type of e-commerce website

5 Types of e-Commerce Websites & How to select one for your Start-up?

Creating an e-commerce website is not a difficult task. However, selecting what kind of e-commerce website you want, how easy it is to manage, how scalable it is, how much it costs… these are the difficult decisions you have to make before you hire someone to create a website. In this blog, we talk about the 5 major types of e-commerce websites. We also explain in detail the various factors on which you can select a particular e-commerce platform for your website.

Types of e-commerce websites

The time and age we live in, it is safe to say that the audience’s most valued attribute for shopping online is convenience.

Be it detailed filters, intelligent product search or smart recommendations, e-commerce startups are coming up with more and more creative features on their web platforms to engage their customers through online “showrooming”.

As you start out to create your own e-commerce website you need to keep up with the competition. An essential step in creating the best e-commerce website is to pick out the best-suited e-commerce platform for your business. In this blog, we will take you through the top 5 types of e-commerce websites or platforms that you can choose from. We will talk about important factors that you should consider before selecting a particular platform such as pricing, and we will also provide our personal recommendation to help you decide. 

types of e-commerce websites

Types of e-commerce website #1: Shopify

Shopify sets a great example as an online shopping platform with its ample focus on usability, social retail, and mobile compatibility. Its highly popular website builder tools are super-easy to use. It is also full-fledged with SEO and other marketing options such as social media integration, blogs, discounting, email marketing, product reviews, and so on.


Shopify offers 3 plans: Basic Shopify plan, Shopify plan, Advanced Shopify plan. The Basic Shopify plan is available at $29 monthly and is preferable if you can set aside around $75 monthly for plugins and add-ons. The Shopify plan adds up features like fraud detection, professional reports, and abandoned cart recovery, costing $79 monthly. If you want to show third-party shipping rates and/or require advanced reports, you can get the Advanced Shopify plan by paying $299 every month.  The annual cost including hosting, theme, domain name, etc. will cost you around $700, which will rise as you scale up with time.

Factors to consider:

  • Monthly cost $29 – $299.
  • Shopify has a great user interface with simple tools and drag-and-drop options for theme editing, customizations, etc.
  • It is one of the most reliable and secure platforms, catering to over 325,000 businesses around the world.
  • It is super-easy to scale from a small platform to a large-scale business.
  • The Wizard Mode available in Shopify can help newbies while setting up.
  • Shopify is popular for its reliable professional support provided 24/7 to all users.
  • High SEO optimization is available with all plans, and the SEO score is around 98 out of 100.
  • Although Shopify is equipped with an extensive theme store, there is limited customization because it is a hosted platform.

Our Recommendation

Shopify is all you should for a conventional e-commerce platform, but if your startup has some unique requirements in mind, you may want to look at other options too. Some popular brands using Shopify are Budweiser, The Economist, Tesla Motors, and Red Bull.

Types of e-commerce website #2: Magento

Nobody beats this beast in its professional look and detailed content and categories. Magento’s more than 150,000 trained developers have created extensions that add incredible features to its amazing existing scalability and robustness.  

If you can deal with the relatively complex interface and afford the expensive plans, you can end up building the store of your dreams.


As opposed to Shopify’s 15-day free trial, Magento lets you test the waters for 30 days. While the Community Edition is free, the Enterprise Edition can be used at a yearly fee of $18,000. Among monthly choices, the Starter plan starts at $1,988 monthly, while the Pro plan is priced at $3,417. The added features of the Pro plan are B2B integration, analytics, higher availability of 3 servers, and dedicated hardware & technical account management until website launch.

types of e-commerce websites

Factors to consider:

  • Monthly fee $1,988 – $3417.
  • Magento takes technical craftsmanship to new levels and has every feature you can imagine, only if you are tech-savvy.
  • If you expect to hold more than 5,000 SKUs, Magento should be a preference.
  • Setting up and customizations require either a technically bright person or considerable time to understand rudimentary functionality.
  • Magento comes equipped with extremely optimized SEO. But, remember that someone will need to implement it because no feature in Magento comes preconfigured.
  • Magento has innumerable, customizable templates free and purchasable from the marketplace, starting at $29.
  • Before picking an open-source platform, be prepared to personally, or with the help of a developer, deal with the technical issues without any support.

Our Recommendation

If you have a large-scale business and intend to expand beyond the horizons of just e-commerce, go for Magento! Even if you are not tech-savvy, you can always hire freelance Magento developers to help you set up a website. Magento’s high-end customer-base includes brands like Coca-Cola, Ford, and Nike.

Types of e-commerce website #3: WooCommerce

WooCommerce currently powers more than 39 percent online stores worldwide and provides user-friendly development without making it necessary for you to dip your hands in the technical clutter. The reports it generates from your site, too, are nicely organised and easy to filter.


WooCommerce claims “free” setup. Once you get started with your online store, however, you realize that your e-retail is handicapped in the present competition without WooCommerce’s own paid themes and feature extensions. Assume that you may spend around $18 monthly for hosting, around $55 to purchase a theme, and around $500 more for a couple of feature extensions such as product customization, bookings, subscriptions, importing product CSV, etc.

Factors to consider:

  • Best suited for 100-500 SKUs.
  • Installed on more than 848,419 domains, the Woocommerce plugin is highly flexible, allowing WordPress extensions and more than 350 WooCommerce native plugins.
  • WooCommerce is very user-friendly and easy to use but setting up a store is simpler in Shopify.
  • Since this is just a plugin, you can guess that complete setup of the store will need a little work. WooCommerce comes equipped with an Onboarding Wizard to guide you through it all.
  • Even though it is a free platform, you can always toss in paid extensions for SEO, increased payment gateways, etc.
  • Since you have complete access and control over the code, you can use tons of customizations, making your site SEO-friendly.
  • A serious merit with WooCommerce is that it works with any WordPress theme.
  • Since the plugin is open-source, there is limited technical support, but you can always edit the source code or contact a forum.

The added features of the Pro plan are B2B integration, analytics, higher availability of 3 servers, and dedicated hardware & technical account management until website launch.

Our Recommendation

WooCommerce is the best way to go if you want to build a web store from scratch or if you are looking for a way to sell products on an existing WordPress website. Successful WooCommerce stores include Spectator Magazine Shop and Blue Star Coffee Roasters.

Types of e-commerce website #4: OpenCart

OpenCart is another web-platform that provides free service with open-source tools, along with numerous paid extensions. This feature-rich shopping cart system is designed to manage the needs of any online store, whatever the size; it can be hosted on whichever server you prefer.


You can guess that the case with OpenCart is pretty much the same as WooCommerce. Even though setting up may cost nothing, you will need to make expenditures for some features, theme, and hosting.

Factors to consider:

  • This platform, too, is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • OpenCart has as many as about 14,000 extensions but you should be prepared to stumble onto bugs.
  • The best part is the multi-store function for managing several websites from the same admin panel.
  • The platform works with an immense range of currencies and languages.
  • User-friendliness of OpenCart lies somewhere between WooCommerce and Magento.
  • Rest assured that you will find all basic SEO features here that you would expect from a highly paid platform.
  • Although there are tons of templates, both paid and free, applying them will need a little more tech knowledge than for WooCommerce.
  • Since this is a PHP-based software, developers with a background in PHP shall find themselves at an advantage here.
  • Were you thinking OpenCart would deny you technical help just because it is open-source? This is where it beats WooCommerce. You can avail yourself of free Community and Dedicated Support anytime you need assistance.

Our Recommendation:

At the cost of slightly more technical work than WooCommerce, you can use this open-source tool along with the right extensions for affordable development of your -commerce website. Some of the best examples are AskMeBazaar.com, TrendyBharat.com and SamsungCenter.ir.

Types of e-commerce website #5: Custom Development

Custom development means that unless you are a developer, you will need to hire professional freelancers or expert teams for hosting, developing, and maintaining your website. 

types of e-commerce websites


If you have a pre-built theme, you can pull off a custom developed e-commerce store for $500 – $1,000. For a web platform with a custom-built theme, you will need between $1,000 – $2,000. And, in case you need a mobile app along with the website, you will be spending around $3,000 – $5,000. Hired maintenance after the setup may cost you up to $1,500 annually.

Factors to consider:

  • You will, of course, require either knowledge to develop the website yourself or professional developers to do the job for you.
  • Scalability is not an issue if you identify your customer base and start right. As need be, you can later expand your servers, domains and everything else because you have complete control over the code.
  • You do not need to stick to e-commerce, and you can expand your business needs as much as you want. The website can represent your start-up in its own unique way. Be careful, however, and make sure that the website is modular to ensure that the web pages do not confuse your customers.
  • When it comes to themes, you have all the freedom in the world.
  • Since you are not using an external platform, you do not have technical support. Hired techies, your own knowledge, and online forums are all you can rely on.

Our Recommendation

Custom development is a highly flexible solution. If you are starting off with very unique requirements in mind and want an online store that fits exactly what you have in mind, custom development is the path for you.

In Conclusion…

There are, of course, more than 5 types of e-commerce websites that you can choose from. And selecting a particular e-commerce platform from the options given might be difficult but it all depends on the kind of skills your developer has, and how much money you can afford to spend. 

We have summarised the entire blog in the table below to help you clearly distinguish between all the 5 types of e-commerce websites. 

We hope this blog was helpful to you! If you have any specific query regarding selecting a particular platform for your e-commerce website, you can leave your queries in the comments below.

If you are looking for someone who can help you create a professional website, you can post your requirements on our website. We will connect you with skilled, experienced, and verified freelance teams who can take it up. Visit InstaTaskers.com to know more. 🙂

Summary Table

Shopify Magento Woo
OpenCart Custom Development
Estimated Investment (Annually) $700 $18,000 $771 $600 Set-up: $3000 – $5000,
Annual maintenance cost: $1500 
Ease of Setup Super-easy! Complicated Easy Simpler than Magento Complicated
Top Features – Easy website builder

– Marketing and SEO options

– Use your own domain name

– Mobile-friendly stores

– Responsive templates

– Targeted marketing, merchandising

– Polls and customer segmentation

– Multiple wishlists

– Variety of payment gateways

– Configurable tax settings

– Available from wp-admin of WordPress site

– Multi-store management from the same admin panel

– All basic SEO features for free

– Wide range of currencies and languages

– Complete control over the code

– Unlimited scalability

– Easy to expand for unique requirements.

Security Great. Certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant Good. But popular target of hackers and frequent security breaches. Requires extra measures. Requires extra measures. Depends on you. You are responsible and at freedom to take important steps.
SEO Highly optimized, and easy to implement Extremely optimized, but needs work in implementation Optimizable, but manually through control over the code Well-optimized, and for free As great as you make it!
Scalability High Very high Satisfactory if you use the right extensions Quite scalable with support for various reverse proxies and cache handlers Expand the resources as your business grows, and you’ll be just fine
Support Awesome!24/7 professional support Not so great. Limited support.But you can contact forums. Great!Free community and dedicated support Hired techies, forums and your own knowledge are your assets.
Customization Pretty easy with lots of theme options Fully customizable templates As much as WordPress lets you! Tons of templates, but require some work applying. Unlimited based on the themes and tech help you use.


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