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Best eCommerce Platform For Online Stores

In search of the best eCommerce platform to sell your products online? Due to the coronavirus, worldwide people suffered a lot from the downfall of physical stores. But then online businesses began to rise and people now are loving to shop online. eCommerce stores are increasing and flourishing day by day. Willing to open an online store? If yes, you need an eCommerce platform to start your business. Choosing the right platform affects the growth of businesses so we came up to help those who are still confused about selecting the perfect platform as per their business goals.

What is an eCommerce Platform?

An e-commerce platform is a software solution that allows a commercial process of purchasing and selling over the internet. With eCommerce software, users are able to create and manage their online store. An eCommerce platform comes with all the necessary features and functionalities that include everything from hosting to payment processing to website design. eCommerce platforms must-have features to showcase products and services, virtual assets, omnichannel marketing, digital sales, shipping, operations, taxes, an online payments system, managing orders, and inventory. You should consider the following things before getting into it; budget, security, maintenance, programming, functionalities, monthly costing, customization, sales and marketing channel compatibility, scalability, product inventory, and customer service.

Types of eCommerce Platforms

There are three types of platforms to choose from:

  • Open Source: It allows you to modify and control everything across the board. Mainly it is suitable for tech-heavy companies with internal DevOps teams. Opensource platforms are free and easy to install.
  • Saas ( Software as a service): Saas provider provides Product updates, security, hosting, PCI compliance, and every other task that comes with managing your own software.
  • Headless Commerce: Headless Commerce is often called the CaaS platform. They organize and distribute content as a service. This means that the platform provides only the core e-commerce functionality but does not include any pre-built templates or themes for the user interface.

Best E-commerce Platforms in 2023

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that has the ability to turn any type of website into an e-commerce site. It is the WordPress plugin that offers you greater flexibility to control a site. You can entirely maintain, manage and customize everything. But it needs technical expertise to maintain a site. It is free to install and comes with eCommerce features and functionalities and integrates extensions for marketing, payments, security, and shipping as well.

To run an e-commerce site with WooCoomerce you should have WordPress software, hosting, a domain name, and E-commerce based themes. You can customize your site the way you want. Shopping Cart, Check Out options, and products adding functionality transfer WordPress site into e-commerce business site. It allows you to sell digital and physical products, take secure payments, manage inventory, and sort all your taxes automatically.

WooCommerce and WordPress are both free, open-source software. One needs to purchase web hosting, a domain name, an SSL certificate, themes, and necessary extensions from a third party to launch a website. The total estimated monthly WooCommerce costs are $25/month to $370/month or more. To reduce costs you can choose free themes and extensions for your site.

The downside of Woocommerce is, it only works with the WordPress platform, lacks scalability, and has extra hidden costs.

Shopify

It is a fully-hostedcloud-based eCommerce platform suitable for all sizes of businesses. Shopify has been helping entrepreneurs build their businesses since 2006 by providing them with an e-commerce platform to sell their products online or in person. With Shopify, merchants can build, customize and sell online stores in multiple locations, including online, mobile, in-person, traditional stores, and pop-up stores, and across multiple channels, from social media to online marketplaces. Shopify provides you with web hosting, an SSL certificate, and a free subdomain with its plan. You have to pay an extra$ 14 for your own domain name.

It is easy to get started so anyone with technical expertise can launch their site easily. It has in-build excellent features like omnichannel integration, drop shipping, abandoned cart recovery, and point of sale. This software-as-a-service (SaaS) eCommerce solution is a great choice for a dropshipping business. It has pre-made templates and e-commerce-based themes. Likewise, it has its own app store with 1200 apps free and paid. it has in-built Shopify payments with 100 payment gateways. However, you have to pay an extra charge for the transaction with third-party online payments.

Basically, Shopify has three main pricing plans – Basic Shopify for $29/month, Shopify for $79/month, and Advanced Shopify for $299/month. At $5 per month, ‘Shopify Starter’ represents one of the cheapest ways into selling products online and is ideal for anyone with an existing site that wants to add simple eCommerce functionality.

The drawbacks of Shopify are limited customization, expensive, transaction fee for each sale, and no access to email storage.

Big Commerce

Big Commerce is a hosted eCommerce platform and is suitable for medium to large businesses, such as B2B companies or wholesalers. Its Open SaaS solution combines the best of SaaS and API-enabled openness and flexibility, giving you the enterprise integrations and tools you need to customize faster. It is integrated with headless commerce and composable architecture. Using Big Commerce you can sell through multiple channels including social media and major e-marketplaces including Amazon, Facebook by Meta, and Instagram. Also, you can use third-party integration for Walmart, eBay, Google, and more. Frictionless checkout options are there to increase sales and improve the shopper experience. It is ISO/IEC 27001 certified, deploying hardware firewalls to detect hacker activity. After all, it is a highly customization, highly scalable, secure, and flexible platform.

It is not free but offers you 15 days to trial test and experiment with it. BigCommerce offers three main pricing plans; a standard plan is $29.95/month, plus plan is $79 and a pro plan is $299.95/month. Larger businesses and corporations with high bandwidths and advanced selling need a fourth option: Enterprise with custom pricing. These pricing plans come with a web hosting SSL certificate and domain name. Likewise, each plan allows unlimited staff accounts, multi-channel selling, abandoned cart recovery, essentials Robust security, unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth, coupons, discounts, and gift cards, along with big Commerce mobile apps. It has more than 65 payment solutions, 600 app partners, and zero transaction fees.

The downside of big commerce is, it has an annual sales limit, no multilingual support, limited free themes, and no ability to block IP addresses.

Magento( Adope Commerce)

Magento is self-hosted a highly sophisticated eCommerce platform that delivers quality and functionality. It is best suited to growing large businesses, but smaller endeavors may feel unnecessarily overwhelmed. As you know it is open source so its basic version is free to download and works perfectly well. Users get full control over customization and managing software. It requires development knowledge to set up and run, and if you want more than the basic free features, you will get various pricing plans to upgrade.

Magento offers multiple levels of sales analytics, covering a number of important data points about inventory, sales, and customers even offering insights into customer retention data. It offers both B2B and B2C capabilities and is a widely used choice for its customizable nature and high functionality and allows customers to request quotes, be assigned unique discounts, and negotiate offers. It further has drag-and-drop functionalities to easily upload media, such as videos, product pictures, lookbooks, etc. Similarly, the inventory management tool is one of Magento’s B2C powerhouse capabilities, letting you manage and control customer orders.

You will just get this software free but should buy hosting, a domain name, SSL certificate to run a website. You can buy the selected extensions for design, payment, development, SEO, marketing, and more. There is no exact cost for Magento website development because of the many options that store owners can take when running a Magento store. The cheapest paid plan, the Magento Commerce Starter plan, rings in at $1,999/month, but you can quickly go up to $3,399/month for more features and more technical assistance.

The dark sides of Magento are complex customization, large investment in time and knowledge, high cost of the enterprise version, and no direct support.

Squarespace

Squarespace is in fact a website builder and a SaaS provider with a hosted eCommerce platform. Primarily, it is not only an online selling platform but a website builder too, so it requires a fair amount of tweaking to add e-commerce functionality. You can create a beautifully designed site right on your browser, all in one place. 

It has built-in eCommerce checkout tools, a custom domain name, and even SSL certificate protection. It has more than 100 templates of various types; blogging, e-commerce, and portfolio. Its built-in shipping calculator makes it easy to calculate and display shipping rates to your customers. Its drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to customize its award-winning templates with no coding skills. It has an in-built email marketing tool empowering users to build eye-catching emails with beautiful templates. 

 There are four types of Squarespace pricing plans; Personal, business, commerce basic, and commerce advanced worth $23, $33, $36, and $ 65 respectively. All of the plans come with benefits like unlimited storage and bandwidth options, web hosting a custom free domain, and SSL security built into your back end. However, you’ll receive a free domain for your first year with any plan if paid annually. Otherwise, its domain costs range from $20 to $70 per year.

The downsides of Squarespace are limited SEO features, limited control over domain names, limited multichannel sales, hard-to-override themes CSS and HTML, confusing user experience, and limited customizations.

Wix

Wix is a cloud-based user-friendly website builder that offers web hosting, domain name, and customizable templates. All Wix websites are hosted on their own servers, allowing for greater speed and security. Using Wix you can get tailor-made, customizable templates and 1000s of design features to help bring your vision to life.

The platform offers omnichannel selling features, abandoned cart recovery, dropshipping capabilities, and more. This eCommerce platform lets merchants track orders, accept online payments, sell products on multiple channels, and create abandoned cart campaigns. There’s an enterprise-grade infrastructure built into every site with free reliable web hosting, around-the-clock maintenance, and fully managed security. Similarly, it provides a fairly large app marketplace, with more than 300 applications. Wix offers a range of tools for creating a custom website, including a drag-and-drop website builder, a content management system (CMS), and a variety of templates.

 The Wix platform is based on the freemium model. You can build a basic website for free, but you have to upgrade to a paid plan to use Wix’s e-commerce features. Basically, it has 3 pricing plans; Business Basic at $23/month, Business Unlimited at $27/month, and Business VIP at $49/month. While Wix payment can be managed in one place like payments, orders, bookings, events, services, classes, subscriptions, and more.

The downsides of Wix are; storage is limited to 50 GB, and the price for unlimited storage jumps up to $59 per month.

Prestashop

PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce website builder platform that enables users to sell their products and service online. It is a mobile-friendly, user-friendly, easily customizable, highly flexible, and scalable e-commerce platform. You can sign up in minutes for a free store in the PrestaShop cloud or download the open-source PHP code and host it yourself. Alike Wocommerce you have full flexibility to customize the software for your individual requirements and can continually improve and update. Similarly, Prestashop comes with a WordPress-like dashboard that offers a store development interface, embracing navigation, detailed product listings, and search. You can even control how the products appear in Google search, including SEO title, meta description, and permalink.

There are also 3,000 different features and 2,000 designs and a vast collection of customizable themes in the PrestaShop Marketplace, so the scope for customization is enormous. In terms of marketing it offers free shipping, discount mode, email marketing, special offers, gift wrapping, affiliate programming, and coupon codes.  It comes with so many features like a product management system, multiple payment processors, and customizable checkouts. In addition, it also provides options for personalized products by letting customers upload custom designs. PrestaShop has several add-ons to improve performance and outstanding modules like Cache Manager or Page Cache Ultimate Module.

PrestaShop allows 65 language translations for your eStore, embracing flexible currency and shipping rules as per the location. You are able to choose various payment gateways, like Amazon Pay, PayPal, Discover Global Network, Worldpay, Authorize.Net, and First Data. Moreover, it holds 250+ payment providers as add-ons.

The drawbacks of Prestashop are the unpredictable cost of running, expensive modules, no free support, the need for tech assistance on complex tasks, and the difficult upgrade process.

Shift4Shop

Shift4Shop is a free SaaS eCommerce solution that has an intuitive, user-friendly interface similar to the WordPress dashboard. It offers a free domain name, SSL certificate, and free website themes if you’re a U.S.-based customer. All of the plans come with standard features such as a drag-and-drop interface, social media integration, email tools, inventory management, API, and an SSL certificate. Furthermore, it comes with additional features; unlimited products, unlimited users and bandwidth, fraud protection, website migration assistance, a built-in blog, zero transaction fees, 24/7 customer support no revenue limits, multichannel selling, product reviews, CRM(customer relationship management), and a GDPR toolkit, and more.

 This eCommerce platform integrates 100 other payment gateways, such as Authorize.net, BitPay, Dwolla, and PayPal. By default, the platform offers PayPal and Stripe. However, PayPal sets its own credit card transaction fees. Shift4Shop also supports credit cards and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, MasterPass, Pay With Amazon, and Visa Checkout. It has a guest checkout option to prevent customers from abandoning their carts. You won’t find additional transaction fees with Shift4Shop. Shift4Shop supports add-on tools, such as tax calculators and marketing tools, and integrates with accounting software, fulfillment systems, email-marketing services, chat apps, and affiliate marketing tools.

Yes, it offers you a 15-day free trial period to experiment with it. It primarily offers a free end-to-end plan for US users. Customers outside the US should pay for a plan. They are available in 3 different categories; Basic, Plus, and Pro which cost $29, $79, and $229 per month respectively. Basic limits you to $100,000 in sales per year, and just two user accounts. Whereas the Plus package allows 5 staff accounts, customer-side product comparisons, blog subscriptions, abandoned cart savers, and email marketing. Further, it limits selling up to $250,00 goods per year. The pro plan gives 15 staff subscriptions, email auto-responders, gift registries, loyalty programs, recurring orders, pre-orders, and priority support, with a maximum of $1 million in sales per year.

The downsides of shift4shop are limited customization, sales limits on paid plans, no auto-ship capability to Basic and Plus plans, and free plans only available for US customers.

Weebly

Weebly is a freemium web design, web hosting, and online-store creation e-commerce platform, designed for individuals, freelancers, start-ups, and non-profits. It got acquired by e-commerce company Square in 2018. You can get its free website hosting service, one-click SSL certificates or buy a domain directly from Weebly. Without an upfront investment and without complication on setup and maintenance you can easily set up your store without code. It is a mobile-responsive site that offers unlimited storage, and bandwidth for most of its plans along with SEO, email, and social media marketing tools. Weebly offers a drag-and-drop website builder with 40+ mobile-friendly themes.

There are three premium offers called Personal, Professional, and Performance worth $10, $12, and $26 per month respectively. For your first year, you’ll get a domain name for free but $19.95 from the second year onwards.  Of course, some features like real-time shipping, coupons, or item reviews require an upgrade. Unfortunately, real-time shipping is only available for merchants in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. 

Currently. it is available in English and close to 20 other languages. Weebly offers a robust and easy-to-use shopping cart with SSL encryption and all major payment options. While for credit card payments you can choose between Square and Stripe. It charges the vendor 2.9% + 30 Cents per transaction.

Dropshipping isn’t possible with Weebly. Further, it lacks customization options and limited phone support.

Ecwid

 ‘Ecwid’ the name stands for e-commerce widgets. It’s a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) product(widget), which means you don’t own the software, but pay a monthly fee to use it. If you want a top-rated e-commerce widget to add to an existing website, Ecwid is a great choice. It is meant for existing websites. Using HTML, you can add Ecwid’s code to your site that let you a fully functional e-commerce store to showcase your products, without having to create a new website. Users can control everything from a single dashboard with centralized inventory, order management, pricing, and more. You have access to advanced capabilities such as e-commerce-focused emailing, shipping, sales analytics, and more.

Many POS systems synchronize with Ecwid’s shopping cart making checkouts and payment transactions easy to complete. It integrates various payment methods such as Google Pay, accepts cards, and Apple Pay, and manages payments right in your store control panel. Additionally, there are 85 other payment gateways you can connect to Ecwid.

Ecwid’s Venture plan is $14.08 monthly and allows multichannel selling and POS. For nonprofit business sites, it offers Venture Plan for free for up to 6 months. Its Business plan ($29.08 per month) allows for product variations, staff accounts, and abandoned cart emails and lets you sell 2500 products. In the Unlimited plan($82,50 per month) you can get your own branded iOS or Android shopping app and access unlimited products. Another notable feature is it doesn’t charge transaction fees for free plans also.

The drawbacks of Ecwid are; the free Plan doesn’t support SEO editing capabilities and product page AMP versions. You cannot build a complete eCommerce website on Ecwid.

Volution

Volution is a cloud-based e-commerce platform from Texas that has been in operation since 1999. It is a full-service SaaS e-commerce provider that targets small and medium-sized business clients.

Volusion comes with an advanced inventory tracker enabling monitor the store’s inventory status and setting low stock notifications. Its dropshipping tools help you to configure vendors and custom shipping costs. Likewise, it provides abandoned cart reports and an option to activate product ratings and reviews. A mobile app is available with all the tools necessary to run your eCommerce business on the go. It comes with amazing features; unlimited bandwidth, built-in SEO features, social media integration, and access to free mobile-friendly themes.

Volusion offers a 14-day free trial and four plans ranging from $35/per month to $299/per month. It offers four paid plans: Personal, Professional, Business, and Prime. All plans include a content management system, multiple themes, and customer management tools such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Higher-tier plans also offer third-party shipping rate calculation, third-party payment gateway integration, and premium support.

The platform’s own payment solution is powered by Stripe and charges no transaction fees. Third-party payment gateways are available but with transaction fees – 1.25% for Personal plan users, 0.65% for those on a Professional plan, and 0.35% for sellers on the Business plan.

The downsides of evolution are its limited features of marketing, no content marketing option, and low customer support.

 Final Thought

Whatever the listing is, each eCommerce platform is perfect on its own for the variety of customers all around. The customer or user should consciously select the platform as per their business goals and budgets and business needs. Some of the platforms are free to use and some offer free trials to test each platform’s unique features and advantages.

These eCommerce platforms are not enough and all. There are some other platforms that offer eCommerce solutions. They are Commercetools, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Big cartel, Open cart, Square, Square online, osCommerce, Abantecart, Jumla, Sellfy, and more to come.

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