Thanks to ecommerce platforms, it’s easier now than ever before to start your very own online business.
You can get an online store up and running in a matter of minutes depending on which ecommerce software you use.
That begs the question: Which are the best ecommerce platforms for starting online stores?
In this post, we’re comparing all the popular ecommerce platforms you should consider if you’re planning to sell online. Not only that, but we’ll also let you know their core features as well as their plans and pricing.
Here are our recommended ecommerce platforms for entrepreneurs looking to build an online store.
Shopify – Best ecommerce platform overall. Can cater to both large and small stores. Large number of integrations available to expand functionality.
Sellfy – Best for those who need to launch a simple online store fast. No other platform makes it easier. Ideal for selling both physical and digital products. Includes native print on demand functionality.
Shopify is our top pick for the best ecommerce platform — and for good reasons. It’s comprehensive as far as features go and it does a great job of walking its users through the whole setup process.
But what makes it so unique is its third-party integrations. There are literally thousands to choose from. If you’re using other business tools, you’ll likely find it on the Shopify App Store.
Some of the services that come with your Shopify account go beyond what other ecommerce platforms offer. For instance, you can use Shopify to generate a business name and a logo for free. It can even assist you with buying a domain name and grant you access to free stock photos for your business.
You can even find products to sell thanks to its partnership with Oberlo. And there are more than enough store themes to choose from. You’ll have no trouble finding a theme that’ll work well with your niche.
When it comes to customizing your online store, you can use its drag-and-drop builder to make your shop uniquely yours. Feel free to change the colors, text, and imagery. Every page you create will be optimized for mobile devices.
What’s even better is that Shopify has its own payment system. That means you don’t have to rely on third-party solutions to process payments.
You can monitor your progress through Shopify’s analytics. It provides a detailed view of your business including sales metrics. It also comes with automated marketing features along with educational materials to show you how to use them.
The Shopify mobile app makes it possible to monitor your business no matter where you are. You’ll even get notified whenever you generate a sale.
The shipping features are also great. Not only do you get calculated shipping rates, but you’ll also have the option to print discounted USPS shipping labels. This saves you 40% on postage. Customers will also get tracking updates automatically.
Shopify will help you promote your business through its email marketing, business chat, and Facebook ad features.
You can try Shopify for 14 days at no cost. You don’t even have to enter your credit card information. And if you’re happy with what you see, that’s when you choose a plan. All plans will allow you to upload as many products as you want.
Pricing: Basic Shopify ($29/month), Shopify ($79/month), Advanced Shopify ($299/month)
BigCommerce is another popular ecommerce platform. It works perfectly well for small and big companies alike. And it has all the solutions you’ll need to build and manage your business.
The first thing you need to know about BigCommerce is that it offers two types of products. The Enterprise package is for large companies along the levels of Ben & Jerry’s and Skullcandy. It’s not the option we recommended for those that are just starting out.
The BigCommerce Essentials package, however, is exactly what you might need to launch a small online store. There is a free trial which means you can try the platform risk-free.
So what are the features? Let’s look at what BigCommerce has to offer.
First, there’s the site builder feature. BigCommerce lets you easily configure your pages to look exactly how you want them to. The drag-and-drop functionality makes it so easy to customize your page. That also means you don’t have to use HTML to create a landing page design though you have the option to do so.
All pages are already optimized for mobile devices. And there are themes you could use if you don’t want to start from scratch. You can also use BigCommerce to sell directly on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
You’d also get access to marketing features like its SEO tools, abandoned cart saver, and customer segmentation for message targeting. You can even launch a blog to help you target keywords related to your business.
Do you prefer to build a website using WordPress? BigCommerce has a plugin specifically for WordPress users. The plugin will allow BigCommerce to handle all of the backend operations while you work on building your brand.
You should also know that this company does a fantastic job of streamlining the checkout process. Users will have multiple entering their credit card information securely.
And if you want to promote your online store, you can do so through discounts and coupon codes. You even have the ability to control the parameters, meaning you can set your own rules.
BigCommerce will help you with inventory management, payment processing, shipping, and more. It really does have everything you might need to start selling today. And considering everything you’re getting, the pricing options that this company offers are quite reasonable as well.
Pricing: Standard ($29.95/month billed annually), Plus ($71.95/month billed annually), Pro ($269.96/month billed annually), Enterprise (Custom pricing)
Sellfy is possibly the best ecommerce platform for people who just want to come in and set up their online business as quickly as possible. You can use this ecommerce platform to launch an online store in 5 minutes.
With Sellfy, you can sell physical and digital products. And you can sell subscriptions too.
Not only that, Sellfy offers print-on-demand services. That’s right — you can sell shirts, hoodies, mugs, and other printable products with your design. Sellfy will take care of the printing and shipping as orders come in.
And if you’re offering video content, you can sell them on Sellfy too. They have the infrastructure in place to help reduce piracy and stream videos.
Sellfy offers different customizations to help you with branding. You can add logos to your site as well as change both colors and layout. You can connect your existing domain name too. And if your customers are mainly located in other countries, you can use the store language feature to automatically translate your page based on where a customer is accessing your site from.
If you’re curious, yes, there is a shopping cart feature so users add multiple products before they head to the checkout page.
As with some of the other platforms on this list, you can create discount codes and upsell products. You can also use it to send emails or newsletters to your customers. And if you’re on Facebook and Twitter, you can add tracking pixels to monitor your campaigns.
Speaking of social media, you can embed your store and sell from anywhere including social platforms. That way, you can start multi-channel selling. You can even add product cards into your other websites such as a blog to monetize your existing content.
There’s no reason to be worried about payment processing because Sellfy is one of the safest ecommerce website builders. It can process PayPal payments or credit card transactions using Stripe.
For those selling digital products, you’d be happy to hear that there are PDF stamping and download limit features available. There’s no way your customers can abuse your product offerings and pass them off to non-paying users.
Pricing: Starter ($19/month billed bi-annually), Business ($49/month billed bi-annually), Premium ($99/month billed bi-annually).
Sellfy offers a 14-day free trial and 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our Sellfy review.
Squarespace is a website builder that happens to have an ecommerce platform baked right into it. It’s well-known for its ease of use.
Anyone can sign up for an account and build a sleek and modern website in minutes, especially if you use one of their templates. There are plenty of templates to choose from, some of which are specifically designed for ecommerce.
Not only that, you can also start a blog with Squarespace which is great for marketers that need it for SEO purposes. And there are other SEO tools at your disposal as well. The analytics tool that comes with your account isn’t bad either. You’ll be able to tell how much traffic your site gets as well as where they’re coming from.
And it goes without saying that any page you create with this ecommerce platform will be mobile-responsive.
The features that are specific to ecommerce are also amazing. Not only can customers buy products from your site, but they can also make reservations if you happen to be a service-oriented business. What if you’re selling digital products? Squarespace has you covered as well. The same goes for people who are selling subscriptions.
There’s even a tool that lets you sell in-person which is handy for keeping tabs on your inventory and processing payments.
And speaking of payment processing, Squarespace has flexible payments and checkouts. You can even charge sales tax with the help of its automatic tax calculation feature. All payments are secure regardless of the device used. And you can target users who abandoned their cart.
Squarespace works with Apple Pay, PayPal, TaxJar, UPS, Printful, and Afterpay.
The branding features are very practical for budding entrepreneurs. First of all, you can create email campaigns to promote your products, share blog posts, or capture leads. There are personalization features available that’ll let you target a specific group of people.
There are also social media integrations that help you send updates to your followers. They can even buy products straight from Instagram.
You can create pop-up banners for your landing pages highlighting promos or any other type of announcement that you’d like to make.
Squarespace offers four plans. But we should point out that you’ll need to subscribe to the Business plan or higher to get access to the ecommerce features.
Pricing: Personal ($12/month billed annually), Business ($18/month billed annually), Basic Commerce ($26/month billed annually), Advanced Commerce ($40/month billed annually)
Weebly is an ecommerce platform that’s powered by Square. It’s one of the go-to destinations for entrepreneurs that wish to start an online business.
This ecommerce platform offers a good selection of themes that will fit any type of business. They all look sleek and modern so you’ll have a very good foundation to build on. And there are other services as well that’ll help you get started. For instance, you can find a domain and purchase it straight from Weebly.
There is also a product photography service. It isn’t free (price starts at $9.95) and you will have to ship your products to Weebly so they can be shot. However, what you get in return are professionally photographed and edited product images at different angles. They also do interactive 360-degree images.
Do you want to create stunning emails or newsletters? You can through Weebly’s drag-and-drop email builder. Just add the elements you wish to include in your email and send them to your audience. They’ll look great no matter what device your recipients open them in.
Weebly keeps track of all emails you send. That means you’ll know your delivery, open, and click rates. You can create custom groups to create segments based on user engagement.
Having a blog is just as important. And just like some of the other ecommerce platforms, Weebly lets you start a blog that you can use to promote your brand. Starting a blog is just as easy as creating an online store because there are free themes to help you get started.
There are different apps that will add ecommerce functionality among others. For example, you can connect Printful, Google Ads, Facebook Live Chat, and Easy Contact Form. Some apps are not free though.
Weebly has a mobile app. Meaning you can create, edit, and manage your ecommerce site from a mobile device. So no matter where you go, your business stays with you.
When you sign up, you’ll have to choose from two sets of plans. One of them is dedicated to websites while the other is for online stores. The plans and pricing listed below fall under the ecommerce set. All ecommerce plans come with a free domain.
Pricing: Pro ($12/month billed annually), Business ($25/month billed annually), Business Plus ($38/month billed annually)
6. WooCommerce (hosted by Nexcess)
WooCommerce is the best ecommerce platform for WordPress site owners and those who want maximum control over their online store. For hosting, we recommend using a web host that offers plans optimized for WooCommerce such as Nexcess.
WordPress is still one of the best ways to build a website. And it’s certainly one of the best options for ecommerce thanks to its flexibility. Another benefit to using an open-source platform like WordPress is that you’ll have complete ownership of your store. You won’t have to rely on anyone to run it.
However, it can be intimidating to use. First-time site builders might find it tricky to add all the features that they might need — that is if they don’t have the right plugins. This is where WooCommerce comes in.
WooCommerce makes it easier to build websites on WordPress. You can add different secure payment and shipping options. You’ll have the ability to process payments through WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. Subscriptions and deposits are also supported.
This ecommerce platform will take care of tax calculations and live shipping rates from the leading carriers. You’ll also have the option to print labels at home.
WooCommerce works with different third-party apps too. That means you can integrate your other accounts to add more functionality to your WordPress site. These can significantly improve your store features as well as add marketing tools that you might need to monitor or promote your online store.
And just like most of the ecommerce platforms on this list, you can sell physical or digital products. You can even create subscriptions or offer services if that’s what you need.
The best part? The core WooCommerce plugin is absolutely free to use.
But you will need a hosting provider. And for that, we recommend Nexcess.
Why Nexcess? It’s because it has plans that are specific to WooCommerce. And they even include Smart Monitoring features for every WooCommerce plan. These features will tell you if there are issues with your site before and after you make changes to your plugin or theme. It’ll also give you insights into your store’s sales. And it runs automated tests to make sure that your site is always at 100%.
Note: Most web hosts aren’t able to cope with simultaneous orders due to limitations on PHP workers and other limits. Nexcess offers higher PHP worker availability and you can scale your plans so you don’t end up overpaying.
Pricing: Starter ($4.75/month for first 3 months then $19/month), Creator ($19.75/month for first 3 months then $79/month), Merchant ($32.25/month for first 3 months then $149/month), Standard ($74.75/month for first 3 months then $299/month), Growth ($137.25/month for first 3 months then $549/month), Enterprise ($249.75/month for first 3 months then $999/month)
Wix is also a website builder just like Squarespace — and it also just happens to have the right tools to start an online business. The similarities don’t stop there. Its site builder tool is also a blast to use. You don’t need to know how to code to get the most out of your online store. And it also comes with a ton of support for payment processing and marketing.
This ecommerce platform claims that it has a complete website design solution. And by the looks of it, that might be the case. The drag-and-drop functionality makes sure that you have complete control over every design element. You can resize, recolor, and move elements around to make every page look exactly the way you want them to.
What’s even more amazing is that you can use Wix’s artificial intelligence to come up with a design in minutes. All you’ll need to do is answer a couple of questions. Once answered, Wix will generate a fully designed site and include content and images. Just make a few tweaks and you’re done.
Using Wix’s marketing tools, you can improve your reach and attract new leads. You can create customized email campaigns. Or you can integrate a marketing app to give you the functionality you need. There’s even a video maker that’ll let you publish videos for promotions.
All landing pages made through Wix are optimized for phones and tablets.
There are plenty of templates available for those in the ecommerce space — more than 500 actually. You can add any product you want to the site. There’s the option to manage your own inventory but you can also source directly from the suppliers you work with. You can define the shipping rules and automate taxes for every sale.
As for online payments, you can use Wix Payments—Wix’s native payment solution—or connect to another platform like PayPal and Stripe.
And you’re not limited to selling physical products. You can offer subscriptions too. Dropshipping is also an option.
The best part about all this is that you control everything from a single dashboard. No need to log into different online accounts. With all of these tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to create an ecommerce website that’s both attractive and functional.
There are two sets of plans offered on Wix. One’s specifically for those that only need a website. The plans below will focus on the plans built for ecommerce sites.
Pricing: Business Basic ($17/month), Business Unlimited ($25/month), Business VIP ($35/month)
Volusion is yet another great option for starting your own online store. It has an easy-to-use ecommerce website builder as well as lovely themes that are perfect for small businesses.
It has the usual features you’d expect from an ecommerce platform. You have your well-built, responsive themes. There’s the option to use your own custom domain. And if you want to edit your site using code, you can through the CSS editor.
You can also add product category pages and fill them with product images. There’s a search functionality that your customers can use to quickly find the items they’re looking for. Your homepage can have a slideshow that highlights your ongoing promotions, new products, or whatever it is you want your audience to see right away.
However, Volusion does more than help out with site building. It supports backend operations as well, making your customer’s purchasing journey way more pleasant and efficient. For instance, it easily processes orders made through your website regardless of the device used. It also allows users to pay using credit cards, Amazon Pay, wire transfers, PayPal, and more.
Your online store will be secure — Volusion even has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You can specify whichever shipping type is suitable for your business. And if needed, you can offer special discounts and set overall shipping rates.
The barcode generator will make inventory management easier. And there is a recurring pricing structure which is ideal for businesses that regularly collect payments. You can also see the purchase history of your customers and collect information from them.
Are you in the dropshipping business? No problem as Volusion has the tools to support that.
You can also add other team members to your account and set admin permissions to limit or expand their access.
There are also different marketing tools available. Optimizing pages for SEO is simple. You can edit your metadata, URLs, title tags, and more. And if you want to sell on other platforms like Facebook, Ebay, and Amazon, you can.
You can create newsletters, gift cards, discounts, and other types of deals to encourage users to buy more stuff.
Volusion offers a 14-day free trial so you can see for yourself if it’s right for you before you commit.
Pricing: Personal ($26.10/month billed annually), Professional ($71.10/month billed annually), Business ($269.10/month billed annually), Prime (Custom pricing)
Shift4Shop can handle all of your ecommerce needs. From building a website to managing products and orders, it can do it all. It’s designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs to start selling online.
This platform has a lot of features. Its online store builder is powerful as it can accommodate most types of businesses. You can do dropshipping, print-on-demand, subscriptions, and digital goods. There are free and premium themes available to get you started right away. Not only are these templates responsive, but they’re customizable as well.
They even support Google AMP integration for product pages. The codes are optimized so they tend to load really fast.
What’s even better is that Shift4Shop will allow you to add unlimited products. You can import all of your inventory as soon as your ecommerce store is ready. And if you run out of room for your products, do not worry. This platform allows you to create as many pages as you need.
Customers will have a great time shopping on your site. Since you get to choose what happens when customers add products to their carts, you have control over their experience. They can be redirected to the checkout page or they can continue shopping. It’s really up to you. People can pay through Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, or PayPal.
Shift4Shop also provides you management tools so you can make your online shop more efficient. You can have this platform send you an email whenever you get new orders. Your customers are also notified whenever there’s a status update on their orders.
Your account will come with free domain registration. And you can edit page elements to make them optimized for search engines. You can also start a blog to build your authority and promote your business. It also works with Google Shopping to make adding and synchronizing your products much simpler.
Pricing: Free, Basic ($29/month), Plus ($79/month), Pro ($229/month)
Podia is an ecommerce platform that specializes in helping people sell digital products. These are things like courses, webinars, music, videos, ebooks, and other products that people can download.
It can also be used to sell members-only content. So if you’re a brand that wants a place for people to come together, you can use Podia. Here you can teach a class or drop exclusive content for your community. You can be creative with how you monetize your work.
Creating your own online store shouldn’t be an issue since Podia makes it so easy to customize a site. You can create a homepage, sales pages, newsletters, or any other type you might need. There’s no limit as to how many you can make. You don’t need to know how to code to start a design. And there’s a live preview, meaning you can see your edits as you make them without the need to make your page go live.
Podia guarantees that your pages will look great no matter what device your customers use.
Even better, you can make changes while you’re on the move since the Podia editor works on any mobile device.
Do you want to get more leads? With Podia, you can grow your list by collecting email addresses on any page of your website. You can then use the built-in email marketing feature to send newsletters, product highlights, discounts, or other types of promotional materials. And if you want to be more proactive, you can also talk with people through an on-page chat widget.
There’s no limit on content, students, emails, or earnings. So you can make as much money as you can without running into limitations set by Podia.
You can embed third-party tools as well. There are over 1,900 platforms to choose from. Should you need assistance, you can contact Podia through its live chat support 7 days a week. There’s also live video support on weekdays.
Pricing: Mover ($39/month), Shaker ($79/month), Earthquaker ($179/month). Free plan available with transaction fees.
11. Big Cartel
Big Cartel might be last on our list but it’s certainly no slouch. In fact, you might like what this ecommerce platform has to offer if you’re an artist. It’s unique in the sense that the amount you pay per month will depend on how many products you want to sell.
So if you don’t have a lot of products to sell, then you might save money by subscribing to a lower plan.
This platform is a place for graphic designers to sell their work on clothing and other merchandise. You can also sell jewelry and artworks.
You can set up a shop and customize it to make it one of a kind. You don’t have to use code but it’s there for anyone who wants to fine-tune their landing pages.
Big Cartel provides the tools you’ll need to sell. You get real-time stats. And you can integrate Google Analytics for additional data. There is inventory tracking.
You can offer discounts and run promotions. Shipments are tracked so your customers can feel at ease while their products are on their way to their homes. Sales taxes run on autopilot.
This company has been around since 2005 and has helped designers sell $2.5 billion worth of their works. It’s a company run by artists, for artists. It empowers creatives to make a living by doing something they love. If you’re a maker of sorts, you’ll feel right at home here.
There is a free version but as you can imagine, it severely limits what you can do on the platform. You can only have one image per product. The paid plans will let you sell five images per product. But what’s great about all their plans is that they allow you to sell online or in-person.
You’ll also get free templates, use a custom domain, track shipments, and run promotions regardless of the plan you choose.
Pricing: Free, 50 Products ($9.99/month), 500 Products ($19.99/month)
Related Reading: A Comparison Of The Best Alternatives To Big Cartel.
While different ecommerce platforms have features that help them stand out from their competitors, they will share similarities.
The reality is that most users have grown accustomed to having a specific set of tools and functionalities. And should these platforms not offer these, people would likely end up looking for other options.
If this is your first time building an ecommerce site, you’d want to look for a platform with all the ecommerce features you’ll need to create, promote, and manage your online store.
A good ecommerce platform will have the following features.
You want to look for an ecommerce platform with a good site builder tool, especially if you’re not comfortable with using code to edit a website’s design.
Modern ecommerce platforms will usually include a drag-and-drop builder. This means that you can create a store design without touching a line of code. All they have to do is add, remove, edit, or reposition page elements by clicking and dragging them around.
There are also platforms that will go one step further and offer templates that you could use. That way, you don’t have to start from scratch.
Some will walk you through the site-building process through advanced technology such as artificial intelligence. It will generate a design that’ll serve as a starting point that you could then customize to match your branding.
Some ecommerce platforms work with third-party apps to add more functionality to your website. Some apps are customer-facing, meaning these will directly improve the shopping experience of your customers. There are also apps that work behind the scenes — they are there to help you manage your ecommerce website.
By integrating apps, you’re able to fine-tune your website and make it run better.
For instance, you can integrate Google Analytics and monitor your site traffic from within the platform. Or you can integrate your email provider so you can launch an email campaign.
And with some ecommerce platforms such as BigCommerce and Shopify, you can integrate print-on-demand services such as Printify and Printful. This means you can sell custom merch directly from your existing ecommerce store without having to handle fulfilment.
You’ll need the ability to optimize your pages for search engines. That’s where SEO comes in. Whichever platform you’re going with, it should give you the option to make changes that will make it easier for potential customers to find you online.
These changes can include the ability to use a custom domain, edit metadata information, add a blog, or post customer reviews.
Most customers will do their shopping from mobile devices. Ecommerce platforms are aware of this. That’s why most of them made their landing pages responsive. For the unfamiliar, this simply means an online store will load and function the same regardless of the site being accessed using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
As you run your ecommerce business, you’ll slowly realize that you’ll need access to data like store traffic, sales, and inventory. That’s why you’ll want to find a platform that can give that to you.
Some platforms might offer native solutions while others will require you to integrate third-party tools to have that functionality. Find a solution that’ll work best for you.
The best ecommerce platforms are the ones that have great customer support. You can have an ecommerce store and never run into any issues. However, your ecommerce service provider should be reachable should you run into issues.
When researching a platform, look into how you can reach its tech support team. Do they have a phone number? An email address? Do they use a ticketing system? Are they on social media?
Knowing how you can access them in case of an emergency is important.
Ecommerce platforms FAQ
Which ecommerce platform is best?
Yes. It has all of the tools that a beginner might need and its drag-and-drop website builder makes it easy to use. However, Sellfy would be a better option for those who need a simple way to launch an online store fast.
That depends on you. However, it is worth noting that dropshipping cuts down on startup costs and removes barriers to entry. It’s surprisingly easy to scale.
If you use an ecommerce platform, you can simplify the dropshipping process making it at least worth trying out.
And that wraps up our comparison of the best ecommerce platforms. We’ve talked through a lot of options but now it comes down to you and your individual needs.
There is no single best ecommerce platform as such. Ultimately, the best depends on the needs of your business.
Not sure where to start? No problem. Most of these platforms offer a free trial so you can check them out for yourself. Use the buttons further up the page to navigate to the ecommerce platform you want to test and sign up for a trial.
Related Reading: 22 Top Ecommerce Statistics And Trends You Should Know.
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