In this article, I’m going to help you choose the best eCommerce platform for successful online business – and give you some tips on how to make the most out of online store building!
Most of the modern world can hardly imagine a life without ordering stuff from online shops. Groceries, everyday items, electronics, clothes… Everything between and beyond that is now available online. All these demands accelerated the growth of eCommerce sales.
Having everything “one-click-away” made our lives so much easier, and introduced us to a ton of possibilities to profit from as well. This simple yet lifechanging demand for getting items delivered at your doorstep gave birth to a new era.
An era of online store platforms that allow anyone to start a business.
The internet is a massive marketplace. Each day, we get bombarded with great deals, captivating commercials, and targeted ads that just seem to guess what we desire to purchase (they’re reading our conversations, aren’t they?).
All these advanced online marketing techniques can be managed by anyone today. Your business can be doing this as well. Good eCommerce platforms simplify the process bringing advanced techniques to the beginners.
Before they came along, stores had to assign plenty of resources and people into various tasks – website development, design, marketing, management, and so on.
Now – everything can be done with minimal resources and one simple subscription.
One plan in the platform can cover so many features – analytics, beautiful designs, beginner-friendly interfaces, and many more great qualities that all add up to form a successful online business.
However, not all eCommerce platforms follow this sweet formula. Some lack one thing and exceed in another. Therefore, not every online store builder is worthy of your attention.
Ones being better than the others, they all claim to be the best for the deal.
Having used a number of eCommerce platforms, I can assure you, there’s one aspect that brings both online and real-life sales on the same level – and that’s good old lack of integrity.
After learning my lessons the hard way, allow me to rose-petal the way for you and let you in on some secrets on what has to be included in the best eCommerce platform’s arsenal – stable performance, visually attractive interface, useful features, strong analytics, down-to-earth pricing, and beginner-friendly product managing.
I have to say, that there were some exceptional eCommerce platforms that had everything that was needed to start a successful online business. Like the ones right here:
So if your idea of success is a well-maintained online store that gathers great revenue, stop daydreaming, and have a look at this list of best eCommerce platforms.
After all, starting an online store sometimes is just a few clicks away.
What is the best eCommerce platform for you? Well, it entirely depends on what kind of goals you want to achieve. Some are better for small online businesses meanwhile, others can provide enough tools and resources to build the greatest enterprises.
Let’s take a look at the best eCommerce platforms:
I personally liked BigCommerce because of its features that manage to provide solutions for any type of idea – from small online businesses to huge enterprises. Most of this platform’s features create the most comfortable environment for your online store’s scaling.
It has a beginner-friendly product designer, offers abandoned cart recovery, and provides a wide app marketplace that you can explore to buy third-party integrations as your business grows. On top of that, all of these features are covered with competitive pricing.
This platform sounds like an ideal solution for every entrepreneur ever, but let’s dig to the bottom of this best eCommerce solution.
To start with the good features that BigCommerce has to offer – I really enjoyed working with its product designer. It stands out to me because it’s simple, while also allowing you to add a ton of detail about your products. All of your product options are on a single page, which makes it easy to keep track of your work.
On top of that, you get some remarkably useful features. For example, you can decide whether any individual item is eligible for gift wrapping, and if so, which of your gift wrapping options apply. You can set a custom price to different types of packing that you come up with and include them as an additional option at checkout.
You can also create ‘Coming Soon’ products, which allows you to include pre-orders for upcoming goods. That way you can build an audience of customers and know beforehand what kind of order volumes to expect before releasing a new product.
Of course, you can also categorize your products so that they’re easier for customers to find. You can also list brands, which are helpful for retail shops and dropshippers.
Although BigCommerce restricts this feature to its most premium plan, it offers a faceted product search so that customers can quickly filter out the specific goods they’re looking for in your product catalog.
I think BigCommerce’s abandoned cart recovery feature is also worth taking a look at. Whereas most other eCommerce platforms offer only one shot at sending an abandoned cart recovery email, BigCommerce gives you three.
There are no time limits on when you can send these emails, and you can design three different messages that can most effectively convert lost customers into sales.
BigCommerce even manages to provide specific numbers – abandoned cart saver helps to recover 15% of lost sales on average. That’s a great feature to keep your customers engaged with your online store’s stock.
BigCommerce offers an app marketplace, where you’ll find tons of tools for extending the functionality of your site. Unfortunately, a lot of these extensions aren’t cheap — it can be surprisingly easy to end up spending hundreds of dollars a month on apps for your eCommerce store. But, having the app store means you have options for things like additional email marketing, advanced customer analytics, and more.
I should note that, while I was thoroughly impressed with BigCommerce’s selling tools and features, I wasn’t so thrilled about site design in this platform. First, there are only 4 free themes to choose from, and paid themes are surprisingly expensive (around $200 to $400 each).
On top of that, there are very few customization options. You can’t add content blocks that aren’t part of your template, so you’re out of luck if you want to add another text box or newsletter sign-up form to your website.
While you can change fonts and color palettes, there’s otherwise not much control over how your storefront looks and feels to visitors.
In the end, BigCommerce is a great choice for one of the best eCommerce platforms. It has many features for a successful online business that cover such things as – a beginner-friendly product managing, abandoned cart recovery, and a vast choice of third-party apps.
However, no product or service can be perfect. Therefore the lack of BigCommerce’s affordable templates, as well as pricing of some integrations from the app store made my jaw drop a little.
Talking about pricing, let’s see if BigCommerce manages to counterbalance its app store’s costs with the features that are already included in this eCommerce’s plans.
BigCommerce has three pricing tiers. The ‘Standard’ plan, at $29.95 per month, offers a ton of functionality out of the box and can be enough for small business owners. It includes unlimited staff accounts, the ability to sell gift cards, real-time shipping quotes, and a built-in customer reviews and ratings system.
However, you don’t get BigCommerce’s abandoned cart recovery tool as part of the Standard plan. For that, you’ll need to upgrade to a ‘Plus’ plan for $79.95 per month. There are a few other features thrown in with this plan, but the primary reason to upgrade stays abandoned cart recovery.
Finally, BigCommerce offers a ‘Pro’ plan for $249.95 per month. This includes some very advanced selling features, like faceted product search and the ability to list your product ratings directly in Google search results.
Beware that each of these plans comes with selling limits.
With the Standard plan, you’ll be automatically bumped up to Plus if you sell more than $50,000 worth of products in a single year. For the Plus plan, you’ll be forced to upgrade if you sell more than $150,000 worth of products per year. The difference isn’t much if you gather that much revenue, though it’s still mildly annoying.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably pay extra for templates and apps. How much you’ll pay depends on exactly what you need — but it’s not hard to rack up costs of several hundred dollars per month if you’re not careful.
Wix stands out among eCommerce website solutions for offering more than 500 beautiful themes. On top of that, this platform has one of the most flexible drag-and-drop editors I’ve seen. Putting together an online store in Wix can be time-consuming, but the design and selling tools easily justify that time investment.
There’s a lot to talk about with Wix, but the main attraction for me is the platform’s selection of templates.
Right now, there are more than 500 in all, and Wix releases new templates every few months. They’re categorized according to individual industries and styles, so you also don’t have to sift through all 500 to find the theme that’s right for your online store.
Even better, all of these themes are included in the price of your website. You don’t need to pay for premium ones, as for many other eCommerce platforms.
However, there is one big catch.
Wix doesn’t allow you to change themes once you’ve started designing your website.
This isn’t a huge deal, though, because the Wix editor is flexible enough to allow you to overhaul the look and feel of any template.
Wix was built foremost as a drag-and-drop website designer rather than a dedicated eCommerce platform, and it shows in the Wix editor. You get access to hundreds of different content elements in the editor and can drag and drop them anywhere on your pages. Design for product pages works the same way, so you can create some very unique storefront displays with Wix.
The downside to this model is that designing your store is time-consuming. Whereas some eCommerce builders allow you to plug in your products and launch immediately, you’ll need to carefully plan your site’s design with Wix and then drag and drop everything into place.
Choosing the right theme makes this process pass more quickly, but you’ll still probably end up spending a lot of time on construction.
Although Wix’s main focus is on design, the platform offers an impressive suite of eCommerce tools as well. One that stands out to me is the Bookings Calendar — Wix is one of the few eCommerce platforms that offers native functionality for selling services and bookings. Even better, you can use the calendar to schedule your own staff, so your website serves as a hub for your business.
Wix also provides you with a built-in customer relationship manager, called “Ascend by Wix”, and a tool for launching email marketing campaigns. Analytics costs extra, although it’s just $4.99 per month — a fraction of what other eCommerce platforms charge.
I was also happy to find that Wix has an app store. You can purchase a bunch of eCommerce extensions from there, although the selection is pretty limited compared to marketplaces in BigCommerce or Shopify.
Hopefully, this is something that Wix will continue to expand on to offer businesses more options for marketing and converting sales.
Being more of a pretty-website-building centered platform, Wix still manages to offer some practical selling tools for your dream eCommerce store. However, this website builder has a quite limited app store and offers time-consuming customization.
Now let’s see how Wix presents its eCommerce-specific plans.
Wix pricing for eCommerce stores starts at $23 per month for a ‘Business Basic’ plan. Considering that this includes access to all of Wix’s templates, selling tools like abandoned cart recovery, and a highly flexible website designer, that price is an absolute steal. It even comes with a free domain for one year.
The main limitation to the Business Basic plan is storage: you get 20 GB per month. If you need more, the ‘Business Unlimited’ plan offers 35 GB of storage for $27 per month, and the ‘Business VIP’ plan offers 50 GB for $49 per month.
In any case, given how only a few additional costs there are to running a store with Wix – these prices are very attractive.
Volusion is a great choice for businesses that are looking to grow aggressively with far-reaching marketing campaigns. The platform isn’t my favorite for storefront design or product details due to a relatively limited editor.
Nevertheless, Volusion makes up for that with an integrated analytics dashboard, mobile editing app, and strong SEO tools that help your store to get an online presence on the most popular search engines.
So were these marketing features enough to make me overlook Volusion’s design limitations? Well.. yes, if you’re willing to pay a little extra for premium templates.
Now, let’s get to its strongest points – marketing features.
Volusion’s main attraction for me is the platform’s email marketing capability. The automatic mailing system makes it easy to keep in touch with past customers, and it’s simple to integrate with Mailchimp for more advanced newsletters.
Plus, I liked that Volusion keeps track of your customers in a familiar contact-style format, which allows you to easily access their information when sending emails and fielding phone calls.
The platform is a lot more limited when it comes to design. Although Volusion has a total of 45 themes to choose from, only 11 of them are free. Upgrading to a premium template will cost $180 a pop, which is pretty pricey.
Furthermore, the site editor is almost nonexistent. You can’t add extra elements to any of the templates, and your ability to change details is surprisingly limited.
If your theme doesn’t have what you need, your only solution is to go buy another template for $180.
At the end of the day, this design also makes it difficult to grow your online store with your business. However, like all of the eCommerce platforms, it has some specific strengths to enhance your online business.
I found it surprising that Volusion had pretty strong tools for SEO and analytics. Importantly, these are included with the platform, which isn’t the case for a lot of eCommerce competitors. You can also output advanced sales reports, which are awesome for quarterly or end-of-year reporting.
Another great feature that Volusion offers is its mobile app. You can edit basic product details and images from your smartphone, as well as approve orders and get shipping labels going.
This is particularly useful for dropshippers, since it allows you to run your business from anywhere you have cell service.
After using Volusion I can admit that it’s like an unpolished diamond. It definitely has the potential to be the start of great enterprises even while lacking in the editing front. Its SEO tools, mobile app, and analytics add up to fulfill every entrepreneur’s online business dream.
But are these Volusion’s business essentials priced accordingly?
Volusion manages to offer quite a competitive pricing comparing it to the industry’s giants.
Volusion starts at $29 per month for up to 100 products and a single staff account. You get access to most of Volusion’s tools, but you’ll need to upgrade to a ‘Professional’ plan for $79 per month if you want abandoned cart recovery. (A classic with most eCommerce platforms, huh)
The “Professional” plan also gives you the ability to sell up to 5,000 products as well as phone support from Volusion. The ‘Business’ plan, for $299 per month, is mostly noteworthy for giving you up to 15 staff accounts.
Keep in mind that Volusion imposes sales limits on each of its plans. The ‘Personal’ plan has a $50,000 yearly revenue limit before you’re bumped up, and you’re limited to $100,000 in sales with a Professional plan. These limits don’t end up being particularly expensive, but they are pretty annoying.
Weebly is an impressive drag-and-drop website builder with plenty of eCommerce features for small businesses. I love how simple the editor makes it to design a unique and inviting storefront. Plus, Weebly is loaded with selling tools and offers an app marketplace so your online store can grow with your business.
What stands out most to me about Weebly is how simple the platform makes it to build a custom online store. There are around 70 themes to choose from, and all of them look good right out of the box.
I loved how many templates are designed with full-width homepage images and don’t bombard your customers with products right on the landing page.
In addition, I thought Weebly’s editor does a great job of balancing design features with speedy construction. You can drag and drop a handful of content elements around your site. There are also simple style customizations to make a theme your own.
But, unlike in Wix, you’re restricted to a grid layout and there are only dozens of elements rather than hundreds. While this might not feel flexible enough for some business owners, I found that it let me launch a storefront in hours instead of days. (no offense, Wix)
Weebly also did a nice job with its product designer. You can miss out on adding some important details, like gift wrapping options, brand categorization, or custom data. However, it’s easy to build marketing campaigns around individual products or to add videos to show off your wares.
Weebly offers a decent suite of eCommerce features, although I think it has a harder time standing out in a crowded online store platform field in this respect. You can manage inventory relatively easily and there’s a built-in customer review system. The platform also supports abandoned cart recovery and real-time shipping quotes.
Weebly’s business management features are pretty basic compared to what you’ll find in other eCommerce website solutions.
The abandoned cart recovery email feature, for example, doesn’t offer much in the way of customization. There are also very few features for supporting international sales or selling across multiple channels.
Weebly does add some value back by including basic analytics and email marketing tools. However, these are pretty limited in scope, especially if you’re trying to aggressively increase your sales rate or bring in new customers. So, growing businesses will want to budget up to $50 per month for marketing and visitor analytics tools.
In the end, I can easily say that Weebly offers some practical tools for an online store building and shouldn’t lurk in the shadows of other eCommerce giants. Its simplicity and beginner-friendliness are the key features to build a successful online business.
Now, let’s take a look at Weebly’s eCommerce plans. A quick spoiler – they’re affordable.
Weebly’s online store plans start at just $12 per month for a ‘Pro’ plan. However, you really only get the ability to accept payments with this option. There are almost no selling tools included.
Most business owners will need to upgrade to a $25 per month ‘Business’ plan. That includes almost everything Weebly has to offer, with the notable exceptions of abandoned cart recovery, real-time shipping management, and the platform’s basic email marketing app. For those tools, you’ll need a ‘Business Plus’ plan for $38 per month.
Shopify offers a ton of advanced selling features and is flexible enough to work for businesses of any size. Importantly, Shopify has a seemingly limitless app marketplace with an unrivaled set of extensions so you can expand your business endlessly.
This set of features is what makes this eCommerce platform one of the giants that always stay at the top of the competition.
Let’s take a look further at this platform’s kit and see if it’s enough to describe Shopify as one of the best eCommerce platforms.
The app marketplace is absolutely fundamental to Shopify. The platform itself offers some basic eCommerce features, but it’s really designed for you to add the functionality you want from the app marketplace.
Thankfully, the popularity of Shopify means that there are no shortages of solutions for common business problems. You can typically choose from more than a dozen apps that offer similar features for marketing, shipping, customer management, and more.
The main thing to keep in mind is not what Shopify can do, so much as what it will cost.
If your business has an unlimited budget, Shopify almost certainly has an app for almost any functionality you can imagine. But, most growing businesses will find that it’s easy to spend several hundred dollars a month on extensions, and aggressive campaigns or complex storefronts can cost up to the thousands per month.
With that in mind, what does Shopify include with the platform itself? For starters, the site designer is pretty basic. You can choose from 8 free templates, or upgrade to a premium template. These cost about $140 to $180 through Shopify, but you can find third-party options for as little as $50.
There’s not a lot of room to customize your site beyond your template. But, I appreciated that Shopify allows you to add page sections, which take the form of text, images, or call-to-action blocks.
This is a big deal primarily because it allows you to modify the content of your template, for example, to add in a newsletter sign-up form or information for customers.
One of the big advantages of Shopify is that it offers a ton of built-in support for selling internationally. The platform has its own payment gateway, or you can integrate with more than 100 different payment processors from around the globe.
Shopify also makes it easy to sell your products across channels like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook, and you can even get a point of sale from Shopify if you have a physical storefront.
Other built-in features are less noteworthy but still important. Shopify’s built-in abandoned cart recovery tool is nothing special, but it’s surprisingly cheap compared to competitors like BigCommerce.
In addition, Shopify has automated collections, which allow you to set rules for automatically categorizing products according to price, brand, or other details.
Shopify starts out with the ‘Basic Shopify’ plan for $29 per month. This includes abandoned cart recovery but lacks a lot of essential features like the ability to sell gift cards, real-time shipping quotes, and numerous staff accounts.
Most businesses will need to upgrade to the ‘Shopify’ plan for $79 per month just to get selling tools that I would consider a requirement for success.
The ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan, for $299 per month, adds in a point of sale for physical stores as well as advanced selling reports. However, I think most businesses could get by without this upgrade.
These plans should be considered just the base cost of Shopify, though. On top of that, you’ll pay for payments’ processing — beware that Shopify charges a 2% commission on sales if you use a third-party payment gateway. In addition, as I mentioned above, purchasing a premium theme can cost between $50 and $180.
The bulk of Shopify’s cost is in apps. You should budget money for SEO apps, email marketing, in-store marketing features, analytics, and advanced shipping tools at the very least. Just to start out, small businesses can expect to easily spend several hundred dollars per month on extensions.
Strikingly is an eCommerce platform designed to construct one-page storefronts. That makes it best suited for small businesses with only a handful of products. Even better, Strikingly is free if you only have a single product to sell. Unfortunately, though, Strikingly lacks a lot of advanced selling tools that other eCommerce solutions tend to provide.
Strikingly takes a very simple approach to building an eCommerce store. You can choose from dozens of templates, all of which are designed to stack multiple page sections on a single landing page.
The sections themselves can be moved around in the Strikingly editor, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a drag-and-drop editor in the vein of Weebly or Wix.
Still, I didn’t feel overly limited by the designer. Strikingly offers a number of pre-built page sections that are perfect for an online business. You can easily customize text and images, and the site styles menu gives you just enough control to make your online store stand out from the competition.
As for selling tools, Strikingly is so-so. The platform makes it easy to design products and offers basic eCommerce features like inventory and shipping management.
However, despite having basic eCommerce features, Strikingly manages to lack quite an important thing.
That would be real-time shipping quotes. So most medium-sized businesses will need to turn to a third-party shipping solution in any case. The platform also doesn’t have any email marketing functions built-in, although you can collect visitor emails on your website.
Strikingly does have an app store, but it’s extremely limited. For the most part, you’re stuck with just the functionality the platform offers.
Keep in mind before settling on Strikingly that you can only accept payments through either Stripe or PayPal, and it’s impossible to sell your Strikingly products through channels like Amazon or eBay.
The real attraction to Strikingly over other eCommerce providers is that it’s cheap. The platform is actually free if you’re only selling a single product — good luck finding another fully-featured eCommerce solution for free!
With a ‘Limited’ plan for just $12 per month, you can sell up to five products on as many Strikingly websites as you want.
Strikingly’s ‘Pro’ plan, for $16 per month, allows you to sell up to 300 products on a single site. In addition, it actually allows you to add up to 20 pages per site.
That’s a bit strange since Strikingly’s templates definitely aren’t designed to support multiple pages, so don’t count on this functionality.
The other advantage to a Pro plan is that you can access the app store, limited as it may be.
The VIP plan, for $49 per month, doesn’t seem to add much to the Pro plan. You can have 500 products per site and Strikingly throws in a basic email marketing tool. But, for this price, you’d be better off with another eCommerce platform.
Ecwid is basically known better for being an eCommerce platform integration rather than all-inclusive online store building solution. If you already have a website and always dreamed of gathering income with it – then this platform should be at the top of your priority list.
Ecwid is a little bit different than the other eCommerce website solutions I’ve covered in that it’s not a dedicated builder. You can create an online store from scratch with Ecwid, but you can also use it to add an online store to your existing website.
That’s a huge plus if you’ve already got a web presence using WordPress, Joomla!, or even Wix or Weebly and want to add a shopping cart.
If you do want to use Ecwid for a standalone eCommerce store, you’re limited to building a one-page storefront similar to Strikingly. There are only eight templates and they’re not particularly customizable, though.
So, building out a full website in Ecwid is best as a stop-gap measure while you prepare a larger site in another platform to integrate your Ecwid store.
On the back-end, Ecwid offers my single favorite product designer out of all the eCommerce platforms I’ve tried. The designer puts all your product details on a single page and gives you examples of what a great product description includes.
Ecwid even improved on standard product variants by letting you decide whether customers should have a drop-down menu, radio buttons, or something else.
The product designer goes even further, allowing you to decide for every item which products should be shown as related to visitors. You can also define an unlimited number of subcategories to help organize your storefront.
Ecwid’s selling tools are well designed as well. You can easily sell products from your Ecwid store through Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook, and Instagram.
The platform works with more than 50 different payment gateways and doesn’t take any commissions. Plus, paid users get access to a very advanced analytics interface that shows you details about which products are selling.
Unfortunately, Ecwid falls a little short when it comes to marketing. You can send automated messages to customers, but these are mostly plain-text mailings. An app store allows you to pay for more advanced marketing features though – so this is similar to the situation with many eCommerce competitors.
Ecwid has a free plan available, but it’s hardly on the same level as the Strikingly’s free option. You basically just get a shopping cart to add to your website or a very basic Ecwid store, with none of the features you need to actually manage your business.
Most business owners will want at least Ecwid’s ‘Venture’ plan, for $15 per month. This includes integrations for Facebook, Instagram, and Google Shopping, as well as SEO tools, discount codes, and inventory management.
The ‘Business’ plan, for $35 per month, adds in abandoned cart recovery, product variants, and up to two staff accounts. The ‘Unlimited’ plan costs $99 per month and gives you a branded iOS app designed by Ecwid developers, unlimited staff accounts, and integration for Square’s point of sale.
With so many options to choose from, finding the best eCommerce platform for your business’s needs can be hard. But, knowing what tools and features you can benefit from can help you decide what platforms deliver the most value for your money.
To clarify the criteria, let’s take a look at some of the most important things to look for in the best eCommerce platform.
Your online business only gets one chance to make a good first impression on customers. Having a strong template can help you make the most of that chance.
Templates are the starting point for designing your eCommerce website. Ideally, your theme should serve to boost up the rest of your design elements rather than conflict with them. And in the long run, the theme actually presets the look and feel of your site.
So, if the platform offers a vast choice of good designs, there is a bigger chance to find something that radiates a proper atmosphere for your online store.
If you don’t already have a specific site style in mind, the diversity offered can help you decide – usually, the templates are sorted by website type and scrolling through those you might better imagine what functions your site could use.
Talking about prices, there is no common policy in the template world. Some platforms, like Wix, offer hundreds of stunning templates for free — you certainly wouldn’t hear me complaining if every online store provider decided to approach templates this way.
More frequently, you get a few free themes to choose from and have to pay to upgrade. Unfortunately, free templates are usually lacking a lot of the pop of paid alternatives. Still, paying for templates isn’t too bad since it is a one-time purchase. And you get a product that will enhance your business idea in the best way.
Regardless of your theme options, it’s important to think about how much customization freedom you want. More isn’t always better here, since more freedom to change your theme typically means you’ll spend more time constructing your storefront.
Some businesses need a complex, multifaceted website. In that case, a dedicated website builder like Wix or Weebly can go a long way towards helping you create everything you need. Other businesses can get by with just a one-page storefront, which is where highly restrictive designers like Strikingly and Ecwid come in.
Regardless of customization options, I would argue that being able to add content to your template is important. Sometimes, you need the ability to add newsletter signup or additional informational text. If your eCommerce platform is totally inflexible, you can run into design trouble quickly.
Selling tools are essential to the success of any online store platform. You need to do a lot more than just put your products out there to convince customers to buy them.
This is where tools like abandoned cart recovery come into play. All of the best eCommerce software includes the ability to send automated emails to customers who left products in their cart. But, of the platforms I reviewed, only BigCommerce lets you send full three emails instead of just one.
In addition, you’ll want to think about whether you can sell across channels other than your website. Ideally, your eCommerce solution will give you the option to automatically send products to Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook, and elsewhere to generate sales.
Finally, don’t forget about payment gateways. Having more potential payment processors is always better, especially if you plan to sell in international markets with different currencies. If you have a physical store, look for eCommerce providers that can offer a point of sale integration with your plan.
Your online store should be more than just a place for customers to place orders. It should serve as the hub for your business.
That means it needs to include tools to help you manage your business, like shipping and inventory management tools. These are baked into most eCommerce platforms, but the quality of the features available can vary widely.
Some eCommerce website solutions offer real-time shipping quotes and label printing, while others leave you to fend for yourself when an order comes in.
In addition, it’s important to think about marketing and analytics when considering management tools. Having a strong analytics interface for your online store can not only help you improve sales for the product you currently offer. It can also give you insights into what direction to take your business in as you grow or what new products to develop.
Marketing is also extremely important. The number one advantage of selling online is having an audience at scale, and marketing tools let you take advantage of that.
When it comes to marketing, you tend to get what you pay for. Many platforms offer basic email newsletters, but if you have plans for aggressive growth you’ll want to look into integrations for dedicated email marketing platforms.
On top of that, options for marketing through discounts and through integration with social media should be features at the top of your priority list.
The app marketplace is arguably the most important part of each of the eCommerce platforms that I looked at. No matter what the shortcomings of the platform itself, the availability of extensions means that you can get the functionality you need to manage and grow your business.
Here, the size and diversity of the app store matter — a lot. Shopify is so powerful as an eCommerce platform in large part because it has the largest and most diversified app store of any provider. The limits of an online store platform’s app marketplace essentially represent the limits of what you could do with your storefront if you were to opt for that service.
However, there is a balance to be struck here. Apps are expensive, so you don’t want to have to rely on them for basic features, or at all if possible. The inclusion of large app marketplaces is partially what makes BigCommerce and Shopify so expensive.
Ultimately, whether you want an app-driven eCommerce platform or one that’s ready for business out of the box depends on your budget and plans for growth.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business. Some services excel at design and customization, while others offer maximum flexibility and advanced sales tools through app marketplaces.
Ultimately, it’s important to think about what features are essential to you and what tools would be nice to have as your business grows into the future.
eCommerce store functionality is more and more employed in both new and existing businesses. While there are a lot of different eCommerce website solutions, each platform offers different features at varying price points.
Even when choosing from the best platforms, it’s important to understand what you need specifically for your business, both now and in the future.
To recap, these are the seven best eCommerce platforms for any online business: