Setting up an online store has never been easier. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, that will help you with growth and maintenance. You can have a store up and running in an afternoon. But what are the best ecommerce platforms?
Today, we’ll find out, which is the best ecommerce platform for 2019. So sit back and relax, while we take you on this journey.
Table of Contents
What are eCommerce platforms?
Simply speaking, ecommerce, also known as internet commerce, refers to selling and/or buying services and products online. Pretty straightforward, right?
An ecommerce platform is software designed to help you, the store owner, to quickly build a functional store. It provides you with all the tools you might need, to create and manage an online store.
Most ecommerce platforms have easy to manage drag and drop functions because a lot of users aren’t professional developers.
This is great for amateurs! You don’t need extensive coding skills to create stunning, powerful and highly-responsive online stores!
Types of ecommerce platforms
When choosing an ecommerce platform, you need to know a couple of defining factors. There are a lot of different choices, so you don’t want to end up paying for a platform that doesn’t suit your needs.
One of the major distinguishing factors is the type of hosting they provide.
- Self-hosted. This means that you download the software and install it on your own server. While this gives you ultimate control over your online store, it also needs a lot more maintenance.
- Hosted. This means, that the platform is hosted on a server owned by someone else. This is beneficial for those, who have no technical skills to maintain their own server.
Keep in mind, that if you’re looking for web hosting, 000webhost has free services for you to try out!
Pros of using ecommerce platforms
So why should you use an ecommerce platform? After all, why not pay someone to design a website for your store and be done with it, right? There are a couple of good reasons.
- Saving money. Paying someone to set up a website is very expensive. Ecommerce platforms are very cheap, while some are even free.
- Ease of use. This is an important factor for beginners. With useful tools and platforms, you can easily build a very powerful online store on your own. It won’t take long, and you’ll save a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
- Customer support. Most, ecommerce platforms offer excellent customer support. So if you run into any problems, you can easily solve them with the help of professionals. No need to stress and spend sleepless nights Googling for bug fixes.
7 Best eCommerce Platforms
With the vast amount of platforms, making a choice can be overwhelming. No worries, we have your back.
Here’s a list of the best platforms available on the web.
WordPress is one of the most powerful and popular CMS (Content Management System) in the world. If you want to build an online store – WooCommerce with WordPress is one of the best choices.
WordPress is not a dedicated website builder or an ecommerce platform, but we still highly recommend it.
Unlike Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce and other ecommerce platforms, WooCommerce is open source. Meaning it is free for commercial use. As soon as you install WordPress, you can add the WooCommerce plugin and start building your store free of charge.
WooCommerce provides tons of useful features that every online store must have.
What is more, the WooCommerce plugin is easy to manage, so even if you are a beginner, you won’t run into any problems while creating and maintaining your store.
Building a website is easy too! There are hundreds of amazing WooCommerce themes for you to use. WordPress allows in-depth theme customization which means you can create a site of your dreams.
Managing a store with WooCommerce is a piece of cake. You can create customer and admin accounts, track your sales, etc. If you want more functionality, you’ll find many plugins designed for WooCommerce store management.
WooCommerce has one big drawback – the lack of customer support. Platforms like Shopify offer around the clock help, which is great for experts and newbies alike.
If the free version seems a bit simple, you can get advanced features, with the paid WooCommerce plans. The monthly price starts at $13.99 and goes up to $31.99.
With 000webhost.com you can use WooCommerce to easily set up an online store for free!
Loads of themes
Shopify is one of the most loved ecommerce platforms on the web. It is a fully hosted solution, which means you won’t have to pay for hosting services.
As a platform, Shopify is very easy to use and has a fast set up. All you need to do is register and start building your store.
It has a very intuitive and straightforward interface that you won’t have any problems mastering. Creating products with Shopify is as easy as it gets and doesn’t need any extra skills.
Shopify has a massive amount of beautiful, mobile-optimized themes for your store. With the amazing visual editor, you won’t need any coding skills to create the website of your dreams.
When it comes to customer support, Shopify has it in the bag. They offer fantastic support via phone, live chat, and Twitter. Everything’s available 24/7.
However, Shopify can get a little expensive. There is a base fee, and most plugins, features, and themes are also paid. So the costs can start growing very quickly, especially if you need a lot of features for your shop.
Shopify has a few pricing plans. You should choose them according to your needs. The monthly price of Shopify starts at $29 and can go up to a whopping amount of $299.
Keep in mind, that the prices won’t stop with the monthly payments. If you want to set up a great shop with Shopify, you will have to invest.
Easy to use
Great selection of templates
Comfortable template editor
Wix is a phenomenal website builder. However, it’s not limited to blogs and websites – you can utilize it to create stunning and powerful online stores.
Just like Shopify, Wix is a very easy to use platform. You don’t need any coding skills to set it up and start building your store.
It has an impressive drag and drop builder, which allows you to place content at any spot of your site. So, you don’t need any coding skills to set up amazing-looking websites and online stores!
While Wix isn’t originally an ecommerce platform, it does have over five hundred templates for online stores. The templates are easy to edit and can be greatly configured.
Wix even provides you with stock images, so you can really bring your store to life without having to pay for additional services on third-party sites.
Wix offers a lot of subscriptions for you to choose from. Different pricing has different functionality, so depending on your needs you can spend a lot, or save a lot.
The Premium Plan’s prices start off with $8.50 and go up to $24. So, compared to Shopify, Wix is definitely the more budget-friendly solution.
One thing to remember – Wix isn’t made to be an ecommerce platform. It can be used to build an online store, yes. But it doesn’t mean that you will get the same functionality, as you would get from an online commerce platform.
Basic eCommerce functionality
BigCommerce, just like Shopify, is often the first choice for people who are building an online store.
It is a self-hosted service that provides its users with many great features. You get the ultimate management of your online store and its data.
BigCommerce has many flexible shipping options and functions, that make your store run smoothly. Setting up promotions, handling returns, creating coupons and many more features are at your service.
BigCommerce integrates well with social media and shopping networks like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. So, when using this platform, you’ll be able to expand your market reach to its limits!
What makes BigCommerce so amazing, is the number of useful apps you can find in their store. You can set up apps for increased functionality such as email marketing, promotions, automation and so on.
Now one of the most significant drawbacks of BigCommerce is its lack of templates. There are only a couple of free themes available, while the paid ones aren’t very budget friendly.
This means, that if you aren’t willing to invest – there is a big chance you’ll end up with a store that looks like other online shops.
When it comes to pricing, BigCommerce isn’t the cheapest platform either. The standard plan is almost $30 month, and the prices go up to a staggering $249.95 a month!
Loads of functionality
Easy to manage stores
Integration with other sites
Lack of templates
If you watch YouTube videos, you have probably seen a lot of Squarespace ads. They sure like to invest in their marketing!
Squarespace is the perfect website builder for those, who put aesthetics on top of their priority list.
It started out as a tool to make beautiful websites, but over time became even more useful and can be utilized for making amazing online stores.
When building your store, you can choose from a high number of stunning website templates. The easy to use drag and drop editor will ensure, that you’ll build your store no muss, no fuss.
What is more, Squarespace has plenty of terrific features! It is SEO friendly, allows you to have an unlimited amount of products in your store, has flexible shipping options, inventory and order management features, and much more.
However, one massive downside of Squarespace is their lack of an app store. This means, that if you aren’t happy with the built-in features, you won’t be able to expand your store’s functionality.
The pricing of Squarespace is higher than Wix and comes close to Shopify. The Basic plan is $26 and goes up to $40 with the advanced plan.
Plenty of beautiful, mobile responsive themes
Easy theme editing
No app store
Weebly is one of the most popular and best website builders around. Due to the high demand for good ecommerce options, they provided its users with an amazing platform for online stores as well.
With Weebly, you can sell anything you want – from digital products and services to physical objects that need to be shipped.
If you want to add a store to your Weebly website, you can do so in a couple of simple steps. It has an amazing drag and drop builder, so you need absolutely no coding skills to set up beautiful, easily navigable stores.
The interface is very intuitive and takes no time to master. Weebly’s ecommerce functions are flexible and will fit everyone’s wildest dreams.
One big drawback of Weebly is that they don’t provide an offline payment method. This means your customers can only pay with PayPal or a credit card.
When it comes to pricing, Weebly is truly a budget-friendly option. The starter pack is only $8/mo, while the most expensive package is $38/mo.
Of course, the most expensive plan has the most functionality, but if you’re running a small store, you can get away with the cheaper options.
Easy to use
Supports both online and physical goods
Shipping and tax calculator
Best features only available in the most expensive plan
No offline payments
Magento is a bit different from other ecommerce platforms. You can download the software and install it on your own server, or use it as a self-hosted service.
When it comes to functionality, Magento is definitely an incredibly powerful choice. However, it has a steeper learning curve, so it can take a while to master.
If you’re looking to create a very powerful, robust store – Magento is the ecommerce solution for you. But if you want a small, simple e-shop, there are other, easier to use options.
People with good technical skills will be able to customize Magento to suit their needs completely. This platform gives you the ultimate control of your ecommerce store.
It has a vast list of features and tools – recurring payments, subscriptions, promotions, coupons, discounts and much more.
Magento has one big advantage over other platforms – multilingual options. You can create multiple sites for different languages. This means more market pool and bigger sales opportunities!
The biggest downside of Magento is the steep learning curve and complex interface. If you are a beginner, who needs a simple solution – you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The biggest pro of Magento – it is entirely free! You can download it and use it without spending anything.
Steep learning curve
Zen Cart is an open-source, self-hosted eCommerce platform. Not as popular as some of the mentioned options, yet still powerful. It has an excellent reputation when it comes to security – one thing less for you to worry about.
Zen Cart offers fantastic customization options for products. You can create coupons, promotions, discounts, etc. What is more, it has built-in SEO features, which will help you to increase visibility.
However, Zen Cart has a huge drawback – the interface. It is clunky and outdated. Setting up a website with Zen Cart can be a real pain. So if you’re an amateur, you should look for more user-friendly options.
While the software itself is free, the maintenance will cost you. If you don’t have any development skills, you’ll have to invest in hiring someone to do the job for you.
Hard to use
It has never been easier to make money online. You can easily set up an ecommerce store and start selling!
Various platforms are extremely helpful when it comes to this task. Luckily, there are plenty of choices for you to explore!
We hope this lists will help you to pick the best ecommerce platform for your business.