You need a good e-commerce website to sell online.
Building one might seem daunting though—especially if you don’t know how to code or design a website.
Fortunately, some of the best e-commerce website builders simplify the process of creating a website. This allows you to create an attractive website that’ll get you selling in no time.
These builders help you set up your product pages, shopping cart, payment methods, and customer service connections.
When you’re ready to put together an e-commerce website, finding the right model is easier with our list of the six best e-commerce website builders.
The 6 Best E-commerce Website Builders Options to Consider:
- Wix – Best for beginners
- Shopify – Best for customization
- Squarespace – Best for social media integration
- BigCommerce – Best for scalability
- Weebly – Best for building any kind of website
- 3DCart – Best for those with site building experience
#1 – Wix Review — Best for Beginners
Wix makes the process of building an e-commerce website dead simple. You can drag and drop your items into the Wix template, making it easy to create your product pages quickly.
It gives you SEO friendly components, so you can begin driving traffic to your site immediately. Wix handles all of the aspects of hosting the site for you, along with advertising. Your sales are commission free as well.
Be sure to take some time to choose the template you want to use. Once the site is up and running, you cannot switch to another template without rebuilding your pages, so your first choice needs to be a good one.
- Extremely easy to use
- Can handle all hosting work for you
- Includes SEO features to improve site performance
- Pricing tiers give you the ability to expand the business as you grow
- Switching templates is not possible once the site is live
- Basic: $23 per month
- Unlimited: $27 per month
- VIP: $49 per month
- Enterprise: $500 per month
#2 – Shopify Review — Best For Customization
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce website builders—and for good reason.
It gives small businesses the ability to easily create an online store, all while customizing the pages and services to match their unique needs.
When you want an end-to-end solution in your builder, Shopify delivers. It will host your site, provide marketing and advertising tools, and help you with SEO. It gives you customer analytics too.
Uploading photos can be a bit of a problem with Shopify, as it does not automatically resize and crop your uploaded photos, so you may end up with some odd looking images, unless you do photo editing before you upload the photos to ensure consistency.
- Contains everything you need in one service
- Simplifies integrating your online store with Facebook
- Extremely easy to use
- Gives you more customization options than you may expect
- Uploading photos before using a photo editor can cause problems
- Basic Shopify: $29 per month
- Shopify: $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
#3 – Squarespace Review — Best For Social Media Integration
Selling products online involves more than just setting up a store and waiting for customers to show up. Marketing your store to customers is important, and Squarespace helps you with its builder. It emphasizes social media integration tools for marketing your store.
The templates included for page building with Squarespace look great, giving your e-commerce website a modern appearance that’s sure to impress customers.
Squarespace handles your site’s construction from beginning to end. But its selling features lag a little behind some of the higher rated options.
- Great looking templates for page building
- Simplifies integrating social media into your site
- Delivers flexibility when building your pages
- Reasonable monthly prices for customers
- Options for accepting payments are a bit limited
- Personal: $12 to $16 per month
- Business: $18 to $26 per month
- Basic Commerce: $26 to $30 per month
- Advanced Commerce: $40 to $46 per month
#4 – BigCommerce Review — Best For Scalability
When you want an e-commerce website builder that has the ability to allow your site to grow alongside your expanding business, BigCommerce is a great choice. This is the most scalable builder, containing a host of features that will help you create a great site from the beginning of the process to the end.
You can sell across multiple channels, like Facebook and Pinterest, when using BigCommerce. You also can pick your own payment gateway, and you won’t have commissions associated with each purchase when you use BigCommerce for building your online store.
Beginners may struggle with this builder, unfortunately, as you have to work through a number of selections to finish each page. It may be better for bigger, more established businesses that have tech employees dedicated to operating the online store.
- Plenty of advanced features for customization
- Will grow with you as your business grows
- Does not add commission fees for each transaction made
- Allows you to sell any kind of product (including service based products)
- Some features are difficult for beginners to use
- Not the best choice for a small store that’s just starting out
- Standard: $29.95 per month
- Plus: $79.95 per month
- Pro: $299.95 per month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing only
#5 – Weebly Review — Best For Building Any Kind of Website
If you are unsure how to start an e-commerce website, you also may be unsure about creating an informational website for your business. That’s where Weebly enters the picture. It gives you tools for both building e-commerce and informational websites.
For beginners, Weebly is a strong builder, as it puts multiple tools in your hands without complicating the process of building the kind of website you need. With these tools, you can create SEO, advertising, and marketing campaigns, along with an online store.
Weebly has a reasonable starting price for your business. But it may not be the best choice for businesses with advanced needs or for those that sell complex products. Modifying your store with precise personalization features is not as easy as with some others, either. Startups and small businesses are the best customers for Weebly.
- Very easy to use
- One of the lowest starting price points
- Works for both online stores and informational websites
- Helps with SEO and advertising
- May be too simplistic for some businesses
- Tech support response isn’t as fast as you may need
- Personal: $6 to $9 per month
- Professional: $12 to $16 per month
- Performance: $26 to $29 per month
#6 – 3DCart Review — Best For Those With Site Building Experience
If you’re a business owner that has some experience with coding and building websites, some of the beginner-level e-commerce website builders we’ve listed may be too simplistic for you. Instead, consider 3DCart, which has plenty of features aimed at businesses that may already employ a developer.
This builder is not made for beginners, who are likely to become frustrated with the time they need to build the overall site and the individual pages. But when you want extra control by building templates on your own, and you have the know-how, 3DCart gives you those options and more, all for one easy to understand price with no hidden fees.
It does have some themes you can use, but this site works well for those who want to fully build out their own e-commerce site to achieve a particular look and design. 3DCart also has some strong SEO tools you can successfully deploy.
- Allows for precise customization
- No hidden fees
- Gives you the advanced features you may need
- Excellent SEO tools
- Too much for most beginners to handle
- Customer service responsiveness could be better
- Startup: $19 per month
- Basic: $29 per month
- Plus: $79 per month
- Power: $129 per month
- Pro: $229 per month
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into E-commerce Website Builders
As soon as you start your business, you may be eager to start selling items online. However, an e-commerce website is not always necessary to accomplish this.
Some businesses that have only a few dozen products or that don’t need to handle hundreds of customers may be able to create a site using something like WordPress with a plug-in that allows you to sell items.
However, when your business is ready to grow either its customer base or its product offerings — or maybe both — an ecommerce website builder is a very helpful tool. Here are some of the types of businesses that may be ready to make use of this type of product.
If you are just starting your business, meaning you have no online selling systems in place already, going with an e-commerce website builder will work nicely. The thought process is, you might as well start with the builder now, rather than using some other sort of system and having to migrate later.
Even if your new business has a brick and mortar component, having a strong web presence for e-commerce can help you both now and in the future, and the right builder can help with this.
As mentioned previously, businesses with only a few dozen products to sell, even new businesses, may not need a builder. But if you plan to grow your business and product catalog extensively in the near future, using a builder out of the gate is a good choice.
Ideally, you have an e-commerce component to your business up and running before you start becoming overwhelmed with customers. But if you don’t, and you suddenly find your customer base is demanding more options from your business, an e-commerce website builder is a good choice.
Most of these builders allow you to be up and running quickly, so you can match your expanding business without too much downtime, where you’d miss a chance on some sales.
If you find your brick and mortar store’s sales seem a little stagnant, the best e-commerce website builder can help jump start your company’s revenues. You’ll potentially be able to find some new customers, introducing them to your products through the online store.
As an added benefit, using the right builder can give your online store a sleek look that may entice customers to stay on the site longer and look for more products.
Methodology for Choosing the Best E-commerce Website Builders
As we constructed our list of the best e-commerce website builders, we tried to focus on the features that the majority of small businesses would be seeking in this type of tool, which are listed here. Figure out which of these features are most applicable to the type of online store that you want to have, and then search for a builder that emphasizes your must-have features.
For a small business, the expense of setting up an online store is a huge consideration. You want to grow the business, but you want to do so in a cost effective manner, so you aren’t left spending more on building your online store that you’ll make back in sales.
The majority of sites have pricing tiers, so you can add more features and functionality as the business’ sales grow, which is handy.
Understand that some sites have add-on costs that could add up quickly for a busy site, including:
- Commission fee per transaction amount
- Cost per unique visitor to the site
- Costs for adding selling platforms
- Costs for adding extra photos
- Domain hosting costs
- Tech support costs
Keep an eye out for introductory pricing from certain builders. The introductory price could expire after a few months or a year. Watch out for builders that require long term contracts too.
To run your online store effectively, you need to be able to see statistics on how customers are interacting with your site. Which pages draw the most interest? Which links do customers use just before they buy?
A website builder for e-commerce also should help you manage returned products, answer customer questions via email or chat, and market to customers between purchases.
Some builders may even help you create marketing campaigns to keep customers informed about your new products and your special sales.
For a typical small business, having a dedicated tech person or team to keep the online store running smoothly is not likely going to be available. Nor will you probably want to spend the time setting up the hardware and software needed to run the site.
Some e-commerce website builders handle all of these tasks for you. They will host the site on their servers, simplifying operation for you.
The downside is you will pay a bit extra for hosting services, and you won’t have control if something goes wrong with the site. But the convenience of having the builder also host the site can be a significant advantage for quite a few businesses.
Limits on Content
Depending on the builder you’ve chosen, you may run into limits on the number of products you can have stored on the site. You also may find a limit in the number of visits from customers you’re allowed each month (before extra fees kick in).
These limits may be fine when your online store is new, but you may find that they become restricting as your online store grows. With certain builders, you can raise the content limit for an additional fee as you grow without having to change how you manage the site, which is convenient.
Search and SEO Help
As a small business owner, you may not be well-versed in the concept of SEO (search engine optimization). But for your online store, you need to be able to draw traffic to your store by making its products and pages easy to find when customers are searching.
With SEO tools built into the e-commerce website builder service, you’ll be able to employ SEO concepts without having to become an expert in how search works.
Your e-commerce website needs to be easy to navigate, allowing customers to find the product and information they need within a few clicks.
The builder should allow you to set up categories and subcategories, organizing products in a manner that customers easily can use.
The site should have a consistent look from page to page as well, meaning customers will feel comfortable as they navigate the site. Haphazard page layouts and color schemes within your online store will only confuse customers, possibly leaving them leery of making a purchase.
If you run into problems either while building the site or after it’s up and running, does the builder have a good reputation for customer support? You want your downtime to be as limited as possible, so you aren’t missing out on potential sales, and a good tech support system from the builder helps with this.
Should you not have a lot of free time to create an online store, you’ll want your builder to automate quite a bit of the process, so you can have the site up and running in a hurry.
The majority of builders include templates that simplify the site building process. You want to be able to load your products quickly, all while making the site look as good as possible.
Building the Perfect E-commerce Website
When it comes to growing your business these days, you have to have an online presence. Even traditional brick and mortar stores must be able to answer customer questions and enhance customer relationships through an online presence.
Just as importantly, your customers expect to be able to purchase your products online. If they cannot, they may look to your competitors to complete the sale. Certainly, some purchases are best made in person at the store, but customers like to have the option of making an online store purchase when it fits their needs better.
By using one of the best e-commerce website builders, you’ll be able to create a site that appeals to customers and shows off your product catalog, all in a design that’s easy to use. We don’t know that your new e-commerce website will be able to compete with Amazon right away, but it will put your business on the right path.