If you are planning to start your online business, you need to take the biggest decision of choosing the best eCommerce platform that ensures long-term and scalable growth.
What to check before choosing an eCommerce platform:
- Easy to Use
- SEO Friendly
- Mobile Friendly
- Payment Gateway
Here we present to you a detailed overview of why you should look for the best eCommerce platform for your business. We shall discuss everything to consider while selecting the popular options of eCommerce platforms.
Below you can see the market share of leading e-commerce software platforms.
It is indeed a big decision to have a long-term effect on a venture to go ahead with. Although, it is a tough decision that requires you to take variable decisions. The best eCommerce platform lets you build an online store without the knowledge of a developer, bottomless budget, and any coding skill. It is a tough decision to choose the best from a long list of available eCommerce platforms.
To make this decision easier for you we made this comparison which will help you choose the right solution for your business. No matter if you are planning to expand your business or starting your new online store, the impact of your eCommerce software always matters. It affects directly the stability and profitability of your e-business.
The Top 11 Best Ecommerce Platforms of 2021
Shopify is the best platform for selling purposes. Shopify is the best pick if you want to rely on Instagram marketing or Facebook ads. But, if you rely on SEO, it may not be a good choice. Also, for a large store with many products.
Over a million stores are already built using Shopify. There is no better platform for small businesses to get their online stores running quickly and boost them up.
The installation wizard keeps walking with recommended features. Such as connections with domains, customization options for your store and adding more products as features.
Unlike other complicated and overwhelmed eCommerce platforms, Shopify provides an intuitive web app. You will never get lost in its options even if you are a beginner.
Next, you need to fill in the required information such as quantity, price and name and other relevant information. It also requires other relevant details such as changing status from inactive to active. After this, it goes straight to your online store. You are now ready to sell.
What makes it powerful is the auto-ticking of the boxes to enhance its app store and extensibility. Well, it is very easy to set up an online store with Shopify with the help of a drag and drop interface. Even beginners can launch their professional-looking website in a few minutes.
Above all, they charge you a heavy transaction fee if you use payment methods other than Shopify’s. However, Shopify’s payments are a reasonable and solid option.
Shopify offers 10 free themes and over 50 premium themes. The cost of premium themes starts from $140. Browsing these themes is also easy. Simply, go to the Theme Library and select Visit Theme Store.
ThemeForest provides over 1200 themes for Shopify because of its popularity. Or you can also get a customized theme for your eCommerce website. You can customize all the features of your choice.
You can even get service, plug-in and extension if a feature is not built-in to Shopify. You can find the app of your choice at app.shopify.com, click on Add App. A sidebar will appear in your Shopify dashboard with the App options. Here, you can manage all the apps you have installed.
Shopify integrates Zapier which automatically adds new customers to the list of your email marketing or tracking orders list. The project management tool helps it move even easier.
- Varied designs and themes
- Allows social selling on multiple channels
- Single click selling
- Several certified partners to assist you
- Easy setting up
- Load time is lighting fast.
- Advance features need a developer
- Apps can be costly
- The checkout out process cannot be customized
- Poor rating for SEO based websites
Shopify offers a 14-day trial period. The starting plan starts from $29 per month and per transaction it increases to 2.9% + $0.30 for the Basic Shopify plan. But it offers only limited products.
Overall BigCommerce is the best eCommerce platform. It offers a robust search engine which makes it ideal for retail brands. It also proves to be a good choice for beginners. It is also equally helpful for those who want to extend their operations to online businesses.
The tools and features provided by BigCommerce make it possible for any business of any industry or niche to get quick success. This is because the user interface offers you to customize the online shopping facility without coding.
Also, it offers several customizable templates to market, sell and design your store and products. BigCommerce targets those entrepreneurs who do not have enough web development skills. Yet, tech-savvy people can also enjoy the CSS and HTML integration to improve their online business.
There are also some buyer-centric and advanced templates but only a few are free. The developers and designers looking for a better eCommerce platform also find it helpful.
- Comprehensive feature of abandoned cart
- Fantastic theme designs
- Strong SEO performance
- Multi-channel selling
- Scalable and flexible
- No single click upsells or selling
- Entry plan does not provide cart abandoned
- Expensive for high volume stores
- Inconsistent speeds
The lowest plan costs $29.95 per month. This package includes professional reporting, unlimited bandwidth, gift cards and checkout codes. There is no abandoned cart saver or custom SSL. But it is enough to create simple stores that do not sell above $50k annually. The sales limit increases with the higher plan.
WooCommerce is the best platform alone that runs affiliate and eCommerce sites in a single place. WooCommerce works best with WordPress it also provides extensions for integrated shipping, one-click selling, email marketing, social media and payments.
The only problem of using WooCommerce is scalability. It is easy to set up but user reviews reported that it slows down as more customers and products are added to the website.
If you know how to work with WordPress, then WooCommerce is easy for you to run. All you need is to install, add products and services and adjust the settings accordingly.
The users who do not know WordPress might struggle more with the technical details in using WooCommerce. These issues include setting up the plugin or theme, installing WordPress and buying hosting. Most eCommerce solutions are best for full support only instead of adding a few features to your existing website.
It looks simple if everything runs on a single dashboard and uses only a single tool for all processes. So in this case, what would you do?
For huge swaths, you use WordPress and then integrate WooCommerce with it. So, rather than using a new platform, WooCommerce seamlessly integrates easy selling into your WordPress website.
Also, it is very easy to install WooCommerce on your site. WooCommerce website lets you sign up before you reach the on-board process. Here, select Auto-install wooCommerce on your existing WordPress website. Log in and set up the plugin.
If you do not find the required features in WooCommerce then the extension marketplace can help you. WooCommerce offers several paid and free options which add to your store. Here you can get WooCommerce subscriptions, integrate payment methods, and get real-time USPS extensions and shipping rates.
These extensions can also be integrated with any plugin to help you customize your online shop. Moreover, WooCommerce is easily integrated with thousands of apps to add more customers or orders into your email marketing tool.
- Multiple integrations and marketing options
- Highly customizable
- Unlimited Free and Premium WooCommerce Themes
- Single click selling app
- Best SEO is possible with a WordPress website
- Extensions for simple stuff
- Zero support
- Troubleshooting leads to blame game
- High cost of good hosting.
Woocommerce is free. Only a few rarely used extensions are pricey. Moreover, a few WordPress themes that integrate these extensions of WooCommerce are expensive. Nevertheless, these extensions are not much needed and the free themes are good enough to overcome their deficiency.
So, you have just planned to launch your online store but trying to minimize your outlay, Ecwid is a great start-up.
You get an option to integrate your shop with a website you already have. Ecwid supports all the platforms such as Drupal, Weebly, or WordPress. In addition, you can even start your new store with a domain name and then integrate Ecwid.
There is a big to-do list that leads you to set up your website, choose the method of delivering goods, store localization, and adding first products. All these lead you to earn. Implementing the entire list would take only 15 minutes.
Customizability is another important option that is free with Ecwid. There is an option for site editing in the sidebar. Theme can also be customized when you click the theme and get a ton of options to play with. You can set a base theme with whatever you plan to sell. You will find an intuitive builder to customize photos, text blocks and other sections.
It integrates well with social media channels such as Instagram or Facebook. This feature allows you to sell directly to your followers while listing your product on eBay or Amazon and take payment directly. Above all, it calculates all the inventory tracks, discount offers and taxes automatically.
For more, you can read our review Ecwid vs Shopify
- Supports platforms like WordPress, Drupal and Weebly
- Integrates social media apps for direct marketing
- Affordable plans
- Single click selling app
- Overwhelming features
Ecwid offers a great startup with a free plan with which you can sell your first 10 products/services physically. Later there are upgradable yet affordable tiers that start from $12.50 per month when you require extra features as your business grows.
You don’t have to pay any extra transaction fee above the payment charges so it does not skim behind hidden charges and making profits.
Wix has grown very fast in the past few years. They have marked a huge space in the eCommerce world. They deliver amazing value for small eCommerce solopreneurs and businesses. Wix offers print-on-demand, dropship, abandoned cart recovery, and multi-channel integration capabilities.
Previously, their SEO reliance was very poor. Now it is better but you cannot rely on their SEO for product pages and URLs of blog pages. This makes Wix unsuitable for large businesses. So, if you grow your business, you might need to transfer to avoid limited features. It offers a limited storage space i.e. 20GB with multiple digital products.
Wix welcomes beginners. Wix offers on-page customer support while you create your shopping website.
The most important feature of Wix is its drag and drop tool that lets you customize your shop as you want. You can not only create your website but also enhance the functionality and add cool videos using the drag and drop tool. They provide 72 free themes out of 500 themes.
You get all your problems solved with Wix ADI. It is extraordinarily effective and quick. It lets you create and complete your site after completing a few steps. You can also import your content from your Google listing or an existing website. After the robot designers are implemented well, you can further customize your website accordingly.
- 70+ free themes
- On page support
- Really simple setup and interface
- Full customization is not possible
- Lacks advanced automation and upselling features
- The site may be unsecured
- Bad SEO
Wix offers a 14-day trial period. The business basic plan offers $28 per month. The transaction fee varies with the payment gateway that charges 2.9% + $0.30.
Square is an eCommerce platform that is best suited if you want to sell in-person such as craft fairs, or farmer’s markets and on your online market. All the online and offline orders are organized under a single dashboard so you don’t have to jump around different apps or try to track customer details with spreadsheets.
Square integrated Weebly in 2018. Therefore, as you start your online shop, it runs over Weebly.
On-boarding with square is best among the rest. You need to fill a short questionnaire as soon as you sign in. It is about the needs and introduction of your business. You can set up simple checkout links, a full online store, and single a booking page. The default theme is also managed to match the business category of your website.
The storefront customization is also easy. However, Square is more limited as compared to other eCommerce platforms. So, rather than choosing a theme that does most of the work, you can personalize your design with the site builder yourself.
Square online dashboard leads you to Edit Website, so you can start. The left sidebar has an option for different page elements. The three little dots lead you to more options. You can also change the layouts, fonts, or colours of everything while uploading the images. It is quite constrained yet it works well.
Making an in-person sale is another kind of experience with Square. You need to open up the menu, select Virtual Terminal that acts as a digital register.
- Plenty of themes
- Square integrates with other eCommerce solutions
- Great for online stores and POS
- All-in-one payment system
- No monthly fee for the free plan
- Restricted features for high-cost accounts
- The customer support is not responsive
- Issues in account stability
- The terrible strategy of shipping with no rate adjustments
The platform offers free plans but the transaction cost for unlimited products is 2.9% + $0.30. The square branded site offers $12 per month with the same transaction fee to remove ads and using custom domains.
Magento is a subscription-based service that offers multiple product and order management features. Most renowned brands such as Cisco, Procter and Gamble, and Nike use Magento. The package includes coding as an integral part.
If you have a single developer budget yet looking for a powerful and customizable option, Magento is the best shot. You can play with all the features until you get the most out of it as you desire. Indeed, you can create the most feature-rich store with Magento.
Magento is highly based on community. It involves developers that work on your store at a certain cost and resolve your queries. A marketplace offers you themes and extensions to enhance the platform’s functionality.
Mostly, Magento is used for free but the enterprise solution is also available for free in large eCommerce businesses. It is, however, expensive. The annual fee for licensing runs in thousands of dollars. It’s a lot. Yet, it is on cloud and fasts. But you get more features with the paid version which include automatic upsell/cross, automatic trigger-based email campaigns.
The long list of features is extendable. It includes unlimited products, membership subscriptions builder, and content adjustment per user, grind SEO, recurring payments and discounts.
- Flexible in terms of the software hosting
- High customizability and scalability
- Large community and lots of users
- Single click selling
- Strong SEO
- Feature-rich and robust
- Requires large memory for better performance
- No virtual support
- Needs development skills
- Slows down easily
- Pricey themes
Nexcess is the best platform for managed WooCommerce and Magento hosting. It is a versatile service provider that offers to host options to fulfill all requirements of your website. Moreover, you get fully managed WooCommerce, Magento and WordPress hosting. They also offer eCommerce platforms for BigCommerce and Drupal-type platforms.
The package includes container add-ons, asset coaching, alert and 24/7 monitoring response. PHP7 support and PHP optimization. It also includes auto-scaling on a single click to get an abrupt traffic inflow towards your website.
In addition to hosting, they assist you in building a storefront for the online store to further help you StoreBuilder tool. All you need to do is answering a few questions about your business and it will develop a whole storefront according to your answers.
They don’t cut corners when it is about customer support. You can expect free white-glove site migrations, proactive monitoring and 24/7 expert support.
Nexcess provides web hosting solutions from dedicated servers to private servers and shared hosting, environment co-location and server clusters. It is incredibly easy with Nexcess to use for eCommerce. It offers the fastest hosting service for WooCommerce in the market.
Moreover, you get free migration and multiple websites with enough web space in free features as well.
- 10 PHP workers, 15GBstorage, and 2TB bandwidth is quite high as compared to its competitors.
- The basic plan provides all the necessary features for your eCommerce business
- Superfast, scalable and perfect for all types of digital and WordPress commerce platforms.
- 100% uptime
- No free domain
- Late response from the support team
- No money-back guarantee on prepaid orders
- No dedicated IP add-on
The starter plan costs $9.5 per month and offers the features that are enough to build a website for your starter business. Moreover, you have more options to upgrade your plan according to the growing need of your business.
3dCart is serving over 22,000 online businesses. PCMag is one of the renowned clientele. They offer several practical features such as no transaction fees and unlimited storage. 3dCart supports selling on multi-channels and allows you to use their POS.
Recently, they have rebranded as Shift4Shop. But it does not do as good as Shopify or BigCommerce do even though it is older than these two platforms. The main reason for this is that it does not welcome beginners.
As you log in to the dashboard, you come across a guide video for the whole operation. Yet, it is difficult to figure out. Moreover, their interface is not visually appealing.
They offer more industrial-type templates but they are outdated. In addition, it takes a lot of time to customize a store and understanding the features. It is also difficult to get used to its dashboard except for experienced users. This is because there is no drag and drop tool for easy functioning.
Shipping is one of their strongest points. 3dCart offers advanced shipping solutions with no API. 3dCart or Shift4Shop restricts the number of sales in each plan like BigCommerce. Thus, the overall value is great.
The major drawback is that it does not offer abandoned carts as a basic feature. However, it still offers more and better features than Shopify does.
- Great user sales management tools such as inventory, QuickBooks and email etc.
- Supports all essential integrations
- Better feature than other SaaS eCommerce
- Not for beginners
- Upgrading of potential issues
- Customer support has negative feedback
- Templates are aligned with the growing requirements of the industry but do not give a cutting edge.
The lowest plan costs $19 per month and allows selling up to 50k. Monthly pricing ranges from $29 to $229. If you make a one-year advance payment then you get a 10% discount.
Squarespace is another platform that works on drag and drop functionality. They provide design capabilities and sleek capabilities. If you do not want to use a lot of features, you can still use them. Above all, it proves to be great for the eCommerce business of print on demand.
The top plan provides you with abandoned cart auto-recovery, gift cards and subscription selling and flexible discounts.
The package provides you with all the essential features that you might need from an eCommerce platform. All these features are arranged in the side menu.
Designing a website with Squarespace is not an easy process. Although, it works on drag and drop functionality this editor is not as useful as in Weebly. You need to have a little practice before you start working on it.
After completing website designing, you will get access to analytics, SEO, social selling, inventory, and marketing features.
Moreover, Squarespace integrates ShipStation and lets you install ShipBob and Printul from the app section. Shipping rates are also easily calculated in real-time from major providers such as USPS, FedEx and UPS.
Third-party integrations and applications give a tough time to the users. However, Squarespace only supports Paypal and Stripe. However, third party tools are hardly integrated with Squarespace.
- Integrated ShipBob and ShipStation
- Great SEO
- Wonderful designed Templates
- Suitable for Simple stores
- Easily set up
- No app store to upgrade functionalities and features
- Slow speed in terms of the price
- No integrated Amazon
- No marketing integration with automation
- No dropshipping
The prices are very low. For example, if you are a beginner and just starting to sell, you need to have a business website plan which costs only $18 per month if you pay annually. But the transaction fee cost you 3%.
Prestashop is a cloud-based and open-source eCommerce platform that gives you the overall best value. If you don’t have any technical skills in website development or eCommerce marketing then Prestashop gives you a better option for free.
The free downloadable version asks you to pay for the SSL certificate, web hosting and other modules so you can complete your web store.
Moreover, if you do not know about techs such as PHP, CSS, or HTML, you will have to hire a developer. However, the open code it offers allows you to have extensive integrations with ERP, warehouses, accounting, payment gateways and couriers.
It provides you SSL certificate. Also, there are over 10 free themes in the admin panel. However, it requires you to have a little knowledge of CSS and HTML because you would not find a drag and drop tool in the theme customizer.
The dashboard is straightforward. Documentation provides an on-board video but it is not sufficient. Nevertheless, you can get the most out of these modules with a single click only. You get access to social analytics, cross-selling, Ads and SEO Working.
- Ready to help and large community
- Very flexible
- Strong SEO
- Multiple integrations and apps available
- The hosted version does not allow multichannel functionalities
- Tweaking needs developer skills
- Marketing integrations limited for a third party
- Add-ons make the plan expensive
- Slower as compared to other platforms
It offers a 16-day trial period. But that is up to you if you don’t want to get the trial and pay right away. Well, it is 100% free. Yes, that means no commissions and no monthly fees on your sales.
Detailed Ecommerce Platform Table Comparison
|Ecommerce platform||Popularity (rating)||Features||Designs||Support||Ease of use||Pricing|
|Shopify||2.4||Single click appsSuper easy setupFastest load timeSubscription-based service||Modern, impressive and cover almost all niches, responsive||24/7 Online on Twitter and email and live chat||Beginner guides and extensive documentation||Start at &26 per month with a 2% transaction fee|
|BigCommerce||2.3||Standalone, Product management features, Mobile optimization available More than 5,000 extensions available||Nice online store designs, specific styles and flexible||All-time online support is active. Live chat and social media chats too||Easy to use interface and advanced built-in features.||The standard plan starts at $29.95/month|
|WooCommerce||4.8||Standalone software, deeply integrated to WordPress, product and order management, Thousands of themes and extensions available, Bandwidth depends on a host||No design because it is a WordPress plugin-flexible design||FAQs, documentation and support service is available from installation to configuration||Paid and free plugins can automate backups and managing updates||$0 to 100 per year|
|Ecwid||4.2||Highly customizable, Saving favourite products, automatic updates, easy checkout process||Flexible, straightforward, customizable||Knowledge-based articles in FAQ available. Call and email support are also available.||Easy to use interface, vertical menu||Free is free. The paid plans start from $15|
|Wix||4.1||Ease of use, sales and website features, intuitive builder,||500+ pre-made templates that fit for almost every niche, customizable||Tickets or a direct call||Super easy to use, drag and drop system||Starting plan starts from $4 per month|
|Square||4.5||Free plan, unlimited products, Free SSL security, 500MB||Sleek hardware design, flexible||Direct call||Easy to use, affordable website builder,||Free plans available, but 2.9 %|
|Magento||3.4||Analytics and reporting, order management, customer accounts, SEO, promotional and marketing tools||Themeforest provides Magneto section- integrates Modern looking designs from the third party||Tutorials, tickets or direct call||Not easy to use, reasonable interface, easy and quick self-hosting||No free version. But free trial available. $1988 per month|
|Nexcess||3.5||Cloud hosting, expandable functionality, high-performance optimizations, advanced caching tools||Easy to use, flexible design||24/7/365 via the client portal, email or phone||Easy to use and flexible||The smallest plan starts at $49 per month|
|3dCart||4||No transaction fees, Shipment tracking, support for backorders and digital products, tax and shipping calculators.||Professional web design packages||Not good support.||Tons of integrations,||The basic plan starts at $29 per month|
|Squarespace||3.4||Style editor, template switching, drag and drop management, responsive image loader||Modern templates, third party designers and developers||24/7 online support and live chat||Drag and drop website builder, minimal and modern interface||3% transaction tax. The basic plan is recommender|
|Prestashop||3.1||Inventory and order management features, out-of-stock alerts, simple import and export, drag and drop tool||1||Email and ticked||Free to download, online demo before downloading||100% free|
What is an eCommerce Platform?
An eCommerce platform is an application or software application that lets any online business manage its operations, sales, marketing and website. They are the full-featured, robust tools that sell online products. Choosing the best option requires certain considerations and all the eCommerce website builder gives varied features.
Your required number of features depending on the number of products you sell. And if your services include drop-shipping instead of fulfilment or own shipping then your requirements will be different.
In short, your eCommerce software allows you quickly add your products while offering automatic tracking inventory, discounts and coupons. You should also be able to fulfilment and managing shipping so that you can focus more on the growth of your business.
Or we can define an eCommerce platform as online shopping that directly goes to the consumers’ mobile via chatbots, chats, voice assistants, websites and mobile apps.
What Are The Benefits of Using an Ecommerce Platform?
An online retailer is a platform that helps you expand your business. You can get multiple advantages by sharing your products and services in online selling.
First, customers will spend less time shopping online and findings the thing of their choice. It is easy to browse many items in a short time.
Second, it is easy to search for an item, adding to the cart and seeing descriptions; all steps at a time. The buyers are satisfied at the end as they can get an item that is far away from them without travelling.
The online business gives a personalised product listing for the customer. It does not take much time in creating a product listing. You only need the product code and name. Sellers can also share delivery dates, shipping fees, product categories, and descriptions. It shows the potential buyer about your collection.
Another big advantage of eCommerce is that sellers retain their interest in online selling with different means such as cost reduction. Physical stores need many resources and a lot of paying for maintenance. Also, sellers do not get the ROI and desired profit. Online retailing does not require much spending. Also, items promotion does not need a lot of money for promotion. Ecommerce offers several affordable marketing and advertising options.
An important benefit of an eCommerce business is that customers get flexibility from the sellers. Services and products are available 24/7. Thus, sellers can offer their products any time, any place. The convenience of online shopping increases the chances of repeat purchases as well. These conveniences include subscription advantages, deals and discounts, express order delivery and free shipping.
Product comparison is also easy that makes it easy to pick alternative product at standard rates.
Best Ecommerce Platform By Features and Type
What is the Best Free Ecommerce Platform?
Square online is the best way to sell for free. Prestashop is also 100% free. Bu the features offered by Prestashop as free are less than what Square online offers in its free version.
What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for SEO?
Shopify and WooCommerce are the best eCommerce platforms for SEO. They offer the most marketing tools and apps with superior SEO features.
What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses?
Wix, Square online and Squarespace offer easy to use and cost-effective solutions for startups without spending a lot of money.
What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for Dropshipping?
Shopify and BigCommerce are three platforms that provide analytics, invoice management and shipping and multi-channel shipping.
There can never be a perfect and all-in-one type of eCommerce platform. But we have narrowed down the top one’s for you in this post. Choosing the right one is based on your needs. However, some of the platforms are considered front runners. Such as BigCommerce is so far the best one that we discussed.
Moreover, WooCommerce is also leading the market and Shopify in terms of its apps and features is becoming more popular than others. These two platforms are suitable for white label eCommerce sites. Moreover, they are also appropriate for affiliate marketing. Above all, these two prove to be the strongest options for combo sites if you run an affiliate marketing and private label.
Wix is a simple store suitable for local small businesses. Most eCommerce platforms that we discussed do a good job with a handful of features. There are several options at a similar price to others.