Nowadays, there are lots of incredible website builders tailor-made for small businesses. In fact, even the larger platforms offer specialized plans for smaller shops, barely charging anything for basic functions. In this article, we’ll review the 15 best Ecommerce platforms while analyzing the optimal solutions for specific industries.
What Is An Ecommerce for Small Business Platform?
Most small brands have trouble getting their business off the ground. This is especially true for companies that are a dime a dozen, handling merchandise you can find in just about any online store.
Truth be told that unless you have a revolutionary idea on your hands, you need to be really good at sales and marketing. Since so much business is done online these days, you need to be very careful and strategic when considering what technology (i.e. ecommerce platform) to invest in to build your online store.
With ecommerce platform software, you can create a website from scratch, even if you have limited tech knowledge. They also come with hosting features, additional tools, and CMS. Most of them also have integrated search engine optimization features or allow integration with popular programs.
How to Evaluate These Ecommerce Platforms?
There are many things you should look out for when choosing software:
- Ability to create discounts and gift cards
- Available bandwidth
- Available data storage
- Ease of use and flexibility
- Maximum number of physical products you can sell
- Use of custom domain names
- Available payment options
- Transaction fees and any other additional cost
- Other advanced features
- Integration options (such as Google Analytics and Google Shopping)
Generally speaking, you should be looking for eCommerce tools with as many features as possible. It’s worth noting that most free plans don’t allow you to sell unlimited products or create branded domain names, so you’ll likely have to go with paid plans. Nevertheless, the investment will be worthwhile in the long run!
The good thing is that most of these eCommerce website builders are relatively simple to use. You can create your online storefront in just a few hours, which is ideal if you want to start selling as soon as possible. Most of these providers lure users by providing free plans and great support, although they’ll eventually try to upgrade you.
The 15 Best Ecommerce for Small Business Platforms
Without further ado, here’s the list of 15 best platforms for your small business:
The best thing about this eCommerce platform is that it has numerous basic features tailor-made from small brands. For example, you can use Shopify to create logos, slogans, business and domain names, invoices, and numerous other marketing and sales materials.
Given the large number of free features, Shopify is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to cut their initial marketing costs. Powered by search engine optimization tools and social media integration, the platform allows you to increase your online presence without hiring an external team.
On top of all these key features, the company charges relatively small fees (especially given the amount of digital products you get). Generally speaking, all of this functionality makes Shopify a popular option for third-party marketplaces and dropshippers.
Perhaps the platform’s biggest selling point is the large number of additional features. Most of these tools are otherwise unavailable with other eCommerce platforms, or you need to pay for them. Cart recovery, extensive security features, customer segmentation, and saving credit cards are just a few things that will boost user experience.
Another great thing about BigCommerce is that it allows you to run several online stores concurrently, which isn’t ideal if you’re a small brand. On the flip side, even the basic plan allows you to run three websites without taking extra fees from your sales.
The platform excels for any online business that already has a third-party payment processor or relies on PayPal for online sales. Given the 0% fees, the eCommerce software is fantastic for small stores that sell products with low margins. There’s also a 15-day free trial so you can easily check key features without feeling rushed.
With Wix eCommerce, you get abandoned cart emails each time a person leaves without buying. Besides multichannel selling and order tracking, the platform also offers an integrated payment gateway called Wix Payments. Higher-tier plans also come with built-in marketing tools for tracking the performance of your eCommerce business.
Similar to Shopify, this eCommerce website builder has features geared toward new small businesses, like a logo maker and a business name generator. Wix offers more than 500 customizable templates, making it a perfect choice for any online storefront heavily dependent on visual appearance (for example, fashion brands).
Initially, Squarespace was an online store builder with limited functionality and built-in marketing features. However, as time went by, the creators added a wide range of features and sales functions. They also offer numerous integrations with third-party apps, making it a full-fledged eCommerce platform.
Squarespace is mostly geared toward smaller service websites. While it can host 1,000 pages, it has limited features for multilingual sites. The absence of a dropdown menu can also be an issue if you have numerous subcategories. While limited customization options are a problem, drag-and-drop tools, and simple interfaces make Squarespace an excellent option for smaller companies.
While WooCommerce doesn’t have that many built-in tools, the fact it’s an open-source platform makes it ideal for companies with good IT teams. Furthermore, its multi-channel sales integrations allow you to sell on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Etsy, and other platforms (integrations are disjointed).
The biggest issue with this eCommerce platform is its convoluted pricing policies. You’re charged separately for various features, which makes it a bit hard to maximize the platform without a good business plan. Nevertheless, the basic plan is free, making it one of the best business eCommerce platforms for slow scaling.
Perhaps the best thing about Ecwid is that it allows you to run an online shop completely free. However, there are a few major issues with the free plan. For example, you can’t create product variants, and you have a limited number of digital marketplaces to sell on. It’s also worth noting that this plan allows you to sell five products, which is a lot if you consider that most other free platforms only allow one.
One of the biggest issues with this eCommerce platform is that it has different pricing depending on the country. For example, users outside of the US will have to pay extra. As a result, the platform is ideal for people who live in the US, want to minimize costs and sell up to five products. Of course, this is if we presume you’re not interested in premium plans.
Further Reading: The 13 Best Ecommerce Marketplaces for Online Marketing
Similar to Ecwid, Weebly comes with a solid free eCommerce plan. Unfortunately, keep in mind that the free website will be littered with ads. Paid plans have great customer service and user-friendly features. You also have access to the app center, which gives you a wide selection of apps that you can add to the site without any technical expertise.
Weebly is an excellent choice for generic sites. The platform offers a limited number of online store templates, so you won’t be able to tinker too much with design. In other words, if you’re looking for customization options, you’d be better off with something like Shopify. It also lacks some key features present with other eCommerce site builders.
Further Reading: 17 Best Ecommerce CMS Platforms to Build Your Online Store
The platform has excellent features for social media selling but will place a watermark on your free Square Online store. If you check the pricing plans, this might seem like an affordable website builder. Unfortunately, as there are transaction fees with each sale, the eCommerce platform might be tricky for stores that run on low margins.
The reason why Square Online is so great for small businesses is because of its eCommerce features and templates. This flexible platform offers layouts for just about any industry, from food to fashion. So, not only can you easily create a site, but you can also be certain that it checks all the design boxes.
As for the drawbacks, it’s worth mentioning that the platform has limited blogging features. This can come back to bite you, especially if you wish to invest in SEO.
The thing that caught my attention is how the company uses your sales as the basis for transaction fees. Basically, if you make more than $500 per month, you don’t have to pay anything. This makes it an ideal option for small businesses that can reliably sell large quantities of physical and digital products. In other words, you won’t have to think about excessive fees if you already have established online presence.
It’s worth noting that the platform charges credit card processing fees, which can have a major impact on your bottom line. The software comes with various SEO and marketing tools that would allow better targeting of potential customers. According to customer reviews, one of the biggest issues with the platform is poor user experience and poor customer service.
Further Reading: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for eCommerce Websites
10. Big Cartel
In general, Big Cartel is a flexible, cheap builder that puts emphasis on visual solutions. You can create beautiful templates even if you’re clueless about graphic design. It also helps that you can use all essential features without any technical knowledge.
Alas, the software struggles with all sorts of issues, such as lack of PCI compliance, limited custom service, subpar SEO and reporting tools, and so on. The creators have indicated that they’re working on improving their integrations, so we can expect a more complete platform in the near future.
Initially, Big Cartel was designed for small indie artists. The users can access a wide variety of eCommerce templates that would give your online store a soul. As time went by, the company changed its approach, introducing extra features for larger businesses. This website builder is perfect for brands that want to differentiate themselves without paying excessive fees.
Although Volusion doesn’t have a free plan, there’s a 14-day free trial that allows you to check the platform’s features. This is generally enough to create your first site, test, and see if this solution the right thing for your small business.
One of the best things about the platform is that it offers various payment options and comes with a mobile app. Then again, it’s worth mentioning that the company puts a limit on how much you can sell.
Volusion is tailor-made for physical sales. To be exact, you can’t sell digital products through this platform even if you want to. If we also consider the lack of blogging features, Volusion is a much better option for small businesses that already have traction and want to transfer a part of their business online.
Magento, recently renamed Adobe Commerce, is a powerful platform that builds upon Adobe’s toolbox. That being said, you can expect incredible visual aids during your template creation.
Recently, the company added numerous AI features that would boost customization making your job that much easier. Users can also benefit from numerous integrations that boost the platform’s overall functionality.
However, given the high flexibility and numerous options, Magento can be a bit tricky for beginners. It’s also a bit pricier compared to other entries on the list. The platform is ideal for small IT brands and other tech-related companies that can squeeze the most value out of it.
Further Reading: 13 Ways to Use AI in Ecommerce in 2024 (with Tools Recommendations)
GoDaddy is a popular hosting platform that added numerous features over time. Among others, they added an eCommerce website builder, thus building upon the software’s previous functionality.
Simplicity is one of the GoDaddy’s biggest benefits. I also need to mention cheap pricing as something that will entice numerous small businesses. Still, given the limited number of customization options and templates, it isn’t the best fit for creative and visually-reliant industries.
Whether you want to promote products on Google or focus on Facebook sales, Zyro is one of the better options. The platform streamlines various tasks, such as inventory management, orders, and pricing.
Despite being straightforward, the website builder has a few issues. For example, you can’t change a template once you choose one, and drag-and-drop functions are relatively limited. Overall, the platform is great for just about any small business.
Further Reading: How To Build An Ecommerce Website: A Step-by-Step Guide
PrestaShop has neat localization features and allows you to change languages. This makes it ideal for web shops that compete in different markets and in multi-lingual countries.
The platform’s biggest drawback is that it offers limited scaling options. So, even if you manage to get your business off the ground, you might have issues in the later stages of the development.
Most website builders nowadays come with free plans. These plans are fantastic for small mom-and-pop shops as they don’t impose heavy charges on the users. Even though they’re free, they offer fantastic features and services to their clients, allowing them to squeeze the most value without a heavy investment.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
Ecommerce For Small Business FAQs
Some e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce stand out as the best options for small businesses. These platforms offer a range of features and tools to help small business owners create and manage their online stores with ease. Among other things, they enable retailers to personalize their stores, optimize SEO and mobile-friendliness, and provide secure payment options. Additionally, their user-friendly interfaces make them accessible even to small business owners with little-to-no experience in online retail.
E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services online. By implementing an e-commerce platform, small businesses can reach a wider audience, increase brand awareness, and generate more revenue. Through e-commerce, small businesses can also provide customers with a more convenient way to purchase products at any time and from any location. However, it is essential for small business owners to carefully plan and execute their e-commerce strategy to ensure success, as competition in the digital space is fierce.
After conducting extensive research and taking into consideration various factors such as pricing, customer support, and marketing features, we have found that Shopify is the best online shop for small businesses. With an easy-to-use interface and customizable templates, Shopify allows small business owners to create their own unique online store without any technical skills. The platform also offers marketing tools, business analytics, and 24/7 customer support to help businesses grow and succeed in the competitive online marketplace.
For beginners, there are several options available, but not all of them are created equal. In our experience, Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for beginners. Its user-friendly interface and simplicity make it easy to set up and manage your online store. Plus, the integration of various features such as payment gateways, shipping options, and analytics make it a complete ecommerce solution. With Shopify’s extensive app store, you can customize your store according to your requirements and needs.
With the rise of online shopping, small businesses can reach a global audience without investing in costly advertising and marketing campaigns. E-commerce has also enabled small businesses to reduce overhead costs and eliminate the need for a physical storefront. This, in turn, increases profit margins, enables businesses to invest in growth opportunities and provide customers with competitive pricing. E-commerce also allows small businesses to track and analyze customer data to improve their marketing strategies and tailor their offerings to better meet customer demands.