An good ecommerce platform gives you the tools you need to build your online store.
It provides you with the capability to manage your products, website, business operations, and everything else involved with selling online.
With ecommerce trends on the rise, the market of ecommerce platforms has quickly become a crowded space. So finding the best option can be challenging if you don’t know where to look.
After extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the top ten ecommerce solutions on the market today. Each one has its own unique use cases and specialty. So no matter what you’re looking for, you can find it in this guide.
The Best Ecommerce Platform Options to Consider:
#1 – Shopify Review — The Best Overall Ecommerce Platform
Shopify is the best ecommerce platform on the market today. Used by more than 1 million businesses, this platform is jam packed with the features you need to find customers and start selling.
As an all-in-one ecommerce solution, Shopify has everything you need to start selling online from scratch. It’s also very beginner friendly. So don’t worry if you don’t know how to code or design web pages. You can use Shopify to get up and running quickly.
From small businesses to large-scale companies, Shopify does it all.
In addition to the ecommerce site, Shopify supports online marketplaces, social media selling, and even has its own POS software for in-person sales. So you can easily integrate your brick and mortar retail operation with a Shopify store.
Shopify has an integrated payment processing system. This ecommerce solution also supports dropshipping operations.
Here’s a quick overview of the Shopify plans and prices:
As you can see, Shopify is also extremely affordable. They have a plan to accommodate the needs of all business sizes.
At the enterprise level, Shopify can be a bit limited. But you can still get a custom quote and solution if your company is outgrowing your plan.
For a limited time, you can try Shopify free for 90 days—no credit card required.
#2 – Wix Review — Best Website Builder For Ecommerce
When people think of Wix, ecommerce isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. This platform is best known for its drag-and-drop site building functionality.
But Wix is actually a fantastic ecommerce site builder.
Starting an ecommerce site with Wix is about is simple as it gets. You’ll set up your website the same way you would normally use Wix. The only difference is that you need to choose an ecommerce plan, which gives you the ability to sell online. Just select “Business & Ecommerce” when you’re browsing for plans.
If you’re already using Wix to power your website, upgrading to an ecommerce plan is easy.
When you start building your ecommerce store with Wix, you can choose from one of the 500+ ecommerce-optimized templates. Your storefront is fully customizable for features like related products, customer wishlists, galleries, and collections.
All transactions facilitated on your Wix ecommerce site are commission-free. You’ll obviously have to pay the standard rate for the processor that you’re using, but Wix won’t take a dime.
Wix is a somewhat new player in the ecommerce industry. So the platform does have some limitations. For example, Wix offers features that help you target abandoned carts, which wasn’t always available.
Wix has a 14-day money-back guarantee. So you can try it risk-free.
#3 – WooCommerce Review — The Best Ecommerce Plugin For WordPress
WooCommerce is not an all-in-one ecommerce platform like some of the other solutions on our list. It’s a plugin that brings ecommerce functionality to WordPress websites.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, but it doesn’t come with any out of the box solutions for selling online. That’s where WooCommerce comes into play.
Once installed, you can build your ecommerce store and customize whatever you need without limitations. You can manage everything directly from your WordPress dashboard.
WooCommerce seamlessly integrates with other WordPress and business tools you might be using, like Yoast, Google Analytics, and Stripe. It also supports multi-channel sales and POS tools with platforms like Facebook, Stripe, PayPal, Square, and Fulfillment by Amazon.
The best part of WooCommerce? It’s free.
You will have to pay for some extensions. While some of those are free, others range up to $300.
WooCommerce offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all extensions purchases.
For those of you who are already using WordPress, it’s easier to just install WooCommerce as opposed to rebuilding your site elsewhere or migrating to another platform. But if you’re starting a new website from scratch, you’d probably be better off with a different option on our list.
#4 – BigCommerce Review — Best Ecommerce Platform For Multi-Channel Sales
BigCommerce is a staple in the ecommerce space. For 10+ years, this platform has facilitated over $25 billion in merchant sales. It’s used by businesses in more than 120 countries.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce is also an all-in-one ecommerce solution. As a matter of fact, you’ll actually find more out of the box native features in BigCommerce than you will with Shopify.
Don’t think you’ll end up using all the features. In fact, it can be a bit overwhelming at times to navigate through them.
The most significant standout of BigCommerce is how easy this tool is for facilitating multi-channel sales. From brick and mortar integration to online marketplaces and social commerce, BigCommerce supports it all. You can even switch between multiple storefronts with a single login.
BigCommerce supports B2B companies and international sales as well.
If you’re using BigCommerce to build your website from scratch, you’ll find it easy to make changes that will optimize conversions.
BigCommerce is optimized for SEO, supports digital wallets, faceted search, and is great for adding ecommerce features like custom discounts. Overall, it has everything you need to succeed.
Pricing starts at $29.95 per month. BigCommerce has other plans starting at $79.95 and $299.95 per month, respectively. For comparison purposes, these are nearly identical to Shopify’s rates.
Try BigCommerce free for 15 days. For a limited time, your first three months of BigCommerce are free after the trial expires.
#5 – Squarespace Review — Best Ecommerce Platform For Portfolios
Squarespace is another well-known website builder.
But compared to Wix or other site builders on the market, Squarespace has ecommerce functionality built-in to all of its plans (except for personal sites).
Squarespace is known for having incredible designs. These award-winning templates are perfect for artists, musicians, photographers, and other creatives who want to make a portfolio site. With Squarespace, selling products in your portfolio is simple.
You can sell products, subscriptions, services, gift cards, or anything else with your Squarespace store.
All of Squarespace’s ecommerce templates are modern, beautiful, and optimized for mobile devices as well.
If you’re looking for a simple way to set up an ecommerce store, Squarespace is perfect for you.
But for those of you who have extensive product catalogs and complex needs, you’ll run into some limitations with this platform, especially as your store grows. So I’d really only recommend it to those of you in the creative space selling a limited number of products.
Pricing for Squarespace with ecommerce capabilities starts at $18 per month. Try Squarespace free for 14 days.
#6 – Easy Digital Downloads Review — Best Plugin For Selling Digital Products on WordPress
Easy Digital Downloads is another WordPress plugin. But unlike WooCommerce, this plugin is specifically designed for selling digital products (as the name implies).
If you currently have a WordPress site and want to start selling ebooks, files, website tools, and other digital products, EDD is going to be your best option.
You’ll have complete control over your files, making it easy to restrict access to paying customers. EDD comes with a fully integrated shopping cart, the ability to create discount codes, as well as valuable tracking and reporting tools for all purchases.
Easy Digital Downloads is free to download and install. But you can purchase passes to add features and functionality to your site.
Easy Digital Downloads integrates with tools and services that you’re already using like Slack, Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, Zapier, AWeber, Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, and more.
With over 2.44 million downloads and 100+ themes, EDD is a simple and affordable way to sell offer digital products online.
#7 – 3DCart Review — Best Ecommerce Platform For Developers
3DCart is a pioneer in the ecommerce industry. Founded in 1997, this platform has provided ecommerce services to more than 25,000 merchants online retailers.
Compared to some of the other ecommerce solutions on our list, 3DCart isn’t as popular. But that’s because it’s not really intended for the masses. This tool is designed for experienced developers.
You won’t have access to a drag and drop builder like you will with Shopify, Wix, or BigCommerce. Instead, 3DCart requires coding knowledge—it’s not for beginners.
3DCart has a plan for everyone, depending on how many people you need to manage the site.
No matter what plan you choose, you’ll benefit from API access, no transaction fees, built-in blog, built-in shopping cart, and access to more than 100 payment providers.
3DCart is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try it free for 15 days.
#8 – Ecwid Review — Best Free Shopping Cart Extension
Ecwid isn’t the most well-known ecommerce solution on the market, but it’s a great option for anyone looking for a free shopping cart extension.
Ecwid is not a full-blown or all-in-one ecommerce platform. Similar to WooCommerce and EDD, it’s a plugin or an extension. While Ecwid is compatible with WordPress, it works with other platforms too. That’s the biggest difference between Ecwid and those other plugins on our list.
So if you’re currently using Wix, Weebly, Joomla, Tumblr, Squarespace, Adobe Muse, or Blogger, you can easily add ecommerce capabilities to your site with Ecwid.
For basic business needs, Ecwid has a free forever plan that you can take advantage of.
But if you want to sell on multiple sales channels and benefit from advanced features, you’ll definitely need to upgrade to a paid plan. For example, the free plan doesn’t give you access discount coupons or the ability to sell gift cards—both staples in the ecommerce world.
The free plan also limits you to just ten products. So it’s only realistic if you’re selling a handful of items.
More than 1.6 million businesses trust Ecwid to run an online store. They don’t offer a traditional free trial, but you can always sign up for the free forever plan to give it a try before upgrading.
#9 – Volusion Review — Best Ecommerce Platform For Extensive Product Lists
Volusion is another ecommerce pioneer. This all-in-one ecommerce platform has been around for more than 20 years.
The platform has facilitated more than $28 billion in sales, 185+ million orders, and supports 30,000+ active users.
Like most all-in-one ecommerce tools, Volusion has everything you need to create an ecommerce shop and start selling online from scratch.
It integrates seamlessly with tools like Constant Contact, Slack, PayPal, Amazon, Stripe, and more.
To get the best rate, you can sign up for quarterly billing. Month-to-month plans are available if you don’t want to commit to three months at a time.
Volusion is a great option for ecommerce stores with hundreds or thousands of products. It’s robust enough to support your needs.
The biggest drawback of Volusion is its customer service. Over the years, it’s definitely gone downhill, which can be a bit concerning if you ever run into problems or need assistance.
You can try Volusion free for 14 days. No credit card required.
#10 – Magento Review — The Best Enterprise Ecommerce Platform
Magento is a powerful ecommerce platform. As an Adobe product, it’s trusted by B2B stores and global enterprises.
They offer industry-specific solutions for businesses in fashion, automotive, health and beauty, and food and beverage companies.
Unlike other ecommerce platforms on this list, you can’t find Magento’s prices online. You’ll need to contact their sales team to request a demo.
But if you do a little bit of digging, you’ll find that Magento’s prices start around $20,000 per year. That alone will separate them from the crowd.
If you’re a small business, boutique retailer, or looking to start a new online store from scratch, Magento is not for you.
But larger organizations will benefit from Magento’s high-quality ecommerce capabilities and backend functionality.
Magento also has a PWA (progressive web app) studio to fully optimize your shop for mobile devices. You can build a web app in addition to your online store.
Contact the Magento sales staff to request a free demo.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Ecommerce Platform
With so many ecommerce solutions to choose from, how can you tell which one is right for you?
Here at Crazy Egg, we have a specific methodology that we use when deciding what’s best. I’ll explain how you can weigh these factors to make a decision based on your personal needs.
Ecommerce platforms come in all different shapes and sizes. These options can be segmented in the following categories:
- All-in-one solutions
- Website builders
- Plugins and extensions
If you’re starting a new ecommerce store from scratch, you’ll want to lean toward an all-in-one solution or a website builder. Not every website builder will have ecommerce capability out of the box. You might need an add-on or an upgrade to access those features.
Plugins and extensions are a good option for those of you who already have a functioning website. If you just need to add shopping cart functionality, you can install an extension.
Website and Business Model
Another factor to consider is what type of website and business you’re building.
For example, do you need an ecommerce platform that integrates with your brick and mortar retail stores? Are you selling digital products? Do you need a platform that supports dropshipping?
How many products are you selling? There’s a big difference between an ecommerce shop that sells ten items and one that sells 10,000 products.
These are some of the questions that you’ll need to ask yourself as you’re evaluating prospective options. Not every ecommerce platform will support your needs—make sure you find one that does.
Ease of Use
Simplicity is crucial for running an ecommerce site.
Not every business owner and entrepreneur is technically inclined. Fortunately, you won’t need to know how to code or anything to build an ecommerce site on most platforms. You can just use a drag and drop site builder.
For advanced users and developers that want more flexibility and complete customization, there are tools like 3DCart that can accommodate those needs. But that won’t be necessary for the average person.
Don’t be so easily convinced by an extensive feature list. Only focus on the features that you’re actually going to need and use.
For example, shopping cart recovery tools, promo codes, discounts, gift cards, customer wish lists, customer profiles, and dozens of other features don’t always come standard with every plan. It all depends on what platform you choose and how much you’re willing to pay.
Do you need solutions for omnichannel sales? Make sure you find a platform that supports those features.
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into an Ecommerce Platform
You should invest in an ecommerce platform when you’re ready to start selling online. In many cases, you might already have an established brick and mortar business, and you’re looking to expand with an online store.
Other people might be starting a new ecommerce business from scratch. You could potentially invest in an ecommerce platform before you source any inventory.
Some platforms make it easier than others to find the best dropshipping companies if that’s the business model that your pursuing.
Even if you’re not 100% ready to start selling, you can still set up your online store, start to generate traffic, and build hype before you officially launch.
I wouldn’t invest in an ecommerce platform if this is just something that you’re thinking about or considering. Only do it when you’re ready to commit and take the plunge.
The first step to selling anything online is finding the right ecommerce platform.
So which one is the best? It depends on what you’re looking for. You can use this guide to find the best ecommerce platform for your business. No matter what type of business you have or what you’re selling, I’m confident that the perfect solution for you is on this list.