Ecommerce Platform Comparison: Which Platform Delivers the Best Value?

Ecommerce platform comparison and ecommerce platform price comparison

Large brands are looking for ways to add value to both their teams and their customers by exploring different ecommerce platforms. If you’re one of them, consider choosing a platform that’s able to sell, innovate, scale, and automate with you as you navigate the market. That said, we understand that these features all come at a cost.

Committing to the wrong ecommerce platform can get pricey, complex, and time-consuming to manage, often causing delays and even added fees that you initially didn’t expect. This is where understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of each platform's services becomes your advantage. It helps you answer the big question: 'Which one is the best fit for me, my team, and our budget?'

To help you pick the best ecommerce platform for your business, we’re sharing research conducted by a leading independent consulting firm focusing on five ecommerce platforms available on the market in North America today: Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce (Magento), WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. We'll dissect each platform’s TCO to shed light on how it can directly impact your bottom line. 

If you’re looking to transform the way your enterprise brand does business—this ecommerce platform comparison is for you.

What goes into calculating the cost of an ecommerce platform?

Think of figuring out the TCO of an ecommerce platform as if you’re a detective that has to dig deeper than what’s on the surface. It's not just about the upfront costs of setting up and starting on a new platform. You also have to uncover the yearly fees, maintenance costs, the use of third-party services, and those unexpected extra charges that can pop up. 

Luckily, we’ve outlined an easy way for you to find out. How to calculate TCO depends on the following factors: 

  • Implementation and setup costs: These are the initial costs associated with setting up your ecommerce store, including the cost of customization, integration of third-party applications, and plugins. 
  • Platform fees and ecommerce stack costs: These are the ongoing costs of using the platform, including subscription fees, transaction fees, and costs associated with third-party applications.
  • Operational and support costs: These costs include hosting, security, maintenance, and support services.
  • Gained or lost conversion: This is the potential revenue you could gain or lose based on the platform's conversion rate.

Four top ecommerce platform price comparisons

In this assessment, we’re putting ourselves to the test too. Let’s dive into a detailed comparison of Shopify with WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Adobe, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud to find out how we line up against each when it comes to TCO. 

All information in this article is according to research commissioned by Shopify from a leading independent consulting firm to study TCO across major platforms in North America and understand Shopify’s relative positioning based on objective research methods. 

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: TCO comparison

Platform fees and ecommerce stack costs

Shopify users reported the lowest platform costs on average, with WooCommerce users experiencing 32% higher costs on average due to increased support needs and frequent version upgrades.

Operational and support costs

Shopify's operational simplicity and reduced developer support needs result in the lowest operating costs. In contrast, WooCommerce can incur additional infrastructure costs, such as hosting, leading to 41% higher operating costs on average.

Implementation and setup costs

Implementation and setup on WooCommerce will cost your business 49% more than Shopify’s, on average. Additionally, it's 41% faster on average to setup a new storefront on Shopify than on WooCommerce.

Conversion

Assuming a 10% margin on goods sold, Shopify's checkout converts 17% better than WooCommerce, translating to a roughly 1.7% TCO offset when expressed as a percent of TCO.

View the full Shopify versus WooCommerce TCO comparison* report

Shopify vs. BigCommerce: TCO comparison

Platform fees and ecommerce stack costs

Shopify users again reported the lowest platform costs on average, with BigCommerce users experiencing 32% higher costs on average due to limited native enterprise capabilities.

Operational and support costs

Shopify has the lowest operating costs in comparison to BigCommerce's—which comes in higher with 21% more on average. The difference shows in BigCommerce’s limited native enterprise functionality, which can significantly increase operational costs.

Implementation and setup costs

Implementation and setup on BigCommerce will cost your business 88% more than Shopify’s, on average. Additionally, it's 36% faster on average to setup a new storefront on Shopify than on BigCommerce.

Conversion

Assuming a 10% margin on goods sold, Shopify's checkout converts 12% better than BigCommerce, translating to a roughly 1.2% TCO offset when expressed as a percent of TCO.

View the full Shopify versus BigCommerce TCO comparison* report

Shopify vs. Adobe Commerce: TCO comparison

Platform fees and ecommerce stack costs

Shopify users reported the lowest platform costs on average, with Adobe Commerce users experiencing 42% higher costs on average due to less flexible pricing.

Operational and support costs

On average, there’s a 24% higher operational and support cost on Adobe Commerce than on Shopify. This is mainly due to Adobe’s complex legacy commerce platform which can require more internal IT resources or partners for ongoing updates and enhancements.

Implementation and setup costs

Implementation and setup on Adobe Commerce will cost your business 42% more than Shopify’s, on average. Additionally, it's 40% faster on average to setup a new storefront on Shopify than on Adobe Commerce.

Conversion

Assuming a 10% margin on goods sold, Shopify's checkout converts 5% better than Adobe Commerce, translating to a roughly 0.5% TCO offset when expressed as a percent of TCO.

View the full Shopify versus Adobe Commerce TCO comparison* report

Shopify vs. Salesforce Commerce Cloud: TCO comparison

Platform fees and ecommerce stack costs

Shopify users reported the lowest platform costs on average, with Salesforce users experiencing 14% higher costs on average due to less flexible pricing.

Operational and support costs

Shopify comes in at a lower cost in operations and support in contrast to Salesforce’s 6% increase on average. This is mainly due to Salesforce’s complex legacy platform requiring more internal IT resources or partners for ongoing updates and enhancements.

Implementation and setup costs

Implementation and setup on Salesforce will cost your business 16% more than Shopify’s, on average. Additionally, it's 28% faster on average to setup a new storefront on Shopify than on Salesforce.

Conversion

Assuming a 10% margin on goods sold, Shopify's checkout converts 36% better than Salesforce, translating to a roughly 3.6% TCO offset when expressed as a percent of TCO.

View the full Shopify versus Salesforce Commerce Cloud TCO comparison* report

The clear winner: Shopify

Not only are our customers getting the perks of an innovative, agile, and secure platform, but they’re getting the best in TCO.Shopify’s TCO is up to 36% better than its competitors, and 33% on average., and this research shows our platform consistently outperforms others in terms of cost, ease of use, and conversion rates. It's the clear winner for businesses looking to maximize their ecommerce potential while minimizing costs.

View the full report and request your custom TCO calculation | Visit Shopify.com/TCO

FAQ on ecommerce platform comparison

What goes into measuring TCO?

Businesses use the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to figure out all the costs, both direct and indirect, that come with buying or using a platform. Our TCO assessments give a full picture of all the costs a business might face, from the moment they buy an ecommerce platform to the regular costs of keeping it running. We based our research and analysis on three main factors that drive TCO:

  • Platform Fees & E-commerce Stack Costs
  • Operational & Support Costs, and
  • Implementation & Setup Costs

What is the least expensive ecommerce platform?

Based on research by a leading independent consulting firm that compared the total cost of ownership of Shopify and four other popular ecommerce platforms across North America, including factors like implementation, setup, platform fees, and operational costs—Shopify emerges as the best value ecommerce platform, on average.

What research informed these calculations?

Between December 2023 and January 2024, Shopify engaged an independent top-tier consulting firm to conduct a study on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) across prominent ecommerce platforms. The research methodology involved gathering data through an executive survey, comprehensive executive interviews, and secondary research, which included market and industry reports as well as review boards. Additionally, global subject matter advisors (SMAs) with extensive knowledge in ecommerce were consulted during the research process.

Who participated in the research?

Data for this research was gathered from a survey involving 250 enterprises operating on various major ecommerce platforms, with respondents located in the U.S. and Canada. Included were businesses in a variety of sizes, industries, and revenue brackets, with all surveyed businesses generating revenues of $10M or more. The research process also included expert interviews with enterprise leaders who are in charge of managing ecommerce platforms and making related investment decisions. Throughout the research, consultations were also held with Global SMAs who possess expertise in ecommerce platforms and enterprise pricing.

Which platform is best for ecommerce?

While the "best" platform can depend on specific business needs and circumstances, Shopify is known for our commerce-first approach, providing customers with the latest innovations, lower TCO, more ease of use, and higher conversion rates. If you’re looking for a balance of affordability, functionality, and a user-friendly design, Shopify is an excellent choice for your business—no matter the size.

How much does it cost to have a Shopify store?

Shopify offers several pricing plans that cater to different business sizes and needs. As of now, the Basic Shopify plan costs $29 USD per month billed annually, the Shopify plan is $79 USD per month billed annually, the Advanced Shopify plan is $299 USD per month billed annually, and the Plus Shopify plan, specifically for our enterprise customers, starts at $2,300 USD per per month for three-year term. These costs don’t include any additional expenses for third-party apps or premium themes.

What is the world's leading ecommerce platform?

Shopify is considered one of the world's leading ecommerce platforms due to its ease of use, scalability, and robust features. It powers over a million businesses in more than 175 countries and is renowned for its high-converting checkout process, with a capacity of over 40,000 checkouts per minute.

About the author

Gabrielle Shaver

Gabrielle has spent these past few years as a dedicated content developer. Having crafted content for several technology companies, she's most recently joined the content team at over Shopify. Using her knowledge and passion for tech and storytelling, Gabrielle works to consistently deliver insightful content that presents solutions to her readers.