The Best Ecommerce Platforms
Comparison Guide (2021)
Written by Jamie Spencer – Updated 22nd August 2021
When searching for the best ecommerce platform, it can be tough to spot minor differences between them.
However, the least little differences in features or performance can have a huge impact on your
online business, and ultimately, your bottom line.
There’s nothing worse than taking the time to load products and customize your online storefront only to have it run painstakingly slow. There’s also nothing worse than needing to shell out $400 a month for inventory management, SEO, and marketing add-ons.
Knowing this, we decided to put a variety of today’s top ecommerce website builders to the test and see how they stack up in terms of features, performance, themes, ease of use, value, and more.
Want to dominate your niche? Keep reading to discover which platforms perform the best, offer the greatest value, and provide you with what you need to supercharge your ecommerce store and dominate your niche in 2020 and beyond.
What is an Ecommerce Platform?
An ecommerce platform is a user-friendly piece of software designed to allow you to create an online shop and run a business selling products online.
It provides you with the tools needed to build and manage your ecommerce site with almost no learning curve or technical knowledge. In fact, most ecommerce platforms feature drag-and-drop functionality, making them point-and-click simple for even the most digitally challenged.
Why You Should Use One
If you’re not selling online, you should be.
The good news is – you, your neighbor, and anyone else can cash in on this growing trend and join the thousands of others who are already running a successful business online.
The reasons for using an ecommerce platform are as varied as the people who use them, but some of the most important include:
Ease of Use
Unlike years ago, you don’t need to know html, CSS, java, and other code to create a great looking, fully functioning online shop. All you need is the right ecommerce platform. With a great ecommerce platform, you’ll receive everything you need to create an ecommerce shop and start selling products right away.
Ecommerce platforms are much less costly than hiring a developer. In fact, some don’t even cost anything at all. Although you’ll certainly have expenses as an online shop owner, an ecommerce platform will cos much, much less than developing a store from scratch.
With an ecommerce platform, you’ll have access to a single solution for all of your ecommerce needs. This is especially true when opting for a hosted solution like Shopify. Such hosted platforms provide hosting, updates, security, and the like. Rather than dealing with a bunch of moving parts, you can concentrate on what matters most – making sales and growing your business.
Help and support
A great ecommerce platform can make creating an online shop easy as can be, but you don’t have to go at it alone. While Wordpress and other open source ecommerce solutions only offer community support, if you desperately need help at 2 am, it’s nice to have someone there. In addition to guides and video tutorials, most ecommerce platforms offer phone, email, and live chat support for direct assistance when you need it most.
Types of Ecommerce Platforms
As is the case with cars, restaurants, and everything else, there are different types of ecommerce platforms to choose from. Although there are several distinguishing factors between them, one of the primary differences relates to hosting. This means all of the most popular ecommerce platforms can be separated into three types:
A hosted ecommerce platform, such as Shopify, is a Software as a Service, or SaaS solution with hosting built-in too its pricing plans. While these platforms can sometimes cost more, they’re extremely beginner-friendly and streamline the process to allow you to get your ecommerce business up and running as efficiently as possible.
Self-hosted platforms must be installed on your own server. Although this gives you greater control over your ecom store, it’s up to you to make sure it remains updated and secure. Most open source ecommerce solutions utilize this model.
Many of the ecommerce platforms below allow you to add their shopping carts into Wordpress and other platforms. Known as Commerce as a Service, or CaaS, these options are often cheaper and may be viable for store owners on a shoestring budget.
Of course, there are a number of other differences between ecommerce platforms. Depending on your specific needs, you may also want to consider the following:
• Ease of use
• Mobile capabilities
• Customer support
With so many important differences between them, it’s best to gain a clear understanding of what you need and what matters to you most before selecting an ecommerce platform. Doing so will allow you to weed out options that won’t fit the bill.
Top Ecommerce Platforms – A Nuts and Bolts Comparison
From cutting-edge SEO tools to multi-channel functionality, cool marketing features, and more, we dived deep into today’s top ecommerce platforms to discover the best of the best.
How We Chose
So, what is the best ecommerce platform? Well, if you want real, actionable data, you not only need a systematic reviewing method, but you also need to run a bunch of tests. We did exactly that.
Before we continue, however, it’s worth mentioning that we only reviewed today’s most popular ecommerce platforms. Smaller niche platforms, like Big Cartel, were avoided as they are only right for a select few. We’re here to help the masses!
Whether you’re looking for the best ecommerce platform for dropshipping or the best ecommerce platform for digital products, keep reading to find the right platform for your online store.
Top 10 Ecommerce Platforms Compared
1. Shopify – Best Overall
Overall Rating: 5/5
When shopping around for the best ecommerce platform 2019, Shopify is usually first in the search results, and for good reason.
Not only is it one of today’s most popular ecommerce platforms, but it’s also one of the best, especially if you plan on dropshipping and/or marketing via Instagram or Facebook ads.
Loaded with slick templates, ecommerce features, and marketing tools designed for today’s online shop owners, it’s not a stretch to say Shopify is the best overall ecommerce platform on the market today.
Don’t get me wrong – it isn’t the outright best ecommerce platform for small business per se, as you’ll see below.
However, it’s right up there with the best and is unquestionably the best ecommerce platform for drop shipping, and many consider it the best ecommerce platform for clothing as well.
Nonetheless, it’s more than suitable for a vast variety of businesses, including small businesses just starting out, large companies with millions in annual sales, and everyone in between.
With its dynamic features, Shopify is a scalable solution able to grow along with your store as sales increase and your business expands.
How so, you ask?
Well, here’s a quick glance at some of its highlights:
• 1,400+ app to infinitely increase the functionality of your ecommerce business
• 100+ awesome looking mobile-ready themes
• Excellent 24/7 customer support for round the clock help when you need it most
Not surprisingly, Shopify has become a virtual one-stop shop for businesses large and small looking to dominate their niche online.
With endless themes to choose from, drag-and-drop functionality, and no coding required at all, it completely eliminates any challenges or hurdles.
Plus, in our testing, Shopify knocked it out of the park with its quality and range of tools.
With over 100 payment options, customizable checkout options, abandoned cart recovery, automatic customer email notifications, multi-channel selling, in-depth analytics, shipping support, and a mobile app for on-the-go store management, it’s clearly our top pick for the best ecommerce platform out there today.
After all, if brands like Tesla and Red Bull use Shopify, they’re obviously doing several things right.
Most newbies get the hang of Shopify’s easy-to-use interface in no time at all, and it has far too many apps to list.
The only downside to Shopify and Shopify Plus is the lack of free themes. There are only 10 to choose from, which means you need to shell out $100-$180 for a premium theme. However, this cost pales in comparison to the cost of hiring a developer.
Shopify also lacks a bit in SEO. In fact, it’s middle of the pack in its ability to charm Google into top rankings. Then again, as is the case with most things, SEO is largely about the work you put in, so this can be overlooked.
• Super easy to use and set up
• Great fully responsive theme designs
• A ton of apps and features
• One-click and multi-channel selling
• Lightning fast load times
• Excellent help and support
• Themes and apps can become costly
• SEO could be better
2. BigCommerce – Great for Growing a Small Business
Overall Rating: 9.2/10
As its name suggests, BigCommerce is all about ecommerce, and it’s right up there with Shopify as one of today’s best ecommerce platforms.
In fact, in our tests and the reviews of others, it came out on top as the best ecommerce platform for small business in terms of scaling and growth.
With its dynamic product search engine, it’s an ideal solution for large retail brands. However, it’s also the best ecommerce platform for startups and small business store owners looking to scale their online presence and sales. Its long list of features and tools make it possible for anyone in any industry or niche to achieve online success.
With BigCommerce, you’ll receive an out-of-the-box set of ecommerce tools to help build your online store, access to additional advanced tools through their app store, the ability to grow sales via social channels, 24/7 support, and more.
Focused on scaling and growth, BigCommerce also allows you to sell unlimited products. Plus, a recent update allows for its integration with Wordpress. This is great for combining its ecommerce-specific features with Wordpress’s flexibility and customization possibilities.
Is it the best ecommerce platform for Wordpress? Probably not, but this is just an example of how it’s become the best ecommerce platform for small business looking to grow from nothing to something very, very quickly.
Like other options on this list of best ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce’s interface allows anyone with minimal techie skills to create and customize an online shop. However, it also allows tech-savvy users to tweak the coding if needed as their sites grow.
That said, not much tweaking is really needed. The themes are outstanding. However, like our favorite for best ecommerce platform – Shopify, not many are free.
As far as pricing goes, the lowest plan costs just under $30 a month. With it, you get unlimited bandwidth, professional reporting, and the ability to create gift cards and checkout codes.
However, you have to upgrade to gain access to an abandoned cart saver, custom SSL, and other neat features.
The good news is you can always scale up to these features as your business grows. This focus on growth is why we like BigCommerce. The more you grow, the more functionality and features you can access to take your online shop too the next level.
If you have a small store and a tight budget, Shopify might be the way to go from a value perspective. On the other hand, if you anticipate fast growth, Big Commerce is worth the costs. It’s arguably the best ecommerce development platform available.
• Very flexible and scalable
• Great theme designs
• Awesome at multi-channel selling
• Good SEO performance
• Can be pricey for high-volume stores
• No cart abandonment feature with entry-level plan
• Lacks one-click selling and upsells
3. 3Dcart – Terrific Shipping Solutions
Overall Rating: 8.9/10
Despite being released in 2001 and serving 22,000+ online businesses (including PCMag), 3Dcart probably doesn’t come to mind when searching for the best ecommerce platform 2019.
Nonetheless, it has several practical features like zero transaction fees, unlimited storage, POS functionality, and multi-channel selling support, just to name a few.
Overall, 3Dcart isn’t the best ecommerce website platform and doesn’t score as highly as Shopify and BigCommerce simply due to the fact that it isn’t for beginners.
While the ecom website builder has a helpful onboarding video, the entire platform is visually unappealing and tough to figure out.
Unlike the ecommerce software options above, the templates feel a bit industrial and outdated. Customizing product pages also takes some time.
Although the best platform for ecommerce website usually includes drag-and-drop functionality, this is lacking with 3Dcart, so it isn’t the easiest to use.
However, what it lacks in user-friendliness it makes up for with its shipping features. In fact, shipping is one of its strongest points. You can enjoy access to real-time shipping rates and other advanced shipping solutions without the need for an API.
Like BigCommerce, 3Dcart only allows you to reach a certain sales volume with each plan. That said, the lowest plan costs just $19 and allows you to sell $50k worth of goods. This is a pretty good deal, and like BigCommerce and Shopify, you can scale to higher plans as needed.
Unlike Shopify, however, you must upgrade for the abandoned cart feature. This isn’t unusual as Shopify is one of the only ecommerce site builders to offer it as a core feature.
Value wise, it’s pretty good. Aside from not being very beginner-friendly, outdated templates, and a few other gripes, it has a ton of out-of-the-box features for email marketing, blogging, and more. It also supports endless integrations and comes with great business management tools.
Needless to say, if you’re wondering what are the best ecommerce platforms, 3Dcart certainly deserves a look.
• Great shipping features
• Good blog functionality
• Excellent reporting, analytics, and management tools
• Not very beginner-friendly
• Templates are a bit outdated
• Support isn’t the best
4. WooCommerce – Best Open Source Platform
Overall Rating: 8.7/10
WooCommerce is the best open source ecommerce platform and arguably one of the best multi channel ecommerce platform options around today.
It’s also considered by many the best content management system – WordPress. Let’s have a look at why.
Like other open source ecommerce website creators, WooCommerce isn’t easy to use. While there’s no need to know code, since it works with Wordpress, it helps to know a thing or two about WP in order to use WooCommerce as your ecommerce solution.
In addition to working seamlessly with Wordpress, WooCommerce provides several plugins and extensions via an app store for integrating email marketing, social media, search engine optimization, one-click selling, payment gateways, and shipping.
Unlike many of the other best ecommerce platforms on this list, it’s not an all-in-one solution. If you’re familiar with Wordpress and its platform, WooCommerce will be a breeze. Just install the software, add your products, adjust your settings, and voila.
However, those not familiar with WP will find themselves struggling with all of the technical details, including setting up web hosting, installing WordPress, and selecting and setting up one of the free themes or premium themes and plugins.
The biggest issue with WooCommerce, however, isn’t the setup. It’s the platform’s lack of scalability – it tends to slow down as more customers visit and more products are added.
On the flip side, it’s free. Aside from the cost of hosting and the potential cost of a theme and a few extensions, there is nothing to pay. You have to like that!
• Very flexible and customizable
• Works with Wordpress, so it’s great for SEO
• One-click selling available
• Lots of integrations and marketing options
• Not very beginner-friendly
• Must pay for hosting
• Support is virtually non-existent
5. Weebly – Good for Simple Stores
Overall Rating: 8.4/10
With 40 million or so customers, Weebly is a popular dropship ecommerce platform for users new to the world of online selling who need a simple store with built-in marketing automation.
At $38 per month, it’s a little more costly than Shopify, but many users find its ease of use and included domain name and hosting make up for the higher cost.
That being said, despite having some built-in marketing functionality, it’s definitely not the best ecommerce platform SEO. It simply lacks many of the SEO features and SEO tools found in other ecommerce platforms.
In other words, if you plan on doing a lot of marketing and SEO, you’ll soon outgrow Weebly.
The good news is it’s getting better. Since Weebly has only recently focused on ecommerce, it lacks much of the sophistication of other ecommerce platforms. However, it continues to evolve and remains a solid choice for online entrepreneurs who want to avoid hiring a developer.
All of Weebly’s pricing plans support ecommerce, but the more costly Business and Performance plans are better suited for creating and running ecommerce businesses as they feature inventory management tools, custom shopping carts, the ability to create coupons, and more.
Unfortunately, regardless of which plan you choose, you can’t use Weebly to sell digital products. This lack of versatility is a big miss for some. For others, it’s not really issue.
What is an issue is only being able to list up to 25 products. If you have lofty aspirations and need a larger store, Weebly isn’t for you. There’s also a three percent transaction fee for each product sold.
Where Weebly really shines is its simplicity and ease of use. In addition to a domain name, hosting, and virtually unlimited bandwidth, its drag and drop editor is dead simple to use.
Best of all, you can customize your template with HTML and CSS if you choose. Speaking of templates, there are several free themes and even more premium themes to pick from.
However, unlike the best ecommerce platform 2019 (ie: Shopify), most premium themes only run around $45. Unfortunately, only some are mobile responsive, so it’s up to you to choose carefully.
All in all, Weebly is a beginner-friendly ecommerce platform offering the basic tools needed to create and run a simple functional store.
Is it the best ecommerce platform ever or even the best ecommerce platform open source? No, but it’s a good option for anyone looking to dip their feet into ecommerce and quickly create their very own online store.
• Good value
• Several good looking free and low-cost designs
• Simple and easy-to-use interface
• Mobile app
• Surprisingly good email tools
• Rather basic inventory management tools
• Not the best with SEO
• Can only list up to 25 products
6. Squarespace – Great Features for Less
Overall Rating: 8.2/10
Squarespace is another drag-and-drop site builder with surprisingly good ecommerce features and functionality on par with some of the best ecommerce platforms in the business. Founded in 2003, it also offers sleek templates and plenty of design capabilities.
The platform’s prices are low compared to others. To create an ecommerce store and sell products, all you need is the Business plan, which costs just $18 a month with annual billing. As is the case with Weebly, however, you must pay a three percent transaction fee.
That said, the fees go away if you bump up to a $26 or $40 per month ecommerce plan. With the top plan, you’ll gain access to automatic abandoned cart recovery and be able to give discounts and sell gift cards.
Is it the best ecommerce platform for SEO or large business. No, it definitely isn’t, but this premium plan comes with most of the features found with Shopify and other top-tier ecommerce solutions.
In fact, with it, you can enjoy access to a variety of inventory, analytics, SEO, social selling, marketing, and shipping features. It even integrates with ShipStation, and real-time shipping rate calculations from all of the major providers is available as well.
The biggest downside of Squarespace is the fact that it only supports PayPal and credit card payments via Stripe.
There could also be more advanced order management features and better integration with third-party apps. It’s also not suitable for dropshipping, which is a big drawback for many.
So, if you’re wondering which ecommerce platform is best for small business, Squarespace probably isn’t it.
However, it’s easy to use, has plenty of beautiful templates, and offers enough features to provide budget-conscious shop owners with some serious bang for the buck.
• One of the best values
• Easy to use and set up
• Wide selection of stunning designs
• Good choice of SEO, marketing, and ecommerce tools
• ShipStation integration
• Not suitable for dropshipping
• No app store for added features and functionality
• Limited choice of payment systems
7. Wix – Most Beginner-Friendly
Overall Rating: 7.7/10
It isn’t the best ecommerce platform small business or even the best ecommerce platform for SEO, social media, or anything else for that matter. However, Wix is a good beginner-friendly ecommerce option for a simple store.
At its price point, one would expect more features, extensions, and plugins. In fact, there’s no abandoned shopping cart recovery and a few other features many consider essential for an online shop.
This is just one drawback. Wix has also had its fair share of issues with SEO. While some of these issues have been resolved in recent years, some still remain.
Due to this and its limited features and storage space, you may want to switch from Wix as your ecommerce site grows.
That said, it’s great for just starting out.
Why? Well firstly, Wix is extremely user-friendly. Of all of the site builders we’ve tested, it tops the list for its intuitive interface. You can add videos and any other elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place.
You likely won’t need any help using Wix, but if you do, you’ll have it in spades. Not only are there plenty of helpful resources, but there are several support options as well.
Did we mention Wix’s awesome themes yet? There are over 500 stunning themes to choose from, of which over 70 are free. Pretty neat indeed.
Wix is still relatively new to ecommerce, and it still lacks several features. However, given its popularity as a website builder and the continued improvements the company continues to make, it may eventually contend for the “Best Ecommerce Marketplace Platform” title – just not soon.
• Very beginner-friendly
• A ton of great themes
• Excellent support
• Minimal add-ons
• Lacks features and integrations
• Not the best with SEO
• Can’t change templates
8. Magento – Best Free Ecommerce Platform
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Is Magento the best ecommerce platform? If you’re searching for the best ecommerce platform free, it certainly is. Not only is it free for everyone but large enterprise-level ecommerce businesses, but it’s powerful too.
In fact, large brands like Nike and Procter & Gamble use Magento. However, they also have teams of coders and developers on staff to harness it.
Like WooCommerce, Magento is open source, which means it definitely isn’t for beginners. Nonetheless, if you have the technical skills or budget to hire someone who does and want a truly powerful and customizable ecommerce site, it might be for you.
Magento’s features are simply hard to ignore. With features for SEO and making Google love you, email marketing, social media selling, recurring payments, and just about everything you can think of, what you can do with Magento is almost second to none.
If you simply want the best ecommerce blog platform or the best ecommerce platform Reddit, you’re better off going with Wix, Weebly, or even Shopify.
On the other hand, if you have lofty aspirations and coding skills or the money to outsource your customizations, Magento is an excellent open source platform you can basically use free of charge.
• Essentially free
• Robust feature set
• Great for SEO
• Highly flexible, scalable, and customizable
• Large community of users
• Requires coding and development skills
• A lot of bandwidth and storage space is needed
• No direct customer support
9. PrestaShop – Best Value
Overall Rating: 7.2/10
PrestaShop is another open source ecommerce platform, so it’s free, cloud-hosted, and a terrific value. If you don’t want to download and customize the free version of the software, you can also opt for PrestaShop Ready, which is only around $20 a month – still a great value.
Although it’s hard to pass up the word “free” with any sort of conviction, you’ll likely accrue extra costs for fuller functionality, which might make the paid version seem like an even better value. This is especially true if you lack technical skills.
With the free version, you’ll need to pay for hosting, an SSL certificate, and extras to complete your online shop. Also, like Magento, you’ll need to hire some help if you don’t have any HTML and CSS skills.
Nonetheless, the downloadable open source program is completely free and allows you to extensively integrate with payment gateways, warehouses, shippers, ERP, accounting, and more.
If you opt for the value-priced hosted option (PrestaShop Ready), you can pay right away or take advantage of a 16-day free trial to test it out.
There are 10 free themes to choose from and a theme customizer. However, unlike Shopify and many other hosted ecommerce platforms on this list, it lacks drag and drop functionality and requires a little basic coding knowledge.
While most wouldn’t say “PrestaShop” when asked what is the best ecommerce platform for a small business, it’s super flexible, surprisingly powerful, and a great value regardless of which option you go with.
• Excellent overall value
• Very flexible
• Several apps and integrations
• Large community to turn to for help
• “Free” option requires coding knowledge
• Add-ons can become costly
• A little slower than some site builders
10. Volusion – Best Tracking and Analytics
Overall Rating: 7.0/10
Similar to Shopify and BigCommerce, Volusion offers online store owners with a comprehensive solution for their ecommerce needs.
It comes complete with a variety of mobile-responsive themes that cover pretty much every niche. From electronics to fashion and food & beverages, if you sell it, you can pretty much guarantee it has a theme for it.
However, there are only 45 themes in all, which is considerably less than Shopify’s 100+. Volusion’s app market is also a bit lacking. While it has plenty of ecommerce tools for Amazon and eBay integration, tax calculations, and so on, there are only 20 apps in the app market.
So, after diving deeper, Volusion isn’t quite as comprehensive as it first seems to be.
The good news is Volusion doesn’t charge any transaction fees. This means you can keep more of your profits and use them to scale your store.
If you do, you’ll love Volusion’s fantastic analytics tools. With them, you can see exactly where your shop is excelling and what needs to be improved, which is a must for succeeding online.
Everything considered, Volusion is an admirable ecommerce platform that deserves to round out this list. While it doesn’t quite live up to Shopify, BigCommerce, and a few others, it can be used to create a stylish store, begin selling online, and grow your ecommerce business with zero coding skills in no time at all.
• Terrific reporting and analytics tools
• Great flexibility
• Intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard
• Decent features for added functionality and scaling
• Could use some more apps and features
• No blogging functionality
• A little slow compared to other platforms
Best Platform for Small Businesses
If you have a small business, chances are you don’t need a ton of big features that will bleed you dry month after month. However, scalability is important, so we looked at ecommerce platforms with the right features to help your site grow.
Our top ecommerce platforms for small businesses:
Best Platform for Beginners
Ecommerce is growing by leaps and bounds as more and more people want to join the countless others making a comfortable living by selling online. Like small businesses, beginners and startups need an ecommerce platform to create, compete, and scale.
Knowing this, we checked for the platforms with the features and functionality new online sellers need, such as marketing tools and multi-channel selling capabilities. Of course, we also kept ease of use in mind.
Our top ecommerce platforms for beginners:
Best Platform for SEO
Social media is important, but SEO is a must if you want to compete online in any industry or niche. After all, you’ll have a difficult time running a successful ecommerce store if no one can discover you via Google and know you exist.
If you’re wondering which ecommerce platform is best for SEO, you’ll be happy to know many platforms offer SEO tools. However, some offer more or better tools than others. We tested each platform above for mobile and desktop page load times, average organic traffic, and other SEO factors.
Our top ecommerce platforms for SEO:
Best Platform for Dropshipping
With dropshipping, fewer things are in your control. Things like returns and product quality can be a headache to deal with. There are also technical hurdles you must overcome to keep orders flowing smoothly.
When evaluating platforms, we looked at several dropshipping features, including the availability of dropshipping plugins, order tracking, and dropshipping integration.
Our top ecommerce platforms for dropshipping:
Best Platform for Local Stores
The majority of brick and mortar stores only need a simple store to showcase a few products or accept payments online. For instance, if you’re a local cupcake shop looking to accept orders and payments through your website, you don’t need multi-channel selling capabilities or marketing automation.
Knowing this, we ignored many features and only looked at platforms that allow you to create a site with a payment gateway. That’s right – no abandoned cart recovery or SEO features with these.
Our top ecommerce platforms for local businesses:
Best Platform for Larger Businesses
At the opposite end of the spectrum, large businesses need all of the ecommerce features and functionality they can get. Many also need complete control with a VPS or dedicated server, but others may prefer a feature-rich hosted solution like Shopify or BigCommerce.
It’s a choice every large company must make at some point in time, but regardless, all large companies need an ecommerce platform that provides maximum flexibility and the seamless integration of inventory and marketing systems.
Our top ecommerce platforms for large businesses:
What to Consider When Choosing an Ecommerce Platform
Your ecommerce website should provide visitors with a rich, smooth shopping experience that entices them to visit, encourages them to stay, and convinces them to pull the trigger and make a purchase.
Far too often, online shops overdo it with a slew of unnecessary features and complicated designs. While the more features may seem like the better, they can sometimes have an adverse effect by annoying visitors and dragging page load times way down.
Every decision you make when designing your ecommerce site should be geared towards reeling in potential customers and turning visitors into buyers. The same can be said for site navigation and the checkout process.
In fact, here are some things to consider:
Having a good selection of themes and choosing the right one is of paramount importance when creating an ecommerce store. If you’ve never coded before or pick a rigid platform that doesn’t allow for re-coding customizations, you’ll need to select a theme that suits your industry, products, customers.
When choosing a theme, try to find one that best matches your niche. You can view other ecommerce sites as well and look for a theme that would also work with your vision for your site.
Of course, another thing to consider when selecting a theme is cost. Although many platforms provide some free themes, they don’t provide many and the free options are often outdated or poorly designed.
More often than not, to get a theme that makes you salivate, you may have to spend a little more than you might prefer. Conversely, if you don’t mind spending more for an ultra-customized premium theme, you can hire an expert to design one for you.
If you want your online shop to be the best, chances are you’ll need to make a few tweaks to your platform’s features.
For example, some platforms like Shopify have limited checkout pages. Others don’t allow for email marketing, social selling, and so on.
So, you need to know what you want from your online shop ad what you want it to do, then pick a platform with the right functionality for your needs. At the very least, your ecommerce platform should allow you to access and integrate apps, plugins, or extensions to boost the functionality and customization of your site.
Mobile is here in full force, and it has been for quite some time. In fact, 66 percent of all online purchases are done via mobile devices. Furthermore, 82 percent of smartphone owners use their devices when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
Needless to say, a mobile-friendly site is an absolute must for any modern online shop owner. Today’s customers don’t only want, they need ecommerce sites with mobile-friendly designs.
To make your ecommerce website as mobile-friendly and responsive as possible, you need an ecommerce platform that allows you to make upgrades and customizations. After you’ve created your site, you then need to test it using several different devices.
When creating your site, do yourself a favor and go heavy on the visuals, use large font, and make navigation easy and intuitive. Think mobile first with both the design of your site and its speed and performance.
In terms of mobile-friendliness, Shopify, Weebly, and WooCommerce all score the highest marks.
Like other businesses online, ecommerce businesses must make a conscious effort to work on their SEO. With the right SEO, your store can achieve page one search results for a variety of products and key terms, resulting in hordes of free traffic.
When searching for an SEO-friendly ecom platform, the ability to add a blog and your own domain name are important factors to consider. Another important factor is giving customers the ability to leave reviews.
Along with the usual suspects, like being able to customize title and meta tags, doing each of the above will boost your store’s SEO rankings.
No potential customer wants to give their credit card info to some random sketchy site. In fact, with identity theft and cyber crime at all-time highs, security has become one of the chief concerns among today’s consumers.
Although most ecommerce software platforms include robust security features, it’s best to make sure the platform you choose supports SSL to provide customers with peace of mind while shopping and during the checkout process. It’s also important to choose a platform that is PCI compliant.
Every business owner wants their business to grow. The same can be said of ecommerce business owners.
In fact, given the greater flexibility and less overhead, one could venture to say online shop owners welcome growth more than traditional brick-and-mortar business owners who must worry about the logistics of lease agreements, insurance, payroll, and the like.
While you don’t want to overextend yourself by paying for more features and storage than you may initially need, you should pick a platform with enough functionality to help you scale your business and take it to the next level.
Customer service is a huge part of any business’s success or failure. Since traditional brick-and-mortar stores are based in an actual physical location, they usually have greater control over day-to-day operations, customer interactions, and how smoothly their store runs.
This isn’t the case with ecommerce. While they can control the look, feel, and function of their site, server downtimes and software outages are usually out of a store owner’s control.
In fact, an inevitable server crash is just a part of doing business online. Unfortunately, it can negatively impact both the image of your brand and your revenue.
Having a person to answer your call for help and get your store back up and running in the event of a server crash or other technical issue is definitely worth keeping in mind when looking for the best ecommerce platform.
So, have a look at the customer service options and ratings of each platform you check out. Do they offer support 24/7? Do they have phone or live chat support for immediate assistance, or do they only offer help via email?
Give these questions some thought and make sure to get them answered before picking out a platform.
Recommended Ecommerce Platforms for 2021
As you can probably tell by now, there’s no such thing as the perfect ecommerce platform. However, we’ve narrowed down the best choices.
Ultimately, like anything else, picking the best ecommerce store builder really comes down to your needs. However, there are a few that we think definitely stand out from the pack.
Due to its features, functionality, flexibility, and ease of use, Shopify is the best platform for dropshipping and selling just about anything online.
BigCommerce is catching up, and it’s great for scaling a small online store into a giant success.
Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace, meanwhile, work great for simple stores, and WooCommerce is awesome for more adventurous and technically skilled ecommerce business owners looking for maximum versatility.
The point is, most of the top ecommerce platforms on this list are more than capable of doing a decent job. The key is finding one with the right pricing plan and mixture of features for your store’s needs.
Best eCommerce Platform
Shopify came out on top in all of our tests. Probably the easiest eCommerce web builder to use, as well as having an amazing app store, where you can buy stunning functionality features for your new website. Pricing is extremely competitive.
Is Shopify the Best Ecommerce Platform?
Shopify has quickly become the most popular ecommerce platform, and for good reason. it checks all of the boxes and then some, making it a great solution for anyone looking to launch an online shop.
However, there are some other great platforms too, and choosing between them isn’t an easy task. With endless factors to consider and almost as many platforms to pick from, it’s important to know your needs and requirements before pulling the trigger on the wrong one.
A subscription here will give you freedom to choose from any Shopify Template on their platform as well as access to unlimited stock photos and web fonts for just $29/m. This saves you the costs associated with a $50+ investment each theme you would have otherwise tested a new template.
Definitely worth the investment in the preliminary phase of your new amazing eCommerce website.
An eCommerce website building solutions provider of the highest order. Shopify has everything you need to set up a fully functioning eCommerce site.
One of the easiest website builders I have worked with, Weebly is a solid, reliable platform, that’s jam packed with useful features and an app store that is second to none.
Solid and robust web builder that has loads of extra functionality features for your site. Takes a bit of time to get used to, but well worth the effort, as the websites you can build are top draw.
Slick, highly responsive, robust and stylish themes, along with a powerful website building platform that has an extensive range of website styling and customising options.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one eCommerce solution, then PinnacleCart could well be a good choice. This software was created so sellers will little to no technical knowledge can quickly and easily start selling and promoting their products.
The Voog site builder is known for its simplicity and easy to use functionailty. Not as slick as Squarespace or Weebly, but still a solid web building platform.
Anything else I need to know before launching my shop?
A lot of the eCommerce platforms and shopping carts I have reviewed are easy to get started with, so are very suitable for beginners!
By using these eCommerce website builders your new online business could be set up and ready to make money within just a few short hours after you have signed up to them. As you can imagine getting your online store setup is just the first step to making money online and the next thing to do is get the word out about your new website via social media and online marketing.
In case you want to kickstart your email marketing strategy, you might want to find useful this detailed comparison of email marketing software. If you want to learn how to get traffic to your new eCommerce website then check out my blog.
How did you rank the eCommerce site builders?
I regularly revisit the different website builders and rank them based on their features and ease of use. Since the start of this website Shopify has been consistently the top eCommerce platform as they have continued to innovate and add new features over the past few years.