As the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the digital shift in Malaysia, more consumers have begun to make their purchases online in greater numbers and frequency. We believe the reason you are here is trying to get some ideas on how to choose an eCommerce platform that is right for you to start your online business.
So the question is, EasyStore, Shopify, or WooCommerce, which is the best?
Choosing the best eCommerce platform is not as simple as it seems. In fact, this is one of the first and most important decisions that you’ll have to make in your eCommerce journey.
But before we begin, if you’re running Facebook ads for your online store, be sure to check out our latest blog posts below. It’ll save you time and money by making sure everything is ready for success from day 1.
- 13 things you MUST do before launching your Facebook ads
- 7 Pro-Tips on Building Effective Facebook Ads in 2022
- How to Setup Effective Audience Targeting on Facebook Ads?
- Facebook Automated Rules: What is It & How It Can Help Optimize Your Ads?
- How to Analyze Your Facebook Ads Performance Effectively?
Why Selecting the Right eCommerce Platform Matters to Your Business?
Building an eCommerce business is more than just uploading your products and start selling online. It is much more complicated than you think. Of course, if you have the right technology foundation, it helps to automate and streamline most of the manual tasks. By taking advantage of a solid technological foundation, it is easier to scale quickly across multiple sales channels and outpace your competitors.
In brief, here are the 4 fundamental elements you will have to take note of when choosing the right eCommerce platform for you.
- Operating Costs: All the necessary costs from building your online store to ongoing development and maintenance costs.
- Customers Engagement: How the platform are able to empower your team to better engage with your customers with a personalized experience; from customers insights, acquisition, retention, and development.
- Business Growth: How the platform are able to support you in terms of flexibility and speed to grow your business.
- Long Term Scalability: The right eCommerce platform will offer you a solid foundation to enable your business to scale easily and quickly without too much holdback. Unfortunately, this is the most important factor that most SMEs overlook, which ultimately limits the business expansion and growth potential.
In this article, we will compare the top 3 eCommerce platforms being used by majority of the Malaysian businesses to give you a clearer perspective, which ultimately help you choose the right platform that fits with your strategic direction.
Pros and Cons Overview
|EasyStore Pros||EasyStore Cons|
|Ready to Sell – EasyStore is a hosted software which includes hosting and security, and you don’t need any coding knowledge to get your online store ready.||Less Customization – EasyStore offers lesser control and customization compare to others.|
|Omnichannel Selling – From selling on an online store, social media (FB/IG) to offline retail (EasyStore POS), EasyStore has the seamless integration that syncs all your products, inventory, payment, and customers across all channels.||Lower Scalability – EasyStore’s app marketplace only offers 100+ apps, which may limit your business growth and expansion potential.|
|Localization – EasyStore offers better localization to the Malaysian market, from local payment, shipping to marketplace integration.|
|Shopify Pros||Shopify Cons|
|Ready to Sell – Shopify is a hosted software which includes hosting and security, so you don’t need any coding knowledge to get your online store ready.||Transaction fees – Shopify is the only platform that imposes its own transaction fee if you use another payment gateway unless you use its own gateway, Shopify Payments.|
|Omnichannel Selling – From selling on an online store, social media (FB/IG) to offline retail (Shopify POS), Shopify has the seamless integration that syncs all your products, inventory, payment, and customers across all channels.||Less Customization – Shopify offers lesser control and customization compare to others.|
|High Scalability – Shopify’s marketplace offers an extensive collection of paid and free plugins/apps that allow your business to scale with ease.||Cost – Shopify offers thousands of apps to support your business expansion, but the more paid apps you subscribe to, the higher the monthly cost.|
|Free Learning Resources – Shopify offers a massive library of online courses that give you access to expert knowledge and advice from some of the top-selling business owners around the world.|
|24/7 Support – have your issues resolved around the clock to keep your customers and sales figures happy.|
|WooCommerce Pros||WooCommerce Cons|
|Complete Customization & Control – WooCommerce is an open-source platform build on WordPress, which allows you to customize your online store if you are able to do coding.||Not User Friendly – You need to have a certain degree of programming coding knowledge to set up and build your online store, and it does have a bit of a learning curve.|
|Free – WooCommerce is free to install and there is no monthly fee for using its platform, but there are still some costs involved for the web hosting and SSL.||Poor Support – WooCommerce does not offer straightforward 24/7 access to a support person, which you will most likely end up seeking for other’s advice through the WordPress forum.|
|High Scalability – WooCommerce’s marketplace offers an extensive collection of paid and free plugins/apps that allow your business to scale with ease.||Security Concern – Since WooCommerce runs on WordPress open-source platform, it doesn’t technically have any security measures included with the plugin you installed. Most of the security falls into your own hands to ensure your online store is safe and secure.|
|Huge Online Community – WordPress has a huge online community that gives you access to expert knowledge and advice from some of the business owners around the world.|
1. Build Time
Both EasyStore and Shopify are a comprehensively-provisioned eCommerce platform with all the pre-designed themes, ready tools ,and secure website hosting to get your online store live quickly.
As for WooCommerce, you will need to have technical knowledge or a technical person to help you set up the entire store from domain setup, website hosting, WordPress installation to WooCommerce plugin activation and configuration to get your store up and running.
Build Time: EasyStore and Shopify Win
If you are just starting out selling online and wish to launch your online store fast, EasyStore and Shopify have proven to be miles ahead of WooCommerce, both which combines powerful eCommerce features with a quick setup process.
2. Ease of Use
Both EasyStore and Shopify are subscription-based hosted eCommerce platform, which means they will offload most of the technical heavy work of operating and maintaining an online store for you. From the domain name, secured hosting with SSL, software updates, security, to backups, they got it covered.
When it comes to managing storefront design, adding new products, handling sales and orders, it is rather intuitive with its user-friendly and clean system interface.
To a certain extent, WooCommerce is just as easy-to-use as EasyStore or Shopify, but there’s a catch: While managing your daily store operation with WooCommerce is just as simple, however setting up the store and technical maintenance isn’t.
Easy of Use: EasyStore and Shopify Win
WooCommerce is a much technical heavy platform that requires a certain level of knowledge to operate and maintain, unless you are willing to spend some time learning or hiring a technical person to manage for you. On the other hand, both EasyStore and Shopify is very beginner-friendly, and you don’t even need to know programming coding to make the most of it.
To put it bluntly, though WooCommerce is a free to use platform, it doesn’t mean there will be no cost at all. You will still have to pay the necessary costs for web hosting, domain name, and SSL certificate to ensure your store is up and running.
Shopify and Easytore pricing, on the other hand, is pretty clear and straightforward that includes everything; which also offers a handful of options to choose from depending on the scale or requirements of your business. Of course, you can always start with the cheapest plan and upgrade to the next tier to unlock more advanced features as necessary. However, there are some catches for EasyStore as below if you opt for their Lite plan:
- Products Upload: You can only upload up to 1,000 products for their Lite plan which pales in comparison to WooCommerce and Shopify which offers unlimited product upload.
- Online Storage: Maximum of 100GB for EasyStore’s Lite plan in comparison to Shopify which offers unlimited bandwidth and online storage.
- App/Plugins Integrations: You can only add up to 5 apps or plugins that are available in their marketplace for the Lite plan, while a maximum of 25 apps for the Standard plan unless you opt for the Business plan which in turn offers unlimited apps integration. On the other hand, both Shopify and WooCommerce offer unlimited apps integration no matter which plans you choose.
- Discount Features: Limited discount and promotion feature if you choose the Lite plan, as for Shopify and WooCommerce both offers all necessary discount features from the start.
- “Powered by EasyStore” logo: EasyStore will append a “Powered by EasyStore” logo under all emails that you send to your customers even you paid for it unless you subscribe to their premium Business plan, which only then you will have the option to disable the logo display.
For this section, we will compare EasyStore and Shopify pricing plans with Bluehost’s pricing plans for WooCommerce hosting as below.
|Standard||RM199/mo||USD79/mo (~RM325/mo)||USD29.95/mo (~RM123/mo)|
|Advance||RM499/mo||USD299/mo (~RM1,226/mo)||USD49.95/mo (~RM205/mo)|
Shopify does offer a Lite plan which only costs you USD9/month, but since its lite version doesn’t come with online store features, so we decided to exclude it from the above comparison. Of course, all the plans above offers a further discount if you commit to an annual plan or more.
Pricing: WooCommerce Wins
WooCommerce comes first in this pricing round. Although its minimum starting price is higher than the EasyStore, it costs lesser in the long run. On top of that, if you commit to Bluehost’s 36-month standard plan, you will only need to pay for USD9.95/mo (~RM41/mo), which is close to a 70% discount.
4. Sales Features
If you are looking to start selling online, basically all 3 platforms provide everything that a standard eCommerce setup could need. However, there are slight differences among them for the features which come included as standard or built-in.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
There is one feature that both EasyStore and Shopify include as standard that WooCommerce doesn’t is abandoned cart recovery (ACR). For WooCommerce, this feature only available in their app marketplace in the form of plugins that may incur an additional cost. This is one of the most important features where it will help you to recover lost sales by automatically sending an email to prospective customers with a link to their abandoned shopping carts, encouraging them to complete their purchase.
According to research conducted by SaleCycle, the average cart abandonment rate for all sectors is 79.17%. Thus, having this abandoned cart recovery feature is like fixing a leak in your pipe and it could help you to recover up to 7% of your sales, or even more which depends on how well you optimize the email content.
All 3 platforms basically enable you to sell on multiple channels, from social media (Facebook and Instagram), marketplace to physical retail (POS). The only difference is that with WooCommerce, you may end up subscribing to additional 3rd party apps or plugins to do so, while EasyStore and Shopify offer their in-house developed apps or plugins without any additional cost.
For EasyStore, their marketplace integration apps are mainly limited to those in Malaysia and Southeast Asia countries, like Lazada and Shopee. But for Shopify, they offer a wider variety that covers global marketplace integrations, like Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, Etsy. You still can find those marketplace integration apps for Lazada and Shopee, but some of them may cost you an additional monthly fee for using it.
Discount and Promotion
All the basic discount features are actually covered by all 3 platforms, but EasyStore and Shopify offer more coverage in the form of built-in features, like Purchase with Purchase and Gift with Purchase, in comparison to WooCommerce that activates these features only if you subscribe to their plugins with additional cost.
Sales Features: EasyStore and Shopify Win
Having the necessary built-in sales features is important to the businesses, which makes both EasyStore and Shopify more beginner-friendly and ready to sell in comparison to WooCommerce.
5. Apps/Plugins Marketplace
The best part of all 3 eCommerce platforms is their ready apps or plugins that enables you to easily expand the features and functionality of your store, in comparison to those customized eCommerce systems which may require you to spend even more in the long run via outsourcing to the technical developers for any necessary enhancements. Other than that, the time to develop is much longer compared to those ready apps which are few clicks away.
Shopify’s app marketplace is the most seasoned among all the other eCommerce platforms. From dropshipping, sale and marketing, orders and inventory to finance and reporting, Shopify has over 4,100 verified apps to help you start, manage, and grow your business with ease. While for EasyStore’s app marketplace, since they are a local company with a primary focus in Malaysia, there are only 100+ apps available so far which can be very limited and this could be one of the key constraints that restrain your business scalability in the future. WooCommerce, on the other hand, although it is built on WordPress with 60,000+ plugins available, from its official website, they claim that only “hundreds” of plugins or apps are made for WooCommerce.
Apps/Plugins Marketplace: Shopify Wins
Shopify takes this round. Having an extensive collection of apps or plugins is vital to support the growth of any business. Shopify offers a very solid foundation with their reliable apps ecosystem that allows your business to grow and scale easily. However, please be sure to always check the star rating or user reviews before installing the app.
6. Payment Gateway
When it comes to the payment gateway, it could be one of the crucial features of an online store. Basically, all 3 platforms offer a wide variety of payment gateways that cover both local and overseas, which includes iPay88, MOLPay, GrabPay, PayPal, Stripe, and many more.
For Shopify, however, there is one thing you will need to take note of, which is the transaction fees. Shopify is the only platform that enforces its own transaction fee if you are using 3rd party payment gateway, where you will be charging an extra rate of 2%, 1%, or 0.5% (depend on the plan you choose) on top of your payment gateway’s fees for each transaction unless you choose to use Shopify own payment gateway, which is Shopify Payments. Unfortunately, this is not available for Malaysia at this moment.
Payment Gateway: EasyStore and WooCommerce Win
Both EasyStore and WooCommerce win this round on the basis that they do not impose additional transaction fees for using 3rd party payment gateway, which making it the more suitable option for those stores that sell in huge volume.
Security is a huge concern and should be a top priority when running your online store, especially when it involves payment processing and also to protect the sensitive information of your customers.
With Shopify and EasyStore, the security is well taken care of for you, since they are both the hosted eCommerce platforms that ensure your online store is safe from hackers.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology that helps safeguard your customers’ sensitive information from being tampered with by hackers. Both EasyStore and Shopify come with built-in SSL, while for WooCommerce, you will be responsible for sourcing your own SSL certificate, which normally you can do through your hosting provider.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for organizations that handle credit card and debit card information, this was created to increase controls around credit card data to reduce fraud via its exposure. Of all 3 platforms, Shopify is the only platform that is Level 1 (top-level) PCI-DSS Compliant, which means you don’t have to worry about the security of your customers’ credit card data.
Security: Shopify Wins
It is obviously an easy win for Shopify in this round, as the platform comes with a built-in SSL Certificate and PCI-DSS compliant, which you don’t have to worry much.
8. Customer Support
Customer support is one of the most important considerations when choosing any digital platform. With regards to this, Shopify is renowned for its high-quality customer support, where you will be able to enjoy 24/7 access to a customer support officer if there are any issues or inquiries, either via email, online chat, or even phone call. While for EasyStore, they offer standard support during working hours on weekdays. WooCommerce, on the other hand, isn’t that straightforward when it comes to customer support.
Anyhow, all 3 platforms do provide an extensive collection of knowledge base, references, and tutorials that cover some of the common questions and problem solutions.
Customer Support: Shopify Wins
It is another easy win for Shopify here. Shopify’s support is apparently far better than others, as nothing beats 24/7 access to a support personnel.
Conclusion: Shopify is Today’s Winner
All 3 of them are excellent platforms. Both Shopify and WooCommerce are some of the top eCommerce platforms in global, while EasyStore is considered the top platform in Malaysia. If you are looking for long term scalability for your business, Shopify could be the best option for you.
In terms of costing, Shopify is slightly expensive than others, but the last thing you want is the thing that holds you back from growing your business to the next level is your eCommerce platform.
Still having doubt on which platform to start with? Why not talking to us today to get a session of free consultation on how to kick start your eCommerce journey.