eCommerce Platforms: Speed & Popularity

by Jim September 10, 2018

What eCommerce platform is right for me?” It’s one of the most common questions I get asked, and rightly so, as there are myriad platforms to choose from, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Get it wrong and you may be stuck with an eCommerce platform that is incompatible with your needs and ends up costing you time and money.

What I learned

  • Crawl Stats is being dumped from the new GSC
  • Choosing an eCommerce platform is a personal experience
  • Do you need to link to other marketplaces?
  • What’s your budget?
  • To host or not to host?
  • Don’t ignore a site’s fundamentals
  • Choose wisely as it’s a long road ahead


Hey, welcome back, Rankers. Big week last week for Google. They announced the Google Search Console coming out of beta. Unfortunately, we’re going to lose some stuff that we have on the old Google Search Console by the looks of it because it’s simply not in the new one. One of the key things I’ve always loved about the old Google Search Console was the Crawl Stats area because it gives us so much information. I’ve learned a lot from that, but it looks like they’re going to get rid of it, which is a shame. That’s Google though.

Which eCommerce Platform Is Right For You?

I just wanted to show you the things I look at Crawl Stats for. This is something that I get asked a lot, and that is, “Which eCommerce system should I go with?” That’s a, “How long is a piece of string?” type of question because with every business, there are different needs or requirements. There’s some different costs that you have to take into account. When you’re looking at eCommerce, you’ve got to consider, obviously, are you on other marketplaces? Are you on eBay? Are you on Amazon? How is your inventory and everything? How to connect all those things, and so most retailers are looking for platforms that will talk to those other systems. I just want to touch on a few of them today, but the thing to remember when you are choosing a platform that every one of them has different benefits and pluses and minuses, depending on what you want to achieve.

If someone came to me today and said, “Hey, I need an eCommerce site,” there’s a couple things that I’d want to know first. A: do you have a budget to build a site? If you don’t have a budget to build a site then you just want to test something, you might be better off just using a Shopify 30-dollar a month plan or something like that, if you just want to test something out. If you’ve got a budget and it’s a business, an existing business, and it needs to be online and selling a lot of stuff, then usually, I would recommend Magento, right? Magento is probably, as we say here, the duck’s nuts when it comes to eCommerce systems because from our perspective, allows us to do all the SEO stuff that we need, all the user experience stuff that we need to do. We can do it quite easily.

Hosted systems, which is your Neto’s, your Shopify, your BigCommerce, those systems. They will be a lot easier for the user to set up, a lot less risk, a lot less cost to set up, but you are actually on their platform. That means that if you want to move your shop somewhere, you don’t like their hosting or you don’t want to be Shopify anymore, you don’t want to be Neto or whatever, then you actually have to rebuild your site. It’s not like you can just pick up that site and move it somewhere else. It doesn’t work that way. You’re actually on their platform, all right? There’s that.

Needs versus Features
Then, your different costs associated with each. A Magento site’s always going to be far more expensive and far more of an investment up front than some of these hosted systems. The hosted systems, typically, you’re paying more longer term than what you would if you, say, you’d set up a site to begin with, but it’s a lower cost, a lower risk way of getting in, but just keep in mind that long-term, you probably are going to be paying more than if you had a Magento site, unless your Magento site’s horrible. It needs a lot of work all the time.

Here are some of the downsides to some of the …Well not downsides, but just a quick comparison using Crawl Stats. What we have here is, I’ve just taken a Crawl Stats data out of two retailers that are sitting on Neto. The thing that I don’t like about Neto the most is that it has really, really slow page load times. I’ve spoken to them about this. We’ve told them about this. Their customers are telling them about this. They keep saying it’s getting faster. From our perspective, we’re just not seeing it. When you’re talking over two seconds for the Googlebot to load a page, that’s a lot of money you’re leaving on the table right there. That’s going to affect your conversions. We know that if a page takes three seconds to load, we’ve lost most of our customers, right? We’re already at 2.5, so what’s that doing to our conversions? We’re not even talking about people who don’t make it to the site, but all about the people that do. They won’t convert because of those speeds.

For us, that’s one of the main downsides to Neto. There are some other really clunky things that if you’re transferring to Neto, you’ve got to be aware of like. HTX’s. I spoke to the developer about those sorts of things that are going to hamper you in your transition to Neto. The one, the platform that seems to be gaining a lot of momentum in the last 12 months, is Shopify. They seem to have overtaken certainly … I’ll check that in Google Trends in a moment, but they seem to be bigger than BigCommerce now. I’m hearing, actually, of people moving from Magento to Shopify, which for me is not great because once again, Shopify is restrictive because it is a hosted system. There are things you can and can’t do that you can just do everything on Magento.

However, there’s some other benefits like you’re looking at speed compared to Neto, for instance. You’re talking, and this is just one site, but you can see they’re back in, when’s that? End of August. It was down at 472. This particular site’s gone a bit slower. I haven’t checked that across other Shopify sites, but that is a bit high for Shopify, 889 milliseconds. Usually, we would see it sub-500 milliseconds. It’s just this month, it seems to be getting a little slow.

The final one is BigCommerce. Now, it’s interesting. The marketing between BigCommerce and Shopify, they always seem to be having a go at one another in their e-mails, in their tweets, in those sorts of things, but you can see there. BigCommerce, as far as the sites that we look at anyway, it is always sub-500 milliseconds page load time for the Googlebot. I’ll just quickly have a look. Let’s have a look and see if we … By the way, someone asked also, what’s the average cost for building a site, say, on Shopify or BigCommerce? Look, it’s a lot cheaper than, say, doing something on Magento or a stand-alone website, typically, but you’ve got to find people that specialise in those platforms. The other thing to be aware of as well is that if you are moving to these platforms, do they support all the things that you want to be supported?

We’ve got a client at the moment that is on a custom eCommerce platform, and they can’t use AfterPay, right? There’s those things to consider as well, but let’s just have a look at Trends. Wow. Look at that. Okay, so there’s some decisions to make as well. Now, BigCommerce is an Australian Company, but their visibility is stagnant. It’s not growing at all. Wow, and you look at Shopify, and you just go … Let’s have a look. Let’s go further back. Yes.

Anyway, so there are some things to consider. You look at that. This when we were talking to BigCommerce when they launched, and they went into the site, into the US. A lot of who-ha back then in 2013 about them, and then, yes, a bit of a drop. Look at Shopify grow, so if you’re making a business decision, well, actually, let’s put Neto in there. Let’s do it properly. We’ll put Magento in there as well. Wow. It looks like Neto is actually more popular than BigCommerce now. That surprises me. I did not know that, and Magento, because all of these indicate how much support there is out there, what developer community is out there. Wow. Look at that crossover point.

Now, there’s a few things happening. Magento has actually just recently been acquired by Adobe. Yes, Adobe, so it would be interesting to see what they’re going to do with it. They no longer have Business Catalyst, or they’re getting rid of that, so we’ll see. Yes, Business Catalyst is another platform, which I haven’t even mentioned. That’s it for this week’s show. Hopefully, that’s helpful.

If you’ve got any questions about eCommerce, there’s so many other things we could have delved into today, but if you have any specific questions, just drop them in the comments wherever you’re watching this, whether you’re on SmartCompany, whether you’re on YouTube, whether you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn or wherever you’re watching, just leave a comment, and I will get back to you. Thanks very much, everyone. See you next week. Bye.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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