EKM vs ShopWired vs Bluepark (2022) – UK Ecommerce Comparison

These are three of the most popular UK based ecommerce platforms but how do they compare?

EKM vs ShopWired vs Bluepark – What’s the Difference?

EKM, ShopWired and Bluepark are all fully hosted ecommerce platforms but operate slightly differently. EKM offers customisable feature set that is primarily focused on B2C ecommerce businesses ShopWired offers a core ecommerce platform that can be customised by installing apps and extensions, that can be used for B2C or B2B businesses. Bluepark is an all in one solution, meaning that all the features come pre-installed on the software for a fixed monthly price.

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Pricing

ekm ecommerce logo

Monthly Cost:

  • Basic: £34.99
  • Standard: £69.99
  • Advanced: £209.99
  • Pro: £599.99
ShopWired Logo

Monthly Cost:

  • Pro: £29.95
  • Advanced: £69.95
  • Premium: £119.95
  • Enterprise: £199.95+
bluepark logo

Monthly Cost:

  • Retail: £24.99
  • Business: £39.99
  • Enterprise: £59.99

As you can see, all three platforms offer a selection of packages and overall, EKM does come out as the most expensive option, with Bluepark being the cheapest on a monthly basis.

Both EKM and ShopWired do have annual turnover limits on their plans and you can see a breakdown of these below:

  • EKM Basic: £50k/yr
  • EKM Standard: £150k/yr
  • EKM Advanced: £1m/yr
  • EKM Pro: £1m/yr+
  • ShopWired Pro: £75k/yr
  • ShopWired Advanced: £200k/yr
  • ShopWired Premium: £500k/yr
  • ShopWired Enterprise: £500k/yr+

The basic plans from both platforms also include product limits of 500 and 750 respectively.

Bluepark don’t have annual turnover limits but you are limited to the amount of storage space you get and the amount of products you can list:

  • Bluepark Retail: 500 products & 500mb storage
  • Bluepark Business: 2000 products & 1gb storage
  • Bluepark Enterprise: Unlimited products & 2gb storage

You can buy additional storage from Bluepark, you also need to factor into the price an SSL certificate, which costs £69.99 for 1 year or £119.99 for 2 years.

Free Trial

All three platforms offer a free trial so that you can try them out for yourself before committing to a paid plan.

Features

All three platforms come with a host of great ecommerce features, even on their basic packages but they don’t all offer them in exactly the same way.

EKM

EKM comes with a lot of features, some of these are automatically installed on the core platform, while others can be installed from the features section of the dashboard.

The installable features operate in a very similar way to an app as they are one click install/uninstall and this makes it very easy to customise the features that are on your ecommerce website. Below is a summary of the features that you have access to on the basic package.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Free 03 Business Phone Number
  • Facebook Messenger for Live Chat
  • Customer Reviews
  • Related Products
  • Promo Stickers
  • Product Attributes
  • Recently Viewed Products

Marketing & SEO

  • Email Marketing built in
  • ChannelGrabber (Cross platform selling)
  • Google Tools (inc Analytics & Shopping)
  • Loyalty Points
  • Discount Manager
  • Social Share
  • WordPress Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Order Breakdown
  • Best and Worst Selling Products
  • Search Statistics
  • Web Statistics (Premium)

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • LayBuy
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Nochex
  • Barclaycard EPDQ

With EKM, the majority of the installable features are free to use and only a small number are either tied to larger packages or require additional payment to use.

EKM Features

They also have selection of over 15 apps that integrate with third party software such as Linnworks and Royal Mail Click and Drop.

EKM Evolution Mode

One of the main features of EKM is their evolution mode. Which is run by the evolution team, that is made up of ecommerce specialists including designers and marketing specialists who review your store on an annual basis (monthly on the Advanced package) and make suggestions for how your site can be improved.

The best thing about the Evolution Mode is that if you approve some or all of these improvements, the team will implement them on your website free of charge.

ShopWired

ShopWired also comes with a host of features but unlike EKM, not all these are free to use for all users.

This is because some of the features available come in the form of apps, with some being paid options but they are reasonably priced with the trade discounts being the most expensive at £10/m. As you move up through the packages, more of these these apps are included with your subscription and they are all included with the Premium package.

Below is a summary of the features that are included with ShopWired:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Multi-buy Offers
  • Product Extras
  • Multi-Currency
  • Product Reviews
  • Ebay Integration
  • Digital Downloads
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Reward Points

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Feed
  • MailChimp Integration
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Create Sales
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Gross Profit Report
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Payment Methods
  • Sales by Month
  • Failed Searches
  • Visitors

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Stripe
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Barclaycard EPDQ
  • Nochex

There is also a downside with some of the apps as they require being coded into your store and while some of these like Google ReCaptcha are very simple to do, others are more difficult as they require custom CSS and unless you know what you are doing with CSS, you will have to pay a one-off fee the ShopWired for them to do it for you.

ShopWired App Selection

Bluepark

Bluepark take a completely different approach to offering features to their customers.

Instead of having to install apps or code in extensions, all of their features come pre-installed and ready to use. On the basic Bluepark package, you get a lot of things as standard including:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Embed YouTube Videos in Listings
  • Onsite Product Comparison
  • Shareable Wish Lists
  • Product Labels
  • Auto Language and Currency
  • Related Products
  • Customers Also Bought
  • Digital Products

Marketing & SEO

  • Build an Affiliate Network
  • Built in Email Newsletter
  • Social Sharing
  • Coupon Discounts
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Google Shopping
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Top Sellers
  • Referral Conversion Rates
  • Top Notification Requests
  • Top Wish List Additions
  • Google Analytics

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Barclaycard EPDQ
  • Amazon Pay (Coming Soon)

On the larger packages, Bluepark do include more features such as Ebay integration and advanced B2B options. Bluepark also have a small number of third-party applications that you can integrate with.

Bluepark Features

Theme Selection & Customisation

EKM

In 2021, EKM released a new update to the way themes are customised on the platform and it is most definitely a move in the right direction as the new set up gives you much more control over the look and feel of your site.

As of writing this post, there is only 1 theme that supports the new set up but hopefully there will be more rolled out in the future.

The main change with the new theme set up is that not only have all the design options been put under the design section, but there is also much more you can do when it comes to design as you can:

  • Add, remove and reorganise the sections of your homepage
  • Edit content including images and text within these sections
  • Quickly and easily change theme fonts and colours

This is a big improvement over the previous set up, which can still be accessed by using one of the older themes but there are still some small improvements that would make it a lot better, such as:

  1. Being able to set a custom navigation menu
  2. Fully customisable sidebars

But the changes are still a welcome improvement. You can also opt for the team at EKM to create a custom theme for your for £1999.99 + vat.

EKM New Theme Customiser

ShopWired

In 2022, ShopWired rolled out their Version 5 Framework update, which included a full site theme customiser and a selection of 21 free to use, mobile responsive themes.

The full site customiser has added a lot of user control to the designing of your shopfront as the section builder, which includes 19 different sections can be used on every site page from the homepage to product and checkout pages.

These sections range include product related ones such as featured category or customers also bought to content sections such as image and text and individual text sections.

It also offers customisation options to the header and footer sections of the site along with general theme settings that includes fonts and colours.

If you want, you can have a bespoke theme made for you by the ShopWired design team, there are two options to choose from. The Pro design packages costs £4495 + vat and the Advanced is £4995+vat.

ShopWired Version 5 Customiser

Bluepark

Bluepark offer a great selection of 42 free, mobile responsive themes (Bluepark call them templates).

If you want a custom theme, then you can contact one of their design partners who will build one for you and prices start from around £700.

One of the things that is really good about the Bluepark platform is the ability to customise your theme. They offer many different options due to the block system that they use, this allows you to control the layout of your site but also a variety of sections you can add and remove.

This allows you to take one of the already well designed Bluepark themes and really change so they fit your business and your brand. Not only can you control the layout but you can also change colours, font type and font size. When it comes to customising your theme, there really is not much that you cannot do.

Bluepark Customise Theme

The only thing that I am not fond of when it comes to customising your theme and that is editing your footer. It is not the easiest thing to do as you use a text based editor, I would like to see the block system extended to the footer.

Support

Support is one of the things that all three platforms do really well not only in terms of being able to contact them but also the quality of the support as well.

EKM

EKM do go the extra mile when you are getting started with the platform as you get an introductory phone call to help you get started with and also ask any questions. One the larger packages, you also get your own dedicated account manager to help you grow your business.

It is also very easy to contact the EKM support team as there is a live chat icon in your dashboard along with their phone number and support pin.

ShopWired

ShopWired also have very good support options, when getting started, you receive a welcome email that gives you a point of contact within the ShopWired team.

Within your dashboard, there is a live chat option and also a link to the ShopWired help guides. It also doesn’t take much to find their contact phone number either.

Bluepark

Bluepark, just like the other two platforms are very good when it comes to support and when you sign up, they do offer you the option of an introductory phone call to help get you started. The email also gives you a point of contact within the Bluepark team.

There isn’t the option of live chat directly in your admin dashboard but contacting the support team is very easy. This can be done by clicking the support centre or contact us links at the bottom of the admin dashboard and all the contact options will be readily available.

None of the three offer 24/7 support unless you are on their top plans but if you contact the standard support outside of business hours, they will get back to you as soon as they can and are always more than happy to help.

Hosting & Performance

On paper, there is little to choose between the there platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • Most Importantly Fast Servers

But I want to know how they perform in the real world, not just how good they say their hosting is. So I put them to the test, I took five of their customer example sites and ran them through Uptrends Speed Test Tool (London Server) and Google’s Page Speed Insights, once a day for five days and you can see the average results below:

ekm ecommerce logo

Uptrends Mobile: 1.18 Seconds
Uptrends Desktop:
1.23 Seconds
Google Mobile: 44/100
Google Desktop: 72/100

ShopWired Logo

Uptrends Mobile: 1.29 Seconds
Uptrends Desktop: 1.45 Seconds
Google Mobile: 46/100
Google Desktop: 80/100

bluepark logo

Uptrends Mobile: 2.04 Seconds
Uptrends Desktop: 2.46 Seconds
Google Mobile: 44/100
Google Desktop: 67/100

EKM and ShopWired are very close when it comes to performance, with EKM only really beating ShopWired on mobile performance but all of the ShopWired stores running the Version4 framework did perform on par with EKM. Bluepark were a little bit behind in terms of load time but were on a par for PageSpeed scores.

If you want to see how these three platforms compare to all of their competition, then check out my full fastest ecommerce platforms comparison.

Ease of Use

When it comes to features and performance, there really isn’t much to choose between the three platforms. But how easy are they to use?

Getting Started

EKM

Signing up to the EKM platform is simple and straightforward, all you need is an email address and create a password to get started. During the sign up process, you will be asked which package you think you will probably use and some questions about your business (niche, address etc) to help get your store set up.

Once you have completed the sign up process, you will be taken through to the EKM admin dashboard and on your first sign in, you will be greeted by EKM’s set up guide. This is a pretty comprehensive guide that takes you through nearly all of the steps required to get an ecommerce store up and running.

EKM Set-Up Guide

The only thing that is missing is to set up your pages such as privacy policy and terms and conditions, while not part of the set up guides, EKM do have templates for both of these that can easily edited to fit your business.

As I mentioned above in the support section, you do also get an introductory phone call from one of the EKM team, who will help you go through the set up process and also answer any questions that you may have about the platform.

It is pretty obvious that EKM don’t like to do things the same as everyone else and that shows in the layout of their dashboard as they have opted for a top navigation bar, rather than a side one. This isn’t really a big deal as it is still easy to navigate the dashboard.

Installing one of the new themes does also make a change to one of the headings as the old Shop section in renamed Products, which does make the dashboard easier to use.

EKM New Navigation

ShopWired

ShopWired make it really easy for you to get started with their platform, simply fill out their start trial page with your email address, name and business name and you are good to go.

ShopWired Setup Tutorial

Once you have signed up to the trial, you are taken to their dashboard homepage and on your first sign in, you are greeted by their set up tutorial that you can follow to help get your online shop up and running.

This is one of the better setup guides I have used and covers nearly everything you need to do to make your site ready to go live but as with EKM, a prompt to set up your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions is missing. But they do have template documents for both of these pages that you can easily edit to help make sure that your site is legal.

I really like the ShopWired dashboard, the sidebar makes it really easy to navigate from section to section. There are also not too many options, you just have what you need. It doesn’t matter what section of the dashboard you are in, you can get back to your homepage just by clicking the dashboard button.

Bluepark

Getting started with Bluepark is very easy to do as you just need an email address and a password.

Once you have signed up to Bluepark, you go into their dashboard and are welcomed by a very well laid out set up guide that is accompanied by a very helpful video. The guide takes you through nearly all of the important sections that you need to complete before making your site live.

Once again the only thing missing is to set up your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions pages but unlike the other two platforms, Bluepark don’t include templates for these, so you will have to go and source your own.

Bluepark Set Up Guide

Bluepark redesigned their dashboard in Autumn 2019 and it is definitely a big improvement over their previous design. They now have a side bar with well laid out sections and it makes the platform really easy to navigate.

Due to the amount of things you can do with Bluepark, they do have a lot of sub-sections and it will take a while to know exactly how many options you have with the platform. In some instances, I think there is almost too much you can do and it can be a little daunting to people who are completely new to running a website.

On the flip side, if you are used to running an online shop, then you may really like the amount of options that you have.

Adding and Managing Stock

Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:

  • Adding products
  • Organising your Products
  • Managing your inventory

EKM

When it comes to managing your inventory, the new changes to EKM have definitely simplified the process as it is now clearly defined that the products section is for well, your products.

Creating a new product is pretty simple as you just need to click on the Add Product button in the top right hand corner an a pop up will appear like in the image below:

EKM Add Product

This pop up includes all multiple sections to allow you to create a product listings, including things like variations. If there was one thing that could be better, it would be that the pop up fills more of the page, so that there is more room to work.

Creating product categories is very similar to creating a new product as it a appears from a pop up when you click the Add Category button but the pop up contains fewer options but one important one, is the ability to create both parent and child categories.

Things, however aren’t as good when it comes the managing your inventory and this is an area that I feel still needs to be improved within EKM as to edit a product using the standard EKM process, requires:

  1. Going into the Products section of your dashboard
  2. Navigating around a version of the front end of your site to find the product
  3. Clicking edit so that the pop up appears and you can change whatever you need to

For a small store with a few products, this won’t be too much of an issue (even if it is inefficient) but with a large inventory, this just won’t work.

EKM Advanced Inventory Manager

Fortunately, EKM have created a feature called the Advanced Inventory Manager and this allows you to bulk edit products along with being able to create new products and categories. The only downside of this feature is that you need to go into the features section of the dashboard to access it.

In my opinion, they should just replace the products section of the dashboard with the Advanced Inventory Manager as it would just improve the complete flow and efficiency of the dashboard.

ShopWired

ShopWired’s inventory management is the easiest out of the three platforms.

First off is adding a new product and ShopWired use a single page layout for this and it is very easy to use as the workflow through the sections is very logical and all additional options such as product variations and related products are in expandable sections at the bottom of the page.

Everything is also included within this single page, which makes creating a new product very simple.

ShopWired Add New Product Page

Organising your product inventory is once again very simple as the category system ShopWired uses allows for the creation of parent and multi-level child categories, which makes creating a good product hierarchy very easy to do.

ShopWired have a dedicated manage stock page, which is great for quickly and easily going in and updating stock quantities but any other product edits need to be done by going back into the product listing. It would be nice to see the Manage Stock page expanded so that it works as a full bulk editor.

Bluepark

Adding a new product in Bluepark is a little more complicated as the add new product page uses a tabbed layout and there are quite a few options but what is a little strange is that not all of tabs appear on the add new product page. Some of these can only be accessed in the product editor, you can see the difference in the number of tabs in the two images below:

Bluepark Add Products

This means that you may have to create a product, then go back in and edit it in order to be able to list it properly, which isn’t a great workflow.

Fortunately, there are no such issues when it comes to creating categories, it is much more straightforward as they once again use a tabbed layout but the number of tabs and options is quite small. It is also very easy to set whether a category is a parent or child, which makes creating a good hierarchy for your products nice and simple.

One thing that is very good in Bluepark is their product manager, which makes managing your inventory very easy. Unlike other platforms, where the bulk editor is a separate tool, the product manager allows you to update quantity levels, set featured products and also see what your profit margin is all from the product overview page.

Managing Orders

EKM

EKM has a very good order management system and it allows users to manage orders either in bulk or individually and from the order overview menu, you can update order statuses and print invoices. There are 4 different templates that can be printed and these all line up with packing slips that can bought directly from EKM.

If you want to export your order information, you will need to install the Import/Export System feature.

ShopWired

ShopWired also has a very good order management system and the interface is very clean and easy to use. From the main order overview menu, you can print off order invoices, update statuses and export your orders. This can be done in bulk or on an order by order basis.

Bluepark

Blueparks order management set up is very similar to that of ShopWired in terms of what you can do, as you can print off orders, update statuses and export order information in bulk or individually but the overall interface isn’t as clean as ShopWired’s and does take a little more getting used to.

Conclusion

EKM vs ShopWired vs Bluepark – which is the best Ecommerce Platform for UK Businesses?

ShopWired comes out on top in this three way comparison as I just feel it offers the best overall package due to the selection of features both built in and apps, good theme customisation, highly rated UK based support and the general ease of use that the platform offers.

EKM and Bluepark both have their plus points but the workflow and general ease of use isn’t as good as ShopWired.

But you don’t have to take our word for it as you can try all three platforms out for yourself to see which is the best option for your business.

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Hi, I'm Paul, the Owner and Founder of EcommerceGold.
I ran my own Ecommerce Business for over 7 years and now help others start their own online retail empires!

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