Whether you’re starting a new store or finally expanding your current business to the online marketplace, it’s crucial to find the right e-commerce platform to suit your needs. Now is as good a time as ever to get in on the action too, with worldwide retail e-commerce sales expected to reach $4.9 trillion in 2021.
Admittedly, setting up a website can be a daunting process, especially if it’s your first time and you’re unfamiliar with the technical jargon. However, the good news is you don’t have to be an expert in web development or a computer programmer to build an online store these days.
E-commerce website builders are perfect for small business owners as they take all of the hard work out of the process for you, enabling you to purchase a ready-made website right out of the box. Having said that, not all e-commerce platforms were made equal, and you may be better suited to some over others depending on your business requirements and the level of creative control you desire.
Best e-Commerce Platforms for Small Businesses
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three of the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses, their key features, and how much they cost.
Price: $9-$299 per month (free trial available)
Shopify is an extremely powerful all-in-one e-commerce platform founded back in 2004. Since then, it’s become the leading eCommerce website builder with over 1.5 million live websites, valuing the company at around $124.88 billion.
Shopify has become the go-to site for dropshipping and private labeling businesses due to its easy integration with Facebook ads and seamless compatibility with the best dropshipping automation tools. Therefore, if that’s what you’re interested in, this could be the best option for you.
While it isn’t the most customizable website builder in the world, it certainly makes up for it with its advanced e-commerce features. After all, its main purpose is to host online stores.
Setting up your store is easy, as there is no need for any coding or technical knowledge to get up and running. Simply choose from one of their 70 themes (7 of them are free), and after a few minutes, you can have your site ready to go.
Advanced e-commerce features as standard (one-click upsells, abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, and auto-calculation of shipping rates)
Add unlimited products
Easily integrates with Facebook and Instagram marketing
Shopify Dropshipping & fulfillment services
Access to advanced store analytics and sales reports
Huge store with over 4,000 apps
Price: $13 – $29 per month (free plan available)
Wix is rated as a top enterprise eCommerce platform that allows you to build visually impressive websites with ease. It’s one of the most popular website builders around, thanks to its drag and drop interface, which gives users complete creative control over their site’s design.
When setting up your site with Wix, you can choose from Wix ADI or Wix Editor. Wix ADI builds your website for you based on how you answer a questionnaire, after which you can make alterations to the final design.
Wix Editor gives you full access to the drag-and-drop feature, allowing you to reposition just about anything you can see on your website. This is great for those who want more control over their store’s design, as you can build a professional-looking website without writing a single line of code.
As for themes, you have over 500 to choose from (72 of them are free), and unlike Shopify, you can customize the customer checkout process too. However, Wix doesn’t have quite the same range of sales features when compared to Shopify, so if you’re looking for functionality over style, this may not be your best option.
Easy to use drag-and-drop editor
App Store with 250+ apps
Automatic website backups
Price: $18 – $40 per month
If you want to build a beautiful-looking website, Squarespace is the way to go. It’s by far one of the easiest ways to create a classy and sleek-looking store without too muss fuss. However, eCommerce isn’t Squarespace’s primary focus, which means it offers a little less functionality when compared to other platforms, such as not having an app store, for example.
Nevertheless, they have three e-commerce plans that enable you to do most of the things you’d need in a simple store.
The three plans are:
Business — $18 per month + 3% transaction fees
Basic Commerce — $26 per month + 0% transaction fees
Advanced Commerce — $40 per month + 0% transaction fees
Squarespace has an array of award-winning design templates for you to pick from that are pretty much ready to go right out of the box. All you need to do is edit the design template to fit your style and your business’s professional needs. Almost all of the designs look fantastic, and the product pages really stand out too.
The learning curve with Squarespace is a little steep as it’s not the easiest platform to get to grips with, even if it has a drag-and-drop feature. With that said, it’s a perfect option for those that want a simple store that looks great without needing to customize it too much.
Build amazing looking websites with ease
Integrated with email marketing platforms
Great sales features with higher-tier plans (abandoned cart recovery, inventory management, discount codes, and gift cards)
Set up digital products, and subscriptions
In-depth store analytics
Eye-catching product pages
It’s wise to carefully consider what you want from your e-commerce platform before you take the plunge, as once you signed up and got your website up and running, it’s a little tricky to switch over to another.
As we have touched upon, each platform comes with its own pros and cons, which is why it’s crucial to keep in mind what’s important to your business and what services/features you need to provide the best service to your customers.
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I am an enthusiast marketer and an active learner. I work at StartupGuys.net, where I get the chance to meet a new entrepreneur everyday. Connecting to successful people, knowing about their struggle, learning techniques from them and sharing this useful stuff with those who need it is something I do. And, I love what I am doing!