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December 24, 2020 15 min read

Ecommerce is quietly and conveniently taking over our lives. According to Jeff Bezos, Amazon has over 100 million Amazon Prime members. Free shipping is the norm. Two-day shipping is becoming one-day or two-hour shipping.

If you want to start your ecommerce store, choosing the best ecommerce platforms can be tough – there are over 477 different options.

I want to make this decision easier by showcasing the best ecommerce software so you can find the right solution for your online store. Let’s face it – with so many options on the market, there will only be a few left standing in the end, so you want to make sure you pick the winner.

Why should you trust these reviews?

I have over 10 years of ecommerce experience:

  • I’ve managed marketing teams for ecommerce brands making over $100 million/year.
  • In a previous role, I was in warehouses and managed wholesale shipments.
  • I’ve managed 8-figure/year ecommerce marketing budgets.
  • I’ve worked for SaaS companies in the ecommerce space.
  • And I’ve launched online stores on almost every platform.

These reviews rank based on price, reliability, technical support, features, scalability, product options, shipping, fulfillment, control panel experience, and more.

We’ll also compare and review things like:

  • The best choices for small businesses.
  • The top cheap, free, and open-source options.
  • The platforms with the best themes and website designs.
  • Enterprise solutions for large brands.

Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: I receive affiliate compensation for some of the links below at no cost to you. However, these are the best tools I have used and tested that I believe are most effective for launching and running an online store. You can read our full affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy.

What Are the Best Ecommerce Platforms?

Ecommerce platforms are robust, full-featured software tools to sell products online. When choosing from the best options, there are many considerations, and each ecommerce website builder provides different features.

For example, your needs will be different if you’re selling three products vs. 100. Or if you want to do dropshipping rather than your own shipping and fulfillment.

Ultimately, ecommerce software should let you add your products quickly, offer coupons and discounts, and automatically track inventory. They should also help manage shipping and fulfillment so that you can focus on running your business.

Here are my picks for the best ecommerce platforms to try this year:

1. Wix.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Business ($23/month).

Wix is a fast-growing website builder that allows users to upgrade to full ecommerce functionality for $20 per month. They boast hundreds of designer-made templates, promotions and gift cards, beautiful product galleries, and easy order management and shipping.

They automatically optimize your online store on mobile, including iPhones and Android devices (Apple and Google). You can also customize the look of your mobile ecommerce site with their online store builder tool. You don’t need to dive into HTML or CSS to create a stunning website with Wix.

They have an excellent array of product galleries to layout your products in a beautiful (and conversion-optimized) way.

Wix Ecommerce Product Galleries

These product galleries layout great on mobile devices too and adapt in a stacked format.

Wix is also known as one of the easiest tools to use in both the website builder and ecommerce space.

There are literally only seven steps needed to build your online store:

  1. Log in to your account or sign up for free.
  2. Pick a template from the Online Store category.
  3. Edit the text and add your business name.
  4. Click “My Store” & “Manage Your Store”.
  5. Add products to your store.
  6. Select “Business Setup” to add Payments, Shipping & Store Settings.
  7. Publish your site & connect to your own domain.

Finally, Wix offers a secure checkout, 24/7 customer support, multiple payment options and solutions, global tax and shipping, and coupons, and discounts to help you sell more.

Try Wix for free and start selling your products online.

2. BigCommerce.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Large Businesses Built to Scale ($29.95/mo).

BigCommerce is my #2 ecommerce platform recommendation. They have best-in-class SEO features, 40+ payment gateways, advanced product options, 24/7 support, and can scale with your ecommerce business up to over $100 million per year.

Here’s what typically happens. 

A small business owner decides to get into ecommerce and chooses a platform like Shopify because of their name recognition. After 6-12 months, they start growing sales and paying extra for apps and add-ons to help their ecommerce business grow.

After some time, they hit a growth ceiling. These users may realize they are paying hundreds of dollars every month for apps, their SEO is lacking, or they’re outgrowing their platform.

Enter BigCommerce:

BigCommerce Home Page

They are the most open SaaS ecommerce platform on the market – open APIs, zero transaction fees, and an open partner ecosystem.

BigCommerce has two product offerings: BigCommerce (their enterprise offering) and BigCommerce Essentials (built for small businesses). Both are built to scale with your growth.

On the one hand, they are an accessible platform for small business owners because of their features and built-in functionality. However, there is a slightly higher learning curve than an easier tool like Wix.

They’re also perfect for enterprise brands looking to leave expensive on-premise solutions like Magento and move to software as a service (SaaS). Brands like Ford, Toyota, Skullcandy, and others in the Fortune 1000 use BigCommerce and can easily bring in over $100 million in annual sales without hiccups.

In December 2018, they launched BigCommerce for WordPress, a “headless commerce” product, allowing users to manage their front end content on WordPress and their backend ecommerce with BigCommerce.

This use of APIs allows for faster WordPress site speed than you find with other WordPress ecommerce options like WooCommerce, which installs multiple plugins to work and hinders performance.

Their plans start at $29.95/month, and with that, you get a branded online store and domain name with the ability to sell on Amazon, eBay, and social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

They have a simple user interface to build your online store, including sections for your orders, products, marketing, analytics, taxes, and your storefront:

BigCommerce Dashboard

With the newly launched BigCommerce Shipping features, you get discounted carrier rates and gain the ability to print shipping labels and manage fulfillment right in your dashboard.

Their themes are fully responsive and optimized with conversion rates in mind. They also offer free SSL certificates, have a clear pricing structure, and again – zero transaction fees.

BigCommerce receives my highest recommendation for medium to large businesses and you can get started with a 15-day free trial.

3. Shopify.

Great Ecommerce Software for Dropshipping ($29/month).

Shopify is an ecommerce powerhouse, hosting over 400,000 merchants worldwide. When you think of ecommerce, your mind might go right to Shopify. They’re a Canadian company that launched in 2004 and quickly became one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in North America.

Dissatisfied by existing mobile apps and ecommerce products on the market, Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake built their open-source web application with Ruby on Rails and launched after two months.

That program became Shopify.

One reason Shopify gained massive brand awareness was by appealing to the audience of “dreamers” – new users who want to strike it rich in ecommerce.

With their integrations, even the most inexperienced users can set up a dropshipping store with relative ease. I tested it out. After picking my inventory, I integrated a few dropshipping suppliers with Shopify and test-launched a store.

How Does Dropshipping Work

It was easy to design a cool-looking website and add products. But just because you have an online store doesn’t mean it is a successful one – you need to market your business.

A few drawbacks to Shopify are their SEO rules. Your URL structure locks into their format. For example, instead of category pages located at campingsite.com/tents, Shopify forces you to use their format of campingsite.com/collections/tents. This structure is not ideal for search rankings, especially considering “category” is a higher-level subfolder than the more critical keyword “tents.”

Second, they have fewer product options than BigCommerce. If you are selling t-shirts, for example, and have different colors, materials, and sizes, your SKUs add up quickly. Shopify is limited to only 100 product variants – not enough if you have a lot of different product combinations.

Limitations aside, Shopify is a reliable ecommerce platform that works well for small businesses.

Shopify has three plans ranging from $29 to $299. Additionally, its enterprise Shopify Plus platform offers its own custom pricing.

All plans include unlimited products, free SSL, discount codes, inventory management, multilingual support, easy buy buttons, abandoned cart recovery, marketing features, and 24/7 support.

To test them out for yourself, they offer a 14-day free trial.

You can also read my full Shopify review or my articles with comparisons of BigCommerce vs. Shopify and Wix vs. Shopify.

4. Square Online.

Best For Retailers and Local Businesses Looking to Move Online (Free – $72/month)

Square, the popular POS system, launched Square Online as an ecommerce offering to help retailers move their businesses online.

Square Online

It’s a strong standalone ecommerce platform but also adds great options for local businesses, like curbside pickup and local delivery.

Here’s how you can get started with Square Online:

  • Create your website using their pre-made templates, add pages with page editors, and add your store details.
  • Add products to your store.
  • Launch your store for free (only pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction). Or you can move to a paid plan for more advanced features.

It’s a very easy setup and a flexible option made for small businesses looking to quickly and easily move online.

You can sell directly from your Instagram feed and then expand to a full ecommerce website when you’re ready.

Another strong feature is their secure online payments and ability for customers to pay via Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Square Online also has a number of unique features for small business websites:

  • Online food ordering for restaurant websites.
  • Tools for online and in-person retail.
  • Online bookings through Square appointments.
  • The ability to accept donations for nonprofit websites.

Square Online Pricing

Square Online Pricing

Square Online has a completely free plan, which includes unlimited products, in-house and on-demand delivery, gift cards and coupons, SEO tools, an SSL certificate, integration with Instagram, inventory sync with Square POS, and more.

You only pay the 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee and $0.50 per delivery. One drawback of this plan is that you don’t get to use your own domain name.

If you’d like to upgrade to one of their paid plans, you get extra features:

  • Professional ($12/month): Custom domain name (free for one year) and no Square branding.
  • Performance ($26/month): Adds abandoned cart emails, on-site customer reviews, and discounted shipping labels.
  • Premium ($72/month): Lower transaction fees, highest shipping discounts, and a real-time shipping rate calculator.

This is nice because you can scale your plan as your online business grows. If you’re just starting to sell online, I recommend you get started with their Professional Plan and then scale up to the higher-tier plans as your orders increase.

Overall, Square Online is a great choice if you’re a traditional retailer or local business looking to move online.

5. Zyro.

New Ecommerce Platform Best for Multi-Channel Sales ($14.99/month).

Zyro is a popular website builder that just released its long-awaited Zyro ecommerce platform.

Launched in early 2020, their new online store builder takes all of the great features they’ve developed over the years as a website builder and adds a full suite of ecommerce features.

Zyro Ecommerce

This platform excels in a few key areas. First, they provide their merchants the ability to sell products across multiple channels, including Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram.

Second, it’s simple to use. Much like Shopify, they say that you can start selling in under an hour. And it’s true. With their drag and drop website capabilities and quick set up guide, it’s an easy code-free process.

Zyro provides everything you need to run an online store, including:

  • Order and inventory management
  • 50+ payment options and commission-free sales
  • Shipping and tax management
  • Discount codes and gift cards
  • Email messages and notifications
  • Multiple storefronts: online store, plus Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Free hosting

There are a few small drawbacks though.

Since they are such a new platform, advanced features are still being developed and may be absent. Zyro currently has 68 ecommerce themes to choose from. I also spoke with their team and they promise to have over 150 new themes soon. Not bad for a new platform!

One important note is that any Zyro template can be used for an online store – you just have to go to their elements section in the editor and “add e-shop functionality.”

Let’s move onto pricing.

Zyro Ecommerce Pricing

In addition to their free plan, Zyro added two new ecommerce plans: Ecommerce (most popular) and Ecommerce +.

  • Their Ecommerce plan is $14.99/month (or $8.99/month for a 3-year term).
  • The Ecommerce + plan is $21.99/month (or $10.99/month for a 3-year term). This plan adds features like abandoned cart recovery, multi-channel sales, and multi-lingual stores.

Overall, if you want a simple-to-use, multi-channel ecommerce platform, give Zyro a try. You can start with a free plan to test out its website features, then upgrade to an ecommerce plan when you’re ready.

6. Ecwid.

Best Online Store Builder For Existing Websites ($35/month).

Ecwid Ecommerce Platform

With a customer base of 1.6 million small businesses, Ecwid is an excellent and one of the most popular ecommerce platforms available. It also got awarded the “fastest ecommerce implementation platform” by G2 Crowd.

It’s most suitable if you already have a website and want to add a new store or shopping capabilities to it. The good news is that the platform is simple and straightforward to use.

Moreover, it’s entirely flexible and enables users to sell on numerous sites like:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Ecwid Social Media integration

This helps you reach out to a massive number of buyers across the world on different platforms from one dashboard.

Starting with Ecwid is also decidedly easy. And if you run your website on platforms like Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress Business, then things become even easier for you because of Ecwid’s in-built integration with them.

Furthermore, it has a highly customizable storefront, which ensures maximum visibility for your products – no matter which device the customer is using. You can prominently display brand elements like logos, colors, and messages to attract your target audience.

Ecwid also allows you to create, manage, and track all of your advertisements right from the dashboard itself. Curating the perfect Facebook advertisements or Google advertisements is also easy.

The payment process is straightforward, courtesy of Ecwid’s seamless integration with over 50 payment gateways like First Data, PayPal, Square, Stripe, WePay, and more via an in-built functionality with top POS systems

Additionally, Ecwid is a ‘PCI DSS validated Level 1 Service Provider,’ which helps it ensure end-to-end data encryption and secure customer and merchant payment details.

Some of Ecwid’s other unique capabilities are:

  • Inventory tracking
  • Saving favorite products
  • A comprehensive customer address book
  • Managing product options
  • Automatic updates
  • Smart shipping calculations
  • An easy checkout process

All these features (among others) help Ecwid stand out from its counterparts. That said, it has its limitations as well. Firstly, it doesn’t offer services in languages other than English. They also don’t provide any telephone support.

However, the feature-rich and diverse pricing plans make up for the limitations. The good news is that Ecwid comes with a free plan that provides all the necessary functions and lets you sell ten physical items in a month.

Ecwid Pricing

Then they offer three paid plans.

  • The Venture plan lets you sell 100 physical or digital items for $12.50 per month.
  • The Business plan comes at $29.17 per month allowing you to sell 2,500 items.
  • The Unlimited plan ($82.50 per month) includes all sales channels.

If you already run an ecommerce website and want to migrate it to an easy-to-use-effective platform to sell across multiple channels, Ecwid could be for you. 

You can try them out with a completely free plan.

 

7. 3dcart.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Business Sites ($19/month).

3dcart is one of the fastest-growing ecommerce platforms known for its robust SEO features, 50 free themes, and 100+ payment processors.

Their plans range from $19 per month for a Startup Store up to $114.50 per month for their Pro Store plan. All plans come with domain registration, no transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth, a Facebook store, a built-in blog, API access, and 24/7 tech support.

3dcart Features

They recently released new shipping settings and an upgrade to their promotional tools. For shipping, you can display all of your order’s shipping carriers and rates on your checkout page instead of just one at a time.

Then rates are loaded automatically when a buyer checks out with their credit card or PayPal.

With their Advanced Promotion Manager, you can choose multiple Customer Groups to offer a promotion at once instead of one group like in the past. This option is excellent for B2B brands that want an online shopping cart for both consumers and retailers.

Their SEO features are strong and they are touted as “the best ecommerce platform for SEO”. You can create custom URLs, dynamic meta-tags, link titles, and more.

They also take security seriously and are 100% PCI compliant. You can also sell outside of your ecommerce platform with the 3dcart built-in Facebook store. Additionally, you can reach shoppers on the go with mCommerce for mobile devices.

Ultimately, if you’re a small business that needs strong SEO, marketing tools, and ecommerce functionality without the need for advanced enterprise features, 3dcart is a solid choice.

You can try them out with a 15-day free trial.

8. WooCommerce.

The Ecommerce Platform for WordPress (Free + Paid Add-Ons).

With over 74 million downloads, WooCommerce powers around 25% of online stores worldwide. This simple open-source ecommerce plugin for WordPress launched in 2011 and has grown into one of the most popular ecommerce solutions on the market today.

WooCommerce for WordPress

WooCommerce is a completely free plugin that you can add to your WordPress site. However, for more advanced functionality that you’ll find with other ecommerce platforms on this list, you need to add paid extensions.

Another drawback is scalability. I installed the plugin on my site and first noticed that it installed a total of four plugins to run and slowed down my site a bit.

Drawbacks aside, there are a few reasons that so many people use WooCommerce. First, it is a highly customizable solution. There is a large community of WooCommerce developers who add new functionality due to the open-source nature of the plugin.

Second, WordPress is one of the best platforms for SEO on the market. With endless SEO customizations and the ability to have more control over your search results, WooCommerce is a natural extension of the WordPress platform.

However, it’s not the only option, as I currently sell digital products on my WordPress site with the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin. I found it much faster as it’s a “headless commerce” solution that works via an API.

Overall, if you have a WordPress site and want to add ecommerce functionality for free, give WooCommerce a try.

9. Sellfy.

Best for Bloggers and Creators ($19/month).

Sellfy ecommerce platform

Sellfy is a simple but powerful ecommerce platform that allows you to sell digital products, physical goods, and subscriptions – all from one place.

Their tool was originally built to sell digital products, (like eBooks, videos, music, and courses) but now they offer a fully-functional platform with all features necessary to sell physical products too.

Sellfy has built-in marketing tools and analytics and connects with over 1,000 third party apps with Zapier.

With a user-friendly dashboard and the ability to get your site up in a matter of minutes, Sellfy is best for bloggers, creators, and small businesses looking to sell digital products, subscriptions, and physical goods on their website, via buy buttons, and on their social media profiles.

It can easily integrate your website and product pages with your YouTube channel, Instagram page, or Soundcloud account with buy now buttons.

Plus, you don’t need to install multiple apps for your ecommerce site since Sellfy provides tools for email marketing, discount codes, upselling features to increase your sales, and more.

And since it’s cloud-based, you can use it from multiple devices like PCs, mobile devices, tablets, and laptops.

Some of its other key features include:

  • Extensive design customization makes it easier for you to add your logo, change colors, etc.
  • Allows you to add your own custom domain
  • You can choose any language you want for your store
  • Offers mobile-optimized interface for a seamless experience
  • Integrates with payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe
  • Provide in-depth analytics to track best performing products, analyze traffic channels, see top locations, and more
  • Extensive integrations with more than 1000 tools
  • PCI-DSS compliance
  • Comes with a 14-day free trial period

Pricing Plans:

Sellfy pricing plans

Sellfy offers three pricing plans.

The Starter Plan costs $19/month, the Business Plan is $39/month, and their Premium Plan costs $89/month.

All of the plans enable you to sell your products online, embed “buy now” buttons, add shopping carts, integrate with multiple payment options, and powerful analytics.

You don’t have to pay any additional transaction fees. In the Business and Premium Plans, you also get email credits and upselling features, priority customer support.

Their Premium Plan also offers migration services to switch from a different provider.

Give Sellfy a try with a 14-day free trial.

10. ShopBase.

Best Platform for White-Label, Cross-Border Commerce, and Print-on-Demand ($19/month).

ShopBase is a brand new platform that has been around since June 2019. They are known as a great tool if you perform dropshipping and are looking to white-label your products.

ShopBase Homepage

ShopBase offers fully-customizable, mobile-optimized storefronts created by a reputable design team. Every page comes with its own unique settings, and you can also edit every page’s HTML and CSS. 

You can edit every facet of your checkout page, which is important for your ecommerce conversion rates. They also offer abandoned cart recovery emails to encourage visitors to complete their checkouts. 

Some of its other key features include:

  • Web hosting with unlimited bandwidth.
  • A 256-bit SSL certificate included on every plan.
  • 24/7 downtime monitoring and 99.98% uptime.
  • Powerful online store builder. Well-designed store templates that are free.
  • Fast site loading speed. It claims to be 3x faster than any other platform on the market.
  • 250 product variants (2.5x more than Shopify).
  • It’s easy to import your products and transfer your store from another platform to ShopBase. With the Migrate to ShopBase tool, it’s free to migrate from another platform like Shopify or WooCommerce.
  • Provide premium product sourcing and fulfillment services for dropshipping merchants.
  • ShopBase automatically optimizes everything on your product pages and checkout page to increase conversions.

Other than that, there are only a few downsides with ShopBase.

For example, there aren’t as many apps in their app store to integrate with compared to other platforms. Additionally, if you’re not looking to dropship, print-on-demand, or become a white-label business, ShopBase is not for you.

Their plans start at $19/month, and their Basic Base plan provides everything you need to get up and running and make your first sale.

ShopBase Pricing

If you’re planning to get started with a white-label, print-on-demand, or dropshipping business, ShopBase is the best choice for you. 

Give ShopBase a try with a 14-day free trial.

 


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