E-Commerce Online Store Builders Comparison Chart

Last updated on August 11, 2014

Key features is based on our opinions and feedback from our visitors who completed our surveys:

 

Shopify
Bigcommerce
Squarespace
Weebly
Jimdo
See Shopify Here
See Bigcommerce
See Squarespace
See Weebly Here
See Jimdo Here
Overall [1]
5 / 5 Stars
4-stars
4.5 / 5 Stars
4-stars
4.2 / 5 Stars
4-stars
3.5 / 5 Stars
4-stars
3.2 / 5 Stars
Stores Powered [2] 100,000 50,000 N/A 88,000 N/A
Comprehensiveness of Tools [3] 5 / 5 5 / 5 4 / 5 4 / 5 3.5 / 5
Themes Design 5 / 5 4.5 / 5 4.5 / 5 3.5 / 5 3 / 5
Support [4] 5 / 5
24/7 Phone Support
Live Chat
Email
4 / 5
Phone Support -
(but not 24/7)
Live Chat
Email
4 / 5
Live Chat
Email -
(1 Hour Response)
3 / 5
Live Chat
Email
3 / 5
Live Chat
Email
Transaction Fees [5] X [4] X [4] X X [4] X
Integrated Payment Processors [6] 70+ 60+ 1 3 2
Discount Code Creator
Mobile Friendly Store
Mobile App to Manage Store X
Email / Newsletter Integration [7] X [6] X
Marketplace Experts [8] X X X
App Store Extensions [9] X X X
Abandoned Cart Recovery [10] X X X
Digital Products X
Point of Sale System [11] X X X X
Pricing (Monthly) [12] $12.60
$26.10
$71.10
$161.10
$31.45
$71.95
$179.95
$8.00
$16.00
$24.00
$4.08
$8.25
$24.92
$7.50
$20.00
Overall [1]
5 / 5 Stars
4-stars
4.5 / 5 Stars
4-stars
4.2 / 5 Stars
4-stars
3.5 / 5 Stars
4-stars
3.2 / 5 Stars
See our Detailed Review Shopify Review Bigcommerce Review Squarespace Review Weebly Review Jimdo Review
See Shopify Here
See Bigcommerce
See Squarespace
See Weebly Here
See Jimdo Here
Shopify
Bigcommerce
Squarespace
Weebly
Jimdo

Key features is based on our opinions and feedback from our visitors who completed our surveys:

Click on the social buttons to share this chart if you found it helpful!  The biggest compliment we can receive is a Share. You’d also be surprised how many people you can help!

Footnotes:

[1] Overall – Scores are based on average of scoring above – You should not base your decision solely on the average scores as there are many qualitative / subjective factors that you should consider prior to deciding.  

 

Our scoring is to help you narrow your choices, then you should always test out at least 2 of the website builders to see which one you are comfortable with before investing your time and money.  We highly recommend you read our detailed reviews for each website builder as we cover each builder in much more depth in those reviews.

 

[2] Stores Powered – Number of websites powered by each website builder is based on publicly available information (N/A = no available data for stores).  This does not necessarily equal to the number of active online stores, but will give you an indication of each e-commerce store builder.

 

[3] Comprehensiveness of e-Commerce Tools - Shopify and Bigcommerce are pure e-commerce store builders and as such, they have a very comprehensive set of tools.  Squarespace, Weebly and Jimdo are also broadly used by non-e-commerce users.  So the available store tools are not as comprehensive as Shopify or Bigcommerce.  

 

Generally , if you are looking to build an advanced store, Shopify and Bigcommerce will be more suitable.  If you are selling a limited number of products, or boutique items, Squarespace, Weebly and Jimdo will work.  Click on the links above to see our detailed analyses of each store builder and its tools.

 

[4] Support - Shopify provides the best support as their team operates 24/7, including weekends.  Bigcommerce also has multiple support channels but their business hours during the weekends are only during the day time.  Squarespace’s answers all their emails within an hour which is superb.  Weebly and Jimdo both have regular email support, and their live chat only runs during business hours from Monday through Friday.

 

[5] Transaction Fees - If you use Shopify Payments to process payments, there will be no transaction fees.  If you choose not to use Shopify Payments, transaction fee is 2% for the Starter and Basic Plans, and 1% for the Professional Plans. Shopify Payments allow you to manage your payment gateway directly in Shopify’s user dashboard, so it’s very convenient as you don’t have to log into your payment processor to manage your transactions.  

 

For Bigcommerce, there is a 2% transaction fee if you sign up to their Silver plan.  But if you upgrade to their Gold and Platinum plans, there are no transaction fees.

 

For Weebly, there are no transaction fees if you enroll in their Business Plan. If you are using their Free, Starter or Pro plans, there is a 3% transaction fee per transaction.

 

[6] Integrated Payment Processors - Squarespace uses Stripe as its payment processor, which is a bit limiting if merchants are operating outside of areas Stripe serves.  Squarespace Commerce is currently available in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands & Spain.  

 

An alternative is to use Ecwid, an independent e-Commerce widget, together with Squarespace for merchants who are not living in the countries listed above.

[7] Email / Newsletter Integration - Integrating a newsletter service to your store is a very powerful marketing tool as you can stay in touch with your customers, promote products or coupons to them, and just stay in touch to build a relationship with them to encourage your customers to return and shop again.

 

Shopify doesn’t have a fully integrated newsletter system built into its basic platform.  However, you can use one of its Apps from the Shopify App Store to connect your store with newsletter services such as MailChimp and Constant Contact.  Bigcommerce can be integrated with MailChimp, Constant Contact or iContact.  Squarespace integrates with MailChimp.  Weebly cannot connect your store to a newsletter service provider yet.  Jimdo has its own internal newsletter system that is automatically connected to your store.

 

[8] Marketplace Experts - Shopify, Bigcommerce and Jimdo have a group of freelance experts who can help you setup and customize your store.  This comes in very handy if you ever want hire help who are very familiar with their platforms to save yourself time, or to make modifications to suit your business.

 

[9] App Store Extensions - Shopify and Bigcommerce both have a very extensive App Store where the apps allow you to bolt on even more advanced e-commerce features to further automate or add more functionality to your store.  Tools cover sales & marketing, shipping, inventory / fulfillment, accounting, reporting, etc.  These are very helpful if you start to grow your store and can leverage on these tools to further automate these functions to save you time.

 

[10] Abandoned Cart Recovery - Multiple research studies have shown that 2 out of 3 of your potential customers put products into the check out cart, then forgets about it when they get distracted.  The Abandoned Cart Recovery tool allows you to automatically email them to remind them to purchase your products, or even offer them coupons to encourage them to complete their purchases.  

 

This is a very powerful follow up tool that have been proven to increase your sales without much more effort on your part.  Since it is automated, you don’t have to do anything to follow up with those who have “abandoned” their carts.  Only Shopify (Professional or higher plans) and Bigcommerce (Gold plan or higher) offer this tool.  See our detailed discussion on Abandoned Cart Recovery tool for Shopify here.

 

[11] Point of Sale System - Shopify is the only builder that offers you the ability to integrate your physical, offline store with your online e-commerce store.  For an extra $49 per month, you can use iPads as sales devices in your physical store.  The iPads will automatically synchronize with your online store so that all the products are consistent and all the inventory levels are always updated together.  

 

If you have a physical store and want to build an online store to grow your sales, Shopify can power both your offline and online stores under one centralized system.

 

[12] Pricing – Monthly pricing based on annual plans.  Monthly price will be higher if you enrolled on month-to-month payment plans. Pricing plans should not be compared directly based on pricing as each builder offers different features for their own plans. Please read our detailed review for each website builder for further details

 

Found This Chart Helpful?

Leave a comment below; or

Share it with your friends – Tweet, Like, Follow, Pin us below! The biggest compliment we can receive from you is a share!

About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

Subscribe

About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

,

Leave a Reply

39 Responses to E-Commerce Online Store Builders Comparison Chart

  1. Danielle July 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM #

    Hi Jeremy!
    I stumbled upon your site today. So much information! It’s great and I appreciate it.
    I’m wondering if you could give me advice, I currently have a site through other peoples pixels to showcase my fine art portoflio but they dont have e commerce capabilites and you cannot upload your own logo.
    I have been considering a site like virb to showcase my portfolio primarily and other tabs, stockists, contact, about etc. one of which would be SHOP to purchase my jewelry. I was considering using big cartel. I see they arent in this article to compare to.

    I am not html savy but it would be great to have one site where I can incorporate my portfolio as well as an e commerce site and be able to customize with my own logo etc. can you tell me which e commerce site is capable of having a portfolio?
    is shopify capable? it doesnt appear that big cartel is.
    I hate to have to pay for two sites and domain annual fees if i dont have to. I want everything to appear cohesive and clean. User friendly as well while keeping my monthly dues not to high.

    Look forward to your response!
    Best!
    Danielle

    • Jeremy Wong July 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM #

      Hi Danielle,

      I think Squarespace will work well for your needs. Their design templates are gorgeous and are well suited for setting up a portfolio website. Of course, with their drag and drop tools, you can insert your own logo to brand your own website for sure.

      Their ecommerce tools are fully capable to help you sell your products online. If you end up subscribing to their plans, you get a free domain as well so that can help you manage your expenses.

      Best way forward is to sign up for their free trial and play around with it to see if their tools fit your needs!

      - Jeremy

  2. Maddy July 6, 2014 at 8:35 AM #

    I have been busy reading your comparisons and you give such brilliant advice. Thank you.
    I also read the Etsy advice where I have a vintage shop. That was also useful. I am comfortable with Etsy but you are correct
    I have been thinking of building a website and the choice is between Yola, weebly, Jimdo and Wix. ( it is like a sweetie shop)
    I basically just wanted a simple / effective website and send potential customers to Etsy to pay. My understanding is that you think this is not a good idea.
    Is that right and is it really a turn off for customers?

    • Jeremy Wong July 6, 2014 at 11:25 AM #

      Hi Maddy,

      I don’t think it is a turn off for customers at all! To the contrary, I think it helps your shoppers as they can identify you as a “real” person or business, and not just another merchant in Etsy.

      Creating your own website (whether you decide to sell on Etsy exclusively or also on your own website), allows you to showcase your creativity away from Etsy’s cookie cutter layout, add more images / product details beyond the allocated space given by Etsy, engage with your shoppers through blogging, discussions, etc.

      All these are effectively differentiating yourself from the crowded marketplace in Etsy! Sure it takes more effort, but after all, it’s an investment of your time and will pay dividends over the long run.

      Shoppers buy from people they know and like. So that’s essentially what you are doing if you engage your shoppers with your own website outside of Etsy!

      (If others reading this and have an Etsy store, we have a discussion article here about the benefits of setting up your own website in addition to using Etsy)

      - Jeremy

  3. anthony July 2, 2014 at 6:39 AM #

    I have a client who is a commercial printer. Which of these commerce options have add-on that are customizable and often best way to build a site for her? She is using a commerce site now that’s way too expensive in monthly costs.

    • Jeremy Wong July 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM #

      Hi Anthony,

      That’s a pretty broad question, as it really depends on what exactly you need for your client to run her business.

      I’d suggest signing up and testing both Shopify and Bigcommerce (both have 2 weeks of free trial period) and explore their basic features, as well as their App Store to see if you can find some apps that can help her.

      Also, both platforms do have flexibility to be customized, and there are a lot of Shopify Experts and Bigcommerce Experts readily available for hire to help her customize certain features / functions.

      - Jeremy

  4. Susan June 4, 2014 at 12:42 PM #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I was looking to do a website where customers could put their own product on the site. Like an Ebay or Esty or Threadflip. What would be the best choice for me to go with. I have to watch my funds as well.

    Thank you! Susan

    • Jeremy Wong June 5, 2014 at 6:30 AM #

      Hi Susan,

      It sounds like you need a builder that allows you to build your own marketplace. I haven’t seen any builders that will allow you to create marketplaces and the ones you’ve mentioned are all custom developed.

      You can try to find freelancers / developers to see if they are able to custom build something for you. You can find some good developers for hire on either oDesk or Elance. Good luck!

      - Jeremy

  5. RM May 28, 2014 at 12:31 AM #

    Hi

    I am looking for a company to develop my website for online education.
    Any suggestions pls.

    Rgds
    RM

    • Jeremy Wong May 28, 2014 at 1:02 AM #

      Hi RM,

      The easiest way to access a pool of freelancers / developers to help you build or modify a website is at oDesk and Elance.

      For others who are reading this comment – if you need anything modified for your website that is above and beyond what a website builder is capable of doing, it’s always good to check with a freelancer / developer to see if it is actually possible through some code tweaks!

      - Jeremy

  6. Van May 21, 2014 at 12:52 PM #

    Hi, any suggestion for an easy e-commerce builder for a trial out? As I might need a huge amount of storage for my product in the future. So which, website builder should I go for? and I needed one that can do an offline payment methods, preferably non charges for each transaction. I was quite familiar with Wix, do you think it is good to start off with it 1st as shopify and bigcommerce is quite pricey? before changing it to another e-commerce builder with better functions?

    Next, I know all these e-commerce builder like shopify, bigcommerce, wix, jimdo required you to sign up plan. If in the near future, i would like to create and host my own e-commerce will I be able to re-use the domain that I used in those website builder?

    Lastly, do any of this website builder provide a e-commerce function, whereby there is no need a price tag to each product? As in, consumer could order the product, without placing any price on the items, some sort of pre-order thingy.

    • Jeremy Wong May 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM #

      Hi Van,

      I don’t think Wix has an option for you to process offline payments, but Shopify and Bigcommerce should be able to help you do that as each of them has over 60 payment processors that you can connect to your online store.

      Shopify has a Starter Plan which is only $14 per month, and you can always upgrade down the road if you feel more comfortable. Remember that Shopify has a 14 day free trial, and Bigcommerce has a 15 day free trial. So you can test them out before committing to their monthly plans.

      If you connect our own domain name to any one of the ecommerce online store builders, you still own the domain names (as long as you pay the annual registration fee with your domain name registrar). So down the road, if you decide to switch websites, your domain name is portable and can be brought over to a new website if you want to.

      I’m not sure if Shopify or Bigcommerce has the ability to automatically “not” show a price for each product. But both website builders have independent experts that you can consult with and have them customize the platform for you. We have an article about Shopify experts here.

      - Jeremy

      • Van May 21, 2014 at 1:56 PM #

        Thanks for the reply,

        Actually, Wix do have such option and regarding the shopify starter plan. It only provides 1 GB file storage capacity with 150 products. Thus that mean, I can upload too much photos? because actually, I have plenty of photos for each product. Roughly I have 100+ products and each of the products there are 3 – 5 photos, editted into web-friendly jpeg and I believe it will be more than the given storage capacity. On a few week basis I will be adding more products into database. So I doubt it will be enough 1 GB. Any other suggestion of which e-commerce builder that is suitable ?

        Regards,
        Van

        • Jeremy Wong May 22, 2014 at 1:58 AM #

          Hey Van,

          If you have that many products, I’d suggest that you take a serious look at Shopify or Bigcommerce, as these are dedicated ecommerce builders and will give you a lot of tools that you just won’t get from other website builders.

          Another alternative is to check out Jimdo (our review here) as I don’t think they have any limits for their Business plan.

          - Jeremy

  7. Michelle May 15, 2014 at 10:37 AM #

    Squarespace sounds like a great solution for our needs, but bulk uploading is a key component when making a final decision. Which ones have bulk uploading functionality? Also, was ease of use for editing/sizing images taken into consdideration?

    Thanks!

    • Jeremy Wong May 16, 2014 at 12:20 AM #

      Hi Michelle,

      Both Shopify and Bigcommerce allow you to bulk import products and images. Both platforms will also allow you to quickly edit your image sizes as well.

      For Squarespace, I don’t think they have a bulk import function for product and images at the moment, but if you have an existing website on Tumblr, Big Cartel, Etsy or Blogger, they allow you to import your existing content into Squarespace in just a few clicks.

      Hope this is helpful!

      - Jeremy

  8. caralyn May 12, 2014 at 9:31 AM #

    I would like to know need an ecommerce site and would appreciate your thoughts on GoDaddys, Volusion and Shopify

    • Jeremy Wong May 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM #

      Hi Caralyn,

      We haven’t used Volusion before so we don’t have any comments about them. We know they’ve been around and is a well established ecommerce website builder.

      We have used GoDaddy’s latest website builder but the website builder that we used doesn’t have an ecommerce function. I think I read somewhere that they will be integrating those tools into their latest builder soon. Here is our review on their general website builder.

      As for Shopify – we really like them and they are one of the best online store builders available today. Not only do they allow you to build a comprehensive online store, they also have tools for you to sell products offline and integrating all your offline activities with the online store. You can see more of our discussions about the pros and cons of Shopify here.

      - Jeremy

  9. Jamie May 6, 2014 at 2:46 PM #

    Hi there,

    Fantastic guides, you guys really know your stuff. Very unbiased.

    Quick question, at the moment guys I sell only on eBay & want to (like many others) open a ecoomerce website.

    I’ve been looking into Magento Go for a while with that, especially so becasue its an ebay company & integration would be seamless. Magento Go they have 200mb storage & 4GB banwidth. – I’m a complete newbie with this & wanted to know your thoughts with regard to Magento Go in general, (& what the 200mb/4GB mean).
    Ah, & also guys something Magento have are extensions, I think it’s sort of like an ‘app’ were you pay for additions to your website as you grow, & a couple really stood out.

    One extension/connection that seemed to good to be true is called “ebay priduct grabber” were it says, “Import your products from eBay to your (new) Magento Store. Stuff your Magento Store with your eBay products”.

    -Guys would this really take all the hassle out of building a website if it’s just gonna take all my products from eBay & place them categorise them as I have in eBay into a new website ?

    Before I forget, the reason I & probably a million others have started lookin into this is because there was a message in our ebay inbox. – ebay have linked up with something called Understandinge.com & they also have a great extension m2e, all free to help ebayers , or knowing ebay make a buck if people like me pay for Magento etc ;)

    Any guidance, advice from your expertise would be so very, very grateful.

    Many Thanks

    • Jeremy & Connie Wong May 6, 2014 at 9:21 PM #

      Hi Jamie,

      I haven’t used MagentoGo myself so don’t really have experiences to share. But Magento is a very reputable e-commerce online store builder overall, so I’m sure they have very strong e-commerce related tools as well.

      In terms of storage and bandwidth, I think you will only run into issues for storage if you have a lot of products and you have to upload a lot of images. For bandwidth, you would only run into issues if you have a lot of visitors visiting your store. It’s really difficult to say when you would hit those limits and I haven’t really seen any averages. But from a bandwidth perspective, let’s just say that if you exceed 4GB it’s a good thing as it usually means you’re getting a lot of visitors!

      As for grabbing products from eBay, I know that both Shopify and Bigcommerce also allow you to do that. With Shopify, you can use a free App to do that. For Bigcommerce, here is a tutorial on how to do that.

      Hope this is somewhat helpful!

      - Jeremy

  10. L Howard April 29, 2014 at 12:55 PM #

    First of all, great site- as I have been reading it for days trying to figure out which website builder fits my needs…
    I need to create a site to run a literary contest- so it needs to have the ability for visitors to fill out a submission form, upload a file, and make a payment for that file to be sent to a folder for storage for consideration. This is not a very popular website need, so I’m having a hard time figuring out which site builders would be more appropriate for this type of non-standard commerce?

    Any thoughts?

    • Jeremy & Connie Wong April 29, 2014 at 2:40 PM #

      Hey L,

      I haven’t seen anything like that, but perhaps you can search around in Shopify’s App Store or Bigcommerce’s App Store to see if you can find some sort of application that you can bold on to your website (assuming if you use Shopify or Bigcommerce).

      One thing to keep in mind is that if you are running some sort of competition and taking money for applications, you might want to be aware of regulations / laws for your jurisdiction. I’m not a lawyer so it’s best you do some research into this, as I’ve seen some Facebook competition has all sorts of disclaimers, something along the lines of being similar to a lottery… and hence perhaps some sort of government regulations around that.

      - Jeremy

  11. Sharon April 9, 2014 at 7:29 AM #

    Have found a lot of great information on your site.

  12. jill April 5, 2014 at 11:13 AM #

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for your response.
    Jill

  13. jill April 4, 2014 at 2:29 PM #

    Hi Guys,
    I had a simple website done for me to market a little book I had written. A friend helped me with it and talked me through how to change things and I think it was done with WordPress? Problem is someone hacked into it and I lost the whole site (goodness knows what the hackers have done to it). I am considering doing my own website with one of the builders like those you review however how do I make sure my website is totally secure especially if people are paying me for stuff with it???
    I have now republished the book directly on Amazon, I’m no techie so forgive the daft question but is there any way to expand marketing it directly via Amazon or do I need a fresh website to link people to buy on amazon???
    Thanks,
    Jilly

    • Jeremy & Connie April 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM #

      Hey Jill,

      Sorry to hear that you site go hacked. I think in general, all sites are vulnerable to a certain extent, and one of the best things you can do is to use a very strong alphanumeric password with a mix of upper and lower cases (capitals and small letters) that doesn’t have anything to do with you or your interests ,etc. Also rotate your password once in a while.

      The website builders that we’ve reviewed certainly keep their servers updated and secured, but I’ve read that a lot of times, users actually don’t use very strong passwords which leaves your account vulnerable.

      In terms of marketing with Amazon, I’m not an expert in that but I’m sure there are a lot of helpful resources available for that. Building a website to promote your Amazon items can be a very powerful strategy if used appropriately if you can get interested shoppers to visit your website where you can tell them more about how your product can help them.

      - Jeremy

  14. Mark March 17, 2014 at 12:27 PM #

    I looking for a simple website builder that will allow 3 Paypal buttons (to pay one of 3 different amounts), and that’s it. Is there a $4 or $8/month website builder that will do that without charging any additional transaction fee?

    • Jeremy & Connie March 17, 2014 at 7:33 PM #

      Hi Mark,

      I think Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and a few other drag and drop website builders can do this. These website builders have a tool where you can insert a custom script of code into the body / content area of your website. What PayPal does, after you set up your own payment buttons, is provide you with a snippet of code so you can insert into your site.

      So once you get the 3 payment buttons set up with PayPal, just take those 3 separate set of codes, and insert them into the website builder’s code tool.

      For instance with Weebly, this tool is called the “embed code” element. Just paste the PayPal code into this element and your custom button will show up.

      For Squarespace, they call their tool “Code Block”. Just paste the PayPal code into the code block.

      - Jeremy

  15. Natascha March 17, 2014 at 8:23 AM #

    Hi Jeremy, are you familiar with woocommerce? I like it because of its look and that it comes from WordPress.
    As I can see now, it’s difficult to find out more about it’s funcionalities, as I would need to install it before testing.

    Thank you for your reply

    • Jeremy & Connie March 17, 2014 at 7:23 PM #

      Hi Natascha,

      Yes we’ve definitely heard of WooCommerce as it is one of the faster growing e-Commerce extensions that people are using on WordPress. WooThemes is a very reputable theme provider for WordPress and so even though we haven’t tried WooCommerce, I’m confident that they will be pretty solid.

      However, our comparison chart is focused on hosted drag and drop e-commerce builders and so we haven’t included WordPress related sites in our comparision.

      - Jeremy

      • Natascha March 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM #

        many thanks Jeremy!
        Are you planning an article on comparing self-hosted providers? I feel that this still a jungle for me… :-)
        I have a comparision in mind that focuses on a technical comparison, availability of themes and/or flexibility of adapting themes, and of course ease of use, but not ease of use for the set-up.

        • Jeremy & Connie March 18, 2014 at 9:27 AM #

          Hi Natascha,

          It’s something we’ve considered but very generally speaking, you’re right, self-hosted services are a lot more technical than the hosted services. So I’ve been a bit resistant in diving into a ton of technicalities as that stuff bores me quite a bit as well! We’re not coders or technical people by trait, but learned it out of necessity.

          But if we hear from more people who are interested in understanding and learning more about self-hosted services, we may consider this route as well!

          - Jeremy

  16. antar March 14, 2014 at 4:22 PM #

    hi jeremy,
    Ive been trying for some time to understand which website builder to chose for my new online store.
    i took the 14 days free trial on bigcommerce and play with it a bit, i insert some products and got friendly with it, the problem is that to make changes on the functionality of it one needs to know html+css..so i figure i take a freelancer and pay him to make for me the necessary changes, now the indian freelancer im in touch with suggested to do it on magento, i check a bit about magento and every one not recommend it for small business..i like the magento option cause my freelancer told me it will be for free, unlike big commerce that is $24 per month..but im confuse on what will be the most cheap efficient solution for me..
    i also see so many different websitebuilders and really my needs are basic(at list for the beginning), i want to pick a nice looking friendly theme and make some basic changes in the functionality..i will appreciate some advise here..tanx

    • Jeremy & Connie March 14, 2014 at 10:17 PM #

      Hi Antar,

      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t tested or used Magento before so I can’t quite comment about them. But for sure, they are a big e-commerce website builder for sure.

      Have you explored using Bigcommerce experts to help solve your problem? Bigcommerce has an marketplace where they list out qualified, BIgcommerce experts / freelancers that are very familiar with how to use the platform properly. I would approach them and inquire about whether the changes you want are possible and ask them to quote you.

      One of the challenges of hiring “random” freelancers (versus targeted freelancers available in Bigcommerce’s market) is that the freelancers may be biased to suggest you to use something they are familiar with themselves. So it’s definitely challenging to understand what works best for you for sure.

      I know for Magento they have a hosted version which you do have to pay a monthly fee (just like Shopify or Bigcommerce), and I “think” they have a non-hosted one, but you will have to get your own hosting services and will have to configure a lot of things manually.

      In any case, I’d suggest you consult some of the Bigcommerce experts and see what they say before changing platforms!

      - Jeremy

  17. Cathy March 9, 2014 at 11:28 AM #

    I’m in the food business and need an online ordering system but can’t afford to pay for a new ecommerce site. I do have some web design experience but my fear is that once I start with shopify or Squarespace, I’ll need to pay for too many added features. I played around with Shopify trying to modify their templates and it’s not easy. My competitors sites look like modified templates. Is it best to have a designed site on paper to give to the Shopify or Squarespace designers for help?

    • Jeremy & Connie March 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM #

      Hi Cathy,

      I think when it comes to modifying templates or designs in the codes, it’s never too simple as you’re dealing with codes! Have you checked out some Shopify Experts in their marketplace (see our discussion here)?

      What you can do is just reach out to a few of them and perhaps show them some of your competitors’ websites and see if they can help modify your Shopify site to incorporate some similar features, and how much it might cost.

      But as with any customized designs / websites, you will have to invest some time and money into it. It’s always the chicken and the egg debate… invest to increase sales? Or wait until sales come then invest?

      Personally I’m more of a invest now and work on growing sales – but of course in a balanced way.

      - Jeremy

  18. Ernest January 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM #

    I would consider joining Shopify so that I can build an e-commerce website. But, I am concerned about being charged monthly and that I may lose my whole website if I decide to stop paying.

    • Jeremy & Connie January 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM #

      Hello Ernest,

      For Shopify, Bigcommerce and Squarespace, as they don’t have a free program (aside from their trial periods), once you stop paying for their services you won’t be able to access your website. But if you use Weebly or Jimdo, they do have a free program for you to use. However, just know that if you don’t upgrade to their paid plans, you will not have full access to all their e-commerce tools, as well as connecting your own domain name to the website store.

      No such thing as “free lunch” right? :)

      - Jeremy

      • Ernest January 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM #

        Thanks for that info.

        I would have to carefully choose which e-commerce website builder is better for me.