Ecommerce

Best Platform to Start an Ecommerce Store in 2021

Date Published: 7/23/2021

Last Updated: 7/23/2021

The answer is not one size fits all. Different ecommerce platforms vary in features, performance, ease of use, design themes, and integrations. Which factors are most important to have will depend largely on what category your products are in. Use our list below to compare platforms and determine which one best meets your business’s needs. Choose one, and get ready to excel in your niche!

Shopify

Shopify Homepage
Cost:

Advanced Shopify $299/mo

Basic Shopify $29/mo

Shopify $79/mo

Powering over 800,000 businesses, Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform and the best at selling. It boasts over 3,000 apps, supports over 100 payment options, has multi-platform selling capabilities, offers 24/7 customer support to sellers, and is easy for beginners to use. If you plan to drop ship, rely on Facebook Ads or Instagram marketing, Shopify is likely your best choice. However, it’s not for every business. If cost is a concern, Shopify may not be your best choice and if you’re relying heavily on SEO, there may be better platforms to consider. See the top pros and cons of Shopify below.

Pros:
  • Easy, fast setup - no coding skills required

  • User-friendly drag & drop builder

  • Fastest load time

  • 100+ ecommerce templates

  • Multi-channel commerce

  • Outstanding blog features

  • Powerful marketing tools

  • Extensive app marketplace

Cons:
  • More expensive than it appears; unless you use Shopify Payments, you’ll pay transaction fees

  • Apps can be expensive

  • Comparatively weak performance in SEO/Content Marketing

  • Checkout Not Customizable

  • Developer needed for advanced features

Wix

Wix Homepage
Cost:

Business Basic: $23/mo

Business Unlimited: $27/mo

Business VIP: $49/mo

In recent years, Wix has made drastic improvements in its ecommerce capabilities and has emerged as a top platform choice for solopreneurs and small businesses. When you sign up, you get a free domain name for the first year, unlimited product listings, and hundreds of templates you can use.Feature-rich Wix is another easy-to use platform that now offers multi-channel integration, abandoned cart recovery, dropship and print on demand capabilities. Like Shopify, Wix demonstrates weakness in the area of SEO, but that may or may not be a deal killer depending on your category. See the top pros and cons of Wix below.

Pros:
  • Easy to learn for beginners; no coding skills required

  • More affordable compared to other platforms

  • Many free themes to choose from

  • Includes Marketing Automation

Cons:
  • Poor SEO Performance

  • Weak upselling capabilities

  • Weak Integration with Amazon

  • Storage space is 20GB limit ( if you have many large digital products or other materials, that space might not suffice)

Squarespace

Squarespace Homepage
Cost:

Basic Commerce: $26/mo

Advanced Commerce: $40/mo

Another highly affordable and relatively easy-to-use platform is Squarespace, which is probably best known for its stunning, sleek, responsive design templates. With Squarespace’s ecommerce subscription plans, you can get features like abandoned cart auto recovery, sell subscriptions and gift cards, and give flexible discounts. This platform is a top choice for artists and creative types. Squarespace won’t be suitable for every business though, as it doesn’t have as many integration capabilities compared to other ecommerce builders, and is probably not the best choice if you’re trying to scale fast. See the top pros and cons of Squarespace below.

Pros:
  • Affordable

  • Easy to setup, no coding necessary

  • Stunning Template Designs

Cons:
  • Lacking ecommerce integrations (No Amazon, no dropshipping)

  • Limited Payment Gateways (only supports Stripe and Paypal currently)

  • No Phone Support

  • Page speed could be faster for the price

  • No app store for more features and functionalities

  • Extremely limited css/html/js customization

Weebly

Weebly Homepage

Cost:

Performance Plan: $26/mo

For a basic store, Weebly offers excellent value with marketing automation built in. Compared to Shopify, Weebly is more affordable, although if you plan on doing a lot of marketing, you can outgrow Weebly fast.. Similar to Squarespace, Weebly doesn’t offer much in the way of ecommerce integrations, but does have some of the most stunning, responsive design templates and many find the easy-to-use builder interface even easier to use than Squarespace. Also, if SEO is critical to your business, Weebly is probably not the right choice. See the top pros and cons of Weebly below.

Pros:
  • Great value - lowest price for ecommerce marketing automation

  • Stunning, responsive templates

  • Powerful email marketing tools

  • Mobile app allows you to manage business and print shipping labels

Cons:
  • Weak SEO performance

  • Transaction fees on lower plans

  • No Amazon integration

  • Inventory management very basic

BigCommerce

BigCommerce Website
Cost:

Standard: $29.95/mo

Plus: $29.95/mo

Pro: $299.95/mo

BigCommerce is an ideal platform for aspiring large retail brands, thanks to its excellent product search engine. It’s also a good choice for those who have a brick and mortar store and want to expand their operations online. Its many tools make it possible for any niche or industry to be successful. A BiCommerce subscription comes with a selection of customizable templates to choose from, geared toward beginners but also accessible to tech-savvy people who want to make tweaks to HTML or CSS. See the top pros and cons of BigCommerce below.

Pros
  • Strong SEO performance

  • Excels with multi-channel selling

  • Flexible and scalable

  • Comprehensive abandoned cart feature

Cons:
  • Inconsistent loading speeds

  • High volume stores pay more

  • Cart abandonment isn’t on entry plan

  • Comparatively, not as many themes to choose from as other platforms

Webflow

Webflow Homepage
Cost:

Standard: $29/mo

Plus: $74/mo

Advanced: $212/mo

Webflow’s level of customization sets it apart from other website builders, and for this reason, it tends to be used by web designers. It’s ideal for sellers who don’t want to bother with a lot of code, but require a platform that’s fully customizable. Webflow’s interface actually looks a lot like Photoshop, which can be intimidating to some.The platform has over 100 templates in total for you to choose from, including 40 free ones. See the top pros and cons of Webflow below.

Pros
  • Excellent amount of design choices and customization without coding required

Cons
  • Not many features compared to Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace

  • Relatively difficult to use for a website builder, especially in comparison to Wix or Weebly

  • Comparatively more expensive than other platforms

  • No live chat or phone support

Wordpress / WooComerce

Wordpress Homepage
Cost:

FREE (the CMS is free but plugis often require fees)

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that powers more than one-third of the world’s websites. Unlike the other website builders on this list, WordPress is self-hosted, which means you have 100% control over your site because you have full access to your site’s underlying code and database.With other website builders, your data “lives” on the website builder’s servers. Woodpress’s WooCommerce plugin allows conversion of a website into an e-commerce store without any technical expertise, but it’s not the best choice for every business. For those who aren’t familiar with WordPress already, you might struggle with the technical details like buying hosting, installing WordPress, setting up your theme and plugins. Additionally, many WooCommerce sellers report problems with scalability. However, if SEO is your #1 priority, WooCommerce is the best choice. See the top pros and cons of WooCommerce below.

Pros
  • Lowest upfront cost

  • One of best platforms for SEO

  • Lots of WordPress experts available for hire

  • The most customizable

  • Many marketing options and integrations

Cons
  • Good hosting has a high cost

  • Virtually zero support - you must troubleshoot on your own

  • You need many extensions for simple stuff

  • Possible security issues

Finally, in addition to this list of ecommerce store builders, it most likely makes sense for you to launch an Amazon store as well, given that approximately 40% of online retail sales happen there. Don’t miss our guide on launching and scaling an Amazon store here.

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