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 e-commerce 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 – in the end, out of 477 platforms; there will only be a few left standing, so you want to make sure you pick the winner.
These reviews rank based on price, reliability, technical support, features, scalability, product options, shipping, fulfillment, control panel experience, and more.
Please note, I may receive affiliate compensation for the links below. However, these are the best tools I have used and tested that I believe are most effective for launching and running an online store.
What Are the Best Ecommerce Platforms?
Ecommerce platforms are a robust, full-featured way 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:
Best Ecommerce Platform Built to Scale ($29.95/mo)
BigCommerce is my #1 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 or Wix 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.
They are the most open SaaS ecommerce platform on the market – open APIs, zero transaction fees, and an open partner ecosystem, unlike Shopify’s data breaches with MailChimp.
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 that more basic tools like Wix.
They’re also perfect for enterprise brands looking to leave expensive on-premise solutions like Magento and move to SaaS. Brands like Ford, Toyota, Skullcandy, and others in the Fortune 1000 use BigCommerce to bring in over $100 million in annual sales.
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:
With the newly launched 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 in mind. They also offer free SSL certificates, have a clear pricing structure, and again – zero transaction fees.
BigCommerce receives my highest recommendation as to the best ecommerce platform.
Best Simple Ecommerce Platform for Small Business ($9.50/month)
Their plans range from $9.50 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.
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.
Try 3dcart today.
Easy Ecommerce Website Design and Hundreds of Themes ($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.
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:
- Log in to your account or sign up for free.
- Pick a template from the Online Store category.
- Edit the text and add your business name.
- Click “My Store” & “Manage Your Store”.
- Add products to your store.
- Select “Business Setup” to add Payments, Shipping & Store Settings.
- 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 Ecommerce today.
Best Ecommerce Platform 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 wholesalers and Shopify with Inventory Source and test-launched a store.
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 limited product options. 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 good number of product combinations, but enough for most users.
Limitations aside, Shopify is a reliable ecommerce platform that works well for small businesses.
Shopify has three plans ranging from $29 to $299. Additionally, their 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.
Try Shopify today.
Best User-Friendly Ecommerce Platform ($26/month)
Their $26/month Personal Plan comes with unlimited products, online support, and zero transaction fees.
On the high end, their $161/month Business Plan comes with more in-house support. A benefit of a Volusion site is that they have an in-house SEO and marketing team that can help with digital marketing and getting visibility on search engines.
Higher tier plans come with “$100 of quick wins” every month. If you’re a store owner, this could be a quick web design fix, SEO optimizations, or other assistance to improve website performance.
If you want to test them out, you can get started with a 14-day free trial.
Try Volusion today.
The All-In-One Webstore Solution ($44.99/month)
PinnacleCart is an ecommerce platform built with user experience and conversion rate optimization in mind.
They also have strong SEO features including the ability to index your site on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Additionally, you can increase your product visibility further by syndicating your products and services to shopping platforms like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and more. Plus, Buy Buttons allow you to place your products on other websites or blogs and users can purchase your items from these other pages.
In addition to Buy Buttons, their enhanced product tools let you create dynamic product listings. These listings dynamically create tags, manage inventory, showcase different images, and create unlimited categories and product attributes. These features work for both physical and digital products and services.
They also have a strong number of integrations with other software tools. The control panel allows you to manage every aspect of your ecommerce business in one place and you can quickly connect to apps like Avalara, Quickbooks, Shipwire, and more through their Apps Center.
PinnacleCart has three main plans ranging from $44.99/month to $199.99/month. The $44.99 Startup Plan includes zero transaction fees, unlimited products, and unlimited admin accounts. It also includes a one-page checkout, real-time shipping quotes, Google Shopping, predictive search, product syndication, and a shared SSL.
The $199.99/month Advanced Plan provides additional benefits like a dedicated SSL, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, and priority support.
One interesting feature comes to those looking to host their ecommerce site on their own server. They can purchase a perpetual license of PinnacleCart for $1,495 per domain. This includes all features in the advanced plan, one year of technical support, one year of access to upgrades, and 20% off additional license purchases.
Overall, PinnacleCart is a solid all-around ecommerce platform built with user experience and conversion rate optimization in mind. If you’re looking to dynamically create products and easily sync your product catalog with other platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and eBay, PinnacleCart is a good choice.
Try PinnacleCart today.
Best Drag-and-Drop Ecommerce Website Builder ($26/month)
Squarespace is a well-known website builder that has basic ecommerce features on its third highest-priced plan.
They have four main pricing plans – two website builder monthly plans and two online store monthly plans:
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic (Online Store): $26/month
- Advanced (Online Store): $40/month
Before I moved my blog to WordPress, I started with the Squarespace Personal Plan. It was effortless to drag and drop content on my site and update their pre-designed templates. However, I quickly realized that Squarespace wasn’t the best option for SEO, site speed, or customizations.
Squarespace makes it easy for anyone without technical knowledge to create a website, but what you gain in ease of use, you lose in functionality and SEO benefits. I remember when used them, I had a straightforward XML sitemap issue that was impacting my SEO and couldn’t be solved.
Specific URLs in my sitemap had a trailing slash (/) while others didn’t, making it look like every page was duplicate content. Long story short, it was impacting my SEO, and I moved to WordPress right away.
As far as ecommerce solutions go, have you ever heard anyone say, “I run my lucrative online business on Squarespace.” Probably not. However, if you’re already using this platform and want to add a simple ecommerce store, there are some benefits.
It’s super easy to set up, and you get some great looking mobile-friendly templates, product management, and integration with shipping solutions like Shipbob and Shipstation. Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) include real-time shipping rates from major providers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS, and take care of your shipping for you.
Finally, Squarespace offers 24/7 support and a 14-day free trial to test out its features.
Try Squarespace today.
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 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 substantially.
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 is 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.
Try WooCommerce today.
Weebly is a website builder founded in 2006 that now boasts over 500,000 domains and 12% market share in the website builder space. Thir platform works best for new small business websites that don’t need an advanced web presence.
One bonus is that Weebly has marketing automation features built-in. If you were to purchase another website builder and an email marketing service separately, you might pay an extra $10-20 per month.
Another pro is their product options. You can manage hundreds of products, track inventory, automate out of stock items, and boost buying behavior by showing customers the remaining number of products (Only 3 Left!).
Weebly isn’t nearly as powerful as other platforms like Shopify or 3dcart. However, if you’re a small business with a simple website under ten pages and want to add some ecommerce functionality, Weebly will serve you just fine.
Try Weebly today.
Other notable mentions not yet listed include Prestashop, OpenCart, Big Cartel, Ecwid.
What Are Ecommerce Platforms?
Ecommerce platforms are software tools to help people sell products and services online. Historically, businesses had to purchase expensive, on-premise ecommerce software with an IT setup and in-house hosting to manage their ecommerce. Now, with SaaS software technology, users can build storefronts (front-facing sales channels) online.
What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for SEO?
The best ecommerce platform for SEO focuses on important ranking factors, including site speed, URL structure, page titles/content, and sitewide HTTPS.
My pick is BigCommerce. Here’s why:
With site speed, you want to make sure your ecommerce host loads your site content quickly on mobile and desktop. Even a 100-millisecond delay in load time can drop your conversion rate by 7%. Use tools like GTMetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights to check your ecommerce site speed regularly.
Second, image compression is another critical factor in site speed. Images that take a long time to load increase page load times, which impacts user experience and SEO.
Regarding the URL structure, BigCommerce features the best default URL format.
For example, as highlighted earlier, www.rebelpeak.com/camping/blue-tent is the best format to follow in the order of domain, category, and product. They allow you to do this, while other platforms like Shopify force you to keep their structure, including the static “/collections/,”/pages/,” and “/products/.”
This URL structure is not ideal for SEO, so BigCommerce wins in this regard and is my pick for the best ecommerce platform for SEO.
What Are the Best Free Ecommerce Platforms?
If you’re looking for a free or open-source ecommerce platform, you can find many readily available. When researching different ecommerce frameworks to use, it’s essential to ask yourself a few different questions:
- Are you interested in self-hosting?
- How much web development experience do you have?
- How much creative control do you want?
- Would you rather pay a small fee every month to have everything wrapped up in one package?
I would personally go with a paid option over an open-source system because the small fee will save you a ton of time and development costs.
Open source platforms have some limitations. What you gain in flexibility, you lose in simple hosting, maintenance and security, and dedicated support.
What Are the Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business?
The best ecommerce platforms for small businesses have uptime guarantees, security, PCI compliance, usability, and performance. If your business depends on ecommerce sales, your requirements will be more stringent than one individual selling online.
In the B2B space, there are also a lot of dependencies on your platform’s user access levels, shipping methods, tax calculations, and invoicing software. You need a solution that is easily managed by multiple users and minimizes time to complete orders.
After all, the more time you save on compliance, shipping, and fulfillment, the more time you have to market your business online.
Here are my top picks for the best ecommerce platforms for small business:
What Are the Best Ecommerce Platforms for Dropshipping?
The best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping must easily integrate with wholesalers, connect your inventory across platforms, and automate shipping.
When you hook up your online store to a wholesale supplier, the first thing you need to check is that inventory levels automatically sync between platforms. The last thing you want to happen is someone orders a product on your site that’s out of stock with your wholesaler.
Here are my choices for the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping:
Best Ecommerce Platforms (Summary)
There you have it – my list of the best ecommerce platforms.
- If you want the best ecommerce platform that can scale with your business, I recommend you get started with BigCommerce.
- If a more straightforward solution works for you, but you still want strong SEO, I recommend 3dcart.
- If you’re a drop shipper than needs the best integrations, Shopify is your best choice.
What popular ecommerce platforms do you recommend?
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