Jan 12, 2022
Will M. & Nadia
15 Best eCommerce Platforms to Build Your Online Store in 2022
Setting up an online store requires a lot of work, but it’s possible to make the process more straightforward. If you use an eCommerce platform, you won’t have to code the site from scratch. It will help establish an online store quickly, manage its operations, and enhance customers’ shopping experience.
There are hundreds of eCommerce solutions on the market, making it difficult to choose a platform for your business. It must suit your needs, goals, and budget, and it should also be scalable to accommodate your business’ growth in the long run.
To help you find the right eCommerce platform to create your online store with, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best eCommerce platforms for various business types, needs, and budgets.
We’ll cover each platform’s pros and cons, available plans, and pricing. Furthermore, we’ll discuss why using an eCommerce platform is beneficial for your business and the important elements to look for when choosing one.
Why Should You Use an eCommerce Platform?
There are three ways to create an eCommerce site. The first involves hiring a web developer, but this usually requires a large budget which might not be available for new and small businesses. The second way is coding it from scratch, which requires extensive technical knowledge and plenty of time.
The third way is using an eCommerce platform. It’s a handy, beginner-friendly method, which helps create online stores efficiently, even if you’re not an eCommerce expert.
SaaS eCommerce platforms offer a user-friendly website builder in an all-in-one package with web hosting, domain name, and an SSL certificate. The SaaS provider also takes care of the software management side, including updates, security, and PCI compliance.
This one-stop approach makes it easier to start an online store, especially for beginners. Examples of this model include Shopify and BigCommerce, two eCommerce platforms we will discuss later in this article.
Meanwhile, open-source eCommerce platforms offer eCommerce software that you download and install on your hosting account to create and manage an online store. WooCommerce and PrestaShop are examples of open-source eCommerce platforms on our list.
An open-source eCommerce platform might not be as beginner-friendly as a website builder, as you’ll need to take care of the technical elements by yourself. However, it will give you more flexibility and control over the website.
Using this type of eCommerce platform allows you to choose a hosting plan that fits your budget, adjust the software to better fit your online business, and manage all the website elements yourself.
What Features Should You Look For in an eCommerce Platform?
eCommerce platforms help you to create an online store without hassle. Therefore, when selecting one for your business, there are some key features you should look for.
The following section will discuss the main factors to consider when analyzing various eCommerce platforms.
Ease of Use
Managing an online store is a challenging task. Therefore, you must choose an eCommerce platform that makes it simpler.
Look for a user-friendly interface so you can easily list items on the store, accept online payments, and manage inventory.
If you opt for a SaaS platform, all you need to do is create an account, choose a plan, and start building the site. This type of eCommerce platform takes care of security and updates for you.
If you choose an open-source eCommerce platform, first, you’ll need to find a hosting provider and a plan. Then, download and install the software. In addition, you’ll be responsible for updating features and implementing security protocols.
By default, all eCommerce platforms enable online purchases and accept online payments, so you can look beyond that.
One of the most important aspects is the number of products you can list. Some eCommerce platforms limit the number of products in their more affordable plans. Make sure that you choose one that allows you to list all or at least an adequate number of products in your online store.
Also, look for features that help to enhance customer experience, like personalized recommendations and a shipping tracker.
Overall, here are some critical eCommerce features the platform should offer to help you manage the online store:
- Product filtering and categorization – helps customers find the products they want, especially if the store offers a wide variety of items.
- Product variations – for example, if you sell t-shirts in different sizes and colors, the platform should allow you to add and manage all product variants.
- Promotions, discounts, and coupon codes – applying promotions can generate more sales, especially during seasonal holidays.
- Inventory management – track your inventory in real-time to keep up with the demand.
- Abandoned cart recovery – customers may put products in their shopping carts and leave the site without completing their purchases. Send emails to remind them about their carts and recover lost sales.
- Checkout and payments – offer different shipping and payment methods so that your customers have a smooth checkout experience, decreasing cart abandonment rates.
Design and Customizability
Web design plays an important role in improving customers’ shopping experience, making them stay longer in your online store and driving purchases. 38% of people will leave your eCommerce site if they find its web design or content unappealing.
A good eCommerce platform should offer attractive and customizable website templates or themes so its users don’t have to design the site from scratch. They can pick a template and modify it to suit their brand and business, saving time and effort.
Some eCommerce platforms limit the number of product images you can display, so it’s important to check if the one you’ve chosen fits your needs.
Many eCommerce platforms come with a visual drag-and-drop functionality. It’s a great feature for beginners who don’t have experience with web development and design. This type of visual editor helps build a website intuitively.
Payments and Third-Party Integrations
Giving your customers various online payment options will improve their shopping experience, especially if you provide local payment methods.
Some eCommerce platforms include built-in payment gateways, but the variety of third-party payment providers is also important.
Also, check if there are any additional transaction fees to consider when developing your pricing strategy.
Marketing and SEO
eCommerce marketing features are crucial for expanding your customer base, promoting your brand, and growing your eCommerce business.
Here are some marketing tools you should look for in an eCommerce platform:
- SEO tools – increase the organic traffic of your eCommerce site by optimizing it for search engines. These tools should include the ability to add meta descriptions and create SEO-friendly URLs.
- Social media integration – integrate your brand’s social media channels to strengthen your relationship with customers, grow your audience, and even sell products. 57% of customers will follow your brand on social media to receive information about new services and products.
- Mailing list subscription – create email marketing campaigns and subscription lists to improve communication. Add sign-up buttons or banners and send newsletters about ongoing promotions, new products, or other important information.
- Analytic tools – analyze your audience’s behavior and traffic sources to optimize the website’s layout, content, and marketing strategy to generate more sales.
It’s also great if your chosen eCommerce platform provides blogging tools as it is another way to strengthen your eCommerce marketing campaign and SEO strategy. Sharing informative articles about your business will help your website be more discoverable and trustworthy.
Value for Money
When looking for the best eCommerce platform for your business, consider the long-term costs associated with it.
Pick several eCommerce platforms or plans that suit your needs, then compare their features and associated expenses.
If you choose to go with a SaaS eCommerce platform, you’ll have to pay monthly or yearly subscription fees. Meanwhile, if you opt for a free and open-source platform, you’ll only need to purchase a hosting service and register your domain name.
Also, keep in mind that there might be additional costs for themes, extensions, or integrations.
Overall, make sure to choose a reliable and scalable eCommerce platform that will support the growth of your business.
You may encounter issues when building and maintaining your website, so make sure to choose an eCommerce platform with reliable customer support and documentation to help you solve any problems.
Note that eCommerce platforms have different levels of support – some may be limited to chat and ticket support, while others may provide 24/7 phone support.
Having all types of support is excellent, but reflect on your expertise and needs. For example, if you already have experience building and running sites, you may find that 24/7 phone support is not a necessity.
Best eCommerce Platforms: Comparison
To give you an overview of the options, here is a table with five eCommerce platforms, compared according to the type of business they are best suited for.
|eCommerce platform||Best for||SaaS/ open-source||Pricing||Transaction fees||Rating|
|WooCommerce||All businesses types||Open-source||Free|
|Depends on the payment gateway||4.5/5|
|Prestashop||Businesses with customizable products||Open-source||Free|
Premium template and modules
|Shopify||Small businesses||SaaS||$79-299/month||For third-party payment gateways||4.5/5|
|BigCommerce||Medium to large businesses||SaaS||$29.95-299.95/month||No, but there’s an annual sales threshold||4.5/5|
15 Best eCommerce Platforms for Your Online Business
In this section, we will discuss the 15 best eCommerce platforms for creating an online business. The list includes the five platforms we compared in the previous section and ten others that may cater to more specific niches.
1. WooCommerce – A Great eCommerce Plugin for WordPress
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform available for WordPress as a plugin. Installing WooCommerce will add eCommerce functionality to any WordPress site.
Once you activate it, control your eCommerce store directly from your WordPress dashboard. WooCommerce’s easy setup makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and advanced users.
WooCommerce provides a range of eCommerce features – from inventory management to payment processing. Plus, you can expand its functionality with hundreds of extensions, which include store management, shipping, and marketing tools.
In terms of design, there are lots of third-party websites offering free and premium WooCommerce themes, such as ThemeGrill. Additionally, you can fully enjoy WordPress’s customization flexibility, installing any of the themes and plugins available on the official directory.
To reach out to WooCommerce’s customer service, you’ll need to submit a ticket, and the team will answer your question through live chat. There are no phone or email options available.
That said, WooCommerce provides plenty of online guides and support forums to get help from professionals and everyday users.
WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform. With more than 12% of all online stores using it, there are many resources available to answer your questions about this WordPress plugin.
Pricing and Plans
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is free to download and install. However, you’ll need a domain name, hosting service, and a WordPress.org website.
If you use WordPress.com, this eCommerce platform is included in its eCommerce plan, available for $45/month.
Hostinger’s WooCommerce hosting plans, starting from $3.99/month, include an SSL certificate, a domain name, and up to 100 domain-based email addresses.
Once these three elements are ready, install WooCommerce on your WordPress site.
Other costs to take into account involve store customization. While the WooCommerce Extensions Store offers plenty of free themes and extensions, more specific designs or advanced features are available as premium options, which start at $29.
- Wide range of WordPress themes – integrates with WordPress, so it’s compatible with WordPress’ extensive theme catalog.
- Additional eCommerce functionality – add more eCommerce functionality and features to your online store by installing WooCommerce extensions and WordPress plugins.
- Large online community – you’ll get the advantage of a large community to help solve issues on your online store website.
- Requires multiple extensions – WooCommerce doesn’t come with many features by default.
WooCommerce is one of the best eCommerce platforms on our list that is suitable for all business types. By combining it with WooCommerce extensions, WordPress plugins, and WordPress themes, you’ll get incredible flexibility to customize your store’s design and functionality.
2. PrestaShop – An Advanced Open-Source Platform
PrestaShop is a freemium open-source eCommerce platform widely used in Europe and Latin America.
It is free to download – you only need to install PrestaShop on your hosting account. It comes with features such as a product management system, multiple payment options, and customizable checkouts.
It also provides options to sell customizable products, such as personalized t-shirts, by letting customers upload a design to the store so that you can print their orders.
To add more eCommerce functionality to your online store, there are various modules and website templates on PrestaShop’s add-on marketplace. The available add-ons include Mailchimp integration and templates for different types of stores.
In terms of analytics tools, PrestaShop offers PrestaShop Metrics, which is provided as both a free and paid add-on depending on the plan chosen.
The free version includes Google Analytics synchronization, an overview tab with essential KPIs and charts, and access to 3-month data history. Meanwhile, the premium add-on also provides real-time data, insights about acquisition and customer knowledge, and access to 14-month data history.
In addition to the payment options available on its marketplace, PrestaShop has also teamed up with PayPal to develop the PrestaShop Checkout module. It’s free to download and allows you to accept various payment methods from one interface.
However, it charges commission rates according to the store’s monthly payment volumes, payment methods, and location.
One of the unique features of this eCommerce platform is PrestaShop Experts. It connects merchants with trusted agencies and developers to partner in creating and developing their business.
This partnership platform offers services that vary from store creation to promotion. Merchants can set their budget to restrict the search to experts within a suitable range.
Regarding customer support, this eCommerce platform provides official documentation, access to the user community, and a Help Center. The latter offers support via tickets, phone calls for business offer-related issues, and training courses.
Pricing and Plans
PrestaShop’s software is free to install – you’ll only need to purchase a hosting plan and a domain to use it.
Depending on your website’s needs, you may have to pay for additional templates and modules. Premium modules start from €44.99, while premium templates start from €59.99.
However, third-party websites like TemplateMonster offer free PrestaShop templates for different types of eCommerce shops.
PrestaShop also offers hosting with its fully-managed solution, the PrestaShop Platform. The Size S plan, suitable for eCommerce sites with up to 15,000 daily visitors, costs 200€/month.
Meanwhile, the price for Size XL, for sites with up to 150,000 or more daily visitors, is available upon request.
PrestaShop Platform comes with several features not available in PrestaShop’s free version, such as 24/7 hosting support, Git integration, and daily or hourly data backups.
- Advanced product management – easily create product categories, set a minimum purchase quantity, and customize a message for out-of-stock products.
- Customizable products – customers can select product variants and upload files necessary for product customization.
- Comprehensive checkout options – set a one-page checkout and simplify the account creation process to decrease cart abandonment rates.
- Limited free add-ons – you might need to install an additional template or modules, increasing the total setup costs.
- Manual exchange rate update – you’ll need to create a cron job to enable automatic exchange rate updates.
- Limited technical support – the technical support team can only be contacted via email. If you wish to have expert assistance, you must purchase a support plan, starting at €249/three months.
PrestaShop may be the best eCommerce platform for businesses that offer customizable products. It’s great if you want to have an online store that has advanced product management and checkout options.
If you still don’t have many people in your team, PrestaShop’s Experts directory can also be a valuable solution allowing you to partner with anyone from the curated list of experts and agencies.
3. Shopify – A Complete eCommerce Website Builder
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce website builders in the eCommerce space. You can create new online stores within minutes, thanks to its onboarding wizard and intuitive drag-and-drop builder.
This SaaS eCommerce solution is also a great choice if you plan on launching a dropshipping business. With its dropshipping app, Oberlo, you can source products from AliExpress suppliers, import products to your Shopify store, edit listings, and place orders in bulk or individually.
In terms of customization, Shopify comes with pre-made templates, so users don’t have to create a design from scratch.
One of Shopify’s most useful built-in features is the abandoned cart recovery, available with all Shopify plans. It allows store owners to send an email reminding customers about their abandoned carts and inviting them to complete their purchases.
When it comes to eCommerce security, all plans in this eCommerce platform come with fraud analysis. It helps you identify potentially fraudulent orders paid with credit cards, lowering the risk of chargebacks.
Shopify is compatible with over 100 payment gateways. However, Shopify charges additional transaction fees for third-party processors, which range from 0.5% to 2%/transaction, depending on the plan.
To avoid this fee, customers in certain locations can use Shopify Payments. It accepts online credit card payments, Google Pay, and Apple Pay transactions. It’s also easy to set up and offers a helpful payment and cash flow report.
Shopify provides 24/7 phone support, live chat, and email. This ensures its customers get direct help from the team in a matter of minutes.
Pricing and Plans
Shopify has three pricing plans available – Basic Shopify for $29/month, Shopify for $79/month, and Advanced Shopify for $299/month. It also offers a 14-day free trial, allowing users to test the platform before committing to a plan.
The starting plan includes options for gift cards, real-time shipping rates, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited products to sell online. High-tiered plans come with professional reports, additional staff accounts, and inventory locations.
This eCommerce platform also offers Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus plans. For $9/month, Shopify Lite features buy buttons to add on any website. It’s also great for merchants who want to sell in-person via a Point-of-Sale app.
Meanwhile, Shopify Plus is for higher-volume businesses that demand enterprise-grade solutions. It starts at $2,000/month – the rate depends on the business’ needs and size.
Shopify Plus also supports headless commerce, where your online store’s front-end experience and back-end infrastructure are separated. It allows customizing and launching new features without sacrificing customer experience.
- Dedicated customer support – provides support through various channels, including 24/7 phone support.
- Built-in abandoned cart recovery – available on all plans.
- Fraud analysis – prevent chargebacks by identifying fraudulent transactions.
- Additional transaction fees – they apply if you use third-party payment gateways and accept card payments. The rates vary according to your Shopify plan.
- Limited selection of free templates – Shopify’s theme store has a limited number of free templates. However, third-party themes are also available in ThemeForest.
Shopify is an excellent option for small to medium-sized businesses looking for an eCommerce platform to sell online. It is easy to use and comes with a collection of features, templates, and plenty of third-party integrations.
Larger-scale businesses that want the convenience Shopify offers can opt for Shopify Plus. If you’re not ready to have a full-fledged eCommerce site, you can try Shopify Lite.
4. Zyro eCommerce – An Excellent Option for Beginners
Zyro is a drag-and-drop website builder that can be your best eCommerce platform choice to create an online store in no time. It focuses on ease of use, providing affordable yet powerful eCommerce solutions.
Among other platforms on this list, Zyro stands out for its AI-based tools, which help users set up their websites easily. These tools include a business name generator, a logo maker, and even a content generator.
On the customization side, Zyro offers several designer-built online store templates that are easy to customize. Zyro’s templates are also responsive by default, meaning the site will quickly adapt to any screen your customers might be using.
This eCommerce platform is compatible with plenty of third-party payment providers. Check the list of supported payment gateways and their supported countries to choose the best option for your market.
Zyro’s customer support service is available via email, contact form, and 24/7 live chat. It also provides a knowledge base to answer common questions and provide more information on using the eCommerce platform.
Pricing and Plans
Zyro offers two eCommerce plans – eCommerce and eCommerce Plus.
The eCommerce plan costs $9.90/month and is best for people on a budget. Its features include unlimited bandwidth, email notifications, discount coupons, gift cards, and complete order tracking.
Meanwhile, the eCommerce Plus plan costs $14.90/month and best suits businesses that need more advanced tools to grow their eCommerce store, including abandoned cart recovery, options for selling products on social media, and multilingual stores.
Both plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Beginner-friendly – this intuitive drag-and-drop online store builder helps even non-technical users create and edit website elements.
- Easily scalable – automatically upgrades the site’s bandwidth and storage to accommodate your website’s growth.
- Multiple payment options – compatible with many third-party payment providers, supporting several countries.
- Designer-made eCommerce themes – there are plenty of free templates for online stores.
- AI-based tools – various tools to help you create and optimize online business, such as a logo maker and a content generator.
- Unable to switch templates – you can’t automatically transfer your website’s content to a new template. You’ll have to duplicate the site and import its content to the new design.
Zyro is an eCommerce website builder that requires no coding knowledge so you can quickly launch an online store. It’s an excellent choice for small to medium-sized businesses.
5. BigCommerce – Best eCommerce Platform for Large Businesses
BigCommerce is a SaaS eCommerce website builder that is a reliable option for medium to large businesses such as B2B companies or wholesalers. It accommodates businesses in any niche and industry and is also a great option to create an online presence for a brick-and-mortar store.
One of its main features is the Channel Manager for multi-channel selling. With this tool, eCommerce business owners can connect their stores to different marketplaces while keeping their inventory management tasks in one place.
For example, users can list products on Amazon, Google Shopping, and Facebook, expanding their reach to a broader audience. Bigcommerce will automatically import the product information and synchronize any changes made across all connected channels.
BigCommerce also has a customer segmentation feature to differentiate customer groups based on their background and shopping habits. It allows you to provide a personalized shopping experience, offering specific item recommendations and promotions.
As it mainly targets large businesses, some of its settings are pretty advanced – such as automated sales taxes and shipping settings.
BigCommerce offers social media integration and search engine optimization (SEO) features such as rich snippets, custom URLs, and a CDN to help your site load faster. These features help drive more traffic to the site and improve its search engine rankings.
This eCommerce platform doesn’t charge transaction fees, but it has an annual sales threshold. If your sales exceed $50,000 in one year, BigCommerce will automatically upgrade your plan to a higher tier.
Another aspect to note is that BigCommerce supports headless commerce. A headless eCommerce solution manages the eCommerce functionality of your online shop, while the content and the visuals can be handled by a CMS.
For example, you can integrate BigCommerce with WordPress to modify the front-end without affecting the back-end. It allows the developers to work with the technology or programming language they prefer, regardless of the CMS used for the front-end.
Headless commerce is increasingly being adopted, especially among high-volume businesses, since it enables them to integrate complex eCommerce requirements with impactful content and beautiful presentation.
Pricing and plans
BigCommerce offers three pricing plans, ranging from $29.95/month to $299.95/month. All plans have an annual online sales threshold, with the most basic Standard plan having a sales limit of up to $50,000.
In addition, this eCommerce platform provides the Enterprise level plan, available for a custom price calculated according to the business needs and sales volumes.
BigCommerce comes with plenty of features out of the box. However, if you want to redesign your online store, the BigCommerce Marketplace offers themes ranging between $150-300.
- Multi-channel selling feature – manage your inventory from one place for more effective sales across multiple channels.
- Unlimited staff accounts – set specific permissions so that each team member can only access their tasks.
- No transaction fees – no additional fees for using third-party payment gateways.
- Personalized shopping experience – the customer segmentation feature helps provide a tailored experience for each customer depending on their shopping habits.
- Headless commerce support – enables businesses to apply changes to their sites without risking their eCommerce infrastructure.
- Annual sales limit – automatically upgrades your plan if you exceed your limit or charges an extra fee if you’re already using its highest plan.
- Steep learning curve – the advanced tools may take time to learn.
BigCommerce is one of the best eCommerce platforms for large-scale businesses, thanks to features such as advanced analytics tools and bulk order management.
Even though it comes with excellent tools, BigCommerce might not be the best option for small businesses since its basic plan is more expensive than most competitors.
6. Magento – A Feature-Rich Platform for Medium to Large Businesses
Magento is an eCommerce-oriented CMS for creating medium or large-scale online stores.
This eCommerce platform offers two solutions – Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento Commerce), which is hosted software.
Users can save their pages and content templates to reuse them across multiple sites. Moreover, Magento also provides content staging, so users can tweak their web design in a different environment to reduce downtime.
On the other hand, Adobe Commerce provides a page builder and tools like data reporting and customer segmentation. Its features use advanced algorithms and AI technology to analyze customers’ behavior, offering them personalized shopping experiences and product recommendations.
Magento supports digital product sales such as memberships, subscriptions, and services. To add extra eCommerce functionality to your site, such as themes, analytic tools, and payment methods, purchase them through Magento Marketplace.
Additionally, since Magento is an open-source platform, tech-savvy users can edit or add custom code according to their needs. Thus, it is one of the best eCommerce platforms for those looking for a highly customizable and powerful online store.
In terms of support, Magento has a large community that includes many developers who are willing to help. Keep in mind that some may charge a fee for their assistance.
Like BigCommerce, Adobe Commerce also supports headless commerce. While BigCommerce integrates with WordPress, Adobe Commerce allows its users to integrate headless elements into their existing eCommerce site by using the Adobe Experience Manager.
Furthermore, it also offers the Magento PWA Studio, which helps developers create app-like experiences for mobile eCommerce sites. It’s a valuable feature considering that mobile commerce is projected to grow by 68% in 2022 as more people shop via mobile devices.
Pricing and Plans
Magento offers two types of eCommerce platforms – Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce.
Magento Open-Source is a self-hosted solution that is free to download and use. Your only expenses will comprise a hosting service, a domain name, and an SSL certificate. Depending on the host, you might need to install Magento manually.
Additionally, you can purchase a theme or several extensions to improve the performance of your eCommerce shop. While there are plenty of free extensions available, premium options start at $25.
On the other hand, Adobe Commerce is a premium cloud-hosted eCommerce platform. It’s necessary to contact Magento’s team to obtain a quote.
Overall, Adobe Commerce is great for businesses with a large budget that require advanced features.
- Staging environment – update your Magento site safely and avoid potential losses due to downtime.
- Customer personalization – enhance customers’ shopping experience by providing personalized product recommendations.
- Wide range of payment processors – there are more than 300 payment gateways to choose from in Magento’s marketplace.
- Limited customer support – ticket support is only available if you have an Adobe Commerce account. Users of the open-source platform can only rely on Magento’s knowledge base, documentation, and community forums.
- Steep learning curve – non-tech-savvy users might find the platform complicated.
Magento is one of the best eCommerce platforms for those that favor advanced features. However, it may require more experience to establish a full-fledged online store.
If you plan on launching a large-scale eCommerce business that needs advanced features, it’s worth considering the platform’s hosted solution.
7. Shift4Shop – A Feature-Rich eCommerce Platform
Shift4Shop is a SaaS eCommerce platform that has an intuitive, user-friendly interface that’s similar to the WordPress dashboard. Its built-in website builder lets users design a site quickly, making this eCommerce platform convenient for non-technical users.
Shift4Shop’s features include SEO tools, abandoned cart recovery, and advanced product management. It stands out among other eCommerce platforms in this list as it features checkout customization.
Users can opt for a three-page or one-page checkout method to provide a more convenient customer experience. There’s also an option for guest checkout as some customers might abandon their carts if they see that they need to create an account.
That being said, Shift4Shop still provides an option to create customer accounts. By doing so, customers can keep track of their order status and access a feature that automatically places their orders for recurring purchases.
Shift4Shop also supports digital downloads and event ticket sales. It will automatically send an email with an encrypted download link to buyers, so you don’t need to do it manually.
In terms of payment methods, this eCommerce platform is integrated with the Shift4 payment system. It supports credit cards, digital wallets, and other popular payment methods.
If you want to use a third-party payment processor, Shift4Shop is compatible with more than 100 payment providers.
Pricing and Plans
Shift4Shop has a free plan which is currently only available for US merchants.
For international merchants, the paid plans’ prices range from $29/month to $229/month, according to the number of staff users. All plans include domain registration, web hosting, and a built-in blog, as well as features like unlimited orders and themes optimized for mobile devices.
Shift4Shop also offers an Enterprise plan for high-volume businesses. The platform doesn’t charge transaction fees.
- 24/7 customer service – 24/7 tech support is ready to help you with any issues.
- Feature-rich – Shift4Shop has plenty of built-in advanced features, allowing you to create great eCommerce sites without hassle.
- Multiple checkout options – choose between a single-page or three-page checkout process. Also, the guest checkout feature enables customers to easily make purchases.
- Digital downloads and event ticketing support – it doesn’t limit you to selling physical products only.
- US-only free plan – the free plan is only available in the US. For non-US merchants, the basic plan only provides two staff accounts.
Shift4Shop is one of the most solid eCommerce website builders, especially if you can get its free version. It offers many advanced features and lets you sell digital products.
8. Big Cartel – Best for Artists
Big Cartel is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that mainly targets creative freelancers and artists.
Its site-building process is relatively straightforward. Pick a theme, upload product images, add the prices, and you’re ready to sell online. It also has a click-and-drag customization tool that makes it easy to design your website.
However, if you want to tweak the site further, you’ll need basic coding knowledge to use its theme code editor.
Big Cartel’s features are relatively basic compared to other eCommerce platforms in this article, like Shopify and BigCommerce. It lacks some essential sales tools, such as login options for customers and product reviews.
To add functions like analytics tools and support for digital products, you’ll have to use third-party extensions and add-ons.
Furthermore, Big Cartel supports a limited number of payment gateways – only Stripe, Venmo, Apple Pay, and PayPal are available. However, Big Cartel supports in-person sales, which is very useful for artists and handcrafters alike as they often sell their goods at events like craft fairs or exhibitions.
Note that Big Cartel is not PCI compliant, meaning you will have to take care of the operational standards yourself.
Creating an online business in Big Cartel will give you a URL containing bigcartel.com by default, but all its plans allow you to use a custom domain instead. This means you can have myonlineshop.com as the store’s URL instead of myonlineshop.bigcartel.com, which can improve your branding and help customers find the website easily.
Pricing and Plans
Big Cartel has three plans. The free plan allows merchants to list up to five products with one image per item. This plan’s features include real-time statistics, shipment tracking, and sales tax autopilot.
The other two plans let merchants list up to 50 and 500 products, priced at $9.99/month and $19.99/month, respectively. Both allow merchants to display five images per product and offer the same features, including theme code editing, inventory tracking, and bulk editing.
This eCommerce platform doesn’t charge listing fees.
In Big Cartel, apps, add-ons, extensions, and integrations are free to download. Still, you have to pay the subscription or transaction fee set by each platform.
- Free plan available – for small businesses or startups, the free plan is an excellent option to start selling.
- Similar features across the paid plans – select a plan without compromising on any features. The only difference is the number of products you can list.
- Wide selection of free themes – speed up the process of website building. There are various options to customize for your eCommerce business.
- Limited payment processors – it’s only compatible with four payment gateways.
- Complicated customization – Big Cartel’s paid plans come with a theme code editor, but it requires basic coding skills to use.
Big Cartel is an excellent platform for artists who want to take their business online.
It’s not the most beginner-friendly eCommerce platform on our list, as you need to install third-party apps to enable more features and edit code for further theme customization.
However, if you need a straightforward site and don’t prioritize customization, the standard features of this eCommerce platform are sufficient to sell online.
9. Volusion – Best for Dropshipping Businesses
Volusion’s main focus is dropshipping businesses. It has dedicated dropshipping tools that allow you to choose from over 80,000 dropship products and compare prices, profit margins, and shipping options.
This eCommerce platform also allows you to sell both physical and digital products such as software.
It offers a user-friendly, straightforward interface. Combined with the drag-and-drop eCommerce website builder and free themes that suit various niches or industries, users can create their stores within minutes.
Volusion comes with an advanced inventory tracker that allows you to monitor inventory status and set low stock notifications. It also has a store management mobile app with all the tools necessary to manage the store wherever you are.
Furthermore, Volusion lets users sell on the go using its mobile app. It allows them to update prices, snap product pictures, and check the inventory from their phones.
There’s also an analytics tool that provides in-depth reports, helping you better manage and scale your online business as necessary.
If you need assistance, Volusion’s customer team is available 24/7 online or by phone. However, the phone service is not available for users of the Personal plan.
Pricing and Plans
The most affordable option, the Personal plan, is for eCommerce stores with a GMV/year of up to $50,000, while the Business plan is for eCommerce stores with a $500,000 GMV/year.
The most advanced plan on this eCommerce platform, Prime, is available upon request, as it’s aimed at eCommerce stores with a GMV of more than $500,000/year.
The more advanced the plan, the more staff accounts you can create to handle your eCommerce store and the more products you can list.
Third-party payment gateways are only available with the Business and Prime plans. This means users of the other two plans need to use Volusion Payment, the platform’s own payment solution.
The tool for calculating shipping rates is also only available for Business and Prime plan users.
All Volusion plans come with unlimited bandwidth, built-in SEO features, social media integration, and zero transaction fees.
- Robust dropshipping platform – Volusion’s dropshipping tool makes this platform one of the best dropshipping platforms in the eCommerce industry.
- Advanced features and tools – includes tools like the store management app, inventory tracker, and barcode generator.
- SEO-ready – allows you to manage meta descriptions, title tags, and URLs to make your pages SEO-friendly. Plus, the robots.txt file is editable to prevent search engines from crawling certain pages.
- No dedicated tools for blogging – you’ll need to use a platform like WordPress to launch a blog for content marketing, then integrate the URL to your Volusion site.
- US-centered supplier options – their dropshipping platform only accommodates US suppliers. Even though they ship internationally, this is an important factor to consider if you run a dropshipping business outside the US.
Volusion may be the best eCommerce platform option if you run a dropshipping business as its dedicated features make it easy to find and sell products. However, its US-focused supplier options can be a significant drawback, especially if your target market is outside the USA.
10. OpenCart – Best for International Selling
OpenCart is an open-source self-hosted eCommerce platform with plenty of built-in tools.
It has an intuitive dashboard that provides the information needed to stay on top of your store’s performance at a glance, such as its total orders and eCommerce sales analytics.
In terms of customization, this eCommerce platform uses a module system. It’s not as intuitive as drag-and-drop eCommerce website builders but simple enough to enable first-time users to create their online store easily.
It comes with a mobile-friendly theme out of the box, but if you want to use other themes, look for them on third-party websites like Template Monster.
What makes OpenCart an excellent choice compared to other self-hosted solutions in this list is its built-in advanced features. It comes with a multi-store admin, unlimited products, product filtering, and a marketing analytics tool, just to name a few.
On other popular eCommerce platforms, some of these tools are only available through extensions.
The multi-store feature allows you to manage multiple stores from one admin interface. You can choose a different theme for each store, localize store settings, and set different product prices.
OpenCart also has an inbuilt affiliate system. It lets you set different percentages for each affiliate partner and use payment options like PayPal, bank transfers, or cheques.
OpenCart’s marketplace offers thousands of additional extensions such as advanced shipping solutions and abandoned cart recovery.
Moreover, this eCommerce platform has multiple currency and language options. In other popular eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce and PrestaShop, you will need a separate plugin for this functionality.
OpenCart comes with 36 payment methods. You can also download more options from the marketplace.
Pricing and Plans
OpenCart has no monthly fees, and the software is free to download – you’ll only need a hosting provider and a domain name to get started.
There are plenty of extensions available in its marketplace, with the premium options ranging from $20 to $50.
- Guest checkout – provides an option for site visitors to shop without creating an account.
- Advanced built-in options – numerous integrated features so users don’t need to add many extensions.
- Multiple currencies and language support – great for reaching a global audience.
- No drag-and-drop website builder – the only option to customize your store design involves using OpenCart’s module system.
- No built-in SEO features – to optimize your online store for search engines, you need to get an SEO extension.
With plenty of advanced features, OpenCart is an effective eCommerce platform for medium to large businesses. Its built-in multi-currency and multi-language features make it an excellent choice for selling internationally.
11. AbanteCart – Great for Beginners
AbanteCart is an open-source eCommerce platform. It’s a good option for those who don’t have a technical background – it’s a beginner-friendly option with comprehensive features.
Its notable features include multi-store management, a customer dashboard, and product customization.
The multi-store feature allows you to manage multiple stores from a single admin interface. Each shop can have separate settings, including themes, products, and categories.
The customer dashboard is one of AbanteCart’s unique features. It allows customers to see their order status and history, as well as access their digital products. It’s also possible to add more functionality to your customers’ dashboard via extensions available on the marketplace.
Meanwhile, with the product customization feature, customers can personalize their products by adding text or uploading images.
Adding products to AbanteCart is a two-step process that takes only a few minutes – the platform provides tooltips to help you at each step.
This eCommerce platform also allows you to embed products in an existing website or blog, helping to attract customers and generate sales.
AbanteCart has no limit for product listings and the number of media files you can display for each product. This makes it a good alternative to Big Cartel, which limits the users of its most affordable plan to displaying one image per product.
Furthermore, AbanteCart supports digital product sales, providing the necessary tools for their management and fulfillment, such as digital product licensing, which is available via extensions.
AbanteCart’s marketplace also offers tools for payment processing, social logins, and more. There are also themes, but their designs are quite outdated compared to the other eCommerce platforms in this list.
Pricing and Plans
AbanteCart is one of the best free eCommerce platforms on this list. You only need a hosting plan and a domain name to use it.
While some of the themes and extensions in AbanteCart’s marketplace are free, premium options start at $10.
- Easy product management – add new products to your eCommerce store by following a few simple steps. It also provides tooltips to help beginners complete the process with ease.
- Product embedding – embed products in an existing website or blog to drive more sales.
- Customer dashboard – customers get a comprehensive dashboard to manage their accounts, orders, and digital products.
- Limited customer support – its customer support is available as a premium service. While you can always reach out to other users in its community forum, the community is relatively small, meaning there are limited resources to help you.
- Outdated themes – the available themes are less modern compared to other platforms, which means you may have to extensively customize them.
With a user-friendly interface and plenty of great features, AbanteCart is a good option for newcomers and small business owners.
12. osCommerce – Tons of Free Add-Ons
osCommerce is free eCommerce software that you can download and install on your hosting platform. It’s easy to set up – you don’t need any technical experience to build an online store.
Compared to most eCommerce platforms in this list, osCommerce’s demo website and the dashboard designs are outdated. However, it provides easy web design customization, allowing you to create a modern-looking storefront.
In terms of customer support, osCommerce can be reached via email. This eCommerce platform also has a large active user community forum with over 280,000 merchants, so there are many other users to reach out to if you need help.
If you need to add extra functionality to your eCommerce website, its Apps Marketplace has thousands of free add-ons.
Pricing and Plans
osCommerce is free to download and use, only requiring a hosting plan, a domain name, and an SSL certificate to run your eCommerce website.
- Free add-ons – more than 9,000 add-ons that are free to download.
- Large user community – the osCommerce community forum has more than 280,000 active merchants who can help solve any issues you run into while using this eCommerce platform.
- Outdated look – the interface and the default store design are outdated. However, they function well and you can easily tweak them to fit your brand better.
- Not highly scalable – it lacks essential features to support large-scale businesses.
osCommerce allows its users to set up a highly customizable online store thanks to its thousands of free add-ons. This eCommerce platform also has a large and active community that can help you launch and maintain the site.
13. CubeCart – For People Looking for Simplicity
The open-source CubeCart is the right eCommerce platform choice for those looking for simple and easy-to-use tools.
Compared to most other eCommerce platforms on this list, CubeCart’s dashboard looks rather plain, but it offers all the features you need to run a successful eCommerce store – from product management to sales tracking.
It has a built-in newsletter function, which is an excellent way of keeping customers informed about your products and promotions. Most eCommerce platforms require extensions for this type of feature.
CubeCart also comes with a built-in image editing tool accessible from the store’s admin panel. It’s not as sophisticated as other tools on the market, but it’s handy to crop and resize images on the go to optimize your website’s speed.
This eCommerce platform also offers its own plugins and themes. There aren’t many options available, but they provide suitable features for small to medium-sized stores.
Pricing and Plans
CubeCart comes in self-hosted and hosted solutions.
With the self-hosted eCommerce solution, the open-source eCommerce software is free to download. You will only have to pay for the web hosting service and domain name. It’s recommended to run it on a Linux hosting platform.
On the other hand, the hosted eCommerce solution comes in three different plans. The Unmanaged plan costs €29/month and includes basic customer support via live chat and email.
The other two plans, Managed and Managed+, cost €46/month and €69/month, respectively. They come with additional customer support, including assistance to transfer the store from another host, minor coding tweaks, and extension management.
- Excellent customer service – CubeCart provides live chat and email support in the hosted plans.
- Feature-rich – comes with many useful built-in features, minimizing the time you need to find and manage extensions to expand the site’s functionality.
- Limited extension library – there aren’t many options available compared to other eCommerce platforms.
CubeCart is one of the best open-source eCommerce platforms on the market for those who prioritize ease of use.
It comes with many built-in features for running a functional online store, making its limited extension library not much of a problem.
Like Magento, CubeCart is an eCommerce platform that offers both hosted and self-hosted software. Beginners can benefit from the hosted plans, as the platform provides managed services to help them with various aspects of setting up a website.
On the other hand, the self-hosted solution is available for users who want more freedom and control over their store’s infrastructure.
14. Joomla! – Complete Control and Flexibility
Joomla is an open-source CMS platform that is one of the more popular rivals of WordPress.
However, it’s not a dedicated eCommerce platform. You’ll have to install an extension to add the shopping cart functionality to your site, similarly to adding WooCommerce to a WordPress site.
Joomla provides several eCommerce extensions for its users. One of the most well-known is the freemium extension named J2Store. It’s easy to install and offers extensive documentation to help you navigate the setup process.
J2Store’s features include product management, eCommerce design, and order management. It also has an extension to enable various types of transactions, such as subscriptions, ticket booking, and partial payments. This makes J2Store a flexible alternative, suiting different types of industries, products, and services.
There are over 70 payment plugins, free and premium, that cover well-known providers, including PayPal, Stride, and Authorize.net.
J2Store doesn’t have an eCommerce analytics extension. However, Joomla’s extension library has analytics tools that you can use on your online store.
Joomla’s built-in SEO feature lets you edit meta descriptions, focus keywords, and modify the robots.txt file to customize your site’s searchability.
Compared to WordPress, Joomla has a steeper learning curve. Its dashboard uses website development terminology, and its navigation is not beginner-friendly. However, Joomla provides several forums and tutorials to help beginners build an eCommerce site to suit their online business needs.
Pricing and Plans
Joomla is a free open-source CMS, which means you’ll only need to get web hosting and a domain name to use it.
Meanwhile, the J2Store extension is available in free and pro versions. The pro version starts at $79/six months and includes features like coupons, email templates, and invoice templates. You’ll also get the PayPal and Paymill payment plugins for free.
While J2Store’s extensions are limited and mostly premium, Joomla’s extensions are more varied, and many are available for free.
- Multiple free shopping cart extensions – plenty of extensions available to enable the eCommerce functionality on Joomla sites.
- Great flexibility – just like WordPress, Joomla offers excellent flexibility to customize the website to your liking.
- Extensive product and services support – J2Store supports physical products, digital downloads, subscriptions, and ticket booking.
- Limited free extensions – only a few free extensions are available on J2Store. You even have to pay to add a payment gateway extension to the site.
- Lack of integrated eCommerce functionality – features like analytic tools, abandoned cart recovery, or marketing tools are not integrated into the platform. If you want to use them, you’ll have to get extensions.
Joomla is a great alternative to WordPress, offering similar flexibility.
It comes with many built-in tools, multilingual features, and an active community. However, since it’s not an eCommerce platform, you’ll need to add eCommerce functionality to the site using both Joomla’s and J2Store’s extensions.
As it’s not as intuitive and easy to use as the other platforms on this list, Joomla is suitable for more advanced users or those willing to take some time to learn their way around this CMS.
15. Sellfy – Best for Selling Digital Goods
Sellfy is an eCommerce platform designed to sell digital and physical products, but it excels at offering the former.
With this eCommerce platform, online store owners can let their customers shop, purchase, and download files directly from the website. They can also add unlimited products to their eCommerce store – Sellfy recommends uploading files smaller than 5 GB.
It also allows you to embed items and buy buttons in your social media profiles, such as Facebook or YouTube.
With its Pay What You Want feature, customers can choose the price of your products. Set a minimum fee and let the customers decide what they want to pay for a specific product.
Another great feature is the automatic store translation for buttons and checkout pages. This gives users the translated version of your eCommerce site according to their location and language. It is also possible to manually translate product categories, email templates, and other aspects of the store.
In terms of digital product security, Sellfy comes with anti-fraud measures such as limited download attempts, unique download links, and PDF stamping.
This eCommerce platform is also PCI-ready. However, it only offers PayPal and Stripe as payment processing options.
Pricing and Plans
Sellfy offers one free plan and three paid plans ranging from $9/month to $159/month.
You won’t have selling limits using the free plan, but you can only list ten physical or print-on-demand products. Your online store will also use the sellfy.store domain – to use a custom domain, it’s necessary to purchase one of the premium plans.
The paid plans are based on the business annual sales – with the Starter plan, users can sell for up to $10,000/year, while the Premium plan has a sales threshold of $200,000/year.
If you exceed the sales limit, you’ll have to upgrade to the next subscription level. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a 2% overage fee on the revenue that surpassed the limit.
All paid plans allow users to list unlimited products, including digital and subscription products. The Business and Premium plans also provide an abandoned cart recovery feature and an option to remove the Sellfy branding from your eCommerce site.
This eCommerce platform also offers a 14-day free trial period and doesn’t charge any transaction fees.
- Support to various types of products – sell digital, physical, print-on-demand, and subscription products.
- Advanced built-in features – includes the Pay What You Want tool, automatic translation, and ad tracking.
- Limited payment gateways – only compatible with PayPal and Stripe.
Sellfy is an eCommerce platform that best suits businesses that primarily sell digital items, making the selling experience much more intuitive.
It also supports selling physical, print-on-demand, and subscriptions products. It’s beginner-friendly and has a simple store setup, product customization, and site maintenance procedures.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing the right eCommerce platform for your online store. The only way to do it is to look closely at the service and features to ensure that an eCommerce platform fits your budget, goals, and business model.
For that reason, we have selected the best eCommerce solutions in various categories:
- Zyro – most beginner-friendly. Offers a user-friendly interface, a wide choice of pre-made templates, and powerful AI-based tools to help create and manage an eCommerce store.
- WooCommerce – most flexible. A WordPress plugin that’s also one of the most popular eCommerce platforms. It is highly customizable, easy to set up, and suitable for any type of eCommerce business.
- Shopify – best eCommerce platform for small businesses. Offers a lot of features and third-party integrations that make starting an eCommerce website easy.
- BigCommerce – best eCommerce platform for medium to large businesses. Lets you sell on multiple channels, offers a customizable enterprise plan, and supports headless commerce.
- Magento – most extensive features. Offers staging environments to reduce downtime during updates, an AI-based personalized shopping experience, and various extensions in its app store.
- Sellfy – best eCommerce platform for selling digital goods. Supports various types of products, from digital to print-on-demand.
Now that you know the pros and cons of the best eCommerce platforms, make your choice and start building your eCommerce site.