There is no perfect ecommerce solution. While some ecommerce software may win the popularity contest, others could deliver unique features that would help your business more.
Choosing an ecommerce platform should be based on the specific needs of a business. Before committing your time and resources to a platform, consider your business model, anticipated sales volume, and other factors relevant to your online store.
That is why we’ve highlighted the features and pricing of the top ecommerce platform options so you can find the best fit to start and grow your business.
Let’s get started!
Best Ecommerce Platforms: The Top 5 Contenders
In terms of ease of use, designs, features, and pricing, Shopify emerges the clear winner.
That doesn’t mean that the other ecommerce software are strongly lacking. In fact, some of them have capabilities that make them better suited to some types of business than Shopify.
So what makes Shopify the market leader?
Shopify is the best choice for small to medium-sized businesses. The setup is really simple, flexible and at $29 per month (for a full-featured store), it is a bargain.
It has hundreds of built-in features and apps to help businesses sell directly from their website, a social media platform, or across various marketplaces.
Overall, with Shopify, you should be able to build a successful and scalable online store.
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Shopify is the overall best ecommerce platform for selling. As an all in one ecommerce solution, Shopify has a lightning-fast loading speed and is super easy to set up and use.
It is the perfect option for an ecommerce site that doesn’t have in-house technical support. What’s so amazing about using Shopify for your online business is that it’s incredibly versatile – the retail technology can be used by small startups and big companies alike.
Another area where Shopify stands out is the award-winning round-the-clock support every customer can access even before they sign up for a plan. In addition to making it easy to sell products from an online store, Shopify also enables selling on online marketplaces and social media platforms.
All themes on Shopify are optimized for mobile browsing, which is important to increase your conversions. Then there is the drag and drop interface that makes it convenient for those with no coding or design skills to set up a store within minutes.
Shopify sellers have to pay transaction fees if they use other payment apps beside Shopify Payments. If you’ll be dropshipping, doing Instagram marketing or running Facebook ads – Shopify is the one for you.
But we wouldn’t advise you to use Shopify if you’re going to run a big store with lots of products. We’d recommend BigCommerce for that.
Shopify Offers 5 Different Monthly Base Plans:
- Lite: $9
- Basic Shopify: $29
- Shopify: $79
- Advanced Shopify: $299
- Shopify Plus: pricing varies
Know that the pricing plans above are just base rates. Adding more features such as processing payments, apps etc. will cost extra.
While the Lite plan may seem appealing, it would not give you a fully functional store. The Basic option offers the basics to get you started in your new business.
However, our preferred plan is the mid-tier plan which comes with professional reports, gift cards and discounts for payment processing and shipping.
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The strong product search engine of BigCommerce makes it the best choice for large retail operations. The software is also ideal for small ecommerce stores and brick-and-mortar shops that want to start taking online orders.
The available tools on BigCommerce allow any industry or niche to operate a successful business on the platform.
The customizable templates allow coding novices to design their online shops, market and sell their products with ease. There is a provision for tech-savvy people too; to tweak their site’s look and performance any way they want it.
Just like Shopify, BigCommerce is an all-in-one platform that provides all you need to sell online. But one of the areas where it stands taller than Shopify is the sheer amount of its native built-in features.
Although some may feel overwhelmed by the enormous features in BigCommerce, others who want them would be glad these extra functionalities cost nothing unlike those in Shopify.
BigCommerce Monthly Plans:
- Standard: $29.95
- Plus: $79.95
- Pro: $249.95
Potential sellers considering BigCommerce as a host should keep this mind:
Once their sales reach a certain milestone in a year, their stores will be automatically upgraded to a different plan.
The 12-Month Sales Milestone
- Standard: Up to $50,000
- Plus: Up to $150,000
- Pro: Up to $400,000
What the above milestones mean is that: Say you are on the Standard plan, once your annual sales reach $50,000, the software will switch you automatically to the Plus subscription.
While that shouldn’t discourage you from using them, it’s important to know this ahead of time, so you aren’t surprised if your monthly rate increases.
It’s good to be aware of this in advance so you can plan your business budget accordingly.
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WooCommerce is different from most platforms. It is not an all-in-one platform but an ecommerce plugin designed for WordPress.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce software in the world. Nearly 30 percent of the global online stores are powered by it.
By downloading WooCommerce on WordPress, a website or blog can be transformed into an ecommerce site. You don’t pay to download and install WooCommerce, but you must have already set up your WordPress account, domain and hosting.
The WooCommerce software is easy to install – just like any other WordPress plugin. The Extension Store has 331 extensions you can customize your site with.
The extensions and plugins range from subscription tools to store management features to payment processors. Though many of these plugins are free, the paid ones can go as high as $280 per plugin.
WooCommerce is best suited for content-based blogs or websites. Meaning, sites whose sole function is not just ecommerce.
For instance, if you’re running a WordPress blog and want to sell a few things on your site to supplement your income, then WooCommerce is your go-to guy for ecommerce functions.
However, should you want to build an ecommerce site where you can sell various items, it would be better to look into other platforms on this list.
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Magento is the best platform for enterprise-level online shops. The stores on the platform include those of global companies like HP, Nike, Canon and others.
Magento is a good pick for B2C and B2B businesses. But its capabilities are more utilized by large online stores. The software has robust and powerful ecommerce capabilities for different websites across all sectors.
A Magento enterprise license costs roughly $20,000+ per year. But don’t be discouraged by that, there are advertising packages tailored for small businesses.
Like the others, Magento is quite simple to use for a non-coder. It features an easy-to-use interface with drag and drop functions, instant buying & merchandising, and content staging & previews.
You have more than 1000 free plus premium extensions you can use to tweak your Magento store. The platform allows users to create a Progressive Web App (PWA) to enhance customers shopping from their mobile phones.
Users also gain from customer segmentation capabilities that personalize their customers’ shopping experience.
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Squarespace offers its stores juicy ecommerce benefits. Some of them include multiple payment methods, unlimited products, mobile-optimized checkouts, abandoned cart recovery and gift cards.
One big disadvantage with Squarespace is that it doesn’t have an app store where people can add more extensions or other integrations to their ecommerce site.
Most of the software apps are built-in. So before you sign up with this ecommerce solution, make sure the specific apps you need are listed on the feature list. If they aren’t, you may be better off using another ecommerce platform that has what you want.
Squarespace Monthly Plans
- Personal: $12
- Business: $18
- Basic Commerce: $26
- Advanced Commerce: $40
The best plan for a small business on Squarespace is Basic Commerce. It has zero transaction fees, and it offers customer accounts, POS, social media selling, ecommerce analytics, and checkout on your site.
The personal plan doesn’t have ecommerce functions. And if you choose the personal plan, you won’t get all the useful ecommerce extensions, and Squarespace will charge an extra 3 percent on all your
Even though Shopify ranks first on our list, we’d still advise you to double-check that a potential platform and plan meet your business major requirements
But here’s the quick breakdown of our review:
If you’re a startup or a mid-sized business with no website, try Shopify. It delivers the simplest setup, easiest-to-use builder and full features needed to launch and run a successful online store.
BigCommerce is perfect for large scale businesses, and WooCommerce is awesome for private label business and affiliate marketing.
For WordPress website owners who want to start an ecommerce store on their site, WooCommerce is the answer. WooCommerce has the essential features a WordPress website needs to start selling.
Online stores who wouldn’t carry a huge volume of merchandise will not go wrong with Squarespace.