Are you searching for a comprehensive list of the top ecommerce platforms available in the market? You’ve come to the right place.
Ecommerce platforms offer a range of tools that enable you to create, manage, and sell products online, facilitating the growth of your business. These platforms simplify the process of setting up an ecommerce store without the need for coding skills.
However, it’s important to note that not all ecommerce platforms are created equal. Selecting the right one for your business can be challenging, and choosing the wrong one can result in various issues.
To assist you in finding the most suitable platform for your requirements, we have thoroughly reviewed each of the leading ecommerce platforms. In our analysis, we will outline their pricing, features, and the types of businesses they are best suited for.
Let’s begin exploring the options!
The Best Ecommerce Platforms to Build an Online Store – Summary
- Sellfy – Ideal for small online stores, Sellfy is incredibly user-friendly and perfect for quickly setting up simple online stores.
- Shopify – Considered the top ecommerce platform for most online stores, Shopify offers a comprehensive set of features and functionalities.
- BigCommerce – Geared towards larger stores and enterprise companies, BigCommerce is a feature-rich platform with advanced capabilities.
- Squarespace – Best suited for individuals with visually-oriented products, Squarespace is both a website builder and ecommerce platform. It also includes additional features like email marketing.
- Weebly – With its affordability and user-friendly interface, Weebly is an excellent choice for both ecommerce and website building.
- Wix – Wix is a popular website builder that incorporates built-in ecommerce functionality, making it a convenient option for creating online stores.
- Volusion – Known for its powerful ecommerce capabilities and excellent analytics, Volusion is a platform that provides valuable insights for store owners.
- WooCommerce hosted by Nexcess – Running on WordPress, WooCommerce offers the best ecommerce platform for those seeking control and customization over their online stores.
- Shift4Shop – Another well-rounded ecommerce platform, Shift4Shop offers a range of features and functionalities suitable for various types of businesses.
- Big Cartel – Specifically tailored for artists, Big Cartel is the best ecommerce solution for selling art and creative products.
- Gumroad – While limited in features, Gumroad is a free ecommerce platform specifically designed for selling digital products.
Please note that the order of the listed platforms does not indicate ranking or preference.
1 – Sellfy
Sellfy is the top choice for small online stores, renowned for its user-friendly interface. It has gained significant popularity among content creators and small businesses, with over 270,000 creators worldwide relying on its services.
While other platforms on this list do support the sale of digital goods, Sellfy stands out as the leader in this area. Unlike other ecommerce platforms, Sellfy was specifically designed to cater to the needs of photographers, music producers, and creators who wish to sell their digital products online.
Sellfy enables you to sell various digital file types such as subscriptions, ebooks, audio files, videos, photographs, and PSD files. Additionally, Sellfy goes beyond simple downloads by offering video streaming capabilities, allowing you to provide customers with on-demand access to exclusive videos.
Setting up your storefront with Sellfy is a breeze and takes less than five minutes. You can easily customize your store to match your brand, connect your domain, set up your shopping cart, and start selling. Furthermore, Sellfy allows you to embed “buy now” buttons on your social media profiles or any other web page, maximizing your selling opportunities. If you already have a blog or YouTube channel with substantial traffic, you can monetize it by embedding Sellfy “product cards” within your content or on YouTube cards and end screens.
Sellfy isn’t limited to digital downloads; it also excels in print-on-demand (POD) sales. With its built-in print-on-demand service, you can create your designs, start selling, and Sellfy will handle the printing and fulfillment of incoming orders.
- Perfect for selling digital goods and subscriptions
- Integrated print-on-demand sales tools
- Capability to sell video-on-demand content
- Includes email marketing functionality
- Less flexible compared to other platforms
- Paid plans, which allow you to connect your own domain, start at $19 per month (billed bi-annually).
- Sellfy also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Related: Why Is Shopify So Expensive?
2 – Shopify
Shopify is widely regarded as the most prominent ecommerce platform in the market. Since its launch in 2006, it has been a pioneer in providing non-technical users with the ability to build their own online stores. Like BigCommerce, Shopify aims to offer a comprehensive solution that covers all aspects of running an online business.
Building a fully responsive Shopify store and getting it up and running is a quick process that can be accomplished in just a few minutes. This is made possible by the user-friendly site builder and the extensive collection of themes available.
However, what truly sets Shopify apart is its vast array of integrations. It boasts one of the largest selections of third-party apps and plugins, second only to WordPress/WooCommerce. These apps, which can be found in the Shopify App Store, allow you to expand the functionality of your store and make it a highly adaptable ecommerce solution. For instance, you can install a third-party app to establish a dropshipping store or leverage the Facebook channel app to easily synchronize your product catalog with Facebook and Instagram.
In addition to the integrations, Shopify offers several other advanced features that are worth highlighting. These include post-purchase sales tools and one-click upsells, a mobile app for managing your store on the go, live chat integration for real-time customer communication, support for 3D product models and videos, a store speed report, in-depth analytics and user tracking, a discount and coupon engine, and integrated email marketing tools.
It is worth noting that Shopify’s SEO capabilities seem to be less robust compared to BigCommerce, which may be considered a drawback.
- Abundance of integrations
- Mobile app for managing your store on the go
- Highly flexible and powerful platform
- Weaker SEO capabilities compared to some competitors
- Shopify plans start at $39 per month, and a free 14-day trial is available with no credit card required. Yearly discounts are also available.
Related: Shopee vs Shopify
3 – BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a well-known and widely used ecommerce platform that powers some of the biggest brand names, including Ben & Jerry’s, Skullcandy, and Superdry. It offers a comprehensive, all-in-one content management system for running an online store.
With BigCommerce, you have everything you need to manage your online store efficiently. The user-friendly drag-and-drop page builder makes it accessible for beginners to create visually appealing storefronts without any coding or design expertise. You can choose from a wide range of customizable free and paid themes/templates, and if you want more control over the design, you can modify the HTML and CSS.
The platform provides various built-in marketing and sales tools to boost your sales. These include streamlined one-page checkouts, automated shopping cart recovery features, image optimization for faster page loading times, and more.
In terms of marketing, BigCommerce offers integrated SEO features, allowing you to customize URLs, access robot.txt, and support a blog for publishing SEO-driven posts to attract organic search traffic. It also enables integration with popular marketplaces like Amazon, Facebook, and Google to expand your customer reach.
Managing your online store is made easy with BigCommerce’s comprehensive set of tools for inventory management, shipping, and payments. It supports over 55 payment providers, giving you the flexibility to choose the one that suits your needs. If you also operate an offline store, you can integrate BigCommerce with retail POS systems such as Square or Vend.
- User-friendly interface
- Seamless integration with Amazon and Facebook
- Built-in blog functionality
- Comparatively higher pricing than some other platforms
- BigCommerce plans start at $39 per month, and you can save 25% with an annual subscription. A 15-day free trial is available for you to explore the platform’s features and capabilities.
Related: Why is Shopify so Hard to Use?
4 – Squarespace
Squarespace is more than just an ecommerce platform—it’s a comprehensive content management system designed for various types of websites, including ecommerce stores.
What sets Squarespace apart is its collection of carefully curated, industry-leading website templates. These templates stand out with their exceptional design, thoughtfully chosen color schemes, modern layouts, and impressive fonts. They are particularly well-suited for showcasing visual products like photographs and art prints, making Squarespace an ideal platform for such businesses.
All the templates are included for free with your Squarespace plan, and they rival the quality of paid templates found on other platforms. With a wide range of options available, there is a template to suit every type of business.
Setting up your store on Squarespace is straightforward. You can easily add your products, set up payment processing, customize categories and content using the intuitive website builder, and start driving traffic and making sales. Squarespace also offers various email marketing and SEO tools to assist you in these endeavors.
Despite being a versatile website builder, Squarespace provides several advanced ecommerce-specific features, including support for subscription sales and digital goods, built-in tax tools, flexible fulfillment options, abandoned cart recovery, integration with popular payment processors and shipping services (such as Apple Pay, PayPal, UPS, FedEx, and more), synchronization of offline and online sales channels, and a Squarespace app for mobile inventory tracking and customer communication. Additionally, Squarespace offers a point-of-sale (POS) system on iOS.
One limitation of Squarespace is its lack of flexibility compared to platforms like Shopify. It offers limited integration with third-party apps, with only a few dozen options available, while the Shopify app store boasts over 6000 apps.
- Industry-leading website templates
- Built-in tax tools
- Built-in email marketing and SEO tools
- Limited integrations
- Squarespace plans start at $12 per month, with an additional 3% transaction fee on sales. Alternatively, you can choose a $18 per month plan that does not include transaction fees.
Related: Does Shopify Take a Cut?
5 – Weebly
Weebly is another versatile ecommerce website builder that comes with a built-in ecommerce platform. It offers affordability and is particularly well-suited for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a cost-effective platform that can grow with their needs.
While Weebly may not have the most extensive set of features compared to other platforms on this list, it excels at simplicity. It provides some of the most budget-friendly paid plans available and even offers a limited free plan.
Weebly equips you with all the essential tools required to start selling online. These include an intuitive drag-and-drop website builder, smart marketing tools (such as customizable ecommerce welcome and abandoned cart email templates), basic analytics, real-time shipping rates, and inventory management tools that allow bulk product imports and exports.
In addition, Weebly offers advanced features such as a coupon and gift card builder, product search functionality, and support for product badges like “low stock badges” to help highlight products on your site.
One drawback of Weebly is its relative lack of flexibility compared to other platforms on this list, and its limited integration options. It only supports a few payment processors, including Square, Stripe, and PayPal.
- Very affordable
- Built-in coupon engine
- Easy to use
- Less advanced features compared to some other platforms
- No ecommerce features included in the cheapest plans
- Weebly provides a free plan, but it has significant limitations and includes a Weebly subdomain (e.g., yourdomain.weebly.com), which may not be suitable for serious businesses.
- Paid plans that are suitable for online stores start at $12 per month with the Pro plan. Cheaper plans are available, but they do not include ecommerce features.
6 – Wix
Wix is another well-known website builder that comes with built-in ecommerce functionality. It is a popular choice among solopreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses who seek a user-friendly and affordable solution to quickly establish an online presence.
There are two standout features of Wix that we particularly like: its website builder, known as the ‘Wix Editor’, and its robust built-in automation capabilities. Let’s start with the Wix Editor.
Out of all the page builders available, Wix Editor stands out as a top contender. It is incredibly beginner-friendly, powerful, and flexible, offering an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. You begin by selecting a theme from a collection of 500 high-converting store templates and can then customize it to your liking with complete design freedom.
Wix goes beyond ordinary backgrounds and static images, allowing you to make your website visually appealing with dynamic elements like video backgrounds, parallax scrolling effects, and captivating animations.
If you prefer a hassle-free approach to customization, you can utilize Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) system. By answering a few questions, Wix ADI will generate a personalized ecommerce website tailored specifically to your business, complete with custom images and text.
Automation is a key strength of Wix. It offers automated Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns to promote your online store on social media. Once you set up the initial campaign, Wix’s powerful machine-learning algorithm continuously optimizes your ad performance by enhancing audience targeting, thereby maximizing your return on investment.
Of course, Wix also provides all the essential features you would expect from an ecommerce platform, including various payment processing options, abandoned cart recovery, streamlined checkouts, and even dropshipping and print-on-demand capabilities.
- Very user-friendly
- Robust automation capabilities
- Wide range of templates
- Not exclusively dedicated to ecommerce
- Wix offers business and ecommerce plans starting at $23 per month. They also provide a 14-day money-back guarantee.
7 – Volusion
Volusion is a comprehensive ecommerce solution that powers over 180,000 online stores. While it may not be as widely recognized as platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, it offers some of the most powerful built-in marketing and analytics features available.
In addition to the standard features expected from an all-in-one ecommerce platform, such as a website builder and shopping cart software, Volusion excels in its marketing and analytics tools.
One of its key strengths is its ability to manage campaigns across multiple marketing channels, including SEO, email, and social media, all from a single platform. It provides state-of-the-art SEO features to improve your chances of ranking in search engine results and driving organic traffic. With fast-loading pages and the ability to manage metadata like title tags and URLs, you can ensure that your product and category pages are optimized for search engines.
Volusion also offers social media management, allowing you to link your Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts to your online store. You can manage your Facebook, eBay, and Amazon stores directly from the Volusion dashboard and even publish social posts. The platform supports email newsletters, automated abandoned cart emails, and provides built-in CRM tools to effectively manage your sales tickets.
When it comes to analytics, Volusion provides robust and comprehensive insights into every aspect of your campaign, website, and sales performance. You can delve into data related to purchases, abandoned and live carts, CRM tickets, RMAs, and more. Additionally, Volusion offers comprehensive ROI tracking to determine which of your marketing efforts yield the best results.
- Best-in-class analytics
- Impressive social media and SEO marketing tools
- Built-in CRM capabilities
- Not as customizable as some other platforms
- Volusion’s paid plans start at $29 per month. The platform also offers a 14-day free trial, with no credit card required.
Related: Is Shopify Safe and Secure?
For those seeking maximum flexibility and control over their ecommerce store, we recommend WooCommerce hosted by Nexcess. WooCommerce is a versatile, self-hosted ecommerce solution that operates on the WordPress platform.
Unlike other options on this list, WooCommerce is not a standalone platform but rather a plugin that can be installed and activated on your WordPress website, transforming it into an ecommerce store.
The advantage of this approach is the unparalleled flexibility it offers. WordPress is an open-source platform with an extensive library of third-party plugins that can be seamlessly integrated with WooCommerce, allowing you to enhance the functionality of your online store according to your specific needs. With WooCommerce, you have complete control over every aspect of your ecommerce site.
Another benefit is that the core WooCommerce plugin is free of charge. This makes it a cost-effective ecommerce solution, especially if you already have an existing WordPress website.
However, it’s important to note that WooCommerce is self-hosted, meaning you’ll need to purchase web hosting services separately to publish your site on the internet. For this purpose, we recommend Nexcess, a specialized ecommerce web hosting provider offering managed WooCommerce hosting.
Nexcess not only provides the necessary servers to power your ecommerce website but also offers a range of tools and services to assist you in managing your online store. Upon signing up, Nexcess takes care of keeping the core WordPress and WooCommerce software up to date, performing daily backups, updating plugins, and conducting malware scans to ensure the security of your site. Their robust cloud infrastructure guarantees minimal downtime and fast page loading speeds. Additionally, Nexcess provides access to premium plugins and themes at no extra cost, including Astra Pro, AffiliateWP, ConvertPro, and Glew.io for advanced analytics.
- Complete control and flexibility over your ecommerce store
- Full ownership of your website and data
- Extensive scalability through third-party plugins
- Excellent for SEO optimization
- Steeper learning curve compared to other platforms
- Nexcess offers managed WooCommerce hosting plans starting at $9.50 per month, accompanied by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
9 – Shift4Shop
Shift4Shop is a turnkey ecommerce solution that offers a comprehensive set of features, including a feature-rich website builder, marketing tools, and order management capabilities.
What sets Shift4Shop apart from other platforms is that it offers all of these features for free. Yes, you read that right. They have reimagined the ecommerce business model by providing an enterprise-level solution that would typically cost over $100 per month with other providers, all at no cost. Unlike other free plans, Shift4Shop even allows you to use your own domain name and provides an SSL certificate.
However, there is a catch. To avail of the free plan, you must use Shift4 Payments, their in-house payment processor. This is how they monetize their services.
- Enterprise-level features available
- Completely free plan option
- Wide range of integrations
- Templates may feel somewhat outdated
- Free plan only available with Shift4 Payments
- Shift4Shop is entirely free if you use Shift4 Payments. If you prefer to use a different payment processor, you will need to opt for one of their paid plans, which start at $29 per month.
Related: Is Shopify a Scam
10 – Big Cartel
Big Cartel is an ecommerce solution that caters specifically to artists and creators. It has been serving the community since 2005 and is trusted by over a million creators. Big Cartel’s focus is on remaining small and independent, which is why it may not be as widely known as some other platforms.
Recognizing that independent creators have unique needs for their online stores, Big Cartel prioritizes ease of use, design flexibility, and transparent pricing. They offer a collection of free themes designed specifically for artists, and all of these themes are fully customizable, allowing creators to personalize the look and feel of their online stores by either making front-end adjustments or delving into the code.
Big Cartel is known for its affordability and straightforward pricing structure. Creators can start with a free plan and then upgrade as needed based on the number of products they want to sell through their online stores.
Ethics are also important to Big Cartel, as they are committed to anti-racism and have a history of charitable donations to pro-equality causes.
In addition to the website builder and checkout solution, Big Cartel offers shipment and inventory tracking, real-time analytics, automated sales tax calculation, and support for discounts and promotions.
While Big Cartel is an ideal choice for artists and musicians, it is not the only option available, and there are alternative platforms to consider.
- Flexible front-end site builder
- Clear and scalable pricing structure
- Specifically designed for artists and creators
- Limited advanced features
- Big Cartel offers a free plan for up to 5 products, and their paid plans start at $9.99 per month.
Related: Best Dropshipping Websites
11 – Gumroad
Gumroad is a free ecommerce platform designed specifically for creators who want to sell various types of digital products, such as audio files and ebooks. It offers flexibility in terms of the products you can sell, including physical items, digital downloads, and even software with the ability to generate license keys.
Similar to other platforms mentioned, Gumroad provides an intuitive front-end website builder. Users can start with a pre-designed landing page template and customize it to match their desired look and feel.
Gumroad also offers powerful universal analytics data, enabling creators to gain insights into the performance of their products and make informed decisions. It provides convenient automatic workflows, checkout tools, flexible product pricing options, support for multiple currencies, and more.
However, it’s important to note that Gumroad does have a few downsides. Compared to other platforms, its features are relatively limited. Additionally, Gumroad charges a transaction fee for each sale made, which users may consider when evaluating alternative options.
- Powerful analytics capabilities
- Well-suited for selling digital products
- User-friendly interface
- Transaction fees per sale
- Limited range of features
- Gumroad itself is free to use. However, it does charge a transaction fee of 10% per sale, along with additional processing fees.
FAQs: Best Ecommerce Platform
What do ecommerce platforms do?
Ecommerce platforms are software applications that facilitate the creation, management, and operation of online stores. They provide a comprehensive set of tools and features to assist businesses in setting up and running their online operations. These platforms typically include website or storefront builders, marketing tools, shopping cart solutions, payment gateways, and more.
Which ecommerce platform is best for search engine optimization (SEO)?
In our opinion, BigCommerce stands out as the top choice for SEO among ecommerce platforms. It offers built-in SEO features that are considered best-in-class. These features include SEO-friendly themes, automatic generation of sitemaps, and fast page loading times. BigCommerce also provides full control over essential SEO elements such as metadata, URLs, and title tags. Additionally, the platform includes an integrated blogging feature that can further enhance SEO rankings and drive organic search traffic.
Can I create my own ecommerce store without using an ecommerce platform?
While it is technically possible to build your own ecommerce store from scratch without relying on an ecommerce platform or content management system (CMS), it is a challenging task. It requires professional development skills or the ability to hire a developer. Custom website development of an ecommerce store can be a costly endeavor, often amounting to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. For most businesses, it is much more convenient and cost-effective to utilize a dedicated ecommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify to establish their online store.
Can WordPress be considered an ecommerce platform?
No, WordPress itself is not classified as an ecommerce platform. It is an open-source content management system that can be utilized to create and manage various types of websites, including ecommerce sites. However, by installing the WooCommerce plugin, WordPress can be transformed into a functional ecommerce platform. WooCommerce extends the capabilities of a WordPress website, enabling the creation and operation of an ecommerce store.
Is Amazon regarded as an ecommerce platform?
No, Amazon is not typically categorized as an ecommerce platform. Instead, it is recognized as an ecommerce marketplace. While there are similarities between ecommerce platforms and marketplaces, there are significant distinctions. Ecommerce platforms allow individuals or businesses to establish their independent online stores, providing complete control and ownership over the store. On the other hand, Amazon serves as a platform for third-party sellers to list and sell their products on the Amazon marketplace. Sellers benefit from accessing Amazon’s extensive customer base, but they have limited control over their online store and are subject to seller fees.
How can I switch my ecommerce platform?
Switching ecommerce platforms can be a complex process, requiring careful consideration and planning. Several factors need to be addressed, such as maintaining URL structures and implementing page redirects to preserve search engine rankings and traffic. Additionally, product data must be exported from the current platform and imported into the new one, which may involve bulk imports if supported by both platforms. While a comprehensive step-by-step guide cannot be provided in this post, you can find detailed instructions on how to switch platforms in various resources available online.
Related: Best Print-On-Demand Sites
What are the distinctions between hosted and self-hosted ecommerce platforms?
The disparity between hosted and self-hosted ecommerce platforms lies in the provision of web hosting services. Hosted platforms encompass web hosting as part of their offerings, allowing users to publish their ecommerce stores on the internet. On the other hand, self-hosted platforms solely provide the necessary tools for creating and managing an online store, requiring users to procure web hosting separately.
To illustrate, all-in-one solutions such as BigCommerce and Shopify include hosting services within their packages. Conversely, platforms like WooCommerce are self-hosted, requiring users to obtain hosting independently. In the case of choosing WooCommerce, it is recommended to sign up with a hosting provider like Nexcess to establish the necessary hosting infrastructure.
Related: How to Sell CBD Products on Shopify
Which ecommerce platform is the fastest?
Determining the “fastest” ecommerce platform is challenging as page loading speeds can vary based on numerous factors, including site content and the geographic location of visitors. Various bloggers have conducted speed tests, yielding mixed results. However, Shopify consistently performs well in most tests, making it a viable option if speed is a priority.
What is the best ecommerce platform for dropshipping?
For dropshipping, BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce are recommended platforms. These three options integrate with plug-and-play dropshipping solutions, facilitating the importation of products from major dropshipping suppliers such as AliExpress. To explore dropshipping suppliers in more detail, refer to our article dedicated to the topic.
What is the optimal ecommerce platform for print-on-demand products?
Sellfy stands out as one of the few platforms offering print-on-demand services without the need for third-party services. However, Printful, a print-on-demand dropshipping platform, can be utilized in conjunction with various ecommerce platforms including Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, and more. If you desire further information, consult our article on the best print-on-demand sites.
Which ecommerce platform is suitable for SaaS (Software as a Service) products?
For selling software products, BigCommerce or Gumroad are recommended options. However, it is important to note that selling SaaS products entails complexities beyond those involved in selling regular merchandise or digital downloads. In such cases, a customized solution may be more appropriate.
What is the best ecommerce platform for multiple vendors?
Only a few platforms natively support multi-vendor stores, necessitating the installation of third-party apps/plugins to transform an ecommerce store into a multi-vendor marketplace. BigCommerce, coupled with the multi-vendor marketplace app developed by Webkul, is suggested for achieving this functionality.
Which ecommerce platform is the most popular worldwide?
While it is difficult to ascertain an unequivocal answer, WooCommerce is considered the most popular ecommerce platform globally, boasting over 5 million active installations. By comparison, Shopify powers approximately 1.7 million businesses, and BigCommerce is utilized by around 60,000+ entities.
The Best Ecommerce Platforms for Your Business
The ecommerce industry is experiencing significant growth, and this upward trend is expected to continue, according to recent statistics.
With numerous ecommerce platforms available, it is crucial to carefully evaluate your options and make an informed decision from the start. Switching platforms once your online store is established can be challenging.
Before finalizing your choice, several factors need consideration, including budget, product type, desired flexibility, preference for a hosted or self-hosted platform, and more.
If you still find it difficult to decide, here is a summary of our top four recommendations:
- Sellfy is an excellent choice if you aim to quickly create a simple ecommerce store. While it is particularly popular among content creators selling digital products and print-on-demand merchandise, it is also suitable for physical products. You can establish your own store front or add buy buttons to an existing website.
- Shopify is the ideal option if flexibility and integration with third-party tools are paramount. It is particularly suitable for websites with extensive inventories.
- BigCommerce offers a solid all-around solution, making it a reliable choice. Similar to Shopify, it excels with stores that have large inventories.
- Squarespace is worth considering if you are a photographer, creative professional, or anyone selling visually-oriented products.
If you found our list of the best ecommerce platforms helpful, you may also want to explore our compilation of the top platforms for selling digital products.