Editor in Chief

Choosing the best e-commerce platform is not an easy task.

The market is wide and there are many factors to consider. Your choice has a lot of impact on your online business, so it’s important to give it enough thought before signing up.

To help you with that, we’ve compared the 9 most popular e-commerce website builders. In the end, we hope you are ready to make a decision on which platform is the right one for you.

What is an E-commerce Platform and Why Should You Use One?

The first question is, what is an “e-commerce platform”?

An e-commerce platform is a piece of software that allows you to build an online store and run a business online. It gives you the tools to create and manage your site, including products and day-to-day operations. Most if not all, e-commerce builders use drag and drop functions.

Here’s the good news – you don’t need to be a web developer to create a good looking online shop.

There are many different reasons to use e-commerce platforms, but here are the most important ones:

  • Easy (For Beginners) – In the past, if you wanted an online store, you had to build the functionality yourself. Later there were shopping carts, but you still had to have developer skills to integrate them into your site. Now we have plugins. With e-commerce platforms, you get everything in one hand and can get started right away.
  • Inexpensive – E-commerce platforms are not super expensive, some of them even cost nothing. While you definitely have expenses when running an online shop, it’s a lot less than developing your own solution from scratch. Plus, the more you pay, the more of your business can you usually hand over to technical solutions.
  • One solution fits all – Especially when going with a hosted solution, you are able to let go of more parts of running your site. No need to deal with web hosting, security, updates, and the likes. Instead, you are able to simply concentrate on growing your business.
  • Customer support available – Additionally, with a commercial solution, you benefit from the support structure. Open source solutions such as WordPress are often community driven and you are therefore dependent on that community to provide support. While that can also work very well – if you are in desperate need of help at 3 am on a Sunday, it’s nice to have a guarantee it will be there.

9 Best E-commerce Platform Options

Alright, now that you have a better idea of what to look for in an e-commerce platform, it’s time to talk about what’s out there. In the following, we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most popular e-commerce platforms available, their pricing structure and who they are most suitable for.

Full disclosure: I earn a commission whenever you end up purchasing an e-commerce platform through my referral links in this review. This helps me to run WebsiteSetup as a business. Thanks for your support.


1. Wix Stores – Simple, Beautiful, Affordable

Wix review

Wix is originally a website builder that allows you to create websites via drag and drop. On top of that, it also has features that allow you to build an online store.

Pros of using Wix Stores

Like Shopify, the e-commerce platform is simple to use and quick to set up. There is no coding required, you can literally drag content anywhere on your site with the user-friendly editor.

wix user interface best ecommerce platform

What’s cool is that they have over 500 templates specifically made for online stores and even provide stock images you can use right away.

Naturally, Wix offers a fully featured shopping cart with all the functionality you need. There are hundreds of apps in the official app market to further spruce up your website.

Also, the service is fully hosted so there’s no need to worry about this part.

Cons of using Wix Stores

What you need to keep in mind is that Wix is not a pure e-commerce platform. It is first and foremost a website builder that is also capable of selling things. Therefore, e-commerce capabilities can be a bit basic.

Keep also in mind that you can’t change your site template once you have published your site, which is a big drawback.


Wix is subscription-based and offers different packages. Their paid eCommerce plans are $23-$49/month. The cheapest eCommerce plan starts from $17/month.

Wix pricing and plans

You can use their free plan to test drive the platform, but it has really limited capabilities and no eCommerce options.


2. SiteBuilder – Best for Beginners

Sitebuilder review

SiteBuilder is the best website builder we’ve reviewed so far. Now we have investigated its e-commerce options, which seem decent enough. It’s similar to Wix – you have to get the highest plan to start with an online shop.

Pros of SiteBuilder

It’s really easy to use. Like I-have-never-seen-a-website-interface-before easy.

Sitebuilder ecommerce builder

Their drag-and-drop interface is intuitive, simple, and comprehensive. SiteBuilder has everything you need to get started – domain, hosting, analytics tools, SEO, and sufficient e-commerce tools. It comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage space.

It’s cheap! The introductory price of $9.22/mo almost seems like too-good-to-be-true and even the regular price of $18.45/mo isn’t bad at all.

Their support is really friendly and helpful. We connected within seconds and their support agent took the time to answer our in-depth questions about e-commerce tools. Therefore, even if you get in trouble (which is highly doubtful considering how simple their website builder is), you’ll get help in no time (from 7 am – 5 pm Arizona time).

Cons of SiteBuilder

Even though SiteBuilder comes with hundreds of templates, only about 100 are suitable for e-commerce.

Similarly to Wix, their e-commerce options can be limited for advanced users. There is barely any advanced marketing tools, payment options, and logistical add-ons.


SiteBuilder has 3 main plans which all have a 50% trial discount for 1 year. For an online shop, you have to go with the eCommerce plan.

Sitebuilder pricing and plans

It is often said that you get what you pay for. Even though SiteBuilder is somewhat limited, you definitely get much more than what you pay for – their options are just very beginner-friendly but at the same time comprehensive enough to handle professional website quality.

You can try out SiteBuilder eCommerce for 14-days with money-back-guarantee.


3. BigCommerce – Best for Small Business

BigCommerce logoBigCommerce provides a hosted e-commerce solution both as a full SaaS platform as well as a shopping cart for other types of websites. It’s probably most similar to Shopify. The two of them are often mentioned in the same breath.

Pros of using BigCommerce

The e-commerce platform comes with great store management capabilities. It offers a large number of tools and features, e.g. promotions, unlimited product variants, options to handle returns, coupons, and discounts. Another highlight is the flexible shipping options that allow live quotes and rate calculation.

bigcommerce review

Additionally, BigCommerce integrates with Amazon, eBay, and social networks. This enables you to sell across many different sales channels. It also has a lot of marketing tools with very granular controls, such as full control over the URL format.

Multiple APIs help to make it customizable and flexible. BigCommeerce also has a large app store with extensions for all sorts of needs such as email marketing, automation, and product promotion. You also get over 40 payment processing options with no transaction fees!

bigcommerce payment gateways best ecommerce platform

The advantages are rounded off by the multitude of templates to choose from, the ability to design your own website and a large support system that helps you improve your e-commerce efforts.

Cons of BigCommerce

Traditionally, BigCommerce has lagged behind in its template offers. While they have caught up, users only get seven free templates to choose from. Premium themes can also be a bit expensive. Unfortunately, the design customization is not always the most user-friendly.

BigCommerce has no native POS features as in other solutions and comes with a sales limit on your plan. It’s relatively expensive to get advanced features like an abandoned cart saver.


BigCommerce plans cost between $29.95 and $249.95. You can save some money on higher plans by paying annually. There’s also an option for an enterprise, but you need to inquire about that. Additionally, themes cost between $145 and $235.

bigcommerce pricing

While all plans give you everything you need to get started, with higher options you get more options like advanced customer segmentation and product filtering.

The lack of transaction fees makes BigCommerce more attractive than other options on this list. Use the 15-day trial to find out if it’s right for you.


4. Shopify – Best for Boutique Shops

Shopify review

Shopify has become one of the most well-known names in the e-commerce sphere. It’s a fully-featured hosted solution with hundreds of thousands of users. We also have a full article about it, if the information below is not enough for you.

Pros of using Shopify

The commerce platform is super easy to use and quick to set up. Just sign up with your email address and you can start building your shop and selling right away. The intuitive interface also makes it easy to create products and includes SEO features such as title tag and meta description.

add products in shopify

Shopify offers dozens of free mobile-optimized, elegant themes. More are available on purchase. No coding is required to customize them, just use your mouse to make changes.

Shopify theme shop

Additionally, the platform offers top-notch support via phone, email, live chat and Twitter which are available 24/7. That is besides the detailed documentation and online forums where you can get help from other users.

Shopify also supports a lot of third-party payment gateways and has a large app marketplace with over a thousand offers to add functionality to your site with a few clicks.

Finally, they offer additional sales channels by providing you with the software and hardware to sell inside physical store locations, social selling and integrating with marketplaces like Amazon.


One of the biggest drawbacks of Shopify is that costs can easily snowball. Besides the base fee, you pay for many plugins, themes, and features. Some are one-off payments, some monthly, some yearly. Plus, there are transaction fees if you are not using the built-in payment system. This can all get a bit complicated and hard to plan with.

Another disadvantage in terms of customizing your site is that Shopify uses its own markup language called “Liquid”. It is based on Ruby on Rails and makes it hard to make changes using coding yourself.


Shopify offers different pricing tiers with additional features depending on which plan you are on.

shopify best ecommerce platform pricing

There’s also Shopify Lite. It lets you sell on social networks and embed products on your own website site to use the shopping cart capabilities. This plan costs $9/month, which is quite fair.

Besides that, there is Shopify Plus for enterprise clients. You would have to inquire about prices but rumors say it starts at $1,200/month.

As mentioned, in addition to the base price, you pay for apps and additional features. These really span a wide range of prices so be sure to research beforehand!

Also, don’t forget credit card and transaction fees when using third-party payment providers. These vary according to your plan.

Shopify offers a 14-day trial period to take a peek under the hood before committing.


5. Volusion

volusion logo

This solution is another cloud-based, hosted option to build an online store. It has been around since 1999 and has processed more than $28 billion in sales during that time.

Pros of using Volusion

Volusion is a drag-and-drop site builder with in-page editing. It offers a comprehensive site search, many responsive themes (11 of them free) and the ability to customize your own.

Besides that, it has solid e-commerce and product management tools like rich text product descriptions, native fulfillment options, subscription options, loyalty programs and more. It also integrates with a lot of payment providers and doesn’t come with transaction fees.

Marketing options include SEO features, social selling, marketplace integrations for Amazon and eBay, among others. Note that some of those are only available on higher plans.

Users also get 24/7 support via live chat and phone (the latter comes with a higher plan). This is in addition to a comprehensive knowledge base with articles, guides and more.

Cons of using Volusion

Unfortunately, Volusion’s pricing structure is a bit confusing, because they have a set bandwidth limit. If you run out, you have to pay for additional traffic. This can make planning ahead a bit difficult, especially since their default bandwidth is relatively low.

You have to pay extra for SSL, which is a must for any online shop. Other competitors provide it for free. Premium templates for Volusion are a bit expensive.

Also, the platform offers no blogging capabilities. You can only include links to other blog sites in the menu. This is really a shortcoming in a digital world that runs on content marketing.


Running your shop on Volusion will cost you between $29 and $299 per month. You get 10% off when paying annually. You have to call the service to change to a yearly plan. On more expensive plans, you get more products, bandwidth, better support, and additional features.

volusion cost

As mentioned, each plan has a bandwidth limit (1, 3, 10 or 35GB). Any traffic beyond that will cost you $7/GB. This can rack up quite quickly. You also shouldn’t forget about the transaction fees of your payment processor.

There’s also the investment into an SSL certificate. The ones offered by Volusion directly are between $89 and $995. Of course, you can also get your own for free. Plus, if you are going for a premium theme, you need to budget $180 for that.

Use the 14-day free trial to check out Volusion.


6. Squarespace

Squarespace logo

Similar to Wix, Squarespace is also a website builder operating with drag and drop. They started out with a focus on making visually appealing websites. As of late, the site is putting more energy into e-commerce and letting its users sell stuff online. By now they are starting to be a full-fledged e-commerce platform.

Pros of using Squarespace

The service has a simple and intuitive user interface and is very beginner-friendly.

Squarespace content editing

The website templates they offer are elegant, beautiful, polished and all come with mobile responsive capabilities. The focus on design also makes Squarespace especially suitable for selling products that require high-quality imagery.

Squarespace templates

Besides that, you have all the standard options like product variants, inventory management, unlimited products, coupons, shipping, the works. The platform also integrates with Shipstation.com for fulfillment and has a great customer service.

They provide many data points to optimize your site and conversions including sales, revenue, traffic sources and more. Marketing tools include SEO settings, social media, blogging and abandoned checkout recovery. SSL is built right into the platform.

Cons of using Squarespace

On the side of disadvantages, Squarespace is somewhat restricted in features. For example, it has limited payment options (only Apple Pay and PayPal) and is missing important options for more complex shops and a large number of products or variations.

Furthermore, there is no marketplace for apps to add more features and functionality. Your ability to customize your site via code and markup is also very limited. The platform integrates with only a few third-party tools and services.


squarespace cost

You pay for Squarespace monthly. To start selling, you need to be at least on the Business plan, which is $18/month if billed annually, otherwise $26/month. Note that there’s a 3% transaction fee on every sale.

Note that you can waive the latter if you get on one of the e-commerce plans ($26-$46/month). You also get additional features for running an online shop like label printing, accounting and automatic recovery of abandoned carts.


7. Magento

magento logo

Magento is sort of the WordPress of e-commerce platforms. It’s a piece of open-source software that you can download and install on your own servers. At the same time, it also offers a hosted cloud version, sort of like WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Pros of using Magento

As a self-hosted solution, Magento gives you lots of control. With technical knowledge, you can change pretty much anything you want in terms of functionality and design, plus choose your own server environment.

If the latter is not your cup of tea, the cloud edition might be more for you. For that, you need to contact the sales department to get a demo.

Whichever way you go, you benefit from Magento’s long list of features and options. Membership subscriptions, recurring payments, discounts, the ability to adjust content per user are just the tip of the iceberg.

You can extend your site via the marketplace. There are plugins and themes for all sorts of purposes, from customer support to marketing to shipping and site optimization.

Magento marketplace

The platform is strong in terms of multilingual websites as well. You are able to create separate sites for different languages. It also has a strong community behind it that is constantly improving the platform and developing new themes and plugins. This also means a lot of support and available expert advice.

Cons of using Magento

For the Community Edition, all the downsides of self-hosted platforms apply. Be prepared to take care of updates, security and everything else to make sure your shop runs properly.

While Magento has a lot of features, consequently it can be a little resource hungry. This will require you to invest time and money into optimization.

Besides that, the platform is written in PHP, so if you want to make meaningful changes, you need to have the necessary chops or hire someone for it. Either way, expect to invest in development.

If you are opting for the Cloud version, be aware that it is made for Enterprise clients and priced accordingly. More on that below.


Magento Community Edition is the first free e-commerce platform on this list. That’s right, you can download and use it without paying a dime.

Like many other self-hosted solutions, it comes with costs regardless, specifically for hosting. Premium plugins or templates and occasional development work can also be factors.

If you don’t want to deal with much of the above, there is also the hosted version. As already mentioned, it is not cheap. The number we found was $18,000/year for licensing.


8. OpenCart

opencart logo

We are continuing the theme of open source e-commerce platforms. OpenCart is available to download and install on your own server. The service also offers a cloud version of its solution.

Pros of using OpenCart

This e-commerce platform has everything you need to create and manage your shop. You can set up unlimited products and product categories for both digital and physical goods. It comes with product reviews and ratings out of the gate and supports multiple currencies.

The dashboard gives you an overview over every important data point of your shop and you can even build and control several stores from one interface.

admin interface dashboard

Aside from that, the platform is highly customizable with thousands of themes and plugin extensions. It also integrates with hundreds of payment gateways.

As a self-hosted solution, it comes with all the benefits of administrating your site on your own server. A large support network through a dedicated community and documentation helps you in a pinch.

If you opt for the cloud version, you can get started in mere minutes. You also get access to a separate theme and plugin store and have all your hosting, security and backup needs taken care of.

Cons of using OpenCart

When you have the benefits of hosting your site yourself, you also have to deal with the drawbacks. OpenCart is not always easy to customize and adding new modules can be expensive.

Besides that, its native marketing features are quite limited. For example, the default SEO capabilities are not very good.

The platform is not always known as the fastest solution, so the self-hosted solution may be not the greatest option for scaling into large dimensions.


The self-hosted software itself is free. Keep in mind that it comes with the usual peripheral costs. Additionally, there may be expenses for extensions and themes that add around $100 on average to your budget.

You can also opt for the cloud-hosted version, which costs between $30 and $200 per month – half if you pay for a year in advance. It also includes a free SSL certificate.


9. Zen Cart

zen cart logo

Our next contender is in the same category as the last two. It’s open source and self-hosted.

Pros of using Zen Cart

Because it has a GPL license and resides on your own server, Zen Cart, too, is completely customizable. Like other solutions, you are able to make any changes you want even outside of available extensions. The solution also has a good reputation when it comes to security and scalability.

Besides that, it offers many configuration options for products, including coupons, gift certificates, and multiple product images. In the marketing department, you can take advantage of the built-in SEO features and the ability to send HTML emails from inside the platform.

A strong user community rounds off the benefits of Zen Cart.

Cons of using Zen Cart

A serious drawback of this e-commerce solution is the outdated user interface both on the front and back end. You have the ability to change at least the font of your site. The less than intuitive user interface will make taking care of your site a bit of a drag.

Zen Cart can be hard to install and upgrade. There is also no dedicated support, so users need to fend for themselves. Its ecosystem is quite small, so extensions and templates are hard to come by. The e-commerce platform comes only with a handful of payment options.


Like other examples on this list, the software itself free, but you need to budget for the architecture to run and maintain, including an SSL certificate. Especially if you don’t have web development skills, you can expect to hire help and need to budget for it. Extensions and themes can also be part of the bill.


Types of E-commerce Platforms Available

When looking for the best e-commerce platform for yourself, you have different types to choose from. While there are several ways of distinguishing platforms, one of the main differences is their type of hosting.

  • Self-hosted – Means you download a piece of software and install it on your own server. This gives you a lot of control over your website. It also puts all the responsibility on you to keep it safe, updated and make changes manually. Open Source e-commerce solutions often have this model.
  • Hosted – An alternative is to use software that is hosted by someone else. SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions are the most typical examples here. The benefit: less technical overhead, quick startup, more beginner friendliness. Most often also more costs.
  • Mixed – Several of the options below offer the possibility to include their shopping carts into other platforms (e.g. WordPress). This is also called Commerce as a Service (CaaS) and can be a viable and cheaper option.

Of course, there are other ways to differentiate e-commerce platforms. Many of them depend on your personal needs. You might want to consider:

  • Costs
  • Scalability
  • Ease of Use
  • Customizations
  • Maintenance
  • Commerce Options
  • Mobile Capabilities
  • Marketing
  • Support

It’s a good idea that you actually get clear for yourself what matters to you most. This will make it much easier to weed out those options that don’t fit the ticket.

What is the Best E-commerce Platform for You?

Standalone e-commerce platforms can be a great solution for starting an online shop. They offer all the necessary features and specialized functionality to make selling online a success.

Yet, choosing the best e-commerce platform is not an easy task. There are simply too many factors to take into account and many offers on the market. By knowing beforehand what your needs and requirements are, you make it more likely you will find a good fit from the top 3 above. I’m recommending Wix, SiteBuilderBigCommerce, and Shopify.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you in your decision. If it has, how about a discount code for your newly opened shop? No pressure though.

What is your personal choice for the best e-commerce platform and why? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Want to ask a question or leave a comment?

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  1. Avatar

    Hi Nick,

    I want to build SAASe ecommerce for many traditional stores in my country. So each store can go online and manage their own store in my SAAS ecommerce. My plan is to charge each store based on quota & features (i.e.,: number of products limitation, can embed youtube, etc). And each store can advertise in chosen category or front page with certain pricing to me. I have my own programmer to code.

    Can you recommend what platform that is suitable for me?


    • Avatar

      Hey Iqbal,

      that sounds like you are planning to build your own ecommerce platform. I don’t think any of the solutions on this list will allow you to use them since you are describing their exact business model. The only thing I could imagine is that you offer an ecommerce setup and maintenance service to your customers based on one of these platforms. Otherwise, as mentioned, you will have to build your own.


  2. Avatar

    Great article! However I’d like to build my sports shop online as I can’t buy in bulk so need a e-commerce that can import products and deal with returns and possibly most aspects when starting out and clueless! Preferably no transaction fees and possibly someone to build website for me as I’m no expert and previously struggled with making a website on a few of these sites! I basically just want it set up and I add products and sell them and deal with customer service

    Many thanks

    • Avatar

      Hey Jade, when accepting payments online, you will always have transaction fees. That’s how the companies that offer these services make money. Aside from that, pretty much all of the entries on this list meet your described requirements. If you feel incapable of setting a shop up yourself, you can always hire an expert or developer. You just need to include the overhead costs in your calculations.

  3. Avatar

    Hi I’m started an online with a friend specialising in beauty lighting equipment. We imported the goods from overseas. So far we only have two products. Which ecommerce platform would be best for us to use?

    • Avatar

      Hey LP, that really depends on a lot of factors like your budget, technical knowledge, and requirements. All of the platforms on this list can accommodate two products, the rest is up to what else you need.

  4. Avatar

    Nice article – thanks!
    As someone who has set up many e-commerce sites on various platforms I hope you don’t mind me making a couple of points…
    First of all, with some platforms like Big Commerce, they are US based and many of their features are not available to U.K. users. This can be very frustrating when they announce new features, only to find they are US only. Also, the larger US platforms are off loading more and more of their features onto third party apps, which often cost extra for all but basic use.
    Another point worth noting is search engine optimisation. Some platforms are not very good with SEO. I think Wix in particularly is not particularly good in this respect.
    Finally, for start ups support is key, and I’m afraid many systems have basic ‘live chat’ support – again this can be an issue with US time difference. Look for a U.K. system with telephone support if you can.

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    I am at a loss of which platform to use. I work at a very small rural public high school and we are wanting to sell “Spirit Wear” online. These are shirts, hoodies, jackets, etc. We don’t make a lot of money and don’t want to spend a lot. Which platform do you think is best to use for our school? (It needs to be very easy to use. I am just a secretary, and I have so many other things to do and don’t want to spend a lot of time on this.)

    • Avatar
      Nick Schäferhoff Verified

      Hi Susan, it sounds to me like Wix, Shopify or SquareSpace would be the best options for you. They are the most beginner friendly and if you don’t want to invest a lot of time, these are probably the best to get you started. Wix is the cheapest solution out of the three. Hope this helps and good luck!

      • Avatar

        Hello Nick,

        Great information indeed.

        I am a Garment Printer looking to find a platform to sell my items.

        I looked at ebay as a selling platform but set up seems extremely difficult & complicated & their fees are pretty unfair in many ways also with PayPal fees on top !

        I get you with Wix, i think that would be for me to as just starting out but are there any hidden costs? I.e. if i want to use the platform to display on a cellphone which, of course, is a must for everyone today.


        • Avatar

          Hey Colin, happy to hear you are thinking about starting an online shop! Wix does not charge extra for mobile functionality. However, there can be extra costs when you install extra features via their app market. For that reason, with platforms like Wix and Shopify, it’s always a good idea to figure out what you need beforehand and do your research so you have a clear picture of the costs you can expect.
          The cheapest way would be to use WordPress and WooCommerce. However, for that you have to set up your own website including hosting, security and more. It’s not very difficult but it involves a steeper learning curve than something like Wix.
          Hope this helps! Let me know if you have additional questions.

  6. Avatar

    Great Blog! I have requirements like Phone Filters, Multiple Variant of Products on Single page, Advance phone comparison feature.
    What is the best suggested Platform for that?

    • Avatar

      Hey Anant, filters and product variants are a staple of any e-commerce solution. As for the advanced comparison, you would have to check if any of the platforms offer what you need. My first stop would be to check WooCommerce.

  7. Avatar

    Hi Nick, great article. Can I bother you for a bit of advice?
    I’m wanting to create a small online store for handmade goods (under 100 items I would say), and it would need to have credit card and paypal payments enabled, and ideally no transaction fees.
    On WordPress their e-Commerce option is $59 per month but I’ve seen that you’ve suggested it to a few people as one of the best options – am I doing something wrong?

    • Avatar

      Hey Sarah, unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll be able to find an e-commerce solution without transaction fees. All payment providers charge for their services. That’s their whole business model.
      If you are going with WordPress e-commerce, you might consider going self-hosted. You can use the same system (WooCommerce) and it will be a lot cheaper in the end. However, it requires some more technical knowledge. Find more detailes here: https://websitesetup.org/wordpress-com-vs-org/.

  8. Avatar

    Thanks for the article Nick! It’s was very helpful, but I’m still not sure what to pick. I’m going to be making an online light fixture store for a small business with possibly a lot of products, so I want to offload security and as much of backend as possible from the companies shoulders. It will also need to have database management tools or a way to insert a plugin for them, so it would be possible to update or upload products in bulk. Please, which platform would you recommend?

  9. Avatar

    Hello, thanks for a very helpful article! am not sure of which platform to use for a wedding planner and a small gift shop business. Please which platform would you recommend?

    • Avatar
      Nick Schäferhoff Verified

      Hey Maxwell, for small and simple online shops, I would usually recommend going with WordPress and WooCommerce. It is usually the most cost effective in the long term.

  10. Avatar

    Thank you for your article. I really appreciated how you listed pros, cons, and pricing for each. I have some experience with Shopify, but I’m not super technical. I was wondering what you would recommend for a subscription based ecommerce site? I’d love to set up a site selling products based on a subscription model. Thank you again for the great information.

    • Avatar
      Nick Schäferhoff Verified

      Hey Sandy, glad you liked it. Personally, I would most often go with WordPress. There are many high-quality membership plugins that can do what you need and it is usually the cheapest solution. You can use the guide on the homepage to set up your own site and then install the plugins you need for your desired functionality.

  11. Avatar

    Hi there, thanks so much for this article and it was really helpful for me.

    I am preparing to open an on-line store of jewellery, they are made of 14k and/or 18k gold, simple but elegant. not super expensive though. Which platform you would recommend for my sort of store?? Many thanks!

    • Avatar
      Nick Schäferhoff Verified

      Hey Anna, thanks for the question! Glad you found the post helpful. For a small shop, you might consider going with WordPress and WooCommerce. It gives you a lot of customization options and no monthly fees (other than hosting). You can find a comparison with Shopify here.

  12. Avatar

    Hello, thanks for a very helpful article! I’m still not sure of which platform to use for a small company that sells hand made products. I have used Wix before for a portfolio website and I loved it, but it’s a big drawback that you can’t change your template once the site is published. How much can you customize it after publishing? Changes are essential if you want to improve your UX.

    I want to set up my e-commerce website quickly so it needs to be easy to use and manage, a lot of free templates to choose from (mobile-optimized or responsive), with SEO features and not expensive. I’m also considering using WooCommerce which is not listed above. What do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Avatar
      Nick Schäferhoff Verified

      Hey Anna, thanks for the excellent question. Shopify is probably among the easiest solutions out there and a good choice if you want a simple shop. However, the more complex your store gets, the more expensive this platform becomes. WooCommerce is probably the cheapest and also gives you lots of customization options due to being based on WordPress. Yet, you might have to pay someone for more complex changes if you don’t have any development skills. On the other hand, WordPress itself is beginner friendly and has plenty of SEO plugins. Plus, you completely own your website. Check this article for a comparison of the two. Hope this helps!

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    Thank you so much for this very informative article. I am still not sure which platform would work for me. I am opening an online store selling various fashion accessories for men and women. I am somewhat tech savvy but not familiar with all the codes etc. I also want to be able to reach many consumers but do not want to pay an arm and a leg 😣

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      Hi Tee, consider either Wix or Sitebuilder. Both are pretty simple to use and come at a more affordable price than most other e-commerce options. They lack some advanced features because of that, but it shouldn’t be a problem for a small store.

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    I am interested in getting started with e-commerce. After watching a few online sales pitches I don’t see the platform mentioned here that I am interested in. Any recommendation for Commerce HQ/Store Formula? Is it just disguised as one of the platforms above? Also which platforms do drop shipping?

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      Hey Ashley, I haven’t used the platform you are talking about, so I can’t make any recommendations on it. As for dropshipping, I know that Shopify and WooCommerce definitely offer this functionality, for the other entries, you would have to research it. However, this is not uncommon, so you should find more candidates that offer dropshipping.

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    I’m surprised ecwid hasn’t made the list? They are very good and even offer you a free store for limited number of products. Plus it integrates with major site builders.

    I can harness the SEO power of WordPress and couple it with the simplicity of ecwid for ecommerce as it integrates directly.

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      Thanks for the input, Chris! I have never used Ecwid but I’ll put it down as a potential addition for an article update.

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    I want to create a gift card marketplace. Meaning I will sell virtual giftcards of different brands. The users will go to the physical store and show their gift card code to buy and then the cashiers need to login to my website to input the code which will deduct the amount from the user’s giftcard.
    What platform do you recommend?

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    What would you reccommend for selling content that is all digital, i.e. video training or programming in a model similar to Audible. Someone picks the content from a store and then consumes the content in a proprietary mobile app, just like Audible does with audiobooks.

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      Hey Bill, what you are describing sounds more like it will need custom work, especially to build the app and connect your shop to it. If I were in your place, I’d first talk to an app developer about the prerequisites of making that happen.

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    At first I thought it would be easy to determine what platform to go with, was I wrong. Help! I am starting a Product Photography business, I will sell 3 to 4 different price packages and will have many sample photos on my website. I have looked into Clickfunnels, Squarespace, Wix and now Shopify. I will need to have customers pay by credit card or paypal. I will advertise with the usual, a Website, Facebook and Instagram or anything else to drive business my way. I also plan on taking my business to Europe in the very near future which will be a determine factor. Thanks for any help.

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    Man I wanna do an ecommerce store so badly, but I feel like I first need to memorise glossary of terms because I rarely get 2 sentances in before a term or such gets used and I have no idea from there on..

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    Hi, thanks for breaking down the eCommerce platforms for us.
    I am looking for a platform to track / delivery of services to clients.
    Do you know if any one of these platform provide service (not actual products).

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      Hey Marcos, many of the platforms on this list also allow you to sell services, including WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, and Volusion. However, you might need different addons to do this, so I recommend you research what is the right solution for you.

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    Hi, i’m heaitating between Wix and Shopify, i’m a ceramist and i’m starting my business. I also wanna sell on Etsy and in store. What do you recommend?

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      Hi Krystel,

      I’d go with Wix, it will be cheaper than Shopify and it’s possible to integrate your store with Etsy.

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    Hello! I’m going to be selling extensions online only. I’m looking for easy shipping (best if I can just print shipping labels), My own website, and cart with checkout that figures out taxes and such. Don’t really know much more than that.

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      Hey there, pretty much all of the solution should be able to accommodate your needs. However, for some parts you might need additional extensions, so I recommend you do some research concerning your desired features.

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    Nice article. I was trying to find the best platform for ADA compliance since so many e-commerce stores are being sued over this. Which would be the easiest to work with to reach the required standards?

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      Hey Stuart, that is an excellent question, which I, unfortunately, don’t know how to answer. You will have to check each platform how they deal with this topic. I will also make a note to myself to look into this topic for an article update. Thanks for the reminder!

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    What would you recommend if the Ecommerce project is really unlikely to be a busy one.?
    We plan to offer online no more than 40 Items for Martial Arts Schools and Practitioners. Initially this is an outlet for the, larger than we need, inventory to be purchased directly from factories in China for our own Martial Arts School.

    So which one would be the least expensive, user friendly even if it has limited growth features?.


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    Shopify is a nightmare. It’s full of bugs and is very klonky. You can select one tiny option and the whole shop is affected, without making it clear how extensive the changes can be. I also find that the menus suddenly change. There is no good support to help you and you can easily get stuck for hours on end trying to solve a problem that should be easily solved.

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    Very informative blog. Thank you. What would you recommend for a booking website for all doctors and dentist appointments in the entire country?

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      Hey Jun, personally, I would go with a WordPress site and see if there are plugins available that can do what you need. However, this sounds like a project that might need custom coding, so I would talk to a developer first.

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      WooCommerce is more user-friendly. Magento is more flexible. If you’re tech savvy, go with the latter, otherwise use WooCommerce with WordPress.

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    Hi ,
    Very good article , WebsiteSetup Editorial . In your opinion which platform gives you the greatest freedom in creating your own SEO strategy.

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    Thanks for posting this WebsiteSetup Editorial. What would you recommend for mobile automotive services direct to consumer? We would need to be able to calculate and collect taxes across different states.

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    Thank you so much for sharing very informative information, I was too much confused for choosing e-commerce platform for my online store. I would like to know also about WooCommerce.

    • WebsiteSetup Editorial
      WebsiteSetup Editorial

      Hi Zeal, WooCommerce is great if you have an existing WordPress site or if you’re looking to build something more than just an online store (if you also want to have a blog for example) since it’s a very flexible platform with lots of room for customization. Though if you just need an online store and want it to be super-simple then I would stick with the platforms listed here.