In this article, I’ll have a look at the best eCommerce website builders for small business – and offer you some tips on which one is the best for your type of business.
While researching this topic, I tested a lot of great eCommerce websites – and found a few that particularly caught my attention:
These platforms are brilliant. But are they right for you?
Well…I don’t know. The thing is, there’s no ultimate option for everybody. And while each platform suggests “effortless website building”, and “the best ecommerce websites you’ll ever make” – that doesn’t mean it’s true. And what’s good for one business, it may not be good for another!
Which is why it is so darn difficult to choose the best eCommerce website builder.
And if you’re running a business…Well, you don’t need an additional source of stress. I’d know: I ran a couple. And had some first-hand experience with the pressure, uncertainty, and anxiety that comes with getting your business off the ground.
This is why in this post, I’ve done all the hard work for you. I’ve tested loads of eCommerce websites and selected only the best platforms, that are going to make running a business as simple as possible.
How come? Well, a good platform will help you sort out a lot of business-related headaches all at once. They will:
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s see the top options out there.
Comparing all the eCommerce builders available, with the pros and cons acknowledged I present you with the list of the most useful products.
These are the best eCommerce website builders for small business:
Are you in the market for a well-rounded small business eCommerce platform? If so, Wix is a great place to start. This site builder offers a vast selection of third-party add-on applications, a great deal of control over how products are shown to customers, and high-quality templates. Overall, a solid package to claim itself the best eCommerce website builder for small business.
I found that designing a small business store with Wix is a pretty simple process.
You start out by picking what content sections you want to add to your pages or by letting Wix ADI, an artificial intelligence design assistant, do the heavy lifting for you.
What does it do?
It builds the website for you, by asking you what kind of page you need and what features should be added. It even applies a color palette based on your logo!
Of course, if you don’t like the design produced by Wix ADI, you can swap it for one of Wix’s other website templates of which there are more than 500.
However, be sure to decide the best design right at the beginning. That’s because when changing the template, Wix doesn’t save your content. So all that was uploaded will be lost.
But you can stay at rest that with Wix you’ll be able to create a unique website. The drag-and-drop editor is probably the most powerful one in the industry. You can change everything about how your pages look in Wix.
Make that text take up the whole page? Turn that picture upside down? Overlay the images? Sure, why not.
The downside of the open-ended Wix site editor is that you might spend hours trying to perfect your store’s layout and accidentally mess something up in the process.
However, building the website is only a part of the store creation process.
Arguably, what makes Wix the best eCommerce website builder for small businesses is that it’s a great tool for creating normal websites as well.
For example, you can combine your eCommerce store with a blog to show customers what your brand is about. Crafting a story around your products and services is a vital part of any successful small business strategy.
Wix also gives you access to a vast selection of different apps.
This way, I could further personalize my store by adding features such as live chat customer support and social media integration. One of the most useful apps is the Visitor Analytics package which will help you to grow your business based on readership statistics.
Now for the fun part – how much all of this costs?
Wix eCommerce plans start at a relatively affordable $13/month. The starter ‘Business Basic’ package comes with 3GB of storage, which should be plenty for most small businesses.
However, if you plan to add a lot of multimedia to your eCommerce site, consider the $17/month ‘Business Unlimited’ option instead. It allows you to upload all the videos you want – fitting for an eCommerce website builder that costs as much as a Netflix subscription.
Do you want an eCommerce website builder that would be capable to grow along with your business? Well, BigCommerce is used by major companies like Toyota and big-name celebrities such as Martha Stewart. So you can be confident it’s a good tool to have when your small business isn’t so small anymore (hey, that’ll be a good problem to have!).
For me, designing an eCommerce store with BigCommerce was pleasingly easy to do.
There are around 100 themes to pick from, all of which look great with responsive layouts. It’s worth noting that most of the best themes, the ones with multiple preset ‘styles’, have to be paid for separately.
Unlike most other small business eCommerce website builders, BigCommerce doesn’t use a drag-and-drop design system. Instead, you customize each block using the menu on your left.
This isn’t the most comfortable way but it can be useful for those who are afraid to mess things up with all that tinkering.
The backend of your store is managed through the BigCommerce dashboard. This is where I was able to add new products and, thanks to a partnership between Avalara AvaTax and BigCommerce, automatically calculate the taxes on them.
Plenty of other advanced features are built into the dashboard too including custom order fields and inventory tracking software.
As I said, BigCommerce website builder is all about store growth.
To help with that, it offers an advanced suite of SEO tools. Using microdata, CDN speed boosters and optimized URLs, BigCommerce will help your store appear higher on search engines and improve your customer conversion rate.
Also, you can check how customers are responding to your products and store design using an analytics toolkit.
Now, there’s one thing that’s going to be quite important if you already have an established business model.
This platform supports nearly 70 different payment gateways and multiple shipping options like FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Having so much choice means you can adapt your BigCommerce store to any existing business model you already have.
Another useful thing is the superb customer support department. With any BigCommerce subscription, you’ll get access to a 24/7 live agent chat, allowing you to resolve technical issues quickly if they ever crop up. With some plans, you’ll receive advanced technical help with API integration, too.
To test out this eCommerce solution for small business yourself, you don’t even need to sign up for a subscription. Simply register with your email address for BigCommerce free 15-days trial.
After, you’ll need to sign up for a paid subscription as no free plans are available. These range in price from $29.95/month to $249.95/month.
The key difference between more expensive plans versus starter option is that pricier packages allow you to make more sales per year. As long as your small business annual revenue is $50,000 or less, the base plan should be perfectly suitable.
To sum it up, BigCommerce is the best eCommerce website builder for bigger and already established businesses. But I think that businesses of all sizes will be able to appreciate the tools and features this platform is giving.
Do you care about personalization, convenience, and powerful business tools? I certainly do – and that’s why I see Shopify as one of the best eCommerce website builder for small business.
When it comes to specialized eCommerce platforms, Shopify is far and away ahead of the competition and third-party app integrations have something to do with it.
There are, quite literally, thousands of Shopify apps you can use to add all sorts of weird and interesting functionality to your store.
Need to add live chat to communicate with customers more conveniently? There’s an app for that. Want to change the way that your taxes and shipping tariffs are calculated? There’s an app for that too, several, in fact.
Sure, some of them are better than others. There are a lot of apps I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. But in the vast selection, there will always be a few diamonds.
Take the example of ReCharge. This app allows you to sell subscription services like grocery deliveries or gym memberships through your Shopify store.
For certain businesses, this app can be a game-changer. So overall, you can imagine how niche apps can help customize your website.
Now, a moment for those combining a physical store and with an online one.
Shopify supports multi-channel Point Of Sale (POS) integration. It syncs up purchases made by people who walk into your shop with your eCommerce transactions. That get’s a big yes from those trying to keep such double track of inventory.
Moving on, how’s the editing experience? Well, it’s not a basic drag-and-drop builder, that’s for sure.
Shopify takes an approach that’s more similar to BigCommerce than Wix. In essence, Shopify is a Content Management System (CMS) which means you add product information and content in a back-end editing view, and then Shopify automatically generates your final store.
The templates, however, is where you can see one genuine shortcoming of Shopify. There’s a handful of free templates to choose from, but the real good stuff is available as an additional purchase. And quite a hefty one, too – most premium Shopify templates will cost you around $150 to $200.
Luckily, there are third-party themes available as well, so you’re likely to score a better deal than that.
And finally, how much does Shopify cost?
Shopify is on a slightly expensive side, with the starter plan priced at $29/month. If you want to add extra features, such as additional staff accounts and third-party shipping calculations, then you can upgrade to the mid or top-tier packages. Those would cost $79/month and $299/month.
However, from my perspective, most small businesses will be well served by the base plan.
If you’re looking for the best eCommerce website builder, chances are, you don’t exactly want to spend days and weeks building your website. After all, you have other, business stuff to do.
Yeah, that’s what I thought. And this is why I think that GoDaddy website builder is a very solid option.
This is a way to create and maintain a great eCommerce store in just a few minutes.
Everything about the GoDaddy website builder is tailored for speed. Whether it is the quick set-up process or the great performance of the servers.
To create a website for you GoDaddy automatically composes premade elements based on a questionnaire you complete at the startup.
In fact, as soon as I entered my industry and site name, the website was already taking shape.
To turn the regular website into a fully-featured online store, I just needed to add the ‘Total shopping cart experience’ section. Once it’s been installed, I could create product galleries and customers can make purchases.
So to build an online store with GoDaddy it only took me what? Two steps. Well, prove me wrong if that doesn’t count as one of the easiest builders in the industry.
And if you don’t fall in love with the website that GoDaddy automatically generates for you, you can adjust it with the same ease. The editor is intuitive and there is a great variety of content blocks to use.
Moreover, you can even swap the template with another one whenever in the progress – you won’t lose the uploaded content.
But there are drawbacks to simple editing and highly adaptable templates. And it all shows when it comes to originality.
GoDaddy’s templates turn out to be quite generic and without pixel-perfect editing, it’s difficult to create something unique. The designs don’t compare to the likes of Wix or Squarespace. And there’s no way to add a third-party template either.
Luckily, there’s a way around.
If you like to do a little coding, GoDaddy will allow you to edit your store’s CSS and HTML code directly. As long as you know what you’re doing, you can use this feature to make precise formatting alterations or embed content from other sites.
And if you have difficulties, well, you can also contact GoDaddy support agents 24/7 by live chat or phone. And it is delivered in a great many languages.
Last but not least – the pricing. GoDaddy’s eCommerce website builder costs $25/month. Really, that’s not the least.
GoDaddy website builder is slightly cheaper than some of the other dedicated eCommerce services, but it’s still not the most affordable option on the market. I guess that’s the price of saving your time.
Is it possible to combine the simplicity of a basic website builder and the features of an advanced eCommerce platform? For Weebly’s sake, I hope so, because that’s exactly what they’re aiming for.
Acting as a regular website builder from 2006 to 2018, it was then acquired by the online payment gateway, Square. And it didn’t take long to see what the fusion of the two looks like.
This meant that a website builder, known for its excellent themes and easy editing experience, now put eCommerce at the very heart of its platform – and just like that, it now wants to be the best website builder for online store owners.
And quite frankly, I found the result to be very interesting.
There’s a good chance that, as a small business owner, you might already use a Square payment system in-store in the form of a mobile card reader. If you do, then Weebly could well be the small business eCommerce builder for you. That’s because Weebly and Square sales can sync, making it easy to manage your online and offline sales performance simultaneously.
There are plenty of features to choose from. Adding a highlighted product variation, setting up coupons, and integrating shipping costs can all be done with just a few clicks.
And you can see the stats of your website and edit it through both desktop and mobile.
Also, you get to combine all of this with Weebly’s templates and customization. Sure, there may be only around 50 available.
However, those themes are pretty good, and fully responsive. And during my searches, I discovered that it’s actually pretty easy to find some good third-party Weebly themes. They’re not that expensive either.
Another good thing is, switching themes with Weebly is incredibly straightforward.
All it takes is the click of a button and your products will magically transfer to your new design. Sadly, the same can’t be said for all drag-and-drop small business eCommerce services.
Compared to other eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Weebly has a very shallow learning curve.
That means that, even if you’ve never designed anything on your computer, you’ll probably feel at home right away with Weebly’s drag-and-drop page editor.
However, if there is a feature you don’t understand, Weebly provides support via a thorough help center.
You can also get customer support over the phone during business hours or 24/7 assistance via email.
So, this Weebly-Square merge has proven to be a good case of “best of both worlds”. Consider me a fan.
Now – the prices.
Weebly will cost you a fairly reasonable $12/month with which you get a free domain and $100 worth of Google Ads.
However, it’s going to offer a pretty limited list of features and doesn’ have things such as coupon codes, item options, a tax calculator, and so on. For that, you’ll need to upgrade to Weebly’s mid-tier $25/month eCommerce package.
Overall, Weebly website builder is turning out to be a very capable eCommerce solution. It doesn’t have the “wow” factor some other builders may have, but it has all the features in all the right places.
The best website builder for eCommerce should be all about presenting your products in the most attractive possible format. And that’s just my sneaky way of telling you that Squarespace has probably the most beautiful templates in the business.
Arguably, Squarespace is the best eCommerce website builder for niche businesses that stock artisanal products.
Because its themes are distinctive with bold fonts, full-screen images and effective use of whitespace. In short, they’re ideal for highlighting what makes your products unique to potential customers.
To further enhance your products, Squarespace allows you to add videos and image zoom options. If used correctly, these design touches can draw a reader’s eye to a particular item in your store, encouraging them to commit to a purchase.
If you have beautiful visuals, Squarespace will be your oyster.
Squarespace isn’t an eCommerce-only tool like Shopify, and because it was designed for first-time website creators, making a great looking store with it could hardly be more straightforward.
The Squarespace designer uses a drag-and-drop design system like Weebly, and pages are built up out of so-called ‘Content Blocks’. I found them easy to tweak and move around.
A list of online shop features is pretty solid, too. Whichever eCommerce plan you select, you’ll be able to add unlimited products, including digital content like ebooks, giving you plenty of room to grow your operation.
And Squarespace simplifies the day-to-day tasks of running your store with automatic inventory management. Moreover, the store management system can be accessed on the go with fully-featured Android and iOS applications. You’ll see real-time sales and notifications on which products need to be stocked up urgently.
The core of Squarespace’s eCommerce website builder might be well-built, but the truth is that this service truly sets itself apart for businesses by offering unique add-on features that its competitors don’t.
One example of these is the Squarespace Logo Maker.
This is a simple tool, allowing even the worst artist in the world (that would be me) come up with a clean, respectable business logo.
Scared of messing up?
Happens to the best of us.
But if so, Squarespace has a couple of customer support options for you to choose from. Emails are available around the clock, while live chat, sadly, it only opens 4 am to 8 pm on weekdays.
Squarespace eCommerce site prices start at $17/month.
The starter business plan does come with 3% transaction fees though, so if you are generating a lot of sales you may wish to consider upgrading to the $24/month middle-of-the-range Squarespace eCommerce package. Doing so will remove transaction fees and give you access to extra features like customer accounts.
If for you, the best online store builder is defined by its simplicity, look no further than Big Cartel. For artists and content producers, this platform is going to hit a bullseye. After all, it was made exclusively for creative-content driven stores.
That narrow focus means that, if you’re a designer or own a design store, all Big Cartel’s templates and features will be right up your alley. Big Cartel is all about vending small-label clothing, custom T-shirt designs, and artistic prints.
For example, Big Cartel only offers a limited range of templates, but each one gives you plenty of space to showcase products. You’ll find full-screen art backgrounds and fonts that match the character of the designs.
In short, it won’t take you long to find a suitable design.
But of course, it’s important to highlight perhaps the best feature of this platform – and that’s its price.
Big Cartel pricing depends on the number of products you want to stock.
If you have 25 products or less, you can design and host a store for just $9.99/month. But, if you want to upload closer to 300 items, you’ll need to upgrade to the top-tier $29.99/month package.
Luckily, there are no additional transaction fees with any Big Cartel plans.
Of course, a lack of a premium price also means a lack of some premium features. With email-only assistance offered during EST working hours, Big Cartel isn’t quite the best eCommerce platform for small businesses when it comes to customer support.
But overall, Big Cartel is a good option if you’re on a budget and are looking for something completely simple.
Each one of the options covered in this article are some of the best eCommerce sites for small business – and they take a different approach to store creation. When picking one of them, make sure you keep your personal requirements in mind.
What’s good for one business, won’t fit for the other one. So consider your goals and resources before you choose.
Once again, here are the best eCommerce website builders for small businesses today:
That being said, I hope this guide was helpful for you. Good luck with making that business website!