eCommerce is big business, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a relatively low barrier to entry, lots of platforms that can support an eCommerce website, and a huge marketplace of people looking for exactly the kind of thing you offer.
Unfortunately, since eCommerce is so easy, you’ll also be competing with millions of other people who have their own eCommerce businesses.
That means that if you want to be successful, you need more than just great products. You need to stand out from the crowd. And that means you need a whole lot more than just an Amazon seller’s account and a basement packing and shipping operation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good eCommerce tools that will make handling the electronic side of your eCommerce business a lot easier. We’re looking at some of the best tools in the business, so you can get a better sense of what tool will work best for you and your business.
Hopefully, after reading this eCommerce website builder review, you’ll not only know what the best platforms are but how to choose a good platform for your business.
Here’s the List of Best eCommerce Website Builders
- Shopify – Best Overall
- Wix – Best Value and Best Ease of Use
- Squarespace – Best for Creative Themes
- BigCommerce – Best for Multi-Channel Selling
- Weebly – Best for Beginners/Best for Small Stores
- Volusion – Best for large eCommerce stores/ Best for Scalability
- Jimdo – Best for European eCommerce stores
Shopify- Best Overall
- $29/mo for their Basic subscription
- Fantastic customer support
- Scalable platform
- Offers several free tools + free trial of subscription services
Shopify is easily one of the more versatile and simple to use eCommerce website platforms. They’ve designed their tool so that it scales well with growing business models, with a wide variety of tools and features that work at every level.
They offer 24/7 customer support, so you’ll be able to get in touch with them right away if you run into a problem with the tool.
Shopify’s basic subscription includes the ability to build and manage eCommerce sites. So you don’t need to subscribe to a more costly option just to get your business off the ground.
- Lots of free tools + free trial
- eCommerce at the lowest subscription level
- 24/7 support
- Intuitive user interface
- Includes website hosting
- Allows for eCommerce and in-store sales management
- Transaction fees for third party payment options
- Only allows 3 product variants per listing
- Reports only available on higher subscriptions
Shopify itself has three main subscriptions. But they also offer Shopify Lite ($9/mo) for selling on Facebook and adding ‘buy’ buttons to existing websites. They also Shopify Plus (price not disclosed) for businesses larger than their normal subscription can handle.
|Subscription Level||Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Price per month||$29||$79||$299|
All plan levels come with a 14-day free trial (no credit card required). They allow you to change subscription levels at any time.
Shopify also offers a 10% discount if you renew for a year at a time. The discount increases to 20% for biennial subscriptions.
Wix- Best Value and Best Ease of Use
- Subscriptions starting at $13/mo
- Free website builder, fully customizable websites
- Free domain for 1 year
- Offers professional logos and other services
Wix is one of the best eCommerce website builders for small businesses. The website builder itself is free. Adding additional functions and the option of using your website as part of your eCommerce business plan come at low-cost subscriptions.
Unlike many low-cost platforms, Wix stores scale well. It gives you access to Google Analytics at all eCommerce subscription levels. You’ll also have plenty of space for content like blog articles, buying guides, and videos.
No more worrying about purchasing space for conversion-generating content.
- eCommerce subscriptions cater to eCommerce needs
- Lots of storage and video capability
- Google Analytics included
- Makes accepting online payments easy
- Highly affordable option
- Non-transferrable template designs
- Single-site only
- Websites cannot be migrated to another platform
Wix has two different subscription types, one for basic websites, and one for eCommerce websites. We’re only going to include the eCommerce subscriptions because their base subscriptions don’t offer the same level of functionality.
|Plans||Business Basic||Business Unlimited||Business VIP||Enterprise|
|Price per month||$23||$27||$49||$500|
Wix does not currently offer a free trial of any of their subscriptions. But if you decide that you don’t want to continue with Wix within 14 days of subscribing they have a no-questions-asked refund policy.
Squarespace- Best for Creative Themes
- Plans starting at $12/mo
- Unlimited data and other resources
- Includes Website metrics
- Free until you’re sure
- Mobile app
Squarespace is another full-service website creator in addition to being an eCommerce product and payments manager.
But if it’s really important for your business to look incredibly clean and sophisticated, Squarespace is one of the best eCommerce platforms, thanks to their award-winning mobile and computer friendly templates.
Squarespace also makes additional content, like blogging, easy to create, and upload.
- Blogging is easy
- Beautiful complete template designs
- Custom themes and fonts
- Fully customizable
- Choice of 4 mobile apps
- Shallow menu design
- Low-speed ratings for mobile loads
Squarespace doesn’t have an official free trial, but you are free to use a lot of the tools and information on their website for free. Squarespace is set up, so you don’t have to subscribe until you know it’s the right platform for you.
It’s also a simple process to change your subscription level or cancel.
|Subscription Level||Personal||Business||Basic Commerce||Advanced Commerce|
|Price per month||$12||$18||$26||$40|
BigCommerce – Best for Multi-Channel Selling
- Plans starting at $29.99/mo
- Multi-platform support
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- No transaction fees
BigCommerce is one of the best online store builders if you intend to go for multi-channel selling quickly. It gives you one quick platform to see and process orders.
It lets you build your own website from scratch, as well as listing your store and products on other major retail sites. You’ll be able to access Amazon and eBay’s massive markets right away.
Big Commerce also supports unlimited bandwidth and storage for subscribers.
On top of that, you’ll get blogging abilities, reports and analytics, and a lot of other monitoring advantages right away.
- Unlimited resources
- Immediate access to Amazon and eBay
- Supports Google, Apple, and Android Pay
- Analytics and reporting
- 24/7 customer support
- No transaction fees
- Limited sales cap per year (based on subscription level)
- Similar theme designs
- Higher subscription costs than some alternatives
BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial on all subscription levels.
|Price per month||$29.99||$79.95||$299.95||undisclosed|
Weebly- Best for Beginners/Best for Small Stores
- Free Version Available
- Subscriptions starting at $6/mo
- Advanced analytics
- eCommerce options included at all level
Sometimes you have to start small. Weebly is a good option for businesses that need a low cost of entry, but that don’t want to deal with minimal features or a less advanced platform design.
Don’t let the low subscription costs fool you, Weebly’s eCommerce design is a powerful tool for small businesses.
With SEO friendly interfaces and analytics, you’ll be able to grow your website quicker, leading to more sales and more opportunities for you.
The easy to use design includes automatic tax calculation, gift card support, and other features that will make your new website even easier to manage.
- Low subscription costs
- Free SSL security
- Offers a free version
- Unlimited storage (with some subscriptions)
- Inventory management tools
- Limited blogging tools
- Need to use the Weebly domain
- Customer support tied to the subscription level
Weebly offers a free to use version. It offers fewer features than the subscriptions and a few design drawbacks. But, it’s a fully functional version that suitable for businesses with a low eCommerce budget.
|Pricing per month||$6||$12||$26|
Volusion- Best for large eCommerce stores/ Best for Scalability
- Subscriptions starting at $29 a month
- Unlimited storage
- Designed for larger businesses
- PCI certified
Volusion is a good option for businesses that are ready to take their personal websites to the next level. It’s designed for a large platform with unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth.
You’ll also have the added option of migrating your website from any other platform that supports .csv file configuration.
Volusion offers 24/7 customer support.
It also provides a synched inventory for your different stores, making it easier to manage an extensive business.
- Lots of starting help and support
- 24/7 customer support
- Synched inventory
- Includes subscription support
- Solid theme selection
- Lots of starting help and support
- 24/7 customer support
- Synched inventory
- Includes subscription support
- Solid theme selection
Volusion offers a 14-day free trial.
|Price per month||$29||$79||$179||$299|
Jimdo- Best for European eCommerce stores
- Free versions available
- Subscriptions starting at $15/mo
- Supports sales in European markets
- Low cost to remove Jimdo ads
If you’re looking to expand your eCommerce platform into European markets, this might be the right tool for you. It allows for sales in the European market and meets EU sales regulations.
Jimdo also has an intuitive SEO platform that makes optimization easy.
Add to that that Jimdo is well known for providing comprehensive customer support that’s quick and gets to the root of the problem quickly. They also have a mobile app that makes it easy to stay on top of your business while you’re on the go.
- Removing ads is affordable compared with other options
- Quality customer support
- Intuitive SEO
- High-quality mobile app
- Designed for European markets
- No website restoration function
- Web building user interface is clunky
- The store is not as functional in the U.S.
Jimdo does offer a free version, with stripped-down features. It’s still a surprisingly functional design.
We’re focusing on the business subscriptions vs the subscription levels for a basic (non-store) website.
|Price per month||$15||$19||$39|
What to Consider Looking for the Best eCommerce Tool for You
When you’re looking for a good eCommerce tool there are a lot of different things to take into consideration. It’s more than just looking for a lot of features and functions.
First, think about your key audience. Most eCommerce tools also function as website creators, and you need to be able to build a website that fits your business’s brand and character.
If you don’t already have a logo or other marketing graphics, you may also want to look for an eCommerce tool that will help you design those graphics.
You should also think about the types of payments you need to be able to accept. A lot of eCommerce websites will only allow for single purchases instead of subscriptions or appointment booking. This should be high on your list, make sure your tool can do what you need it to from the beginning.
Think about scaling at the same time. If you don’t need subscriptions at the moment, but think you might in the future, it should be an option through your chosen eCommerce platform.
Additional content is also important for building your business. Your product and business information may not bring the customers you need right away. You should try to also put our blogs and other content that is genuinely valuable to your customers.
eCommerce platforms offer a variety of SEO and other content support, including analytics. Make sure those tools are going to be an effective option for your business, and that you can release content in a way that feels simple.
Ultimately, all this information comes down to one simple thing. You need the best eCommerce tool for your business, not just the best eCommerce platform out there. Spend some time thinking about how your business is organized and where it’s biggest areas of opportunity exist.
Once you have that information, finding an eCommerce platform that really works for you and your business is simple.
Of course, you can’t find the perfect platform if you don’t know what kinds of features are most important. This list provides some of the most common features across eCommerce platforms, along with why each feature can be a critical part of your eCommerce business plan.
One of the most important single features is payment processing. The way your eCommerce platform can accept payments is critical to building your business. If you’re limited to only a few types of credit card or need to take payments over the phone, you’ll lose customers.
The easier, and more payment options you have, the more customers you’ll be able to keep.
This is another critical feature, especially as your business grows. If you have a multiple sales channel platform, you need to stay on top of inventory even when multiple simultaneous sales come in.
Inventory management tools work not only to help you know how much stock you have but also make ordering and other inventory tasks significantly easier. Don’t get caught in a lurch with more orders than you can fulfill, ever again. Make sure this is at the top of your list of key features.
Sometimes your business needs more than just selling goods. When you’re offering a service, consultations, or even matching your customers with different products from your website, you need to be able to set up appointments.
Wix is one of the better platforms for this. It allows for booking appointments in a way that makes it possible to run a consumer goods business or a services-based business. Anyone who need to make appointments need a booking option.
Search engine optimization is a critical step for getting people’s eyes on your business. It’s not how you attract customers to your site, but it is how you tell Google and other search engines that your website is worth recommending to their customers.
SEO recommendations will help improve your visibility, attracting more people, and reducing how much you have to spend on ads and other marketing campaigns.
Coupons and Promo Code Tools:
Everyone knows how good it feels to use a good coupon. And once you’ve got a customer, they’re a lot more likely to come back and bring more business to your company. Plus, if they’re especially pleased with the product and the discount, they’ll be more likely to recommend your business to others.
If you’re looking to grow your business, this feature can make your job a lot easier. Look for a platform that doesn’t limit coupons and makes it easy for customers to use them.
Upselling in Cart:
Once you have a customer engaged, they are a lot more likely to continue spending their money. Upselling in a cart makes it a lot simpler to increase what might have been a small sale to a large one.
Take advantage of this psychological trick to build your business and generate better sales quickly.
One of the biggest things you have to prove to your customers is that you can do what you say you are going to. Whether that’s a service, or just that you’re going to deliver your products on time, one of the easiest ways to do that is to display positive customer reviews.
Giving your customers the opportunity to leave a review, and displaying the best ones, will increase your credibility and make it easier to convert page viewers to customers.
If your business needs to be highly responsive, you may want to offer a live chat feature. But before you can offer Live Chat, you need to make sure your eCommerce platform can support it.
Even if your business doesn’t have the staff to provide live chat yourselves, you can hire a third-party provider to make sure your customers are getting the answers they need, when they need them.
For instance, ZenDesk lets you add live chat to any website simply by embedding a simple widget.
Blogs are one of the easiest ways to provide customer-relevant content that will drive more traffic to your website and business. But, your eCommerce website needs to be able to support a blog, with good load times, to make this an effective part of your platform.
That depends on how you want to use the platform. There are several free options, but none of them outshine the others in all respects. Our advice is to do your research and look for the free option that supplies more of the features you need most.
Of the eCommerce platforms on this list? Jimdo will be your best bet, though there are other alternatives that comply with EU regulations.
Yes! Most of these platforms will support a drop shipping system. It’s actually more difficult to find eCommerce systems that support in-store sales.
If you’re looking to start a dropshipping business, or to add dropshipping to your existing services, almost all these eCommerce platforms will work. Look at other features and functions as well to pick the best platform for you.
eCommerce is one of the biggest growing sectors of the market. Anymore, eCommerce websites are easy to find, easy to buy from, and easy to build. That means that there is a lot of competition, but also a lot of opportunities.
Whether you already have an eCommerce business or are looking to add to start your own business from scratch, eCommerce tools can make your life a lot easier.
In this review, we’ve covered some of the best eCommerce platforms. We’ve examined platforms for small businesses through platforms that were designed with large businesses in mind. There are free options and options that are only available to established businesses.
We’ve also gone over the key features and functions of an eCommerce platform. More than that, we’ve talked about how those features make a difference.
And lastly, we’ve covered how you can pick the right eCommerce platform for you, and some of the considerations that should be at the top of the list. There’s a reason there is competition in this market, there is no one-platform fits all eCommerce tool.
Hopefully, now you feel more prepared to start your own eCommerce business or to build a bigger business online.