(Ad) There are so many eCommerce platforms on the market, but are all of them really suitable for your business?
Whether you're just getting up and running or have been in business a while, stick around. We've researched the best eCommerce platforms available and done the heaving lifting for you.
If you want to get that edge over other stores, then you're in the right place. Let's go!
Top eCommerce Platforms: First Look
- Best all-round eCommerce platform – BigCommerce
- Top all-in-one platform – Shopify
- Best template designs – Squarespace
- Good for WordPress – WooCommerce
- Free eCommerce website builder – Weebly
- Great for small stores – Wix
- Best for large businesses – Magento
- Best for in-person and online stores – Square
- Top user-friendly eCommerce platform – Volusion
- Great for beginners – GoDaddy
1. BigCommerce – All-Round Best eCommerce Platform
- 30-day trial (no card required)
- Great SEO performance
- Supports multiple currencies
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Integrated with PayPal
- No 1-click selling
BigCommerce was launched in Austin, Texas in 2009, and has become one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, especially in the US. The platform caters to stores of various sizes, providing extreme scalability—perfect if you generate or anticipate high traffic.
Flexible Shipping: BigCommerce offers customized shipping with an automated tax system that bills orders on your eCommerce store according to the weight and scale of your products.
This means you won't have to keep changing your whole shipping model for different orders.
Search Engine Optimization: This website builder also has built-in SEO features that'll allow your store or products to rank higher than competitors on browser searches.
Point of Sale Solutions: Sales from your store are automatically synced to your cloud storage, saving you time and effort when trying to track or counter-check payment processes.
Third-Party Apps: You can go beyond the features and tools offered by BigCommerce and choose from over 600 apps to further customize your online store to your liking.
Theme and Designs: If you're new to eCommerce platforms, not to worry. There are multiple templates and themes available. And, BigCommerce also caters to more experienced users, allowing you to start from scratch if you want more control over building your store.
That said, if you're a complete beginner or have barely gotten your business off the ground, we recommend a simpler option since, as the name implies, BigCommerce is suited for large and fast-growing companies.
Standard: $29.95/month ┃ Plus: $79.95/month ┃ Pro: $299.5/month ┃ Enterprise: Varies
2. Shopify – Best All-in-One Platform
- 14-day trial
- Fast loading time
- Flexible and easy to scale
- Multiple integrated channels
- 24/7 support
- Limited SEO tools
Shopify was launched in 2006 in Ottawa, Canada, for small and big stores looking to create an online presence. The site allows you to customize your design, create a suitable catalog, set prices/payment methods/taxes, and implement other installable extensions.
Social Media Integration: If you have a relatively good social media following, Shopify allows for multi-channel selling. You'll see a shop tab section on your Facebook page that allows clients to place an order without having to visit the actual site.
Abandoned Cart Recovery: Shopify's cart feature is super helpful, allowing you—the business owner—to track incomplete carts and then remind customers through email.
Automated Shipping Scale: Shipping charges are customized to the weight and location to which the order is to be delivered. You won't have to keep changing your tax model for different orders!
Shopify App Store: The store boasts a huge library of over 1200 apps to help you automate tasks, allowing you to remain focused on running and promoting your store.
That said, the marketing tools Shopify offers don't do much for SEO, so you might have to do that yourself anyway.
Still, Shopify is a reputable site used by companies like Tesla Motors, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Amnesty International.
Basic: $29/month ┃ Shopify: $79/month ┃ Advanced: $299/month
3. Squarespace – Best Template Designs
- Easy to set up
- Digital/physical product selling
- Excellent inventory system
- Useful analytical tools
- Limited eCommerce integrations
If you're looking to set up a small online store with a sleek design, Squarespace is a good option. Squarespace offers an easy-to-use, customizable eCommerce platform, powering about 1.8 million sites in total.
Apart from fantastic designs, this eCommerce site builder boasts analytic tools that'll help you track who's visiting your site and how they interact with your products.
Integration Tools: With its Square integration tool, you can sell products online or offline while automatically syncing with the inventory. All you need is the app and a Squarespace card reader ($49).
Inventory Management : Allowing you a limitless number of products, the "content manager" interface helps you easily organize all your products by name, price, and inventory level.
Automatic Emailing: You can reassure your clientele with Squarespace's automated emailing system, which updates customers to let them know that their order is on track.
Customized Sales Taxes : You can create custom tax specifications for different shipping locations and let Squarespace do the taxes!
Customization comes at a price, though, since there is a bit of a learning curve to get past. Still, when it comes down to it, Squarespace is ideal for small businesses, allowing you to tweak and customize the design of your online store to match your brand.
4. WooCommerce – Best eCommerce Platform for WordPress
- Great SEO tools
- Customizable with integrated services
- Advanced features for large stores
- In-depth video tutorials
- Expensive self-hosting
Launched in 2011, WooCommerce is amongst the most popular eCommerce website builders globally. An estimated 28% of eCommerce platforms rely on WooCommerce, making it a great option for both small and large stores.
Drop-Shipping: With this plugin, you don't have to stock everything you sell. You can accept orders and source the products from a different store.
Google Analytics: You can get a good understanding of how your store works as WooCommerce gives you detailed reports on your orders, clients, stocks, and taxes.
SEO Tools: WooCommerce runs on WordPress, offering users built-in SEO optimization tools, extensive customization, and complete control over how your store looks and operates.
Real-Time Shipping: You can focus on marketing your store as the WooCommerce dashboard automatically does your taxes and provides live shipping rates.
That said, WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, so it might get expensive to maintain in the long run. Plus, new users should know that it can take time to come to grips with how everything works.
Still, we can't argue that WooCommerce might be the best eCommerce platform for WordPress websites.
Starter: $13.99 ┃ Plus: $17.99 ┃ Pro: $31.99
5. Weebly – Free eCommerce Website Builder
- Free plan available
- Easy to use
- Useful blogging tools
- Great value for money
- Cannot sell across multiple channels
If you're looking for a functional and straightforward eCommerce site that's easy to use, Weebly might be your best bet. The site’s simple platform allows you to build a drag and drop online store—useful for the less tech-savvy business owners out there.
Storefront Access : You have full access to your storefront page, so you have complete control over what products to display.
Integrated Shopping Cart : The integrated shopping cart allows shoppers to always know what's in their cart.
Track Inventory : Stock is automatically updated whenever a product is sold online or offline.
Language Detection : Weebly offers over 45 different languages; based on their location, your shoppers can easily shop in their native language.
Still, Weebly's themes and templates can't be tweaked much. However, Weebly is a very affordable option, offering both a free plan and a personal subscription from $6/month (paid yearly).
6. Wix – Best eCommerce Platform for Small Businesses
- Great customization tools
- Multiple app options
- No sales fees
- Easy to set up and use
- Slow loading speeds
- Limited upselling tools
Wix eCommerce is a popular platform powering about 110 million sites. It's a good option for both small business owners and established online stores.
Wix Editor: You can build your store from scratch if you have web design chops, or you can choose from over 500 available templates.
Live Shipment Options: You don't have to manually set a tax plan for different orders, as there is automated tax and shipping.
Cart Recovery: Wix automatically emails shoppers to alert them of an incomplete order and asks if they want to continue.
Drop-Shipping Options: Wix'sModalyst and Sprocket tools connect you to other suppliers that might be stocking what your online store doesn't.
That said, stores powered by Wix have been reported to have slower loading speeds compared to other platforms.
Business Basic: $17/month ┃ Business Unlimited: $25/month ┃ VIP: $35/month
7. Magento – Open Source eCommerce Platform for Large Businesses
- Scalable and large capacity
- Great SEO performance
- Highly scalable
Magento is your natural choice if you have a large, established store. This platform is open-source and currently boasts more than 5000 extension tools with over 250,000 merchants.
Catalog/Inventory Management : This allows you to group your products by type, filter different products with ease, offer discounts on bundles, display multiple images per post, and more.
Sales Channels : Any changes you make across your whole catalog are promptly synced through this feature. You can also reach more clients with the Google Smart Shopping campaign.
Shipping, Checkout, and Analytics : You can customize your checkout page to suit your store. Plus, there's built-in reporting for sales, tax, and abandoned carts that can help you manage your customer purchases more closely.
On the downside, Magento is rather expensive, as most of its business customers have large, established stores. However, it is a reputable site used by companies like Coca-Cola, Ford Motors, and Fox Connection.
8. Square – Top Solution for In-Person and Online Stores
- Free plan
- Automatic tax calculation
- Great customer support
- Easy-to-use site dashboard
Square is an affordable, easy-to-use platform ideal for small merchants. It currently powers over 40 million sites.
If you sell an item offline, the platform's Point of Sale system automatically updates and tracks your product stock. It also boasts good built-in SEO tools, one reason why it's so popular. You won't have to worry much about your site’s visibility on browser searches.
That said, Square has limited customization tools. But it's still affordable to use with its free plan and paid memberships starting from $12/month if you opt for additional tools.
9. Volusion – Best User-Friendly eCommerce Platform
- Friendly user interface
- Great help support
- Offers auto-pay
Volusion is a cloud-based, easy-to-use platform that allows you to build and customize your store. The site offers a drop-shipping system, built-in SEO tools, integration with Amazon Marketplace and eBay, and a handy app that allows you to keep tabs on inventory levels and incoming orders.
The status of your products is always displayed, the platform offers real-time tax rates, and if a product goes low in stock, you'll receive an alarm. And, your shoppers can continue with their order if it's interrupted, thanks to Volusion's abandoned cart feature.
10. GoDaddy – Best eCommerce Platform for Beginners
- 24/7 support
- Good loading speeds
- Great marketing tools
- Automatic site creation
GoDaddy is a beginner-friendly platform that offers generous storage space. The platform is easy to set up (e.g., drag and drop) and gives you 24/7 support, window-based hosting services, and a 99.9% uptime, so you know you can rely on it.
GoDaddy can get pretty expensive after the first year, though, as you'll have to pay to get basic add-ons. That said, GoDaddy is still a recommended option, commanding over 20 million users.
How to Choose an eCommerce Platform
- Define Your Business: Consider your business size, what you're selling, and what you need the platform to accomplish. Then seek the platform with features best suited to your business needs.
- Features: Make a list of the core features you need and compare this against the eCommerce platforms that are within your budget.
- Customization and Theme: Customizable designs and themes are great, but you might not need absolute control over design if all you're looking for is a simple online store for a small business.
- Built-in SEO: Good load times, page speed, and overall SEO performance allows your site to be ranked higher in search engines.
- Mobile Performance and User Experience: Today,60% of searches happen on mobile. A great mobile-optimized site would translate well into your business.
- Price: More expensive platforms often offer a wide variety of tools. Usually, you don't need all of them. Go for one with just the features you need for your online business.
eCommerce Platforms: FAQ
What Types of eCommerce Platforms Are There?
- Open-Source : Users can freely customize, edit, and alter any part of their store's look, feel, and design.
- Saas (Software as a Service) : Instead of designing your own custom site, businesses "rent" the software. Although lacking customization options, this can be vastly cheaper than open-source solutions.
- Headless Commerce : You're offered a platform to set up your eCommerce website without the hassle of building and maintaining applications.
Which eCommerce Platform Is Best for Small Businesses?
We recommend looking for an easy-to-use builder with preset templates and designs to choose from, a hands-on customer support team, and automated emailing, among other basic features to help get your online store up and running.
The easiest eCommerce solution for small businesses would be Wix . However, Shopify offers more customized options, and Squarespace gives you more analytic tools. So, it really depends on what your business needs.
Which eCommerce Platform Is Best for Selling In Person and Online?
The best platform for selling both in person and online needs to have good inventory management and point of sale tools to track sales automatically. Square seems to have the best combination of these two.
Which eCommerce Platform Is Best for Large Volume Sellers?
Looking for an eCommerce platform that can handle large companies?
BigCommerce is the solution for large stores. Its fast product search tool and efficient API (Application Programming Interface) make it ideal for large retail businesses.
Which Platform Is Best for Getting Set Up Quickly?
If you don't want to mess around with designs, templates, etc. Godaddy will create your site for you (after you answer a few simple questions).
Or you could check out Volusion . The platform's user friendliness would have your business up and running fast. However, if your business deals with multi-channel selling, Shopify should be your next choice.
Which Platform Is Best for Launching a Drop-Shipping Business?
Magento is the best drop-shipping option for its social media integration. If you have a small store, then Volusion has a number of integrated apps to increase your sales.
Top eCommerce Platforms: The Takeaway
Setting up an eCommerce platform is a great way to ensure your business has a good online presence. A suitable platform should have a positive impact on your business.
BigCommerce is a great option for its overall capability to cater to any fast-growing eCommerce site. Shopify and Squarespace are definitely worth checking out for smaller businesses looking for a solid eCommerce platform to create a reputable online presence.
We hope this review makes choosing a platform for your eCommerce website easier. Once you are clear about the look you want and your functional needs, you can find a good match and get started.
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