With much of the world moving from brick-and-mortar retail to the online marketplace, eCommerce platforms have played a role in enabling entrepreneurs and business owners to stay relevant throughout the pandemic and create a strong and lasting presence in the digital arena.
However, with so many eCommerce solutions currently available, entrepreneurs tend to get flummoxed as to which one to choose. Obviously, one-size-fits-all ecommerce solutions won’t cut it, and people need to shop around to see which programmes will work best for their business based on the size of the shop, the clientele, the products it offers, and its specific market. So how in the world does one determine the best possible choice for their needs?
We took the guesswork out of choosing eCommerce solutions for you by testing some of the leading programmes currently available online. Based on our findings, we have determined the best ecommerce website builders you should consider.
What is an eCommerce platform?
So – what is an eCommerce platform? Ecommerce platforms are, essentially, online website building programmes specifically engineered to create online stores and retail hubs. While these have much of the same features and functions as regular site builders, eCommerce platforms also have numerous retail- or service provision-specific features built into their systems.
What is an eCommerce platform capable of performing? For instance, great features may include shipping and delivery, inventory management, product presentation, couponing, and online marketing and promotions.
Our Handpicked Best best eCommerce Website Builder List:
We made a shortlist of the five (plus one bonus) best uk eCommerce website builder, citing easy to use options to get selling online;
- Shopify (and Shopify Plus) –The Best All-In-One Ecommerce Platform
- Squarespace –The Best eCommerce Website Builder for Creatives
- BigCommerce – The Best eCommerce Website Builder for Medium to Large Stores
- Wix eCommerce – The Best eCommerce Site Builder for Flexibility and Customisation
- WooCommerce – Best eCommerce Website Builder for WordPress Sites
- Bonus – Ecwid – The Best eCommerce Website Builder for Integrating With Your Current Platform
Before we go into more detail for each of these platforms you are probably wondering how we chose our top picks for best ecommerce website builder
How to Choose the Best eCommerce Website Builder?
To determine the best ecommerce platform depending on category and use, we judged each of the featured programmes based on the following criteria.
We discuss five platforms from our top 10 eCommerce platforms, and we were able to answer what is an eCommerce platform capable of qualifying as the best of the best.
Ease of Use:
Can you use these eCommerce solutions right away, or do you have to take a bit of time learning them before you get into the business of using them?
Features and Flexibility:
What is an eCommerce platform's features? These are important as they determine how extensive or complex your website will be. While some entrepreneurs want to keep things as simple as possible, businesses poised for growth want a little more flexibility for expansion: essentially solutions that enable them to sell more products, features that allow them to market through different channels, third-party integrations that enable them to interface with payment platforms or gateways, and widgets that allow them to sell digital merchandise or book appointments for specific services.
SEO and Mobility:
There’s no point in running an online store if people can’t find you, and that is where building your site with SEO-savvy ecommerce platforms comes in. Likewise, managing your store from anywhere is a bonus and helps you build a strong reputation with customers.
What is an eCommerce platform's features for sales and marketing? Added functionality is another major draw for an ecommerce platform, and most business owners welcome any measures related to running an online store.
Support and Resources:
The best eCommerce solutions need to give a competent helping hand. Having one’s store glitch in the middle of a customer transaction is a nightmare for any entrepreneur, so having 24/7, easily accessible technical support and a wealth of learning resources at one’s fingertips is appreciated.
Does your ecommerce builder of choice fit your budget? This part of the decision making process is a serious caveat emptor for companies, particularly those just starting out. It won’t pay so much for an expensive platform whose features you can’t exactly maximise.
Our Handpicked Top eCommerce Platforms in detail:
Based on the criteria presented above, here are our tried and tested picks for the best eCommerce platforms in various categories:
Shopify (and Shopify Plus)
Boasting over a million web stores across the globe, Shopify – and its premium line Shopify Plus – has evolved to become the favoured ecommerce platform of many entrepreneurs, mostly those engaged in small-scale enterprises. However, some of these cater to high-end or creative niche markets.
While the full range of functions you can actually use depends on what subscription plan you opt for, Shopify gives users practically everything they need to create a beautiful, functional, and SEO-ready online store right out of the gate. Plus, you can manage your online store from a distance as Shopify has its own mobile management app.
- A great choice for businesses operating on a smaller scale;
- Offers over 70 payment gateways to cater to its growing international clientele;
- Fastest page loading speed in the industry.
- Charges 2% per transaction;
- Limited options for merchandising and marketing.
What is an eCommerce platform like Squarespace's unique feature?
The advent of eCommerce platforms and the need to suspend live performances and exhibitions have prompted the creative community to seek online solutions that won’t alienate their key audiences and markets. For this reason, Squarespace – or, more accurately, Squarespace eCommerce – takes this category as the platform of choice for artists and musicians.
Squarespace ranks high among creatives as it enables artists to make a living off their work or through commissions and virtual gallery walkthroughs. Likewise, in musicians, Squarespace allows them to book and schedule gigs through their websites or integrated social media channels.
- Exquisite selection of templates for gallery building
- Ecommerce functionality enables users to sell digital downloads such as music or film files;
- Allows clients to book gigs or schedule interviews and appearances.
- Not for those on a tight budget, as it sets you back $12-40 monthly;
- Non-intuitive site builder;
- Lack of preview function keeps you from seeing your site before you go live;
- Layouts aren’t very flexible.
Along with an easy to use drag-and-drop site builder, the Texas-based ecommerce platform offers a wide array of third-party ecommerce apps. For example, it has solutions for enhanced productivity, inventory management, online marketing, accounting, shipping and delivery management, and even international taxation.
Moreover, it’s one of the most reliable site-hosting platforms for the ecommerce sector. BigCommerce relies on Google Cloud Platform infrastructure, ensuring 99.99% uptime and rapid loading time for hosted sites. In addition, unlimited bandwidth and file storage make for a winning eCommerce platform formula.
- Offers several native migration apps;
- Automatically optimises site titles and URLs for easier online searches;
- Offers maximum functionality for growing businesses, including the ability to create product rules, sell digital products like tickets and film downloads, an easy to use order process management system, a facility for creating bestsellers’ lists, and a reward system for frequent customers.
- Expensive: top-tier plans will set you back by $299 a month;
- If you’re on the Pro subscription and making between $400,000 and $1 million a month in online sales, expect to be charged an additional $150 monthly per $200,000 in sales;
- Takes a while to learn how to use.
What is an eCommerce platform like Wix great for? Firstly, Wix eCommerce is easy enough to use even for those with absolutely no experience whatsoever in site building or shop building. Secondly, Wix offers a reliable seven-step guide for building a smart, stylish online store that can easily draw in and retain customers. Plus, Wix’s flexible CMS enables users to make quick and relevant changes to improve their sites’ appearance and performance.
- Offers 800 themes and templates to choose from;
- AI-driven site builder;
- Free domain name for the first year;
- Intuitive site builder;
- Top of the line when it comes to “freemium” ware.
- No mobile app editor – you’ll have to edit and manage your site on desktop or just pig it out on a mobile browser;
- You can’t swap your template once you’ve saved your site.
Just to make things clear here: WooCommerce is not an independent ecommerce platform or a stand-alone programme. It’s actually an ecommerce plugin for WordPress, which pretty much explains why it works so well with the platform.
While WooCommerce eCommerce solutions have a steep learning curve, using it with Bluehost turnkey solutions helps ease the experience even for novice users. Once you have that down pat, you can start operating and selling from your online store. WooCommerce users have several useful tools at their fingertips to further enhance the customer experience.
- Transforms any WordPress blog into a working ecommerce site;
- Extensive choice of storefront templates;
- Numerous extensions and 3rd party integrations help enhance the customer experience.
- Limited functionality;
- Slow page loading speed;
- Not very easy to use.
Bonus – Ecwid
It is interesting to note that Ecwid used to be entwined with Wix, serving as the platform’s eCommerce plugin/extension until the recent rollout of Wix eCommerce. On its own, however, Ecwid now boasts of over 900,000 users worldwide.
The platform is a great choice for small- and medium-scale enterprises. It is like WooCommerce because it is a plugin rather than a standalone platform, but it allows you to add ecommerce functionality to an existing website or blog. Due to Covid-19, Ecwid's developers have added many useful features to it. These features include curbside pickup options for retailers or foodservice providers, access to gift cards, point-of-sale features, as well as free access to drop-shipping apps.
- Not platform-specific, as you can use it with different site builders;
- Allows extensive eCommerce functionality.
- Not a standalone programme;
- Can be expensive for a plugin.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
As thorough as we have been in our review of the best eCommerce platforms currently available, this list is constantly up for negotiation. Therefore, we would suggest that you take this as a guide and shop around and see which platforms would work best with your specific requirements for an online store or service hub.
Which of the eCommerce platforms would you recommend for those looking for maximum visual impact?
Wix is the best eCommerce website builder in the themes and templates category, seeing how it offers users over 500 templates. Our only beef with it is that you cannot easily swap templates once your site goes live.
Which among the eCommerce solutions work best for performers?
Squarespace eCommerce is our best eCommerce website builder in this category. The platform's service functionality enables performers, particularly musicians, to book, schedule, and organise gig calendars. Likewise, the platform also enables users to market their original work through the ability to sell digital downloads and merchandise.
That's all for now:
If you've read all the way through this best eCommerce platforms guide, we are thankful and hope you can now answer the question for what is an eCommerce platform! We have a large collection of articles, guides, and comparison reviews of eCommerce solutions, web hosting providers, website builders, and more! Feel free to check them out;
- Shopify Reviews UK
- Our 5 Best eCommerce UK Platforms
- Ecwid vs Shopify
- Ecwid Reviews
- Shopify vs Squarespace vs Woocommerce
Not only the best tea/coffee maker on the team Sophie keeps the many marketing projects flowing ensuring completion on time. Skilled across multiple marketing skill areas Sophie is our all rounder and a great asset to the team. Sophie is a website building trainer and tech writer who takes pride in helping small businesses and startups build their websites and launch their eCommerce platforms. Sophie is also the practical joker of the team and always wears a smile on her face. In her spare time she likes to spend her time with family. She loves going on holidays and spending time with friends.