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Choosing the best ecommerce platform is not an easy task.
The market is wide and there are many factors to consider. Your choices have a lot of impact on your online business, so be it It’s important to think hard before you sign up.
To help you with this, we compared the 9 most popular eCommerce website builders. Lastly, we hope you are ready to decide which platform is right for you.
What is an ecommerce platform and why should you use it?
The first question is what is the “eCommerce platform”?
An e-commerce platform is a piece of software that allows you to build an online store and run your business online. Provides you with tools for creating and managing a website, including products and day-to-day operations. Most, if not all, e-commerce builders use drag and drop features.
Here’s the good news – you don’t have to be a web developer to create a good online store.
There are many different reasons to use an ecommerce platform, but here are the most important:
- Easy (for beginners) – In the past, if you wanted an online store, you had to build the functionality yourself. There were shopping carts later, but you still had to own the developers to integrate them into your website. Now we have extras. With eCommerce platforms, you get everything in one hand and get started right away.
- Cheap – Ecommerce platforms are not super expensive, some of them don’t even cost anything. While you definitely incur costs when managing an online store, it is much less than developing your own solution from scratch. In addition, the more you pay, the more you can usually outsource your business to technical solutions.
- One solution suits everyone – Especially when you go with a hosted solution, you are able to let multiple parts of your website run. No need to deal with web hosting, security, updates and the like. Instead, you can simply focus on growing your business.
- Customer support available – In addition, with a commercial solution, you benefit from a support structure. Open source solutions, such as WordPress, are often community-focused, so you depend on that community to support it. While this can also be very good – if you desperately need help on Sunday at 3am, it is nice to have a guarantee that it will be there.
Top 9 Ecommerce Platform Options
Okay, now that you have a better idea of what to look for on an e-commerce platform, it’s time to talk about what’s out there. Below, we will explore the pros and cons of some of the most popular ecommerce platforms available, their pricing structure, and who they are most suited to.
Full disclosure: We earn a commission whenever you finish purchasing your ecommerce platform through our recommended links in this review. This helps us launch WebSetup as a business. Thank you for your support.
1. Wix Stores – Simple, beautiful, affordable prices
Wix is originally a site builder that allows you to create web pages via drag and drop. On top of that, it also has features that allow you to build an online store.
Advantages of using Wix stores
Like Shopify, the e-commerce platform is easy to use and quick to set up. No coding required, you can literally drag content anywhere on your site with a custom editor.
It’s great that they have over 500 templates specifically designed for online stores and even provide stock images that you can use right away.
Of course, Wix offers a fully equipped shopping cart with all the functionality you need. There are hundreds of apps in the official app marketplace that further enhance your site.
Also, the service is fully hosted, so no need to worry about this part.
Weaknesses of using Wix stores
What you need to keep in mind is that Wix is not a pure ecommerce platform. First and foremost is a website builder who is also capable of selling things. Therefore, ecommerce options can be a little basic.
Also keep in mind that you cannot change the site template after you publish the site, which is a big flaw.
Wix is subscription based and offers different packages. Paid ecommerce plans are $ 23- $ 49 per month. The cheapest ecommerce plan starts at $ 17 a month.
You can use their free plan to test the platform, but it has really limited capabilities and no e-commerce capabilities.
2. SiteBuilder – best for beginners
SiteBuilder is the best site builder we’ve reviewed so far. Now, we have explored ecommerce options that look decent enough. It’s similar to Wix – you need to start the biggest plan to get started with an online store.
Benefits of using SiteBuilder
It is very easy to use. As simple as I’ve never seen the internet interface before, it’s simple.
Their drag-and-drop interface is intuitive, simple and comprehensive. SiteBuilder has everything you need to get started – domain, hosting, analytics, SEO and enough ecommerce tools. It comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage.
Their support is really friendly and helpful. We connected in seconds, and their support agent took the time to answer our detailed questions about e-commerce tools. Therefore, even if you run into trouble (which is very doubtful considering how easy their website builder is), you will get help in a short time (7am to 5pm in Arizona).
Disadvantages of using SiteBuilder
Although SiteBuilder comes with hundreds of templates, only about 100 are suitable for ecommerce.
Similar to Wix, their ecommerce capabilities may be limited for advanced users. They are hardly advanced marketing tools, payment options and logistical accessories.
SiteBuilder has 3 master plans that all have a 60% trial discount for 1 year (after renewal to a regular price). For an online store, you need to go with an e-commerce plan.
It is often said that you get what you pay for. Although SiteBuilder is a bit limited, you definitely get a lot more than what you pay for – their options are not only beginner friendly but also comprehensive enough to handle the professional quality of the website.
You can try SiteBuilder eCommerce for 14 days with a refund.
3. BigCommerce – best for small business
BigCommerce offers an eCommerce hosted solution as a complete SaaS platform as well as a shopping cart for other types of websites. It is probably most similar to Shopify. The two are often mentioned in the same breath.
Benefits of using BigCommerce
The eCommerce platform offers great store management capabilities. It offers a number of tools and features, such as promotions, unlimited product versions, options for processing refunds, coupons and discounts. Another highlight is the flexible shipping options that allow direct quotes and price calculations.
In addition, BigCommerce integrates with Amazon, eBay and social networks. This allows you to sell across a number of different sales channels. There are also many marketing tools with very precise controls, such as full control over the URL format.
Multiple APIs help make it flexible and flexible. BigCommeerce also has a large app store with extensions for all kinds of needs such as email marketing, automation and product promotion. You also get over 40 payment processing options with no transaction fees!
The benefits are rounded off by a multitude of templates to choose from, the ability to design your own website, and a great support system to help you improve your ecommerce efforts.
The downsides of using BigCommerce
BigCommerce has traditionally lagged behind in its proposals. Although they have arrived, users have only seven free templates. Premium themes can also be expensive. Unfortunately, customizing the design is not always best for the user.
BigCommerce does not have native POS features like in other solutions and comes with a sales cap on your plan. It is relatively expensive to get advanced features like an abandoned wheelchair keeper.
BigCommerce plans cost between $ 29.95 and $ 249.95. You can save some money on higher plans by paying annually. There is also an option for a business, but you have to ask about it. In addition, topics cost between $ 145 and $ 235.
Although all plans give you everything you need to get started, with higher options you get more options like advanced customer segmentation and product filtering.
The lack of transaction fees makes BigCommerce more attractive than the other options on this list. Use the 15 day trial to find out if it’s for you.
4. Shopify – best for thigh shops
Shopify has become one of the most famous names in the e-commerce sphere. It is a fully equipped solution with hundreds of thousands of users. We also have a full article on this, if the information below is not enough for you.
Benefits of using Shopify
The trading platform is super easy to use and quick to set up. Simply sign in with your email address and you can start building a store and sell right away. The intuitive interface also makes it easy to create products and includes SEO features such as title tags and meta descriptions.
Shopify offers dozens of free elegant mobile-optimized themes. More is available for purchase. No coding required to customize them, just use your mouse to make changes.
In addition, the platform offers superior phone, email, live chat and Twitter support available 24/7. This comes with detailed documentation and online forums where you can get help from other users.
Shopify also supports a lot of third-party payment gateways and has a large app marketplace with over a thousand offers to add functionality to your site with a few clicks.
Finally, they offer additional sales channels, providing you with software and hardware to sell within physical outlets, socially sell, and integrate with markets like Amazon.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Shopify is that the cost can easily snowball. With the basic fee, you also pay for many extras, themes and features. Some are one-off, some monthly, some annually. In addition, there are transaction fees if you do not use the embedded payment system. This can all get a little complicated and difficult to plan.
Another downside to customizing your site is that Shopify uses its own markup language called “Liquid”. It is based on Ruby on Rails and makes changes difficult by using coding.
Shopify offers different price levels with additional features, depending on your plan.
There is also Shopify Lite. It allows you to sell on social networks and embed products on your own site to take advantage of shopping cart options. This plan costs $ 9 a month, which is quite fair.
In addition, there is Shopify Plus for business clients. You have to ask about prices, but rumors say they start at $ 1200 a month.
As mentioned, in addition to the base price, you also pay for apps and additional features. They really cover a wide range of prices, so get informed first!
Also, don’t forget credit card and transaction fees when using third-party payment providers. They differ according to your plan.
Shopify offers a 14-day trial period to peek under the hood before you begin.
This solution is another cloud-based option for building an online store. It lasted about 1999 and at that time processed more than $ 28 billion in sales.
Pros for using Volusion
Volusion is a drag and drop website builder with page editing. It offers comprehensive site search, many relevant topics (11 of which are free) and the ability to customize your own.
In addition, it has solid e-commerce and product management tools such as rich product descriptions with text texts, original fulfillment options, subscription options, loyalty programs, and more. It also integrates with a large number of payment providers and does not come with transaction fees.
Marketing opportunities include SEO features, social sales, market integrations for Amazon and eBay, among others. Please note that some of these are only available on higher plans.
Users also receive 24/7 support via live chat and phone (the latter comes with a larger plan). This is in addition to an extensive knowledge base with articles, guides and more.
Disadvantages of using volition
Unfortunately, the Volus pricing structure is a little confusing as they have a set bandwidth limit. If you run out, you have to pay extra traffic. This can make it difficult to plan ahead, especially since their default bandwidth is relatively small.
You have to pay extra for SSL, which is a must for any online store. Other competitors offer it for free. Premium templates for the Volusion are a little more expensive.
Also, the platform does not offer blogging opportunities. You can include links to other blog sites from the menu. This is really a drawback in the digital world of content marketing.
Running your shop on Volusion will cost you between $ 29 and $ 299 a month. You pay 10% off your payment. You need to call the service to change it into an annual plan. On more expensive plans, you get more products, bandwidth, better support and additional features.
As mentioned, each plan has a bandwidth limit (1, 3, 10, or 35 GB). All of the above traffic will cost you $ 7 / GB. This can be fixed quickly. You should also not forget about the transaction fees of your payment processor.
There is also an investment in SSL certification. The ones offered directly by Volusion range between $ 149 and $ 995. Of course, you can get yours for free as well. Plus, if you go for the premium theme, you need to budget $ 180 for it.
Use the 14 day free trial to check out Volusion.
Similar to Wix, Squarespace is also a website builder that works with drag and drop. They started with a focus on making visually appealing websites. Of late, the site is investing more energy in e-commerce and allowing its users to sell things online. They are already starting to be a full fledged ecommerce platform.
The benefits of using square space
The service has a simple and intuitive user interface and is highly customized for beginners.
The website templates they offer are elegant, beautiful, glossy and all have the ability to customize on mobile devices. Design orientation also makes Squarespace particularly well-suited for the sale of products that require high quality images.
In addition, you have all the standard options such as product variants, inventory management, unlimited products, coupons, shipping, works. The platform also integrates with Shipstation.com for fulfillment and has excellent customer service.
They provide numerous data points for optimizing your site and conversions, including sales, revenue, traffic sources, and more. Marketing tools include SEO settings, social networking, blogging, and abandonment box office recovery. SSL is built right into the platform.
The downsides of using square space
On the downside, Squarespace is somewhat limited in features. For example, it has limited payment options (Apple Pay and PayPal only) and lacks important options for more complex stores and a large number of products or variations.
Furthermore, there is no market for applications that add more features and functionality. Your ability to customize your site through code and tags is also very limited. The platform integrates with just a few third-party tools and services.
You pay Squarespace monthly. To get started, you need to be at least on a Business Plan, which is $ 18 a month if it is billed annually, otherwise $ 26 a month. Please note that there is a 3% transaction fee for each sale.
Keep in mind that you can opt out of the latter if you receive one of your ecommerce plans ($ 26- $ 46 per month). You also get additional features for running an online store such as label printing, accounting and the automatic recovery of abandoned shopping carts.
Magento is a type of WordPress e-commerce platform. This is a piece of open source software that you can download and install on your own servers. It also offers a cloud-hosted version, such as WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Pros for using Magento
As a standalone solution, Magento gives you a lot of control. With technical knowledge, you can change just about anything you want in terms of functionality and design, plus choose your own server environment.
If the latter is not your cup of tea, the cloudy edition might be more for you. You must contact the sales department for a demo.
No matter which route you take, you’ll be using Magento’s long list of features and options. Membership subscriptions, recurring payments, discounts, customizable content per user are just the tip of the iceberg.
You can expand your site through the marketplace. There are add-ons and themes for all purposes, from customer support to marketing to site upload and optimization.
The platform is also strong in terms of multilingual websites. You can create separate websites for different languages. It also has a strong community behind it, which is constantly improving the platform and developing new themes and additions. It also means a lot of support and expert advice available.
Disadvantages of using Magento
The community release is worth all the drawbacks of self-organized platforms. Be prepared to take care of updates, security and everything else to ensure your store is working properly.
Although Magento has many features, it can consequently be a bit resource hungry. This will require you to invest time and money in optimization.
In addition, the platform is written in PHP, so if you want to make significant changes, you need to have the necessary chops or hire someone for it. Either way, expect to invest in development.
If you opt for the Cloud version, keep in mind that it is built for Enterprise clients and priced accordingly. More on that below.
Magento Community Edition is the first free ecommerce platform in this list. That’s right, you can download and use them without paying a dice.
Like many other self-service solutions, it comes with costs regardless, especially for hosting. Premium add-ons or templates and occasional development work can also be factors.
If you do not want to deal with many of the above, there is also a hosted version. As mentioned before, it’s not cheap. The number we found is $ 18,000 a year for licensing.
We continue with the topic of open source e-commerce platforms. OpenCart is available for download and installation on your own server. The service also offers a cloudy version of its solution.
The benefits of using OpenCart
This ecommerce platform contains everything you need to create and manage your store. You can set up unlimited products and product categories for digital and physical goods. Comes with product reviews and door ratings and supports multiple currencies.
The dashboard gives you an overview of every important data point of your store and you can even build and control several stores from one interface.
In addition, the platform is highly customizable with thousands of themes and plugin extensions. It also integrates with hundreds of payment gateways.
As a standalone solution, it offers all the benefits of administering your site on your own server. A large support network through a dedicated community and documentation helps you greatly.
If you decide on a cloud variant, you can get started in just a few minutes. You also get access to a special theme and plugin store and take care of all your hosting, security and backup needs.
Disadvantages of using OpenCart
When you have the benefits of hosting the site itself, you also have to deal with the disadvantages. OpenCart is not always easy to customize, and adding new modules can be expensive.
In addition, its original marketing features are quite limited. For example, the default SEO capabilities are not very good.
The platform is not always known as the fastest solution, so a standalone solution may not be the best option for scaling to large dimensions.
Hosting the software yourself is free. Keep in mind that it comes with the usual peripheral costs. In addition, there may be expenditures for extensions and topics that average about $ 100 in your budget.
You can also opt for a hosted version that costs between $ 30 and $ 200 a month – half if you pay a year in advance. It also includes a free SSL certificate.
9. Zen Cart
Our next candidate is in the same category as the last two. It is open source and self hosted.
Benefits of Using a Zen Cart
Because it has a GPL license and is on your server, Zen Cart is also fully customizable. Like other solutions, you can make any changes you want beyond the available extensions. The solution also has a good reputation for security and scalability.
In addition, it offers many product configuration options, including coupons, gift certificates, and multiple product images. In the marketing department, you can take advantage of the built-in SEO features and the ability to send HTML emails from the platform.
A strong user community rounds out the benefits of Zen Cart.
Disadvantages of Using a Zen Cart
A serious drawback of this ecommerce solution is the outdated user interface on both the front and back. You have the ability to change at least the font of your site. A less intuitive user interface will take care of your site a little.
Zen Cart can be difficult to install and upgrade. There is also no dedicated support so users need to take care of themselves. Its ecosystem is quite small, so extensions and patterns are hard to come by. The ecommerce platform only comes with a few payment options.
Like the other examples in this list, the software itself is free, but you must run a budget to run and maintain the architecture, including SSL certification. Especially if you don’t have the skills to develop a website, you can expect to hire help and need to do it with a budget. Extensions and themes can also be part of the bill.
E-commerce platform types are available
When looking for the best ecommerce platform for yourself, there are different types at your disposal. While there are several ways to differentiate platforms, one of the main differences is their type of hosting.
- Self-host – This means downloading some of the software and installing it on your server. It gives you great control over your site. It is also responsible for saving, updating, and making changes manually. Open source ecommerce solutions often have this model.
- Hosted – An alternative is to use software hosted by someone else. SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions are the most typical examples here. Advantage: less technical consumption, quick start, greater convenience for beginners. Most often, higher costs.
- mixed – Several of the options below offer the ability to integrate your shopping carts with other platforms (eg WordPress). This is also called Trade as a Service (CaaS) and can be a viable and less expensive option.
Of course, there are other ways to differentiate e-commerce platforms. Many of them depend on your personal needs. You may want to consider:
- Ease of use
- Trade options
- Mobile capabilities
It’s a good idea to make it clear to yourself what is most important to you. This will make it easier to remove the non-matching options.
What is the best ecommerce platform for you?
Standalone e-commerce platforms can be a great solution for starting an online store. They offer all the features and specialized features needed to make Internet sales a success.
Still, choosing the best ecommerce platform is not an easy task. There are simply too many factors to consider and the many offers on the market. Knowing in advance what your needs and requirements are, it seems more likely that you will fit in well with the above 3. We recommend Wix, SiteBuilder, BigCommerce and Shopify.
We hope this guide has helped you in your decision. If so, how about a discount at a newly opened store? No pressure.
What is your personal choice for the best eCommerce platform and why? Let us know in the comments section below.
Thanks for visiting our site. As a way of saying "thanks" here's a FREE course on how to make $688 a day online using FREE methods: