There are countless smaller and larger providers of online shops, ranging from small hosted software-as-a-service solutions to medium-sized software packages, which can be more or less easily supplemented with extensions, to the large open source systems that are widespread worldwide and will probably still be available in several years’ time due to the large number of supporting shops and providers. What is suitable for your online sales depends, as so often, on your circumstances and goals.
Little off-the-shelf cloud solutions
If you only want to run a small shop with a few articles and possibly just see it as an add-on for your company, SaaS solutions may be the perfect solution. The advantage lies in the simple setup and handling. Everything works right out of the box and therefore you can set up a pre-installed web shop with just a few clicks. While some of the SaaS solutions even start without monthly costs and you only have to pay for the actual sales, most offers cost a few euros a month, which is quite manageable. This is often based on the number of products or product variants offered.
However, the scalability and import possibilities for larger inventories are limited. The simplicity also leads to corresponding restrictions in functionality, for example in the support of certain payment procedures, the integration of additional logistics service providers, synchronization with existing merchandise management systems or the layout of your shop. In short, you are dependent on the development department of the respective provider. You will not be able to use anything that is not available there. If you are planning a small launch and all this seems more like an advantage to you, you should look at Supr, Wix, Ionos or Jimdo for example. You may be well served with one of these off-the-shelf solutions.
Open source shops offer unlimited possibilities
Large open source solutions, on the other hand, are much more future-proof, can easily be expanded as you grow, and their source code can even be viewed and individually modified. You can therefore implement special features that you need for your business yourself using an API. You also have a wider choice of agencies and service providers. For many of the systems there are specialized agencies that operate web shops exclusively using the respective system. You should use their know-how because they are usually also at the respective customer events and are therefore informed about possible changes or new features early on.
In addition, there are other solutions that do not fall under Open Source, but are also worth a look due to their market position: If you are looking for a large solution that supports the Omnichannel concept and is suitable for multinational shops, you can rely on Intershop or deal with SAP C/4 Hana and Salesforce, for example.
Important systems that dominate the market in this arena include Magento, Shopware, Oxid eShop, Prestashop and osCommerce, but also Spryker or Shopify are interesting providers with a variety of contemporary features and good user guidance. They are likely to have the largest market shares in the DACH region, even if it is difficult to say how many shops use the respective systems and how much turnover they generate because they can be installed freely. By the way, open source is not to be equated with entirely free. Costs are incurred not only for the services surrounding the shop, but also for templates, extension modules and last but not least the enterprise versions of the shop systems, which enable additional functionalities or simpler administration (and therefore will pay off for more ambitious projects for this reason).
The larger open source shop systems in particular include a community and, in many cases, regular conferences and customer meetings. Make sure you are well informed in this regard. You can find out if the respective system fits well to your requirements and where the pain points and difficulties lie. You can usually also quickly get in touch with suitable service providers or potential employees who can help you get ahead. It is basically a good idea to choose an agency that is mainly or exclusively specialized in the respective shop system.
And of course you can also get advice and help in finding the right solution. Mediawave has specialized in this area.
The bottom line: The optimum shop system depends on the application scenario
It’s like buying a car: some will be happy with a Smart cabriolet, while others prefer a spacious SUV with a trailer hitch. Our comprehensive checklist can help you choose the right shop system, explaining exactly what is important when choosing the best shop solution for your project. You can download the checklist here for free.