Best Ecommerce Software | 6 Solutions To Help You Sell Online

Last updated on November 8, 2018

best ecommerce softwareTrying to choose the best ecommerce software so you can sell online?  You’ve come to the right place.

In an online world filled with stylish shops and stores, your business needs the best ecommerce software it can get. Choosing the right software for you will help make a real impression – and lots of money too.

After all, US shoppers spent over $453 billion online in 2017 – a massive 16% increase compared to 2016.

To grab a piece of that pie, you need an ecommerce solution.

What are ecommerce solutions? An ecommerce solution is specialized software which helps you sell online. You don’t need any tech skills because it’s designed to give you all the tools you need. There are hosted and self-hosted versions depending on your store’s needs.

There’s just one tiny problem, though – how do you pick the best ecommerce software for you?

There are lots of ecommerce solutions out there, and all of them promise to make building an online store a walk in the park. Even less helpfully, they also seem to offer similar tools and features.

If you’re thinking of creating your own online store and are looking for the best ecommerce software to use, this article is for you.

We’ll show you the best hosted ecommerce software:

  • Shopify – best hosted ecommerce software overall
  • BigCommerce – best ecommerce software for large businesses
  • Volusion – best ecommerce software for analytics

We’ll also show you the best self-hosted ecommerce solutions:

You can see how our top three hosted ecommerce software solutions are rated below. If you’re ready to go, follow the links to sign up for a free trial:

Best Ecommerce Software
Top Choice

5 out of 5

Template Design

5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

5 out of 5 stars

Features & Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Popularity

5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

5 out of 5 stars

Best Large Business Website Builder

4.5 out of 5

Template Design

4.5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Features & Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Popularity

4 out of 5 stars

Pricing

4 out of 5 stars

Best for Analytics

3 out of 5

Template Design

4 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

3 out of 5 stars

Features & Flexibility

3 out of 5 stars

Popularity

1.5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

2.5 out of 5 stars

What’s the difference between ecommerce software and an ecommerce solution?

In this guide, we’ve used ‘ecommerce software’ and ‘ecommerce solution’ in the same way. They both describe dedicated ecommerce tools that help you create an online store.

Ecommerce platforms, on the other hand, can include website builders that let you add ecommerce functionality. We haven’t included these builders, such as Wix and Squarespace, in this article. If you want to know more about these and ecommerce platforms on the whole, read our review of the best ecommerce platforms.

Here’s a full comparison table including Wix and other ecommerce platforms.

1

Best Three Hosted Ecommerce Solutions

Our top three choices of ecommerce software for building an online store are:

  1. Shopify (Try For Free)
  2. BigCommerce (Try For Free)
  3. Volusion (Try For Free)

These are all-in-one ecommerce solutions dedicated to helping you build an online store.

You can see how our hosted ecommerce solutions stack up in three key areas, and sign up for a free trial, using our features comparison chart below:

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

Here’s what the features listed mean, and why they’re so important.

Chart Features Explained:

  1. Premium Support

Getting premium support from your ecommerce software is like employing a full-time business mentor. While some packages offer fantastic assistance, others – such as Volusion – don’t offer phone support on their most basic plans.

  1. Abandoned Cart Recovery

This feature can have a huge impact on your bottom line. If a customer gives up on a purchase at the checkout, Abandoned Cart Recovery allows you to send them an email reminder so as not to forget their shopping. They’ll then be able to complete their order without filling out all the details again.

  1. SSL Certificate

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) allows your customers to view your site in HTTPS. An SSL certificate will verify that  data passing through your store is secure. Unlike Shopify and BigCommerce, Volusion doesn’t offer an SSL certificate as standard.

With all three ecommerce solutions listed, you can:

  • Build a functional online store very quickly (usually in a couple of days)
  • Get help from teams of support staff through various support channels

You also won’t need to:

  • Know how to code (though it can help, it’s not a necessity)
  • Hire expensive developers
  • Manage the technical parts of operating a store (hosting, security, coding, etc)

Let’s take a closer look at the best ecommerce software available in the market today.

Further Reading

#1. Shopify

Best all-round ecommerce solution

Start selling from $29 a month

Shopify is probably the best ecommerce software in the market today.

It’s suitable for small businesses who are just starting out, all the way up to larger stores that sell a range of products and make millions of dollars. Shopify customers include MVMT, Leesa, and Penguin Books Store. This is a solution with the scalability to grow with your store as your business expands.

Here are some key Shopify highlights:

Click on the image below to see a short video overview of what Shopify is all about, and how it can help you build an ecommerce store.

best ecommerce builder software Shopify

Shopify is a one-stop-shop for ecommerce solutions. Its drag-and-drop functionality eliminates the usual challenges of building an online store, with no coding required whatsoever.

In our research testing, Shopify came top for its range and quality of sales tools. Some of these tools include:

  • Multi-channel selling through Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and more
  • 100+ payment options
  • No limit on number of products you can sell
  • Mobile app to manage your store on the go
  • Customizable checkout and guest checkout options
  • Automatic email notifications for customers
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • In-depth analytics and insight reports
  • All-round shipping support

To put it simply: Shopify is one of the very best ecommerce solutions. It’s used by brands like Red Bull and Tesla, so they must really be doing something right! It’s perfect for starting and scaling your business.

Further Information

#2. BigCommerce

Best ecommerce solution for scaling fast-growing businesses

Start selling from $29.95 a month

BigCommerce is another reputable ecommerce software option that allows you to build your store without getting tangled up in technology.

As one of the best ecommerce solutions, BigCommerce is suitable for businesses of any size. It has more in-built features than any of its competitors, so you’ll have everything you need to succeed right at your fingertips.

With BigCommerce, you get:

  • A comprehensive set of “out-of-the-box” ecommerce tools to help you build your store
  • The chance to leverage different social channels to help you grow your sales
  • Advanced tools through their App store (just like Shopify)
  • 24/7 support

An exciting recent update allows you to integrate your BigCommerce store with your WordPress site. This is a great option for combining the specialist ecommerce features of BigCommerce with the flexibility and customization of WordPress. You can read more about this in our review of BigCommerce’s WordPress Plugin.

Click on the image below to see a short video overview of what BigCommerce is all about, and how it can help you build an ecommerce store.

bigcommerce best ecommerce solution for large businesses

We like BigCommerce because it focuses on growing with your store. As you grow, you get access to more features and functionality to take your store to the next level. There are no  limitations on whether you sell one or 100 products through your store. Plus BigCommerce gives you great analytics tools and reports to track the success of your business.

You can integrate your store with multiple social channels including Facebook, Instagram, eBay and Amazon. You can manage all your integrations from one place with the BigCommerce Channel Manager. This makes it super easy to sell across these different platforms and expand your business.

Because of the number of features and tools, BigCommerce is really best for anyone looking to scale their business. You get the top-notch features you pay for.

If you’re a small store with a small budget, you’ll find better value with Shopify – but if you’re a fast-growing business, BigCommerce is truly worth every cent. While it’s not quite as polished as Shopify, it’s still an excellent ecommerce solution.

Further Information

#3. Volusion

Best for tracking your store’s progress with analytics features

Start selling from $29 a month

Like BigCommerce and Shopify, Volusion is a comprehensive ecommerce solution.

Key features include:

  • 24/7 customer support – impressively thorough support pages and video tutorials, plus phone support on higher price plans.
  • Broad range of mobile-responsive themes – whatever you want to sell online, Volusion has you covered. Its themes cover fashion, beauty, food & beverages, electronics – pretty much anything you can imagine! These themes are also mobile-optimized, meaning your customer’s experience will be smooth no matter what device they’re using. However, for sheer number of designs, Volusion can’t match Shopify (offering 45 compared to Shopify’s 100+).
  • App market – you can choose from over 20 apps to bolt onto your store from Volusion’s App Marketplace.
  • Ecommerce tools – add products, offer subscription billing, get automatic tax rates, and integrate with Amazon and eBay – all without touching any code.

We like the simplicity of Volusion’s design. The overall offering is not as comprehensive as Shopify or BigCommerce, but Volusion’s store editor is pretty accessible.

volusion best ecommerce solution for analytics
Using Volusion, you can use stylish templates like ‘Boost’ to build an effective online store

Volusion does not charge transaction fees on any of its plans. This means you can keep all your profits and reinvest them in your store.

Like Shopify and BigCommerce, Volusion also has a great range of analytics tools. This makes it easy to assess where your store is doing well and where it could be improved.

Volusion is especially helpful if you’re selling over multiple channels, such as Facebook and Instagram. It allows you to pull all your sales into one place, making it really easy to keep track of everything.

But beware: Volusion plans come with a bandwidth limit that must not be exceeded.

Bandwidth is the amount of data your store can handle. Think of your store like a balloon filling up with air; the air is the bandwidth. Eventually, your balloon will fill to capacity and burst – unless you buy a bigger balloon, of course!

With Shopify and BigCommerce, unlimited bandwidth on all plans means your store will grow to accommodate any extra bandwidth. Your balloon will keep expanding.

But with Volusion, if you exceed your plan’s limit, you have to buy more bandwidth in blocks. This is a potential unexpected cost of using Volusion.

And that’s not all…

Whereas BigCommerce and Shopify include SSL certificates for free, Volusion make you buy one separately for $99.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. These certificates are essential if you’re running an online store because they protect your customers’ data. Running an online store without one would be like putting all your valuables in a safe without a padlock.

On the whole, though, Volusion is a more than decent ecommerce software that can get you online even if you’re not at all technical. It’s not quite up to the standard of Shopify or BigCommerce, but it’s still an ecommerce solution that lets you build a stylish store and sell online without coding.

Further Information

Hang on, what about ecommerce platforms like Wix?

At this stage, it’s worth reiterating that this guide deals specifically with ecommerce solutions. If you’re starting your first online store, or getting your first business online, you may want to check out our piece on the best ecommerce platforms. These intuitive tools are the quickest and easiest ways to begin selling online through your own website.

2

Best Three Self-Hosted Ecommerce Solutions

Self-hosted ecommerce software is very flexible, but you need to be quite technical (or hire a capable developer) to help you build your store.

Before we go any further, make no mistake about it – self-hosted ecommerce software solutions will involve a far steeper learning curve than the hosted ecommerce solutions we’ve just looked at.

But if you are technologically savvy and want greater customization options, a self-hosted ecommerce solution might be of interest. The best ecommerce solutions that are open source (we’ll explain what this means in a moment) provide unrivaled customization.

In this section, we’ll introduce you to three leading self-hosted ecommerce software options:

magento best self hosted ecommerce solution
Self-hosted ecommerce solutions like Magento provide great customization options. It’s why they’re used by some of the world’s best-known brands like Dollar Shave Club

Self-hosted ecommerce software solutions are open source shopping carts. But what does that mean?

Open source shopping carts are effectively standalone programs you install into your own host (such as Bluehost). This means you’ll have to set up, configure and manage your own hosting service to power your online store.

Once you sign up to a hosting service, you’ll then need to install some shopping cart software into your hosting account.

See why we think these solutions are that much trickier than hosted ecommerce software?

Hosting services such as Bluehost usually have a one-click installation process. But there is still quite a bit of tinkering to do, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. When we tried it ourselves for the first time, it took a couple of hours and was a bit frustrating. But after you figure things out, the next installation is a lot smoother.

Once you have the shopping cart platform installed, you’ll need to install a design template. You should know that unless you are quite confident with codes, you’ll most likely need to hire a coder to help you make most design changes. The templates are not as user-friendly as drag-and-drop ecommerce software (such as the examples highlighted above).

The main benefit of using self-hosted open source software is that you can configure it to function exactly the way you want it to, meaning your store can be heavily customized.

The drawback is that it requires you to be technically experienced to install, set up and configure it to work properly. So if you’re not a techie, or if you don’t have time to learn more advanced coding functions, self-hosted shopping carts will not be the best approach for you.

“If hosted ecommerce software is like a finished house you can start decorating immediately, self-hosted software is like a building site. You get bricks, cement, wood and steel framing – all you need to build a beautiful property. But it’s up to you to put it together.”

That being said, open source shopping carts offer good flexibility, and have lots of advanced features that you can use and configure.

Which is why we’re going to tell you a bit more about three of the leading self-hosted ecommerce software providers…

#1. Magento

Magento is one of the most well-known ecommerce solutions on the market. It powers over 240,000 stores, so it must be doing something right!

If you know a bit of code (or are able to pay someone who does), then you have great freedom to build the store of your dreams.

magento paul smith best self hosted ecommerce solution
Designer Paul Smith uses Magento to power its impressive online store. It features stylish images, banners and menus, making for a great customer experience.

But Magento’s editor just isn’t as easy to use as hosted ecommerce software. For an inexperienced store builder, there are far more potential pitfalls. For example, we found the interface includes a lot of technical terms that will seem alien to a first-time user. The more time you spend working out what they mean, the less time you spend perfecting your store.

One area Magento is pretty strong in is support. The Magento community are very helpful, and there are lots of quality guides available. However, don’t expect the same 24/7 support you get from an ecommerce solution like Shopify!

As with Shopify and BigCommerce, you can purchase themes externally via Magento, while you can also access a large selection of apps and plugins. The key difference with Magento is that you need to pay for your own hosting. But that’s all!

Because it’s in the public domain, Magento is free to use. This means you only need to pay for hosting, rather than a subscription as you would with Shopify. Your costs will vary depending on which hosting you choose.

Further Information

#2. WordPress with WooCommerce

OK, we’re guessing you’ve heard of WordPress? After all, it’s one of the most popular platforms around.

To turn a standard WordPress site into an ecommerce store, you need to use extra ecommerce solutions. The best of these is WooCommerce.

Here’s how it works: you plug WooCommerce into your WordPress site to add ecommerce functionality. It’s so good at what it does that Automatic, the company that owns WordPress, bought WooCommerce in 2015. That’s a pretty big vote of confidence!

WordPress + WooCommerce as an ecommerce solution has a lot of pluses. You get:

  • Great SEO support (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – the practice of boosting your site’s rankings in search engines like Google. The higher you rank, the more traffic and sales you get)
  • The ability to add and customize products
  • Payment options like PayPal and Visa

Professionally-designed templates are mobile optimized, meaning your store will look good across all devices.

The great benefit of ecommerce software like WordPress + WooCommerce is personalization. You aren’t tied down to any one way of doing things, instead having the freedom to play around in the backend. For instance, you can customize everything from your check-out cart through to your confirmation emails.

woocommerce best wordpress ecommerce solution two chimp coffee
Online store Two Chimps Coffee used WordPress and WooCommerce to create a unique brand.

But, while WooCommerce may sound simple in principle, just like Magento, it requires technical skill to run.

In our experience, add-ons that are included in Shopify and BigCommerce plans can get quite pricey with WooCommerce. If you’re looking for an alternative, check out BigCommerce’s WordPress plugin. This allows you to make the most of BigCommerce’s features along with the freedom of WordPress.

BigCommerce has more multi-channel integrations than WooCommerce, so if you want to sell through lots of platforms, it’s an option worth thinking about.

Further Information

#3. OpenCart

OpenCart is another very powerful piece of open source ecommerce software.

Like WordPress + WooCommerce and Magento, it promises everything you need to build, scale and run your business online. However, as with those other self-hosted ecommerce solutions, you will need technical chops to get the most out of it..

We can’t stress this point enough: if you’re not experienced with code and aren’t keen to learn, head back to our three best hosted ecommerce software solutions and pick one. You will save time, money and A LOT of stress.

On the flip side, if you do have a bit of coding knowledge (or plan on hiring someone), OpenCart is worth considering.

It’s also worth noting that OpenCart is one of the easiest-to-use self-hosted ecommerce solutions. The interface is fairly accessible, and you don’t have to be a Harvard-educated programmer to add products or change your store’s theme.

opencart easiest self hosted ecommerce solution
The British Red Cross used OpenCart for creating its gift shop. The menus, search bar, and featured products all help to sell products and raise money for the charity

One of OpenCart’s biggest selling points as an ecommerce solution is the number of payment processors it supports. You can choose from over 20 different payment methods – a great variety for your future customers!

Key OpenCart features include:

  • Unlimited product categories
  • Customer reviews and ratings
  • Support for multiple currencies
  • Ability to sell digital products (like e-books)

OpenCart is free to download, but watch out for charges for installing new features. These can be as much as $300 a pop, so scaling your online store will get expensive pretty quickly!

And remember, your hosting (where your store lives online) is not included with self-hosted ecommerce software. You will have to pay at least $5/month to host your store – a fee that’s included with hosted ecommerce software like Shopify.

Further Information

3

What Is Ecommerce Software?

So just how does ecommerce software work?

Ecommerce software is what we call an all-in-one solution that gives you everything you need to build and run an online store. It makes it possible for you to add and sell products, manage your inventory, accept payments, deliver orders, and sort out taxes – pretty much anything you need to sell products through your online store without switching between different services.

Imagine you’re the driver and the ecommerce software is the car. The software provides the engine, lights, steering wheel and gears. You can then pick the car’s color, number plate, and where you want to go!

There are two main types of ecommerce software you can use to build an online store:

  1. Hosted ecommerce software (more user-friendly). Hosted ecommerce shopping carts enable you to build an ecommerce store without learning to code. The top three are:
  1. Self-hosted open source ecommerce software (more advanced). Our recommendations include Magento and WordPress with WooCommerce.

Self-hosted ecommerce software like WordPress powers millions of online stores, while ecommerce solutions like Shopify and BigCommerce are used by some of America’s biggest brands.

Just check out this Shopify-powered online store from Red Bull…

shopify best ecommerce software red bull example
Red Bull's stylish online store was built using Shopify

Using the best ecommerce software, you can build a stylish online store without any technical knowledge. There’s no need to worry, either – both hosted and self-hosted software will enable you to build the online store of your dreams.

4

How do You Pick the best Ecommerce Software for You?

“You’ll be surprised to hear that finding the best ecommerce software is not what you should be aiming for. Instead, focus on finding the best ecommerce software for YOU.”

Think of it as like picking clothes for your wardrobe. You don’t only pick the nicest or the most expensive clothes, do you? You want clothes that fit your body shape and are suitable for the weather outside. It’s the same with ecommerce software: you need a solution that’s the right fit for you.

So how do you pick the best ecommerce solution for your store?

There are four key questions you need to ask yourself before you pick your ecommerce software. Your answers will tell you which ecommerce solution is right for you.

Let’s dive in…

  1. How much time do you want to spend on technical maintenance?
  2. How budget-conscious are you?
  3. How technologically skilled are you?
  4. How much support do you want or need?

1. How much time do you want to spend on maintenance?

Are you not particularly technical? Do you not want to spend your time making sure your site doesn’t crash? Would you rather focus on marketing your store and making money?

In other words, do you want to worry about hosting (where your site lives on the internet), security, or any technical aspects of running your online store?

If your answer is a resounding no, you might want to consider using hosted ecommerce software.

Ecommerce solutions like Shopify, BigCommerce and Volusion take care of the essentials of building and running an online store.

Hosted ecommerce software will also make sure your site loads quickly. Load time is how long it takes for your store to appear when a customer tries to visit.

Online shoppers are impatient. The slower your site loads, the more chance your customers bail before buying. In our experience, ecommerce software that is self-hosted will load slower. Any work needed to speed up the site is up to you.

On the other hand, the best hosted ecommerce solutions will take care of all the technical upkeep for you.

Basically, hosted ecommerce software is dedicated to selling online. These solutions take care of all the technical aspects of operating a website so you don’t have to be your own IT manager. This enables you to focus on your business instead.

shopify best hosted ecommerce software example
Hosted ecommerce software will keep your store up and running without you having to lift a finger. Here’s one we made using Shopify.

In the other corner are self-hosted ecommerce software tools.

These ecommerce solutions give you great flexibility to customize your store, but are much more hands-on when it comes to technical maintenance.

They regularly update their system, and it’s your job to make sure your store is up-to-date and glitch-free.

To do this, it’s likely you’ll need to work with a developer. This can get very expensive very quickly.

Which leads us on to our second question…

2.How budget-conscious are you?

Using hosted ecommerce software enables you to create a store for a set monthly fee.

From $29 a month, you can set up your online store and start selling products.

With the best ecommerce solutions, you know what your bill will be each month, and any extra apps are clearly priced.

It’s trickier to work out your costs with self-hosted software like WordPress. This is because you may have to work with a developer to keep your site running (if you’re not a techie yourself) and make any significant changes. Developers cost money– often hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Furthermore, with self-hosted ecommerce software, you need to keep paying for plugins to add more functionality. This makes costing your online store with self-hosted ecommerce solutions a lot more difficult.

Further Information

Now you’ve worked out how important a clearly defined budget is to you, it’s time to ask yourself…

3. How technologically skilled are you?

Hosted and self-hosted ecommerce solutions require different amounts of technical skill to help you create the store you want.

Self-hosted ecommerce software is terrific for customization. WordPress, for example, is an open source platform, meaning anyone can use its codes and create personalized templates, themes and plugins. It’s also extremely powerful, so you can build a really unique store.

However, as with technical maintenance, making changes using self-hosted ecommerce software like WordPress is going to require a developer (unless you’re a skilled coder yourself).

On the flip side, if you want to build your store using more accessible technology that requires no coding skills, hosted ecommerce solutions are the answer.

The idea is that hosted ecommerce solutions “hide” all the code, and instead provide you with a simple and non-technical user interface for you to create your own store. At the click of a button, you can insert your content (such as images and galleries), upload your products, and connect your website to a payment processor.

You can then start selling very quickly.

shopify best ecommerce software online store example
Using hosted ecommerce software, you can design a stylish homepage without needing to code. Here’s some inspiration from Shopify-powered Press

All the tools you need to run an online store, including product management and payment processors, are already built-in to hosted ecommerce solutions. You don’t need to spend time adding them yourself – they all work out-of-the-box, right away. If you do get stuck, dedicated support teams are on hand to help.

Which leads us to our fourth and final question…

4. How much support do you want or need?

When launching an online store, professional support is a big help.

Good support is like having a full-time business partner. They can answer your questions and point you in the right direction when things go wrong.

The best ecommerce solutions all come with at least a decent level of support.

Generally, self-hosted ecommerce solutions leave you on your own a bit more. There are communities, resources and tutorials to help, but you may find it hard to sift through the information to find the answer to your specific problem.

In our research, we found that hosted ecommerce software like Shopify and BigCommerce provided an excellent level of support. Agents are typically available over the phone, email and LiveChat.

shopify hosted ecommerce software help center
Hosted ecommerce software like Shopify provides an excellent level of support.

Now you’ve had an overview of the best hosted and self-hosted ecommerce solutions on the market, and know exactly what to look out for, you can choose the best solution for your online store.

Conclusion

Let’s recap the six best hosted and self-hosted ecommerce solutions:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • Volusion
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce with WordPress
  • OpenCart

Finding the best ecommerce software is not an easy task when you’re trying to figure out how to sell online.

The first step is to think about how technically confident you are. If you’re a master coder, then self-hosted solutions like Magento will give you more flexibility and you can configure the cart as you wish (head back to our discussion on the best self-hosted ecommerce software).

What if you are a beginner or intermediate user, not comfortable with code, or want to quickly and easily set up an online store and start selling? Hosted ecommerce solutions like Shopify are your best option.

To wrap up, here are our recommended hosted ecommerce software suggestions again:

3 Best Hosted Ecommerce Solutions

  1. Shopify
  2. BigCommerce
  3. Volusion

FAQs

Should I choose a hosted or self-hosted ecommerce solution?

For most people, we recommend hosted ecommerce solutions like Shopify and BigCommerce. This is because these options are more accessible to a wider range of people. They already have all the tools built in for you to create your online store, so you can start selling quickly and easily without knowing a line of code.

Self-hosted ecommerce solutions like Magento and WordPress (with WooCommerce) are more advanced. While this means they’re more flexible, it also means they’re more complicated to set up and manage. If you’re confident with code and technology, these are a great choice. If not, they can be overwhelming and expensive for you to run.

See our Ecommerce Comparison Chart for a full list of hosted ecommerce options. Or, check out our WordPress Review to find out more about self-hosted platforms.

How much do ecommerce solutions cost?

There’s no perfect answer! The good news is there are tons of options, so you can find a price to suit your budget. If you want to sell online for $20 or less, check out our best ecommerce platforms review, which includes website builders like Wix and Weebly.

For dedicated hosted ecommerce solutions, Shopify starts from $29 a month, and BigCommerce starts from $29.95 a month. Self-hosted solutions are a lot harder to calculate, because hosting plans vary so much.

You can get hosting for as low as $2.95 a month from Bluehost, up to as much as $119.99 a month on a different Bluehost plan. It really depends on the size and needs of your store. Remember to include the cost of add-ons in your budget too.

Which ecommerce solution is best for small businesses?

We recommend Shopify! It’s the best all-round ecommerce solution. It’s designed to help you get your online store up and running, whether you’re a small business or ecommerce empire. It’s got all the sales features you could need, from abandoned cart recovery to shipping labels. It has something for everyone and is our top choice for running your online store.

Want to find out more? Read our Shopify Review for a full look at this leading ecommerce solution.

What should I look for in an ecommerce solution?

There are tons of things that go into making an online store successful, but, there are some important features which benefit all businesses and which you should look out for when choosing your ecommerce solution.

The main one is getting an SSL certificate. This stands for Secure Sockets Layer and makes your site a safe place for customers to enter their payment details and information. This means it’s essential for any online store.

Shopify and BigCommerce both include an SSL certificate for free in all their payment plans, whereas Volusion will charge you an extra $99.

Can I actually make money through ecommerce solutions like Shopify?

Yes, definitely! These are dedicated ecommerce solutions, which means they have all the tools and features you need to create a successful online store and get selling. From printing shipping labels to creating discounts, you have the tools to build your store and make money right at your fingertips. If you want to find out more about getting started, why not check out our guide on how to build an online store?

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Analyses and graphics in this article are based on authentic sources cross-validated by our in-house experts.

We take great care to ensure the information we publish is reliable and accurate. However, WBE takes no responsibility for any inaccuracy in information supplied to us by users, research participants, or other entities.

Please note the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. We’re glad to answer any questions you may have about this article and its supporting research. For further information, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at info@websitebuilderexpert.com.

Lucy Carney

About Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

Subscribe

Lucy Carney

About Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

Leave a Reply

267 Responses to Best Ecommerce Software | 6 Solutions To Help You Sell Online

  1. #

    Helpful!

  2. #

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful list of online e-commerce software. I can add one more Billing Software, known as SpineTrader which is also online software.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Thanks Nitin, we’ll check it out.

  3. #

    A very informative post which will surely aid beginners in making the best choice for launching their e-commerce store.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Hi Parth, that’s what we hope it does! Thank you for the comment.

  4. #

    What about Social Stinger, Teo Vanyo?

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Hi John, we’ve focused on the very best ecommerce software that we’ve tried and tested ourselves. Which ones have you got experience using? Thank you for the comment!

  5. #

    Nowadays eCommerce is growing very fast and this kind of ecommerce software is very useful for eCommerce businesses.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Thanks for the comment Ajay!

  6. #

    Dear Wong sir,
    Iam intend to start e-commerce business. I want to start not in too large scale but I want to buy ecommerce website n software. Iam a starter.
    May I know the cost?
    Thanks
    Rai

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Hi Raj,

      This depends on what platform you use and how complex you want your store to be.

      Using the recommended software in our article (see above), you can get started for just $17/month.

      Hope this helps,

      Fred

  7. #

    It is a best article with good research.Thanks to Jeremy

  8. #

    Hi Jeremy, You always publish a helpful article to educate people, It was a difficult time when I was going to launch my online shopping center, Creating an ecommerce store might not be difficult but selecting the best hosting company would be more helpful in future. because once the store is built then moving to new hosting would be a risk and losing sales, redirects etc.

    As you mentioned in 3rd heading about Who should use a Hosted Ecommerce Shopping Cart?

    commerce store owners facing issues with speed and security for payment, virus and also cache, because due to having maximum products, sometimes Products cache saves in backed that causes a heavy load time, For this people should use cache extension or plugin.

    I am using Cloudways ecommerce hosting for my store.

    I also suggest people choose Google for cloud-like me, I never faced any issue. Security, Backup, Server response rate, load time, Everything is now like a part of high quality website and hosting matters a lot as Google has announced the algorithm for penalizing websites with low site speed.

  9. #

    Nice feeling when you read such an article and you find out that the platform you use is one of the best. I have been using shopify for more than half a year and now I have recently decided on G2A PAY, it is very good integration with which I am really satisfied.

  10. #

    That is an interesting article. A great insight has been shared by the author.

    • #

      Yes useful information provided thanks

  11. #

    Very useful article as it’s my first step into the e-commerce World Jeremy, many thanks !!!

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hey SANOU

      Great to hear you found the article so handy, I hope it’s given you lots of food for thought.

      If you’re looking for a really good starter ecommerce builder to use, I’d recommend having a read of our reviews for:
      Wix ecommerce
      Weebly ecommerce

      Best of luck with your store building!
      – Tom

  12. #

    I was wondering, how can I build a website that will be open for both ends: wholesaler and customer? So, like Alibaba or Amazon? What’s the best way to approach it?

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi John,

      Both Alibaba and Amazon are pretty sophisticated websites with with a lot of custom coding behind them.

      If you want to try and build something similar, you’ll want an open-source, self-hosted ecommerce solution and a lot of technical know how.

      It’s a bit beyond the scope of the conversation here though, so I can’t offer too much more help unfortunately!

      Thanks for reading,
      – Tom

  13. #

    Thanks for the in-depth analysis on some of the main ecommerce platforms.

  14. #

    Truly good comaprison of different ecommerce software

  15. #

    Great details on comparing the eCommerce website builders.

    How about WordPress? It’s less expensive and more flexible.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hello Erez,

      Good to know you found the discussion helpful.

      We didn’t include WordPress in the list because – although very flexible – you need to be more technically competent to truly get the best from it.

      We write for users who aren’t as technically confident and need a simpler ecommerce solution than WordPress.

      Hope that clarifies things,
      – Tom

  16. #

    I had built my website on Wix platform, simple (free) account. In order to install an e-commerce basket though, I need to sign for a Premium (….) account. I am planning to sell only one item, an e-book, no physical merchandise. Is there anything suitable (free or affordable, less than $29/m) you may suggest for me? Will appreciate your advice or direction.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi Tala,

      If you plan to sell anything online then you will nearly always have to subscribe to a premium plan in order to do so. This because you won’t be able to accept payments or connect a payment processor without subscribing to a specific ecommerce plan.

      I’d be very surprised if you could find a free solution too as card processing fees are usually rolled into the monthly subscription fee, so you may face higher transaction fees if looking for a free option – just a thought to bear in mind.

      It might be worth looking into the cheapest plans on Shopify and BigCommerce to see how the costs compare to what you want to achieve. Wix also offers a comparatively cheap ecommerce plan, so could be a consideration too.

      I’ve linked ot our reviews for you so I hope they give you some food for thought.
      – Tom

  17. #

    I am a beginner in ecommerce, I need a ecommerce platform who is low monthly and will help me and me be able to upload 1000s of products. I sell mens, womens, children clothes and undergarments. I have a low budget with no sales as of yet. Thank You for any advice.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi James,

      As you plan on selling so many products, I’m definitely inclined to suggest that you look into both Shopify and BigCommerce.

      Both are dedicated ecommerce platforms tailored towards larger operations like yours, so they should more than be able to handle your needs.

      As both Shopify and BigCommerce paid plans start around similar price-points (~$29 per month), it’s worth doing a bit of research into both to see which is more aligned with your business needs.

      I’ve linked to our in-depth reviews, which should give you some food for thought.

      Hope that helps,
      – Tom

  18. #

    magento is also best platform to make a eCommerce website. It is available in both the versions of magento 1 & 2.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi Sundar,

      You’re right, Magento is a really good choice of ecommerce platform, however it is beyond the scope of this conversation because it is much more complicated to set up than the platforms we are discussing here.

      It’s also worth pointing out that to get the most from Magento, you’ll either need to be a proficient coder and have the time to manage the platform all the time (basically playing the role of IT administrator) as Magento is a very difficult platform to manage well and requires a lot of hands-on attention.

      We’re really looking at the best options for smaller and independent businesses whose owners aren’t the most confident when it comes to technology.

      Thanks,
      – Tom

  19. #

    great detailed post!

  20. #

    whoa , hang on a second. Shopify is a Canadian company and run out of Canada. They handle all American credit card transactions as “foreign” transactions and charge higher fees for them. It is however a perfect fit for all Canadian businesses, but not for US

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi mike,

      Just to clarify, when an American merchant uses Shopify, he or she will need to get his own payment processor and that payment processor will be based where the merchant is located (USA).

      Generally speaking, payment processors will only do business with businesses established in the same jurisdiction. So an American payment processor won’t engage with a UK based business, unless under certain circumstances such as the UK-based company has an American subsidiary.

      Further, if a US customer purchases from a US merchant, the US credit card (presumably issued by the customer’s american bank) won’t charge any foreign fees. It’s only if the US customer purchases from a store located in another country and purchases in a different currency, that’s when the bank charges a foreign transaction fee.

      So while Shopify is a Canadian company, that is irrelevant when it comes to foreign transaction fees as these fees are related to the merchants payment processor and this fee is not collected by Shopify.

      – Tom

  21. #

    It’s too worthy. Nobody can’t find better than this . Thanks for detail information.
    I need one clarification?
    How easy to change/migrate from hosted service (shopify) to self hosted service (Magento) some time later. I’m full stack software developer. I know end to end development. But to go with open source is time taking process. Now i need to focus only on my business rather than code development. So i’m thinking to utilize hosted service providers now. Later need to think of migrating to open source depends on my business grow. Can you please clarify this.
    And also how secure hosted services (shopify etc….)?

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi chandra,

      I don’t have too much experience migrating stores from Shopify to Magento, but I have seen a number of guides available online and it seems like a fairly straightforward procedure.

      It would be harder with other ecommerce platforms where it is not possible to export the full store, but Shopify’s exporting functionality is quite in-depth, so with your experience as a developer it shouldn’t prove too difficult (hopefully!)

      In the short-term though, Shopify should more than cover all your ecommerce needs as it has pretty much every feature your store may need. We take a much closer look at Shopify in this review, which may prove helpful.

      Also, you can rest assured that Shopify is extremely secure and takes customer and client security very seriously through SSL certification, the use of HTTPS and a layered approach to security that is one of the best around.

      Hope that helps,
      Tom

  22. #

    There can’t be anything better than this when it comes to build online store. Thank you for sharing such a valuable information.

  23. #

    Dear Jeremy,
    Thank you for this amazing article, as a begginer articles like this are both very useful and interesting.
    I learned a lot from your article, but i have one question.
    Are the same principles applied while building a business which sells services (service products), for example selling guides, courses even videos?
    Thank you agai for the great article!
    Cheers,
    Bubo

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Bubo,

      I think that at the end of the day, running a business has similarities across all types of business, no matter if you are selling service products or physical products. You need a solution (product) that solves a problem and if you are able to do this well in combination of effective marketing, you can potentially build a profitable business.

      For services type of business, you want to ensure that the website builder is able to offer you the ability to sell digital (non-physical) products. All of the website builders above have this feature!

      Jeremy

  24. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thanks for the article, we’ve been doing research on many of these sites ourselves going back and forth between sites, your article summed up everything we need to know. Thank you for the information, truly a deciding factor in the direction we want to take. Candis

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thank you, Candis. Best of luck with your ecommerce business!

      Jeremy

  25. #

    Dear Jeremy
    Thanks for a very informative article. The first I’ve been able to take on board though much still flies over my head! I’d be most grateful for some further suggestions.
    I’ve an ecommerce idea for the student/young adult, selling groovy fashion and accessories. I need to build 3 websites targeting different niches within this market.
    I’ve yet to see any really fun templates. Can you recommend any, or should one actually hire a developer/designer in?

    Also, many of the products will come from an affiliate seller. Would you recommend one of the more supportive hosts like Shopify, over Woo; simply for business ease?
    Thanks in advance

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Antony,

      Thanks for your question and comment. I’m not sure which type of template you are looking for and it’s hard for me to guide you as it will require a much more in-depth discussion about what you are looking for.

      If you want to hire a designer to help guide you through the process, you can check out Shopify Experts who are qualified / pre-screened experts who knows Shopify’s platform very well. Not only can they make design recommendations, they can also help you make progress with using Shopify (if you decide to use them).

      We also have a guide on how to hire a designer properly. You might find the guide helpful.

      As for Shopify vs WooCommerce, they’re different in a sense that Shopify is a “managed” platform, meaning their hosting services, support, maintenance are all managed by Shopify so you don’t have to be technical or spend time doing all those things yourself at all.

      With WooCommerce (requiring you to use WordPress), they’re flexible but you do have to be a bit more technical to use that platform effectively.

      So there are pros and cons with each. If you want “ease”, then I’d suggest checking out Shopify. If you want more flexibility and don’t mind technical challenges, then WooCommerce is a good option.

      Jeremy

  26. #

    Very nice article and well explained.Thanks

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks, Mike. Glad you liked it!

      Jeremy

  27. #

    Hi, we’re starting a small company whyle still studying, we actually build what we’ll sell on the shop and we have some particular needs

    -very few product types (starting with 5-6, we’ll never exceed 20-25)
    -need of paypal payment as well as other methods
    -need of 2/3 languages and 3 different currencies
    -confirmation mail of the order
    -really cheap service (we are students) , free at all will be better, with good quality but no need of super advanced tools
    -we have some good coding and html experience (we study informatic engineering) and we can put some time and efforts in learnin, we can host the site without problem too

    Can you recommend the right service for us, thank you so much

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Lorenzo,

      In this case, I’d suggest checking out Wix or Weebly.

      We have a discussion about building multiple language websites here.

      Both Wix and Weebly can integrate with PayPal to help you process payments. We have discussions about their ecommerce tools here (Wix) and here (Weebly).

      As for coding, if you have some coding skills, Weebly give you the option to edit HTML and CSS, so you can make custom changes.

      Jeremy

  28. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Just a thank you note – thanks for a very helpful article mate!
    Cheers,
    David

  29. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I have just written to WIX to ask them to cancel my commerce site because I found the interface really complicated – too complicated for the 100 or so items I wanted to sell.

    Can you please recommend a simple to use commerce solution for this newbie? Thanks

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Murray,

      If you have hundreds of products to manage, I’d definitely suggest Shopify rather than Wix. Wix is super easy to use and you don’t have to be technical at all, but it’s not built to give the best experience if you have hundreds of items to manage.

      Shopify has a 14-day trial period so definitely give them a try!

      Jeremy

  30. #

    Hi, I just stumbled here. Looking for any information about technology integration for my store. Do you know any platforms that is great for B2C ecommerce?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Abegail,

      Any one of the ecommerce builders above can cater to B2C ecommerce.

      Or do you mean you already have a website and just want to add selling features to your existing website?

      If so, Shopify has a “Buy Button” widget that you can add to your existing website. Take a look at this page to see more information.

      Jeremy

  31. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I don’t have any questions for you. I’ve just read your article and wanted to say thanks for putting this together, really much appreciated. informative and up to date, just when I’m looking for this information the most.
    Have a lovely day and happy new year,
    Vix

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Vix,

      Thank you so much for your compliments. It means a lot to us!

      Jeremy

  32. #

    Honestly, I don’ know where to go to aid me in finding answers what I’m seeking and I hope I can find a direction here.

    I have a website, a few actually, that I began is early as 1999. Over the years I’ve used a couple of different ecommerce providers, with some degree of success, ease of use, but all fairly costly (in my opinion). Now I find that my shopping cart provider has been purchased by another company, and I am not happy.

    I’m looking for a couple of things in a shopping cart. Low or no cost, relative ease in setup and maintenance, and some degree of customization to name a few items.

    One thing I’ve seen with the carts I’ve looked at so far is that they require a database of your products to be created. We don’t sell 5 or 10 products. I did a quick search on my site to see how many “Add to cart” buttons we have. Over 1200. Creating such a list would be a monstrous task for us.

    Also, I saw a blurb stating hat if a customer’s credit card touches your server YOU become liable for problems associated with those. Do I assume that means that if my shopping cart resides on my website and people enter data on my shopping cart that I would be liable? Presently I DO pay PCI Compliance fees (legalized thievery, in my opinion) even though I never see customers’ credit cards. My current shopping cart, which resides somewhere else, gathers that and passes the information to the payment gateway, Authorize.net.
    Any suggestions?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Jay,

      If you have that many products, I’d suggest you try a “pure” ecommerce builder such as Shopify or BigCommerce. They’re just built to help you better manage a lot of products and can be flexible to a certain degree (like all platforms).

      All the reputable payment processors, such as the ones that are integrated with Shopify or BigCommerce are secured. The data is encrypted and they manage all the security aspects of financial transactions. That’s why they charge a fee (a percentage of your sales) to not only help you collect and transfer payments to your account, but also to ensure that your customers’ private data re protected.

      But at the end of the day, anything is hackable nowadays. Even some of the world’s largest banks could be compromised. So I suppose you’ll have to weight the risks against the rewards of operating a business online.

      Jeremy

  33. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I’m currently selling security item ( B2B ) over offline. I plan to turn it to online but still more in business to business way. Is that any e-commerce platform that I can make few different price level to different customer ? Meaning that A customer & B customer will see different price after login. and then does it support customer member point program?

    Looks forward on your advise.

    Cheers

    Geofferey

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Geofferey,

      I don’t have any hands on experiences with what you’re looking for (creating a membership type site where different customers can log in and see their own product pricing). I suspect you might need a more powerful platform (perhaps WordPress?) and customize your site in order to do that.

      You might want to check out Shopify or BigCommerce as well, as they are advanced ecommerce. Though to be honest, I haven’t personally seen a store similar to what you’re looking for (but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist).

      Jeremy

  34. #

    Great article Jeremy.
    I am thinking of setting up a site for my pottery business. It will need to have the ability to support:
    About 500 unique pieces in about 8 categories (mugs, jugs, plates etc)
    in site cart linked to paypal
    digital sales (gift vouchers and buying pottery courses)
    variation in cost of individual item according to weight or value of sale ( eg UK free, Australia + X delivery)

    I’ve heard of Support but as images of the pottery are important I was interested by squarespace.

    Do you think it may support the above needs? I have some technical ability but would prefer one of the out of the box solutions.

    Cheers. Chris.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Chris,

      I’d suggest taking a look at Shopify or BigCommerce, given that you are selling hundreds of items and may need more advanced tools to help you market and deliver your products.

      Squarespace is a good “basic” ecommerce builder, but Shopify and BigCommerce are geared for high performance stores and are good for managing large number of products.

      You can also see our reviews on Shopify and BigCommerce here.

      Jeremy

      • #

        Brilliant. Thanks for that Jeremy. Once again, great article.
        Cheers. Chris.

  35. #

    I am a print model with a fairly large and growing instagram following. I want to build a simple website to promote myself where maybe I would write some articles. I have a lot of fans who ask for signed posters of me. I was thinking of integrating a small eCommerce feature to my website but the developer wants to charge me a lot of money for this feature and I don’t expect to sell large volumes. I just want to have the ability to sell when asked. Do you think one of these hosted eCommerce sites is a solution? Can I use my own domain name? BTW if your wondering my instagram is brinabing. You can print it or delete it, I am not trying to promote myself here, I just thought you may be curious.

    Sabrina

    • Jeremy
      #

      Sabrina,

      Check out either Wix or Weebly.

      They’re easy to build a website without you having to code anything up. They also have pretty good ecommerce tools if you aren’t running a massive amount of sales. You don’t need to pay a developer to get this setup as these platforms make it quite easy for you to do it on your own.

      You can also connect your own domain name to the website as well. Wix and Weebly offer you the ability to do that.

      Jeremy

  36. #

    hi there Jeremy,

    Interesting article! thank you. It really maps out some of the good options that are out there for someone who puts on the naughty shoes of entrepreneurship.

    However, I was wondering if you could give me some advice as to what the best option is for my business in particular.

    I’m currently designing and doing market research into a T-shirt business (I study Fashion design). This means that since first stock that I will buy in will be in low quantities I don’t want to have a very expensive site for the sake of it.

    I saw that Squarespace seems to have the cheapest option but although I really like this article it’s more a list than a comparison. I would like to know which option would be best for:

    – Someone with limited technical skills in HTML but owns a custom domain already.
    – Will sell about 5 SKU’s in the first season (10 of each).
    – Wants to keep price low in order to maximize ROI but does want the website to look sleek an minimalistic.
    – Minimize transaction fees, hidden costs and having to part with too much revenue to third parties.

    Like I said Love the article but if you could let me know what you think fits my scenario the best that would be greatly appreciated!

    Looking forward to your verdict on the matter,

    Cheers,

    Luca

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Luca,

      Squarespace should be able to do all those for you. Squarespace is particularly loved by designers, as their designs are very designers-oriented.

      You can connect your own domain name to a Squarespace website – their tutorials will show you how to do that.

      In terms of transaction fees, if you sign up to their Personal or Business plans, there is a 3% and 2% fee, respectively. This fee is removed if you subscribe to their Online Store plans.

      If can always get started with their lower plans, then upgrade later when you are ready.

      Hope this helps!

      Jeremy

  37. #

    Thinking about building an ecommerce website. Thank you; I found this information very helpful.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks for your note, Ingrid. Much appreciated!

      Jeremy

  38. #

    I only recognize Shopify on your list. Wix and Weebly are really website builders and host servers. Looking for shop apps that I can purchase and install on my host, 1and1.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Wendy,

      If you would like to manage your own hosting for your ecommerce store, then have a look at using something like WordPress + WooCommerce.

      The ecommerce builders we suggested above are more suitable for non-technical folks who don’t have the time or money to find someone to manage the website for them.

      We have a guide about that here – comparing hosted online store builders versus self-hosted store builders.

      Jeremy

  39. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Great piece. Thank you! Which platform would you recommend for somebody who wants the option to offer a monthly, quarterly and one off subscription box service? LIke Yogisurprise and Dollar shave club.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Mickey,

      Take a look at Shopify and their App store. Search for “subscription” in their App store as you can bolt on that function to a store built with Shopify.

      Jeremy

  40. #

    Hello Jeremy,

    Thank you for this very informative piece. I am fashion designer and trying to move my online store from Volusion. Some issues with Volusion are the editing could be a little difficult, their stores are not very attractive for the fashion business and their fees all put together is also a little high.

    I am trying to balance a both very fashionable template, simple eCommerce plus reasonable cost. What platform would you advice that I use?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Kent,

      I’d suggest checking out Shopify. Their templates look really professional and they’re, in our view, the best hosted ecommerce builder in the market today.

      Take a look at our review of Shopify here. We also have a discussion comparing Volusion and Shopify here that you might find interesting.

      Hope this helps!

      Jeremy

  41. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I loved the article and all the resources provided. I was pounding my head for the last 4 moths on where to start, My business is Dye Sublimation Printing and my costs are super cheap with room to make 35-40% markup. This makes me feel better about having the site up and running and then its pounding the pavement on marketing the site,.

    Thank you.

    Manny Carlo
    TXD International
    Ontario, CA 91761

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Manny,

      Glad our discussions here pointed you in the right direction! Good luck!

      Jeremy

  42. #

    Website is extremely helpful for anyone needing advice on how to begin an online store. Thanks

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks! Glad to hear that the discussion on this page here is helpful to you.

      Jeremy

  43. #

    Thanks Jeremy Wong for sharing these wonderful information towards the e commerce software..Its really helpful for each an every Business people to get an idea what is all about. Apart from hosted E commerce list you have mention, another one latest hosted E commerce “Ecbilla” an amazing e -commerce platform which enables to create online store and sell products in just few minutes with lots of Themes collection useful feature for e commerce business and textures to make online store more beautiful, attractive and professional. 

  44. #

    I already have a large website which we recently rebuilt. I want to add e-commerce but for a number of reasons I do not want the charges to go through immediately upon someone placing an order. I need to be able to talk to the customer first. Is that possible? How can I find the best fit for my company? Can I process the charges via my own cc terminal in my physical location?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Linda,

      I’m not super clear on how your operate your business based on your comment, but I guess there are a couple of things you can try.

      If your potential customer visits your website, perhaps you can request that they contact you through a contact form, or email / call you. Once they are ready to purchase, you can send them to a purchase page for the product, which you can hide from public view. Alternatively, you can send them a payment request through a merchant account such as PayPal.

      With Shopify, you can set up a physical point of sale (POS) terminal. We have more discussion about that here.

      Hope this points you in the right direction!

      Jeremy

  45. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I feel like much of the pressure of starting my online business has been lifted. Despite this, however, I’d still appreciate your personal opinion on what I should do for my own business. I plan on starting a pretty large e-commerce clothing website and ideally I would love to have it highly customized with ios and android apps for users as well. I am not techie at all, but because of my need for such specific customization, I’m thinking I should hire a coder although I’d much rather start off using Shopify or BigCommerce. What would you recommend?

    Thank you!

    Kim

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Kim,

      I don’t think Shopify or BigCommerce offer you the option to build your own custom app.

      However, you can definitely start off with them to get your business launched, instead of spending time and a lot of financial resources to build a custom site. Using Shopify or BigCommerce, frees up a lot of your time and removes the pressure of committing thousands of dollars (or more) especially if you’re not 100% sure if your business idea will work.

      We have a discussion about this topic here – you might find it insightful.

      Having said that, I’d suggest that you get your business running and start generating cash flow, before investing in a mobile app. I haven’t personally built a mobile app before, but that’s what I would do. It demonstrates that the is generating cash flow (very important) and that the cash can be re-invested into the business.

      Hope this helps in some way!

      Jeremy

  46. #

    First of all thankyou so much Jeremy..This was really vry helpful.. You got half of my problem solved.. I want to built an electronic items store.. So for selling those product what so i do?I mean do i have to contact those companies for selling their product or a wholesaler??

    Thank You
    Once again..
    Jit

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Jit,

      If you are asking about how to source products to sell from your ecommerce store, there are a lot of discussions online that can help you with that.

      But generally you’ll have to find a wholesaler, or even go directly to the manufacturer.

      We do have an article that touches this subject, so you might find it helpful.

      Good luck!

      Jeremy

  47. #

    me and some of my friends want to start a online food web site and app.
    We want deliver the foods from local restaurants to the customers.
    suggest me the best way .Whether i should hire a programmer and design a site or can i use this eCommerce sites mentioned above for my business.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Mahesh,

      Take a look at Wix. They have a specific “Wix Restaurants” app that can help you set up a restaurant or food delivery website, completely integrated with menus and payment collection systems to help you run a restaurant / food delivery business.

      I think you’ll like what you see!

      Jeremy

  48. #

    do you know of any e-commerce software that allows for a client log-in to access
    for example if we host a e-commerce for one particular client that I do not want available to the general public so each use will login to view the catalog/e-commerce site
    thank you

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Neill,

      What you can do is set up a simple membership gateway to block off your products related pages. So if someone wants to view your products, they have to be a member first.

      Wix (see this) and Weebly (see this) both have built in membership capabilities. However, they are not paid memberships (meaning their membership tools are not integrated with payment systems where you can charge them monthly fees to remain a member).

      If that’s something you want, take a look at some Shopify Apps like this one. You will need to build your online store with Shopify if you choose this option.

      Another alternative is to use an external membership widget such as Sentry Login.

      Jeremy

  49. #

    Hello.
    My dad wants me to make him an online e commerce site. I opted for a hosted site because I have no idea how to use codes etc. Although i’ve now read that these sites are fine for small businesses but not very good for larger ones. He wants to put thousands of products up for sale so I think a self hosted site is probably better. I don’t know where to start! Any advice appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Hayley

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Hayley,

      Actually, ecommerce software such as Shopify and BigCommerce are built to handle even very large stores. They can work well for stores that are just starting up, all the way up to selling millions of dollars in sales. Their platform has the capability to scale with growth of your business.

      For instance, take a look at examples of stores that’s powered by Shopify. You can also see some / read some of their success stories here.

      Further, if you grow your business into hundreds and thousands in dollars in sales, they have a specific plan, called Shopify Plus, that can scale up with your business.

      Jeremy

  50. #

    There are some more points that I would like to add here :
    Promote good quality images
    Make website attractive so that it is easy for customers to shop

    Also when manage and design your website try these options :
    Dynamic view to replace static pages
    Links to the cart in the navigation from every page.

    All in all creating an ecommerce website is a very complicated task as there are so many technologies and platforms and choosing the right platform is always a healthy task.

    @PixelCrayons

  51. #

    Hey Jeremy,

    What do you think about PrestaShop?

    Also, with stores like shopify and bigcommerce, do they own your domain? I already own my domain and need to get my store running. But I really don’t want to transfer ownership to them. How does the process work?

    Thanks.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Bob,

      I haven’t used PrestaShop myself before, so I can’t give you a good / reliable answer. But there are some resources online that discusses them, so might be worth a read. I’ve definitely heard of PrestaShop before, so from that perspective, they’re not a small brand.

      As for domain name, if you own your own domain name already, you can quite easily connect it to either a Shopify or Bigcommerce store. Both of these ecommerce software platforms have tutorials on how you can connect the domain name from your domain name registrar to your store.

      A quick search in their support portal (for instance here is Shopify’s) will give you the step by step tutorials. You do not have to transfer your domain name to either platforms.

      We do have a guide on domain names that can fill in some other questions you may have too.

      Hope this helps!

      Jeremy

    • #

      I am a pro web developer and expert
      From my opinion prestashop is too much buggy and Shopify is not that buggy one and yes it will make you use your own domain. As an Official Shopify Partner and Expert I can help you with anything with Shopify.

  52. #

    Thank you for this! I typically use Wix, but my client wants a bigger store with a lot of product options, so I was torn between Wix and Shopify. You cleared everything up for me!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks for your comment Christina.

      Shopify will probably be something you want to test out, if your client wants more ecommerce options. Sounds like you’re on the right path!

      Good luck!

      Jeremy

  53. #

    Hi Jeremy

    I want a website just like alibaba. do you have any idea where I can create or do you have any programmer that you can refer to me. thanks

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Ronel,

      Take a look at ShareTribe. They’re a marketplace builder. But I haven’t used them before so can’t say if they’re any good. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

      Jeremy

  54. #

    Learnt a lot, very informative and educative. Want to find out if it’s t possible to integrate an external app to any of the hosted e-commerce website builders. Because I want offer a web-to-print functionality to my site. So I will need to integrate some 3rd party app so customers can edit exiting template or upload their design for different products ranging from, t-shirt, phone covers, mugs and much more

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Lookman,

      I guess it depends on the specific app you want to integrate.

      I think the general idea is that you can integrate almost anything you want. But the caveat is that you might have to have a capable developer to help you “adopt” the app into a Shopify store.

      If you look at Shopify’s App Store, you’ll see a lot of other external apps there. So you’ll just have to sort out how to integrate the app you want into a Shopify store.

      You can consider asking a Shopify Expert on whether it is possible.

      Jeremy

  55. #

    Great analysis. Thanks so much.

  56. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I live in AUS and im looking to start a business with a friend. Selling a particular range of products. We intend to have a small range of items, and bundles etc. Nothing too big
    We were looking into squarespace but the main thing which turned me away was that no paypal was accepted ! So we’re looking for something which is for everyone (all payment methods), and also relatively easy to use. Even if it is a bit harder to use, it is okay as long as guides are available. Also important to us is templates etc and ability to use the website to market our range in the best possible way. We also thought its important to have customer login and personalised emails with order confirmation, although the latter could be sacrificed if needed.
    What would you recommend?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Shane,

      Definitely have a look at Shopify (in our view the best hosted ecommerce online store builder in the market today).

      They can integrate with over 70 payment processors, have a very comprehensive set of ecommerce features, along with professionally designed storefront templates.

      If you want to take your store to the next level (when you’re ready), they also provide you with a list of pre-screened / qualified experts to help you customize your ecommerce website. It’s just an option, but it’s nice to know these sort of experts are available if you need them.

      We have more discussions about Shopify here.

      Hope this points you in the right direction!

      Jeremy

  57. #

    Looking for an e commerce platform which will integrate with wix or weebly website, allow unlimited numbers of products to be added to the site, will integrate with our Post Affiliates Pro program and track for rep commissions, etc. Reasonably affordable per month. I am not the most tech enabled person myself, so if it has built in helps that would be great! I do have a tech person available to help with some things and integrations, but I am hopeless with coding.
    Suggestions?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Vickie,

      Take a look at Shopify. You can subscribe to their Shopify Lite plan which gives you Buy Button that you can use with website builders such as Wix or Weebly. Shopify has Apps that can be integrated with affiliate programs (I think) but you’ll have to dig through their App Store to take a look.

      Jeremy

  58. #

    hie jeremy
    i am in the process of looking for a platform to build an online store
    but the thing is i don’t want to use all those debit cards e.g visa and master card however i would like be able to set my own payment systems as i am thinking of integrating my website with mobile payments systems

    any ideas of websites with offline payments systems like what Wix does

    thanks

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thomas,

      Creating your own payment system will be quite challenging (though never say impossible!) as payment processors are probably highly regulated for reasons such as anti money laundering, etc. Also, you’ll have to get regulated banks onboard to work with you, to facilitate the transferring of money between transacting parties.

      Jeremy

  59. #

    Thanks for the article,
    but I’m still confused. I create health and beauty that are 100% natural and I want a Ecommerce site that will allow me to sell my products, keep track of my inventory, and allow me to accept credit cards online or while I’m at trade shows and can print receipts. I was think Squarespace because it seems more user friendly but weebly might work also. I don’t know, Please Help.

    Thanks

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hello Tuepeai,

      Both Squarespace and Weebly are really good drag and drop website builders, and they can also help you build a decent ecommerce website.

      One of the key differences between them is that Squarespace only allows you to use Stripe as your shopping cart payment processor, whereas Weebly has more options including PayPal, Authorize.net, Square and Stripe.

      In terms of user-friendliness, I’d vote for Weebly. In my view, they’re easier to use than Squarespace.

      Having said that, when it comes to template designs and making your store look good, I’d vote for Squarespace. They’re very design oriented and their template designs are much better than what Weebly offers you (at the moment anyway).

      The best way to determine which website builder works better for you is to sign up for free accounts with both of them and give them both a try. Don’t be afraid to invest a few hours into playing around with both builders to see which one you prefer. Weebly is free to use (with options to upgrade), and Squarespace has a 14 day free trial period.

      We also have more discussions about the ecommerce tools about Squarespace and Weebly here.

      Jeremy

  60. #

    Great article to read, is there any website builder you would recommend for online store for a home delivery business? Like delivery fee option and customaztion, etc…

    Thanks,

    Milo

    • Jeremy
      #

      Milo,

      I’d suggest you take a look at Shopify or Bigcommerce, as they give you a lot more customization capabilities since they are more advanced.

      Jeremy

  61. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    You recommend these Hosted Shopping Cart Software for the owners of shops for ecommerce. But I want to know the approx. monthly cost charged by Shopify or others for hosting service. Could you give some numbers? This is one of major concerns for business beginners.

    Thank you.

    Carol

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Carol,

      You can find the monthly pricing details for each online store builder on their websites. Alternatively, you can check out our reviews of these platforms and we do discuss their pricing structures.

      See our reviews on:

      Shopify
      Bigcommerce
      Wix
      Weebly
      Squarespace

      Hope you find these helpful!

      Jeremy

  62. #

    Hi, I am after a site I can have a live blog on it where I can edit the posts (in case you get something not appropriate) I will be selling products (100+) have a blog and a section people can email in pics for me to put on the site. I have read that Wix does not allow you to do this, and before I go to to much trouble can Shopify allow these functions?
    Thanks for your help

    George

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi George,

      Yes Shopify will allow you to sell over 100 products and create a blog where you can edit the comments to your blog posts.

      You can always leave a contact email address where people can email you pictures.

      Best to find out if Shopify is suitable for your needs is to sign up for a free trial account and test them out. That’s the only way to be sure!

      Jeremy

  63. #

    Hi Jeremy!

    Thanks for the reading.
    I was just wondering – I haven’t tried any of these, except Squarespace (which I found kind of hard to understand and also kind of expensive for a new business). What are your thoughts on Tictail?

    Thanks!
    Caroline

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Caroline,

      We haven’t had a chance to use and test Tictail before, so can’t quite you an honest opinion.

      If you’re looking for something more minimalistic, check out Weebly.

      They’re one of the easiest drag and drop website builders to use in the market today. You can also compare them against other website builders here.

      Jeremy

      • #

        Hi Jeremy!

        Thank you for your reply.
        I am using Tictail and have been for aprox 1 year. I love it. I think that it is very easy to use and there templates are gorgeous. I really think that you should try it and write about that too, it is something that I can warmly recommend! It really deserves a spot up there! I wanted to know if you had any opinions about it since I didn’t see it up there, but if not – then check it out!

        Thanks once again,
        Caroline

  64. #

    Do you know if any of these sites offer an option where your E Store can offer a membership or subscription.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Jon,

      Shopify does have a few Apps that can help you create a recurring / subscription based business.

      If you visit their App Store, and type in “recur” in the search bar, you’ll see a few options. Just note that these Apps are created by independent developers, and so to use their tools to help you create a subscription based business model, there is an additional monthly charge in addition to Shopify’s monthly subscription fee.

      Hope this helps!

      Jeremy

      • #

        I am looking at starting my business with Weebly on the business plan. It will be a products and a subscription. Will Weebly supports this type of business?

        • Jeremy
          #

          Hello Barbara,

          Weebly doesn’t have a built in “native” tool that helps you manage recurring subscriptions, but they do have an App (created by a non-Weebly 3rd party) that can be added to your Weebly website to help manage this.

          Just visit their App store and search for “subscription”.

          Weebly does offer you the ability to sell normal / typical physical and digital products – not a problem there.

          Hope this helps!

          Jeremy

  65. #

    Hi,

    The owner of the site is able to upload their product, what if i want customers to upload their product to my site ? how can that be done ?

    In other words: What software (friendly or not ) can be used to allow people to make a profile of my website and THEN upload a product they want to sell on my site ? kind of AMAZON

    Thank you and best regards,

    Alec.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Alec,

      It sounds like you are trying to build some sort of market place where people can upload products to sell publicly.

      I’m not aware of any out of the box software that will do this for you. I suspect you’ll need to create a very customized website / app in order to do this. You’ll probably need a very strong team of developer for this and is probably a massive undertaking in order to create!

      If you need to find developers, take a look at Elance or Upwork (formerly oDesk) as they have a lot of freelances available for hire there. You can also ask those developers how it is best to execute your idea.

      Jeremy

  66. #

    Hi Jeremy, great article for a beginner like myself who is wondering how to start.

    I hope you can give a more clear direction for my case. Actually, i want to make a small scale grocery store for my town. Currently, I don’t require payment setup as it will be a Cash on delivery system nor i require membership as this won’t be needed to process the payment. I just want product listings & add to cart & from there the order can be submitted via email form where customer id will confirm the order.

    So, I was thinking this setup can be done via wordpress which will be more cost effective or i still need ecommerce setup like shopify.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey David,

      You can definitely create a manual payment process with Shopify. Have a look at their tutorial here and you’ll see if that’s suitable for your needs.

      As for your last question, regarding using WordPress or Shopify – I think one of the the key considerations is whether you want to learn the steeper learning curve of using WordPress. WP is very flexible and powerful, but to utilize it properly you’ll need to be a bit tech savvy, know a bit of codes (or work with a coder).

      Powering your online store with WordPress also require you to maintain the site on a regular basis (there are frequent WordPress and plugin updates, and also you have to manage your hosting services).

      With Shopify, they simply the process and have curated ecommerce tools to help you get an ecommerce store up and running with less tech headaches. They also run all the updates / security patches behind the scenes so you won’t have to worry about those things.

      Both have their pros and cons, so it’s up to your personal preference and needs.

      Jeremy

  67. #

    Hi Jeremy, Lets say i am opening an online market place for buyers and sellers for a product line. this means anyone can post their products in the site for anyone to buy. Can hosted sites offer this option in the ecommerce portal of letting outsiders post their products. Posting my products is not an issue as I have the credentials. What about outsiders? is that option available.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Rahman,

      I think if you want to build a marketplace where buyers and sellers can gather and post and purchase products, you’ll probably need to have a very capable developer build a custom website / application for you.

      I don’t think any of the ecommerce software discussed here allows you to create what you want here.

      Jeremy

  68. #

    This was an excellent article. Thank you so much for the guide and links to other helpful articles. I’ve been using opensource e-commerce software for many years, at different times in my internet life, and it’s gotten to the point of ridiculousness, since everything I’d like the software to do would require additional coding or additional modules. The costs always add up for customization and it’s always a hassle. i find myself fiddling around with product images (and making them look right), or layout options, more than I’d like. It’s gotten to the point where I spend more time doing that, than actually adding new product or trying to sell.

    Anyway, long story short (or is it too late for that?), I’m moving to hosted and probably won’t look back until I’m making a killing. ;P

    Thanks again,
    Kevin

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks for your comment Kevin.

      Hosted shopping cart solutions such as Shopify and Bigcommerce really makes building an ecommerce store easy nowadays.

      Technology is really not that big of a hurdle now, so people such as yourself can focus on building a business, and not messing around with codes!

      Good luck with your business!

      Jeremy

  69. #

    Great article. Building a website with hosted shopping cart software is really easy. Even the person who don’t know about technical stuff can build his own website. Shopify and Bigcommerce are great website builder softwares. I enjoy working with these softwares.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Isabella!

  70. #

    Great info.
    I’m curious if you have any perspective on GoDaddy’s e-commerce site builder offerings.
    I registered my domains with them and they convinced me to give their e-commerce site builder a try.
    I’m wondering if I should go down this path or switch gears and go with one of the builders you recommend from the start. Shopify really seams to stand out.
    I don’t have complex needs from the start, but I’d like to build for the future. For example, I’m interested in integrated shipping functionality (e.g. connectivity with Endicia or Stamps.com) so I don’t have to cut and paste shipping addresses from one system to the other when orders are made (GoDaddy said this functionality is still in progress).

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Mike,

      I haven’t used GoDaddy’s ecommerce builder before, but for myself, if I was to build a new store, I’d give Shopify a test first (they have a 14 day free trial).

      The reason I’m suggesting this is that Shopify is a “pure” ecommerce builder, and they have a platform that can advance / scale with your business once you start growing.

      In addition, they have a marketplace of Shopify Experts so if you ever need specific help to customize your online store, you have that flexibility to do so.

      Hope this helps!

      Jeremy

  71. #

    Hi Jeremy

    This is a owsume information for a novish like me who is thinking of starting a online store. Thanks for this.

    Just a quick question, is it possible to move the content of my store if I use a ‘Hosted shopping cart software’ when I decide to move to my own server? Thanks.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Shakil,

      You can export your customers’, sales, products data, but in most cases you won’t be able to export your website and its design.

      The challenge is that each ecommerce software is coded and built differently, so you really can’t take one website and its underlying codes, and insert it into another software.

      But generally speaking, each ecommerce builder will allow you to export data (each builder may allow different sort of data you can export) so you can keep those and upload them into your new ecommerce software.

      Jeremy

  72. #

    I am looking for an ecommerce site builder and a search brought up your site. I would have been more interested in reading on if there wasn’t a typo in the first few sentences I read. Not trying to be ugly, just thought you should know. The quote at the top of your home page is missing the word “know”.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Oops, good catch Bob. Thanks for that.

      Jeremy

  73. #

    Hi Jeremy. I have been reading the comments on your site regarding all the pros and cons of each website builder and I am still a bit confused.

    I am a jewelry maker and want to start selling my products online. I do not have a website yet. I would like it to have a shopping cart but also I want to make sure I can use it mobile. I did notice that WIX does not allow you to make any changes with any mobile device.

    I am also looking t the least expensive site being that this will be my first year of sales so I am trying to do this at the lowest monthly cost.

    Do I have to purchase a website builder first and then add the ecommerce package after or if I purchase the Ecommerce package does that include the website builder?
    I have been looking into Shopify, Wix and Weebly.

    Any suggestions for me?

    Thank you for your help,

    Ron

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Ron,

      One of the best ways to figure out which builder is best for you and that you enjoy using, is to sign up for their trial or free accounts and just give them a test. All are capable, but you might prefer a certain website builder for their user interface (you might have a personal preference once you tested them out).

      Shopify is an advanced ecommerce builder and has way more ecommerce tools than Wix and Weebly. That’s also why they’re a bit pricier as they offer you the ability to build a much more advanced online store.

      But if you don’t have a need to build anything advanced, then Wix and Weebly are good options to explore. You can always sign up to their free accounts, test build a site, then invest in their premium plans once you become more comfortable with them.

      Jeremy

  74. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thanks for your article, it was very informative! I have a graphic design background but no programming experience. I’ve created a static website using WYSIWYS web builder which I found relatively easy to do. I now want to create a small ecommerce store, about 40 products at the start. I’m nervous about doing this myself in WYSIWYS. I want my store to look well and be able to add products easily. I would be able to add meta tags for seo myself, as I’ve done this before but I want to be able to link to social media to promote it. What would you recommend?
    Orlaith.

  75. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    A very informative article indeed, many thanks for taking the time to do so. I’m about to set up an Online store for selling products in New Zealand ( where I’m based ) and Australia. Do you have any recommendations in terms of what the best package would be for this area of the world? I’ve been researching Shopify and it looks awesome but someone has mentioned Wix would be a great alternative.

    Cheers
    Jef

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Jef,

      I don’t think it matters where you live, as all the website builders that we discuss are global services! So you can definitely create an ecommerce store using either Shopify or Wix even if you are based in NZ and selling your products to a global audience.

      As for the Shopify vs Wix, it really depends on how advanced you want your store to be. We have a good comparison table here that will highlight some of key features you might want to check out.

      But generally speaking, Shopify is a “pure” ecommerce online store builder, and gives you so much more merchant tools than what Wix provides, and can really scale / grow with your business as you expand.

      Wix is great if you want to set up a more basic store, and a smaller number of product items, and if you don’t need more sophisticated ecommerce tools.

      Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks for the reply Jeremy, much appreciated.

        Cheers
        Jef

      • #

        Some of the standard options are not supported in New Zealand.

        For example Squarespace uses stripe, which is not supported in NZ so you have to have install paypal or another option which requires some coding knowledge…especially if you want matching buttons etc.

        • Jeremy
          #

          Hi Soraya,

          That’s right. Squarespace only uses Stripe to power your shopping cart, so if you live outside of countries that Stripe currently support, you won’t be able to use them.

          But there are plenty of other ecommerce website builders that can service merchants located in New Zealand. Shopify, Bigcommerce, Wix and Weebly integrate payment transaction processors that can be used by NZ based merchants.

          Jeremy

  76. #

    Hi, Jeremy,

    I’m trying to build my own ecommerce website but have no idea where to start it. Your in-depth analysis and comparison is very helpful. I’ll give Shopify a try.

    One more question: do I have full control of the contents if using Shopify? For example, can I add/upload pictures of my products or update the product information any time I feel necessary?

    Regards,

    Henry

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Henry,

      Yes you do have full control over your content. You can update your product information, images, pricing, etc, at any time!

      Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks so much, Jeremy.

        I also like your Top 8 Tools Resources Guide. You’re an angel.

  77. #

    Could’nt agree more. Shopify is the best! Superb 24/7 support.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks Pancho! They are pretty awesome in our own experience, and they cater to all levels of skills (unlike some other ecommerce website builders out there where you’d feel like you need to be very technical to make things work).

      Jeremy

  78. #

    Thanks for sharing this informative blog.

    • Jeremy
      #

      You’re very welcome! Glad our discussions here are helpful to you.

      Jeremy

  79. #

    Thank you for this information. I have been debating on getting into the eCommerce business for several years and thought I would be saving money by building my own website. Your article has helped better understand why I shouldn’t go that way.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Faye,

      Thanks for your comment and glad our discussions have been helpful!

      Jeremy

  80. #

    I am looking for a builder to build a shop. I am based in Taiwan and most of my clients will be local or at least local to asia.

    I was looking weeby. but i noticed that i would only get Paypal as a payment option.

    I have used Jimdo in the past to make a simple site, but i didn’t upgrade to the packages so i only had paypal as well, but it was fine for the purpose I used it. I know that there are other options if I upgrade. But before i take that step, I wonder if you can suggest something better.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Christopher,

      With Weebly they also offer you the ability to use Stripe and Authorize.net. However, those payment processors are not available for merchants in Taiwan yet.

      So I’d recommend you check out Shopify or Bigcommerce, as they offer you a range of 60 – 70 payment processors so one of them probably will work with Taiwanese merchants.

      You can visit their website to see their list of compatible payment processors to see if one of them works for you!

      Jeremy

  81. #

    This is good info. Got good idea about eComm.Thanks

  82. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I’ve been using Weebly for my online side local business. One big issue with Weebly and other platforms was that I had no control over how to view my orders that comes in.
    I needed separate pages to display orders list with multiple columns. Weebly did not allow me to have access to orders from the database.
    I am thinking WordPress>>WooCommerce might be the only way??
    If I want to be able to pages to display multiple pages to display my orders list based on different criteria, what would be my best option?
    For example, I wish to have ALL Blue T-Shirt purchases/orders list on one page, while another page only displays ALL orders with RED T-Shirts.

    What would be my best option?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Kevin,

      With Weebly ecommerce tools, you can export your sales data as a CSV file (similar to Excel). So there you an sort your orders by product line, which will give you a very quick way to organize your data that way.

      Perhaps this will work?

      Jeremy

      • #

        Hi Jeremy,

        CSV file download takes a while and what I need is real time page that shows orders that other staffs/members can view. I need real time data but weekly staff already stated I am not allowed to access that since it is part of their own server that we can’t have access right to.
        I’ve contacted shopify.com and their tech support also mentioned that will not be allowed.
        I’ve looked into Volution.com and they seem to allow admin users to add columns within our orders page. Tech support wasn’t quite sure that was possible either but did mention we have API access. However, API probably does not allow full query to my orders data. Perhaps if we look into the API, there may be something we can work with but I have never seen it yet to confirm.
        I am wondering the only way this can be done is to go through WordPress+Cart system / WooCommerce.

        Kevin

        • Jeremy
          #

          Thanks for the update Kevin.

          I think that’s one of the drawbacks of using hosted solutions, meaning that the platform (such as Shopify, Weebly) manage all the hosting / server requirements for you.

          So if you want 100% full access to your database, I think you’re right in that you’ll have to use a platform where you manage your own servers / databases so you can pull data out of them (such as WordPress.org). But having said that, it can be technically challenging to do so, and time consuming.

          Jeremy

  83. #

    This was a great review. I’ll add my $.02 by saying I’ve tried each one of these platforms and Shopify is always the platform I recommend to friends and family. It has the best features, including:

    – Free mobile-friendly checkout (HUGE bonus since mobile accounts for 50% of my traffic)
    – Seamless integration with PayPal
    – Robust shipping / fulfillment / inventory options
    – Little to no downtime outages, despite having some days with thousands of visitors to the site

  84. #

    Shopify has met all of my needs and more time and time again. I have been very pleased with their services.

  85. #

    With the open-source shopping carts I can keep putting in more and more products or is it limited?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey David,

      It depends on each platform, as some give you unlimited number of products and some limit you based on their pricing plans. So each is different.

      Jeremy

  86. #

    I want to sell a limited edition product which is only available for 7 days, how would i do a count down and make the pay now button not work after the 7 days.

    • Jeremy
      #

      You might have to remove the buy now link when the 7 days are up, and replace it with another link to direct people to another page that tells them that the product is no longer available for sale?

      As for count down timer, there are a lot of widgets for that available – just search for it in Google and you should be able to find a few.

      Jeremy

  87. #

    Hi Jeremy

    I would like to build a website that allows buyers to say what they want and seller with his list of items can reverse bid on the requirement.

    So, the sellers can add or subtract items in various categories and the buyers can ask for those items.

    What would you suggest for me?

    Also, great blog!

    Regards
    VB

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey VB,

      I haven’t seen any features / mechanisms for this before, so I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions! But it sounds like it might have to be a custom solution that you get coded up / developed just for your needs.

      If anyone reading this has any advice, feel free to share!

      Jeremy

  88. #

    I’m trying to move my website from a self hosted html/css based website to a hosted website builder like Shopify or Bigcommerce. However, I only have a small number of products that I sell myself. The majority of my sales/business comes from affiliate marketing. My website has A LOT of content as well. I’m looking for a hosted website builder that will support lots of content and affiliate maketing. I’ve looked at Shopify and Bigcommerce but their templates don’t seem to support a content rich website. They seem to be more for websites that are more sales & product based. Can you recommend a hosted website builder that supports lots of content, affiliate marketing, and some products? Thanks!!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Susan,

      It sounds like having a platform that allows you to insert text, image banners, are more important than having an ecommerce set up.

      In this instance, I’d suggest you check out Weebly or Squarespace, as both do have pretty simple (yet effective) checkout carts and product pages for the ecommerce aspect of your business, and their layouts allow you to be quite flexible in how you want to present your content (to support the affiliate marketing part of your business).

      Hope this points you in the right direction!

      Jeremy

      • #

        Thank you! This was very helpful.

      • #

        I have used Shopify, Wix and Weebly.I had the same problem I wanted to be able to and content and have a beautiful. Weebly I do not care for no apps and other things, Shopify has many apps and is great but when you want to do simple things you will need coding or have their team help which sometimes can be days. They have many great apps, but Wix is great as a combination of drag and drop, ecommerce and a beautiful site. If you sell digital products you will need to you will have to pay on Wix. Shopify has a few and their Shopify app is free. You can also add an affiliate app to your Shopify app which is free up to 15 people. Good if your just starting out and want to drive some sales. It is also good you can link to Paypal so affiliates can be paid the same day if you like. If your not worried about an affiliate program or digital products, which your probably not Wix is hands down better than both.

  89. #

    Hello,
    We are looking into redesigning our entire site. I currently use Word Press/Cart66 and then Paypal as my merchant. From your expertise, what would be the best integration with just using Paypal between Squarespace and Weebly? We really like modern and clean design, too and want to be able to update our shopping cart easily.
    Thanks!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi there – I think if your choices is between Squarespace and Weebly, Weebly will have a better intergration with PayPal.

      Squarespace only integrates with Stripe.com as the payment processor. While you can manually insert PayPal buy now buttons, that’s not an ideal solution as that won’t integrate with other ecommerce features in Squarespace.

      With Weebly, PayPal is fully integrated into their product / check out functions. So everything is seamless.

      – Jeremy

  90. #

    I definitely would not recommend Squarespace. I looked at least a hundred different hosts and builders. Squarespace hosting is expensive plus they charge 3% with stripe.

    Squarespace not only expensive, but they don’t even have a live chat to support. Def NO!

    Shopify is also very commercial.

    You can get much better than that, for better price.

    Erika

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Erika,

      Thanks for your thoughts! Regarding the 3% transaction fee, that fee will be charge no matter what platform / software you use as that is just like a credit card fee. All merchants do have to pay that on a per transaction basis so that they can accept credit cards. But of course, some payment processors will charge less than 3% if you run a very high amount of sales volume with them. So in general, you can’t get away from paying a payment transaction fee as the likes of Visa, Mastercard, Amex etc won’t provide services for free! I wished they did!

      As for live chat, Squarespace does offer that but only from Monday through Friday, between 3am and 8pm EST. So it’s not 24/7, but does cover weekdays. For sure, bigger “pure” online store builders such as Shopify and Bigcommerce do offer 24/7 support, which is factually better than Squarespace! Hopefully one day Squarespace will offer 24/7 and phone support!

      – Jeremy

  91. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks heaps for the article, it has helped heaps. I’m trying to market myself out there as an online personal trainer and I would like to sell specialised workout plans and other products, but I’m still feeling so lost. I registered with hostpapa but their website builder is average and does not give me what I want. Do you think I need a website designer or do you think the 4 main websites you mentioned will have good templates to do the job?

    • Jeremy
      #

      HI Nelsen,

      All of the online store builders discussed above allows you to sell either physical or digital products. Presumably your workout plans will be delivered digitally? So that works.

      You don’t really need a website designer if you have a good sense of design (or you can research other websites and get some inspiration there). But hiring a designer is never a bad thing I suppose, if you find yourself struggling with creating a site that represents your vision.

      Of all the ecommerce software discussed above, I’d say that Shopify and Squarespace probably have the best template designs for you to get started.

      – Jeremy

  92. #

    hello i would like to know what could you advise instead of ipage? they have a horrible customer service and i would not like to go from bad to work. i am looking for a company that actually helps should you have a problem. i was looking at squarespace but it looks like they have NO customer service and chat is not working, you cannot even send an email. on their FB page you can’t even message them. i am really surprised how can these companies exist??

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Erika,

      If you are building an online store (I’m assuming so as you’re commenting on this page here?), give Shopify or Bigcommerce a try. They both have 24/7 phone support if you prefer to speak with someone. Of course, they also have email support as well.

      For Squarespace, their live chat is only from Monday through Friday, 3am – 8pm EST. But they do answer all their emails very quickly.

      You can submit a support ticket (which they correspond with you through email) on this page here. Just click on “Open a Ticket”, choose the most relevant category of support, and if you can’t find your answer, click on the “Submit a Ticket” button at the bottom.

      – Jeremy

  93. #

    Hi Jeremy
    Thank you for a comprehensive article.
    I wonder what are the “migration” alternatives, meaning export options between all packages. Nevertheless, from which packages i can import/export to WordPress?
    Thnx
    Emil

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Emil,

      There isn’t an easy way to export content from sites into WordPress, since all website building platforms are different from one another. Consider moving a car engine from a Honda to a Ford – it’s achievable, but numerous adjustments will have to be made, and sometimes it’s best to hire a professional to help with migration.

      Very generally speaking, it’s much easier to import / export blog posts across platforms, but when it comes to products, you will have to export them into a CSV file (basically Excel), and import them into another ecommerce builder.

      You can visit the support pages for Shopify, Bigcommerc etc and you can quickly search for solutions for migrations, to see if they do or do not have.

      Hope this points you in the right direction.

      – Jeremy

  94. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    omg this is so daunting, I have spent all week looking into setting up my own retail website, sat through many vids on YouTube and alike and my head is now spinning with that much information, I cannot decide who to register with, and I still haven’t chosen a domain name yet lol. Can you help me decide please.

    I am currently a 14yr seller on ebay and have decided to create my own website as business is so bad on ebay now. I sell a huge variety of new and used goods, china, pottery, games, vintage glass etc.

    I am not that technically minded as regards all the computer lingo lol. I need somewhere that is obviously reliable, whereby I can possibly up to about 300 items unlimited bandwidth etc. I obviously need something with a checkout built in and also my site to be visible on search engines like Google. I also want to place a link within my site to my current auctions on ebay. When I feel I can go it alone without ebay I want to be rid of them lol.

    So as I am a website virgin I need somewhere that offers me site security, 24/7 live chat help (as I can work well into the evenings), easy to follow set up instructions and alike.

    I was looking at obtaining a domain from GoDaddy and using HostGator as the host but to be honest I don’t want to go with too bigger company name as the more people that latch onto these companies, the more I feel can go wrong with servers and alike.

    Can you help me pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Jennie

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Jenny,

      I’d suggest checking out Shopify or Bigcommerce, as both have the ability to handle a lot of products, and both do offer 24/7 support.

      THey both provide you with hosting so you don’t have to worry about getting that separately from your website / online store.

      For Bigcommerce, you can also synchronize your eBay store items with a Bigcommerce store, so makes it much easier for you to manage!

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks Jeremy, am I right in thinking that both these companies allow you to set up a store as I really want a stand-a-lone website

        • Jeremy
          #

          Hi Jennie,

          Yes that’s right. You can set up an entirely separate online store (separate from eBay). People won’t even know that you are using Shopify or Bigcommerce to build your ecommerce store as the website can be entirely branded as your own!

          – Jeremy

  95. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thanks for this post, I found it very informative! I’ve checked out the 2 first ones and indeed, I see your points.
    My business is a little different as I have an au pair agency, together with a translating/proofreading company, so I’m only selling online services. This means I have to issue login details to members.
    Also, I would also love to have a forum / discussion page for members.
    Could you advise me on a website builder that would allow me to do just that please?

    Thanks a lot,
    Dee

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Dee,

      It sounds like you are trying to set up a membership type of website, where you invite only paying members to exclusive content / pages.

      I know that WordPress with this membership plugin called WishList is quite good for this, as I don’t think any of the ecommerce website builders mentioned above are optimized or have built dedicated services targeting what you need.

      Hope this points you in the right direction!

      – Jeremy

  96. #

    Content Ownership? One concern I had was in reading terms and conditions it seems that a couple of these platforms actually own control of the content created on their platform. Is this the case ?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Michael,

      I’m not a legal expert by any means, but I believe that you fully own the content that you upload into the site. The platforms only help you host the content on line, but you are solely responsible and have full ownership of your own content.

      Put it this way, if you uploaded some illegal content (just for instance), and if the platforms owned such content, that could post a lot of legal issues for them especially if people know these platforms are larger targets with money to go after, and not the individual person creating the website.

      Further, per all the terms and conditions that I’ve read, all users of website builders are solely responsible for all their own content, and will hold the website builder harmless for any legal issues (basically meaning that if the user gets sued, the users can’t blame the website builder).

      Hope this helps, and again I’m not a lawyer by any means. You should seek your own legal counsel if this is really important to you!

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks !

  97. #

    Hello Jeremy,

    Great Article! I have been checking out different e-commerce providers for a while. I do custom work on stock items, i.e. personalized name badges with names, city, organization etc. Who do you think has the best least expensive solution? I used Earthstores previously but they went out of business.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Robert,

      It depends on how many advanced ecommerce features you need. Some website builders, such as Squarespace and Weebly has good features, but are not as advanced as the likes of Shopify or Bigcommerce.

      The advanced builders such as Shopify and Bigcommerce charge a bit more than Squarespace and Weebly. Their lowest plan on a per month fee basis, is similar to the price for the highest plans for Squarespace and Weebly.

      So if you are price sensitive, you can check out Squarespace and Weebly. Again both have decent ecommerce tools to get a lot of the work done, if you don’t need really advanced tools.

      – Jeremy

  98. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I just had a quick question:
    I want to start a small vintage boutique and i’d like your opinion on the best small business, and preferably cheapest, platform. I’m a college student so I don’t have much to put forth on a website and want to make sure whatever I go with will be the best and most profitable.

    It also has to be able to link to my already popular blog.

    Thank you so much for your time,

    Joelle

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Joelle,

      Check out my comment to Robert on August 20 2014. The same suggestions applies to your situation!

      – Jeremy

  99. #

    Thanks Jeremy for the great article ..

    i want to make a website that is specialized is selling a single item as a starter .. this item does not have a physical existence .. it is like game codes that players use on online games ..

    am i looking in the right direction or should I look for another approach .?

    Thanks Again

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Hasan,

      You can do that with either Squarespace or Weebly, as they both allow you to sell digital products (such as game codes in a way that you can email them the codes, or email them an attachment with the codes).

      You probably don’t need to use advanced ecommerce builders such as Shopify or Bigcommerce for this (but they both can sell digital products, if you like using them).

      – Jeremy

  100. #

    How about WIX for the boutique ecommerce (for a small website where we do not carry too many goods)?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Ash,

      Wix has really improved their ecommerce features over the past year and so I think it’s worth a try if you don’t have a big list of products to sell. Weebly is also a good choice (mentioned above), but given Wix’s latest tools, I wouldn’t say Wix is too far behind Weebly in terms of ecommerce tools.

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks Jeremy

        Since another post of yours rave about shopify as one of the best ecommerce building platform: I looked at shopify – but their templates are so expensive… like $180.
        Having said that, if I do not need to re-create a website later on transiting from WIX to shopify , it might be worth doing everything now with Shopify.

        My only concern with Wix is it seems still very fiddly to make it responsive to mobile or mini interface.

        What do you think?

        • Jeremy
          #

          Ash,

          Shopify is probably the best hosted ecommerce website builder at the moment.

          Consider the amount of ecommerce flexibility they give their users to power their online stores, if you are building a business that requires a lot of dedicated / focused ecommerce tools, then Shopify is much more impressive than Wix from that perspective.

          While Wix is very easy to use, their ecommerce tools are good enough to work for some basic online store needs.

          As for templates, the reason why Shopify’s paid templates are pricier is because they are built by Shopify design experts and give you a lot of flexibility in integrating the really broad range of Shopify tools.

          So simplistically – Shopify is very comprehensive and flexible with it comes ecommerce. Wix is easy to use, but not so strong in ecommerce.

          – Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks Jeremy

        My only concern with Wix is it seems still very fiddly to make it responsive to mobile or mini interface.

        What do you think?

        • Jeremy
          #

          Hey Ash,

          Wix’s design templates are actually not responsive. However, they do have a pretty good mobile editor in that they compress your content into smaller screens quite effectively, and that you have the option of hiding certain content on your mobile interface (while leaving them visible on the desktop version of your site). So there is some good flexibility there.

          You can see our mobile discussion amongst website builders here.

          – Jeremy

  101. #

    excellent article, thanks for sharing.

  102. #

    Thank you for the informative article. I have benefited from a few of yours now. Your article on eCommerce builders does not mention Volusion. Did you explore that platform? If yes, what are your thoughts on it.

    Thanks!
    Shawn

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Shawn,

      We haven’t had a chance to use them yet, so we don’t have an opinion (yet).

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks Jeremy! I appreciate the response.

  103. #

    Great article, thank you. I am looking at moving from Volusion as they create havoc when they release updates to their software. I have had repeated losses of data and odd code changes that cause disruption so a word of waring to anyone thinking of using them! Shopify and eccomerce are on my list to try.

    Do you have any information on how good their SEO is?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Sarah,

      I would say that Shopify’s SEO is most likely “standard”, meaning they give you the standard tools to control your products’ title, meta tags, good URL structure.

      The key to getting more discoverable on search engines lies in promoting your products to more channels, and also creating good content / discussions on your blog so people can find your discussions online!

      – Jeremy

  104. #

    hi, great, thank you for this. i also have a webpage, i should try this.
    i don’t have a physical product but downloadable. would you be able to suggest for this?
    many thanks E.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Erika,

      Which ecommerce software are you referring to? You can check out our online store builder comparison chart and it will show you which one allows you to sell digital products.

      If you are referring to Ecwid (the answer to Geoff below this comment), then the answer is yes – Ecwid allows you to sell digital products!

      – Jeremy

  105. #

    Hi Jeremy
    i was wondering what your advice is for people who maybe looking to add ecommerce to an existing website or blog rather than creating a new online store? Something that enables them to embed a buy button or cart easily.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Geoff,

      Checkout Ecwid, which is an ecommerce widget that can be added to most non-ecommerce stores. They give you a very broad range of online store tools and currently has over 500,000 users around the world using their services.

      Let me know how that goes!

      – Jeremy

  106. #

    Thank you for the information. I have a nice webpage at the moment hosted on ipage (which i don’t like) built by weekly and is ok for that website. I have only 3 products, which are expensive, however for me would be important to have online payment. I would like to find the least expensive solution. Could you suggest? Many thanks E.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Erika,

      Do you mean you don’t like iPage, or you don’t like Weebly (which is an option within iPage)? Weebly has some great basic ecommerce tools for you to use, and you can see our discussion about that here.

      Other economical website builders include Wix, which has improved their ecommerce tools recently. Jimdo is also another choice to check out.

      Squarespace also has some good ecommerce tools, and their template designs are great. But they’re not the cheapest amongst website builders, but their platform is solid.

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Jeremy,

        many thanks for your reply. I don’t like IPage, Im quite ok with Weebly, Squarespace looks nice. I had used Wix before, and I wasn’t happy with it.

        I am concerned about the charges on transactions. obviously in business we want to have less charges possible. I see that many providers are for US users. I am in Spain right now, and not sure whether these work with Spanish banks, even though my customer are from all over the world.

        kind rgs E

        • Jeremy
          #

          Hey Erika,

          Squarespace uses Stripe to power their merchant payment processor, and although they are not formally in Spain yet, they have a Beta program running Spain. So this might work out for you.

          Weebly is integrated with Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net. So you can definitely use PayPal with your store if you choose to use Weebly.

          Jimdo is actually based out of Europe, so there is a good chance that they might work with your bank. Worth checking them out!

          – Jeremy

          • #

            Great, many thanks

  107. #

    Thank you for your good reviews. I am a real newbie at ecommerce. I make one of a kind handbags. I want my own domain name (it is available), and want to set up a store with easy options for payment (paypal, credit cards). So far I am in the midst of setting up a site on WIX. It seems intuitive, but I have heard other really bad reviews of it, including tht I won’t be able to use my own domain name. Do I need to buy my domain name from a different site or can I get it through WIX? I am also considerig weebly. I will have less than 100 products, all one of a kind. It is very hard to sort through the hype and find the right site! Also, I need it to be very economical. Thanks for your help. Linda

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Linda,

      I think it’s almost impossible to find the “perfect” online store builder unless you custom build one that suits all your needs! But you can definitely find one that you can get comfortable with – that’s the good news!

      For Wix, you can definitely connect the site with your own domain name if you use one of their premium plans. You can purchase your own domain name either through registrars such as GoDaddy, or if you sign up to Wix’s Combo Plan or higher, they give you a free domain name.

      I personally like to purchase our domain names through registrars instead of through website builders, as it is easier to change website builders if you decide to do so later on, without having to transfer the domain name out of the website builder to another registrar. If you get your domain name from registrars such as GoDaddy, you can point the domain name to any website builders whenever you want to, which is much easier this way.

      Weebly also has good online store tools. They’re by no means perfect, but they’ve come a long way in introducing new tools over the past year, and I know they have plans to keep improving them.

      But if your website is a pure ecommerce site, you should also consider Shopify, which is a pure, focused ecommerce store builder. So all their current and future tools are all catered to helping entrepreneurs grow their stores. You can always start small (with their lowest plan) and as your business grows, upgrade to a higher plan if you want to!

      I can definitely relate to feeling a bit overwhelmed by choices, as we were once there as well! The best way forward, is to sign up to 2 (or 3) builders, and just invest some time in getting familiar with them. That’s the only way to get a good feel of whether the builder matches your needs. Studying endless list of features list will become unproductive after a while! So best to just invest time to finding out which one works for you. It’s worth the investment!

      – Jeremy

  108. #

    Should one sell online in his own language or should one sell online in English ?
    I want to start an online store in Belgium. My language is “dutch”. The products I will be selling are international. I am ready to sell to anybody in the world but when you start blogging on your products, or when you have to set up your online stroe : will you do this in English of in my case “dutch” ?
    Probably the first sales online will be from people I know (dutch speaking). But will a website build in “dutch” attract customers who do not speak “dutch”
    Would like to hear your thought on it.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Jose,

      I would personally build the site in English especially if you are trying to cater the online store to an international audience. It’s just a broader audience for you to try to capture.

      One of Shopify’s themes allow you to build your store in two separate languages. You can see the discussion in this thread here.

      You can also see our discussion on Shopify here.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  109. #

    What about store-envy and volusion? I’m deciding between these (2), shopify and bigcommerce. Thanks!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi KB,

      I haven’t used either one before, but I’m aware that Volusion is a larger ecommerce builder competing with Shopify and Bigcommerce.

      If you haven’t see one of our articles comparing Shopify and Bigcommerce, you may find that helpful as well!

      – Jeremy

  110. #

    Thank You, for sharing this article. It is very helpful for me, as I’m in the boiling pot
    right now, trying to choose a website builder.

    Best,
    MIke

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      You’re very welcome Mike. Glad we can be helpful! Be sure to click on the social sharing buttons at the top or left side of the articles if you found them helpful! You can also help others out by sharing our discussions with them!

      – Jeremy

  111. #

    Thanks!! That actually helped unlike so many of the other articles did not

  112. #

    Dear Jeremy and Connie,
    Thank you for this wonderful article.
    I have a question that I did not notice was covered in your article.

    I am looking to sell curriculum (8 chapters, each sold separately). I’d like the customers to be able to log in to my website and view the chapter they are working on from this space. Would this be a membership based website? If so, do you know if there is a good company out there to help me build what I am looking for?

    Thank you for your help!
    Kristi

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hey Kristi,

      Thanks for your feedback! To create a membership type website, there are several options.

      If you use Shopify, you can install their free app called “Lockdown”.

      For Bigcommerce, here are some instructions on how to create a members only content area.

      If you end up Squarespace, you can use another service provider called Sentry Login to help you set up a membership area on the website.

      Hope this is helpful!

      – Jeremy

  113. #

    Hello Jeremy and Connie,

    Thank you for putting forth the effort to provide those of us looking for some answers to the e-commerce questions.
    We currently have a website and we are disappointed in the shopping cart and shipping and payment functions that seem to leave us with just a “electronic business card” out there instead of a revenue generator! It appears the listing you guys have provided will make the selection very easy. We want a website that will do all the processing portions and help us sell our merchandise. Thanks again!! Good Day!
    Curt.

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hey Curt,

      No problem glad you find our discussions helpful! I think you make a really good point that the goal of an e-commerce site is to have a “machine” that will help you market and sell your products. That’s why picking an online store builder that comes equipped with tools to help you automate as many tasks is so critical to building your business.

      Based on the builders that we’ve used and tested, the ones with the most comprehensive set of e-commerce tools are Shopify and Bigcommerce. So these two builders are fantastic if you need very advanced tools to manage your business.

      Squarespace and Weebly also have very reliable tools, but their available features are not as advanced or diversified as Shopify or Bigcommerce.

      So at the end of the day it depends on how far you want to take your store. This will ultimately drive your decision on which builder to test, and ultimate choose to use!

      Thanks for joining this discussion!

      – Jeremy

  114. #

    I am researching best Ecommerce websites and software and I came across your sites. I bookmarked both and you have cut my research time by a ton. I am also looking to sell to international customers. Can you advise on websites and software that cater to different languages and currencies?

    Very helpful information and thank you!

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Maud,

      Glad you found our information helpful! In terms of having a multi-language site, I don’t think the online store builders that we’ve used and discussed on our website have this capability. But I think what you can do is create a subdomain of your main site, and translate your entire store into a different language.

      As for different currencies, there are shopping carts out there that can detect your shoppers’ geographic location and charge in their local currency. Shopify and Bigcommerce both can integrate a lot of different transaction services providers, so perhaps one of them will have this capability.

      – Jeremy

  115. #

    Really found this info helpful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Glad it helped Paul! Do click on the social sharing buttons at the top and on the left side of the article to spread the word! You never know who else may benefit from this discussion.

      Cheers,

      – Jeremy

  116. #

    Great article! I’m wondering if you can advise me on the following. I’m planning on building a web store for my distribution business where every customer has to provide a set of documents before they can purchase from the online store. There is a limited list of document types, like distribution agreement, import license, etc.. Each of them can have an expiration date. So setting up the customer account will require to upload all these documents manually and update the expiration date. Only after all the documents are valid and active the customer will be able to log in and buy from the store. Would you please advise if any of the software you dealt with can be used to provide this functionality.

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Michael,

      Sounds like you need something that’s pretty customized and I don’t think any of the e-commerce builders we mentioned above have this capability out of the box.

      What you can do, is set up your page so that people can download the documents, fill them in, and just email them to you. Once you approve (which you have to anyway assuming you manually approve them), you can then reply to them via email.

      I don’t think Shopify or Bigcommerce has membership gateways, but I know that with Squarepace and Weebly, you can use Sentry Login to set up a membership area. That way, once you approve the documents, you can grant them membership access to the site, then they can purchase your products that way.

      Just something to think about!

      – Jeremy

  117. #

    Great article! Any opinion about using the Amazon platform?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hey Abby,

      We haven’t actually used them before as we’ve never sold anything on Amazon! Though I heard that they are pretty good as they have fulfillment centers to help you process / deliver products (for a fee, of course!)

      Would love to hear other people’s experiences here.

      – Jeremy

  118. #

    Thanks for this! I’m going to be building an e-commerce site and am in the research stage. I found your article very helpful.

  119. #

    Exceptional information……will save a newby much time and confusion

    Dennis

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Thanks Dennis! Glad you find it helpful. Do click on the social buttons to share any articles you enjoyed reading! You never know who else may benefit them!

      – Jeremy

  120. #

    Hi,

    I want to create an e-commerce in the printing industry. I would have few products only but they will be custom one. People would choose the product and size ex: 10′ x 24′ and then upload their picture.

    The one I prefer was Squarespace but will it be able to do what I want?

    Thank you for being so resourceful!

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Cedric,

      I don’t think you can do this with Squarespace or with any of the website builders that we’ve tested and reviewed.

      The only thing with Squarespace is that you can build your own custom contact form where you can ask people to submit whatever specific information you need, then you will need to contact them through email where they can then email you the picture.

      If you want something that’s automated, you might need to have a system custom built for you. But if anyone reading this comment has seen any system that provides this service, I’d love to hear about it!

      – Jeremy

  121. #

    Hi

    I just wanted to say that your website is beyond awesome…. and I’m sure you do well for disseminating such brilliant objective information.

    I wanted to enquire about the integration of payment facilities on weebly commerce and squarespace:

    do they have capabilities to accept EFT payments (or have this feature on the site) as well as 3rd parties like Paypal and paygate?

    Are they also compatible with eCommerce activities in international markets – can I set up a store in another country with multiple currencies?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Thabi,

      I’m not entirely sure if either Weebly or Squarespace can accept EFT, but it really depends on whether their payment processors can handle it. Weebly offers you PayPal, Stripe and Authorize.net, and Squarespace offers you Stripe to handle payments. So if those services providers can handle EFT, then I suppose the answer is yes!

      For your last question, I believe you can only set your products in 1 single currency. So if you set your store in US$, then your international customers will have to pay in US$ (their credit card providers will make the currency exchange for them)

      – Jeremy

  122. #

    Very glad to see that you did NOT include Volusion in your review. I strongly caution anyone looking for an ecommerce solution to stay a very long way away from Volusion. My experience was disastrous with them – in spite of what they tell you, their software is not user-friendly, is not intuitive, and the customer support was dismal. (It was great until they started billing me, then it was all downhill from there.) I spent months trying to get their system to work with the USPS shipping system and never once got it to work correctly. The help from Volusion was basically “call the Post Office”, and we can all guess how that went, right? And, don’t be fooled by reasonable pricing claims and read the fine print for all the cancellations fees they try to screw you with when you discover what a mess their product is. Learn from my experience – run away, fast.

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for sharing and I’m sorry for your poor experiences with Volusion. We haven’t used them before so can’t add to any of this. But thanks for sharing. Are you using a new store builder right now?

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Yes, I’m moving to Squarespace – so far it’s like night and day – much more intuitive and friendly.

  123. #

    Hi, I am a graphic designer about to sell some soft furnishings I’ve created and I have been considering SupaDupa. Do you have any opinions about them?

    Also, do you know if squarespace allows users in Australia to have payment options through credit card AND paypal as a standard option?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Terri,

      Unfortunately we haven’t used SupaDupa before so we don’t really have any meaningful comments on them.

      For Squarespace, I know that Stripe is currently in Beta testing phase. So hopefully they will have it up and 100% running shortly.

      Another solution if you want to use Squarespace is to pair it with Ecwid which is a powerful e-commerce solution add-on that works with Squarespace.

      You can definitely add a PayPal buy button in Squarespace by inserting the PayPal codes into the Code block in Squarespace.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

      • #

        One more thing. What does private beta actually mean? I have been on Stripes site and see it is available in Australia if you sign up for Private Beta. is it a testing phase? is it best to wait till it’s no longer in this phase?

        • Jeremy & Connie
          #

          Hi Terri,

          Great question! According to Stripe, this is what they say about “Beta”:

          “Our betas may not be feature complete, but they’re always ready for production use.”

          So they’re suggesting that Stripe is functional for merchants in Australia, but they may not have all the features active yet. But presumably all the basic functions are ready for you to start selling products!

          If you would like to know exactly what features are yet to be made available, perhaps you can reach out to Stripe and inquire directly to get the most up to date information? I think our readers (and I) would love know what you find out as well!

          – Jeremy

          • #

            Got this from Stripe Today FYI:

            “As of today, you can accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express transactions denominated in Australian dollars. We’re also working to allow you to transact in US dollars, Euros, British pounds and others, very soon. All of our standard docs and features apply — find out more at https://stripe.com/docs.

            Additionally, if you’re creating a marketplace, store builder, invoicing system, or anything else that helps users get paid, you can use Stripe Connect to let your users accept credit cards instantly by having them connect their Stripe account — find out more at https://stripe.com/connect.

            We’d love to hear your feedback, either on using Stripe as a whole, or on Australia-specific details, such as wording that seems off or sub-optimal behavior. We’d especially like to hear about any glitches so we can fix them as soon as possible.”

            “Our beta is fully production-ready and already in use by many thousands of users in Australia. You may note, however, that while you can accept payments from around the world, at the moment you can only charge in AUD. There’s no monthly fee or other type of commitment, and as soon as you signup you’ll be able to make test payments and check any other behavior you like. “

            • Jeremy & Connie
              #

              Hi Terri – this is awesome thanks for sharing this with all of us!

  124. #

    Are you aware of any out of the box software for building a client customer site like ebay, ruby lane, etc?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Greg,

      Nope – not aware of any of these as I think these platforms work (such as eBay) are very specialized solutions, and so even if there were solutions available, you will most likely need to have a pretty skilled programmer to do the set up and customizations for you.

      – Jeremy

  125. #

    Shopfiy, BigEcommerce and etc which you have mentioned are some widely used E-Commerce software at present scenario. If I have to pick then I will go with Shopify. So choose your ones according to your business requirement.

  126. #

    I enjoyed reading your e-commerce review, and your review on Shopify. Are any of the e-commerce platforms offering “Responsive” design for e-commerce?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Clay,

      A lot of Shopify’s themes are responsive. Their themes is probably one of the best parts of of their platform (in addition to their tools of course). I would say amongst all the pure online store builders, Shopify has the best designs available for its users.

      – Jeremy

  127. #

    Very good article. I just bought CS-Cart from www. nettxpress .no, and after reading your article, I think I made a good choice. A good support deal is super important.

  128. #

    Hi.

    The idea of having an online store is great. This is something that I’d really like to pursue….but..I have no products to sell. What are my options:

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Gregory,

      I think this is also a very common problem amongst a lot of people who want to start their own businesses. There are a lot of good blogs out there exploring the idea of starting businesses, and what to start.

      Here’s one that I’ve been reading up lately and it’s quite interesting and educational. Very inspiring indeed – http://mywifequitherjob.com/

      Let me know what you think!

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Hi!

        Thanks for this knowledge, e commerce is an emerging market now. I have interest in operating company where people may advertise their products and even the customer may order the products where my company may charge some amount from product owner after getting a customer.

        Hassan

        From Tanzania

        • Jeremy
          #

          Hello Hassan,

          I think what you’re looking for is a marketplace where people can sign up and list products (sort of like Amazon). I haven’t used any marketplace builders before, but if you search for them on Google you should be able to find a few candidates.

          Jeremy