When it comes to building an online store, choosing the right eCommerce platform is crucial for success.
There are many options available, each with its own set of features and benefits.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 15 of the best eCommerce platforms on the market today.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to switch to a new platform, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision and choose the best eCommerce platform for your business.
What Is An eCommerce Platform?
An eCommerce platform is a platform that allows individuals or businesses to create an online store to sell products and services.
It acts as a central hub for managing various aspects of an online store, including web hosting, inventory management, payment processing, marketing, and order fulfillment.
It allows businesses to easily list products, handle payments and access various tools to effectively sell their products online.
It is much more than just a tool to receive payments, it should be a complete command center for the business.
What Are The Types Of Ecommerce Platforms?
There are two major types of ecommerce platforms: hosted and self-hosted.
Hosted ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, provide hosting services as part of the package, meaning the platform takes care of updating, maintenance and bug patches.
This allows the merchant to focus on the day-to-day operations of their business, rather than managing the technical aspects of the website.
Self-hosted ecommerce platforms, also known as non-hosted platforms, require the merchant to either use their own servers or pay a hosting company to rent the space from them.
This means the merchant is responsible for updates, maintenance, and bug patches, making continuous website management more difficult.
These platforms are often open-source and may require additional fees for third-party sourcing options.
This type of platform may have less support from the company’s customer service department, which can be problematic in case of increased traffic or unexpected press coverage.
What Are The Best Ecommerce Platforms For 2023?
Here are the top ecommerce platforms:
Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that offers a comprehensive suite of tools for building and managing an online store.
Its software-as-a-service (SaaS) model allows users to sell products through their website, physical retail store, social media, and third-party marketplaces, making it a great choice for businesses looking to sell through multiple channels.
Shopify offers a wide range of customizable themes, making it easy for users to create a professional-looking online store without any learning curve.
The platform also provides a host of business management tools, including Shop Pay for processing payments, Shopify POS for in-person transactions, and Shopify Fulfillment for order fulfillment.
Additionally, Shopify offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, competitive shipping rates, and a vast collection of third-party apps that can further enhance the user experience.
With its user-friendly interface, robust features, and built-in SEO capabilities, Shopify is a great choice for businesses of all sizes looking to establish an online presence.
- A simple and streamlined process to get you started quickly.
- Themes that can be customized.
- Sites that are quick and reliable.
- Support for the community Excellent marketing tools integrated right in.
- Sell both in-person and online.
- The Shopify App Store provides access to over 6,000 different applications.
- Excellent SEO right out of the gate.
- Easy to get a specific domain name.
- The Shopify Payments feature is only available in select countries.
Wix is a website builder that allows users to easily create and design a website using its drag-and-drop feature.
It offers customizable templates, web hosting, and domain name registration, making it a great option for users looking to create a website quickly and easily.
While Wix offers a free basic website, to use its ecommerce capabilities, users will need to upgrade to a paid plan.
The Wix ecommerce platform provides a range of tools for managing an online store, including the ability to create abandoned cart campaigns, track orders, accept online payments, and sell products across multiple channels.
However, it does have some limitations, specifically in inventory management.
It does not offer features such as low-stock notifications, which can be a drawback for businesses with many products.
Additionally, users will need to use a third-party app to integrate social commerce.
Despite these limitations, Wix is a user-friendly platform that offers great support and is fully hosted, making it a good choice for businesses with a small number of products and no inventory management requirements.
- Fully hosted.
- Simple to operate.
- Forever free plan.
- Great support.
- Tracking and analysis require paid plans.
- Selling the site is not possible.
BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that provides a comprehensive suite of tools for businesses of all sizes.
It offers site hosting, as well as a variety of customization options, making it a good fit for enterprise-level businesses.
However, unlike Shopify and Wix, it does not allow users to register their domain name, which is something that must be done separately before migrating to BigCommerce.
The platform provides a range of features such as multichannel selling, international selling, and SEO tools for online and third-party marketplaces.
However, it can be complex for some users, and some brands have found it too inflexible and not user-friendly.
Despite its complexity, BigCommerce is fully hosted, offers multiple payment options with no transaction fees and a wide range of capabilities across the spectrum of company management.
- Fully hosted.
- Capabilities across the entire spectrum of company management.
- Multiple payment options that charge no transaction fees.
- No built-in POS system Expensive themes.
- Design options are not user friendly.
4. Adobe Commerce (Formerly Magento).
Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento) is a powerful and customizable ecommerce platform designed for developers who are looking for a versatile system that can be tailored to their specific needs.
It offers a lot of benefits for brands that require a fully customizable platform, but it comes with its own set of challenges, including complexity and expense.
To use Adobe Commerce effectively, you need to have a good understanding of coding and programming.
Additionally, it does not offer an integrated multichannel approach and lacks the necessary capabilities to enable social commerce or marketplace selling, making it less suitable for businesses looking to expand to other countries.
Some businesses, like Character.com, have found it to be limited and difficult to use, leading them to switch to other platforms like Shopify, which offered a better user experience, and an increase in sales.
Despite its complexity, Adobe Commerce is free to start, it allows users to have full control over the infrastructure and it is easy to find developers for personalized adjustments, but it requires some specialized knowledge, it is not inherently search engine optimized and it may not be suitable for beginner users.
- Free to start.
- No host.
- It’s easy to find developers for personalized adjustments.
- Demand for some specialized knowledge.
- Not inherently search engine optimized.
- It might seem daunting to use for beginner users.
WooCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform that is an add-on to the widely used blogging platform, WordPress.
It is a recognizable option for those who are already familiar with WordPress, as it allows them to sell products online.
Unlike other ecommerce platforms, WordPress was originally designed as a content management system (CMS) rather than an ecommerce platform, so most of its ecommerce capabilities are either basic or require the installation of third-party apps.
This can make it challenging to build and maintain a stable online store.
Additionally, WooCommerce is not hosted, which means that users are responsible for managing their own website hosting and it does not comply with PCI standards, which can put your business at risk during the payment process.
Despite its limitations, WooCommerce is a highly recommended alternative for WordPress users, as it is an open-source software that is highly modifiable and has a large community of active developers and subject matter experts.
However, it is self-hosted and users need to be adept at managing high expenses for web hosting, customization, maintenance, and more.
- An alternative that is highly recommended for WordPress users.
- The open-source software that is highly modifiable.
- There are over 6,000 WordPress plug-ins and connectors available.
- Community of active developers and subject matter experts.
- WordPress requires users to be adept at high expenses for web hosting, customization, maintenance, and more.
PrestaShop is an open-source ecommerce platform that is ideal for start-up companies that have some prior experience in the field of information technology.
It is a low-cost option for businesses, but it does come with some challenges.
Because there is no built-in customer service and integrations are not always successful, PrestaShop customers need to do a lot of troubleshooting on their own with the help of the community.
The platform offers tools and features such as inventory tracking, online shopping carts, the ability to sell internationally, and analytics reporting.
Additionally, the privacy and security settings of the website are completely under the user’s control.
However, when it comes to third-party hosting, countless add-ons and modules, and tedious setup, it can be challenging to keep your PrestaShop-powered online store up and running.
PrestaShop is free to use and available globally, it enables sales through various payment methods, it is simple to operate, but it has scalability issues, poor quality web page design and lack of recognized support group.
- Free to use and freely available.
- Global sales enabled via plug-ins for various payment methods.
- Simple to operate.
- Scalability issues exist.
- Poor quality web page design.
- There is no recognized support group.
Squarespace is a website builder that also offers an ecommerce platform option.
It has a drag-and-drop interface that is user-friendly and requires little technical knowledge.
However, like Wix, Squarespace is primarily a website builder and not an online sales platform, so adding ecommerce capabilities requires a significant amount of customization.
Setting up an online store using Squarespace can be time-consuming and requires effort.
Additionally, there are only two payment interfaces available, Stripe and PayPal.
If you don’t want to deal with the back-end hassle, you can turn your website into an online store by adding a Shopify Buy button and paying $9 per month to Shopify.
This way, you can take advantage of Shopify’s ecommerce technologies and track sales, growth trends, easily integrate orders and shipping, and add an unlimited number of products.
Other benefits include the option to use a secure checkout system that is compatible with more than 100 payment gateways.
Squarespace is hosted, thus no need to worry about maintenance or server cost, templates are professionally designed, no transaction cost, and excellent customer service.
However, it is not limited to online retail only, it has limited multichannel marketing and sales, no phone support, and themes are difficult to override in CSS and HTML.
- Hosted, thus no need to worry about maintenance or server cost.
- Templates that are professionally designed.
- No transaction cost.
- Excellent service for customers.
- Not limited to online retail only. Limited multichannel marketing and sales.
- No phone support.
- Themes that are difficult to override in CSS and HTML.
8. Big Cartel.
Big Cartel is a fully hosted ecommerce platform and website builder that was developed specifically for catering to makers, artists, and craftspeople.
It is similar to the type of businesses you often find on Etsy.
Big Cartel has tools for marketing and buying domain names, as well as templates that can be customized to suit your needs.
However, the platform has some limitations, such as allowing sellers to upload only up to five photos per product, and the customization options are limited.
Additionally, there are not many payment and integration options, making it difficult to grow a multichannel business on this platform.
Furthermore, the pricing is determined by the number of products you sell, which can become expensive as your company and product collection expand.
The benefits of Big Cartel include that it is cost-free to open a shop and do business online, easy and quick to set up a shop, and ideal for creative types.
But, it has low degree of personalization available, features lack both quality and depth.
- Cost-free to open shop and do business online.
- Simple and quick to set up shop.
- Ideal for creative types.
- Low degree of personalization available.
- Features lack both quality and depth.
Weebly is a simple website builder that Square Corporation owns and runs.
It’s perfect for those who want a simple online store that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
The platform is user-friendly and doesn’t require any prior technical knowledge, but the online store it offers is pretty basic.
On Weebly, you don’t have to pay anything to shop.
However, unless you purchase a paid ecommerce plan, you won’t be able to use your own domain name or remove in-app ads.
The benefits of Weebly include a mobile editing app that is intuitive and user-friendly, fast site speed, and customizable themes.
However, it has few tools for blogging, no offline editing of photos and better support comes with a cost.
- Mobile editing app that is intuitive and user friendly.
- Fast site speed.
- Themes that can be customized.
- Rare tools for blogging.
- Offline editing of photos.
- Better support costs more.
3dcart is an ecommerce platform that offers a shopping cart for businesses looking to sell items online.
It may not have a wide range of features, but it’s relatively easy to build a mobile-optimized storefront.
With hundreds of pre-built features and templates, it’s easy to build and manage your store.
3dcart also allows you to connect your store with third-party apps using its API and apps.
However, it may not be the best option for beginners, it has a limited number of free themes, and it lacks some ecommerce capabilities.
- Comprehensive solution for shopping cart.
- Multichannel Retail Options.
- Strong marketing ability.
- Not ideal for beginners.
- A limited number of free themes.
- There is a severe lack of e-commerce capabilities.
Volusion is an established e-commerce platform that has been helping businesses establish an online presence since 1999.
With Volusion, users can easily build basics such as a homepage and product pages, as well as integrate with over 30 different payment methods and sell an unlimited number of products.
However, there is no free plan option and users are only allowed to sell tangible items through the platform.
If you want to sell items like ebooks or music, you may need to consider using a different platform.
Some pros of Volusion include easy customization, responsive design templates and 24/7 support.
However, premium templates can be costly and users are required to pay for an SSL certificate.
Additionally, it only allows to sell tangible items in the store.
- Simple personalization and additional support available round the clock.
- Templates with a pleasing look and responsive design.
- Website builders and administrators that are easy to use.
- Premium templates can often come at a high cost.
- The free option has restrictions.
- Obliged to pay for an SSL certificate.
- May only sell genuine items in your store.
OpenCart is a well-known, open-source e-commerce platform that is popular for its high level of customization and ease of installation.
The platform allows for the creation and management of multiple stores and offers a comprehensive dashboard with key metrics such as sales and customer data.
OpenCart offers users over 13,000 modules and themes to design their own website, as well as a variety of integrations to link other tools.
Some of the pros of using OpenCart include its free and open-source code, a wide range of integrations, and being free to use.
However, some of the cons include the lack of some built-in marketing and sales features, a slower platform, and the need to self-host the website.
- Freely available source code with a focus on configuration.
- Hundreds of different types of integration.
- The platform is provided at no cost, and there are some ongoing development costs.
- Some marketing and sales functions are already included in the product.
- Not the fastest platform available.
How To Choose The Right E-commerce Platform?
When choosing an e-commerce platform, it’s important to consider your business’s specific needs and objectives.
Shopify is a popular choice for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, but other factors such as scalability, features, and customer support should also be taken into account.
It’s important to consider the future growth of your business and choose a platform that can accommodate those needs.
Additionally, look for a platform that is constantly updating its technology and staying ahead of the competition in terms of commerce and transactions.
Your e-commerce platform should not only be a place to do business, but also a tool for expansion and growth.
When it comes to building an online store, there are many ecommerce platforms to choose from.
Each platform has its own unique features and capabilities, making it important to consider your business needs and goals before making a decision.
It is essential to research and compare each ecommerce platform to find the one that best suits your business.
It is also important to keep in mind that the best ecommerce platform for your business may change as your business grows and evolves, so it’s essential to choose a platform that is flexible, scalable, and can grow with your business.