Description of shopping platforms, what are their advantages and disadvantages

Description of shopping platforms, what are their advantages and disadvantages

 6 min read

Choosing a storefront platform is one of the most important decisions to make when deciding to start an e-commerce business.

It determines almost all aspects related to the operation of your store, such as:

  • making changes to its appearance and their final result
  • managing products and entering product information
  • order and customer data management
  • managing discounts and affiliate programs
  • analyzing sales results and website traffic
  • undertaking marketing activities based on customer behavior
  • building positioning in search engines (SEO)
  • possibility of extending the functionality of the store with the use of additional modules
  • possibility of integrating store with external services and tools

and many others.

Providing solutions for stores based on popular store platforms – including Shopify, Shoper, WooCommerce – we have observed that although each of them provides tools to perform the above tasks, in many cases they differ in capabilities, ease of use and the assumptions on which they are based.

Below we will try to point out selected differences and determine when they can be an advantage and when a disadvantage.

Product Variants

Multi-variant products are found in almost every industry – these are products that come in several versions, differing in the value of a specific attribute or attributes, for example, color, size, equipment, weight or volume.

Each of the platforms mentioned above approaches their handling in a slightly different way.

In the case of Shopify, the attributes and their values that define a variant are exclusively assigned to a single product. You could say that this is the least restrictive approach, giving you the most freedom when adding products to your store – each product can have its own unique attributes, and to create another one, all you have to do is select the appropriate option on the product card.

In this situation it can be problematic to edit variants in many products at once. If we decide to replace the “Raspberry” color with “Pink”, it will be necessary to make this change in all products that have variants with this value.

This problem is solved in the WooCommerce platform – here all attributes and product features are stored separately with a list of corresponding values. This limits the freedom when creating products – they use common attributes and values – but it definitely makes it easier to make changes to multiple products at once.

Shoper introduces the most restrictions on variants. In this case not only the attributes and their associated values must be created independently – you must also specify their groups, which can be used to create variants of a given product. With a single group containing color and size, adding a product, the variants of which differ only in size will not be possible – for this purpose you must create a separate group or create variants including color, even if it is common for each of them.

Product features

Product features, i.e. additional information about the products, usually presented in the form of a table, can also be managed differently depending on which platform you choose when setting up your store.

On the Shopify platform, features have not been extracted as a separate field – all product information is in this case part of the product description and should be added as such when creating the product card in the store.

As with variants – these are added individually for each product, so editing multiple products at once can be a hassle. Some hope for change in this area is Shopify’s gradual introduction of meta-pleasers, but at the moment their functionality is limited.

In the case of the WooCommerce platform, feature management is done in the same way as it was done for variants – both attributes distinguishing variants and product features are stored in the same way and can be used interchangeably – e.g. in the case of a hat, the “universal” size can be a feature and its colors – an attribute for a variant, while in the case of pants, their color can be a feature, while sizes – attribute values. In this aspect, the solution available in Woo is characterized by great flexibility.

Managing features on the Shoper platform has been solved quite differently than in previous platforms – their groups are associated with categories, not products. In order to assign a “material composition” to a dress, a group of features containing this feature must be assigned to the “Dresses” category, where the added product is located.


For category management, the solutions used by Shoper and WooCommerce platforms are almost twin – they assume that each product can represent one or more categories, while the categories themselves have a “tree” structure – one category can contain multiple subcategories, and each subcategory can be a parent category for the next, and so on.

The biggest difference between these platforms concerns products not assigned to any category – in WooCommerce they automatically go to the “Uncategorized” category, while in Shoper adding a product without indicating its category is not possible.

The handling of categories looks completely different on the Shopify platform. They have been replaced by “Collections”, which, unlike categories, have a slightly different role – they define less what kind of product we are dealing with (this role is fulfilled by tags on this platform) and more – they are responsible for grouping products that have certain features in common.

A large role in this context is played by automatic collections, thanks to which products will be automatically assigned to a given group if they meet certain criteria – such as the presence of specific tags or the price within a specified range.

Depending on what type of assortment your store offers, both solutions have their strengths.

A structured category structure will make it easier to navigate a store that has many products with clearly defined uses.

On the other hand, Shopify’s solution based on tags and automatic collections can work well for products for which classic categories would not fully reflect their variety – for example, the taste of tea, the smell of perfume, the mood of paintings, or the design of posters or prints on clothing.


These aspects, although they constitute the top of all the differences that can be observed between the store platforms available on the market, perfectly answer the question why each of them has its supporters and what makes them, despite fulfilling exactly the same tasks, manage to remain unique.

What is most important, however, is that none of the described platforms is unequivocally better or worse than the others. Elements which are a weakness in one application, in another can be an unquestionable advantage, so when deciding to open a store it is worth testing a few of them to better understand your expectations.

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