eCommerce Platforms Compared and Ranked for Beginners in 2023

10/17/2022

eCommerce Platforms Compared and Ranked for Beginners in 2023

The global eCommerce market almost touched the $5 trillion mark in 2021 and it’s all set to grow over 50% in the next four years. 

In other words, these are exciting times to start an online business. With the right products and business strategies, you can scale your eCommerce venture faster than any other industry. 

So if you’re in the process of starting an online store, chances are you might already be overwhelmed by the choices of eCommerce platforms available out there.

But take a breather! We have you covered. 

We’ve curated this guide to help you choose the right eCommerce platform that fits your business needs and pocket alike. 

But before we jump to the list of platforms, let’s catch up on some basics. 

What is an eCommerce Platform?

An eCommerce platform is a software or application that allows you to build and operate your online store. It helps you display & sell products, serve customers, complete transactions, generate shipping orders and much more. 

When starting an online business, some of the foundational steps are: 

  • Doing market research 
  • Deciding product line
  • Identified the target audience, etc. 

Once you’re done with the basics and ready to launch your business, the next most important decision you’ll make is selecting the right eCommerce platform. It’s crucial because that’s where your future customers will come to shop. 

So you must research your options before finalising the platform.

How to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform?

Choosing-the-Right-eCommerce-Platform

Here’s what you should look at while considering eCommerce platform options for your brand.

  • Robust Product Catalogue
  • Pricing Flexibility
  • Mobile-friendly
  • SEO-friendly
  • Shipping Options
  • Multiple Payment Gateways
  • Customisation
  • Integrations
  • eCommerce Analytics

Best eCommerce Platforms in 2022

Best-eCommerce-Platforms

Considering the above factors and user reviews, we’ve compiled a list of eCommerce platforms that you can choose from. 

Here they are. 

1. Shopify

Shopify is arguably one of the most popular eCommerce platforms for beginners today. It was launched in Canada in 2006 and became one of the fastest-growing SaaS platforms. 

Shopify

Besides an all-inclusive eCommerce platform, Shopify also offers comprehensive educational resources on starting and successfully running an online business. That could be a great help for beginners. 

Moreover, with its subscription, you also get access to tools that help you build a brand, website, and online presence.  

Key Features

  • Unlimited products
  • 24/7 support
  • Inventory allocation to multiple locations
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Manual order creation
  • Shopify point of sale (POS)
  • eCommerce automation
  • Marketing automation

Strengths 

  • Easy setup and quick onboarding
  • Supports social commerce on multiple channels
  • Custom themes
  • A suite of marketing tools
  • Access to thousands of apps on the Shopify store
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Extensive payment options

Drawbacks

  • High transaction fees
  • High reliance on apps
  • Lack of customisation in the checkout process
  • Advanced features may require a developer
  • Apps add up the overall costs

Pricing

14-day free trial and paid plans starting at $29 a month

Shopify-Pricing

Most Suitable For

Shopify targets nearly every retailer wanting to have an online presence. It’s also reflected in their pricing plans that offer features and services to all revenue groups. 

That said, Shopify is ideal for: 

2. Wix

Wix was also founded in 2006 and operates in nearly 190 countries across the globe with more than 200 million users. It’s an easy-to-use cloud-based development platform that also offers domain registration and hosting. 

Wix

Wix targets a wide range of audiences. For example, users that want to create a blog, build an e-store, offer professional services, start a niche site, etc. It’s a multi-purpose platform. 

So if you’re starting your site with any of the purposes mentioned above, you can build it easily with the Wix drag-and-drop website builder. 

Also, your site is automatically optimised for mobile devices. That’s one of the standout features of Wix. 

Key Features

  • 500+ customisable website templates
  • Custom domain
  • Site booster app (Free for 1 year)
  • Visitor analytics app (Free for 1 year)
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Advanced SEO tools

Strengths 

  • Fully hosted platform
  • Easy to build and operate
  • Free themes
  • On page support for multiple needs
  • Forever free plan
  • Intuitive interface

Drawbacks

  • Lacks full customisation
  • Non-transferable site
  • Wix branding on the free plan
  • Analytics and tracking only for paid plans

Pricing

Besides the free open-source plan, Wix has the following premium plans starting at $80 per month.

Website Plans

wix-website-plans

Business and eCommerce Plans

Wix-business-and-eCommerce-plan

Most Suitable For

  • Small businesses
  • Creatives
  • Beginners

3. Squarespace

Founded in a dorm room in 2003, Squarespace has come a long way. With a team size of 1600+, they serve millions of users globally. 

Just like Wix, you don’t need any technical or coding expertise to build a Squarespace site. It’s a simple drag-and-drop website builder. 

squarespace

It’s super easy to set up and provides a number of aesthetically pleasing templates. Moreover, Squarespace sites are quite mobile-friendly and have a provision for integration with shipping solutions like third-party logistics (3PL) and order fulfilment services

Key Features

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • SSL security
  • Video storage
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free custom domain
  • SEO features

Strengths 

  • Hosted platform
  • Basic website metrics in all the plans
  • Professionally designed website templates
  • Integrated shipping solutions
  • No transaction charges
  • Easy setup

Drawbacks

  • Not the best option for SEO, site speed, and customisation
  • Lacks dedicated options for dropshipping
  • No integrations for marketing automation
  • Limited options for multichannel sales

Pricing

14-day free trial and paid plans starting at $19 a month

squarespace-pricing

Most Suitable For

  • Small online stores
  • Bloggers
  • Freelancers

4. WooCommerce

While WordPress reigns over the CMS world with 65% of the market share, WooCommerce checkout dominates over the eCommerce platforms with a 29% share

And guess what? 

They both come from the same family — Automattic

It originally started as WooThemes back in 2008 as a WordPress themes developer and forayed into an eCommerce storefront in 2011. Eventually, Automattic acquired it in 2015. 

Today, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that you can build on WordPress. 

woocommerce

WooCommerce is easy to set up and offers integrations such as shipping, payments, one-click selling, social media, email marketing, etc. 

It’s possibly the best platform that runs eCommerce and affiliate sites on a single platform. However, scalability is a major challenge with WooCommerce. 

Key Features

  • WooCommerce dashboard
  • Flexible and secure payments
  • 140+ region-specific payment gateways
  • Automated tax calculations
  • Live shipping rates
  • Marketing integrations

Strengths 

  • Open-source platform
  • Integrated shipping options
  • Highly customisable platform
  • Ideal platform for SEO
  • Leverages the expertise of WordPress
  • Over 6000 integrations and plugins

Drawbacks

  • Scalability
  • High costs of hosting and development
  • Lacks support
  • Requires extensions for basic setups

Pricing

WooCommerce is open-source and free. However, your main costs will come from buying hosting, themes, plugins, and integrations. 

Most Suitable For

  • WordPress users
  • Retail eCommerce 

5. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an enterprise-grade eCommerce platform. It’s one of the most open SaaS eCommerce platforms and features world-class SEO, product, and marketing solutions. 

bigcommerce

Besides, BigCommerce solves scalability issues that come with other eCommerce platforms. This makes it an ideal solution for B2B eCommerce and businesses that scale rapidly. 

They have two product offerings: for enterprises and small businesses. 

However, BigCommerce doesn’t offer a domain name registration feature. So you need to purchase and register your domain name elsewhere and port it afterwards. 

Key Features

  • Flexible framework that allows a multitude of integrations
  • Multi-storefront to sell your products on various platforms
  • Headless and borderless commerce
  • Persistent cart 
  • Page builder visual editor
  • Check out customisations
  • Multi-currency payments
  • Cross-border fulfilment

Strengths 

  • Comprehensive feature for abandoned carts
  • Powerful SEO features
  • Capable of supporting high-growth and scalable ventures
  • Excellent performance in multi-channel sales
  • Fully hosted platform
  • No transaction fees
  • All-inclusive business management systems

Drawbacks

  • Themes are expensive
  • Some designs are not user-friendly
  • Inconsistent site speed
  • No abandoned cart feature for entry plan
  • No options for one-click selling

Pricing

15-day free trial and paid plans starting at $29.95 a month.

bigcommerce-pricing

Most Suitable For

  • Large and scalable businesses 
  • B2C and B2B eCommerce companies
  • Manufacturing and automotive 

6. Adobe Commerce (Previously Magento)

Magento started as an open-source eCommerce platform in 2008. Adobe acquired it in 2018 and later rebranded it as Adobe Commerce

adobe-commerce

It’s a non-hosted platform primarily built for developers who prefer a powerful and flexible system they can customise according to their business needs. Thus, it suits companies that intend to have a thoroughly tailored website. 

So while it gives you total control over the aesthetics, content management, and functionality of your e-store, it also adds to the development costs and complexity. 

In addition, Adobe Commerce also provides powerful marketing, catalogue management, and SEO tools.

Key Features

  • Integrated B2B commerce functionality
  • Headless commerce
  • Featured Amazon sales channel
  • Inventory and order management
  • Product recommendations
  • Integrated shipping solutions
  • Reporting and analytics
  • ERP integration

Strengths 

  • Full customisation is possible
  • Free to start
  • Flexibility in software hosting
  • Robust features and systems
  • Strong SEO 
  • Support high scalability

Drawbacks

  • Requires technical know-how
  • Can be a complex platform for beginners
  • Expensive themes
  • Needs sizeable memory for better performance

Pricing

No free trial. Custom pricing on demand. 

Most Suitable For

Since this platform requires in-house developers, it’s the best fit for businesses with PHP programming expertise. 

Besides, here are the industries that Adobe Commerce serve:

  • Fashion
  • Health & beauty
  • Automotive
  • Food & beverage

7. PrestaShop

If you have technical expertise, PrestaShop is one of the most affordable eCommerce platforms. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners. 

Since it’s an open-source platform, you have 100% ownership of your website.

prestashop

PrestaShop provides over 5000 modules and themes — some built-in and others available in the marketplace. Thus, you can customise, run, and scale your website according to your business requirements. 

Also, it offers 75 language options so that you can easily launch and run your eCommerce business in international markets. 

Key Features

  • Quick launch starter pack 
  • Unlimited product listing
  • Advanced SEO capabilities
  • Cart abandonment notifications
  • Accurate shipping estimations
  • Sales and order statistics
  • Customisable checkout page

Strengths 

  • Free and open-source
  • Multiple integrations and plugins
  • Support of a large community of users
  • Multi-currency payment plugins for international selling
  • Highly flexible and customisable

Drawbacks

  • Doesn’t have an official support team 
  • Needs developers’ expertise
  • Slower than other platforms
  • Limited choices for third-party integrations 
  • Add-ons can be costly

Pricing

PrestaShop is open-source and free. Your main costs can include buying add-ons, integrations, and hiring developers.  

Most Suitable For

  • Online retailers
  • Dropshippers

8. Weebly

Weebly started in 2007 with the idea to provide tools to help businesses launch and grow their operations. It was acquired by Square in 2018. 

Today, Weebly powers more than 50 million websites across the globe.

weebly

Weebly works best for small businesses that don’t need much upkeep and an advanced online presence. 

It also allows you to manage hundreds of products while tracking inventory levels. Besides, it also displays the number of units left in inventory to customers which instils a sense of urgency in them. 

Key Features

  • 500 MB to unlimited storage depending on the plan
  • Free SSL security
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Contact and lead capturing forms
  • Advanced site and eCommerce statistics
  • Integrated shipping calculator and labels
  • Automatic tax calculator

Strengths 

  • Good site speed
  • Customisable themes
  • Simple and user-friendly editor
  • Can connect a custom domain
  • Ability to accept payment through third-party providers
  • Mobile application

Drawbacks

  • Unable to edit photos within the platform
  • Limited blogging tools
  • Freeloaders get stuck
  • Need to pay extra for better support

Pricing

Free basic plan and there are two categories of paid plans:

For Websites — Starting at $5 a month

weebly-pricing-for-websites

For Online Stores — Starting at $12 a month

weebly-pricing-for-online-stores-1

Most Suitable For

  • Small businesses
  • Simple, low-inventory and low-volume online stores

9. Square Online

Square originally started with POS systems in 2009 and later diversified into helping retailers shift online with the launch of Square Online.

Square

If you’re planning to start out as an omnichannel retailer, this platform can help you organise your online and offline orders under a single dashboard.

This saves you from tracking and managing inventory separately for online and offline channels. 

Square offers tools that connect every aspect of your business — commerce, customers, banking, and employees. 

Key Features

  • Point of sale solutions (including hardware and accessories)
  • Online store
  • Payment integrations
  • Dashboard
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Team management tools
  • Email marketing tools

Strengths 

  • Sell online, offline, or from anywhere
  • Wide range of themes
  • Ideal for omnichannel merchants
  • All-in-one payment system
  • Integrates with other eCommerce platforms
  • Free plan 

Drawbacks

  • Limited customisations in the store designs
  • Editing templates may require coding knowledge
  • Poor customer support
  • No rate adjustments in shipping strategy

Pricing

Free basic plan and paid plans starting at $12 a month.  

square-pricing

Most Suitable For

  • Retail
  • Food & beverage
  • Professional services
  • Large businesses

10. Volusion

Volusion was founded in 1999 and publicly launched in 2002. So it’s one of the oldest eCommerce platforms out there. They provide an easy drag and drop website builder with 11 free themes and plenty of paid themes.

volusion

You get a good level of beginner support right from your dashboard along with the resources that help you set up your store. However, there are limitations on the number of product listings and sales volume based on the plan you choose. 

At the same time, they offer myriad tools to create your site, sell your products, and grow your business. 

Key Features

  • Powerful site editing tools
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • Social media integrations
  • Abandoned cart reports
  • Phone orders + CRM
  • Third-party shipping rates
  • Third-party payment gateways

Strengths 

  • Ideal for small businesses
  • Comprehensive dashboard
  • Integrated options for subscriptions and recurring payments
  • Flexible sitemaps
  • Seamless onboarding and support centre
  • Inventory management and marketing tools

Drawbacks

  • Slower platform as compared to its counterparts
  • Lack of built-in blogging capabilities
  • No cross/upselling features
  • Paid SSL security
  • Can only sell physical products

Pricing

14-day free trial and paid plans starting at $35 a month

volusion-pricing

Most Suitable For

Volusion is only suitable for businesses that sell physical products. Here are some of the industries they cater to:

  • Apparels
  • Home & garden
  • Food
  • Automotives
  • Electronics

11. Shift4Shop

Shift4Shop started almost 21 years ago with the brand name 3dcart. Today, they serve more than 22,000 online businesses with their platform. 

shift4shop

Shift4Shop is a simple website builder packed with powerful features and tools — 50+ free themes and more than 100 payment options. However, it’s one of the least beginner-friendly platforms. 

It can also be the reason why it’s not as popular as its competitors like Shopify and BigCommerce which were launched much later than 3dcart. 

Key Features

  • Website builder
  • Shopping cart
  • Store design
  • Products and order management
  • SEO and marketing tools
  • Mobile commerce

Strengths 

  • Supports most of the integrations needed for an e-store
  • Good business management tools
  • Extensive shopping cart options
  • Supports multichannel retailing
  • Better blog feature than competing SaaS eCommerce platforms

Drawbacks

  • It’s not beginner-friendly
  • Poor customer support
  • No exceptional templates
  • Lacks critical built-in eCommerce features

Pricing

Free basic plan and paid plans starting at $29 a month

shift4shop-pricing

Most Suitable For

  • B2B eCommerce sites
  • Arts and craft eCommerce sites
  • Auto parts eCommerce sites
  • Pet supplies eCommerce sites
  • Sporting goods eCommerce sites

Start your eCommerce Store

There you have it. 

The top eCommerce platforms — compared and ranked — to help you get started with your online venture in 2022. 

Now that you have the list handy, just check which one best suits your business requirements and so your budget. Accordingly, take the decision and get started with your eCommerce store. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are eCommerce platforms?

An eCommerce platform is a software or application that helps you build, manage, and grow your online store. Some of the platforms are simple drag and drop website builders, while some may require you to have technical knowledge. 

What are the top eCommerce platforms?

We have listed the 11 top eCommerce platforms for beginners. However, the top five platforms include: 

  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce

How many eCommerce platforms are there?

There are plenty of eCommerce platforms out there. Some may cater to a broad range of businesses and some of them serve niche markets. 

How do eCommerce platforms make money?

Most eCommerce platforms have paid plans available on monthly or annual subscriptions. Besides, some of them also charge transaction fees for each sale. 

There are also quite a few open-source free platforms. They make money from paid templates, themes, integrations, and other premium features. 

 

Image Source: Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Adobe Commerce, PrestaShop, Weebly, Square Online, Volusion, Shift4Shop

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