Our 7 Best eCommerce Platforms UK 2022

Last Updated on   November 26 2022,
  by    
Fact Checked  by     Stuart Kerrs.
ecommerce-software-uk

Do you want to skip the read and get right to my top picks? The best UK eCommerce platform for most people is Shopify (and Shopify Plus).


Introduction to our Best eCommerce Platform UK.

The economic impact of COVID-19 on the British economy cannot be understated given how extensive and longstanding quarantines have affected the commercial sector, particularly the retail and foodservice industries. This unprecedented historical event has led to a serious paradigm shift. Indeed, purveyors, entrepreneurs, and franchisees are now transforming into online businesses, and are looking into possibilities offered by eCommerce. As a result, many software development companies are ramping up the notion of offering online/cloud-hosted site builders as a Software as a Service (SaaS) to help entrepreneurs make the shift. But that begs the question: which programme is the best eCommerce platform UK?

We've tested hundreds of paid eCommerce companies in UK and free eCommerce website UK software and used them to create online stores for clients. Hence, in this article, we present our curated list of the best UK eCommerce website builders so you can narrow down your choices.


What is UK eCommerce Website Builder?

eCommerce platforms are Software as a Services (SaaS) packages that are used to create online stores. Therefore, they enable users to customise everything from the appearance of their storefronts and even their marketing campaigns. While, in principle, the best eCommerce platform UK have everything standard site builders have in terms of functionality, these also have measures that are specific to ecommerce such as integration with payment portals, appointment booking calendars, and inventory management solutions.

In this article, we bring you the details, and pros and cons, of the best eCommerce platform UK users can subscribe to.


Our Handpicked Best eCommerce Platform UK List:

We made a shortlist of the five (plus one bonus) best UK eCommerce website builders, citing easy to use options to get selling online;

  1. Shopify (and Shopify Plus) – The Overall Best Dedicated eCommerce Software UK

  2. Squarespace – Best UK eCommerce Platform especially for Design and Creatives

  3. WooCommerce (with Nexcess Hosting)- Best eCommerce Software UK WordPress Site Owners Deserve

  4. BigCommerce – Best eCommerce Software UK-based Medium to Large Stores Will Love

  5. EKM – Best UK eCommerce platform Developed by the British 

  6. ShopWired – People's Choice for UK eCommerce Website Builder 

  7. Wix eCommerce – Best UK eCommerce Website Builder for General Use

  • Bonus – Ecwid – The Best eCommerce UK clients can integrate with their existing sites

Before we go into more detail for each of these platforms you are probably wondering how we chose our top picks for best eCommerce platform UK.


How to Choose the Best eCommerce platform UK?

We used a pretty stringent set of guidelines in order to determine the best ecommerce platform UK based on category and ease of use. The following criteria were considered in the screening process:

Ease of Use:

Can you use it right on initial login or is there a learning curve prior to being able to use UK eCommerce website builder? Believe it or not, some eCommerce software UK platforms have a steep learning curve before you can use them.

Features and Flexibility:

What bells and whistles come with the eCommerce software UK package? Can you use them all or does use depend on the subscription tier you’ve chosen to pay? Are payments processed hassle-free? Also, how does it perform in terms of being able to customise the appearance and service offerings for a great customer experience?

SEO and Mobility:

Does your best eCommerce platform UK option offer tools that can help you make your site/online store more searchable via Google, Bing, or any other search engine? Also, is there a mobile app that enables you to manage your store on the fly or, at the very least, allow you to look into customer orders whilst on the go?

Ecommerce Tools:

Added functionality is another major draw for any UK eCommerce website builder, and any measures related to running an online store are welcomed by most business owners, particularly those which take the guesswork out of taxation, delivery, international currency conversion, and marketing.

Support and Resources:

Does your best eCommerce platform UK option offer 24/7 customer support? And, if it does, how do you get it: live chat, Messenger, or phone? Plus, you need to check if your platform has a working and frequently updated knowledge base in case you need some information fast.

Pricing:

Does your UK ecommerce website builder of choice fit your budget? Pricing is the tale of the tape where even the best ecommerce platform UK are concerned: some may offer reasonable prices on the onset, but buyers need to double-check for hidden charges or exact service inclusions in the subscription packages available.


The Best UK eCommerce Platforms in detail:

Shopify (and Shopify Plus):

shopify home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
shopify-home

As one of our top picks for best UK ecommerce platform, Shopify and its premium service Shopify Plus are considered the gold standard. It has practically everything one needs to create both a stellar storefront and an easy to manage the back-end of the shop. For the most part, Shopify appeals to smaller-scale operators, but note that many of these actually offer high-end, even bespoke products and services.

What is Shopify’s biggest draw for its users? Functionality for the most part: all the helpful tools like abandoned cart, SEO tools, and social media tools, you need to create a smart-looking and responsive shopfront are at your fingertips and there are numerous third-party integrations and solutions to make running your online retail hub a breeze. SEO? It’s built-in. Rapid page loading? It’s practically the industry standard.

The only issue we have with this eCommerce software UK is the fact that it does charge users a 2 per cent fee per transaction once your earnings have crossed a certain threshold, but that’s a relatively minor issue in light of the benefits the platform has in the long run.

Pros:

      • This best ecommerce platform UK option is 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.

Cons:

      • This UK ecommerce website builder charges 2% per transaction;
      • Limited options for merchandising and marketing.
shopify-plans
shopify-plans

As stated on their terms of service page, the platform offers a 14-day trial, letting you wade through Shopify first before committing.

>> Try For Free <<


Squarespace eCommerce:

squarespace home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
squarespace-ecommerce-home

Among the hardest hit by the pandemic are the members of the creative community. Visual artists have been severely hampered by the inability to hold exhibitions or put installations into public spaces. As a result, musicians lament the lack of gigs. Moreover, cineastes are hard-pressed to find safe venues for screening their work. For these reasons, Squarespace eCommerce software UK has the creative community’s vote as their ecommerce platform of choice.

Squarespace, one of the best ecommerce platform UK has given creatives a new lease on life through an ecommerce platform that allows for the sale of non-tangible merchandise such as digital downloads and streaming media. Also, there are provisions for when live performances will once more be possible: Squarespace has a solution for scheduling services (such as gigs and commissions) built right into its UI.

Pros:

      • Exquisite selection of templates for gallery building
      • Ecommerce functionality enables users to sell digital downloads such as music or film files;
      • The service function of the platform so clients can book gigs or schedule interviews and appearances.
      • One of the cheapest ecommerce platform UK options out there.

Cons:

      • Not for those on a tight budget, since it sets you back $12-40 monthly;
      • Non-intuitive site builder so it might take getting used to;
      • Lack of preview function keeps you from seeing your site before you go live;
      • Layouts aren’t very flexible.
squarespace-pricing
squarespace-pricing

From their Terms of Service page, Squarespace trial comes in 14 days of free testing of the Business Plan. Once the Squarespace trial expires and your account reverts to the “Personal” plan, any business plan progress will not be saved.

>> Try For Free <<


WordPress WooCommerce with Nexcess Hosting:

nexcess home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
nexcess-home

If you’re a longtime WordPress.org blogger who wants to monetise your site, better download the WooCommerce plug-in.

Unlike the other UK eCommerce website builders featured in this review, WooCommerce is not a stand-alone eCommerce software UK option. It is, in essence, an eCommerce widget specifically created for WordPress sites. As an eCommerce widget, it transforms any blog, site, or media gallery into a working virtual storefront – making it one of the best eCommerce platform UK users should consider.

When paired with Nexcess Hosting, it makes for one of the best UK eCommerce Website Builders. Nexcess hosting is our overall best in class recommendation for small and medium eCommerce enterprises built in WooCommerce or Magento.

Once installed, this eCommerce software UK choice pretty much offers similar functionality to any stand-alone ecommerce platform, but we take issue with the fact that it does have a steep learning curve which makes it challenging to use at the onset. But when you do get it up and running, you have a wide array of tools from this ecommerce software UK. With this best UK platform ecommerce widget, you can turn your creative endeavour into a lucrative money-spinner.

Pros:

      • This top eCommerce platforms UK option transforms any WordPress blog into a working ecommerce site;
      • Extensive choice of storefront templates so you can individualize your site's design;
      • Numerous extensions and 3rd party integrations so you can enhance the customer experience
      • Limited functionality.

Cons:

      • Slow page loading speed so it might affect SEO;
      • Not very easy to use.

From their refund policy page, they do provide a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee & Refund Policy.

Since WordPress is open-source, it's free and so is the WooCommerce plugin. Pricing plans for our choice Nexcess hosting are as follows;

nexcess-plans-woocommerce-lower
nexcess-plans-woocommerce-lower

>> Try For Free <<


BigCommerce:

bigcommerce home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
bigcommerce-home

If your business is scaling up, BigCommerce may just be the best UK ecommerce platform for you. It's because the Texas-based SaaS provider offers an easily scalable site-building solution for those who aim to grow their businesses over time.

Pairing an easy to use drag-and-drop builder with a curated selection of third-party ecommerce solutions, entrepreneurs making the shift to online sales will find themselves armed to the teeth with tools for productivity, activity scheduling, inventory management, marketing, accounting and taxation, as well as shipping and delivery.

BigCommerce offers the most reliable hosting solution in the eCommerce software UK industry and beyond: 99% uptime thanks to secure cloud-based hosting compounded by unlimited bandwidth and file storage.

Pros:

      • Offers several native migration apps;
      • Automatically optimises site titles and URLs so users get easier online searches;
      • Offers maximum functionality for growing businesses.

Cons:

      • Expensive, so choosing top-tier plans of this UK ecommerce website builders 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.
bigcommerce-pricing
bigcommerce-pricing

As stated on their terms of service page, the BigCommerce page builder offers a 15-day free trial.

>> Try For Free <<


EKM:

ekm home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
ekm-home

On its website, EKM proudly touts itself as the UK’s top ecommerce platform. While that does sound like a bold claim, it does have the moxie to back it up. One of the easiest ecommerce-centric platforms to set up, it enables users to get a working online storefront up and running in just minutes.

EKM offers one of the easiest product inventory suites currently available. Specifically, it allows users to easily add and manage products in a few clicks, and is even user-friendly enough to help you set up payment channels. Moreover, looks-wise, this is a platform that's pretty flexible thanks to over 70 customisable themes.

As if those weren't useful enough, this is one of the few platforms that gives users the support of a dedicated account manager to help you set up shop online.

Features:

      • More than 70 customisable themes so you have more design diversity;
      • Responsive design;
      • Professional logo builder so users can create their own brand identity device;
      • Dedicated test shop for staging;
      • Unlimited products;
      • Dropshipping option;
      • Product discounting;
      • Back-end shop management suite;
      • Online marketing and SEO suite; and
      • Payment suite with secure payment and foreign currency options

Pros:

      • One of the best ecommerce platform for small business UK because it is one of the easiest platforms to set up and use;
      • Gives users a dedicated account manager so they can maximise their use of the platform;
      • Offers a free domain name and unlimited products

Cons:

      • Not scalable enough for larger organisations;
      • Charges 20% VAT above standard surcharges;
      • For this best UK ecommerce platform, membership plans all have revenue limits.
ekm-pricing
ekm-pricing

Read the terms of service page of this best Ecommerce platform UK carefully or avail of their 14-day trial.

>> Try For Free <<


ShopWired UK:

shopwired home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
shopwired-home

If EKM says it's the best ecommerce platform UK, ShopWired UK says it's the country's favourite platform. And why not? Indeed, ShopWired gives its users all the necessary features to build, launch, and grow their businesses online.

The UK ecommerce website builders touts itself as the one with the widest-ranging menu of eCommerce features. For example, it enables users to control the entirety of their enterprise from a single account, doing everything from managing the product catalogue to implementing online promotions in just a few handy clicks.

ShopWired eCommerce software UK also sets itself up as an industrial standard thanks to its excellent 24/7/365 technical support team who are available on multiple channels to give their clients the necessary help to push their online enterprises forward.

Features:

      • Mobile-responsive design;
      • Extensive range of curated design templates;
      • Free SSL security so you get a safe online shopping experience;
      • This best UK ecommerce platform has flexible delivery rates and free shipping;
      • Automatic tax calculation so you don't go through the hassle;
      • Easy pairing with over 40 popular online payment gateways so your users have payment ease;
      • Offline payment facility;
      • Optimised currency conversion-aided checkout;
      • Back-end store management suite;
      • Marketing and SEO toolkit available so it's bottomline-friendly;
      • Regular generation of analytics so you get meaningful marketing data;
      • Tool suite for wholesale and B2B enterprises; and
      • This best UK ecommerce platform features a drag-and-drop site builder so you get easy storefront creation.

Pros:

      • Tech support team for this best UK ecommerce platform is one of the highest-rated in the UK;
      • Has a very user-friendly interface so it's friendly for beginners;
      • Excellent back-end store management features

Cons:

      • Connecting to support may be challenging for some providers;
      • Pricing plans tends to be turnover-based;
      • Some third-party applications of this best UK ecommerce platform need to be coded manually into the site
shopwired-pricing
shopwired-pricing

According to their terms and conditions page, you can get 14-day trial before committing to any of their packages.

>> Try For Free <<


Wix eCommerce:

wix home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
wix-ecommerce-home

Need a spiffy looking site in a flash? That’s where Wix, one of the best eCommerce platform UK entrepreneurs love, has your back. It's indeed one of the oldest site-building SaaS programs. This platform has since evolved to become a gold standard in the web development industry – thanks to a no-coding framework.

For the booming ecommerce industry, it recently rolled out Wix eCommerce. This was indeed a step up from the time it relied on the Ecwid plug-in to transform regular sites into online stores. Wix takes out a lot of the guesswork when it comes to store building, tutoring new users with a reliable seven-step guide for building a smart, stylish online store that can easily draw in and retain customers. This eCommerce software UK beginners will love because its AI-driven CMS also speeds up the creation and editing processes, as it is flexible enough to allow quick changes.

Pros:

      • Offers 500 free themes and templates to choose from so you get aesthetic diversity;
      • AI-driven site builder;
      • Free domain name for the first year;
      • Intuitive site builder so it's not painful to use;
      • Top of the line when it comes to “freemium” ware.

Cons:

      • This best ecommerce platform UK option has no mobile app;
      • You can’t swap your template once you’ve saved your site.
wix-ecommerce-pricing
wix-ecommerce-pricing

As stated on their terms of use page, there's a Wix free plan as well as a 14-day money-back guarantee on all plans.

>> Try For Free <<


*Bonus – Ecwid:

ecwid home for the Best eCommerce platform UK
ecwid-home

With over 900,000 users across the globe, Ecwid is one of the most popular ecommerce software UK solutions currently available. However, it's surprising because Ecwid, like WooCommerce, is not a standalone platform. Its name ought to be a dead giveaway: it’s actually a contracted form of “ecommerce widget.”

Up until recently, it served as Wix’s primary ecommerce plug-in/ extension until it rolled out Wix eCommerce. Despite this, however, Ecwid does have quite a following among SMEs who appreciate how it transforms websites into working stores. Due to the challenges posed by Covid-19, Ecwid's developers have made it more functional. For instance, they added provisions for curbside pickup for retailers, pharmacies, and restaurants. They also integrated marketing solutions such as coupons and gift cards, measures for drop-shipping, as well as point of sale features. Here are the pros and cons of one of the best eCommerce platform UK choices.

Pros:

      • Not platform-specific so you can use it with different site builders;
      • Allows extensive eCommerce functionality.

Cons:

      • Not a standalone programme;
      • Can be considered expensive for a plugin.
ecwid-pricing
ecwid-pricing

Ecwid do offer a 14 day free trial but their Terms of Service page states that they do not provide refunds for Products and Services.

>> Try For Free <<


Conclusion and Recommendation for the Best eCommerce Platform UK

We have tried to be thorough in our review of the best UK eCommerce platform choices. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg where the best UK ecommerce platform is concerned. Still, if you're ever in need of an eCommerce solution, our top-vetted choice is Shopify (and Shopify Plus).

Are there free alternatives for a Best eCommerce Platform UK ?

Yes, there are free alternatives to our best eCommerce platform UK list, here are the finest in some key categories:

  1. Shift4Shop offers one of the best free storefront builders across all categories.
  2. Square Online is one of the best free platform UK. It doesn’t charge transaction fees, and it also lets users post an unlimited number of products in their online shops.
  3. BigCartel also makes our list as one of the best free ecommerce platform UK. However, it limits product uploads to just five, but you can be sure that shoppers won’t be bothered by intrusive ads or transaction fees.

Best eCommerce platform UK Final Word

However, we encourage entrepreneurs and business owners to read up and shop around for an ecommerce solution that would work best for their specific requirements and the nature of their respective businesses.

  1. Shopify –  14 days free trial,

  2. Squarespace – 14 days free trial

  3. WordPress WooCommerce with Nexcess Hosting


FAQ:

I’m an artist who wants to sell existing artwork and commissions. Which UK ecommerce website builder would you recommend?

This is a job for Squarespace eCommerce. The creative-friendly platform has provisions for gallery view shopfronts that will feature your work beautifully. It also has a scheduling and booking function should you choose to offer commissions to patrons.

I can’t exactly afford a standalone UK ecommerce website builder at the moment, what would you recommend?

If you’re on WordPress, getting the WooCommerce plug-in will enable you to transform your blog into an online store. For preference, however, we would recommend Ecwid as it works with most websites and has optimal functionality.


That's all for now:

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article on the Best eCommerce platform UK. Be sure to check out more of our articles on eCommerce software UK, website builders, web hosting providers, and more such as;

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