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Fashion-forward eCommerce: Choose your platform

In 2023, online sales of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and apparel accounted for nearly one-third of the UK’s eCommerce market, and according to Think with Google, there are over 10,000 fashion-related searches every minute in the UK. 

With more people than ever shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories online, running a fashion eCommerce store can be a highly lucrative business. The catch? It’s also a fiercely competitive market. To make it, fashion eCommerce stores must stand out for all the right reasons. Creating an exceptional user experience and using clever conversion rate optimisation (CRO) techniques can help set online fashion retailers up for success.

But hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Before you can begin designing your online clothes store or strategising how to win loyal customers and conversions, there’s one very important decision to make: which eCommerce platform is best for your fashion brand?

It’s a big decision. After all, different platforms have different capabilities, and the one you choose affects everything from how easy it is to set up shop to how smoothly your store runs and what cool features you can offer customers. In short, your chosen platform can make or break your fashion eCommerce dream.

So, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you decide which platform best meets your requirements. We’ll discuss the must-have features of a killer fashion eCommerce store. Plus, we’ll reveal which eCommerce platforms are best for fashion retailers, breaking down the pros and cons of each to help you make the best choice for your brand. 

What features make an eCommerce platform ideal for fashion retailers?

Unfortunately, in the world of fashion eCommerce, great products alone are not enough to stand out and win sales. 

Online fashion retailers are at somewhat of a disadvantage compared to their bricks-and-counterparts because customers can’t engage with the products in the same way they’re used to when shopping in-store. Traditionally, customers would feel the fabric, inspect the item up close, and then maybe try it on for size – an experience that is hard to replicate online. To engage online shoppers, fashion retailers must leverage various eCommerce features and functionalities to create a dynamic and engaging user experience that mirrors the offline experience as closely as possible.

eCommerce website by Create8 for Benir fashion brandLet’s look at some ideal eCommerce features for fashion retailers.

  • Reliable and secure platform – Reassure customers that their data is safe and that transactions are secure.
  • Mobile responsive templates – According to the Fashion Network, global fashion e-shoppers now spend more on mobile than desktop, making mobile responsiveness in fashion eCommerce a must-have.
  • Secure payment gateways with quick checkout – Offer customers various payment methods and a streamlined checkout process to help boost conversion rates.
  • Support high-resolution images and zoom functionality – Provide multiple high-quality product images, allowing customers to zoom in and see products in more detail to gain trust and aid purchasing decisions.
  • Brand storytelling tools – Tell your brand’s story and showcase its vision and values to connect with your audience on a deeper value, boosting engagement and brand loyalty. 
  • Sophisticated product categorisation – Help customers to find what they’re looking for easily – particularly useful for fashion brands with large inventories and many variations.
  • Advanced site search capabilities – Help customers find products quickly using advanced search functionalities like filtering and auto-complete suggestions.
  • Intuitive site navigation and design – Help customers navigate your website easily and find what they’re looking for quickly without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated to reduce bounce rates and improve user experience.
  • User experience customisation – Create a unique, memorable, and personalised shopping experience for customers.
  • SEO tools – Optimise website content for search engines like Google to increase your fashion brand’s visibility online and attract more organic traffic.
  • Personalisation and recommendation tools – Enhance user experience and potentially boost conversion rates by offering personalised product recommendations based on customer behaviour, preferences, and purchase history.
  • Customer reviews and feedback system – Collect and display customer reviews and ratings to provide users with social proof and influence purchasing decisions.
  • Performance optimisation – A store that loads quickly, even during traffic surges, keeps potential customers engaged, improves UX, reduces bounce rates, and boosts conversion rates.

Popular eCommerce platforms for fashion brands

Whether you plan to launch a new clothing brand online or are considering migrating your growing store to a new platform, choosing the right platform requires careful consideration. There are plenty of options out there, each offering a unique set of features, functionalities, and pricing models. Finding the perfect fit for your business can be challenging. We’ve rounded up some leading contenders: Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento, WooCommerce, and Squarespace.

The right platform for your fashion brand hinges on factors like business size, budget, and unique requirements. Next, we’ll learn more about the different features, functionalities, and pricing plans that each platform offers to help you make a more informed decision about which one best suits your needs.

eCommerce platforms comparison: exploring the pros and cons

Figuring out which eCommerce platform is right for your fashion brand can be particularly challenging if you’re not a developer or have little technical knowledge. Each platform claims to be bigger and better than the last, and at first glance, they may all appear to have similar capabilities and features. To help you understand the nuances of each platform a little better, we’ve put together a quick introduction and a simple jargon-free guide to the pros and cons of each, helping you to compare Shopify versus Squarespace, Shopify versus WooCommerce, and Shopify versus Magento for fashion.


Shopify is widely known as a leading all-in-one, hosted eCommerce platform. It is renowned for its user-friendly interface and quick setup process. Launching a fashion eCommerce store is simple with Shopify because the platform is designed to provide businesses with everything they need to start selling online, from polished professional themes to efficient inventory and order management tools. Because Shopify does not require extensive technical knowledge, it gives businesses the autonomy to manage their online store without a developer. Security is also taken care of by Shopify, providing peace of mind that customer data is protected and the checkout process is secure. 

Shopify offers great out-of-the-box features, complemented by over 8,000 apps and integrations to help fashion brands expand their store’s functionality, improve UX, and boost engagement and conversion rates. These include apps for social proof, customer reviews, fit and sizing, shoppable galleries and lookbooks, and sales channel apps.


  • Convenient all-in-one-solution
  • Over 8,000 apps and integrations
  • Affordable plans available
  • Ease of use 
  • Hosted and secure
  • Polished themes


  • Customisation is limited
  • Transaction fees
  • Limited content management tools

eCommerce website design by Create8 for Rock on Ruby

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is the premium version of Shopify, aimed at high-volume and enterprise-level brands. It’s the ideal platform for large businesses that have complex inventories or want to sell internationally in multiple currencies and languages. Fashion retailers with brick-and-mortar stores can easily integrate online and offline sales using the platform’s robust, native POS system. The platform is renowned for its robust and reliable performance, making it a good choice for brands that experience high traffic volumes or spikes in traffic. Shopify Plus maintains the user-friendly interface that Shopify is known for, giving businesses greater control over their store. 

Fashion brands can boost conversion rates with Shopify Plus’ fast and fully customisable checkout by offering shoppers custom discounts, offers, and shipping rates at the checkout to encourage sales. Shopify Plus also offers features that help fashion brands tell their brand story using online lookbooks, videos, and interactive content. It also helps fashion brands present products dynamically using augmented reality and video.

It offers all the same pros and cons as Shopify, plus more:


  • Scalable
  • Customisable checkout
  • Nine free expansion stores
  • Multichannel selling for up to 20 channels
  • Headless capabilities
  • Automation tools


  • Expensive
  • Limited customisation


Magento (now known as Adobe Commerce) is an open-source, self-hosted solution. Building an eCommerce store using Magento generally requires a big budget and extensive technical knowledge, so you’ll need a developer to help you build and manage your store. However, Magento offers unparalleled flexibility, customisation, and scalability if your budget allows. Magento is often used by established fashion brands who want to create a very bespoke or distinct online presence requiring complex functionality.

Let’s look at some of Magento’s features that make it ideal for fashion brands. Firstly, it offers advanced visual merchendising and a comprehensive content management system (CMS), allowing brands to create compelling and immersive shopping experiences that engage their website visitors. It can also easily handle complex product types, including grouped and bundled products, configurable products, and gift cards.


  • Unlimited customisation
  • Highly scalable
  • Complete SEO control
  • Supports multiple languages and currencies
  • Thousands of themes available
  • Unlimited integrations
  • Advanced inventory management


  • High complexity
  • Development costs
  • Responsibility for security
  • Requires powerful hosting solutions


WooCommerce is a free, open-source, self-hosted eCommerce plugin for WordPress – the world’s most popular CMS and website builder. Because WooCommerce is open-source, the sky’s the limit when it comes to customisation and scalability, making it a good choice for brands with very complex or specific requirements. However, you’ll need a developer to harness the platform’s full potential. It also supports multiple currencies, languages and tax rates to support fashion brands that want to sell globally.

WooCommerce’s foundation in WordPress makes it a particularly attractive option for retailers that plan to invest heavily in content marketing and SEO for fashion eCommerce as it inherits WordPress’s comprehensive toolkit, helping fashion brands gain more visibility online. If you thought Shopify’s 8000 apps and integrations were impressive, WooCommerce offers over 55,000 – whatever functionality you require, there’s likely a plugin available! More WooCommerce benefits for fashion include its selection of beautiful themes, including many tailored to the fashion industry. 


  • Powerful content management tools
  • Over 55,000 integrations
  • Unlimited customisation
  • Supports a wide range of payment gateways
  • Highly scalable
  • Free plugin


  • Responsibility for hosting
  • Complex to set up and manage
  • Cost of add-ons can add up
  • Plugins can affect performance
  • Steep learning curve


Squarespace is a design-focused, hosted platform popular with the creative industries and bloggers because of its visually appealing templates and user-friendly interface. It’s a popular choice for fashion designers and brands prioritising design and simplicity over complex functionality.


  • Hosted
  • User-friendly interface
  • Advanced blogging tools
  • 155 free and customisable templates
  • Video background functionality
  • SEO tools


  • Limited payment gateways
  • Limited eCommerce features and functionality
  • Limited template customisation
  • Limited integrations
  • Transaction fees

Fashion paintings

Best eCommerce platforms for small fashion brands

Shopify is the go-to platform for small and medium-sized fashion brands who want to maintain autonomy over managing their store and keep costs down. It’s exceptionally user-friendly but doesn’t skimp on functionality, with new features added to the platform regularly. Unless you require highly specialised features, experience massive spikes in traffic, or aim to operate multiple international storefronts, Shopify has more than enough features for your average fashion brand. Examples of fashion retailers who have built their eCommerce store using Shopify include Rock on Ruby and MNT CNDITION.

Squarespace is the ideal platform for small fashion brands or designers who want to showcase their collections creatively. It’s particularly suited for those with smaller inventories and a strong emphasis on brand storytelling over direct sales. While Squarespace is equipped with sufficient eCommerce tools for selling online, its strength lies in presenting a brand’s identity and narrative through an elegant and design-forward website. Fashion designer Sadie Williams’ website is a good example of how Squarespace can be leveraged to showcase clothing collections and sell online.

Best eCommerce platforms for large or international fashion brands

Shopify Plus is used by some of the world’s largest fashion and apparel brands, including Clarks and GymShark. It’s ideal for large businesses with complex multichannel sales strategies and an international audience. While Shopify Plus offers extensive functionality and scalability, it has limitations compared to open-source platforms, making it best suited to brands that don’t require extensive customisation or highly bespoke designs. Shopify Plus stands out in its ability to maintain ease of use, even when managing complex functionality and multichannel selling. 

An open-source platform like Magento or WooCommerce is the most flexible option for large fashion retailers requiring extensive customisation and scalability.

WooCommerce is a good option for medium to large fashion brands that prioritise customisation and aim to serve a global customer base. Popular fashion retailers using WooCommerce include Cupshe and Coveti. Because WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, it inherits WordPress’ superior SEO and content management tools, making it a good choice for fashion retailers focusing on content-driven marketing strategies. The open-source nature of the platform allows for unlimited flexibility in customisation. However, this also means building and maintaining a WooCommerce website requires technical know-how, making it best suited to brands with the budget to hire a developer.

Magento is the platform of choice for fashion giants like Kurt Geiger, Harvey Nichols, Missguided, and PrettyLittleThing due to its ability to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience and manage complex product inventories. Its robustness ensures reliability even under high traffic volumes or during spikes. Although highly scalable and offering unlimited possibilities, Magento requires significant technical expertise and investment, making it best suited to fashion brands with substantial budgets and access to developer resources.

Partner with Create8 to build an eCommerce store for your fashion brand

Need help selecting the right eCommerce platform for your fashion-forward brand?

At Create8, our eCommerce web designers and Shopify web developers have helped countless fashion brands like yours select an eCommerce platform that aligns with their unique requirements and is set up for scalability and growth. 

We help fashion retailers stand out in a competitive market by designing and developing memorable, dynamic, and user-friendly online shopping experiences using scalable eCommerce platforms for fashion.

Learn more about our work or contact us today by calling 0161 820 9686 and let us give your fashion brand the online presence it deserves.

eCommerce website by Create8 for Hex fashion brand