BigCommerce Logo
BigCommerce
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Inventory management

BigCommerce has the templates and tools you need to get your products listed online immediately. The platform downloads to your computer or can be accessed from a mobile device online. It integrates with most popular e-commerce apps, so you can run everything from inventory to shipping seamlessly. BigCommerce has full reporting, so you can look at customer data and gain insights on what works and what doesn’t, and the software includes enhanced security, so you can ensure your customers' information is kept safe. The solution has a flexible API that takes up to 400 calls per minute without slowing down your website, so it can handle your busiest days. Expert support is available online or on the phone during normal business hours, so you can get answers to questions quickly. You can try the software for 15 days and compare it to other programs to see if it has what you need to run your business effectively.


Read full BigCommerce review

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Downloadable apps available
  • Creative design tool
  • API driven

Cons

  • No free version
  • No demo

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Free Trial/Demo
      15-Day Free Trial
    • Deployment
      Installed - Mac
      Installed - Windows
      Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
      iPhone / iPad
      Android
    • Support Options
      24/7 (Live Rep)
      Business Hours
      Online
    • Inventory Management
      yes
    • Order Management
      yes
    Features
    • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
    • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
    • Inventory management
    Shopify Logo
    Shopify
    • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad
    • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
    • Email marketing

    Shopify is ideal for new businesses that want to create an online presence or existing businesses that want to switch to a new e-commerce platform. There are more than 6,000 apps that integrate with Shopify, so you can customize your site to your exact specifications. If you have any trouble getting your site started, you can also contact customer support 24/7 and reach an expert who can assist with everything from setup to SEO.

    There are hundreds of templates to help users without coding experience build an instant online store, and those familiar with HTML and CSS can build their own website from scratch. The vendor charges a monthly fee to use the platform, and you need reliable internet access to manage your store.


    Read full Shopify review

    Pros & Cons

    Pros

    • Library of ready-to-use templates
    • Built-in marketing tools
    • Manage your site from a single dashboard

    Cons

    • Transaction fees for third-party payment gateways
    • POS features cost extra

    Summary

    • Starting Price
      • Free Trial/Demo
        14-Day Free Trial
      • Deployment
        Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
        iPhone / iPad
      • Support Options
        24/7 (Live Rep)
        Business Hours
        Online
      • Inventory Management
        yes
      • Order Management
        yes
      Features
      • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad
      • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
      • Email marketing
      GoDaddy
      GoDaddy Online Store
      • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
      • Customer service: 24/7 phone and live chat
      • Sell on marketplaces
      The Ecommerce plan of GoDaddy Websites + Marketing includes the GoDaddy Online Store ecommerce platform, which provides you with everything you need to build and manage your own online storefront. With GoDaddy Online Store, you'll be able to add and edit product listings, set up discounts, accept a variety of payment methods, and promote your store on social media. You'll have access to a user-friendly page editor, email marketing tool, and many other useful features as well.

      GoDaddy Payments are made easier with their two POS devices that connect offline stores to popular online channels in an all-in-one solution. The POS addition rounds out GoDaddy Payments all-encompassing commerce package, comprised of eCommerce, Virtual Terminal and Online Pay Links.

      Pros & Cons

      Pros

      • Feature-rich ecommerce solution
      • Affordable pricing

      Cons

      • Cannot revert to free version after you've paid for premium plan

      Summary

      GoDaddy
      GoDaddy Online Store
      • Starting Price
        • Free Trial/Demo
          Free Version Available
        • Deployment
          Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
        • Support Options
          24/7 phone and live chat
        • Inventory Management
          yes
        • Order Management
          yes
        Features
        • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
        • Customer service: 24/7 phone and live chat
        • Sell on marketplaces
        Squarespace Logo
        Squarespace
        • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
        • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
        • Integrations

        Squarespace is designed for business owners who want to start an e-commerce site quickly. Unlike some of its competitors, Squarespace doesn't offer a free plan, but the paid plans include unlimited storage and bandwidth. You can pay by the month or year, and if you plan on paying by the month, you can purchase a custom domain to make your site look more professional. Yearly plans are available at a discount. Squarespace doesn't limit the number of pages on any plan. You can include a personal blog or podcast to help keep customers engaged and add comment and like buttons. Squarespace has many built-in marketing and e-commerce tools, and dozens of third-party extensions.

        Customer service is available 24/7 if you need help customizing your site, and you can generate reports that show you which products are best sellers and which ones generate little or no interest.

        Pros & Cons

        Pros

        • No credit card required to start
        • Industry-leading templates
        • Free custom domain with an annual plan

        Cons

        • Costs slightly more than the competition
        • Limited to one-sub navigation

        Summary

        • Starting Price
          • Free Trial/Demo
            14-Day Free Trial
          • Deployment
            Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
          • Support Options
            24/7 (Live Rep)
            Business Hours
            Online
          • Inventory Management
            yes
          • Order Management
            yes
          Features
          • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
          • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
          • Integrations
          Bluehost VPS
          Bluehost
          • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
          • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
          • Email Marketing

          Bluehost is an e-commerce platform that helps business owners to design and manage WordPress websites according to their own liking and branding. It is an integrated marketplace offering various tools and features such as customizable templates that can be easily navigated and it comes with free domain names.

          Bluehost gives its users the freedom to embed as many plug-ins they want, include a booking page, manage online ordering processes including communicating to their customers through its built-in live chat features. As an e-commerce platform, its services extend to email marketing, third-party integrations, data encryption, website analytics, content management, and more.

          Pros & Cons

          Pros

          • Offers unlimited website
          • Free domain regardless of plan
          • Customizable features

          Cons

          • Poor backup solutions
          • Limited to Linux-based servers

          Summary

          • Starting Price
            • Free Trial/Demo
              Free Trial
            • Deployment
              Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
            • Support Options
              24/7 (Live Rep)
              Business Hours
              Online
            • Inventory Management
              yes
            • Order Management
              yes
            Features
            • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
            • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
            • Email Marketing
            Wp Engine
            WP Engine
            • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
            • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
            • Inventory management

            WP Engine is a WordPress-specific web host, offering managed plans that are fully optimized for the platform. The WP Engine platform is equipped with a suite of site-building and management tools to drive more creative agility; cloud hosting and security solutions to deliver scalable and secure digital experiences optimized for WordPress. It has optimization tools that give actionable insights on site traffic and performance.

            WP Engine uses its own caching system, content delivery system (CDN), and lets its clients choose which data centers in North America, Europe, or Asia to use. This all allows WordPress websites to load quickly for visitors, improving the customer experience. Together with the WordPress REST API, WP Engine's APIs, and a range of tech partner integration solutions, it delivers quality web hosting services to drive every business forward faster.

            Pros & Cons

            Pros

            • 60-day Free Trial
            • Free Data Backup and Restore
            • Commendable customer support

            Cons

            • On the pricier side
            • Limited to WordPress platforms
            • Additional charges if the visitor counts exceed

            Summary

            • Starting Price
              • Free Trial/Demo
                Free Trial
              • Deployment
                Installed - Mac
                Installed - Windows
                Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
              • Support Options
                24/7 (Live Rep)
                Business Hours
                Online
              • Inventory Management
                yes
              • Order Management
                yes
              Features
              • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
              • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
              • Inventory management
              Shift4shop Icon (1)
              Shift4Shop
              • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
              • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
              • Integrations

              Shift4Shop is designed to help you increase traffic and sales for your business. It's an all-in-one e-commerce site that lets you customize the appearance, sell digital downloads, track sales, and maintain your inventory, all from a single software application.

              Shift4Shop is a web-based application, so you can access it from anywhere you have a reliable internet connection. It also includes cloud storage, so you can keep your customers' information readily available and secure.

              There are hundreds of integrations available, including Facebook, Google Partner, Mailchimp and FedEx, so you can streamline the entire order process, and powerful analytics that let you see where you're making the most money and what you need to change. Shift4Shop has a flexible shopping cart, so you can integrate with most payment processors to get your money quickly.

              Pros & Cons

              Pros

              • Cart abandonment recovery tools
              • All-inclusive pricing
              • Customer friendly

              Cons

              • No downloadable app
              • No computer download

              Summary

              • Starting Price
                • Free Trial/Demo
                  15-Day Free Trial
                • Deployment
                  Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
                • Support Options
                  24/7 (Live Rep)
                  Business Hours
                  Online
                • Inventory Management
                  yes
                • Order Management
                  yes
                Features
                • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
                • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
                • Integrations
                Square-Online-Store Logo
                Square Online
                • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
                • Customer service: Online
                • Integrations

                Square Online allows business owners to create a basic website to sell products online. Users can include pictures, pricing, and product information so customers can browse, order products, checkout through an integrated shopping cart, and pay securely.

                One unique feature of Square Online is that it works for restaurants that want to set up online ordering, curbside pickup, and local deliveries all from a single location. With this e-commerce platform, you can also create free e-gift cards. It also offers in-house and on-demand delivery, Instagram integration, inventory management, local delivery, SSL security, and more. Square Online has its own POS products that are made in-house, including a magstripe reader, desktop terminal, and contactless card reader. If you’re undecided about which products you need, you can speak to the sales team and get answers to your questions. There’s also an online support center with helpful tips, articles, and videos.

                Pros & Cons

                Pros

                • Syncs with social media
                • Inventory management tools
                • Includes online ordering and delivery setup

                Cons

                • Transaction fees
                • Requires additional hardware for in-house selling

                Summary

                • Starting Price
                  • Free Trial/Demo
                    Free Version Available
                  • Deployment
                    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
                  • Support Options
                    Online
                  • Inventory Management
                    yes
                  • Order Management
                    yes
                  Features
                  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
                  • Customer service: Online
                  • Integrations
                  Weebly Logo
                  Weebly
                  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
                  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
                  • Inventory management

                  Weebly is an e-commerce platform that works well for businesses of all sizes. If you're new to online selling, Weebly includes the tools needed to help you get noticed and help your business grow. You can start out with a free site and move to a paid version once it begins to generate income and you need additional features. There are hundreds of customizable web page designs, so you can create a storefront that reflects the culture of your company, and each site comes with step-by-step guidance on how to build it and get it launched. When you start selling products, there are e-commerce tools to streamline order management, shipping, and payment processing. For payments, Weebly integrates with Square, which takes care of taxes and shipping estimates.

                  Pros & Cons

                  Pros

                  • Mobile app available
                  • Meets industry standards for security
                  • Auto-save feature so work doesn't get lost

                  Cons

                  • Free site has Weebly domain name
                  • Limited blogging tools
                  • Square payment processing isn't available everywhere

                  Summary

                  • Starting Price
                    • Free Trial/Demo
                      Free Demo
                    • Deployment
                      Installed - Mac
                      Installed - Windows
                      Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
                      iPhone / iPad
                      Android
                    • Support Options
                      Business Hours
                      Online
                    • Inventory Management
                      yes
                    • Order Management
                      yes
                    Features
                    • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
                    • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
                    • Inventory management
                    Wix Logo
                    Wix
                    • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
                    • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
                    • Integrations

                    Wix has the tools and templates necessary for small businesses to create professional-looking e-commerce sites. You can choose a theme, then add colors and add-ons, including a gallery, calendar, and other applications. There's an online tutorial to help get you started, or you can contact customer support's team of professionals to walk you through the process. Wix offers a basic free plan, but if you need your own domain or shopping cart, you'll have to pay for one of the premium plans.

                    Wix sites are optimized for SEO. You answer a few questions about your website, including where you're located, the products you sell, and a list of identifying keywords, and you'll receive a personalized SEO plan to help ensure your site reaches the top of search engines. Another positive feature is that Wix sites are optimized for mobile users.

                    Pros & Cons

                    Pros

                    • Drag-and-drop builder
                    • Paid custom domain names
                    • Optimized for mobile use

                    Cons

                    • Free site contains ads
                    • Paid options are more expensive than most competitors

                    Summary

                    • Starting Price
                      • Free Trial/Demo
                        14-Day Free Trial
                      • Deployment
                        Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
                      • Support Options
                        Business Hours
                        Online
                      • Inventory Management
                        yes
                      • Order Management
                        yes
                      Features
                      • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
                      • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
                      • Integrations

                      How We Chose the Best E-Commerce Platforms

                      An e-commerce website can help boost an existing business or kick-start a new one, so it's important to choose the best one to meet your organization's needs. We evaluated the most popular platforms and chose the top 20 based on the number of e-commerce and marketing features and the types of reporting each one provides.  

                      E-Commerce Features

                      The best e-commerce sites contain features that simplify inventory management, order management, kitting, tracking shipments, and other essential processes. E-commerce features make it possible to streamline your storefront and manage all the processes in a single location.

                      Marketing Features

                      Marketing features help you locate potential customers and make it possible to grow your business quickly. E-commerce sites that include email marketing and campaign management rank high on our list.

                      Reports

                      Detailed e-commerce reports paint a clear picture of which products work and which ones aren't moving. By using information gleaned from reports, you can improve your e-commerce site and increase sales.

                      What Are E-Commerce Platforms?

                      An e-commerce platform is an online software application that allows businesses to manage their website, products, sales, marketing, and inventory, all in a single location. Any company that wants to create an online presence to sell products and services can benefit from an e-commerce platform. These sites make it possible to expand an existing brick-and-mortar store to reach online shoppers or to establish a new business. They also make it possible to reach international customers quickly. With more shoppers purchasing necessities and gifts online, an e-commerce platform can help you improve your company’s bottom line.

                      Must-Have Features

                      Must-Have FeatureWhy It Matters
                      User-FriendlyUnless you have knowledge of HTML or CSS, you’ll want to look for a platform that features easy-to-use, customizable templates. This makes it easy to get your products loaded and online quickly.
                      Mobile OptimizationMany people prefer to search for items and shop on their cell phones or tablets, so it’s important to choose an e-commerce platform that’s optimized for mobile shoppers.
                      IntegrationsIntegrations allow you to streamline your entire POS system so you can control everything from a single location. This also reduces the time spent entering information from one software application into another.
                      Security FeaturesWebsite security keeps your customers’ information safe from cybercriminals. This makes it important to look for a platform that includes enhanced security features, such as SSL certification and two-factor authentication.
                      Multiple Payment OptionsChoosing a platform that allows for multiple payment integrations helps ensure your customers can use their preferred payment method.

                      The Cost of E-Commerce Platforms

                      Some e-commerce platforms offer free versions, and many bill by the month for their paid plans. Some companies offer yearly payment options at a discount, while others charge a percentage of each transaction and a monthly percentage of profits. Other companies prefer to charge a flat one-time fee, which gives the user licensing rights. Fees are often all-inclusive, but some vendors charge additional fees for plug-ins, add-ons, and extras such as custom domain names and extended tech support.

                      Common price ranges:

                      • Lowest price: $0-$9.50/month
                      • Midrange: $299/month
                      • Highest price: $7,500 one-time fee

                      Other E-Commerce Platform Resources