Are you looking for a way to take your business to the next level with an online store? If so, then we can help you out with our list of the best eCommerce platforms out there.
No matter what business niche you are based on, an online platform to broaden your horizon is a must. Starting an online store is in no way an easy task, however. Fortunately, there are eCommerce platforms out there that can help you do it all effectively.
Before we get into what the best ones are, let’s first talk about why eCommerce platforms are important.
Why Use an eCommerce Platform?
First of all, let’s go through some reasons why you should give eCommerce platforms a try in the first place.
- Convenience: It is just easier to set up an online store using an eCommerce platform. No need to bother with codes or hire expensive programmers. They are designed to be accessible even to beginners.
- Help and Support: Should something go wrong with your site, good eCommerce platforms will have a ton of resources, from live support to help forums, to help you solve it.
- Trust and Security: Having a store backed by the branding of a well-known eCommerce platform means that customers will find it easier to trust your legitimacy.
- Understand your Consumers: To grow your online store, it is necessary to know your customers and these platforms have analytics to help you do just that.
We’ve previously done comparisons of online store platforms like Shopify vs WordPress, WooCommerce Vs Shopify, and WooCommerce Vs Magento. Today, we wanted to take a detailed look at all the available eCommerce platforms as well as their pros and cons.
We will be covering the pricing, advantages, major purpose, and the overview of each one so you don’t have to. So without wasting any time, let’s get on with the comparison.
Top 10 of the Best eCommerce Platforms
WooCommerce is one of the best free eCommerce platforms and powers millions of users worldwide. It provides a scalable and flexible platform that is ideal for small-scale to medium-sized businesses. Built on WordPress; the most popular CMS platform, it is a plugin perfect for WordPress aficionados.
As you WooCommerce is a WordPress theme, you’ll need to set up a WordPress website of your own before you can a. It includes 5 secure and reliable payment options that you can use. From bank transfer, credit card, check payment, PayPal, Stripe, and even Cash on Delivery, you can further extend the payment processors with add-ons.
- Both WordPress and WooCommerce are free to start with
- Tons of free WooCommerce extensions and plugins available to add features
- Tons of Free and Paid WooCommerce themes available
- Easy payment gateway options
- Unlike other professional platforms, you don’t have any central support
- Requires extensions for many features
- Additional expenses required for a premium plugin, theme, and hosting
- Dependant on WordPress
As we have mentioned above, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin that is FREE to download and use. There are various add-ons and extensions that you can buy and add functionalities that you require. And the price range depends on your business scale and needs.
The more add-ons you need, the more your expense. All of the add-ons vary with their features and their price ranges from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.
In a nutshell: WooCommerce is best suited for those who are familiar with the WordPress interface but it’s ideal for businesses of all scales. The pricing point varies and for start-up businesses, it provides an excellent platform to start with a limited budget.
Established in 2008, Magento is an open-source software built by eBay that is both flexible and scalable. Just like with WordPress, it has a large marketplace and community where you can find themes, extensions, and add-ons that you can use to your benefit. However, users do need to take care of domains and hostings by themselves.
A modern-day cloud eCommerce platform, as it claims on their site, it is a uniquely integrated platform for analytics, advertisement, content creation, and commerce! There are an estimated 300,000 developers worldwide all dedicated to bringing the best of Magento services to you.
- Built-in SEO options to increase ranking
- Advanced testing capabilities
- Marketing and Promotion tools included
- Flexible and scalable
- Expensive pricing for plans and hosting
- Slow loading time compared to other platforms
- Requires advanced development and coding knowledge
- Not suited for beginners
Currently, there are three different installation options that Magento provides. The first one that is Magento Open Source is a free version where you will need to take care of additional coding, hosting, and configuration yourself.
Magento Commerce and Magento Cloud are the premium and advanced plans that are designed with larger scaled businesses in mind. The cost of these two plans depends on the revenue of the online store, so we can’t really put a price tag on it.
The costs of installation can start from $22,000 and reach up to $190,000 per year. This excludes the additional cost of any themes, hostings, or extensions.
In a nutshell: Although Magento offers flexibility with pricing as well as features, it is best suited for larger businesses. It’s plans do have a decent amount of features and basic necessities but it still does not match up to the other free platforms like WooCommerce.
Established in 2006, Shopify has managed to garner popularity thanks to its flexibility and easy to use features perfect for even beginners. It is a web application designed to cater to the needs of anyone who wishes to start an online store. In simple terms, Shopify is like hiring a contractor to handle all the projects while you are still in control over major decisions.
One thing that sets Shopify apart from other platforms is their POS (point of sale) options and Hardware. It lets you sell not just online but even in physical locations as long as you have an iOS or Android device. Currently powering over 1,000,000 active users, Shopify is no doubt another great eCommerce platform to opt for.
- Built-in speed and hosting services.
- Add-ons and extensions available to add features
- Easy-to-follow and user-friendly options to get started
- Advanced marketing tools to increase your SEO rankings
- Initial setup process can be a hassle
- Exporting blog posts is not easy
- Only 10 free templates to choose from
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial package for those that want to try out their services before indulging. However, they have 3 different plans ranging from $29 to $299 per month.
Basic Shopify is designed for beginners and start-ups. The second plan Shopify is aimed at any growing businesses and the third plan Advanced Shopify is targeted at the larger scaled businesses.
Each plan consists of unlimited product listing capacity, 24/7 support, and all of the features integrated for a smooth and optimal online experience.
In a nutshell: Shopify is great for every scale of businesses and eCommerce platforms. Perfect for even beginners, we definitely recommend this for those who do not have coding, designing, or developing knowledge.
Wix is a website builder that includes all features you could need to get an online store started. Your eCommerce site will be stored on the Wix servers but you have full control over how it performs. Despite this, you still get access to a range of awesome eCommerce based features making it a worthy eCommerce competitor on our list.
It gives you options for hundreds of professional themes, secure hosting, stunning galleries, and more. It is also one of the best eCommerce platforms for SEO with its useful tools. Wix is not only one of the best eCommerce frameworks but stands as one of the top website building software.
- Wide range of online store templates, sales and marketing features
- Includes easy to use a mobile editor
- Easy to modify and user-friendly interface
- Ability to add product-based videos
- Fast loading speed hosted with Wix’s servers
- A poor inventory system with a lack of analytic tools
- No option for multi-channel integration
- Limited bandwidth on file storage
- Cheaper plans have advertisements
Wix has a Free Plan option you can opt for if you want to try out their features first. Their premium plan starts at $4 a month and ranges up to $24 a month.
The Connect Domain Plan offers highly limited storage and bandwidth. Then there is the better Combo Plan that offers an advertisement-free experience as well as a free domain for a year.
The Unlimited Plan offers unlimited bandwidth, better storage, and useful apps. Finally, the VIP Plan has all of these features along with priority response and VIP support.
In a nutshell: Although not solely an eCommerce platform, Wix has a steady amount of eCommerce based features that you can use. It is ideal for those who have a smaller budget and want more flexibility within their online platform.
A reliable eCommerce system catered towards smaller businesses and enterprises, BigCommerce is an easy to access platform. It is a paid-for hosted eCommerce solution that allows business owners to easily start an online store. This service has very high scalability and will work super well for huge enterprises as well as small businesses.
Equipped with the best possible conversion and marketing tools that aren’t just email marketing, this is one way one of the best platforms to get started. If you’re not convinced, then BigCommerce boasts an average growth rate of 28% for its merchants. For fast-growing businesses, BigCommerce is a worthy investment.
- There are no transaction fees even if you use a third-party payment gateway
- A good set of reporting tools integrated with all plans
- Built-in SEO and Product review features
- Easy to add custom fields and customize the design
- Limits on annual sales and prices varying accordingly
- No mobile apps available
- Premium themes are quite expensive
- The built-in blog does not include RSS feeds
Thus there are 4 premium plans you can opt for. The first plan Standard comes for $29.95 per month offering all of the basic features including built-in features, various payment gateways, 24/7 live support, the point of scale, and more.
The second plan Plus ranges from $79.95 per month and includes additional features and is ideal for middle-range or growing businesses.
The Pro and Enterprise Plans are aimed at higher scaled businesses. While Pro costs $299.95 per month, the Enterprise plan can be fixed according to the services you require.
In a nutshell: BigCommerce is a great alternative for WooCommerce and one of the best eCommerce platforms out there. With its collection of amazing tools and features, growing your website could be a piece of cake.
Squarespace is a platform whose big draw is the ability to create beautiful looking websites without much hassle. There are 100+ templates to choose from and once you get past the slight learning curve, you’ll be able to create a gorgeous online store of your own with real-time customization.
It’s not all looks either and has a powerful set of features to help you sell products and services. Payment, checkouts, and taxes have also been made easy with built-in tools and various integrations. Even those who are absolute beginners to building websites will have no issues using this to create their store.
- Amazing design options with beautiful templates
- Reliable when it comes to uptime
- High-quality support available
- Free Domain Name and SSL.
- Lack of many payment options
- Lack of powerful marketing tools
- Limited third-party integrations
- Templates can be restrictive
Squarespace comes with three pricing plans with eCommerce capabilities. First is the Business Plan at $18/mo, which adds website analytics as well as eCommerce integration.
For $26/mo, the Basic Commerce Plan removes transaction fees and allows for advanced eCommerce features like store analytics, customer accounts, and merchandising tools.
The Advanced Commerce Plan has even more features like abandoned shopping cart recovery as well as commerce APIs and is available for $40/month.
In a nutshell: Squarespace is a great choice if you want an online store with a beautiful design. However, there are more feature-rich options available for cheaper prices.
Volusion is a popular option when it comes to hosted eCommerce platforms and comes with a powerful set of features. It has everything you could need to start, manage, and grow your businesses. While still fairly flexible, Volusion has been designed to be one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses.
When it comes to design options, Volusion is not to most powerful tool out there. Its real strength lies in the different useful tools it has at its disposal. These tools will help out significantly when it comes to analytics, inventory, and payment management. With Volusion, the main emphasis is on the eCommerce tools.
- Useful collection of eCommerce-related tools
- Good user experience since it’s easy to use
- Flexible payment processing options
- Easy collection and management of data
- Very limited design options
- Lack of blogging features
- Limited third-party integrations
- Not scalable for large businesses
Volusion has four different eCommerce plans for you to choose from. Of the four, the Personal Plan is the cheapest at $29/mo with limits like 100 products and 1 staff account. The Professional Plan is $79/mo and has higher limits along with additional features.
The third option is the Business Plan at $299/mo with features like unlimited products, priority customer support, and even integration with eBay and Amazon. The final Prime Plan has VIP features and its price is based on the total value of the products you manage to sell online throughout a year.
In a nutshell: If you want to immediately get started with a good online store for your small or medium-sized business then Volusion is a good pick. However, the lack of scalability remains an issue.
One of the lesser-known options on this, 3DCart is a surprisingly powerful platform that has quite a few success stories behind it. The actual eCommerce features of this platform are quite powerful with support for 100+ payment gateways.
That isn’t the only thing 3DCart has going for it either. It comes with a useful collection of marketing and automation tools to help businesses of all sizes. Moreover, you’ll also have 24/7 customer support, unlimited bandwidth, and absolutely no transaction fees of any kind.
- Unlimited bandwidth and products
- No transaction fees for all plans
- Loyalty plans like gift cards, daily deals, store credit, etc
- Large number of payment options
- Lack of in-depth customization options
- Limited number of staff users
- Takes some time to get used to the interface
3DCart gives you five different pricing options to get you started. The Startup Store Plan is priced at $19/mo and is suited for small businesses with its basic features.
The Basic Store Plan, at $29/mo, allows for better customer engagement with daily deals and affiliate programs. The Plus Store for $79/mo allows for advanced marketing tools alongside special features for FedEx.
The Power Store Plan for $129/mo and has even more useful features like waiting lists, subscription packages, and more. Finally, the Pro Store option for $229/mo allows for automated sales and marketing with its powerful features.
In a nutshell: Once you get used to it, 3DCart is definitely a great option with a collection of great features. However, the lack of customization options can be a problem for those who aren’t satisfied with the default templates.
OpenCart is another free option that still manages to be one of the top eCommerce platforms out there. Like WooCommerce, it is open-sourced, so you can use and modify it to your heart’s content. On the flipside, OpenCart will require you to purchase the hosting, domain theme, and necessary extensions yourself.
As you’d expect, OpenCart comes with in-depth customization and it highly extendible with a ton of extensions. Despite all that, this platform manages to remain very user-friendly and requires absolutely no coding experience. Combined with the low cost, this option is great for all kinds of small businesses and startups.
- Completely free and open-sourced
- Highly customizable
- Lots of themes and extensions
- Very flexible in terms of features
- Requires extensions for many important features
- Need to buy and manage Hosting separately
- Lacks scalability for large enterprises
As OpenCart is completely FREE and open-sourced, you won’t have to pay anything for the software itself. However, you’re going to have to spend your own money on configuration, hosting, and domain. Like with WooCommerce, there are premium extensions and themes to purchase.
You can also purchase a dedicated support service for either $99/mo for continuous support or a flat $99 one-time price to fix one problem.
In a nutshell: With OpenCart, you get all the benefits you’d expect from a free and open-source platform, although it doesn’t match WooCommerce when it comes to flexibility. There’s also the cost of having to manage extensions, themes, and hosting by yourself.
Lightspeed is slightly different from the other options in that it was developed as an extension for the company’s point of sale (POS) system. However, Lightspeed brings some great features to the table so you won’t have any issues building a great online store.
From marketing to SEO, everything is right here so Lightspeed is pretty far from bare-bones. The app store even has many great options, if you want more in terms of functionality. It also deserves a mention that Lightspeed will sure that managing your inventory is as easy as it can be.
- Easy Inventory Tracking and Management
- Partnerships for hassle-free shipping
- Useful tools for SEO and online marketing
- Extendible with plugins and apps
- Expensive for small businesses
- Lack of control over the design
- Many useful features require apps
Lightspeed is one of the more expensive options out there when it comes to eCommerce frameworks and has 4 different pricing plans that support an online store.
The Starter Plan for $99/mo allows users to start selling online immediately. With the Standard Plan for $119/mo, you have the option to automate your accounting.
With the Advanced Plan for $169/mo, you engage better with your customers through rewards and other features. Finally, the Pro Plan has a powerful analytics system and is priced at $229/mo.
In a nutshell: Lightspeed is more than just a glorified extension for a POS system and has a robust set of features. However, it is possible to get better features with WooCommerce or Shopify at a lower price.
And this sums up our list of the best eCommerce platforms for any start-ups, larger enterprises, or private businesses. While we have discussed the pros, cons, as well as the pricing plans of each of the platforms, the best one for your eCommerce store will depend on your specific needs. Hopefully, this eCommerce platform comparison will help you find the best option for your own online store.
If you found this article helpful, why not check out some more of our reviews and comparative articles? However, we do appreciate our user’s feedback. So, feel free to leave a comment down below to let us know what you think about this post.
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