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Whiteboard Wednesday #14: e-Commerce Platforms | Clearhaus Learning

When starting an online shop you need to choose an e-Commerce platform to build your shop around - and it can be hard to navigate the many options.

In this video, Micky Weis will guide you through some of the most popular alternatives.

He’ll touch upon pros, cons, prices, and a lot of other relevant aspects.

Watch along here!

Hello guys, welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday. Today, I’m going to talk about e-Commerce software, and we’re going to talk about some of the softwares I worked a lot with, the last eight years. And I’m going to try to figure out if you should choose one system or another one; we’ll talk about pricing, we’ll talk about pros and cons.

And I have written some of those up here, and as you can see, I have chosen four different platforms up here, and then I have written ‘Custom build’ down here The reason why I’ve actually written ‘Custom build’ down here is because when I started with e-Commerce eight years ago. Many of the platforms were actually custom built, with own developers, it was built from scratch, maybe down in the basement.

Then WooCommerce came, then I started working with Magento and PrestaShop, and then I jumped over to Shopify. So, I will actually delete this one, I still recommend, like, if you really want to build something from scratch, consider that you think long-term, so if your developer quits, or you have to change the platform, then you have some kind of sustainable strategy for that, because otherwise it’s going to be really hard to change to another platform.

What I actually want to write about, or talk about today is the two platforms I’ve worked a lot with. I’ll just change the colour.

You can see that we have Shopify here and you have Magento here, those are the platforms I’ve worked a lot with, Most of these platforms work with plug-ins, so you have the core basics, you have ‘the engine’ - as I call it, in Sopify and Magento, and then you just put in plug-ins, you ‘build on top of your house’.

So let’s say you have a house here, this is more like a tent, I know, but yeah, let’s assume it’s a house. And then you have ‘the engine’ down here which is actually what you buy when you buy Shopify or Magento solution. It works pretty fine, and the first thing you do is you want to build something that your customers can see.

So, maybe you hire art director… I would recommend you to go to, where you can buy. It’s like part of the marketplace where you can buy everything, like, plugins; you can but video files, audio files; stuff like that..

You can go to and buy a template for your new e-Commerce store. So you can basically just go to the website and search for whatever industry you are in and then you can just install that theme on your platform. Then you have a ready-to-go-solution, and I would recommend you also to pick one of the themes with most installs, so you are sure that it’s always updated and never crashes. Of course it can crash, but often you are better prepared if you download a theme with a lot of downloads.

So, when you install that, the next thing that comes is that you want a lot of plug-ins, and I know this is just a fancy word. You want a lot of plug-ins because we love plug-ins when we talk about e-Commerce. You want all the fancy stuff. You want it to be built with MailChimp. You want it to build in the Facebook Dynamic Ads and stuff like that.

You have a lot of things down here, you want to build in- marketing, stuff like that.. Then suddenly, you try to - on Magento, I’m talking about Magento right now. It could be Shopify as well but Magento is really really known for this - that, you think Shopify is expensive to pay each month, but the problem with Magento is, like, you have to find the developer who can actually code what you want.

In my previous company where I worked for two years, we had a really really great and talented guy in Magento developing and I was so lucky, when we had something to crash here, he could just fix it. But, it’s really really hard to find a guy like that, and if he left the company, where would I go? It would be really hard for me to qualify if the coding and if the solution on the features and extensions I get built were good enough for the platform. So, that’s one of the biggest issues with Magento. It’s really hard to find people who actually can code it.

So if we look at - when you install new plug-in down here, let’s say plug-in, and then, you get another plug-in, but what happens then is, like, everything crashes and you get the popular 404 page here. Yeah, that sucks, we have a negative smiley as well. And then you have the plug-in - because those two plug-ins don’t go together, or they don’t go into the platform, or they are different versions of Magento - there can be so many things here, that make the Magento webshop crash, and getting this fixed can be much more expensive than paying the monthly price for Shopify.

So, I would really recommend that you think about the long-term solution when you build a Magento store, it’s really really good for high-volume e-Commerce stores, like really really huge warehouses, because it’s really easy to make something in bulk. It’s a little bit harder in Shopify, so if you have a brand, let’s say you have maybe up to 100 products, I’d still recommend Shopify, because it’s really really good and drag-and-drop.

So you probably know this from MailChimp and other marketing softwares, that you can drag and drop things, and that’s also how Shopify works. And it’s pretty easy, the back-end is really futuristic in design, whereas Magento, or the newer versions of Magento, is a little bit cooler in the back-end office, but the Shopify is really really cool and very easy to see where to click and everything else.

So I really recommend that, also if you want to scale your business, because what I’ve learnt from Magento is that if you want to scale something, you have to build everything in processes, because otherwise it’s so easy to make it crash.

So, in my previous company, we worked with 20,000 products, I think it was… in the end; and we had to create product texts for all of those, we had the category texts for each category and stuff like that. So you have to build some really really good processes here, while over here it’s more like you get to know it and then you get to know it. While over here you can make so many mistakes, click different places and then everything crashes. So, really make sure that you think about which platforms are good for the long-term, instead of just looking at the monthly prices.

And also, if we look at Shopify - and actually now I want to delete those, so we don’t talk about WooCommerce we don’t talk about PrestaShop, because what I want to suggest to you is, like - and this goes also to marketing softwares, you probably heard about a lot of tools you can use for marketing - you have to commit to some tool. You cannot have 10 SEO tools and be good at all of them. Commit to one tool, and when you get to know the tool and you have been working with it for maybe 2 years… I was lucky enough to be working with Moz for eight years, which is a really good SEO tool.

But then you get to learn it, you get to know it and you know all the features and you can grow with it. So that’s also what happened to me with Google Analytics, because I started working with Google Analytics ten years ago, so actually I developed with the features that came along, and I would recommend you to do the same with marketing tools and also with, like, e-Commerce tools, like Shopify, Magento.

You don’t get to learn new thing in five minutes, you have to dig in through it, you have to get to know it, and also it depends really on the industry you’re in, and one thing I also would recommend you to do is - and right now, we’re actually building a plug-in to Amazon, so think about, maybe you want to have, like, Shopify shop, but in Europe right now we’re looking at Amazon, because in Germany they are huge, so I think they will get into Denmark, Sweden at some point, so you can have your own shop, but also look at - should we connect these two with the plug-in and then we get the orders from Amazon and Shopify - something we are working a lot on at the moment. And also try to commit to one of the platforms. It takes a lot of time to get used to it, so you have to make some mistakes, you have to try, try, try…

And then have some learnings, and that way you can build processes for your team and then they can take over and then you have a process for product creation, for category texts, blog posts, etc. And I think that would probably be the way I would do it, so you have to spend at least one year before you change the platform. Of course if you want to change the platform, it’s not as big of a deal in the beginning, but just remember that it’s not the platform that will come with all the magic solutions, you have to actually do some work yourself.

I worked with Facebook for 8 years now and spent a lot of money on that platform and I get to know it so it’s more easy to navigate in it, and that’s the same thing with Shopify and Magento, or any other solution you want to pick. So, yeah, make sure that you commit to one software and then try to dig in to it and get to know it.

That was everything I’ve had for e-Commerce tools or platforms. And if you want to know anything else, you can just write a comment down below or contact me on social media. Bye guys.

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