Which are the best ecommerce platforms, and what elements to consider when choosing one ecommerce platform rather than another? If you’re here, it’s probably because you want to open your own online store, and you asked yourself these questions to try to understand which of the many available solutions could be right for you.
Knowing how to correctly evaluate and choose the software with which to create your e-shop is very important. The success of an online store, in fact, certainly depends on the quality and uniqueness of the product/service offered and on the digital marketing strategies adopted, but first of all, the website influences the performance of commercial activity on the web. A website that is not able to offer a good user experience or is too limiting, complex, or expensive to manage cannot guarantee optimal sales.
The boom in online sales and the consequent placing on the market of an increasing number of dedicated software has made it more difficult to identify reliable e-commerce sites. For this reason, in choosing from the best ecommerce platforms to bring your business online, it is important to understand well, upstream, what type of business you want to start and the resources at your disposal.
Furthermore, to limit the occurrence of unpleasant errors of evaluation or related to inexperience, it is advisable to acquire skills that allow you to create and manage an ecommerce, which you can get by attending the Ecommerce Manager Course, that will inform you well about the different e-commerce platforms available. In this article, I will specifically try to help you choose one of the best ecommerce platforms for your e-store. I will now:
- compare the 15 best e-commerce platforms,
- talk to you about the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of each one,
- suggest the steps to take to make the best choice.
Top 15 best ecommerce platforms to use
Looking for one of the best ecommerce platforms to create your e-shop does not mean understanding which is the most used online platform and using the same. That’s because it’s not necessarily for you.
The choosing of a platform, in fact, depends on several factors, not generalizable because they are linked to your personal business needs. For example, a so-called “all-in-one” platform may be more suitable for you, which includes hosting (the space on the web that hosts the site), software for creating and managing e-commerce, additional features, and a payment system integrated. Or software that allows you to create an online store that can then be connected to a third-party payment management service.
You may find an Open Source platform more suitable, i.e., not protected by copyright and freely modifiable with a minimum of programming skills, or Closed Source, i.e., licensed and non-modifiable but which allows you to have effective remote support and less knowledge of the programming language.
There are, however, good parameters, understood as features and services, which have become by now essential on a website, and therefore, you cannot fail to consider them when evaluating e-commerce software. Among the main ones:
- site loading speed and ease of navigation within it to ensure a good user experience,
- to be SEO-Friendly, therefore conceived and designed specifically for search engines,
- to be Mobile-Friendly or navigable by smartphone.
To fully understand which of the best ecommerce platforms to drop your choice on, I will now analyze with you the 15 best online store websites on the market. In particular, I will tell you about the pros and cons, prices, and who they are aimed at.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. It is considered one of the best ecommerce platforms, as well as one of the most popular and used in the world. Precisely for being a WordPress plugin, by choosing it as a platform for your online store, you will be able to take advantage of all the functions and extensions of the famous CMS: last but not least, the possibility of operating and creating WordPress multisite. This makes it very versatile and guarantees the user a great browsing experience.
The choice of this option is recommended for both experts and beginners. However, if you opt for WooCommece, know that you will have to build your virtual store from scratch.
- Open Source System, free and highly customizable.
- Great support team.
- Easy to use. Indeed, after downloading it, you will have immediate access to managing your products, customizing the shopping cart, reporting section, and choosing payment methods and shipping methods.
- It can extend the functionality with other plugins to have a large assortment of E-Commerce functions.
- You can easily integrate a blog.
- It does not impose limits on the insertion of images and products.
- Requires a minimum knowledge of the WordPress CMS to be able to use it effectively and easily.
- Hosting not included. Also, some plugins and extensions are paid, depending on the features and functionality they offer.
WooCommerce is free. However, hosting and some plugins are not, which, in some cases, even exceed $200.
Shopify, as well as the just treated WooCommerce, is one of the best ecommerce platforms worldwide, simple and, above all, cheap.
Unlike WooCommerce, which requires some study of the platform to be able to use it to the fullest, Shopify allows you to create an ecommerce site in just a few minutes.
Of course, the downside is that you won’t get all the features and extensions WooCommerce offers. I could define it perfect for those who are not too interested in the aesthetic and design side of the platform, as well as the coding side.
There is not much freedom of customization, so it’s perfect for those who leave these aspects to focus more on their business. In fact, all you have to do is choose the theme that best suits you, enter the information requested by the system, and you’re done.
- The simplest of all e-commerce currently available. In fact, to be able to use it to the fullest, it is not necessary to be a programmer. The platform is flexible, fast, intuitive, and light in loading.
- Offers unlimited products, very detailed analysis, and statistics.
- Perfect for integrating Social Media.
- Suitable and functional for both small and large shops.
- Does not require excessive maintenance.
- Few customization options.
- Necessary to incur monthly costs, which, although not excessively high, to have access to all the features and themes available on the platform.
If you decide to use Shopify to design your online store, you will have 4 packages to choose from:
- Shopify Lite: $9 per month.
- Shopify: $79 per month.
- Advanced Shopify: $299 per month.
- Shopify Plus: $2,000 per month.
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Just as the name suggests, BigCommerce is one of the best ecommerce platforms for those who are used to doing things on a grand scale, i.e., large businesses that make a large number of products available or small businesses that foresee an imminent expansion and success.
This tool, unlike the others in this guide, ranks among the best in that it makes sophisticated features available to professionals. Precisely because it was created specifically for experts in the sector, it is not very easy to use, but it offers enormous opportunities for customizing the design of your online store.
- Offers many customization opportunities.
- It guarantees safety.
- Allows the insertion of relevant quantities of products.
- It is SEO Friendly.
- It has no shipping transaction fees.
- Particularly suitable for complex business systems.
- Quite high prices, especially if you are at the beginning of your business.
- Management is much more complex and complicated compared to other platforms.
The prices per month offered by BigCommerce are as follows:
- Standard: $29.95.
- Plus: $79.95.
- Pros: $299.95.
- Enterprise: varies.
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After covering platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and BigCommerce, Volusion is one of the least popular, even if it is slowly acquiring a respectable place among its competitors. It could be very useful for those who are planning an online store for the first time. On the other hand, it is not very suitable for large businesses as it lacks advanced features.
- Low cost and no transition fees.
- It is one of the few eCommerce that accepts and offers periodic subscriptions and payments.
- Drag and Drop editor, easy to use, especially for those approaching this world for the first time.
- Mobile responsive, therefore able to automatically adapt graphically to the device.
- Limited in functionality and features that it offers.
- You will need to buy your SSL certificate, aka digital certificate, elsewhere.
- Does not allow integration with blogs.
- It does not offer the ability to sell digital products.
You can choose from the following subscriptions:
- Personal: From $29/month, designed for small retailers uploading up to 100 products.
- Professionals: Its $79 cost per month is designed for ecommerce sellers selling up to $100k a year.
- Business: For $299 a month, it’s designed for large companies.
- Prime: This one is customized.
While 3dcart is less known than other software, it is one of the best ecommerce platforms on the SEO side. That is, it presents a series of tools for optimization for search engines. For this reason, I would recommend this tool if your business revolves around SEO.
Despite this, it has a significant advantage though, just like its rival Shopify, 3dcart lacks customization, but it is very simple to set up and use and especially suitable for marketing and promotional sales.
- Platform conceived and designed entirely from an SEO perspective.
- It offers 24/7 customer service and support.
- Simple to set up and use.
- It grants a direct and immediate synchronization with the Social Media Stores.
- Easily integrates with different sales channels.
- It has no transaction fees.
- It is limited in customizing the online store.
- Offers out-of-date templates.
By choosing 3card, you can opt for one of these monthly passes:
- Startup Stores: $17.10.
- Basic Store: $26.10.
- Plus Stores: $71.10.
- Power Stores: $116.10.
- Pro Stores: $206.10.
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Are you a craftsman, an artist, or a creative, and do you dream of being able to earn from the sale of your products online? Big Cartel is, among the best ecommerce platforms, the one that’s right for you, especially if you’re an independent artist who creates the products you offer to the market with your hands.
The big advantage of Big Cartel is precisely the low cost. It does not impose listing or transition taxes. What will have to be paid is the monthly fee. However, if you are interested, there is also a free account that already offers many of the features that you may need.
- Decidedly cheap.
- It has no commission, transaction, or listing fees.
- It offers a highly original and artistic design.
- It gives the opportunity to change the code if needed.
The disadvantage of this platform is that it could be stimulating and interesting only to a small niche of people, artists to be precise.
Big Cartel offers you the following costs per month depending on the type of subscription:
- Gold: Free.
- Platinum: $9.99.
- Diamonds: $19.99.
- Titanium: $29.99.
Among the best ecommerce platforms at your disposal that you can not miss is Ecwid. This platform is aimed at small businesses or start-ups. Everything is in tune with small realities like these, starting with the costs. In fact, a free version of the platform is available for up to 10 items.
Ecwid, like Shopify and 3dcart, is very easy to set up and use but offers few possibilities for customization. However, it has the advantage of being very functional for Social Media and allows you to easily connect to other sales channels such as Amazon, for example.
- Created especially for small businesses, it is inexpensive, simple to set up, and easy to use.
- It offers many features in favor of Social Media.
- It syncs directly with Social Media Stores and integrates easily with other sales channels.
- It has no transition fees.
- It has no interesting designs.
- It is not scalable; consequently, it is suitable only for very small realities.
Here are the prices per month offered by Ecwid:
- Free Plan: Free.
- Ventures: $15.
- Business: $35.
- Unlimited: $99.
Choosing the best ecommerce platform is not easy nowadays. Despite the very large competition, Adobe Commerce seems to play a rather important role in this panorama.
I’m telling you about an Open Source CMS widely used to create and manage an online store.
- Open Source platform
- Scalable. This means that it doesn’t matter how big an activity is: Magento is suitable for any type of reality, even those that start from scratch but intend to expand in the medium to long term.
- Mobile & SEO-Friendly.
- Very large community, but above all, constantly active and committed to improving the platform more and more and extending its features and functionality.
- It has many very useful functions that are perfect for a self-respecting online store.
- Not simple architecture, so for a beginner, it could be a bit complex to use.
- Quite expensive in advanced versions.
Adobe Commerce has several solutions:
1. Community Edition: is the free Open Source version freely usable by everyone, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
2. Enterprise Edition: it is ideal for companies with high turnover because it offers additional features such as the management of coupons and promotions. It requires the payment of an annual fee which starts from a base of around 22,000 USD a year.
3. Go: it is a cross between the two previous versions. In turn, it offers monthly pricing subscriptions that depend on the type of e-commerce you want to open.
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Square Online is the ecommerce platform suitable for everyone. You don’t need programming or coding knowledge, and despite some limitations, it offers all the essential features you’ll need to bring your online shop to life. It is extremely simple to use, intuitive, and functional.
- It has no monthly fees for the free version.
- It offers a URL and completely free hosting.
- It allows you to easily manage and track inventories.
- It has advanced reporting.
- It’s responsive, which means that it features graphics that adapt and display across any device you use.
- It makes connecting the POS for payments easy.
- It offers many templates.
- It does not have variable shipping rates.
- Doesn’t offer great customer service.
- Some features are exclusive to high-cost subscriptions. The free version does not provide unlimited storage space.
With Square Online, you can decide to opt for the free rate by paying only and exclusively the payment processing fees, therefore 2.9% of every single sale with the addition of $0.30. Clearly, for those who need further, additional features, the platform offers the possibility to upgrade:
- Professional: $16/month or $12/month annually.
- Performance: $26 each month or $29 per month annually.
- Premium: $72/month or $79/month annually.
With Weebly, you will have an online shop you’ve always dreamed of in less than an hour. Furthermore, the fundamental feature of this platform is that since 2006, the date of its birth, it has undergone constant updates to improve its functionality.
If I had to find a word to best describe this tool, I would use “simplicity”. Yes, because everything Weebly offers, starting from the content up to the graphics, is Drag and Drop, therefore, extremely easy.
- It’s perfect for those who manage small businesses that don’t expect too much from their E-Commerce other than functionality and professionalism.
- It will only take you an hour to design your online store.
- It offers several templates and themes to choose from.
- Provides SEO guides to get good results.
- The site backup and restore are very complex. You basically navigate alone, as the assistance does not provide guarantees of any kind in the event of data loss.
- Some coding knowledge will be required in order to improve the templates. If not, you will have to make do with the templates as they originally appear.
- It does not offer Artificial Design Intelligence to track down anomalies or singular phenomena and remedy them.
Weebly offers different plans for specific user groups:
- Free: for basic use.
- Personal: $13 per month. It is a version created to connect a Domain.
- Professional: $16 per month. Mainly made for Groups and Associations.
- Performance: $29 a month. Suitable for Small Businesses and Shops.
PrestaShop is another one of the best ecommerce platforms on the market. Just like some of the other platforms covered earlier, it has an Open Source type of software.
Therefore, as it will be clear to you by now, you won’t encounter any problems during the installation, and you can customize it to your liking and according to your needs. In fact, you will have a vast range of themes to choose from.
- Affordable and offers secure payment methods.
- It appears very simple to use.
- It offers more than 5,000 modules, some free, some paid, and plug-ins to customize your online shop.
- It offers 75 different languages and multi currencies.
- Supported by an online community. Therefore, to solve a problem, it will not be necessary to look for solutions external to the platform itself.
- Not suitable for large companies due to limited scalability.
- Changing the subject independently can be difficult; therefore, sometimes, the presence of a professional is essential.
- It is limited on the B2B side.
- The additional features often come at a high cost.
Prestashop is a free platform. However, some additional features are paid.
If you are looking for a professional and functional but at the same time, simple and fast online shop platform, Wix is the solution. It was created to allow anyone to creatively design their own online shop. In fact, it is considered to date the best ecommerce for website design and is based on a freemium economic model; that is, it offers two versions of the same product, one free and simpler, the other for a fee but clearly more complete and complex.
I would recommend Wix for small business owners, for those who want simple and individual sites, or for so-called “do it yourself” sites.
- It is fast, functional, professional, and easy to use.
- It offers over 500 templates created by professional designers.
- It features a drag and drop system and an intuitive, editable, and customizable block interface.
- It is Mobile Friendly.
- It offers a custom domain that can match your business or brand name.
- Through Wix App Marketing, you can extend its functionality.
- Provides a great support team.
- SEO tools included.
- The templates are many but not interchangeable, so it is problematic to transfer the same content from one template to another.
- Using the free version, you will be forced to display Wix branding.
- You will only have analysis tools available if you opt for the paid plan.
- The site created with Wix is not transferable. Consequently, if you decide to change the platform for managing your E-Commerce because, for example, your business has grown so much over time to the point that the features offered by Wix are no longer sufficient, you will have to pay a lot to transfer your site.
- Each chosen plan refers to a single site. Then you will need to purchase a plan for each individual site.
The platform offers several possibilities for monthly upgrades:
- VIP: $29 with 20GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth.
- Pros: $19 with 20GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth.
- Unlimited: $14 with 10GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth.
- Combo: $11 with 3GB of storage and 2GB of bandwidth.
Initially, Squarespace was a simple CMS, therefore a content writing and management system, but now it has made its way among the best ecommerce platforms on the market.
Squarespace offers the possibility to easily build your online shop using the Drag and Drop editor, offers some of the best themes available today, and has highly advanced features. Especially suitable for creatives, whether they are entrepreneurs or inexperienced at the beginning.
- Knowledge of HTML code is not required.
- Thanks to the beautiful themes made available, you can create crazy graphics.
- It is highly reliable and operational.
- By purchasing the annual plan, you will get a free domain.
- SSL included in the price, i.e., the guarantee of security of the sensitive data that is exchanged.
- An infinite number of features are available for your E-Commerce.
- Email support is open 24/7.
- The cost may seem higher than that of some of its competitors.
- It often has rather long loading times.
- Payment options are limited.
- Although Squarespace tries in every way to be as simple as possible in its use, a beginner may initially have some difficulties.
- The content blocks are a bit limited. This is to limit the damage by non-experts, but it could be limiting for those who are.
The monthly and annual plans that Squarespace offers are as follows:
- Personal plan: it has a monthly cost of $16 and an annual cost of $12.
- Business Plan: it has a monthly cost of $26 and an annual cost of $18.
- Basic Trading plan: it has a monthly cost of $36 and an annual cost of $26.
- Advanced Trading Plan: it has a monthly cost of $46 and an annual cost of $40.
osCommerce is another of the best Open Source ecommerce platform available on the market, therefore extensible, resizable, and customizable. It is free and represents, to date, one of the best solutions for entrepreneurs who want to open an online store.
- It’s a platform compatible with all the best browsers.
- It provides multilingual support.
- It offers the possibility of creating an unlimited number of products and categories.
- You can choose from multiple payment methods.
- Accept any world currency.
- It is supported by a large community.
- It requires user intervention in the backend for maintenance, hosting, and site updates.
- Often prone to errors.
The platform is free.
The last of the best ecommerce that I suggest is OpenCart. This proposes a free download and open source solution. It is a very simple platform to start and equally simple to manage and use.
Of course, this isn’t exactly true for everyone. If you don’t have programming knowledge, you may encounter some difficulties.
- It’s Open Source.
- Provides many themes to choose from to make your online store unique.
- Its user interface is very easy to use.
- It is multilingual and multi-currency.
- It has a great customer support community at its disposal.
- Offers unlimited products and categories.
- It requires programmer and developer skills, so it is not accessible to everyone.
- Customer service is available, but most of the work will have to be done by you, such as development, maintenance, and so on.
- Many marketing features are not available.
- It is not the fastest of all the E-Commerce on the market.
- You will need to download extensions and plug-ins for full platform functionality.
- It’s not always SEO Friendly.
- Small: $9.68 + VAT/month with 50MB of disk space.
- Medium: $13 + VAT/month and 100MB of disk space.
- Big: $17.26 + VAT/month with 2048MB of disk space.
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Free strategic advice on how to choose
As you may have understood, choosing one of the best ecommerce platforms is not easy, and there are many variables to take into consideration. When you look for tutorials to start an ecommerce business, you come across a very large number of information and platforms. But which is actually the best platform for you?
In this article, I have tried to clarify the main software protagonists of online sales and their characteristics. However, remember that the choice of an e-commerce platform depends on several factors, such as:
- the market type in which you decide to invest,
- the available budget,
- your e-commerce skills and the presence or absence of collaborators competent in the matter,
- the business goals that you want to achieve.
In fact, the most important thing you will have to do before choosing which tool to use to design your ecommerce, is to consider one of the best courses for selling online, in addition to the needs of your business, large or small. Only this will help you make the right choice.
Suppose you have difficulty understanding what your priorities are, or you still have doubts about which could be the best ecommerce to start your virtual store. In that case, my suggestion is to rely on an expert coach who can guide you step by step in creating your e-store and in the definition of an effective digital strategy.