Over the past decade, the retail industry has made a robust shift towards digital, mobile shopping hubs, and the popularity of e-commerce platforms is on the rise.
The best e-commerce platforms provide a strong structure for the front-end and back-end of the stores, as well as stimulate the growth of new and existing businesses.
You might have realized that a new platform is added to the list almost every other day and your choice can either make or break your store’s progress.
Hence, to make the best use of your capital, you need to carefully think about the factors to consider before registering and maintaining your e-commerce store. The factors will help you make the right call.
You have the option to choose between a free and a paid platform for building your online store.
Nevertheless, you need some expertise to operate your store continuously on free platforms. This is already taken care of by paid ones. Many such differences can be found between the two kinds of e-commerce platforms.
Factors to Consider for the E-commerce Platform for Your Business
To assist you with the process of making the right choice, we will be reviewing the best e-commerce sites available right now. However, before jumping to the list, let us talk about some of the factors that you should consider when choosing the platform for your business.
Regardless of whether you are a small business, a start-up, or an established company, which has recently decided to move online, pricing can be a big issue. Most platforms, following the period of the free trial, will have a monthly fee. Some are self-hosted, while some are pre-hosted. Costs vary accordingly. You need to take a prudent look at each of the types before deciding to pay for one.
Supported Payment Methods
It is important to consider how your customers will be paying. Some e-commerce platforms allow options of paying through third- parties like PayPal, while others do not. The latter can be inconvenient for some customers and hence, harmful for your store.
E-commerce businesses have to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) because having your online store ranked high in the search results is essential to gather bigger traffic. Some e-commerce platforms allow you to increase the SEO by adding a blog to your website, using your domain name, and allowing your customers to leave feedback.
Plugins and integrations are crucial features in an e-commerce platform. Most come with several tools available for your enterprise to use, but you have to check which is the most relevant one. For instance, some useful ones include accounting plugins to assist with sales, taxes, revenues, and profit, email marketing tools, etc.
Does the platform look dubious? If you were the customer, would you feel safe to enter your credit card or bank details on this platform? Ask yourself these questions when checking out platforms to create your own website. It is wise to verify if the platform supports HTTPS/SSL for safe and secure checkout options.
Ease of Use
You must be careful about the ease of exploring the site, i.e. finding your store or your products. Is it mobile-friendly? As per research, 60% of online shopping occurs through mobile devices.
Best Paid E-Commerce Platforms to Create Your Own E-Commerce Website
We have successfully scoured the market and made a list of the 3 best, paid e-commerce platforms, suited for beginners, with little or no experience in creating or managing an online store. These are also relevant for experts.
This is one of the most popular choices for creating your own e-commerce website because of the upfront way it facilitates the online store to build itself in the website. Wix is a pretty cost-effective platform whereby you can get hosting for your online store. The site provides you the possibility to choose from over 500 free, mobile-friendly templates and themes on e-commerce. You can create an online enterprise in over 90 languages, thereby having a higher global reach.
You can benefit from $300 worth of online advertisement credit besides useful online marketing tools.
The available options are:
- eCommerce ($17/mo)
- VIP ($25/mo)
- Business Basic ($23/mo)
- Free eCommerce templates are available
- Unlimited accounts and products can be listed
- 20GB of storage available
- Integration with Google Analytics available
- Business Unlimited ($27/mo)
- Everything in the Business Basic plan
- 35GB of storage available
- Subscription selling possible
- Automated sales tax (100 transactions/month)
- Advanced shipping options available
- Currency converter option available
- Facebook, Instagram, and eBay integrations
- Business VIP ($35/mo)
- Everything in the Business Unlimited plan
- 50GB of storage available
- Automated sales tax (500 transactions/month)
- Priority support available
- Customized reports available
- Loyalty program available
- Enterprise ($500/mo)
Even the cheapest plan of Wix offers some of the best features for making the site, which can be very useful for all businesses. These include:
- Digital products
- Product galleries
- Shipping options
- Discount codes
- Inventory management
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Payment options
- Other functionalities available via extensions
- 72 free, spellbinding themes.
- Convenient to use and setup
- On-page support for various needs
- Marketing automation is included
- 14- day money back is guaranteed
- Free domain is available for the first year
- USPS shipping discounts are available due to partnership
- No transaction fees are involved
- Poor SEO reputation
- Some of the sites are not secure
- No Live chat option available
Shopify is renowned as a top e-commerce platform for selling. If you want to focus on Facebook advertisements and Instagram marketing, this is your best pick. This platform is not the best in terms of SEO or for creating a large store with many products. However, it wins in terms of post-purchase 1-click upsells. It has one of the fastest loading times and the feasibility of setting up makes it a popular choice.
Shopify fits well with beginners as well as small to medium-sized businesses which need assistance in setting up their stores. Most of the required facilities are pre-integrated into the platform.
The available options are:
- Basic Shopify ($29/mo)
- 2 accounts can be created
- Shipping discount up to 64% is possible
- Online credit card fee 2.9% + 30¢ or 2% using other providers
- Shopify ($79/mo)
- 5 accounts can be created
- Shipping discount up to 72% is possible
- Online credit card fee 2.6% + 30¢ or 1% using other providers
- E-Commerce reports are available
- Advanced Shopify ($299/mo)
- 15 accounts can be created
- Shipping discount up to 74% is possible
- Online credit card fee 2.4% + 30¢ or 0.5% using other providers
- Custom reports are possible
- Third-party shipping rate calculations are possible
You can also take the free trial for 14 days before subscribing. During this time, no credit card is required.
Some of the key features include:
- Unlimited product listings
- Custom domains
- Real-time sales statistics
- Inventory tracking
- Over 70 themes/templates available
- Super-fast loading time
- Very easy and convenient to set up
- Lots of certified partners available to help you
- 1-Click selling option available
- Multiple channels and social media selling available
- Wide variety of themes available
- 24/7 live support available
- 14- day free trial available
- In-house payment platform
- SEO improvements are highly required
- The checkout process can be customized
- Apps can be expensive
- Only 9 free themes are available
One of the greatest facilities provided by Squarespace is the drag-and-drop. If you are not in the search of a platform with too many features, you can try Squarespace out. Furthermore, if you are a print-on-demand e-commerce business, this will be your perfect fit.
However, to start selling, you need to at least be on the Business website plan. It is pretty low as well. However, this platform includes 3% transaction fees.
- Personal ($16/mo)
- Business ($26/mo)
- Free templates are available
- Unlimited contributors and products can be listed
- Website analytics available
- 3% transaction fees are charged
- Basic Commerce ($30/mo)
- Everything from the Business plan is included
- Customer accounts can be created
- Additional eCommerce analytics is possible
- No transaction fees are charged
- On-domain checkout process available
- Advanced Commerce ($46/mo)
- Everything in Basic Commerce plan is included
- Abandoned cart recovery is possible
- Subscription selling is possible
- Automatic shipping rate calculation can be done
Some of the key features include:
- Abandon cart auto-recovery
- Digital products listing options
- Personalized products listing options
- Product import/export option
- Real-time shipping rates and tracking
- SEO tools
- Upselling and cross-selling
- Gift cards
- Automatic discounts
- Limited integration options
- Very simple to set up and explore
- Perfect fit for simple stores
- Stunning Designs available
- Solid SEO tools available
- Free domain is available for the 1st year
- 14 days free trial included
- No drop shipping option
- No marketing automation integration
- Could be faster for the price
Best Free E-Commerce Platforms to Create your Own E-Commerce Website
What if you do not want to spend your capital on paying for creating your own e-commerce website? There are several great free, open-source e-commerce platforms available. However, for these platforms to work, you will require web hosting and a domain name ready in place. We have scoured the market and picked the best 2 for you.
WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin for WordPress-based websites. You need to have website hosting and WordPress already set up to start using this platform. WooCommerce also comes with many free themes that you can use to customize your online store the way you prefer.
You can set up several payment options from credit card integrations with Stripe, PayPal, etc. Since WooCommerce also has its internal in-house payment platform, the WooCommerce Payment, you can sign up here with no setup charges or monthly fees. With this, you can accept credit or debit cards with a charge of 2.9% + 30 cents for each transaction with a credit card issued in the USA. For cards outside the USA, an additional 1% fee applies.
- Mobile-optimized shopping
- Geo-location support
- Catalog management
- Inventory management
- Shipping options and calculator
- Search engine optimization
- Coupons and discounts
- Product reviews
- WordPress is the best platform for SEO, so WooCommerce has a strong SEO
- 1 Click selling application is available here
- Lots of WordPress experts available for support
- Very customizable platform
- Several marketing options and plenty of other integrations possible
- 30-day money-back guaranteed
- Support forum is available
- In-house payment platform
- Good hosting can be pricey
- You need extensions for simple stuff
Magento Open Source (Free)
This is one of the most popular open-source, free e-commerce platforms to create your own e-commerce website. Magento is the best for businesses ranging from small to medium size, which have already established some demand and have enough strength and skill to build their own site or store. This is a quite powerful platform with over 5000 extensions available.
Magento Open Source is free to download and use. However, as stated before, you must be ready to pay for everything else related to website hosting, development, themes, add-ons, etc.
- Integrated checkout, payment, and shipping features available
- Mobile-optimized shopping is available
- Global selling possible
- Catalog management available
- Extended Functionality via App marketplace possible
- Instant purchase options exist
- Site search possible
- Customization options available
- Freedom to develop the way you want
- Very clean marketplace
- Very popular and widely used
- Robust and rich in features
- Strong SEO available
- 1- Click Selling Apps are available
- Themes can be pricey
- Requires development skills and intermediate management experience
By now you must have already realized that there is no 100% perfect platform to create your own e-commerce website. However, if you have to narrow down the choices, this list is going to be your friend. Choosing the best site builder is highly dependent on your needs and expectations.
Our first recommendation is Shopify, an all-in-one solution that fits the needs of both beginners and e-commerce experts at a really good price.