EKM vs ShopWired vs Bluepark – Comparing the UK’s Best Ecommerce Platforms

EKM vs ShopWired vs Bluepark Comparing the UK's Best Ecommerce Platofrms

EKM, ShopWired and Bluepark are the UK’s biggest Ecommerce Platforms but how do the three compare?

For this post I am going to be comparing all three’s cheapest packages to and as I do with all of my reviews, I will be looking at the five following areas:

  1. Pricing
  2. Web Hosting
  3. Themes
  4. Features
  5. Ease of use

1. Pricing


choose your plan

Amount of space

Bandwidth per month

E-mail accounts

E-mail accounts

24h support

24h support

24h support

Basic EKM

£32.49

+ vat a month

Up to 500 Products

Up to £50k Annual Turnover

Unlimited Data Storage

Free SSL Certificate

69 Free Responsive Themes

Standard UK Support

1 Employee Account

ShopWired Pro

£29.95

+ vat a month

Up to 750 Products

Up to £75k Annual Turnover

Unlimited Data Storage

Free SSL Certificate

19 Free Premium Themes

Standard UK Support

2 Admin Accounts

Bluepark Retail

£24.99

+ vat a month

Up to 500 Products

Up to £50k Annual Turnover

Unlimited Data Storage

Free SSL Certificate

69 Free Responsive Themes

Standard UK Support

2 Staff Account

As you can see, there isn’t much difference between the three packages. Even though the Bluepark package is cheaper monthly, once you factor in the price of the SSL certificate, they all cost pretty much the same. The SSL certificate works out at £59.99 + vat a year if you buy it for two years instead of one.

In terms of pricing, I can’t say that one package is better than another as they all have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Free Trials

All three platforms offer free trials so that you can test the platform out before committing to one of their plans. With ShopWired and Bluepark you get a 14 day trial but I get to offer an exclusive 28 day trial with EKM. If you want to start a trial with any of the platforms, simply click one of the buttons below:

2. Web Hosting

To analyse the performance of all the platforms, I took three of their example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s Speed Tool (London, UK server) once a day for three days to get an average load time. The example sites I chose were all in similar industries and had similar quantity and quality of content.

EKM: 1.3 Second Average
ShopWired: 1.44 Second Average
Bluepark: 0.76 Second Average

Even though all three platforms averaged times that are well under the golden 2 second mark, you can see that the Bluepark sites were quite a bit quicker. While the speed tests might show quite a big difference in time, the reality is that when visiting the sites the difference in load times isn’t really noticeable as they all load quickly.

All three platforms take security very seriously and they all offer PCI compliant servers which is not only great for security but also a requirement for some payment gateways. With EKM and ShopWired you get a free SSL certificate with every package that is automatically installed when you take out a package. With Bluepark you do need to buy an SSL certificate and these cost £69.99 + vat for one year or £119.99 + vat for two years.

3. Themes

Every ecommerce store needs well designed mobile responsive themes and all platforms offer a great selection.

  • EKM offer the largest selection of 69 free themes and if they don’t do it for you then you can have a bespoke one made for £1999.99 + vat
  • ShopWired have 24 themes of which 19 are free and the 5 paid ranging between £29 – £69 + vat, bespoke themes can created for £1795 + vat, although the smallest selection, they are very well designed
  • Bluepark are almost perfectly in the middle by offer 42 free themes. If you want a custom theme, then you can use on the their design partners whose pricing starts from around £700+ vat. Obviously your requirement affect the price of the theme

Customisation

Having a great selection of themes is one thing but you want to be able to change things up a bit so that your website reflects your business and you also don’t want your site looking the same as everyone else’s! Fortunately all three platforms offer you a degree of customisation.

With EKM you can change many of the elements on your websites pages directly using their live editor and you see the result of your changes instantly. You also have some control over the layout of your site and as you would expect, you can easily change colours to fit those of your business.

Unfortunately ShopWired don’t have any form of live editor as changes are done from the themes area of the admin area. I do feel that you are a little more restricted in terms of customisation as you can only really change colours and text around the website unless you know HTML and CSS so that you can change the code directly.

Customising a Bluepark site can be a little bit daunting to start with but once you take the time to learn how their block system works, you understand just how much control you have over how your site looks. You can easily add and remove sections from you pages, either from your dashboard or using their live editor to give your site the look and feel that you want.

4. Features

Every website and business is different and that means that they all need different features in order to make the platform work for their business. All three offer a fantastic range of features and for many people it can be these that make them choose one over the other. Honestly all of the platforms come loaded with probably way more features than you are ever going to use but it is always nice to have them there.

EKM

If you want to have more interaction with your customers then I think EKM have the better options. You can add a free phone number to your business and add Facebook messenger to offer live chat on your site. Adding these features is easy as EKM use an app based system so you can add and remove them with the click of a button.

EKM Features

It is a couple of features outside of website functionality that I do like about EKM, the first is that you get an introductory phone call from the team to help you get set up. You also get evolution mode which reviews your site annually and makes improvements if they are needed.

ShopWired

For me ShopWired offer more integration with third party applications such as Ebay, Facebook and MailChimp. You can also link to accounting software which makes managing your finances much easier. Similar to EKM, ShopWired use an app based system which are one click installs but some features are offered as extension but these need to be coded in, which you can do if you have knowledge of HTML and CSS or you can have the ShopWired team do it for you for a one off fee.

ShopWired App Selection

If you want to create a b2b site, then a lot of the apps and extensions will add many of the features that you could want.

Bluepark

Bluepark do things a bit differently, they offer a complete ready to go system with all the features already installed and you get things such as a blog, email newsletter and affiliate manager and the last two are not found on every platform. You can integrate with some third party services such as Ebay, Google Shopping and Linnworks but in terms of on site functionality, everything is already there for you.

To me this is both a good and a bad thing. It is good because everything is there and ready to go and you don’t have to spend time looking through and installing apps but on the other hand you may have features installed that you are never going to use and removing them could de-clutter your dashboard.

Payment Gateways

As you would expect with any ecommerce platform, all the major payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, WorldPay and SagePay are supported. Adding these gateways to your site is easy and can be done in a few clicks.

Currently Bluepark do not support Klarna but both EKM and ShopWired do.

Support

One thing that all three platforms do really well is offer support to their customers, they can all be contacted over the phone, by live chat or via email. None of the three platforms have 24/7 support on their basic packages but they do all get back to you as soon as they can and the quality of the reply that you get is always top quality.

Bluepark is the only one of the three that has a community forum and this can be a great place to ask questions, especially when you need an answer outside of normal business hours.

Only EKM gives you a welcome call when you start your free trial, this call not only welcomes you to the platform but also helps you through the set up guide and gives you a chance to ask any questions. Both ShopWired and Bluepark send you welcome emails and provide you with a point of contact if you have any questions.

5. Ease of Use

Obviously how easy each platform is to use comes down to the person using it. For me each has their own advantages and disadvantages.

EKM has a well designed admin area and it is really easy to manage once you know where everything is (just like every platform). There were two things I am not a fan of though, the first is stock management, I just did not find it that easy to do and the second is the shop section of the admin area. For me there is too much going on in there, you can manage content, edit design elements and add/edit products and categories, I would have preferred this to be where I manage my products and categories and have everything to do with design in the design area.

With ShopWired I found the admin area to be well designed and easy to navigate, the left hand sidebar has well labelled sections and sub-sections. Managing your inventory and orders is really easy and the areas are nicely laid out. The only area that I think really lets ShopWired down is design customisation, some form of live editor would be nice so that you could see changes instantly and maybe a few more design options wouldn’t go a miss.

Bluepark used to be quite a difficult system to use and the admin area wasn’t the nicest to use but an update in 2019 has made it so much better. A simple sidebar menu system makes it really easy to navigate through the different areas of the site. The inventory and order management are well designed and laid out so running your site is easy. The one thing negative about Bluepark is that you almost have too many options in some areas and it takes some time to learn what you do and don’t need to change.

Conclusion

All of these platforms offer excellent ecommerce solutions and any of them would be a great choice to use for your online store. I can’t say that one is better than they other as they all have areas where they are stronger than the competition and areas where they are weaker.

My recommendation is always that you need to try these platforms out for yourself and see which one YOU click with the most as the one you find easiest is the best one for you and your business.

I have written more in depth reviews of EKM, ShopWired and Bluepark, if you want to know more about one or all of the platforms.

EKM vs Shopify Comparison
ShopWired vs Shopify Ecommerce Platform Comparison
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