HELP with deciding on an E-commerce solution

To start, I know there are forums more on topic for this but I’ll have to introduce myself and I am kinda shy :wink: … and maybe I will get better insights here just because it’s off topic and in The Lounge.

So here we go. We plan to open a little brick and mortar store and of course would like to open that up into the www at some point (only Germany to start). We will not have more than 100 products.

I have experience with webshops (have build and used an oscommerce website/store in the early 2000’s and also worked with WP and Woocommerce a bit, that was all many years ago already.

In 2021 there are so many options though! I have been reading and letting all the info sink in for now because we still have a lot of other work to deal with first.

Our shop will be based in Berlin so German law applies.

Another note, I used to be a sys admin but left that life behind many moons ago and I am not interested in picking it up again (yet) so I think I want a hosted solution. I don’t want to deal with server sh!t, I prefer calling support when needed and let them figure it out while I am working on selling or getting better purchase prices.

I made a shortlist of the packages I could go for. I take into account that I am in Germany so local build software has an edge because of the prompt implementation of legal aspects.

Already reviewed

  • Shopware
  • Gambio
  • JTL Shop
  • Shopify
  • ePages

Have to look into

  • plentymarkets
  • intershop
  • lightspeed
  • prestashop
  • Oxid eSales
  • Odoo

Not interested (for now)

  • Magento
  • Woocommerce

I am not sure about hosted options that do revenue sharing like Shopify and many others,… I will also take that into :balance_scale: when it’s money time.

I would like to integrate a POS and (basic) inventory management (hybrid) from the start, just because it’s the way to do it right.

Feel free to share any thoughts/insides you might have.


What about Wix?

Btw, I was introduced to shopify two weeks ago. I really like it, it is clear and simple.


Wix is like Gambio.

Gambio is a German company which I would prefer because of legel issues. We would start our little store only in Germany and it might just stop there.

Yes, I also like Shopify!
A lot of shop and more for what it costs, especially when starting out. The revenue sharing model is holding me back on that one but I might go for it anyway when we have our product portfolio together and the best initial purchase prices are clear.

Id probably look at similar stores in Germany
And look into both inventory management but also shipping / vat and end costs … selling something is great but shipping costs are often annoying to figure out ( though most places are free shipping … though obviously someone pays in the end )

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A lot to choose from there.


what are you selling? Are there lots of variations or complex shipping requirements.

How much time do you have to setting up the shop?

How much is your shop likely to evolve over time.

Personally I would choose woocommerce or shopify. Woocommerce if you want ownership or control or your shop, shopify if you want an easy life and don’t really have any need to customise (obviously you can customise, but you’ve said you don’t want to get into programming).

I’ve been through a bunch of different e-commerce platforms in the last 10-15 years.

If I had to start another one tomorrow- Shopify every time.

Yes, been doing that for a while. Shopware is very popular in spaces I have been looking, also Shopify and Woocommerce. JTL shop I’ve also seen a few times on German stores, they have an interesting starting point from local inventory management which is freeware but when it becomes interesting it also becomes expensive with all the monthly booked add-ons.

High quality natural food products from Mediterranean Islands. Shipping only in Germany, might open a second store in Belgium in a later phase.

Shipping is easy, we will use DHL GoGreen only and advertise it that way. We will also promote click and collect, extra points and a free mountain herbal tea for coming by bicycle ;-).

Webshop is secondary for us, we want our brick and mortar store and local presence to lead us. Still have a few months minimum. That said, I might go live with the webshop before we open the brick and mortar store!

Depends. Difficult to say, we can adapt. We are also not financially dependant on its succes. It’s a combination of passion, opportunity, creating another source of income and personal growth (maybe, we’ll see about that later :wink: ).

Yes, I am also thinking that way. I could always customise later when I have time and the energy for it. I will probably set on one of those 2, let’s take 4 with Gambio and Shopware in the mix. I haven’t used WP in almost a decade (2.4 or so…?). I will have a look into Woocommerce too. The easy Shopify life seems to have an edge minus the revenue sharing that is. :wink:

Noted. Thanks CCMP!

Cool - all sounds like a plan.

I have never looked at Gambio or Shopware, but my 2 cent opinion

Gambio - their showcase websites all look pretty bad - like those cheap knock-off websites you don’t trust and check they’re real before actually buying from them them. I’m sure you can customise, but if they cant find anything decent for their showcase (some of them are dead) it’s not a great start

Shopware. Their site is confusing and corporate. The sites look pretty good - but some of the nonsense on their site doesn’t hold promise for a great user experience! Like what is all this about Case Studies | Customers | Shopware . It doesn’t bode well for a great user experience - but might be worth a trial. Is the pricing competitive vs shopify?

Shopify. Is a good platform - you get what you pay for, there are nice templates, you can make a good looking shop in a couple of days if you have your content together, it is expensive - and becomes more so as you start to add add-ons (these are sneaky and add up)

Woocommerce. I’m very biased towards woocommerce - its what we use at work. There are a million shit woocommerce websites out there, but it is an open source platform, that gives back what you put in.

If I were starting a small online shop (bearing in mind that part of my job involves building Woocommerce sites for people) I would build with Shopify. Expect very few sales to start with. If you get to the point that you are giving Shopify too much money - that’s a good position to be in - it means you’re selling things! At that point you’ll have a good idea of what you need from an online platform, and any effort you put into building a platform to your specification will be based around experience of what you need, rather than expectation of what you might need.

the exception to the shopify to get started concept is:

  • I expect to make a lot of sales from the get go
  • I’m selling any pseudo health products (health supplements, CBD that sort of thing) etc
  • I have complex variation, shipping arrangements

Also be aware that shopify out-of-the-box is limited to single layers of categories, so you can have multi-layer filtering without some coding (eg if you were selling clothing you would need to add some code to create a Mens dropdown with a load of categories, and Wmen’s dropdown with a load of categories. Out the box - it’s one category dropdown, I think)

I would also pay for a premium theme.


I used Shopify to manage my former employers web store. It was super easy to set up, like a weeks time vs several months trying to setup on Magento or some other platform and get all the APIs connected.

It also has some great features that make doing complex stuff pretty easy. Personally if I had the need to setup a smaller ecom store, that’s my first spot to see what kind of numbers you’re looking at in terms of cost. It can be high but considering the ease of use and the fact that you don’t need to hire a developer or site manager or even a host, it may be worth it.

I’d clarify that I was almost exclusively selling physical goods.

We did have a digital product, and there were several extensions that made that possible. The one I used was very basic, but the product didn’t require anything more than that, so YMMV.

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Shopify for physical goods.
Payhip for digital-only goods.

Also check out Big Cartel for physical goods. It’s mostly used by artists but the platform is adaptable.

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As a customer, I dislike Shopify a lot. They all but to insist we download their app. This gives Shopify permission to watch all our purchases across any shops, building yet another model of us which I feel I need to fight against. I don’t mind individual shops knowing ny spending habits WITH THEM, but centralising that on a single model owned by a third party is unreasonable surveillance.


Good to know! Thanks for the feedback.

Just checked, Elektron is based on WordPress, the shop is probably a tailor made PHP implementation.

Schneidersladen is using Shopware, it’s a shop I visit a lot but refrain from buying mostly because I am setting up a business myself for now … :smiley:

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