutions at all? Yes I know BigCommerce started here at Interspire but it is USA based and motivated now.

    So what? Will a potential consumer audience far greater than Aussies, is that a bad thing?

    What about Volusion. I didn’t ask this, and I understand that this is the #1 ecommerce platform by # installations. Being big isn’t always better, but it does usually mean you have some extra cash to build in important features.

    Jenny

    Second answer first Jenny. Volusion – who said that they are #1. Volusion by the numbers is behind Shopify and BigCommerce, and ePages I might add. Outside the hosted arena it is behind Magento and Opencart but maybe that is a bad comparison. Volusion as a technology is actually pretty well rounded.

    I am not talking about the core technology so much as the support, maintenance and localisation base. The USA based providers simply don’t really care about Australia and NZ because of the market size. They pay lip service to issues around the support of local requirements. Support is another issue again and you need to local support and maintenance capability if you want to be successful as an Australian business. If you are an Aussie company trying to break in to the world market it might be a different story.

    The hosting location has always been a hot debate ranging from SEO issues to speed to maintainability. Obviously as an Aussie hosted solution I would always say favour the Aussie company and hosting provider first.

    Another good example of a great local company is Neto I think far better than Shopify or BigCommerce when it comes to this marketplace.

    BUT of course nothing is better than us:o

    #1158083
    eWAY
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    You’ll find pretty much every big (or want to be big) online clothing store, particularly in womens clothing is moving to Magento. But we’re talking about website and marketing builds worth $100,000+

    The system used is only as good as the person that has built and implemented it. You may have a fantastic looking website with terrible SEO, marketing and usability that sells far less than a bland looking website coming up on the first page, Adwords sending hundred of clients through and is super easy and convincing to buy through.

    People like John Debrincat have pioneered the industry in Australia and I’d strongly suggest talking to his company, eCorner. Neto are another Australia business starting to do some great things.

    The first place to start is an initial and ongoing budget for the build and marketing and the anticipated growth. Are they online only? Do they need to tie in to a shopfront POS? Are they selling on eBay? Do they need to manage warehousing?

    Maclean

    #1158084
    JohnTranter
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    John Debrincat, post: 182273 wrote:
    The 300 pound gorilla in the room is Magento which powers many fashion sites…

    Yep, I’m currently working on my third fashion Magento site. However my clients are usually migrating from a previous platform that they found no longer suits their needs.

    If I was to recommend a platform right now for a brand new, untested store, I’d probably lean towards Shopify. However, I’d make sure it fulfils their requirements before I committed to anything.

    p.s. and $100,000? I wish. Maybe for Magento Enterprise. :)

    #1158085
    eWAY
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    JohnTranter, post: 182399 wrote:
    p.s. and $100,000? I wish. Maybe for Magento Enterprise. :)

    A lot of the larger fashion customers we’re dealing with are spending $50k on the design alone. Plus the Enterprise license @ around $20k plus the marketing is easily $100k and rising!

    If you want to really compete with the biggest fashion labels using Magento it costs a lot of money.

    Of course you can also build an entry level store for $5k using CE, a prebuilt theme and ignoring a lot of the marketing side. Great to start off with but certainly won’t compete with the bigger brands.

    Maclean

    #1158086
    JohnTranter
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    I did say maybe for Enterprise!

    For CE using a custom design, maybe $10-20k, with some extra money for marketing. You’ll pay a monthly amount for hosting but you’ll probably save some money with a good payment gateway provider.
    Hmm, I wonder if I can recommend any ;)

    #1158087
    John Debrincat
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    JohnTranter, post: 182407 wrote:
    For CE using a custom design, maybe $10-20k, with some extra money for marketing. You’ll pay a monthly amount for hosting but you’ll probably save some money with a good payment gateway provider.

    The big issue that most small businesses fall into with a custom development, not just Magento but any platform, is to forget about maintenance.

    We always try to explain Total Cost of Ownership and it can be a difficult conversation.

    In general you need to allow 25% – 50% of the initial build budget every year for maintenance and updates. The more complex and custom the build the higher the annual cost.

    This is mostly related to the dedicated (what I’ll call custom) builds that is where a company will have a designer / developer take a software platform like Magento or ePages and build on a dedicated environment. You don’t see the same level or issues with most hosted platforms.

    When the software platform has a new release or there is a new vulnerability there needs to be work done to validate and maybe update any work that has been done outside the core technology. By that I mean add-ons that might be release dependent or custom code (can even be design) that has been added that might break with a new release.

    If there is not a recognition that there is ongoing costs then you get the situation where a site might not be updated or improved for years. This leads to business risks that are often unforeseen and can lead to some emotional reactions.

    It is often seen when a site build is outsourced off shore and done at some low initial cost. The owner then finds that ongoing maintenance is higher than the initial cost, the developer has disappeared and no one wants to take on other developers maybe lousy code.

    If you are getting a site and online store built on any platform ask for the Total Cost of Owwnership (TOC) over a reasonable time period and not just a build price. You can expect a well built and maintained platform to last your business at least 5 years and maybe longer.

    #1158088
    Tessa Hartnett
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    Jenny Spring, post: 182275 wrote:
    Hey Jason — ‘good busy’ I hope?

    Thanks for your feedback.

    As a online sales and marketing advisor, I like WP as the front end. It allows us to do some pretty good opt in testing and customization on an as-needed basis.

    But the ecommerce component is a heated battle.

    I’m looking forward to some good discussion here.

    Jenny

    Hi Jenny,

    We use WP and woo commerce to run all our online retail stores and LOVE it. We have used Ashop in the past and we have spent thousands having a custom site built but they do not even come close to ease and freedom we felt when we finally started with woo commerce. I also like that they don’t take a percentage of your sales like some of the other platforms.

    I agree with you that this can become a heated discussion!!!

    #1158089
    AmberS
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    Hi Jenny

    I agree with Jason, WordPress and woocommerce is my go to. The flexibility is great, it is user friendly and will work for reasonably large online retail needs. I’ve worked with Woocommerce a bit and find it has never not been able to do something.

    On Magento, I have friends who paid a lot for a Magento fashion store and hated it, sold up their business and moved to Brisbane :)

    As Jason said, you own the website and shop- no need to worry about ongoing subscriptions and being tied to a provider plus the products are exportable if you need to move to a larger scale platform in the future. Plus wordpress is very SEO friendly, and woocmmerce’s schema mark up is pretty effective.

    I have a couple of pre-built online fashion sites on my website if you wanted to have a look at some of the features of woocommerce in action and how they can be used to fit a fashion store.

    Amber

    #1158090
    Greg_M
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    AmberS, post: 182468 wrote:
    As Jason said, you own the website and shop- no need to worry about ongoing subscriptions and being tied to a provider plus the products are exportable if you need to move to a larger scale platform in the future. Plus wordpress is very SEO friendly, and woocmmerce’s schema mark up is pretty effective.

    Amber

    I don’t have anything against Woocommerce, but in the interest of a balanced view, you may not have subscriptions, but you will pay separately for hosting (you don’t on the platforms), unless it’s a managed package.

    A mentioned previously, you need to look at total cost of ownership e.g. maintenance and security … all done on a platform, but not … if you self host.

    All the platforms I’ve dealt with allow export of product data, and plenty more stuff via Json API’s.

    Also if you use Woocommerce, and get it hosted and managed ( a good solution) as a package. I’d be very careful about the credentials of the developer you choose. I’ve responded to two posts in the last 24 hours where the site owner has been left high and dry by a solo operator (nothing wrong with a solo operator if they have the right risk mitigation strategies in place) that’s got missing in action.

    I’d also ask the question. What do you actually own with a website anyway? To the proprietor it’s usually a bunch of files they don’t understand, and can’t even open or edit without a developer anyway.

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