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Best eCommerce Platform: 16 Options to Start Your Business

Best eCommerce Platform 16 Options

Every eCommerce platform claims that they are the best eCommerce platform. They’re the fastest, do SEO better, have more payment gateways, offer better customer support… The list goes on.

So, how does a small business owner ever choose one?

It’s no easy task, especially because your choice eCommerce platform will strongly affect your bottom line.

We’ve put together a complete list of the best eCommerce platforms that you can start and grow your business with.

Take a look at the pros and cons of each to decide which is the best eCommerce platform for you.

1. Zyro

  • Price from: $8.99/month
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Extra costs: no fees

The new kid on the block usually gets mocked for being clueless. Zyro is anything but. 

Arriving on the website builder scene to shake it up with unique features and easy control, Zyro is one of the best eCommerce platforms for people looking for simplicity and speed

Launched at the beginning of 2021, the team behind Zyro is serious about developing a product that helps absolute beginners start an online business. 

It also offers one of the most competitive pricing plans in the industry. Other eCommerce platform prices can make you think twice about running your own business.

Meanwhile, Zyro costs as little as $8.99 a month (if you opt for a multi-year plan). Now, you’ve got no excuse not to start. 

Pros of using Zyro 

It’s extremely easy to use

Intuitive is the word you come across a lot in online reviews about Zyro. This eCommerce platform is built with first-time users in mind. 

You’ll need no design, coding, or other technical skills to build yourself an online store. The interface is clearly set out, and there aren’t too many options or complex features to figure out. 

Plus, Zyro offers 24/7 customer support, so if you’re stumped, you can talk to a support agent any time of day or night. 

Get an online store in under an hour

One of the main promises of Zyro is that you’ll be able to start selling in under an hour, much like Shopify.

But how? Surely, an online store is this complex thing that must take ages to set up.

There are a few things that make it that much faster: templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and AI-driven tools. 

First, you’ll pick an eCommerce template that’s professionally designed and has all of the layout sections you’ll need to present your products.

Then, you’ll use the drag-and-drop functionality to rearrange elements as needed and add your own brand identity.

You also have the AI tools, which help you set up your brand from scratch (Logo Generator, AI Slogan Generator, and AI Business Name Generator).

Others help you fill your website with useful content (AI Writer) and place CTAs right (AI Heatmap).

No commission

Zyro advertises itself as an eCommerce platform that doesn’t charge commission. There are, of course, transaction fees, but that’s applicable to pretty much all eCommerce platforms.

When compared to other platforms that will take a good chunk of your profit for every item sold, this is a real plus point.

Zyro Website Builder

Cons of using Zyro 

Some features are still being developed

Since it’s still relatively new, it’d be fair to say that Zyro is not the best eCommerce platform out there. That’s because Zyro lacks some of the more advanced features that you’d expect to see on such a platform.

It’s mobile editing mode, for example, is clearly lacking, and is still under development. 

So, if you don’t think you can work on a platform that’s still finding its footing, you better look elsewhere. 

Not that many templates

With youth comes the lack of templates. Although Zyro features over a dozen eCommerce website templates at the moment, they’re promising that number will grow to over 150. 

Now, that’ll be a great way to pick a template that matches your business perfectly. 

In the meantime, you’ll have to pick from a smaller number of templates, and adjust them to serve your needs. 

2. BigCommerce

  • Price from: $29.95/month
  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Extra costs: forced upgrades based on revenue

BigCommerce really lives up to its name and is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there.

Founded in the US in 2009, it’s now an internationally available website builder for entrepreneurs who are focused on growth.

Much like Shopify, BigCommerce likes to shout about growth a lot. They have some big-name users and have crammed their platform with features upon features.

However, some users find BigCommerce a little too big for their business needs. This platform can get expensive and complicated, so it’s best suited to companies that are ready to scale.

Pros of using BigCommerce

Omnichannel selling

BigCommerce comes complete with a specialized Channel Manager, which helps you embrace an omnichannel business model with ease.

Where some platforms want you to stay faithful to them, BigCommerce knows the power of having multiple sales channels. 

Users can list products on marketplaces and the Channel Manager will process the sales using automatic syncing, so overselling and inventory headaches won’t be an issue.

SEO tools

Search optimization is essential for any website that hopes to make money. It’s a bit of a process, which BigCommerce has recognized.

They have plenty of SEO tools, features, and tutorials available to users, making this platform invaluable to entrepreneurs.

As well as tips and support for marketing your site, you’ll be using highly responsive software – BigCommerce works hard at minimizing loading times so your customers stay happy.

Plenty of features

This platform is brim-full of features, which set it apart from a lot of the competition.

On top of all those aforementioned SEO features, with BigCommerce you’ll have features like unlimited bandwidth, customizable checkout, and downloadable sales.

BigCommerce Website Builder

Cons of using BigCommerce

Sales threshold

A lot of BigCommerce users gripe about the annual sales threshold. If your business makes over $50,000 in a year, you’ll be forced to upgrade to the Pro plan automatically.

While that sounds like a good problem to have, it can be irritating to have a program you’re familiar with taken away from you. The more you earn, the more you spend.

Not many themes

BigCommerce only has 7 free themes, although they’re all customizable. If none of them suit your business, you’ll have to pay up.

The cost of a paid-for theme isn’t factored into BigCommerce’s monthly payment plans, so a growing business could end up spending anywhere from $145 upwards on a new theme.

This makes the platform a bigger investment for startup companies, where budgeting for a high-value platform may not be realistic.

It can be overwhelming

If you’re completely new to website development, the terminology used by BigCommerce might put you off.

The platform is known for being more friendly to experienced developers, which doesn’t help if you’re hustling by yourself. All those great features take some work and skill to implement.

One example is the tax rate function: there are tons of options and trying to set up multiple settings just isn’t viable for the average non-technical user. 

3. Magento

  • Price from: $0/month
  • Difficulty level: difficult
  • Extra costs: hosting, developing, add-on features

Magento is kind of a big deal.

It may not be as widely discussed as platforms like Shopify, but Magento is used by some of the biggest names in eCommerce retail.

Launched in 2008 and now owned by Adobe, the platform handles over $100 billion in gross merchandise volume every year.

It has two main service propositions. There’s the free-to-all Opensource which is, you guessed it, open-source. 

Then there’s the more serious, big-money Commerce, which is stuffed with features and perks. This one’s for the retail powerhouses.

Pros of using Magento

Features and functions

Magento is ahead of the game when it comes to built-in features. Whether you’re using Opensource or Commerce, you’re able to play with plenty of options.

One great example is price flexibility. You could vary the price of a single item depending on whether it’s being viewed by standard customers, VIPs, or even staff.

This is a largely very flexible platform that enables you to customize and modify as much as you need.

It’s scalable

Businesses can easily grow with Magento, which might just make it worth the investment.

The platform supports hundreds of thousands of products in one backend office, and can deal with thousands of transactions per hour. Those are some big numbers.

There’s also nothing stopping Opensource users from upgrading to Commerce as their business grows. 

A strong community

This is important. While you’re building a strong customer base out front, it’s nice to know that you’re supported behind the scenes.

Magento boasts a global support network of around 150,000 developers who are all willing and able to lend a helping hand. 

The platform can often be time-consuming to manage. Having that extra support is invaluable for problem solving.

Magento Website Builder Screenshot

Cons of using Magento

Heavily layered coding

If you just want to build a website and move on,  this isn’t the platform for you. 

Setting up a store that works flawlessly takes some seriously advanced development skills on Magento. You’ll need to understand code, for starters. 

Then, there are the extensions. Magento is known for rolling out frequent extensions, patches, and updates. 

Manually implementing these takes time and a brain that understands all the complexities involved. It isn’t for newbies.

Slow running speed

Unless you pay a premium, there’s no hosting included in the Magento platform.

This might seem like an advantage: you can find something to suit your business. But opting for smaller or shared hosting environments can really slow you down.

Magento is huge, and crammed with files and database tables, so only the most powerful servers will suffice. This can be a big drawback for small businesses.

It can get expensive

Using Magento’s Commerce package will set you back at least $22,000 before you’ve even started trading. 

Although its Opensource option is free for anyone to use, you’ll have to factor all the costs you don’t get to see upfront.

Because Magento is such a complex beast, unless you have the specific technical knowledge to install updates and navigate issues, you’ll be paying hefty sums for support, too.

4. Squarespace

  • Price from: $26/month
  • Difficulty level: hard
  • Extra costs: hosting

You know that hip cafe in town where all the creative folk meet up? Squarespace is like that, but in the world of eCommerce platforms. 

It’s got plenty of style and lots of function too, but users often get frustrated by two things: it’s quite complex to use and it’s impossible to get a hold of a customer support agent in a timely manner. 

Still, if you want to have the bragging rights of having a ‘Squarespace website,’ just go for it and you’ll be able to work the rest of it out. 

Keep in mind, this service offers a 14-day free trial (no credit card), so if you want to simply check Squarespace – one of the most popular eCommerce platforms – out, you can do that.

Pros of using Squarespace

Leaders in design

Style-dripping and delectably visual, Squarespace eCommerce website templates are all designed by absolute professionals. 

They’re super-trendy and spot on when it comes to marrying form and function. You’ll be pushed to find online stores as good looking as those from Squarespace. 

That said, if you’d like something more basic, or if your audience is less hip and young, you can either custom create it with Squarespace or choose another eCommerce platform. 

It’s ad-free

Something that’s pretty unique to Squarespace is that it’s ad-free. That’s pretty logical since they only give you a 14-day trial after which you must purchase a paid plan to get your website published.

Still, they could tack on their ads on some of their cheaper plans, but have chosen not to. Perhaps it’s because they want to keep their beautiful templates untarnished? 

Its blog feature is really good

If you’re looking for an eCommerce platform with blog functionality, Squarespace rocks in this department. 

A blog can help your business build a loyal client base, if you deliver valuable content to them. Inspire them with your products, show people how they can use your products to solve their every-day problems, and share insider tips – all in your blog. 

Squarespace lets people comment on your content, allows multiple authors to contribute, and much more. 

Squarespace Templates - Website Screenshot

Cons of using Squarespace

Can get pricey

Probably because it positions itself as one of the more premium eCommerce platforms, Squarespace is also on the pricier side. 

If you want to build and run an online store, it will cost you at least $26 and at least $40 if you opt for their Advanced eCommerce. The higher tier plan includes multilanguage stores, being able to sell gift cards, live chat support, and an extensive list of payment gateways. 

However, this doesn’t include hosting or domain name costs. So, when compared to other platforms where you can build an online store for approximately $10 a month, Squarespace is expensive. 

Overly complex

Talk about overcomplicating things. The editing interface is a lot to take in, especially for a new user. 

What this means is that you might be spending a lot of time learning and getting to grips with Squarespace, then spending even more time getting your eCommerce website up looking just the way you want.

The fact that there is a whole Forum for Squarespace clients where others can help you out with figuring the platform out is telling. It’s definitely not geared towards web novices. 

Page speed is low

When it comes to search engine optimization and rankings, loading speed is a huge factor.

See, if your eCommerce website loads slowly, it will be ranked lower in search engine results pages – not great for business. 

Squarespace could definitely do a better job with its page speed optimization. People who care about speed should probably use other eCommerce platforms to get lightning fast websites. 

5. Wix 

  • Price from: $23/month billed annually
  • Difficulty level: easy/intermediate
  • Extra costs: no fees

You’ve probably seen a Wix ad or two. 

At one point, it felt like the brand was everywhere since they’ve been running one star-studded marketing campaign after another. 

Originally a website builder, Wix now boasts an eCommerce platform with an impressive selection of templates and apps to choose from. Setting up your store with Wix is an easy experience, even for someone with very little or no technical background. 

You can get started with a free account that allows you to build your store. If you want to start selling, though, you’ll need to upgrade to the basic business account. 

For many, Wix is the best eCommerce platform there is.

Pros of using Wix

It’s easy to use

Wix could is a great solution for you if you’re running a small to medium-sized business.

You can create a store with literally one click. Even if you need to adjust your template, the tool is designed with beginners in mind. 

And with lots of different templates to choose from, you’ll likely find one that suits you.

It supports many payment options

You don’t want your customers to abandon their carts because they don’t see their preferred payment method. 

Whether your customers want to pay with PayPal, credit card, or offline with cash, Wix has you covered. You can even enable cheque payments if you really want to. 

It takes no commission

Not only is the basic plan affordable, but you also don’t have to worry about paying a fee on orders placed in your store. 

The fact that you get the whole eCommerce experience for a good price, it seems that Wix wants to champion small businesses. 

Overall, Wix is a great platform for start-ups or entrepreneurs on a budget, who don’t have too much time to spend on coding their online stores. 

Wix Website Builder

Cons of using Wix

Its mobile responsiveness is hard to get right

More often than not you will find that you need to tweak the mobile version of your template, so that it’ll look perfect on smaller screens.

Having to take time to check all pages display correctly on mobile isn’t ideal for someone looking to get their shop online fast. 

Loading times are slow

If the number of products in your store is more than 50, you’ll start to notice it takes longer to load your store. 

This means that Wix isn’t the best choice for anyone wanting a shop with lots to choose from. 

Remember, the longer your pages take to load, the higher the risk that visitors will click away from your store. 

Customization is lacking

While you can play around and change many things in your store, there are some elements that you can’t change much (we’re looking your way, order confirmation emails). 

Wix could be a decent eCommerce platform to consider if you want to build a smaller, no-frills shop. 

The platform has everything a basic online store needs, as long as you don’t want to tweak things too much. 

6. OpenCart 

  • Price from: $0/month
  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Extra costs: no fees

Are you tech-savvy and looking for a flexible platform to run your eCommerce business from? 

OpenCart is a free open source eCommerce platform with a lot of opportunities to customize your online store. 

If you have a rough idea of how eCommerce works and want to have multiple stores under one account, OpenCart might just be the right match for you. 

The platform has thousands of modules and themes to choose from, and you can even build your own if you have some coding experience. 

You can also keep an eye on lots of different statistics, like your sales efforts, from the handy dashboard. 

Pros of using OpenCart

The customization is great

Because the platform shares its source code with everyone, anyone can build modules and themes for others to use. 

So, if you want to practice your coding and have time to spare, you could customize your store to your heart’s content. 

It’s free to use

No need to pay for your account – OpenCart is free to use. 

You only pay for some modules and themes that the community has built. You’ll also get free lifetime support and all the software updates, of course. 

No development costs

OpenCart is a great option for anyone with some technical knowledge.

Since you take care of your own web hosting and web development, you don’t have to worry about paying for any new development that OpenCart’s management is doing.

Not even in the form of a higher subscription fee. 

Its dashboard is great

If you run multiple eCommerce websites yourself or on behalf of a third party, OpenCart will definitely make your life easier. 

Rather than logging into various platforms to manage all of your projects, you’ll have one master dashboard to rule them all.

With OpenCart, you have lots of freedom to develop your store in the direction you want. It’s definitely a platform that’s suited to people with some background in and understanding of web development. 

Opencart Website Builder Example

Cons of using OpenCart

Limited integrations

While OpenCart is supported by many other third-party websites and services, it lacks some built-in marketing features. 

If you want to set up automated abandoned cart or shipping confirmation emails, you need to find a module on the OpenCart Marketplace. 

And that might cost you anywhere from a few to a few hundred dollars. 

It’s not very SEO-friendly

By default, OpenCart is not optimized for search engines. 

You need to have a basic understanding of how search engine optimization works in order to get your store ranking on Google.

This means paying attention to the keywords you’re using yourself.

Things can be slow

In a nutshell, the bigger your site is, the longer your loading times might be. 

Your website is running scripts behind the scenes, allowing the different modules to tell the website what to do next. 

If you have a module-heavy website created on a platform like OpenCart, you could be stuck with dragged out loading times. 

So while OpenCart is great for those wanting more flexibility and independence, be prepared to invest a lot of time, and potentially money, in your store. 

7. Weebly

  • Price from: $12/month billed annually
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Extra costs: 3% transaction fees (if not on the business plan)

You’ve probably heard of Weebly. It’s a popular eCommerce builder that’s been around for a while now.

This ‘web hosting service turned website builder’ offers plenty of options for those wanting to run an online store. 

It offers a drag-and-drop website builder and all-inclusive hosting services (including domains and basic web security, like an SSL-certificate), so it’s ideal for beginners. 

It’s a simple eCommerce platform with all the basic functionality you need to sell online. You can test out your ideas or get started fast – for an affordable price. 

Pros of using Weebly

Its pricing is great

In general, Weebly is a good option for a small business or an entrepreneur wanting to launch their own online business

Weebly does something not many of its competitors do – it lets you get started with a free basic account. 

Sure, you’ll be stuck with Weebly’s ads, but many other builders and web hosting companies won’t even make your site live unless you pay up. 

Now, you can’t have your eCommerce store up and running for no money. Yet, if you want to get a feel for the platform, you can do it for free – thanks for the free trial.

The speed is good

Sometimes, not having full control over your hosting provider can result in slow loading speeds. 

This, in turn, can have a negative impact on your SEO ranking, and can even make your visitors click away. 

Since Weebly started out as a web hosting company, you can rest assured that your eCommerce store will load in the blink of an eye. 

Onboarding is smooth

This platform wants to make sure you’re not lost when you try to build your first website or eCommerce store. 

With both onboarding emails and info-buttons scattered across the platform, you will quickly find your way around.  

With Weebly, you’ll get a well-rounded website with the features you need to get started. It’s great for anyone with not much experience in web design. 

Weebly Builder Screenshot

Cons of using Weebly

Rigid content management

The builder is somewhat rigid and is not really meant for big sites with tens or hundreds of pages. 

It’s also not easy to see the hierarchy of different pages at a glance. If you want to run multiple categories with subcategories on your eCommerce store, Weebly might not be the best fit for you.

Limited functionality

We’re going to be honest here: Weebly is primarily a website builder and an eCommerce platform second. 

It’ll work just fine if you’re planning to run big content marketing campaigns and only have a few things to sell. 

Yet, if you want to offer a bunch of products, you might want to look for another eCommerce platform. 

Platform lock-in

One day, you might want to move your website elsewhere. 

Weebly won’t make it easy for you; the platform only allows .zip file exports for page content. 

So, you can expect to manually copy-paste all the content from your old blog over to your new one.

If you’re only planning on a simple and minimalistic website or eCommerce store, you might want to try Weebly out. 

It’s a great way to get started, but you won’t necessarily get as far as with other platforms. 

8. Big Cartel

  • Price from: $0/month
  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Extra costs: no fees

Big Cartel has a big promise: the platform wants to let you start selling online for free. 

The company is particularly interested in supporting small businesses, artists, and craftspeople, who aren’t looking to scale their business anytime soon. 

And for many people who only have a few different stock items, it sounds like a great place to start. 

While you’ll save not paying for your online store, you will get the most out of Big Cartel with some pre-existing coding skills.

Pros of using Big Cartel

It’s free to use

If you have 5 or less products to sell, you can get started with no fee whatsoever.

You can have your product listings available on Facebook and Instagram, too, with no additional costs.

This is good news for anyone wanting to try eCommerce out, or for someone who doesn’t want to make their online store a full-time job. 

They take no commission

So, you thought there was a catch to the free basic account? 

This eCommerce doesn’t just offer the ease of use, but also keeps things fair for small businesses and takes no commission on any sales you make in your store. 

You can keep your profit margins at the level you want, without having to plan for additional expenses. 

Free themes

With your free account comes a selection of free themes to make your store look pretty. 

So, rather than having to know how to code, you just pick a theme and update your details on the various pages. 

Since Big Cartel is a platform particularly aimed towards artists, you’ll find plenty of templates focusing on big images and plain backgrounds. 

Big Cartel Builder Home Page Screenshot

Cons of using Big Cartel

Difficult to use

While there is a friendly and helpful onboarding experience, you’re quickly left to your own devices. 

Customizing your chosen themes can be frustrating because there isn’t much room for making the basic themes feel unique. 

The only way to get around this is to touch up the code by hand. 

No customer login

If you build your eCommerce store with Big Cartel, you won’t be able to offer account functionality to your customers. 

This can be frustrating and it’s definitely not great for recurring business. A returning customer will need to fill in all of their information – every single time they make a purchase.

And you can’t offer features like wish lists or shipment tracking through your store either.

No image editor

Photos are a big deal in the world of eCommerce. 

Not having an image editor to quickly check the photo size and the SEO bits can make the process of updating your product pages really slow.

Big Cartel also doesn’t offer any stock images, so you need to take time to hunt for placeholder images elsewhere online. 

9. Duda

  • Price from: $14/month
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Extra costs: $7.25/month eCommerce add-ons

Originally devised as a mobile platform for DIY enthusiasts, Duda has developed into an all-round eCommerce platform known for two main features: sleek designs and responsive websites. 

When the makers of Duda got their first iPhones, they knew that the future of web browsing would be mobile. This platform is their answer to the demands of modern retail.

Its pricing model reflects the broad range of users it aims to attract; $14 a month will get you a fully functional, multi-lingual website. The pricing goes up to $74 a month for bigger sites run by teams of up to 10 administrators. 

All in all, Duda might not be the best eCommerce platform for all, but its ease of use and beautiful aesthetics sure make it a contender.

Pros of using Duda

Responsive design

Given its background as a mobile-focused platform, it’ll come as no surprise that Duda is among the best for creating mobile responsive websites. 

While other eCommerce platforms and website builders feature responsive designs, Duda has this built into the very heart of the platform. 

Beautiful templates

Duda prides itself on the quality of its templates, both in appearance and functionality. With almost 100 core templates to choose from, there are designs for any purpose. 

All templates are broken down into categories such as Portfolio, Restaurant, or Business. This makes it easy to hone in on a theme that has the features you need. 

Marketing personalization

A standout feature of Duda is its website personalization tool. The tool allows you to serve offers and content specifically tailored to specific users’ tastes and preferences. 

Using information like cookies and browsing data, the tool makes it easier for retailers to increase their conversions and sales rates by offering a personalized user experience.

Complete eCommerce

Every user, even one on a free trial, can add a 10 item store to their Duda site. From there, you can scale up with various price plans and add-ons to give you more eCommerce functionality. 

All this means that whatever features you desire from your online store (from abandoned cart recovery to personalized deals) can become a reality. 

Duda website builder template preview

Cons of using Duda

Limited editing options

While Duda’s templates create great websites with extensive features, experienced web designers may find themselves frustrated by the limited options when it comes to customization. 

While this high level of ‘out of the box’ functionality makes Duda particularly handy for first-time store holders, it runs the risk of Duda websites ending up looking similar. 

Weak on SEO

Many of the other eCommerce platforms on this list go to great lengths to make SEO simple and easy on users’ websites. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Duda. 

You’ll get a free SSL certificate, the sites are speed optimized and responsive. Yet, if you’re experienced in SEO, you’re likely to find this platform limiting to work with. 

Manual additions

Other eCommerce platforms on this list make it easy for users to add new features and plug-ins by offering an app store-style interface for integrating the feature you want.  

Unfortunately, should you want to implement new features on your Duda store, you’ll have to do it manually.

Not for bloggers

If you’re a blogger who simply wants to have an eCommerce store on the side, we wouldn’t recommend Duda. Though your blog would look great, it would lack many of the features you likely want to increase your reach. 

If your focus, however, is on eCommerce or other elements of your website, then this is still a solid platform. 

10. Shopify 

  • Price from: $29/month
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Extra costs: 2% transaction fees

If you’ve heard of only one eCommerce platform, there’s a decent chance it’s Shopify. The Canadian platform, launched in 2006, was developed by a merchant dissatisfied with other eCommerce options on the market. 

Shopify is now one of the most widely used eCommerce solutions, with almost a million stores online using its software. Other platforms are dying to be like Shopify.

The platform is built for scalability, making it suitable for the very smallest, first-time store owners, up to the very largest eCommerce operations. 

Shopify also has powerful functionality for its websites, and helps users sell online across various other platforms, like Amazon and social media. 

We think it’d be right to say that Shopify is a real contender for the title of the best eCommerce platform.

Pros of using Shopify

Extremely easy to use

Shopify was among the first eCommerce platforms that allowed beginners to create an online store without any coding, software installations, or external hosting requirements.

Its ease of use is unparalleled. And if you do want to code for yourself, though, it is possible to edit any aspect of your store. 

Plenty of add-ons

Using one of the biggest platforms has its perks, including the reassurance that whatever you want to do with your store, someone will have created an add-on. 

Shopify itself has a plethora of tools, from email marketing to accounting integrations. Plus, a community of third-party developers have created Shopify-friendly plugins for any imaginable need. 

Many template options

Shopify itself makes almost 200 websites and online store templates available to users. As with its add-on, the Shopify community has developed countless more template options if you’re not satisfied with what the platform has to offer.

Solid performance

A big platform means stability. Shopify offers its own fast, reliable hosting, which means that the speed and the up-time of its websites is reliably high. 

Security is a priority (Shopify pays hackers bounties if they discover security weaknesses), and everything is backed up by industry-leading 24/7 support. 

Shopify Builder Screenshot

Cons of using Shopify 

The price is steep

While it’s certainly feature-rich and user friendly, Shopify comes with a bigger price tag than many of the other platforms on this list. 

For regular users, prices start at $29 per month (with a 2% transaction fee on top), and goes all the way up to $299 (plus 0.5% on transactions) if you want every feature. 

eCommerce focused

Sure, the main reason you’re using Shopify is to have an online store, but you also want the rest of your website looking its best. 

Unfortunately, Shopify is renowned for the difficulty users face getting their non-eCommerce related content laid out how they want. 

SEO complications

While Shopify comes with tools for improving your search ranking, other aspects of the platform might undermine your SEO efforts. 

Difficulty formatting text content correctly and an unchangeable URL structure can make SEO more challenging than it should be. 

There are language issues

Being such a huge platform that serves users and customers around the world, you’d expect Shopify to have multi-lingual store options as standard.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

There are plugins and themes designed to fix this issue, but they all come with an unreasonable price tag. 

11. WooCommerce

  • Price from: $0/month
  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Extra costs: hosting, developing, add-on features

WooCommerce is not a standalone platform in its own right, but rather a plugin for WordPress websites.

Since WordPress is the most used CMS for websites in the world, it’s no surprise that well over 3 million eCommerce stores have been built with WooCommerce. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best eCommerce platform services out there.

The platform is open source and designed to be versatile and powerful. The basic WooCommerce plugin can be further augmented with tools and plugins.

These give the platform even more functionality and make it one of the most versatile options in this list. 

Pros of using WooCommerce

Super flexible

The outstanding feature of WooCommerce is its flexibility for use with a broad range of different eCommerce store types. Whatever size business you’re running, or whatever market niche you fill, WooCommerce is a helpful tool. 

WooCommerce is also good whether you sell physical products, software, or services. It’s this versatility that has made it such a popular option. 

It’s fully customizable

If you’re already using WordPress, then WooCommerce offers, by far, the most comprehensive customization options of any other eCommerce plugin on the platform. 

You can take advantage of tons of payment options, shipping methods, localization and personalization options, and hundreds of other features. 

Speedy install

It’s fast and intuitive to add WooCommerce to your WordPress website.

Initial configurations are simple to make, so you can get your store up and running in no time. However, should you want to revisit your setup, edits are easily made. 

Community support

It’s generally true that WordPress sites and plugins offer less support than other eCommerce platforms. Yet, it’s worth noting that WooCommerce has a huge community behind it to support you. 

As well as featuring large forums where you can find the answer to pretty much any issue, there are also third-party made tools and patches to solve any WooCommerce problem. 

WooCommerce Insert Module Screenshot

Cons of using WooCommerce

Hosting not included

Since WooCommerce is open source, meaning it’s free to use with your WordPress site, web hosting is not included.

This means that you not only have to pay for hosting on top, but also need to ensure that wherever you find hosting, it is sufficient for the requirements of a busy online store. 

There are additional costs

While WooCommerce and WordPress are free to use, there are other necessary features you’ll need to purchase separately. This can drive up costs. 

Everything from your domain name and email service, to your theme and support, will need to be sourced and paid for elsewhere. If you’re looking for more control, this might actually be a pro and not a con. 

SEO issues

WooCommerce suffers from many of the same issues that other WordPress plugins have when it comes to search engine optimization. 

It is often noted that WooCommerce makes it difficult to execute an SEO strategy effectively due to the page doubling, canonical URLs, and URL layout problems it can cause. 

Plugin problems

Key to WooCommerce’s flexibility is its numerous plugins, but all of these handy tools have drawbacks too. 

Not only will you need to spend more to get functionality, but having too many plugins active on your site will cause it to load slower and take up a substantial chunk of your memory space. 

12. 3dcart 

  • Price from: $19/month
  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Extra costs: no fees

When 3dcart was founded back in 2001, founder Gonzalo Gil said the company’s aim to bring all of the best eCommerce features from around the web and collect them onto a single eCommerce platform. 

While we’re not convinced they got to where they dreamed of (see ‘Cons of using 3dcart’ below), it certainly is one of the more feature-rich platforms on this list. 

It’s worth noting that, despite being two decades old, 3dcart still has fewer than 20,000 users worldwide. While popularity isn’t always an indicator of quality, it certainly means that there are fewer community resources available. 

So, is it the best eCommerce platform out there? We doubt it. But will it work beautifully for some users and they will never need to make a switch? You bet.

Pros of using 3dcart

It’s feature-rich

3dcart has worked hard to ensure that, especially owing to its size, it has a huge number of features available to its users. 

Payments and fees are simple

With over 100 payment gateways to choose from, users can offer their customers the most convenient way to pay. Simplified transactions are a hallmark of 3dcart. 

It’s also a bonus that the platform itself won’t charge its users any transaction fees. However, still be prepared to spare a few percent for the payment providers. 

It’s got flexible pricing

Like all the good eCommerce platforms on this list, 3dcart offers users a choice of payment plans that run from basic eCommerce functionality, all the way up to the big business features. 

You can start using the platform’s Startup plan for as little as $19 a month, but can pay up to $229 per month for the Pro plan. The availability of features reflects the price difference. 

3D Cart eCommerce Builder

Cons of using 3dcart

Shortage of free templates

While there are plenty of great looking and powerful templates available to 3dcart users, the vast majority of them (and all the most popular options) must be purchases. 

When compared to other eCommerce platforms like Shopify, that has a huge number of free templates available, 3dcart really falls short. 

Difficult for newcomers

Although the features of the 3dcart platform aren’t particularly difficult to grapple with, the way they’re presented can make it difficult for new users to navigate. 

The dashboard is laid out in an old-fashioned format and is generally unattractive. Although this is only visible from the backend, it may annoy some aesthetically sensitive users. 

Few multi-channel selling options

Something that makes 3dcart and outlier in this list is its lack of support for selling on multiple channels that aren’t your own website. 

While other eCommerce platforms will help you sell directly on Amazon, social media, and other platforms, this functionality is clearly lacking on 3dcart. 

Poor customer service

Some users have had a terrible experience when contacting user support at 3dcart. 

Though this is, of course, other people’s experience, it’s worth taking into account. That’s especially true if you believe you’ll require a lot of support when setting up your website. 

13. Kibo 

  • Price from: varies per business
  • Difficulty level: intermediate
  • Extra costs: varies per business

Kibo is a cloud-based eCommerce platform which, unlike most of the other platforms on this list, also brings its users retail enterprise functionality and logistic capabilities. 

The key focus of this platform is to empower medium-to-large-scale enterprises to take control of every aspect of their retail operations. It can be used for managing stores, supply chains, and commercial sites – all from a centralized platform. 

While this might sound like Kibo would be inappropriate for all retailers, its basic eCommerce functions still make it universally useful. 

Pros of using Kibo

Omnichannel selling

Many other platforms on this list offer the opportunity to sell on various platforms other than your own website, but few of them have omnichannel integration as hard-wired in as Kibo. 

Since the platform is created to be a holistic business platform, its cross-channel selling and marketing tools are among the most effective on the market. 

It’s scalable

Kibo is built for growth.

If you’re a growing business, or simply have plans to make it big in the future, then a platform like Kibo will help take you into the big leagues. 

Business management tools

As well as being a powerful eCommerce platform, Kibo offers tools to help retailers take control of other aspects of their business. 

If an easy ‘plug in and go’ eCommerce solution is what you’re after, this won’t be relevant for you.

Yet, if you’re looking for more business tools, then this platform could be right for you. 

Solid user experience

Kibo offers users many opportunities to engage with customers and offer a customized user experience to drive conversions. 

Deliver personalized, seamless shopping, with promotions and merchandising designed specifically for individual customers. 

Kibo eCommerce Builder Website Screenshot

Cons of using Kibo 

Buggy interface

While the customer-facing side of the Kibo platform usually functions pretty well, there have been numerous instances of complaints being made about the backend dashboard failing to function correctly. 

Most of these issues can be accounted for by the fact that the Kibo platform was migrated from a previous version, with some elements failing to translate correctly. 

No coding possible

While Kibo offers the best control over the platform, website, and user experience for any eCommerce platform without the need to code, the customization options can be limiting for experienced developers. 

Given that this is a platform designed to scale up to big enterprise operations, it seems that it would make sense to put a little more coding control in the hands of users. 

No email marketing

Despite all its omnichannel credentials, it’s disappointing to see that Kibo does not make it possible for users to engage in email marketing via its platform. 

Given that email CRM is still, hands down, one of the most widely used marketing tools and the most effective way to stay engaged with and reactivate customers, this is something sorely lacking from Kibo. 

So, you will have to manually plug in every email address you collect on your site and run a third-party email marketing tool if you use Kibo.

14. Prestashop

  • Price from: $0/month
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Extra costs: add-on features

Prestashop has been one of the best free eCommerce solutions. It’s open-source and trusted by hundreds of thousands of retailers on the web. 

Since most of Prestashop’s many features are acquired through add-ons, it’ll come as no surprise that these are paid and make up the bulk of the platform’s revenue. 

This French platform is focused on user experience and goes to great lengths to help retailers create great retail experiences for their customers too. 

While this is not the most popular platform on this list, among its loyal user base, it is very highly regarded. 

Pros of using Prestashop 

It’s free to use

Prestashop is one of the most budget-friendly platforms on this list, due to the fact it is open-source and free to use. This makes it a great choice if eCommerce will only be a small part of what you do. 

Be mindful, however, that many of the most basic functions you need come from paid add-ons. This means that the costs can add up quickly if you’re not careful. 

Easy localization

If you’re planning to sell to customers around the world, Prestashop may be a great option for you. The platform is designed with localization at its core. 

Not only is the platform available in 45 different languages, it also has multilingual support and works with a huge number of different currencies. 

Totally customizable

Since most of the features you’ll use on Prestashop come from the add-ons on top of the basic open-source platform, the customization options are effectively limitless. 

Whatever sized company you’re running, you can choose and edit the features you need, and simply get rid of those that aren’t helpful for you. 

Highly user friendly

With minimal technical knowledge, pretty much anyone can get to grips with the Prestashop platform. 

This makes it perfect for newcomers and the technically inexperienced. The installation, management, and add-on integrations are made simple by the easy-to-use interface. 

Prestashop Builder Screenshot

Cons of using Prestashop 

Limited scalability

If you’re running a small or medium-sized online store with no plans to grow too far, then Prestashop is perfect for you. 

However, if you’re planning significant growth, or already have an enterprise-level operation, then the features available on Prestashop are going to feel limiting.  

Paid add-ons

There are over 25,000 different add-ons you can add to your Prestashop store. Many of these are free to install, but the majority of them aren’t.

This can drive the cost of running your store up and can also have a negative impact on your page load speed when too many add-ons need to be activated. 

Lack of support

As an open-source platform, Prestashop does not have an official support service for users to fall back onto. This is something that inexperienced or technically illiterate users may find daunting.

To fill in the gaps, a community of over 700,000 users has created forums and support boards to informally address any issues that may arise. 

15. Ecwid

  • Price from: $0/month
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Extra costs: no fees

The two standout features of Ecwid are its easy-to-use centralized dashboard and the fact that you don’t need to create a new website to use the platform.

Instead, Ecwid stores can be added to existing websites, or embedded as a widget on business pages, marketplaces, social media profiles, or mobile applications. 

Ecwid is also a popularly used white-label solution for other builders that want the selling functionality, which certainly makes it a popular eCommerce platform.

Pros of using Ecwid

Easy to use

Ecwid is frequently chosen for use by web design and eCommerce novices, thanks to its beginner-friendly interface and lack of need for specialist knowledge. 

The Ecwid platform is quick and easy to integrate with any existing website, and doesn’t require any coding to use. Ecwid stores are easy to layout and optimize too. 

Omnichannel selling

As with all of the best eCommerce platforms on this list, Ecwid doesn’t just make it possible to sell on multiple platforms, but makes it incredibly easy too. 

Users can take advantage of this feature to sell on platforms like Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and more. All inventory, orders, shipping, and customer communication is managed centrally from Ecwid’s dashboard. 

It’s fast

Since Ecwid is an integration that plugs directly into your existing website, there is no need for you to start from scratch designing your online store. 

Of course, it’s totally possible to add an Ecwid store to your website before you launch. Yet, the fact that you can integrate the platform into your site at any point is great news for those who want to monetize their existing presence. 

Powerful marketing tools

Ecwid is super feature-rich and this extends to its ability to help you market your store and products using SEO, Google Ads, and social media marketing

The platform also offers loads of data analytics tools. These ensure that you can stay on top of sales performance and optimize your website and store. 

Ecwid eCommerce paltform Home Screenshot

Cons of using Ecwid

Limited design options

While its beginner-friendliness is one of Ecwid’s most attractive features, it also has the unfortunate side effect of limiting the customization options available. 

Since the interface is relatively unchangeable, and stores cannot be edited in their coding, experienced web developers may find it frustrating to work with this platform. 

Lack of scalability options

Ecwid is ideal for first time or small scale eCommerce retailers. One of the big drawbacks of the platform is that it doesn’t support large-scale growth or accommodate big eCommerce operations. 

While this is, of course, less than ideal, Ecwid remains among the best options on this list for small to medium-sized businesses that have a limited range of products to sell. 

Prioritized support

While Ecwid does have robust customer service (24/7 support) for all its users, it’s worth mentioning that it prioritizes support tickets from users on more expensive plans. 

This even extends to the fact that phone support is only made available to higher-paying users, while others have to depend on chat or email support. 

SEO issues

While it’s true that Ecwid has some impressive marketing features, it somewhat falls down when it comes to SEO. 

Firstly, there are no SEO tools available to free users. You’re also unable to edit product listing URLs, which may cause issues for SEO marketers 

16. Demandware

  • Price from: varies per business
  • Difficulty level: hard
  • Extra costs: commission which varies depending on your revenue

Launched in 2004, Demandware is a cloud-based platform that’s used by brands like Adidas, GoPro, and UGG. 

It was acquired a couple of years ago and became Salesforce Commerce Cloud, though many people still call the software Demandware.

Given that the big names, such as Puma and Coca-Cola, use this platform, it’ll come as no surprise that this is an eCommerce solution created with big (or perhaps even global) business in mind. 

What makes Demandware unique is that its users have full control over the design, management, and marketing of their front-end website. Meanwhile, Demandware acts as the powerful, backend engine that makes eCommerce happen. 

Since this is a cloud-based platform, it’s resilient to high-traffic periods and malicious attacks. 

Pros of using Demandware

Front-end control

Demandware functions primarily as a backend tool. This means that, while the retailer can benefit from all the features the platform has to offer on the back end, they have total control of how their website looks on the front end. 

If you’re looking to create a unique user experience, you could do a lot worse than opt for a platform that allows you to make every front-end design decision. 

Scalability

Demandware is a cloud-based platform. This means that there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to scaling up and down your size and demand. 

You’ll only use the resources that you need at any given time. If there’s a sudden rush on your products, you don’t need to worry about running out of capacity. 

Disaster recovery

Another huge benefit of using Demandware is that it has built-in disaster recovery solutions. This basically means that your website and its contents are protected during attacks and peak traffic times. 

This is particularly helpful for larger or growing businesses, where a sudden surge of traffic is likely at seasonal periods. 

Hosting and IT

Since Demandware is taking care of big clients, it’ll come as no surprise that the platform handles everything to do with hosting and backend IT. 

If a user runs into difficulty, Demandware has some of the best technical support available.

Salesfore eCommerce Software Website Screenshot

Cons of using Demandware

Not for micro or small businesses

Demandware is expressly designed for use by large businesses and rapidly growing enterprises. 

Target users are those that make between $20 million and $500 million annually. For these customers, Demandware charges 0.75% and 1.25% commission.

B2C only

Demandware is also expressly designed for users who sell only directly to customers, and not to other businesses. 

This shouldn’t be a problem for most retailers. But if you are a B2B business, you’ll find the lack of bulk ordering or customization options frustrating.

Complex interface

With so many features and tools packed into the platform, you can do a lot with Demandware. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of the backend user experience. 

Marketing managers, particularly, have complained about the confusing interface, and the lack of consistency when it comes to searching and sorting through data. 

Written by

Author avatar

Martina

Martina is an expert in writing about website building and eCommerce, but her real passion is helping others grow their small business online. From solid branding to punchy marketing strategies, you can count on her for the best growth tricks. In her spare time, Martina loves nothing more than a good scoop of ice-cream and a sweaty match of tennis.

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