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9 Best eCommerce Platforms In 2022

Looking to create an online shop? Some of these eCommerce apps offer robust features and high-functionality, while others excel at user-friendliness or low-cost.

    Nicolette Kier
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Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Whether you’re a crafter thinking about branching out from Etsy, a restaurant owner looking to create your own online ordering system (and avoid third-party app fees), a small business owner shipping products every day, a freelancer offering your services, an influencer selling merch, an online course creator, a writer who wants to monetize their blog, or just someone interested in making money online, you’ve arrived at this post looking for the best eCommerce platform to start an online store.

While there’s no one “perfect” website builder for all small business owners, there is a best fit for your specific needs. Read on for a comparison of the best eCommerce platforms out there right now, including price and feature comparisons, as well as what makes each individual platform special.

Every day you spend without an eCommerce site is a day you’re losing money. By the end of this article, you can be done with the research rabbit hole and ready to start building something online.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

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Best for growing a business quickly.
Best for growing a business quickly.

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Best for midsize to large businesses with steady sales.
Best for midsize to large businesses with steady sales.

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Best budget-friendly option for small to midsize businesses.
Best budget-friendly option for small to midsize businesses.

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Best for complete beginners with a small business.
Best for complete beginners with a small business.

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Best for merchants who primarily sell in person.
Best for merchants who primarily sell in person.

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Other Featured Options:

  • WooCommerce: Best for merchants who want complete control of their online store.
  • PrestaShop: Best for sellers focused on global eCommerce and looking for multilingual options.
  • Squarespace: Best for digital creators and service providers.
  • Ecwid: Best for adding selling features to a small website.

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The 9 Best eCommerce Platforms

The best eCommerce platform options are:

  • Shopify: For growing a business quickly
  • BigCommerce: For midsize/larger businesses with steady sales
  • Shift4Shop (Formerly 3dCart): For those with tight budgets
  • Wix: For complete beginners
  • Square Online Store: For mostly in-person businesses
  • WooCommerce: For open-source software
  • PrestaShop: For global sellers
  • Squarespace: For digital creators/service providers
  • Ecwid: For adding selling features to an existing site

1. Shopify: Best For Growing A Business Quickly

Shopify



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Pros

  • Easy-to-use store builder
  • Excellent inventory and shipping management
  • Several additional features for a variety of businesses
  • All-in-one eCommerce solution

Cons

  • Add-ons often necessary
  • Transaction fees
  • No one-page checkout

Shopify Pricing

  • Shopify Lite: $9/month, includes Shopify buy button
  • Shopify Basic: $29/month, includes full online store
  • Shopify: $79/month
  • Shopify Advanced: $299/month
  • Shopify Plus: Ask for pricing

Note: Shopify offers a 10% discount on annual plans and a 20% discount on biannual plans when you pay for your plan upfront.

Shopify plans also include a transaction fee for every sale you make. Depending on your plan, you can expect to pay anywhere from a 0.5-2% fee on every transaction. This transaction fee is in addition to standard payment processing fees, which you will almost always have to pay.

You can avoid Shopify’s transaction fees altogether if you use Shopify’s own integrated payment processorShopify Payments. With Shopify Payments, you will only have to pay payment processing fees. Shopify’s payment processing fees start at 2.9% plus a $0.30 flat fee per transaction. However, starting at the Shopify plan ($79/month), that fee decreases to 2.6%. On the Shopify Advanced plan, you will only pay a 2.4% payment processing fee, and no flat fee at all.

For reference, payment processors such as PayPal charge a payment processing fee of anywhere from 1.9-3.49% of the purchase price.

Finally, you should note that while Shopify has many seller features to start with, you may need to purchase more add-ons and extensions to equip your store with everything it needs. You might end up paying for features that are usually built into other eCommerce platforms for free.

Shopify eCommerce Platform Features

The least expensive pricing plan, Shopify Lite, simply offers you a way to add a buy button to an existing website, blog, or social media profile. It’s easy for bloggers, influencers, and other creatives to build eCommerce features into their current online presence.

Most notably, you can now sell on TikTok with Shopify, which is a selling feature that not many eCommerce platforms have built yet.

Some of Shopify’s eCommerce features are only available for higher-level plans. Keep that in mind when you’re reading about Shopify’s eCommerce features. The most notable features include:

  • Store Setup: All Shopify stores get unlimited storage, bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate. You may host your store on Shopify’s servers, which guarantees 99.99% uptime. You can also purchase a domain name from Shopify. That way, you can manage all parts of your store in one place.
  • Web Builder: Shopify offers 11 free and 100+ paid templates for you to quickly get a framework for your store. Use Shopify’s drag-and-drop editor to change up your site, or add code for even more customization. Shopify has rolled out “Themes 2.0”, a collection of themes focused specifically on fast loading pages. These themes will help your site rank higher in search results.
  • Easy-To-Navigate Admin Dashboard: Shopify’s store management dashboard is incredibly intuitive, with everything laid out for you. You can manage your inventory, analyze your customers’ behaviors, and more. If you need guidance on running your store, there are dozens of guides in Shopify’s Help Center.
  • More Product Types: Sell subscriptions, memberships, digital goods, or physical products with Shopify.
  • Omnichannel Selling: Sell directly from Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Amazon, and most recently, TikTok. Integrate your Shopify store with Etsy, eBay, and Walmart Marketplace. Sell in person with Shopify’s POS system or another third-party POS provider.
  • Marketing Tools: Offer your customers discounts, gift cards, and shipping discounts. Use abandoned cart recovery tools to recapture potential customers. Use Shopify’s analytics dashboard to learn more about your customers, and create marketing campaigns based on that knowledge.
  • Global Selling: Sell in 133 currencies and in 20 languages. Some themes specifically focus on multilingual selling, with auto-translation capabilities built right into them.
  • Add-On Features: There are currently over 4,200 free and paid apps to fit your store’s needs.
  • Inventory Management: Shopify’s excellent inventory management system makes it easy for all businesses, especially dropshipping businesses, to track their inventory.
  • Shipping Management: Get real-time shipping calculations, buy and print shipping labels, track packages, and more with Shopify Shipping. Shopify has also built relationships with popular shipping providers such as USPS, UPS, and DHL Express, so they can offer major shipping discounts for Shopify merchants. The higher the plan, the higher the discounted shipping rate.
  • Fulfillment Centers: US and Canadian Shopify store owners have access to 4-8 inventory locations, so customers can get their purchases faster.

Where Shopify Really Shines

Shopify has one of the most robust shipping and inventory management systems out there, along with their own fulfillment centers to house your inventory.

Another one of Shopify’s strong selling points is that there are thousands of add-on apps available now, and more are being added to the Shopify App Store every day. If you’re looking to get the most advanced online store features, Shopify is the best store builder for you.

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2. BigCommerce: Best For Midsize To Large Businesses With Steady Sales

BigCommerce



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Pros

  • Numerous built-in features
  • No additional transaction fees
  • Optimized one-page checkout
  • Persistent and abandoned cart functions

Cons

  • Limited product customizability
  • Revenue caps on plan levels

BigCommerce Pricing

  • Standard: $29.95/month
  • Plus: $79.95/month
  • Pro: $299.95/month
  • Enterprise: Ask for pricing

Note: Plus and Pro plans get 10% off when they sign up for an annual plan.

BigCommerce does not charge any transaction fees at all, which is why this eCommerce platform could be very cost-effective solutions for businesses with a larger transaction volume. You can still expect to pay third-party payment processing fees, though.

It’s also important to note that there are yearly revenue caps on each plan. If your business’s revenue exceeds that cap, you will be automatically bumped up to the next highest plan. However, those revenue caps are very generous.

BigCommerce eCommerce Platform Features

Some of BigCommerce’s most notable features include:

  • Store Setup: All BigCommerce stores have unlimited storage, bandwidth, and free sitewide HTTP and SSL. HTTP and SSL are both important ranking factors in search results, as Google recognizes how safe your website is for users. You may purchase a domain name from BigCommerce. Plus, BigCommerce guarantees 99.99% server uptime, so you can be sure that your all-in-one eCommerce solution will get your store up and running fast.
  • Migration Services: If you are moving away from another eCommerce platform that does not suit your needs, BigCommerce has developed free apps to facilitate the transfer of your existing site’s catalog and customer data to your new site.
  • No Transaction Fees: BigCommerce will never charge you transaction fees, which is a huge advantage the eCommerce platform has over the other best eCommerce platforms on this list.
  • Comprehensive Dashboard: Since you can do so much with a BigCommerce account without any extra add-ons or apps, your admin dashboard already has most of the setup and management features you need.
  • Web Builder: BigCommerce currently offers 12 free and 158 paid themes, which are all mobile-responsive. Edit with a drag-and-drop editor, or edit your theme files with custom code.
  • One-Page Checkout: 18% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts because the checkout process took too long, according to this 2021 Baymard study. With one-page checkout, you eliminate so much of the friction that’s involved with online purchases, so you’ll make more sales without having to do anything extra. This feature is available for all BigCommerce stores.
  • Omnichannel Selling: Integrate your online storefront with Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Facebook, Instagram, and most notably, Google Shopping. Also, integrate your BigCommerce store with an in-person POS system such as Clover or Lightspeed.
  • Custom Return Policy: Create your own eCommerce return policy and set custom return rules in your admin dashboard.
  • Marketing: All BigCommerce store owners can create highly customized sales, discount codes, and offer free shipping.
  • Real-Time Shipping Quotes: All BigCommerce store owners can give their customers the most accurate shipping quotes possible. This is a really nice feature that you typically only get on higher-level eCommerce plans.
  • Persistent Cart: Starting at the Plus plan, your store can save a customer’s cart items across their devices. If a customer starts adding items on their phone, they can still check out on their computer.
  • Stored Credit Cards: Also starting at the Plus plan, your customers’ credit card information will be stored securely. When a customer returns for another purchase, all they have to do is hit the purchase button.
  • Google Address Autocomplete: Google Address Autocomplete fills in a customer’s address based on what they’re typing, making checkout even faster. This feature is automatically built into one-page checkout.
  • International Selling: Sell in 100+ currencies in multiple languages. Get tax and shipping calculations for over 160 countries.
  • Add-On Features: BigCommerce stores come with a lot of ready-made, out-of-the-box features, as the company aims to give you a true all-in-one store builder and manager. However, if you don’t see something you need, there are currently over 600 integrations available.
  • Excellent Customer Service: All BigCommerce store owners get 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email.

Remember that some features are included only on higher-level plans. BigCommerce does offer an unexpected number of eCommerce store capabilities at the lowest level plan, though.

Where BigCommerce Really Shines

What makes BigCommerce one of the best eCommerce platforms is how cost-effective it can be. The lack of transaction fees puts this platform ahead of competitors. Plus, the company aims to give you an all-in-one eCommerce solution, without the need for paid add-ons.

BigCommerce also strives to make the checkout experience extremely easy for customers. Optimized one-page checkout, available on all BigCommerce plans, really cuts down on the kind of friction that can turn potential customers away.

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3. Shift4Shop (formerly 3dCart) : Best Budget-Friendly Option For Small To Midsize Businesses

Shift4Shop



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Pros

  • Fully functional free plan available
  • Numerous features on all plans
  • No transaction fees

Cons

  • Limited webpage customization
  • Moderate learning curve
  • Must use Shift4Shop’s in-house payment processor on the free plan

Shift4Shop Pricing

  • End-to-End eCommerce: $0/month (only available for US-based merchants)
  • Basic Store: $29/month, or $26.10/month if billed annually
  • Plus Store: $79/month, or $71.10/month if billed annually
  • Pro Store: $229/month, or $206.10/month if billed annually

Shift4Shop has obviously piqued the interest of entrepreneurs and small business owners who don’t have a lot of funding but want to get a fully functional website up and running without using a ton of poorly designed free web builders and third-party apps.

“What’s the catch?” is the most common question when anyone hears about a completely “free” eCommerce store builder.

The only requirement for using the free plan is that you must use Shift4Shop’s in-house payment processor, Shift4 Payments. Shift4 Payments charges an industry-standard 2.9% payment processing fee, plus a $0.30 flat fee, for every sale you make.

Note that you will pay a processing fee no matter what eCommerce platform you go with.

Most eCommerce platforms charge a monthly subscription fee, so Shift4Shop is extremely low-cost if you go with the in-house payment processor. Otherwise, Shift4Shop is pretty comparable in pricing to Shopify.

All Shift4Shop stores can process debit, credit, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, buy now and pay later providers such as Affirm and Klarna, Visa Checkout, Masterpass wallets, and more with Shift4 Payments.

If you do not want to use Shift4 Payments, you have to enroll in a paid plan. With a paid plan, you can use any of Shift4Shop’s 100+ payment gateway integrations with no transaction fees.

All Shift4Shop stores get a domain name that’s free for the first year after signup.

Note: Students, schools, resellers, and some nonprofits can receive a discount on paid plans.

Shift4Shop eCommerce Platform Features

All of the features listed below are included in the End-to-End eCommerce plan:

  • Store Basics: All Shift4Shop stores get unlimited bandwidth, storage, and are stored on servers that promote a 99.94% uptime. All stores also get a free SSL certificate, are Secure Level 1 PCI compliant (i.e., bank-level secure), and can have a domain name registered and automatically renewed by Shift4Shop. Store setup is made to be easy, so you can focus on selling.
  • Web Builder: Shift4Shop has over 100 free website templates, all optimized for Google search and mobile browsing. Simply choose a theme, add products, choose brand fonts and colors, then launch your site. You can modify HTML and CSS code for a more customized look and feel.
  • No Transaction Fees: Merchants never pay transaction fees.
  • One-Page Checkout: Like BigCommerce, Shift4Shop allows you to create a streamlined one-page checkout.
  • Product Listing And Management: List an unlimited number of products with custom product variants, and categorize them manually or allow AI to categorize your products using SmartCategories.
  • Payment Capabilities: Use Shift4Shop’s built-in automated tax calculator at checkout. Show customers real-time shipping estimates. Take payments through PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, buy now and pay later services, credit/debit cards, and more.
  • FedEx Advantage Program: Shift4Shop has partnered with FedEx to provide merchants with shipping discounts, hold-at-location access, and an easy way to print return labels.
  • Payment Processing: 100+ payment processor integrations are available for merchants on paid plans.
  • Marketing: Offer gift certificates, bulk discounts, free shipping, coupon codes, and “daily deals” to convert site visitors into paying customers. Use the automated cart saver and email marketing to recapture the interest of customers who have left your site. Schedule your promotions ahead of time and let Shift4Shop’s automation capabilities handle the rest.
  • Online Storefront Integrations: Sell on eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and Google Shopping.
  • Modules: Like BigCommerce and Shopify, Shift4Shop has a number of add-ons, called modules, to add anything you need to your site. You also get API access, so you can integrate any third-party software into your eCommerce store.
  • Global Selling: You may sell and ship internationally with Shift4Shop, but there is no native translation function.

Where Shift4Shop Really Shines

Shift4Shop separates itself from other competitors because of its robust free plan, which includes of all the features you need to run an eCommerce site. All you have to do is use Shift4Shop’s payment processor.

You can build an SEO-focused, mobile-responsive store, take all popular forms of digital payment, manage your inventory and shipping practices, automate many aspects of marketing and product listing – you have access to everything the best eCommerce platform for small businesses should have, for free.

  • Related: Shopify and Shift4Shop paid plans are comparable in pricing, but how do the two eCommerce platforms compare to each other? Read our Shift4Shop vs Shopify comparison to find out which platform will give you more value for the same amount of money.

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4. Wix: Best For Complete Beginners With A Small Business

Wix



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Pros

  • Easy learning curve
  • Visual web builder
  • Site generator and editing tips
  • No transaction fees

Cons

  • Very limited features for large or complex stores
  • Limited customer support
  • eCommerce requires paid plans

Wix Pricing

  • Business Basic: $28/month
  • Business Unlimited: $27/month
  • Business VIP: $49/month

Note: Wix does not charge any transaction fees whether you use Wix Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor, or a third-party payment option. This is a nice feature, considering that many customers do not know what Wix Payments is. They may not trust it as much as another payment option like PayPal or Stripe.

Wix eCommerce Platform Features

Wix is a little different from the other store builders on this list. It didn’t originally start out as a store builder but a simple web builder. The simplicity is what a lot of people like.

Wix’s eCommerce solution has the following features:

  • Store Basics: Wix stores have unlimited bandwidth, you get a custom domain that is free for one year, and 20-50 GB of storage space, depending on your subscription plan.
  • Web Builder: Wix has one of the easiest drag-and-drop page editors out there, plus helpful editing tips throughout the web design process. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time building your site, have Wix’s ADI (artificial design intelligence) build a store for you. Tell the ADI what you’re selling, choose a design aesthetic, add branding assets, and the ADI will build a few stores for you to choose from. Then, customize the store you choose.
  • High-Quality Templates: Wix is known for its library of 500 beautiful free templates. They are all mobile-friendly, but many are not 100% mobile-responsive.
  • No Transaction Fees: You will never be charged transaction fees.
  • Several Product Types: Sell physical items, digital downloads, services, tickets to events (online or at a physical location), reservations for restaurants and hotels, content, art, and take online food orders.
  • Product Listing Process: As you add products, Wix automatically creates optimized product pages based on a beautiful template. You can upload all your products from a CSV file, and add an unlimited number of products to your store.
  • Marketing: Advertise on social media channels, offer discounts, use Wix’s email marketing automation, and offer free shipping to your customers.
  • Shipping Discounts: Get 60-70% off USPS shipping starting at the Business Unlimited plan.
  • Multilingual Stores: Sell in multiple countries, languages, and currencies.
  • SEO Tools: Wix’s SEO Wiz tool explains exactly how to get your store found in search results.
  • App Store: There are 250+ Wix apps available to add extra functionalities to your site.

Where Wix Really Shines

Wix is one of the best eCommerce platforms for complete beginners who don’t have many products to sell, and for people who want to sell digital products or services. It’s also a solid option for people who own restaurants, local boutiques, and other types of small in-person businesses, who just want to offer reservations, sell tickets, or book appointments online.

With Wix, it’s easy to get a beautiful website up and running. You also won’t have to deal with any complicated online store setup or management, the kind that larger eCommerce businesses need to function well.

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5. Square Online Store: Best For Merchants Who Primarily Sell In Person

Square Online



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Pros

  • Free plan available
  • Easy to use
  • Ideal for low-volume merchants
  • All-in-one eCommerce & payment processing solution

Cons

  • Limited customization
  • Limited features
  • Limited payment options

Square Online Pricing

  • Free: $0/month
  • Professional: $16/month, or $12/month if billed annually
  • Performance: $29/month, or $26/month if billed annually
  • Premium: $79/month, or $72/month if billed annually

Note: Square charges a transaction fee of 2.9% of the purchase price plus a $0.30 flat fee on every sale you make on the eCommerce platform.

Square Online eCommerce Platform Features

With the free plan, you get a fully hosted website with unlimited bandwidth and up to 500 MB of storage space. However, you cannot connect your own domain name, you cannot use any payment processors besides Square, and you also have to have Square Online ads plastered all over your site. So, while the free plan is a great option for keeping costs low, you shouldn’t use the free plan if you want to be taken seriously as a brand.

With that said, here are some of Square Online’s best features:

  • Store Basics: All Square Online stores get unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, free web hosting, and several forms of customer support. Starting at the Professional plan, you get unlimited storage, a domain that’s free for the first year, and Square ads are removed.
  • Web Builder: Square Online has a simple web builder that guides you through the entire building process. You choose what kind of business you own, you get website suggestions, then choose which site elements to include and which to leave out. Everything is formatted for you. Then, add your logo, brand assets, colors, fonts, and launch your store.
  • Product Types: You can sell an unlimited amount of physical or digital products and services, tickets, and reservations. You can also take local delivery, curbside, and in-store pickup orders, and take donations.
  • POS Integration: Your Square POS system automatically syncs with your online inventory and orders, so you’ll always know what you have and when you’re running low on stock.
  • Order Updates: Your customers can receive text alerts about their order status, which is an especially nice feature for restaurant owners, since customers are usually waiting eagerly for their deliveries.
  • Social Selling: Integrate your Square Online store with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and most notably, TikTok to get your products noticed, and (in some cases), sell directly on social media platforms. Products can be automatically imported and metadata can be automatically generated for SEO purposes. This is a really great feature for anyone who has a solid social media presence or would like to establish their brand and sell online.
  • Marketing: Offer coupon codes, Square gift cards, and free shipping. Use Square’s email marketing service to update customers about products, promotions, etc.
  • Shipping: Starting at the Performance plan, you get discounts on shipping and shipping labels. You also get a shipping calculator and tracking.

Where Square Online Really Shines

Square Online provides an easy way for merchants who sell in person (and primarily using Square’s POS systems) to quickly and cheaply create their own online presence.

With features such as inventory syncing, reservations, pickup and delivery orders, and text updates about order status, Square Online is one of the best online store platforms for restaurant owners, coffee shop owners, creators selling at craft shows or out of their homes, caterers, boutique and salon owners, anyone whose focus is not primarily in eCommerce.

Plus, with the ability to show off your products and sell on social media platforms such as TikTok, your business can really shine online.

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6. WooCommerce: Best For Merchants Who Want Complete Control Over Their Online Store

WooCommerce



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Pros

  • Free to download
  • Extremely customizable
  • Numerous integrations
  • Scalable
  • No transaction or monthly subscription fees

Cons

  • Limited customer support
  • Steep learning curve
  • Developer knowledge required
  • May have to pay for add-ons

WooCommerce Pricing

WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress users. However, because you have to manage your WooCommerce-powered store on a WordPress site, you pay for site hosting and security. You might also need to purchase an add-on WooCommerce feature to offer subscriptions, one-page checkout, etc. Extensions can cost between $0 and $300.

Often, you can find free plugins to substitute for paid extensions, but your store will generally run smoother (and you’ll get less headaches) if you just pay for the extensions you really need.

WooCommerce eCommerce Platform Features

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that powers 7% of all eCommerce sites, and 25% of the world’s top one million websites, as of December 2021.

The plugin works with most WordPress sites, themes, and page builders such as Elementor. It’s so popular that there are several free and paid add-on features called extensions, as well as massive amounts of documentation and tutorials about how to best use this powerful eCommerce plugin.

WooCommerce features include:

  • Store Basics: For the most part, you have complete creative freedom over the look and feel of your store, especially considering the thousands of themes and plugins available to add any layout and functionality you can imagine.
  • Web Builder: There are currently 9,073 themes currently available on WordPress.org, and 39 of those themes are designed by WooCommerce to seamlessly integrate with the WooCommerce plugin. All WooCommerce-specific themes are mobile-responsive and (depending on how you configure your WordPress site) very fast loading. Take the time to choose your theme and other plugins wisely, because not every theme is compatible with every single WordPress plugin.
  • Extensive Add-Ons: WooCommerce alone has over 300 extensions in their extension store, and that’s almost nothing compared to the number of independent WordPress plugins developed specifically for WooCommerce stores.
  • Sell Literally Anything: With WooCommerce, you can sell physical or digital products, subscriptions, appointments, services, wholesale, rentals, let customers build their own custom products or bundles – the possibilities are endless.
  • Highly Customizable Pages & Checkout: Design, save, and reuse custom product templates and checkout pages. Create any kind of product variation imaginable, build a one-page checkout, and add whatever you need to convert more customers. Page builders such as Elementor, Divi, and Brizy are especially useful for creating specific, reusable page and product templates.
  • Inventory Management: WooCommerce has a very simple product management system that comes with the plugin installation. Enter new product information, create custom product templates and information, specify type of product, add categories and tags, and create a product gallery. You can even enter shortcode right into the product description if you need something custom, like a donation functionality, on your store’s front-facing product pages.
  • Shipping Capabilities: WooCommerce Shipping is a free extension that allows you to manage your shipping all in one dashboard, print shipping labels on your own, and get shipping discounts from WooCommerce partners such as USPS and DHL Express. Plus, you can have USPS pick up packages from your home or business, so you don’t need to waste time mailing anything yourself.
  • Payment Processors: WooCommerce is automatically configured to connect to PayPal and Stripe, along with 100+ other forms of payment, including digital wallets.
  • Fast Payouts: U.S. merchants who qualify can receive payouts from their WooCommerce account within 15 minutes of making a sale (for a fee, of course.) Otherwise, WooCommerce automatically sends your available balance daily.
  • International Selling: Users can pay in any one of 135+ currencies, without the need for currency conversions.
  • Built-In CMS: Since you need WordPress to run WooCommerce, you already have a CMS (content management system) at the ready to handle your blogging, informational webpages, knowledge bases, and any other kind of content you want.
  • Marketing: Offer discounts and promos for free with the WooCommerce plugin. Add extensions for store credits, gift cards, giveaways, freebies, birthday discounts, referrals, and more are available. Get just a few for free or simply buy one “smart coupon” package in the WooCommerce extension store. Integrate any other service, such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, to meet all your marketing needs.
  • Review Management: Pull in reviews from Google, Trustpilot, social media channels, and more as social proof of your high-quality offerings. Send review reminders within thank you emails and shipping updates.
  • Custom Code Injection: You can modify the code of your website if you feel comfortable doing so, to add more site customization and functionality.

Where WooCommerce Really Shines

WooCommerce, paired with WordPress, allows for endless customization with or without using any code. You also get the built-in CMS that WordPress natively offers, SEO functionality to get found in search results, and the ability to easily create and bulk edit a customized shop with saved templates.

Business owners with any budget can make use of WooCommerce, since prices depend on how many functionalities you want for your website. Many extensions and plugins are free, and others are just worth paying for.

If you want complete control over your online store, a highly robust website, and you’re willing to put the work in to set it up (or hire a developer to set it up for you), then WooCommerce is the best eCommerce platform for you.

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7. PrestaShop: Best For Sellers Focused On International eCommerce

PrestaShop



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Pros

  • Free to download
  • Highly customizable
  • No transaction or monthly subscription fees
  • Strong international user community

Cons

  • Expensive customer support
  • Developer skills required

PrestaShop Pricing

PrestaShop is open-source software that is free to download. However, you will still need to pay for site hosting, security, and extra features that you need for a successful store.

PrestaShop eCommerce Platform Features

These are just a few of PrestaShop’s set of features:

  • Store Basics: PrestaShop is eCommerce software that you download and use to create your own custom store. You will have to choose a hosting provider, add site security, ensure fast loading speeds, and purchase your own domain name.
  • Web Builder: PrestaShop currently offers 2,209 mobile-responsive themes. Only one theme is free, while the others range from $75 to $740. To avoid paying this, you can custom code a site from scratch. You need to pay a yearly fee to ensure your theme is up-to-date, secure, and compliant with all add-on features. There is no drag-and-drop editor, so you’ll have to get into HTML, CSS, and JS to edit your theme in any huge way.
  • No Subscription Or Transaction Fees: Because this is an open-source eCommerce platform, you’re not paying for any services, so you won’t get charged any monthly subscription or transaction fees.
  • Multi-Store Feature: PrestaShop allows you to own and manage multiple stores from one dashboard, which is a highly desirable feature for large sellers and dropshipping business owners.
  • SEO Performance: The PrestaShop online store platform has high-speed performance, most likely due to the lack of a clunky drag-and-drop editor. You can also create user-friendly product titles, meta descriptions, and permalinks. With a paid module, you can see exactly how your store will look in Google search results.
  • International Selling: You can sell in 75 different languages and multiple currencies, target customers by country or region, and complete your international store status with the G-Translate module so that customers can see your site in their native language.
  • Huge Community Of Developers: Because PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform, anyone can develop their own modules. So, you have not only PrestaShop’s “official” modules, but a worldwide community of developers coming up with new modules daily. Do be aware, though, that third-party modules are not guaranteed to work, so you should look into reviews before buying anything.

Where PrestaShop Really Shines

The fact that the software itself is free and highly customizable is appealing to developers and businesses with a dedicated  technical department. However, for the majority of business owners, the international selling capabilities, including the ability to own and manage multiple storefronts in several translated languages and currencies, is what really makes PrestaShop special.

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8. Squarespace: Best For Digital Creators And Service Providers

Squarespace



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Pros

  • Beautiful high-quality templates
  • Easy to use
  • Image optimization

Cons

  • Limited eCommerce features
  • Limited add-ons
  • Transaction fees on lowest level plan

Squarespace Pricing

  • Business: $26/month
  • Basic Commerce: $30/month
  • Advanced Commerce: $46/month

Note: With the Business plan, you are charged a 3% transaction fee. This fee is on top of standard payment processing fees from third-party payment processors. The other plans do not include any transaction fees.

Squarespace eCommerce Platform Features

Squarespace is a fully-hosted eCommerce platform geared towards digital creators such as artists, designers, photographers, and bloggers, as well as service providers such as wedding planners, restaurant owners, and freelancers.

These features are what makes Squarespace such a great fit for people in these areas:

  • Store Basics: All Squarespace eCommerce stores come with a free SSL certificate, as well as unlimited storage and bandwidth. You can also purchase a domain that’s free for the first year.
  • Web Builder: Squarespace is most well-known for its 113 free, beautifully designed, SEO-focused, and mobile-responsive templates. Templates are visual content driven, and they are hard to “mess up”, which is why so many creators and service providers love them.
  • Store Dashboard: Squarespace has an incredibly easy-to-use admin dashboard.
  • Image Optimizer: With Squarespace, you can set image focal points to highlight the most important part of your image, add image zoom, create sleek galleries, automatically scale images, and add in meta-data about your image for SEO purposes.
  • Scheduling: Connect your site to reservation apps such as Tock and OpenTable, or use Squarespace’s complete appointment scheduling solution for clients to book their own appointments.
  • Clean Blogging Features: While you can do a lot with a blog with a tool like WordPress, it can end up looking not-so-great. Squarespace blogs, while not highly customizable, always look good.
  • Digital Embeds: Sell digital subscriptions, files, and images with the file-embed feature. Promote your music, podcast, or videography skills through video embeds.
  • POS Functionalities: Squarespace has partnered with Square to offer an in-person selling feature. Connect your Squarespace store to your Square account, then you can have a beautiful online store and take payments in person.

Where Squarespace Really Shines

While Squarespace does have decent inventory and shipping management capabilities, you won’t find all the eCommerce features you need to run a large business selling physical products. Squarespace shines in the design and ease-of-use categories. Plus, Squarespace makes a point to give service providers many ways to promote their businesses, That way, service providers can get customers signing up for appointments, services, and reservations.

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9. Ecwid: Best For Adding Selling Features To A Small Website

Ecwid



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Pros

  • No transaction fees
  • One-page checkout
  • Easy store setup and deployment

Cons

  • Limited number of products
  • Limited eCommerce features
  • Must own and run your own website

Ecwid Pricing

  • Forever Free: $0/month
  • Venture: $15/month
  • Business: $35/month
  • Unlimited: $99/month

Ecwid Features

Ecwid is not an eCommerce store builder, It is a widget you add to an existing website to give it eCommerce functionalities. That’s why there are no transaction fees. However, you do have to pay for your own website’s hosting and security.

Ecwid’s features include:

  • Instant Site Builder: With Ecwid, you build a mobile-responsive one-page site with your products and connect it to your existing website. You can also link to your instant one-page site from your social media profiles.
  • Store Basics: Ecwid online stores get unlimited bandwidth. Starting at the Venture plan, you can connect your own domain name.
  • No Transaction Fees: Unlike other simple selling integrations such as a Shopify buy button, Ecwid charges no transaction fees.
  • One-Page Checkout: Ecwid has developed a seamless one-page checkout that resolves friction at checkout without you having to even configure the page, though you can customize it to match your store’s branding.
  • Product Listings: You can list up to 10 products for free on the Forever Free plan. That increases to 100 at the Venture plan, then 2,500 products, and finally, an unlimited amount of products on Ecwid’s highest plan.
  • Multichannel Selling: Integrate your Facebook and Instagram shops, as well as an in-person POS system. At the highest Ecwid plan, you can even design your own branded mobile app with Ecwid’s Shop App. (If you’re not on the Unlimited plan, you can purchase Shop App for a one-time fee of $590.)
  • Multi-Lingual Catalogue: Starting at the Business level plan, you can set your product catalog to display in multiple languages.
  • App Market: Starting at the Venture plan, you get access to Ecwid’s 40+ free and premium apps. Add shipping, marketing, contact forms, and more to your online store.

Where Ecwid Really Shines

Ecwid’s eCommerce widget is great for influencers, bloggers, and small businesses aiming to quickly and cost-effectively start selling online. The Instant Site builder helps you import your products and create a seamless one-page checkout experience for your customers. Ecwid’s simple pricing plans, inventory management, and shipping rules also make selling physical products easy, although it’s not recommended for large-volume businesses.

If you already have a site up, and decide to dip your toes into the eCommerce world, Ecwid is one of your best options.

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Looking For One Of These eCommerce Platforms?

X-Cart

X-Cart is a licensed shopping cart that allows you to create and host your own eCommerce site, or host your website on X-Cart’s servers. X-Cart offers a free lifetime license to its software that, on its own, provides you with everything you need to build an online store. It also offers hundreds of free add-ons such as numerous payment gateways and shipping integrations. Building and maintaining your own site for free, forever, sounds great, right?

However, you need to understand and use at least some PHP/MySQL coding to get your site running.

You also need to either set up your own web hosting and security, or pay a monthly subscription fee for X-Cart to handle all of this for you. Also, to keep up with eCommerce industry standards, you will have to pay for software upgrades, so you’re not really paying once to build and maintain a store.

If you are knowledgeable in coding, or have an extreme amount of patience and are willing to learn, then X-Cart might end up being a cheaper, although more time-consuming, eCommerce solution in the long run.

Stripe

Stripe is a highly popular payment processor, much like Square, although Stripe was originally more focused on online payments than in-person transactions. While you can build a simple shopping cart solution for your eCommerce needs through Stripe, Stripe is designed primarily to integrate into other websites.

If you build a site with Shopify, WordPress, or another popular web builder, definitely consider integrating Stripe as a payment option. On its own, though, Stripe is not a robust eCommerce solution that will meet all your needs.

eCommerce Platform FAQs

What is eCommerce software?

eCommerce software apps allow you to sell products or services online. You can build an entire website from scratch, or simply add an online shop to an existing website or online presence such as a social media profile, using eCommerce software. Your eCommerce application, also called an eCommerce platform, helps you import inventory, manage shipping and fulfillment (if relevant), monitor sales, and more.

What are the benefits of eCommerce software?

eCommerce software allows you to simplify the process of setting up your own online site. Many solutions help you build a functional online store in a matter of hours. eCommerce software also provides tools for maintaining your store, such as shipping and tax calculators, email marketing features, and promotional tools.

What is the best eCommerce platform?

The best eCommerce platform depends on your business’s individual needs. If your budget is tight, consider Shift4Shop or Ecwid. If you mostly do business in person, then a free Square Online store would pair nicely with Square’s POS systems. Service providers and creatives will appreciate Squarespace’s beautiful templates and simplicity, while businesses who need their online store to do a lot might go for Shopify, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce.

What is the best free eCommerce software?

Most free eCommerce software is open-source software. Of these solutions, we recommend WooCommerce and PrestaShop. A few hosted eCommerce solutions that have free plans include Square Online, Ecwid, and Shift4Shop.

What are open source eCommerce platforms?

Open-source eCommerce platforms like Prestashop are downloadable software programs that are free to use to build an eCommerce website. Sellers are responsible for finding their own hosting, paying for site security, and getting everything online and working smoothly. Open source solutions are best for sellers who want a high level of customization and who aren’t intimidated by a technical challenge.

 

Choosing The Best eCommerce Platform

To find the best eCommerce platform for you, take into account how much you can spend on building an online store, and how much work you’re willing to put into making it look nice and run smoothly. Often, you have to find that sweet spot when it comes to price and feature set.

Don’t forget that all of these platforms have either a free plan or a free trial available. Try one you think you’ll like, really pay attention to how your store would work for you during that bill-free period, and move on to another one if the platform does not meet your needs.

In Summary: The 9 Best eCommerce Platforms

  1. Shopify: Best for growing a business quickly.
  2. BigCommerce: Best for midsize to large businesses with steady sales.
  3. Shift4Shop: Best budget-friendly option for small to midsize businesses.
  4. Wix: Best for complete beginners with a small business.
  5. Square Online: Best for merchants who primarily sell in person.
  6. WooCommerce: Best for merchants who want complete control of their online store.
  7. PrestaShop: Best for sellers focused on global eCommerce and looking for multilingual options.
  8. Squarespace: Best for digital creators and service providers.
  9. Ecwid: Best for adding selling features to a small website.
Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
As a small business owner, contributing writer Nicolette Kier has been sharing her knowledge on all things related to freelancing and eCommerce since 2019. She earned a BS in Physics and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nicolette Kier
View Nicolette Kier's professional experience on LinkedIn.
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4 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Alfonso Benvolio

    The best ecommerce platform is a software application that allows online businesses to manage their website, marketing, sales and operations. Usually, it’s a balancing act between quality and cost. Thanks for the excellent article and helpful post.

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

      Robin

      Hey Rose, thanks for these excellent suggestions. From the list, I feel Woocommerce is the best as it provides tons of features and plugins, and for those already using WordPress, integration with WooCommerce is a breeze. My second option would be Shopify.

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

        Zubida

        Nice to read your article. There are plenty of e-commerce solutions out there. According to our needs and budget, we have to determine which one is ideal for our business. A good shopping cart, social Media Connectivity, and product display and appearance are the most important aspects on which we should judge an eCommerce software.

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

          Brian Hastings

          Awesome! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep posting more.

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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