Starting an online shop is not difficult, but knowing which e-commerce software to build your store is not an easy decision. With too many options, knowing the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses is hard.
It’s essential to think through growth possibilities, tools you might need in the future, payment options, platform features, ease of use, etc.
This is why I’ve compiled a list of the top 6 eCommerce platforms for beginners to start an online shop.
However, this list is not only for beginners, as it turns out the best eCommerce solution for large businesses is listed, too.
It’s hard to believe that there are over 100 eCommerce platforms to sell your goods and services online.
From individual and small businesses that sell custom phone cases or t-shirts to large-scale companies that offer furniture or used car parts, there is a platform suitable for starting an eCommerce website for everyone.
Let’s see which e-commerce solutions are the top 6.
Best eCommerce Platforms
If you’re hurrying to go through the list, Shopify is the best all-in-one eCommerce solution.
This is because the platform is easy to use, requires no coding knowledge, and everything is done for you.
You only need to register an account, pick a plan, select a store theme, upload your product, and start selling immediately.
But if you want a self-hosted e-commerce platform where you can tweak and edit core platform code, have endless customization, pay for hosting, and be responsible for your site performance, Woocommerce is the best choice.
For most beginners with limited marketing budgets, minimum needs for an online store, and fewer products to sell, Weebly is an ideal option.
You can access the essential tools to start selling online and focus on what matters – shopping carts, SSL certificates, Shipping calculator, and more.
Now, let’s detail what makes these popular eCommerce solutions the best…
Shopify is one of the best eCommerce website builders, multichannel, dropshipping, social selling, etc.
With its advanced shopping cart features, Shopify stores allow you to sell anywhere online.
It is easy to set up, and adding products to your store is straightforward.
Shopify is the most accessible e-commerce platform for beginners, allowing you to get started without design or coding knowledge.
Since Shopify is a hosted platform, you don’t need to worry about hosting your online store, bandwidth, and storage space.
Your eCommerce website is hosted on Shopify’s best-in-class hosting infrastructure, built for speed and top performance.
Shop Pay handles payments with low transaction fees; if you’re selling in person, you can use the Shopify POS to complete the transaction and schedule free DHL delivery for any package volume.
You can sell and receive payment in different currencies depending on your Shopify store plan.
Shopify is the best option if you need an all-in-one-eCommerce platform where you don’t need to get involved in all the technical tasks of building your online store.
Shopify aims to make launching and managing an online store possible for anyone, regardless of their technical knowledge of design and web development.
The platform has built-in tools for almost everything you need to run an online store.
From the shopping cart, tax calculator, product showcase, automatic shipping rate calculator, invoice, receipt, customer management, etc…everything is prebuilt into your Shopify shop.
Shopify Top Features
- Access over 6,000 Shopify Apps to extend your store functions and features
- Use a custom domain name
- Free SSL Certificate
- POS – Point of sales for in-person sale
- 24/7 support services
- E-commerce website builder – no coding knowledge required
- Prebuilt eCommerce store themes – Free and Paid
- Accept payment from over 100 payment gateways, including credit card
- Sell on social media, including Facebook
- Sell in over 133 different languages and regions
- Import your store from other platforms
- WordPress Integration
- Search engine optimized
- Checkout functionality
- Gift Card
- PCI compliance
- Create product orders manually
- Advanced sale reporting
- Starter – $5/month
- Basic – $29/month
- Shopify – $79/month
- Advanced – $299/month
- Shopify Plus – $2,000/month
You can access Shopify for $1 for the first 3-month free trial period through this link.
Woocommerce is a WordPress solution for businesses that want to sell online. And the best free eCommerce website builder is powering 5 million online stores.
WordPress is a content management system primarily built as a blogging platform, and woo-commerce is an add-on plugin that brings all the features and functions to set up an online store with WordPress.
According to stats, the woo-commerce plugin is downloaded 30,000 times daily and has a 25% share of the top 1 million e-commerce sites in 2022.
Unlike Shopify-hosted platforms, Woocommerce is a self-hosted e-commerce software for online stores. You need web hosting and a domain name to build your online shop.
For those who want to take control of their businesses and are comfortable with web development and maintenance, Woocommerce is the best option.
You can access WordPress plugins to add features to your store, advanced customization, branding, and continuous integrations. It integrates with Google Shopping, Etsy, Facebook, eBay, Pinterest, etc.
Being an open-source platform, you’re in total control of your store and data, add features and customization, integrate with any tools, services, and more.
Woocommerce is much supported and regularly updated by developers from 58 countries.
You can process payments in over 140 region-specific gateways, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, Deposit, subscription, Amazon Pay, etc.
Woocommerce integrates seamlessly and instantly sets up your shop if you have existing WordPress blogs.
Woocommerce Top Features
- Access to WordPress plugins library
- Secure payment
- Accept credit cards, bank transfers, cash on delivery, checks, and over 140 payment gateways.
- Automated tax calculations
- Live chat, email, forum, help documentation
- Available in mobile apps – Android and Apple iOS
- Sell whatever you want – digital, downloadable, physical, printable, etc.
- Set up different payment options – one-time, subscription, discount, etc.
- Access to the Woocommerce marketplace
- Available in 24 languages
- Fully optimized for SEO and top performance
- Jetpack enabled – downtime monitoring, backup, security, shipping services, etc.
- No extra transaction fee
- Woocommerce block
- 30-day money-back guarantee for products purchased
Squarespace is a website builder and a hosted platform with eCommerce functionality. But not as robust as Woocommerce or Shopify.
If you’re looking for a quick way to build stunning e-commerce websites with prebuilt templates, Squarespace is the best free e-commerce platform.
Its drag and drops template design allows anyone with minimal coding knowledge to build an online shop in minutes.
You can sell subscription-based products/services and synchronize with the Facebook product catalogue to tag products on your Instagram page.
Squarespace users on the commerce and business plan can access advanced website analytics tools.
You can track website visits, traffic sources, conversion, popular content, etc.
It also offers abandoned cart recovery emails, automatic real-time shipping calculations for UPSP, FedEx, and UPS, discount features, and more.
If you subscribe to an annual plan, you get a free 1-year domain name registration fee.
Squarespace Top Features
- Automatic SSL certificate for all domains
- $500 Google Ads match credit (selected Countries)
- 24/7 customers support
- Advanced Analytics tracking
- Prebuilt templates design
- Professional Google email account (Terms and Conditions apply)
- Mobile-optimized checkout pages
- Access to Squarespace third-party extensions
- Marketing materials – Popup and banners
- Sell unlimited products with no additional fees
- Gift Card
- Point of Sale (United States merchant only)
- Accept donations at your store
- Sell on Instagram with product tagging
- Developer API
- 3% transaction fee on the Business plan
- Customers account creations
- Sell in multiple currencies where PayPal and Stripe are accepted
- Personal – $23/month
- Business – $33/month
- Commerce Basic – $36/month
- Commerce Advanced – $65/month
Note; you get 30% off all plans if you subscribe to an annual plan.
Weebly is a free website builder combined with an eCommerce platform.
It offers basic website builder features, a Weebly braiding domain, SEO optimized website, lead capture, and an email form.
The free plan does not allow access to the Weebly eCommerce feature, and you need to upgrade to the eCommerce plan, which starts at a $12/month fee.
The Business plan gives you access to the Weebly shopping cart features, unlimited storage, site search, inventory management, automated tax calculations, shipping label, coupon codes, and lots more.
If you’re looking for a simplified online eCommerce platform that grows with you, Weebly might be the top choice.
Weebly is ideally the best eCommerce platform for beginners, individuals, and people who want a simple solution with just the basics of selling products online.
And if you’re worried about paying for features you don’t need in a platform like Shopify, you may consider Weebly as the best alternative.
Weebly Top Features
- Free website builder
- Free SSL Certificate
- Hosted Platform
- Most Affordable
- Automatic cart abandoned recovery emails
- Preset Shipping calculator
- Real-time shipping rate calculator based on product, delivery location, carrier, etc.
- Accept Square Gift card
- Inbuilt email marketing features – lead capture email form
- Advanced site analytics
- Email, Phone, chat, and community support channels.
- Process payment through Square
- Accept third-party payments
- $100 Google Ads credit
- Pro – $12/month
- Business – $25/month
- Business Plus – $38/month
Like WordPress, OpenCart is an open-source e-commerce platform to sell your goods and services online. It is one of the best large-scale eCommerce platforms for drop-shipping businesses.
Based on PHP, MySQL database, and HTML components, OpenCart allows endless customization possibilities for developers. You control your site data, hosting, SEO, product, growth, etc.
OpenCart allows you to build and manage multiple stores through an intuitive dashboard that gives you access to important metrics like sales, conversion, traffic, customers, etc.
You can run affiliate programs through its inbuilt system and pay qualified affiliates via PayPal, checks, or bank transfers.
The OpenCart installation package has built-in SEO features, product and customer management, orders, tax rules, discount codes, etc.
You can extend your store features through its over 13,000 e-commerce modules and themes.
OpenCart is free, and there are no charges.
However, you need a hosting account and a domain name to start. You can check some of the best OpenCart web hostings here.
OpenCart Top Features
- Advanced analytics dashboard
- Set user role and privileges
- Manage multiple stores from a centralized dashboard
- Products option and attributes
- Built-in affiliate system – run your affiliate program
- Backup and one-click restore
- Coupons, discounts, and special offers
- 100% free
- Access over 13,000 e-commerce modules and themes
- Sell unlimited products, including downloadable digital products.
- Create unlimited categories and subcategories
- Integrated product review, comments, and rating system
- Organize reward programs and award points
- Point of sales
- Support – ticket, community,
- Available in 40 languages
- Sell in different currencies – Euro, dollars, pounds, Canadian dollar, Pounds sterling, Russian Ruble, and get automatic rates
- 36 inbuilt payment gateways, plus more in the OpenCart marketplace
- Integrated shipping method with FedEx, Royal Mail, Parcelforce, UPS, City links, Australia Post, USPS, and more
Wix is a website builder that offers customizable template features and an eCommerce platform to sell your products.
It is a hosted platform that offers domain name registration services and free hosting, and you can start a blog on Wix.
There are plenty of tools and features to enhance your eCommerce business with Wix.
The platforms allow you to sell on multiple channels and in different locations, grow your business with dropshipping, and take on print-on-demand.
The Wix retail POS or on-the-go mobile POS allows you to sell in brick-and-mortar businesses or stores, make in-person sales, and synchronize inventory automatically.
The eCommerce platform is SEO optimized, built for top performance, and gives you access to the Wix Ascend powerful SEO suite.
You can build your theme or choose from the hundreds of prebuilt Wix templates to start your online store in minutes.
Wix is undoubtedly one of the best eCommerce free website builders for beginners and small business owners.
Wix Top Features
- Over 500 Wix eCommerce templates
- Multichannel selling
- Mobile Optimized storefront
- Over 1 million images from Unsplash
- Custom domain name
- Sell print-on-demand products
- Blog functionality
- Access to over 70 payments gateways
- Free SSL Certificate
- Secure online and checkout payment
- Sell globally
- Recover cart abandoned customers through an automated email
- Create free shipping rules for product sales
- Give discount
- Allow customers to choose a pickup option
- Built-in SEO tools
- Inventory management
- Sell downloadable digital products
- Import and export features
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Sell up to 50,000 products and manage them from one admin dashboard
- Manage, cancel, or make a refund from your admin dashboard
- Let customers and shoppers leave reviews
- Business Basic – $17/month
- Business Unlimited – $25/month
- Business VIP – $35/month
FAQ – Best eCommerce Platforms
There is much to learn and discover about the best platform for e-commerce shops, so I created this section to answer some of your questions.
Is Shopify the best eCommerce platform
Shopify is one of the best e-commerce hosted platforms with many features to power up your online store.
But when you compare with the growth of popular eCommerce solutions like Woocommerce and Bigcommerce, Shopify is one step behind.
What are the most popular eCommerce platforms?
Shopify, Woocommerce, Bigcomerce, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and OpenCart are the most popular eCommerce platforms.
What is The Best free dropshipping platform?
Shopify is the best free dropshipping e-commerce platform to beat. You don’t have to worry about building your warehouse or managing order fulfillment.
All the tools to handle your dropshipping business are available through addon-on and extensions.
You can outsource some of the Shopify Dropshipping tasks to Fiverr freelancers to get more time and freedom and run your business more professionally.
Just like businesses and marketers need different eCommerce solutions, eCommerce platforms are unequal in many aspects.
Some platforms are created to handle the global market, while some are better suited for selling on a relatively small-scale market.
The best eCommerce platform is the one that provides all the tools you need to build, grow, manage, and scale your online business.
This is because your business might grow bigger, and you will need a platform that allows you to scale and grow with you.