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Best shopping carts for your business

best online store shopping carts

Choosing the right shopping cart for your online store is crucial, we take a look at the 2 most popular ecommerce platforms globally; WooCommerce and Shopify.

For all businesses that want to start selling online, there are important factors to consider first.  These key factors will help you decide which platform is better suited for your needs.

  • Budget – The initial cost of starting a fully functional ecommerce store.
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to use even for absolute beginners.
  • Payment Methods – It should have support for multiple payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, other merchant processors).
  • Integrations – Number of services and third party tools you can integrate to grow your business.
  • Scalability – The platform should be able to scale as your business grows.

These are the very basic requirements that all online store owners must consider.

Ecommerce website - Woocommerce

Woocommerce is one of the worlds’ most popular shopping carts. It’s a free ecommerce plugin for WordPress, to allow you to install a fully-functioning ecommerce site to any WordPress install. And WordPress is the worlds’ most popular Content Management System (CMS).

Set up is simply a matter of installing the plugin directly through WordPress, but although you’ll be able to set up products and shipping rates, along with shopping categories and most basic features, you will also need to install additional addons to provide full functionality. Many of these are available directly through the Woocommerce website, though others may be sold on third-party websites.

WooCommerce is super flexible when it comes to customizations. You have full control of the whole platform. You can add any functionality imaginable to your website with the help of more than 55,000+ WordPress plugins. There is a wide range of addons available, not least including payment processors such as Paypal, Sagepay, and Stripe, as well as a large selection of others for adding different levels of functionality to your shop, such as for inventory management and stock control, as well as a number of integrations, such as for Mailchimp for email marketing and Xero for accounting.

What you’ll need:  

  • A hosting account (standard for all websites), this will come with email accounts too. Coast Creative will install WordPress and WooCommerce for you for free.
  • An SSL Certificate – this encrypts your website pages, making it secure. It’s a must for any website these days, especially one that takes payments and customer details.
  • A domain name
  • A payment gateway account (PayPal, Stripe for example) – so that you can process and receive your payments.


  • Free
  • Easy to setup, there will be a bit of a learning curve but that’s the case with any new platform you use.
  • Easily extendable, choose from thousands of plugins and addons to suit your business needs. Note: some plugins require a fee.
  • Not locked in to any host. You can move your website to any host you wish.
  • Thousands of themes and plugins available (both free and paid). Plugins for WooCommerce include just about anything.
  • Unlimited staff accounts.
  • Unlimited products.
  • No transaction charge by WooCommerce. Only via your payment gateway.


  • You’ll need to manage your own hosting account, but if you have a good hosting company that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Annual hosting fees (generally a lot less than Shopify fees though).

Shopify Website

Shopify is also one the most popular shopping carts globally.  It comes with the hosting built in so you can sign up, add your content and start selling.

Shopify accepts all major credit cards and provides a fast checkout procedure via its very own Shopify Pay or by Apple Pay. Should you have your own payment gateway Shopify works seamlessly with over 100 of the major players such as Sage Payments and PayPal. Shopify Payments costs 2.9% – 2.4%, depending on the plan chosen, with an additional 30c transaction fee on top.

An entry-level subscription to Shopify costs from $29 per month and for more options, up to $299 for the Enterprise subscription . There’s an additional fee of between 2% – 0.5% for use of other payment gateways, again depending on the plan used. The software is currently available in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Ireland. Basic subscribers can upload any number of products but Shopify only allows two staff accounts for store management.

Shopify also comes with Shopify POS Lite built in, the more advanced POS is an extra $85 per month. This handles a similiar customer in the point-of-sale (POS) space as does its e-commerce site sibling in the web retailing space. The two work well together and are both flexible and easy to use. The POS product integrates tightly with the website platform, which makes it an excellent solution for budding online retailers, but it’s especially useful to those who have both online and brick-and-mortar outlets. It’s one of  a few POS solutions that’s just as capable online as it is in a physical store. That makes it ideal for small businesses that depend on pop-up shops, trade shows, and other off-site retail opportunities.


What you will need:

  • A domain name
  • A payment gateway account or use Shopifys’ payment processing


  • Start selling quickly
  • 14-day free trial.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Good customer support.
  • Third-party app store.
  • Hosting is all taken care of.
  • POS Lite integrated.


  • Monthly fee, although it includes hosting, even the entry level is much higher than a normal hosting account would cost.
  • Advanced features available only on higher tiers – Advanced plans are expensive.
  • Doesn’t offer advanced analytics or automatic discounts.
  • Once you’re with Shopify, you have to stick with it or if you want to move to another platform, you will need to rebuild your website.
  • Difficult to make design edits. Although it can be quick to get started, if you want any of your own bespoke designs for your website, this can be tricky and you’ll need a website developer to help you.
  • There’s a lot of themes to choose from, some are free, the better ones cost a fee.
  • Shopify subscriptions not available in all countries.
  • Staff accounts limited to only 2 on the Basic account.

In summary, both WooCommerce and Shopify are excellent shopping carts so it’s important to explore both for your business needs.

Coast Creative is a certified Shopify partner and WooCommerce developer. If you need obligation free advice about setting up an online shop, get in touch. 

We can help you get up and running and selling fast.  You can easily administer your own website and add projects, change prices etc as you wish. We’re here to help with all your ecommerce needs.

Ask us about our special deals to get your online store setup quickly, easily and cost effectively.