The current pandemic has resulted in a massive increase in online shopping worldwide. In the foreseeable future, the eCommerce industry shows no signs of slowing down. According to Statista, by 2022, the global eCommerce market is expected to reach $6.54 trillion in sales. That’s up from $3.53 trillion in 2019.
Whether you are looking to start a new eCommerce business from scratch or searching for ways to expand your existing business in the online world, you need an eCommerce platform to achieve your goals.
When searching for a comprehensive eCommerce platform, you need to remember that not all of them are created equally. There are various platforms, including all-in-one website builders, email service providers, shopping cart software, and some plug-ins or add-ons.
So how do you determine the best eCommerce platform for your business? That depends on your unique business needs and requirements. I have compiled a list of some of the best eCommerce platforms for you and your business.
Shopify is one of the most famous and well-known eCommerce platforms for businesses. You can find almost everything for your online business there – themes, quick customizations, simple product management, payment processing, order monitoring, shopping cart software, etc. All of these features are incorporated into the design of Shopify, and you get high security for your online store.
Regardless of your technical knowledge, Shopify is easy-to-use right out of the box. In addition to your eCommerce store, Shopify supports third-party marketplaces, social media selling, and in-person sales with Shopify POS (Point of Sale) software. All their themes are optimized for mobile devices. Shopify is a great fit for all kinds of businesses – from startups and small businesses to large corporations and enterprises.
Shopify also offers their services for enterprise clients – Shopify Plus. It costs more because of its most fantastic premium features, including advanced functionality, improved customer support, flexibility, and better customization on the code-level. Compared to other eCommerce platforms, Shopify’s interface is a bit more friendly.
Shopify has three different pricing plans, and they start at $29, $79, $299 per month. You also get a 14-day free trial of the platform.
BigCommerce is a massive name in the eCommerce market and is being used by businesses in 120+ countries worldwide. BigCommerce is another all-in-one eCommerce platform provider and offers everything for your online store.
BigCommerce comes pre-loaded with the most native features. They provide you tools for SEO, conversions, and inventory management. They also offer 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat.
BigCommerce also supports B2B wholesale websites and also has solutions for enterprise-level eCommerce stores. This platform is second to none when it comes to features like uptime, page loading speed, and security. BigCommerce offers a bit more design customization possibilities than Shopify.
Their pricing range starts from $29.95 per month to $299.95 per month.
One of the simplest and intuitive website builders, Wix allows you to build a new website from scratch without any technical knowledge or coding experience required. Their intuitive drag and drop builder enables you to design a high-quality website with text, images, videos, and other media types in minutes. You can add new pages or start a blog with Wix just as easily.
With about 500+ templates to choose from, you can customize your online store easily. Wix will automatically optimize your website for SEO and mobile devices. If your website is built in Wix, you also get access to the Wix App Market. The market provides you with powerful web apps to customize your site. Wix has the larger number of customizable templates as compared to Shopify or Magento.
You also get a fully customizable storefront and shopping cart. Wix adds features like related products galleries, a quick add-to-cart button, mini-carts, shopping wishlist to your website. Wix also allows you to set up your own shipping rules to control international shipping orders better.
The price range of Wix starts from $13 per month to $500 per month.
Magento is an all-in-one eCommerce solution offered by Adobe that processes more than $100 billion in gross merchandise sales every year.
Magento allows you to create an eCommerce store regardless of the size of your website. They support small businesses, mid-market and enterprises, and B2B online sales.
Magento stands out because of its efficiency, automation, and access to crucial information. Features like business intelligence, inventory management, shipping solutions, and order management make Magento a unique eCommerce solution. It also gives you amazing features for customer segmentation and personalization.
Your online store in Magento will automatically display product information, content, promotions, and prices based on customers’ data like location, order history, gender, wish list items. Unlike Shopify, Wix and others, Magento doesn’t offer any themes of their own, so you just get the main software and have to rely on third parties for designs.
You will have to contact the Magento sales reps for a custom quote on their Magento Commerce license. They also allow you a free demo for you to try their platform before you commit.
Squarespace is another popular eCommerce platform. Unlike some other platforms, Squarespace has integrated eCommerce capabilities built-in for all of its business plans.
Squarespace is more popular for businesses and people in the creative industries. Their designs are considered both modern and captivating, and their award-winning templates are perfect for artists, musicians, photographers, and fashion designers.
Squarespace allows you to showcase your work and sell it online. You can also use the platform to sell subscriptions and digital content. For physical products, Squarespace offers automatic inventory management, impressive product display, and shipping calculator tools. You can also showcase your product videos.
They offer several integrations with other popular online selling tools like Apple Pay, PayPal, USPS, FedEx, and Stripe. Unlike Shopify and Wix, Squarespace doesn’t offer customer support through telephone.
Squarespace has different pricing options starting from $18 per month.
3DCart – one of the oldest eCommerce platforms, was founded back in 1997. 25000+ merchants use 3DCart to power their eCommerce website.
A huge difference between 3DCart and other eCommerce platforms is that 3DCart is pretty advanced and is not for everyone. The platform doesn’t offer a drag and drop builder like Wix. To utilize the platform, you will need to have knowledge of coding and development to customize your templates and themes properly.
To turn your existing website into an eCommerce shop, you can install 3DCart into it. If you are unaware of how to edit your site’s code, you will need to hire a developer to do this.
Once installed, 3DCart provides you with more than 200 built-in eCommerce features. With 50 themes and 100+ payment processing options, 3DCart is a fantastic albeit a little complex tool. 3DCart has a better blog feature than other SaaS eCommerce and supports all the integrations you would need.
3DCart has five different pricing options starting from $19 per month to $229 per month. They also offer a 15-day free trial.
WooCommerce is an open-source customizable platform for entrepreneurs. Unlike other platforms on this list, WooCommerce is built on WordPress, and you can use it through your WordPress site. If you already have a WordPress website, you can convert it into an eCommerce store through the WooCommerce plugin.
WooCommerce provides you everything you need to add eCommerce capabilities to WordPress, including product catalogs, subscriptions, and memberships. The tool is fully customizable and has extensions for platforms like printing shipping labels and integrating with your email marketing platform.
To create a usable WooCommerce website, you will require extensions with payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay, and Authorize.net. If you already have an existing WordPress site, WooCommerce is one of the best options for you. Simply install the plugin and start customizing your online store. Unlike other platforms, WooCommerce provides customer management only via third-party plugins. They also have zero customer support.
WooCommerce is free to install on your WordPress site. But if you require other extensions, it costs money, ranging up to $300 per installation.
Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is an eCommerce tool designed for selling digital products. Like WooCommerce, it’s a WordPress plug-in and has been downloaded by more than 2.5 million users.
EDD makes it easy for you to create discount codes, track download activity and restrict file access. Coming with a fully integrated shopping cart, it allows customers to purchase multiple downloads at the same time. Easy Digital Downloads doesn’t limit how many digital products you can sell.
Integrating with popular tools and extensions like PayPal, Amazon Web Services, Zapier, Slack, Stripe, and others, EDD allows you easy functionalities for your eCommerce store.
Easy Digital Downloads has four different plans, and the pricing ranges from $99 to $499.
Ecwid – a free commerce extension compatible with WordPress and other popular CMS platforms, allows you to sell online from marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and even social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Unlike 3DCart, Ecwid doesn’t require any coding or developing experience to be installed. The Ecwid software also integrated well with your in-person selling at your brick-and-mortar retail stores. If you have a WordPress website and don’t want to use WooCommerce as an eCommerce platform, Ecwid is a fantastic alternative.
Ecwid offers a free forever plan but with minimal functionalities. You will only be able to sell up to ten products and won’t have access to any sales channels outside your website.
Their pricing ranges from $15 per month to $99 per month.
OpenCart is not a website builder, unlike other platforms listed above. It is a free and open-source platform that adds eCommerce functionality to existing websites. More than 342,000 websites currently use OpenCart for selling their products online.
The most essential feature of this platform is the OpenCart marketplace. It gives you access to 13,000+ modules and themes and allows you to integrate with a comprehensive list of payment gateways and shipping providers.
OpenCart has a massive community support forum with more than 550,000 posts from 110,000+ registered members. You can also have access to their support staff by paying a one-time fee or ongoing monthly subscription.
OpenCart is free to download and install, but the extensions and integrations will cost extra.
So, what eCommerce platform should you choose?
Every online store has different requirements and needs depending on the products, categories, and target market along with the business’s journey. An eCommerce startup won’t have the same needs as a small business looking to expand online. Similarly, B2B companies will have different requirements for their online store. I hope this guide will help you choose the platform that is best suited for your online store.