The appropriate e-commerce software is crucial for initiating an online business or enhancing your digital sales reach. With a wide range of options tailored for various business sizes and types, making the right choice can be arduous. Nevertheless, despite each platform's distinct features, finding the perfect one for your company is feasible.
E-commerce customers have high standards for quality. An unprofessional online storefront, sluggish page loading, perplexing or challenging payment processes, absence of SSL, and other related factors may dissuade potential customers and lead to lost sales for your business.
The new digital landscape has given rise to eCommerce platforms, which enable business owners of all sizes to establish their presence online. With tools like Shopify, Wix, or Squarespace, sellers can break free from the constraints of limited sales on Amazon or eBay and instead create their own eCommerce site that they have full control over. The only potential problem is…
The rise of online selling has made it a lucrative and widely adopted method of generating income in the digital era. In this regard, numerous companies compete to provide the most efficient and cost-effective eCommerce platform for small business owners. To help you navigate through the options, we have curated a list of the best eCommerce platforms suitable for small businesses in this article.
Choosing the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Online Store
Each eCommerce platform has its unique features and target audience. Some cater to small businesses and startups, while others are intended for enterprise-level organizations. Similarly, specific platforms are budget-friendly, while others can be costly.
Numerous eCommerce platforms offer additional functionalities to aid in business expansion. Several factors exist when choosing an eCommerce platform to sell products or services online. Factors to consider when choosing a business platform include:
- Business size
- Platform fees (some may be free but require startup costs)
- Business status (brand new or established)
- Physical store locations, in addition to an online store
- Product types sold
- Target market
- Sales and marketing budget
- Desired level of technical management
- Priorities, such as pricing versus creative control
- Non-negotiable features
- Need for a mobile app for on-the-go business management
- Level of control over the website
Create a checklist of essential features your eCommerce platform should possess and a list of optional features you would like. You can use these lists to narrow your options as you browse the available eCommerce solutions.
To clarify how we came up with our rankings, eCommerce CEOs require assistance to attain a high rating. We don't simply provide recommendations in exchange for a commission from the companies mentioned here.
eCommerce platform factors:
- Speed and performance
- Ease of use
- Design and themes
- Overall Value
With that out, let’s look at the best options for opening your online store as a small business.
“Best for small businesses who prefers a plug-and-play all-in-one package”
Nowadays, discussing eCommerce and online sales is nearly impossible without mentioning Shopify. The Shopify website boasts top-notch sales features, robust industry-leading tools, and a vast marketplace of plugins in its app market.
Shopify's eCommerce platform is undoubtedly one of the best options for serious online sellers. Shopify specifically designs its SaaS-based software to assist people who want to build the ultimate online store. It provides many advanced marketing tools compared to competitors such as Wix and Squarespace, and it also includes a free SSL certificate for security.
With our service, you will enjoy various benefits, including access to discount codes, live customer support, and an integrated payment processing system. You can seamlessly synchronize your inventory and orders across multiple sales channels, such as eBay and Amazon. Also, you can explore new sales strategies, such as dropshipping via plugins.
Pricing 💰: 14-day free trial and $29 monthly for the essential Shopify experience. Advanced Shopify costs $299 monthly
Integrated sales channels: Google, eBay, Amazon, Walmart Marketplace, Facebook, and Instagram
Mobile app features: Mobile tools for online business management
- Free trial available to get started
- Free themes
- Huge amount of plugins to choose from
- Unlimited products on all plans
- Integrated payment options
- Fantastic for all kinds of business plan
- Customer support options: phone callback, email, 19 languages, forum, and content
- Shop Pay offers low online transaction fees
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Over 6,000 third-party apps
- Fees can quickly add up
- The blogging platform is very limited
Shopify offers a range of marketing tools, including email marketing, abandoned cart recovery, search engine optimization (SEO), and other features, all available free of charge. The Shopify app is powerful, allowing you to manage your business from your phone with features like order, adding products, real-time sales and inventory updates, and more.
Shopify's eCommerce solution allows you to build stunning online stores even if you don’t have knowledge in coding, design, or technical aspects of online operations.
“Best for small businesses with an existing WordPress site”
WooCommerce is an eCommerce solution that has captured the attention of businesses worldwide. It is not only highly accessible and straightforward to use but also built on the WordPress Content Management System. This software powers the majority of the internet. Because WooCommerce is built on top of such a well-known content management system, it is simple to obtain assistance and guidance when creating your online store.
WooCommerce, like other WordPress plugins, connects to your WordPress website. The system also includes several excellent official extensions that you can use to make running your website more accessible.
You can, for instance, select advanced themes for your storefront and experiment with dropshipping tools. WooCommerce is very flexible because it is open source, but you will also require much more technical knowledge to get started.
WooCommerce has a unique feature in that, unlike many other eCommerce platforms available today, it includes built-in blogging and the ability to accept unlimited orders.
Pricing 💰: Although it is an open-source solution, the usage of WooCommerce is essentially free. However, you must pay for your hosting and payment gateways.
- WooCommerce projects that hosting will cost $120 per year, domain name registration will cost $15 per year, the site theme will cost up to $100 per year, shipping costs will be up to $108 per year, and there will be a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents per sale. In addition, marketing and communication costs can be up to $348 per year, SEO up to $79 per year, and an SSL certificate up to $65 per year. The average monthly fee is expected to be around $30.
- Free trial length: While no free trial is available, the platform offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Integrated sales channels: Google Shopping, Etsy, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, and Walmart; integrations must be more cohesive
Mobile app features: View analytics, add products, and manage orders
Point-of-sale: Native POS available
- Unlimited products and orders
- Incorporate any additional functionalities that you desire
- Affordable, but requires self-hosting
- Huge selection of themes and customization options
- Unlimited selling allowed
- Built on top of WordPress
- Requires some technical knowledge
- It needs a third-party payment gateway
WooCommerce is WordPress's solution for selling online. Initially a blogging platform, it now offers a website builder with WooCommerce integration for online sales.
WooCommerce is open source and allows for high customization, particularly with web design and coding skills. To enhance your store's functionality, over 6,000 third-party integrations are available, similar to Shopify.
“Best for small businesses that have grown into huge corporations or enterprises”
BigCommerce is ideal for small businesses that want to expand and sell across multiple platforms. It's a scalable online selling solution for building an online store.
Although e-commerce tools offer advanced features and functionality, they may require some time to master. With BigCommerce, you'll have access to numerous features to explore, which means that most of the functionality you need is already integrated into the software.
With BigCommerce, you won't be as dependent on app platforms as Shopify. BigCommerce can help your business expand and reduce costs, regardless of whether you sell on Amazon, Instagram, Square, eBay, Facebook, or Pinterest.
BigCommerce offers various sales features, but you require capable team members to utilize all advantages. Additionally, you can access some fantastic SEO tools that will aid in your website's visibility on Google.
Pricing 💰: BigCommerce provides access to numerous integrated features, making it unnecessary to look elsewhere for most of the functionality you need.
Here's a possible rewrite of the pricing information:
- Standard plan: $29.95 per month
- Plus plan: $79.95 per month, or $71.95 per month if you choose to pay annually
- Pro plan: $299.95 per month, or $269.96 per month if you choose to pay annually
- Enterprise plan: pricing is customized to your specific needs.
- Free trial length: 15 days
Integrated sales channels: Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Price comparisons, Google Shopping, Walmart, Etsy, and Instagram.
Mobile app features: Manage inventory and products, view analytics, customer search, and update orders; some are Android-only
- In-built visual merchandising tool
- No transaction fees
- Unlimited products, storage, and bandwidth
- Product rating and review options
- Many free apps are available to choose from
- Excellent for selling across multiple channels
- 24/7 tech support by phone, email, or chat
- Affordable payment processing rates
- Less easy to set up than some tools
- Limited free themes available
BigCommerce is a powerful and feature-rich eCommerce platform. Small businesses may find BigCommerce overwhelming, but it's the best eCommerce platform if you plan to expand or access technical resources.
“Best for a do-it-yourself eCommerce website”
Squarespace offers businesses that crave creative autonomy an exceptional eCommerce platform. This website builder, hosted on the cloud, resembles Wix's appearance but has advanced capabilities, such as top-notch social media integration.
If you seek to develop an online business or portfolio emphasizing aesthetics, Squarespace presents a worthy option. You can access numerous sleek and contemporary templates that you can modify anytime. Nonetheless, this tool may not offer as many eCommerce features as Shopify.
On the bright side, any annual plan you choose automatically includes SSL security and a free domain. Additionally, you benefit from a mobile-optimized checkout process and zero transaction fees on any of your plans.
Pricing 💰: Business plans begin at $18 per month, making them a reasonably priced choice. Unfortunately, no free subscription is available.
- Personal: $16 monthly, or $12 monthly when paid yearly
- Business: $26 monthly, or $18 monthly when paid yearly
- Basic Commerce: $30 monthly, or $26 monthly when paid yearly
- Advanced Commerce: $46 monthly, or $40 monthly when paid yearly
- Enterprise pricing is also available
- Free trial length: 14-day free trial is available, and a one-time, seven-day trial extension is possible
Integrated sales channels: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Google Actions integrated via Shopping Feed extension.
Mobile app features: Edit website, scan shipping labels, manage orders, track inventory, and communicate with customers.
- Excellent social media integration
- Plenty of fantastic templates to choose from
- Budget-friendly plans
- 24/7 customer service
- Free domain with annual plans
- Large transaction fees
- Payment options are limited to Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay
- No app market
Squarespace is an excellent choice for small businesses looking for an easy-to-use eCommerce website builder due to its user-friendly interface. With Squarespace's templates, drag-and-drop tools, and dependable functionality, even those with limited technical knowledge can establish an online store.
Although initially developed as a website builder rather than an eCommerce platform, Squarespace has evolved to cater to online merchants. While many users offer services instead of goods, Squarespace can accommodate product-based businesses.
Key features of Squarespace include robust scheduling and calendar integrations, email marketing, social media integration, and the ability to embed maps to assist customers in locating your physical store.
“Best for visual, image-centric eCommerce site designs”
Wix is among the top choices for eCommerce platforms regarding value for money and performance. With a focus on delivering exceptional performance, Wix makes it easy for even beginners to create their own online store while still allowing for complete creative control over the website. Wix eCommerce plans include features, including a drag-and-drop store builder, hundreds of templates, and mobile optimization for peak performance.
There are multiple payment options available for you to choose from, and the checkout system is secure. Additionally, you can utilize advanced store management tools to create visually impressive product galleries. The platform also allows calculating global tax and shipping on the backend. However, it's worth noting that Wix may not offer as many eCommerce features as Shopify, as Wix is not solely dedicated to eCommerce.
While Wix may not be the most advanced eCommerce website builder in the world, it is an excellent platform for beginners to begin with.
Pricing 💰: If you don't mind displaying Wix ads on your website, you can use the free version that comes with ad support. However, if you plan to sell products, you'll need to upgrade to the Business Basic plan, which costs $23 monthly.
- Business Basic: $23 monthly
- Business Unlimited: $27 monthly
- Business VIP: $49 monthly
- Free trial length: No free trial.
Integrated sales channels: Using the third-party application Ecwid is mandatory for Facebook and Instagram.
Mobile app features: The ability to manage your website, though it lacks key business tools like inventory management, requires a separate app to use mobile POS.
- High-quality themes to customize your site
- Multiple secure payment options for your customers
- Large selection of apps and plugins
- You can start out for free
- Limited eCommerce features
- No way to export your data
- Adding extra functions is difficult as it's not open source
Wix offers a user-friendly website builder with specialized eCommerce features like order tracking, online payments, multi-channel selling, and abandoned cart campaigns. These features are available with paid plans, providing access to analytics tracking for monitoring eCommerce KPIs.
In terms of design, Wix offers a wide selection of more than 500 templates for creating your storefront. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to customize the look and feel of your online store. Additionally, Wix supports subscription-based billing and third-party dropshipping.
Choosing the perfect e-commerce platform is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every company can find a suitable eCommerce platform, whether they have budget constraints or require specific functionalities.
In the end, the key is to find a platform that is both user-friendly and can be easily customized to meet your specific business requirements. Don't hesitate to experiment with different options Feel free to try out various options before settling on a choice. Free trials can give you an initial assessment of whether a platform suits your business.