E-Commerce Online Store Builders Comparison Chart

Last updated on March 29, 2014

The following summary of key features is based on our opinions after using the e-commerce online store builders, and also based on feedback of what is most important from surveying hundreds of our visitors.

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Shopify Reviews
Bigcommerce review
Squarespace Review
ShopifyBigcommerceSquarespaceWeeblyJimdo
Stores Powered [1]90,00050,000N/A88,000N/A
Comprehensiveness
of Tools
[2]
5 / 55 / 54 / 54 / 53.5 / 5
Themes Design5 / 54.5 / 54.5 / 53.5 / 53 / 5
Support [3]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 [4]None [4]NoneNoneNone [4]None
Integrated Payment Processors [5]70+60+132
Discount Code CreatorYesYesYesYesYes
Mobile Friendly StoreYesYesYesYesYes
Mobile App to Manage StoreYesYesNoYesYes
Email / Newsletter
Integration
[6]
No [6]YesYesNoYes
Marketplace Experts [7]YesYesNoNoNo
App Store Extensions [8]YesYesNoNoNo
Abandoned Cart Recovery [9]YesYesNoNoNo
Digital ProductsYesYesYesYesNo
Point of Sale System [10]YesNoNoNoNo
Pricing (Monthly) [11]$12.60
$26.10
$71.10
$161.10
$22.95
$35.95
$69.95
$129.95
$249.95
$8.00
$16.00
$24.00
$4.08
$8.25
$24.92
$7.50
$20.00
Overall [12]5 / 54.5 / 54.2 / 53.5 / 53.2 / 5
See our Detailed ReviewShopify
Review
Bigcommerce
Review
Squarespace
Review
Weebly ReviewJimdo
Review
Visit Website
Builder
See ShopifySee
Bigcommerce
See
Squarespace
See WeeblySee Jimdo
Shopify ReviewsBigcommerce reviewSquarespace Review

Footnotes:

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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 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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] 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.

[8] 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.

[9] 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.

[10] 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.

[11] 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

[12] 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.

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About Jeremy & Connie

We worked with various website builders extensively on live projects. We've discovered the pros & cons of each website builder through our own trial & error, and we want to share our experiences and recommendations with you. Choosing the right website builder depends on your individual needs. Our website provides comprehensive expert reviews on website builders, so you can pick the perfect website builder that fits your unique needs.

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About Jeremy & Connie

We worked with various website builders extensively on live projects. We've discovered the pros & cons of each website builder through our own trial & error, and we want to share our experiences and recommendations with you. Choosing the right website builder depends on your individual needs. Our website provides comprehensive expert reviews on website builders, so you can pick the perfect website builder that fits your unique needs.

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17 Responses to E-Commerce Online Store Builders Comparison Chart

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

    Have found a lot of great information on your site.

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

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for your response.
    Jill

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.