This video was posted on YouTube. Kelly Slessor reviews the Best Ecommerce Platform for small businesses. Kelly Slessor is an Ecommerce coach and digital marketing expert passionate about helping retailers and small businesses grow online.
What is an Ecommerce Platform?
An ecommerce platform is a software program that allows businesses to manage their operations online, such as website, marketing and sales. Ecommerce platforms enable you to develop your business without any specific skills. These platforms have many powerful ecommerce functions to make setting up your business online as easy and successful as possible.
There are over 300 ecommerce platforms. Choosing the best ecommerce platform for your business can be a difficult decision. There is no perfect ecommerce platform. The best ecommerce platform is one that will successfully deliver the outcomes and objectives you set for your business. It’s also based on what your business needs. For small businesses looking to sell online, below are the top platforms.
The best ecommerce platforms
Here are the 6 top ecommerce platforms for small businesses. These are some of the most user-friendly and affordable solutions.
- Shopify – best for startups and beginners
- Wix – easiest to learn and build
- BigCommerce – top enterprise solution; best for large-volume sellers and multichannel selling
- WooCommerce – best WordPress ecommerce option
- SquareSpace – simple, beautiful and minimalist templates
- Weebly – ideal for brick & mortar/online stores; easy and cheap all-in-one option
Shopify is among the most common and popular ecommerce platforms. This platform is rated highly and reviewed as excellent. Many small businesses use this platform because it is designed for niche markets. It’s an all-in-one platform that has many features to help build your online store. Shopify is one of the most recommended ecommerce platforms for anyone who is starting. However, the cost is not cheap. Considering all the costs, this is one of the more expensive options for small businesses.
Price: Free trial for 14 days; Basic plan from USD 29 per month, package that offers the most starts at USD 299 per month.
“Shopify is better than any other platform we’ve played with, and we’ve played with them all.” – Johnathon Bayme, CEO of Theory11.
“We’ve been able to build something in 3 years that a lot of brands haven’t actually gotten to in 10 years.” – Chioma, Cee Cee’s Closet NYC.
If you’re looking to build a complete website with an online store but don’t want the whole package, Wix is the way to go. This platform is the best overall website builder for small businesses. It’s straightforward to use and gives you total creative control. In addition, it’s a powerful site builder as it doesn’t skip out on ecommerce features. Such as order tracking, automated sales tax and abandoned cart recovery. Unfortunately, since it’s a website builder, it doesn’t have as many powerful ecommerce features as Shopify. For example, you can’t sell across multiple channels.
Price: USD 18 per month; the most advanced plan starts at USD 38 per month.
“Wix offers an excellent drag-and-drop site builder to create small websites. There are 100s of free templates available. Wix provides its own web hosting as well as domain names (free and paid). The App Market makes it easy to add extra functionality such as photo galleries or ecommerce.” – Armin Pinggera, Tech Guru at WebsiteToolTester.
Given the name, this platform is mainly for big enterprises like Microsoft and Toyota. It takes the same functionality as other platforms and scales it up for complex stores and massive traffic. BigCommerce lets you to connect over 400 additional tools and platforms for your ecommerce needs. Through this website platform, you can sell on multiple platforms such as eBay, Amazon and Facebook. This platform is ideal for scaling your business. The downside is that it can get expensive quite quickly, and there is a steep learning curve. It is not beginner-friendly.
Price: USD 29.95 per month; Pro plan starts from 299.95 USD per month. If you pay annually, you can get a 10% discount.
“On BigCommerce, we are saving a significant amount of money on development and overall platform costs. More importantly, we now have an extremely agile environment that can change quickly to meet our business needs.” – Mark Hopkins, Chief Information Officer of Skullcandy.
“When mapping out our growth, we felt that BigCommerce was going to be much more customisable than other platforms and set us up for massive growth.” – Antonio Kaleb, Ecommerce Architect of LARQ.
WooCoomerce is a free WordPress plugin. It’s easy and quick to set up, and it comes with many ready-to-go features. However, this software requires you to have a WordPress site. WooCoomerce allows you to transform your WordPress website into a functional ecommerce store. The great thing about WooCoomerce is that everything is customisable, even the costs. Additional extensions and features will require some payment.
Price: Free; for additional extensions and features, it costs from USD 29 per month.
“No other ecommerce platform allows people to start for free and grow their store as their business grows. More importantly, WooCommerce doesn’t charge you a portion of your profits as your business grows.” – Chris Lema, chrislema.com.
“WooCommerce’s greatest strength is its extensibility. There’s very little I can’t build with WooCommerce. Given enough time and resources, WooCommerce can finely be tailored to even your store’s most niche feature.” – Kathy Darling, kathyisawesome.com.
If you want more creative control, Squarespace is the platform for you. In addition, Squarespace works well for stores that don’t have a lot of products. If you’re looking for a simple and affordable website platform, Squarespace has it all. Squarespace is best known for its most beautiful and simple templates with stunning imagery. Pricing is relatively low and affordable. To be able to sell products on your site, you need to be on a Business Plan. However, there is a 3% transactional fee. To avoid this fee, you have to subscribe to either the Basic Commerce plan or the Advanced Commerce plan.
Price: AUD 35 per month; the Advanced plan starts from AUD 61 per month.
“Squarespace has a better blogging tool and better support than most competitors. They offer 100+ flexible templates that fully adapt to mobile devices. While it’s been massively improved in recent updates, getting used to the platform can take a while due to a few usability issues.” – Robert Brandl, Founder of WebsiteToolTester.
Weebly is a popular choice for budding small businesses looking to set up their own online business without prior experience. It’s beginner-friendly and budget-friendly. In addition, Weebly offers the essential tools needed for a functional store without all those flashy extra bits that might confuse you. Users can create a free plan if they don’t require a custom domain. Weebly gives a streamlined user interface that beginners can use without any problems. Since it’s much cheaper than other platforms, there are some limitations. For example, you cannot sell across multiple channels, limited customisation and weak SEO support.
Price: Free if no custom domain; AUD 7 per month (billed annually); the Performance plan costs AUD 30 per month (billed annually).
“Weebly isn’t as flexible as Wix and it isn’t as sophisticated as Squarespace, but it’s easier to use than both. What sets Weebly apart from its competitors is its simple, clear interface.” – Steve Benjamins, Founder of Site Builder Report.
Other ecommerce platforms
The above platforms may not be for everyone. However, there are more options available. These can include:
- Ecwid – all-in-one platform, free plan available
- GoDaddy – quick to set up
- Big Cartel – mainly for artists and other creatives
- Volusion – good inventory features and analytics, but expensive
- Magento – expensive, but most expandable; most suited for larger businesses