Best Ecommerce Platforms | Build Your Store Today

Last updated on April 19, 2018

Best eCommerce PlatformIf you’re looking for the best ecommerce platform for building your own online store, you’ve landed in the right place.

But before we dive into that, let’s define what an ecommerce “platform” actually is.

We’re guessing you’ve heard of website builders, right?

Well, by providing tools that help you sell online, these website builders turn into online store builders. They’re called ecommerce platforms. There are so many ecommerce platforms available, it gets pretty confusing pretty quickly. Especially when they all claim they’re the best.

This is why it’s important for you to understand what exactly an ecommerce platform is, and how it’s different from an average website builder.

Let us explain.

Our definition of an “ecommerce platform” is an online store builder that has the flexibility for you to keep adding more and more advanced functions to help your store grow.

In this guide we’ll introduce you to five of the best ecommerce platforms:

  1. Shopify
  2. Wix eCommerce
  3. BigCommerce
  4. Weebly
  5. Squarespace

There are a lot of ecommerce platforms out there that simply aren’t worth your time or money (trust us, we’ve been there). This guide will spare you a lot of the heavy lifting.

By the end you will know the top ecommerce platforms for building your online store. You’ll also learn how to pick the right ecommerce platform for you.

If you’re raring to go, you can see how our top three ecommerce platforms rate on key features in our comparison chart below (we’ve included links for you to try them out):

Best Ecommerce Platform
Top Choice
5
Template Design
Ease of Use
Features & Flexibility
Popularity
Pricing
Best For Small Businesses
4.5
Template Design
Ease of Use
Features & Flexibility
Popularity
Pricing
Best Large Business Ecommerce Platform
4.5
Template Design
Ease of Use
Features & Flexibility
Popularity
Pricing

What about more advanced ecommerce tools?

In this article, we’ll look at easy-to-use website builders that let you create and run an online store. Advanced users may be interested in ecommerce solutions like WordPress, which you can use to code an online store from scratch. To find out more, read our article on advanced ecommerce software.

1

What Can An Ecommerce Platform Do For You?

Before we introduce you to the best ecommerce platforms, let’s dig a little deeper into why they’re great for anyone who wants to make a few extra dollars online.

Say you want to make some money online. You want to build a store for your small business or start selling on a simple ecommerce site.

Does this sound like you?

You’re selling a handful of products and start by adding some beautiful product images and descriptions. You connect to a shopping cart (a web tool that allows your store to accept payments) and you’re off!

Best ecommerce platform multitasking-min-2
Building an online store can be dizzying. Good ecommerce platforms simplify the whole process, so you can run your online store from one place.

Next you promote your store using different marketing techniques and people start to visit. You’ve discovered that your visitors love what you have to offer, and they’re spending their money! You’re now in business!

Sounds exciting right?

But here’s the problem: if you’re not careful, your time will be taken up keeping your store up and running. You will have to:

  • Manage your sales channels (including social media accounts)
  • Create new marketing material
  • Respond to (sometimes angry) support emails
  • Manage your stock inventory
  • Analyze your sales reports
  • Handle taxes and do the dreaded paperwork

Throw all this together and you won’t have any time left to focus on growing your online store (we’ve been there and done that).

Don’t let this be you.

So what do you do?

This is where a top ecommerce platform can help you out.

Each of the best ecommerce platforms we feature in this guide will help you build and grow your online store.

Here’s the thing: to build a successful online store, you need more than just a basic website builder with a bit of ecommerce functionality.

You need an ecommerce platform. And you need the best ecommerce platform.

Stick with us and we’ll explain.

This is not to say that a standard website builder is no good – just that they’re designed to help an online store only to a certain point. Once you reach that level (which is awesome), you will need a more advanced and flexible ecommerce platform to help you climb to a higher place.

“A good ecommerce platform is like a Lego set. You get the base to build on and then you can add new features to change the look, feel and functionality of your product. Also, if you decide you no longer like a block, you can remove it. Simple! You get great flexibility to build and grow the store you want.”

The best ecommerce platforms allow you to keep adding tools to your online store. Not only to help your business grow, but also to free up your time so you can focus on other more important things (personal and professional).

Best ecommerce platform apps and extensions-min
A top ecommerce platform gives you access to tools that can help with anything from email to social media marketing - as we’ll explain later on!
2

How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Platform

So how did we choose our top five ecommerce platforms? And what should you keep in mind when picking your ecommerce platform?

First and foremost, we based our choices on our own experience. After using many ecommerce platforms, we found the key ways they help you run your online store are:

  • Mobile optimization
  • Ease of use
  • Scalability
  • Payment options
  • Apps and add-ons

Of course, these aren’t the only things to consider (we’ll go into plenty more later on and include a longer list in our comparison chart). But to make our list, each top ecommerce platform had to deliver on these factors.

Let’s go into a bit more detail.

 

Mobile Optimized

How many different devices can you browse the internet on in your household?

If you’re anything like the typical family, I imagine quite a few. This is also true for your potential customers.

Shopping on mobile phones is more popular than ever. In fact, by the end of 2020 mobile devices are expected to account for 45% of total ecommerce sales – up from just 11.6% in 2014.

Can you see which way the wind is blowing?

To put it simply: if you want to sell online, you can’t ignore mobile. You have to go where the customers are, right?

Mobile optimization is a fancy way of describing how well your store adapts when people look at it on different devices (iPhone, Tablet, Laptop) with different screen sizes.

Top ecommerce platforms make sure your store looks great no matter what device your customer is using.

Think of your store like a one-size-fits all wristwatch. It doesn’t matter how big the customer’s wrist is, the watch can be adjusted to fit. It will still look good and it will still tell the time! The best ecommerce platforms work in the same way.

On top of that, the best ecommerce platform editors make it easy to see what your store looks like on different devices. You can switch between previewing on phone and desktop at the click of a button.

Shopify Preview Mode Store Mobile And Desktop-min
In Shopify, you can toggle between mobile (left) and desktop (right) to see what your store looks like on different devices

A top ecommerce platform will even do a lot of the legwork for you. The themes (also called templates) you use to design your online store are built to look good on any device.

Shopify themes, for example, are generally optimized for use on both mobile and computer. Similarly, Wix will automatically reformat your store to look good on mobile devices. Squarespace, Weebly and BigCommerce also all offer mobile-friendly stores.

The best thing is that adding these themes and previewing your site on mobile is easy. Which leads us on to…

 

Ease of use

Let me take a wild guess: when you’re starting your online store, you don’t want to get bogged down in complex design? If that’s the case, any of our our recommended ecommerce platforms are worth considering.

When you’re just starting out selling online, or getting your bricks-and-mortar business online for the first time, ease of use is everything.

All of our top ecommerce platforms are different, but they have one crucial thing in common.

You can get online and start selling without knowing how to code.

What’s the point in having all-powerful customization potential if you don’t know how to use it?

The best ecommerce platform dashboards are simple and intuitive to use. They also come with excellent customer support and setup wizards that guide you through building your online store.

Having quality support is like hiring a full-time business mentor. They’re in your corner all day and can point you in the right direction when things go wrong.

We’ve rated the top ecommerce platforms at least four stars out of five in our ecommerce comparison chart. You don’t need any coding knowledge to build a stylish online store. This is not true of more complex self-hosted ecommerce software like WordPress and Magento (if you want to find out more about these advanced tools, visit our guide on best ecommerce software).

If you find it difficult to create and run your online store, it’s going to cost you time and money. This is because you will have to spend a lot of your time working out how to do things, or your money hiring a (potentially expensive) designer to do the work for you.

Fortunately, ecommerce platforms have been designed with you in mind. They make it easy to add the features, colors, fonts and functionality that you want on your store.

They’re intuitive to use – this means that designing your store should feel natural; just point and click at the feature you want to add, remove or change.

And the best part?

Each of our top ecommerce platforms offer a free trial. You don’t have to take our word for it that they’re easy to use. Make sure you find using the platform easy before you commit your hard-earned dollars by signing up to a free trial.

Scalability

An ecommerce platform doesn’t just give you what you need right now. It gives you what you need to run a successful long-term business. After all, as you grow, you want to sell more products to more customers, right? You need to know if:

  • Your store can handle the extra number of shoppers without slowing down or crashing
  • You have the flexibility to make changes as your business goals change.
  • If you can add more products as you expand your range.
  • You can confident your store has the right security certificates to sell online.

The best ecommerce platforms give you all this and more!

For example, all Shopify plans come with unlimited bandwidth, unlimited file storage (so you can upload as many quality product pictures as you want) and unlimited products.

Bandwidth is the amount of data your store can handle before it breaks.

Imagine you’re in an elevator. An elevator will have a maximum number of people it can carry before it grinds to a halt. This is the same as bandwidth. The more customers your store has, the more pressure it is placed under. Having unlimited bandwidth is like being in an elevator with no maximum weight – you can rest easy that your store won’t crash!

As your store grows, the things you’ll want are luxury add-ons, such as better analytics on your customers. Ecommerce platforms provide this by offering a range of plans that cater to businesses of different size. The bigger your store becomes, the more you will want to think about upgrading to a more advanced plan that comes with more features.

“Surely I’ll need to add in tools and services from elsewhere?”

This question might be playing on your mind. But the truth is that as you grow, you’ll still likely be able to manage most aspects from your ecommerce platform. That’s the beauty of scalability.

Top ecommerce platforms are one-stop-shops for all your online ecommerce needs.

One of the ways ecommerce platforms ensure this is through extensions and apps (which we’ll discuss in just a moment).

However far you want to grow your store, the best ecommerce platforms will scale with you. It doesn’t matter whether your goals are selling a certain number of products or building an email subscriber list. A top ecommerce platform will help you achieve them.

Shopify Theme Store Browse By Industry-min
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, a good ecommerce platform will cater to your needs by providing a wide range of themes.

Ecommerce Platforms – Extensions and Apps

Top ecommerce platforms are like Swiss Army knives. They let you perform all the important functions of running an online store from the same place.

They do this by giving you access to apps and extensions you can add to your store.

Let us explain in a bit more depth.

The best ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, have marketplaces where you can pick and choose additional functions to “bolt on” to your online store.

Some ecommerce platforms call them extensions, some call them apps. They’re basically the same thing. They are created to make your life easier.

There are a number of categories of functions that you can add to your online store, including:

  • Sales & Marketing
  • Shipping / Fulfillment
  • Inventory / Order Management
  • Customer Service
  • Accounting
  • Reporting / Analytics

We won’t go into all of them at this stage (if you want more detail, head over to our in-depth platform reviews), but for now here’s one BIG example of how apps can save you time and energy.

I’m guessing you’d rather be working on your products and marketing than making sure all your accounting and software are in sync?

If you’re nodding your head, what I’m about to say will interest you.

An accounting app can integrate your store with specific accounting software.

You don’t have to manually export data…then put it in the proper format…before importing it into your accounting software.

An accounting app is like hiring a full-time math whizz to help with your online store’s finances.

A good app will allow your online store to “talk” to your accounting software. Your financial data will be automatically integrated, saving you from hours of admin work every month. Not to mention it will save you from making costly mistakes!

Wix Stores App Market-min
Ecommerce platforms like Wix allow you to pick and choose from a number of different accounting apps, to synchronize with your accounting software.

We’ve used accounting as an example, but apps can help in any area you can think of.

Think of apps as problem-solvers. The top ecommerce platforms in this guide all have a store that connects you to a comprehensive list of apps. It’s why you shouldn’t just pick any good ol’ website builder if you’re serious about building a successful ecommerce store. There is only one of you, so selecting a solid ecommerce platform that gives you the tools necessary to grow with your business is so important.

Payment options

Sorry to state the obvious, but payment options are a pretty important part of an ecommerce platform.

After all, how are you going to sell your products if customers can’t pay you?

The best ecommerce platforms provide a range of payment options, including:

  • PayPal
  • Visa or Debit Card
  • Credit Card
  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin)

It’s all about choice.

The more options you can give your shoppers, the more chance you have of making a sale.

Having more payment options at your disposal is like having more hands as a soccer goalkeeper. You’ve got more chance of catching the ball (the sale) and not letting it slip through your fingers.

Now you know the key ways an ecommerce platform can help you build and grow an online store, it’s time to run through our five best ecommerce platforms.

3

5 Best Ecommerce Platforms

Finding a good ecommerce platform can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. There are so many to choose from, you can become paralyzed by choice.

That’s why we’ve tested and reviewed five of the top ecommerce platforms:

  1. Shopify
  2. Wix eCommerce
  3. BigCommerce
  4. Weebly
  5. Squarespace Business

Which one is right for you will depend on a number of factors – from the kind of store you want to build to the number of products you want to sell.

In this section we’ll unpack each ecommerce platform in a bit more detail. You’ll get all the information you need to make an informed decision and pick the best ecommerce platform for you.

Finding the perfect fit might involve trial-and-error (remember, they all offer free trial periods).

Before we go into each ecommerce platform in depth, let’s take a closer look at how our top three ecommerce platforms compare on three key features…

Features
Basic
Advanced
Premium Support
Card Recovery
Free SSL Certificate
Premium Support
Card Recovery
Free SSL Certificate
Premium Support
Card Recovery
Free SSL Certificate

Here’s what the features in the above chart mean (and why they matter to you):

Chart Features Explained:

1. Premium Support

This is the quality of support you get across email, LiveChat and, most importantly, over the phone. The better support you get from your ecommerce platform, the less chance you’ll make serious mistakes that can hurt your business. Shopify, Wix and BigCommerce – our top three ecommerce platforms – all offer a strong level of support.

2. Abandoned Cart Recovery

We’ll cover this feature in more depth later, but here’s a quick introduction: Abandoned Cart Recovery means that if your customer ditches their order at the checkout phase, they will get an email inviting them to finish. They will also be able to complete the order without entering all the details again. Your sales are far less likely to slip through. Think of it as sealing the holes in a leaky roof.

3. SSL Certificate

These certificates secure the data (email addresses, bank details etc) passing through your store. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and means your customers see your site in HTTPS.

1. Shopify

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms available to you There’s a reason it’s used by over 500,000 stores and has helped businesses rake in over $40bn worth of sales.

Beyond the headline-grabbing numbers, we wanted to find out what Shopify users really think. So we asked them. An impressive 93% of Shopify customers told our researchers they were satisfied with the ecommerce platform.

Shopify is a turn-key solution where you can sign up with just your email address for a 14-day trial (no credit card information required), and publish your first store within a few hours.

It’s ranked number one in our ecommerce comparison chart because it’s an all-round ecommerce platform.

We go into much more detail in our full Shopify Review, but for now we’ve picked out some of the key features to tell you about.

 

Professional themes across different industries

Shopify comes with over 100 professionally-designed themes. As an ecommerce platform it goes the extra mile to make sure themes are as good as they can be by inviting professional designers to create themes for Shopify.

You can select themes by industry and pick a style that suits your business. There are free and paid themes available, so if you want to spend a bit extra to make your store look extra special you can do.

 

Premium Support…24/7

The 24/7 support available from Shopify is among the best on the market. You can contact Shopify by phone, email and LiveChat. On top of that, Shopify’s editor has clickable links and question marks that take you through to detailed help guides. You can have your hand held through the process of building and running your online store and even get the option to hire qualified Shopify experts.

 

Great Payment Options

With Shopify, you can connect your payment processor (such as PayPal, or 70 other choices) with just a few clicks and someone can start buying products from you.

We like the sheer number of payment options Shopify lets you integrate with. All you need to do is pass over the details once you’ve set up an account with a payment gateway. Here’s a full list of Shopify’s supported payment processors.

Shopify is always adding new processors to this list – the ecommerce platform really is a market leader in this department.

 

Large App Marketplace

Not only are Shopify’s storefronts beautiful and professional (which is important in convincing your visitors to stay on your site and buy stuff too), it has a massive library of over 1200 apps in its marketplace. You can pick and choose which functions you want to bolt-on to your store. The apps are fully-integrated, meaning you won’t have to spend time trying to sync them up.

Shopify App Store-min
Shopify’s App Store comes with over 1200 apps to help grow your online store - a key plus point of a top ecommerce platform

One thing to bear in mind is Shopify will charge transaction fees of 0.5-2% depending on your plan. That is unless you use Shopify Payments – the company’s own payment processor. These fees may look high, but Shopify is very transparent and if you’re making sales the transaction fees will soon look pretty insignificant.

Ultimately, Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform. This means it’s suitable for people just looking to sell online to make some extra cash, right up to large businesses. Whatever type of store you want to run, you’ll be able to do it on Shopify.

2. Wix eCommerce

Wix is a “pure” drag-and-drop website builder. It literally allows you to drag and drop (we’ll explain what this means in just a moment) content anywhere on your website. This makes Wix a very versatile ecommerce platform for smaller, more independent businesses.

Wix eCommerce is (how did you guess?) the builder’s ecommerce offering. It’s a Wix plan that for $17/month allows you to create your own store and sell online. You can also sell online on Wix’s VIP plan, which is slightly more expensive at $25.00/month.

We’re big fans because Wix simplifies the whole process of building an online store. Its ecommerce plans use the same drag-and-drop principles Wix has built its business on.

Wix eCommerce Wix Stores-min
Wix eCommerce is based on the company’s drag-and-drop principles, making it the easiest way for you to start an online store

Drag and drop means what it says on the tin. You can create your online store by pointing at, clicking and dragging the sections you want to use. While Wix eCommerce isn’t as all round an ecommerce platform as Shopify, the drag-and-drop editor does make it easier to use (something to bear in mind if you’re just looking to sell a small number of products and want to keep it simple).

Compared to more “dedicated” ecommerce platforms, Wix is slightly less advanced.

What makes Wix such a strong choice is its back-to-basics approach to ecommerce. Without the added complication of lots of advanced ecommerce tools, Wix allows you to focus on the essentials: showing off your products and making sales.

Other ecommerce platforms don’t give you as much precision as Wix does when adding product images, slideshows and text to your web pages. This can be a huge positive when designing a unique and eye-catching online store.

Wix eCommerce is best suited for:

  • Small or independent businesses
  • Users looking for clean and easy store configuration
  • Store owners who are not planning on selling a huge range of products (e.g. under 50 items)
  • Individuals with simpler ecommerce requirements (e.g. you don’t need to integrate accounting for payroll reasons, or require fulfillment software, etc)

Let’s run through some of the key aspects of Wix as an ecommerce platform.

 

Over 500 stylish templates

One of Wix’s key strengths is that it offers you a large choice of great looking ecommerce-related designs, which can go a long way to making your store look more professional. Having an attractive or eye-catching storefront is important for branding. It’s important for your bottom line. A polished and slick store inspires trust. And the more customers trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.

In fact, with over 510 professionally-designed themes for you to choose from, this is one area Wix edges Shopify as an ecommerce platform.

 

Easy-to-use editor

With a focus on the essentials, Wix makes it easy for you to insert and stock products with multiple variations (e.g. different sizes), and offers you a fully integrated shopping cart connected to payment processors such as PayPal, Stripe, and WorldPay. You can even conduct offline payments.

 

Comprehensive App Market

With Wix, you get access to hundreds of apps that you can add to your store, powering it up to the next level and helping your business to grow. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the app options are not quite as all-encompassing as Shopify’s marketplace.

One more thing about Wix eCommerce we really must mention…

A huge bonus for Wix eCommerce users is the addition of Wix Code. This new tool helps non-technical individuals create websites that would have previously required a professional developer. It will be a massive time and money-saver for you!

Some people may point to a pure ecommerce platform like Shopify and say that Wix can’t compete. Now, I won’t lie to you – Shopify is the best ecommerce platform around; however, Wix can definitely compete alongside it as it’s ideal for individuals or small businesses just starting out – thanks to its simplicity, ease of use and cost effectiveness. So if you are a an independent trader or a small business, have no sophisticated requirements, and only want to focus on the ecommerce essentials then Wix is a very interesting option for you to test drive.

3. BigCommerce

As a dedicated ecommerce platform, BigCommerce is frequently compared with Shopify. Reviews (like ours here) pick over the pros and cons of each platform in great detail. We don’t want to get caught up in that debate too much here. What we will say is that BigCommerce is a great ecommerce platform.

In our experience, BigCommerce is the best ecommerce platform for large businesses (or online stores that expect to grow very quickly). This is because it’s focused on growing with your store. The bigger you get, the more tools BigCommerce makes available to you. It does this through its pricing structure, which automatically upgrades you to a more advanced plan if you hit a certain sales threshold.

Let’s take a look at some of BigCommerce’s key features:

 

Out-of-the-box ecommerce tools

BigCommerce has a very comprehensive set of “out-of-the-box” ecommerce tools to help you build a very functional online store.

We’ve found that BigCommerce provides more tools than a lot of its competitors. These tools are also very helpful and practical. You can tell BigCommerce had online store owners in mind when it included them! While BigCommerce isn’t as easy to use as Wix (you’ll need to invest more time to pick up the basics), it’s a dedicated ecommerce platform.

Its built-in tools let you:

  • Promote campaigns
  • Add unlimited product variants on any plan (a variant is a different type of the same product – for example, the same T-shirt in multiple colors, like red, blue and green)
  • Configure your shipping and tax
  • Handle returns
  • Accept payment through over 60 processors including Amazon Pay and PayPal

By dedicated ecommerce platform, we mean that BigCommerce’s entire function is to help you sell online. It’s why you get pretty powerful ecommerce tools if you sign up to BigCommerce.

You can see this in is the flexibility you get when dealing with your products and your customers. BigCommerce enables you to create personalized product rules, such as free shipping on orders over $100, or reward your top 20 customers with an exclusive coupon. These techniques help you build trust and make customers more likely to spend with you again.

With control like this you can build a store with real personality.

 

Large App Store

BigCommerce’s Ecommerce Apps Marketplace is second only to Shopify’s App Store. You get access to hundreds of free and paid apps that have been carefully curated to only include services that will help your ecommerce store grow.

These apps can help you promote your products more effectively, automate your daily mundane tasks, and give you a lot more horsepower without taking up any more of your precious time.

For example, you can connect your store with email provider MailChimp for free. We’ve used MailChimp before and found it to be an excellent tool for communicating with customers – it works on the same ease-of-use principles as the best ecommerce platforms.

BigCommerce Templates Online Store-min
BigCommerce provides a range of free and paid templates you can use to build a powerful online store. This theme, Cornerstone, is perfect for coffee shops...

Traditionally, one area BigCommerce has lagged behind Wix and Shopify is the templates it offers. BigCommerce does cover tons of niches, from restaurants to clothing retailers, but the pre-designed templates often don’t feel as modern, as stylish or as varied as Shopify or Wix themes.

On the other hand, BigCommerce themes have come a long way and are catching up!

Ultimately, BigCommerce is one of the best ecommerce platforms available on the market. Like Shopify, BigCommerce is a dedicated ecommerce platform that will let you build your store without lots of tech know-how. It’s suitable for smaller stores, but really comes into its own when powering larger businesses.

4. Weebly eCommerce

Weebly is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive drag-and-drop ecommerce platforms on the market. From Weebly’s Starter Plan upwards you can sell products on your Weebly website. Weebly’s ecommerce features are comprehensive and allow you to quickly build a full-featured online store.

Weebly keeps things very simple (even more so than Wix eCommerce). So if you’re selling a small number of products and aren’t fussed about advanced ecommerce functionality, Weebly might be the best ecommerce platform choice for you.

To sell unlimited products, you’ll need Weebly’s Business Plan, which costs $25 a month. This makes it more expensive than Wix eCommerce ($17-20/month) and roughly the same as comparable Shopify (Basic – $29/month) and BigCommerce (Standard – $29.95/month) plans.

But remember: never choose an ecommerce platform on price alone. Consider the features your store needs to grow and which ecommerce platform you find easiest to use.

Weebly doesn’t overcomplicate selling online, but that’s not to say you can’t build an impressive online store using this ecommerce platform.

Now we’ll show you how by looking at three key Weebly features we’re impressed with:

 

Customizable Product Pages

With Weebly, you get deceptively impressive personalization potential.

For example, you can create standalone pages for each product and populate them with a main image and ‘sub-images’ of each product.

Not bad for an ecommerce platform focused on simplicity!

This is a very polished feature and, importantly, one that will make you money. When your customer hovers over the main image, they’ll see a zoomed-in version. This allows you to show off your products and it gives your customers detail that might convince them to buy!

Think about it.

This feature gets your customers closer to your product. It’s a bit like watching live sport on the TV. It’s so enjoyable because broadcasters have invested in cameras that show us the action from every possible angle. We can even rewind and pause at will. In the same way, the more involved your customers feel on your store, the more likely they are to purchase.

There are lots of these little touches in Weebly. They make it more than a nuts and bolts ecommerce platform.

Another is the sales option. This nifty feature adds a discounted price next to the crossed-out old price on your product page. Yes it’s simple, but it’s also a quick way to drum up more sales.

 

Fully Integrated Shopping Cart

If you sign up to Weebly’s Business plan or higher, you get access to a personalized shopping cart. This could have a HUGE impact on your bottom line.

Why is this so important? And what does it even mean?

I’ll explain.

On a cheaper Weebly plan, your customer will checkout on a Weebly subdomain. A domain name is the bit in the URL that identifies a site. They’re like your online street name and house number – our domain name, for example, is websitebuilderexpert.com.

Let’s say I use Weebly as my ecommerce platform. My Weebly subdomain might look like this:

jeremysshop.checkout.weebly.com

But with a fully integrated shopping cart, the domain your customer checks out on would be:

www.jeremysshop.com/checkout

The key word here is trust. Keeping your customers on your domain name builds trust. The more customers trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you. Having your customers checkout on a different domain name would be like a bricks-and-mortar store asking you to cross the road and pay in a separate building. Not a good business strategy!

 

Weebly Ecommerce Payment Options

Weebly may be a lightweight compared to a heavyweight ecommerce platform like Shopify, but it still lets you connect to multiple payment processors (a long way from Shopify’s 70+ payment options though).

You can connect your Weebly store to credit card processors:

  • Stripe
  • net
  • Square
  • PayPal

Bear in mind that you can only choose one credit card processor and also PayPal.

We found the process of setting up payment in Weebly painless and very intuitive.

These different options accept different payment methods and cards, so we recommend you take a look on the Weebly website before making your mind up.

Weebly Online Store Theme-min
Weebly's themes let you build a stylish online store

Similar to Wix, Weebly is best catered for businesses who don’t need a lot of advanced ecommerce tools. It’s suitable for stores that are selling 20 products or so, and don’t have the requirement to integrate external software (such as accounting, sales, marketing, inventory fulfillment software, etc) to help automate a lot of administrative processes.

OK, so what about Weebly’s limitations as an ecommerce platform?

Of course, there are drawbacks – and Weebly is missing features you will get on more advanced ecommerce platforms (like Shopify). There’s limited integration with email providers like MailChimp and the analytics available are pretty basic.

If you’re planning to grow your online store into a full-time business, these are the kind of features you will want.

That being said, although Weebly’s ecommerce tools are not as comprehensive as pure ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, they have more than enough for you to build a very successful online store. It’s a very user-friendly and intuitive ecommerce platform, so the learning curve to build an online store is relatively low. If you’re a beginner, Weebly is a wonderful ecommerce platform.

5. Squarespace

Last on our list of the five best ecommerce platforms is Squarespace.

Squarespace is best known for helping users such as yourself create beautiful, image-rich websites. Its templates are polished and very eye-catching, but what a lot of people fail to appreciate is how good its ecommerce tools are.

There’s more to Squarespace than meets the eye. I’ll quickly run through why you shouldn’t write it off as an ecommerce platform.

Squarespace may even be the perfect fit if you plan on selling items that rely on high-quality visuals.

To build an online store on Squarespace you will need to be on at least Squarespace’s Business Plan.

In addition to being able to create a beautiful storefront, Squarespace also allows you to:

  • Create multiple product variants
  • Manage your inventory
  • Upload unlimited products
  • Sell physical and digital products
  • Generate coupons
  • Configure shipping options and costs, and configure sales taxes
  • Manage your customer email list
  • Automatically send customers an email to confirm their order
Squarespace Online Store Templates-min
Squarespace has a range of templates designed specifically for online stores

Squarespace is suitable for more straightforward, less sophisticated ecommerce needs. Although Squarespace’s ecommerce tools are not as comprehensive as Shopify’s, if your store is simple enough Squarespace will cater for your needs. This is especially true if you are picky about your website design. Squarespace is the best ecommerce platform for stylish templates. Furthermore, Squarespace is a much cheaper option than Shopify and BigCommerce.

4

Conclusion: What’s The Best Ecommerce Platform For You?

In this guide we’ve introduced you to our five top ecommerce platforms. You’re now ready to pick one to build an online store and start selling online.

Let’s recap quickly.

Our top five best ecommerce platforms are:

  1. Shopify
  2. Wix eCommerce
  3. BigCommerce
  4. Weebly
  5. Squarespace

Still with us?

With any of these ecommerce platforms, you’ll be able to sell products online without learning how to code!

We may have ranked these ecommerce platforms, but the truth is the right one for you will depend on a number of different factors.

We’ve covered the key ones in this guide, but if you’re still not sure, make use of our four-question quiz and comparison chart.

We hope we’ve explained how ecommerce platforms help you grow your online store by automating mundane tasks and freeing up your time to focus on other aspects of your business. It’s why choosing the best ecommerce platform that’s flexible and has the right tools is really important.

Put it this way, if you don’t free up more of your time and automate a lot of business processes, you will have a really hard time growing your business. The best ecommerce platforms do a lot of the work for you. The less of your time is required to run each process, the faster you can grow your online store.

Shopify and BigCommerce, for example, both have comprehensive marketplaces where you can pick and choose free and paid apps to add more functionality to your business. They are such powerful ecommerce platforms because they have the depth to grow with your business.

Wix and Weebly, meanwhile, will save you a load of time (and money) because they’re so easy to use. You’ll be able to pick it up as easily as riding a bike.

At some point, it’s all about gaining the right leverage to expand your business, without taking up more of your limited time. This is where ecommerce platforms can give you the right tools to accomplish this.

There are only 24 hours in a day – you have to be very strategic about how you use them. Either do it yourself, or leverage on tools to do some of the work for you.

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight.

The purpose of this study was to identify what the preventative barriers are to getting online. We surveyed a total of 1,881 individuals – the majority of which resided within the US, while additional results were captured from a global audience.

Please note: the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. For further information regarding the study, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at info@websitebuilderexpert.com

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Jeremy Wong

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.

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Jeremy Wong

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.

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14 Responses to Best Ecommerce Platforms | Build Your Store Today

  1. #

    Thank you – this was extremely helpful. It is so clearly described and exhaustive without being overwhelming. It is certainly helping me to make an informed decision about which e-commerce site to use.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Hi Kathy,

      Great to hear you found the piece useful – which platform did you decide to go with?

      Best,

      Fred

  2. #

    Hi

    Thanks for sharing nice article regarding best ecommerce platform.

    Regards
    Saurabh

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi saurabh,

      Great to hear you found the post interesting.

      Best of luck with your ecommerce store,

      – Tom

  3. #

    Hi Jeremy, thank you for the article!
    I’d just add that Shopify and BigCommerce are good for small businesses, or those that don’t require much customization. If you need many things customized or plan to integrate with your existing ERP, etc. I’d suggest open source solutions like nopCommerce or Prestashop, they give far more opportunities to implement your individual needs.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi Maria,

      I think I agree with you insofar that Bigcommerce + Shopify are good choices for small businesses.

      But I would definitely consider them both to be strong choices for larger businesses too! Especially on the (admittedly higher priced) enterprise plans. Shopify’s top tier plan is probably one of the best ecommerce platforms available online, so you might be selling it a little short limiting it just to small businesses.

      I think you’re right to point out that open solutions can give you greater flexibility, however if we look at the potential time and money you’ll need to invest into PrestaShop or nopCommerce to achieve anything remotely resembling a premium Shopify store – then I really do think Shopify would come out on top.

      Not to diminish your suggestions, they’re both great – however, they are beyond of the technical abilities of most of our readers!

      – Tom

  4. #

    Hello Jeremy!,
    Nice article, we like your insights about the best ecommerce platforms.

    In 2016, We will see responsive ecommerce store plus companion mobile app to boost profits and connect to potential buyers. We will also see Augmented Reality coming to picture to change the entire buying experience to purchase through smartphone.

  5. #

    These are great tips Jeremy! Very innovative and I really love reading this one. I have an online selling business, and I think this one will help me on how to sell more of my products easier. This one is convenient and easy to understand, I will be using this platform starting tomorrow, I know this one will help me on enhancing my skills on this business. Thankful there are platforms like this.

    Jeremy this is a great work, I will share this article to my friends who also have online business.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks for your comment Dennise!

  6. #

    I wan to say that you are a great blogger. Kepp it up with more interesting topics.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Ann,

      Thanks for the feedback! Hopefully you got some interesting insights from this discussion about ecommerce platforms!

      Jeremy

  7. #

    I’m considering moving my web store to Shopify. I currently maintain my inventory in QuickBooks. I was wondering if you had evaluated accounting and inventory management apps to establish a 2-way interface between Shopify and Quick/books.

    Also, I understand that you have a newsletter. How do I sign up to receive it?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Bill,

      We haven’t tested the integration between Shopify and Quickbooks. But there are a lot of Shopify consultants / experts out there that has and it’s worth asking them for their thoughts.

      As for our newsletter, go here to sign up.

      – Jeremy

  8. #

    I have my online store with shopify, what I like most is the easy of the platform an also the have payment plans that allow me to grow with my business, when I was selling 20 products I did pay less, and the when the business was growing I start to pay more, but my store was doing much better.