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Tools, apps and e-commerce websites

South Africa’s Best eCommerce Platforms

Due to the fast paced world we find ourselves in, the demand for technology and online shopping is skyrocketing! With many businesses shifting into the online space, it’s important to know South Africa’s best eCommerce platforms.

SA eCommerce retailers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a good eCommerce platform. Although there are many platforms available, it’s crucial to find an eCommerce platform that works best for your brand and online store.

We’ve done the work for you and created a list of the top eCommerce platforms available in SA:

Shopify

Shopify is one of the most widely used eCommerce platforms across the country. This is mainly due to the fact that it is simple and quick to set up and get selling. Additionally, Shopify also offer a Point of Sale (POS) application, that allows merchants to make sales in a physical store or pop-up setting.

Another reason why Shopify is so popular and considered one of the best platforms, is that it boasts great SEO and marketing tools, as well as a variety of free and paid themes to choose from.

Due to Shopify’s huge following base, they offer excellent 24/7 customer support. The Shopify Community is also a great space that allows you to share your issues or offer advice and get involved with discussions.

In Summary, here are a few Pros of Shopify:

  • Free 14 day Trial
  • Quick and easy set up
  • Ability to merge your online store with Shopify POS
  • Customizable – variety of free and paid themes
  • 24/7 support

What about Pricing?

Shopify has 3 main pricing plans:

  1. Basic Shopify – $29 USD / month
    • Best for new eCommerce businesses
  2. Shopify – $79 USD / month
    • Best for growing businesses (online & in-store)
  3. Advanced Shopify – $299 USD / month
    • Best for scaling businesses that need advanced reporting

In addition, they also offer Shopify Plus (for large businesses) and Shopify lite plans (from $9 USD / month).

Shopify Pricing Plans - Best eCommerce Platforms in South Africa
Shopify Pricing Plans

In summary, Shopify is one of South Africa’s best eCommerce platforms that can meet the needs of almost any online store, whether it be new to the market or fully established. If you think this is the platform for you, find out more on how to set up your Shopify store with our guide.

Magento

Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform built using open-source software, which ultimately allows the merchant to control the overall functionality, content and look of their online store. This unique platform unfortunately requires some knowledge on coding and programming, but with this you could create a top class online store!

Another reason why Magento is considered to be one of the best eCommerce platforms is due to its speed and SEO tools. And much like Shopify, Magento has a very large community, where support is easily accessible. Lastly, Magento is powerful in the sense that it was made to be used with accounting and CRM software.

In summary here are a few Pros of Magento:

  • Customizable
  • Large community – easy access to support
  • High speed and SEO friendly
  • Integrates with accounting and CRM software

What about Pricing?

There are two options when considering Magento as an eCommerce platform:

  1. Magento Opensource
    • This is a free version that can be downloaded, customized and self-hosted.
    • You will most probably incur hosting fees.
  2. Magento Commerce
    • This version is for enterprises, that also includes cloud hosting as part of the subscription.
    • Starting annual price: $22 000

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is arguably one of the most commonly used eCommerce plugins. Technically speaking, it isn’t an eCommerce platform in itself, as it is was created as a plugin for WordPress. This ultimately allows for a standard WordPress site to be converted into an eCommerce store. Because WooCommerce is essentially built on the foundation of WordPress, it is open source and completely customizable.

In addition, WooCommerce has great integration capabilities, is SEO Friendly and has in built analytics. Lastly, due to WordPress’ popularity, their community and thus the WooCommerce community is rather large. Which allows you to easily seek help and advice.

In summary here are a few Pros of WooCommerce:

  • Open source and customizable
  • Large community
  • SEO friendly
  • Built in analytics
  • Great integration capabilities

What about Pricing?

Due to WooCommerce’s open source nature, both itself and WordPress are free. However, you will need to keep in mind additional costs such as:

  • A domain name – $12
  • A hosting service – $5 – $25
  • Themes – $59
  • Plugins & extensions – $25
  • Developer fees – $20 – $150 / hour

PrestaShop

PrestaShop is another great eCommerce platform for many reasons. It is open source, easy to navigate and relatively well priced. In addition, although it is free, it offers a range of add-on features, making it easy to customize.

In summary here are a few Pros of PrestaShop:

  • User-friendly
  • Open source
  • Add-on features
  • Affordable
  • Easily customizable

What about Pricing?

PrestaShop is open source, and is therefore free. Costs you may need to keep in mind would be for additional features and plugins.

OpenCart

OpenCart is also considered to be one of the best eCommerce platforms. Like WooCommerce and PrestaShop, it is an open-source platform, which allows anyone to create an online store. This ultimately allows you to scale your business immediately. OpenCart also offers built in metrics and reporting that enables you to assess the growth of your business. Another great benefit of using OpenCart, is that many add-ons are free. OpenCart also allows you to customize your online store and choose your preferred shipping method. Another great advantage of using OpenCart is having access to dedicated technical support.

In summary here are a few Pros of OpenCart:

  • Open-source
  • Free add-ons
  • Built in metrics and reporting
  • Link preferred payment gateways
  • Use your own shipping method

What about Pricing?

As mentioned above, OpenCart is open source, which makes it free for anyone to use. It is also considered to be cost effective as many of the add-ons are free. However, it is important to note that some plugins and features may cost.

Conclusion

With eCommerce on the rise in South Africa, it’s important to make the right choice when choosing your eCommerce platform. Currently, there are many great eCommerce platforms available in South Africa. For example, Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, OpenCart and Magento. Each of which offer different pros and cons.

Now it’s time for you to consider which of South Africa’s best eCommerce platforms is suited to your store!

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