Do you want to start an eCommerce business? Looking for the best eCommerce platform to get started? This article is for you!
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is the most crucial part of starting an eCommerce business – you want a platform that provides you with easy inventory management, secure payment solutions to flexibility in designing and building your online store.
There are hundreds of eCommerce platforms in the market that you can choose from – but let’s be realistic, you can’t try all the platforms and decide, right?
This is where EcomSutra comes into the picture – to save your time and help you make educated decisions!
In this article, we compared and reviewed some of the best eCommerce platforms – from advanced to simple platforms that you can use to build and grow your eCommerce website.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Shopify – Most Popular eCommerce Platform
Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform. In fact, whenever someone decides to start an eCommerce business, Shopify is the first name that comes to mind, isn’t it?
As an eCommerce platform, Shopify is extremely easy to use and set up without any technical skills required. It offers 70+ mobile responsive themes among which 9 are free which are quite great if you want to try Shopify for a while before making some investment in the look and feel of your site.
Shopify themes are customizable but what I love the most about it is features like Abandoned Card recovery, gift card, and custom discount creation from its basic plan.
It’s a great option for eCommerce sites that don’t have lots of in-house technical resources because its 24/7 versatile customer support will help you set your store at any point of time.
Shopify also has its own payment gateway called Shopify Payment which is better than most of the payment gateways available out there. Unfortunately, it is not available in all countries so, before getting started, you must check whether Shopify Payment is available in your region or not.
For additional features and functionalities, you can always head over to the Shopify App Store where you can find a ton of tools and plugins that you can install and integrate with your store with just a few clicks.
Pros of Shopify –
- Fast page loading speed
- Easy to set up
- 24/7 support
- Multiple channel distribution
Cons of Shopify –
- Limited customization
- 2% commission on transaction value
- Average SEO Performance
Further Reading – How to start an online store on Shopify
2. BigCommerce – Well-known eCommerce Platform
BigCommerce is a well-known eCommerce platform providing everything you need to sell online. It is an ideal choice if you want to build a store with some complex features and a huge inventory to manage.
The platform offers unique solutions for B2B, wholesale and subscription-based stores. And, its conversion-friendly, customizable themes enable you to build any kind of store to sell anything online.
BigCommerce’s abandoned cart recovery shipping integrations and multichannel distribution features are some of the best in the industry but not available at the lower tiers.
And unlike Shopify, instead of charging a fee per transaction, BigCommerce puts the limit sales revenue per tier and once you reach the sales limit of your selected tier, the plan will automatically be upgraded.
BigCommerce excels in the SEO performance of the site, loading speed, scalability, and security. So, whether you’re starting a new online store from scratch, or introducing your brick-and-mortar store into the eCommerce world, BigCommerce can be a viable option for you.
Pros of BigCommerce –
- Flexible and scalable
- Multichannel distribution
- No transaction fees
Cons of BigCommerce –
- Gets expensive with a high volume of products
- Cart abandonment recovery is not available for the basic plan
Further Reading – BigCommerce Review
3. Wix – Best drag-&-drop eCommerce Builder
Wix is another popular drag-and-drop website builder which you can also use to build online stores. The website builder is very user-friendly and easy to use for beginners with no technical knowledge.
Wix offers over 500 stunning templates that are likely to fit your business. Wix eCommerce functionality has most of what a business would need but doesn’t scale as well as dedicated platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce.
Wix also provides an in-house payment gateway called Wix Payment along with other popular gateways including Stripe and Paypal. The best part is that it doesn’t charge any transaction fees – you just have to pay for the plans you pick for the store.
Other useful features include multi-channel distribution, worldwide shipping and tax, auto email reminders, coupon, and discounts.
Pros of Wix –
- Beginner Friendly
- Free domain for 1 year
- Good SEO
- Optimized for Dropshipping
- 24/7 customer support
Cons of Wix –
- Cannot change the theme later
- Lacks marketing features and integrations
- limited features in the basic plan
Further Reading –
4. Squarespace – Creative eCommerce platform
Squarespace is a popular drag-and-drop website building platform that offers a ton of mobile-optimized and customizable themes for online stores. It is the best eCommerce platform for artists to sell artworks such as videos, photographs, graphics, and more.
Squarespace offers dozens of eCommerce benefits which include unlimited product listing, flexible product variants, gift cards, and abandoned cart recovery.
With Squarespace, you can easily build a subscription-based store but the challenge is that there are very limited apps that you can integrate with. So, before getting started, make sure that it offers all the essential tools and plugins that you need for your store.
Another great thing about Squarespace is that it offers a free domain for the first year of your subscription and over that it has very cheap plans to get started with.
So, if you’re unsure of what the future holds and want to try your hands on an eCommerce store with all essential features, Squarespace is a platform for you. That’s because this platform makes it affordable and easy for you to scale or pivot the direction of your sales strategy.
Pros of Squarespace –
- Easy to set up
- Great theme designs
- Solid SEO tools
Cons of Squarespace –
- No Marketing Automation Integration
- No Multichannel distribution
- No App store for more features
- Weak customer support
Further Reading –
Volusion is one of the oldest eCommerce platforms available out there. It provides an all-in-one eCommerce platform that lets you easily create, manage, and expand your store.
Volusion has everything you need to build your store your way. It offers 11 free and 34 premium themes. These templates are mobile responsive and you can easily customize and add required elements using their drag-and-drop page builder. You can tweak them further with CSS.
The other main features are built-in SEO tools, social media integrations, and ROI tracking tools, related products feature, customer accounts and reviews, discount codes, and gift cards. Abandoned Card recovery is also available but not for the basic plan.
Similar to BigCommerce, Volusion doesn’t charge transaction fees but puts a cap limit on annual revenue. If you exceed certain sales milestones in a 12 month period, your plan will automatically be upgraded for the next year.
Pros of Volusion –
- Multi-channel distribution
- Recurring payment method available
Cons of Volusion –
- No built-in blogging section.
- Expensive themes
- No Cart abandoned recovery for the base plan
Being competitive for 20 years, Shift4Shop is another popular eCommerce platform in the market. It is a feature-rich eCommerce platform that offers a flexible website builder, product & order management tools, shopping cart, customer marketing tools, and much more.
Shift4Shop offers 110 lucrative themes that are ideal for setting up any type of eCommerce store. All of them are SEO-optimized, mobile-friendly, and highly customizable. The best part is that they are completely free to use.
As customer experience is the key to success, Shift4Shop lets you run your store from mobile. Its amazing mobile-friendly features include Google AMP-powered product pages, an Ajax implementation to reduce delay, and optimized code to increase your site speed.
In addition to this, you can easily accept mobile payments by connecting to 200 payment processors. Also, it helps in boosting cart conversions by offering an instant checkout experience with Apple Pay, Visa Checkout, Amazon Pay, and much more.
Pros of Shift4Shop –
- 100+ themes are being added every day.
- AI-driven fraud prevention that makes your site secure.
- Built-in marketing tools.
- Scalability potential with the enterprise plan.
Cons of Shift4Shop –
- Reporting features can be improved for better understandability.
- Customer support is not consistent.
7. WooCommerce – Most Popular Free eCommerce Platform
WooCommerce is a free eCommerce platform that runs on WordPress. Unlike other eCommerce platforms listed in the article, WooCommerce is a plugin that can add operational eCommerce features to your existing WordPress site.
WooCommerce offers loads of mobile responsive and customizable themes. Also, there are thousands of plugins that you can use to add new features to your store.
With WooCommerce, you can sell anything whether it’s physical products, digital downloads, membership plans, dropshipping stores, or affiliate products.
WooCommerce offers its own payment system called, WooCommerce Payments which doesn’t charge you any transaction fees at all. You’ll only have to pay your payment services providers like PayPal or Stripe, or your bank.
If you are already familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce can be very easy to use. You just have to add a WooCommerce plugin, add your products, set your preferences and your store will be ready.
- Also Read: How to create online store with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, but you will need to invest in a WooCommerce-optimized hosting platform such as Bluehost or Siteground that comes with pre-configured WordPress and WooCommerce for better speed and user experience.
Pros of WooCommerce –
- Easy to use
- Free Themes
- Best for SEO since it is on WordPress
- Highly Customizable
Cons of WooCommerce –
- No Customer Support
- Need lots of extensions to add basic features and it costs
8. Magento – Popular eCommerce platform for Enterprise brands
Magento is the most popular and trusted open-source platform for eCommerce. The brands like Nike, Ford, Samsung use Magento for their online stores.
Magento is a fully mobile-optimized and customizable platform but you’ll need a trained developer or agency to build your store. Magento is so vast that you can customize as much as you can and add new features that no other store has ever seen.
Basically, it gives you freedom without any limit to be innovative. But the only thing is, you will need developer skills to do anything on Magento.
Magento provides seamless checkout, payment, and other shopping modules that allow you to personalize the user experience on your site. It is free to use, but you’ll have to invest in a reliable Magento hosting service that ensures security and fast loading speed.
Pros of Magento –
- Strong SEO
- Scalable and highly customizable
- Strong user and developer community
- Huge marketplace for extensions and themes
Cons of Magento –
- Expensive themes
- Development cost can be expensive
- No customer support
9. OpenCart – Best Free Open-source eCommerce Platform
OpenCart is also an open-source ecommerce platform that is currently supporting over 300,000 ecommerce stores across the globe.
It offers a ton of free and paid mobile responsive themes which you can find in OpenCart’s marketplace. It also provides 13,000+ modules that allow you to customize and add features to your store.
One of the best features of OpenCart is its Admin Dashboard – you can manage multiple stores from one dashboard. You can add the same products on different sources with different pricing and other variables. Isn’t this cool?
OpenCart gives you control over how customers are charged for your products and services. So, if you plan to sell products by subscription, or if you are simply breaking up payments into smaller portions, OpenCart is a way to go.
Pros of OpenCart –
- Marketplace for themes and extensions
- Integrated shipping methods
- 36 payment gateways
- Active community of developers
Cons of OpenCart –
- Paid support service
10. PrestaShop – Innovative Open-source eCommerce Software
PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform that was developed in collaboration with a community of more than one million users and contributors.
You can download the free PrestaShop software and build the store yourself. Also, to build the store on PrestaShop, you’ll need at least basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and JS.
PrestaShop provides thousands of mobile-optimized themes that you can use and customize the store or you can build it from scratch. It also offers 600+ features that you can include in your store.
But again, it is not like Shopify where you can just click and add new features, you have to configure it yourself using the modules provided by them. And most importantly, you will have to purchase a compatible hosting platform to install PrestaShop and build your store.
Pros of PrestaShop –
- Strong SEO
- Available in 75 languages
- Strong community to help you
Cons of PrestaShop –
- Limited Marketing Integration
- Developer Skills required
- No multi-channel integration
- No customer support (have to rely on community response)
11. Weebly – Simple eCommerce Website Builder
Weebly is a flexible website builder that also can build an enticing eCommerce store. With its free website builder, you can customize page designs by choosing from the collection of bold and responsive themes for your business.
Building an online store on Weebly is a smooth process. It offers an intuitive drag-and-drop builder which lets you launch your dream online store. It also comes with a suite of marketing tools that enables you to interact with your customers to boost conversions.
You can use its customizable email templates to remind customers about their incomplete purchases or send a welcome email to greet new customers. It optimizes your site for high organic traffic, and you can effectively track results via its in-depth analytic tools.
Furthermore, it offers a reasonable set of integrations via its app center. The categories include shipping, reporting, communication, marketing, social media tools, bookings, etc., to expand your store functionality.
Pros of Weebly –
- Very affordable pricing plans.
- Free SSL Security and unlimited storage.
- Accept payments through 3rd party providers.
- Excellent customer support via chat, email, phone, and community forum in all the plans.
- Offers advanced site statistics.
Cons of Weebly –
- Ideal only for small companies.
- Handling backup and restoration lies in your hands.
- Unlike Wix, Weebly does not offer an ADI to set up your store.
12. Ecwid – Best eCommerce platform for Small Businesses
Unlike the rest of the tools mentioned above, Ecwid is a SaaS-based eCommerce platform. You can create your online store on Ecwid within 10 mins – it is that simple.
I have placed it at this position on the list because of a lack of customization. Using Magento, WooCommerce, and PrestaShop, you can build a store and add features as your business grows, but Ecwid is specifically built for small businesses.
Its free plan allows you to sell up to 10 products, and you can promote your products on Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Snapchat right from the dashboard.
The best part is that Ecwid doesn’t charge any transaction fees, and once you start making profits, you can upgrade the plan and integrate with other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Pros of Ecwid –
- Zero Transaction Fees
- Integrated advertising platforms
- Mobile responsive site
Cons of Ecwid –
- Not scalable
- No themes
- Very limited customization
Further Reading –
13. ShopBase – Popular Dropshipping eCommerce Platform
If you are looking to set up a dropshipping and print-on-demand store, then ShopBase shall be an ideal choice. You can create a highly customized storefront, find winning products, and automate marketing tasks to skyrocket your revenue with minimal effort.
You can easily create new products with multi-variants and import/export thousands of products within a few clicks using .csv files. Best of all, you can sell without any limit, which is a good indicator of high scalability.
When it comes to dropshipping, order fulfillment is crucial as it determines your store’s destiny. ShopBase has got you covered with this, as it enables you to fulfill orders without any damage as it is backed with global warehouse networks.
Pros of ShopBase –
- Reach customers worldwide via US and China suppliers.
- Offers unlimited bandwidth.
- Free upsell/cross-sell tools.
- Sell anywhere at any time using Shopbase’s mobile app.
- Automated online store builder.
- One-on-one live chat support on all of its plans.
Cons of ShopBase –
- Payment processing fee incurred on all plans.
- Provides limited apps, which might decrease your store functionality.
How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for You?
All the above-mentioned ecommerce platforms come with essential features like product management, inventory management, payment processor, and others. However, there are a few key factors that you must consider while deciding on the ecommerce platform for your business –
- Technical skills – Are you a coder, website developer? Do you have a technical team? If yes, open-source platforms like Magento, OpenCart can be a good option. If not, try platforms such as Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Ecwid.
- Budget – Your initial budget for the ecommerce business will be determined by the eCommerce platform you choose. So, it is important to decide on a platform based on your budget. Next, you also need to account for the costs of building and managing the store.
- Business model – Not all platforms are designed to support all types of business models. So, you must first define your business model before selecting the most appropriate platform for your ecommerce business
- The number of products – The basic feature of an e-commerce platform is product management. So, determine how many products you want to sell, and based on that pick a platform that allows you to list your product within your budget.
- Type of products – There are certain e-commerce platforms that allow you to offer a variety of products, while others limit to specific types such as digital products. So, figure out the kind of products you will be selling on your site.
- Payment Methods – The transaction fees can differ among various ecommerce solutions. What is necessary for you to do is examine the integrated payments of each platform to check whether it supports your preferred payment gateway or if you can utilize one of their payment partners.
Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform for your Online Store?
By now, you should have picked the best platform to build your online store. However, if you are still wondering what to try first, here are few of my recommendations that you can consider –
- If you’re just getting started with an eCommerce business and you don’t have the technical knowledge or a large team to manage your store, Shopify, Wix or Squarespace would be the best platform to consider.
- If you are expecting faster growth, BigCommerce would be the perfect platform for your eCommerce business. It is highly scalable and gives you complete control over the store to offer unique designs and features to your customers.
- If you have a limited budget but no technical knowledge to build an online store, you should try Ecwid or ShopBase; these platforms are easy-to-use and provide all the basic requirements to build and manage your store at an affordable price.
- If you are looking for highly customized eCommerce platform, you can consider using OpenSource platforms such as Magento and OpenCart.
Rest assured, all the platforms listed above are the best in the class and have something unique to offer. So, you have to be very clear with what you want for your store and choose the eCommerce platform that suits your business model.
I hope this article helped you pick the best eCommerce platform for your business. If you are looking for more niche-specific eCommerce platforms, then you should check these articles next –