Top 13 Best E-commerce Platforms (2022): Compared & Reviewed
The business has been around for a very long time. However, it is important to point out that today, it has taken new shapes. Living in a world where we are powered by the internet, the digital space has changed the way we see business. Today, everything has shifted online, business being one of them. A lot of people find the convenience of this appealing. Traditionally, you had to go to a shop which was around you locally, pick out items you like, and pay for them. That is not the case today. Today, we have the opportunity to order things from the comfort of our houses.
Online business has made it possible for people to get products that are geographically placed across countries. This has also brought in a new habit of scrolling through these sites in your free time and adding items to your cart. These sites usually use marketing strategies such as offering discounts on various festivals. By all means, it is a non-negotiable fact that you are required to take your business online in the times that we live today. This digital space has also given opportunities to small and large businesses to take a chance at success.
In this article, we have explored 13 e-commerce platforms that are the best in what they do. We have talked about their features, pros, and cons. Aspects such as what are e-commerce platforms, the strategies they use, types, and things one should consider before starting an e-commerce business are also explored.
All of these are looked at in detail to ensure that everything that is required to know is there. We hope that this provides you with some insight into the topic to be able to make the decisions for you.
When talking about e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce have really good features and are ideally meant for businesses that are large or are built in a way they are expected to reach a large scale. At the same time, it is also a really good option for small businesses as well.
In December 2018, BigCommerce was launched for WordPress where it was termed as Headless Commerce.
Here, the front-end content was taken care of by WordPress, and backend content was managed by BigCommerce. They have a 15-day free trial and have paid options as well. The paid plan starts with $29.95.
BigCommerce has features and facilities that could help both small and large businesses. They are considered as a platform that is one of the most SaaS e-commerce platforms which has open APIs, an open partner ecosystem, and has zero transaction fees. They do offer higher learning as compared to sites such as Wix. That is, they are slightly harder to get a grasp of.
If you want to build your online store, the user interface of BigCommerce is simple and the newly launched BigCommerce gives the opportunity to get discounted rates and have managed fulfillment right on your keyboard.
BigCommerce is a really good platform if you are someone who is looking at an e-commerce platform that provides responsive themes and has conversion rates in mind. In the digital age, SEO plays an important role and BigCommerce understands that. You get a branded store, domain name, and you can sell your products on sites such as Amazon or eBay.
While maintaining an e-commerce site, it is not possible for all to be able to pay a large amount for their eCommerce sites. Wix is an affordable and simple to use e-commerce platform that is extremely popular.
The product galleries and layouts are very appealing and adapt to layouts of different devices.
Being able to optimize the online store for both Apple and Google only adds to the benefit. When it comes to looking for a simpler option, Wix is definitely one to look at. A good amount of storage is offered for a middle-range business.
Wix is a platform that is widely used because of the simplicity and affordability of the platform. The templates that Wix has to offer are very good in terms of variety and numbers. For gift cards and promotions, they give a good variety of options as well.
You have an option to customize the mobile site to ensure that it is visually appealing to your audience. This can be very beneficial especially because a lot of people use these sites from their phones. However, it has been observed that SEO-wise Wix’s performance is not that best.
Wix is a really good platform for small to medium businesses. You can start from this platform and understand the functions that are offered. Both free and paid options are available. However, you might need to upgrade your platform once you see scalability and growth in your business.
Shopify is known to host over 40,000 merchants. It is also one of the most popular options. It is one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in North America.
This Canadian company spreads the concept of dreams where the design is also cool-looking.
It is a brand that is considered to make your dreams come true. It can be said that even someone who is not experienced can set up a dropshipping store in a simple manner.
They have three plans that have varied price ranges and you get a 14-day free trial as well.
When you are planning to use this immensely popular website, it is important to note that the design of this website is easy to operate and does not require technical knowledge to operate. Shopify can help you start your site immediately without much hassle. There is a wide range of templates to choose from as well.
The platform also provides CMS control which means that it manages the functionality of the layout. You also are provided with the option to customize your storefronts on Instagram and Facebook. There is also a store speed report that is offered by Shopify.
Shopify is popular for its own reasons. It is a really popular platform and can be used by all businesses that are planning to shift to the digital space. Various features are provided by Shopify that can be extremely useful. It is definitely a really good option to consider.
Square was a popular system in terms of POS. POS stands for Point-of-Sale system. But with the Square Online feature, they have well established themselves as e-commerce building sites as well.
They have a free plan which you can also upgrade to the premium plan. You can also have a 30-day trial which can help you get familiarized with the system.
It is a platform that can work well as a standalone platform but at the same time, it will also work well with additions to the local business. Unlike 'Square', Square Online has options to help you even when your business scales up.
Square Online is a very simple and flexible option that can be helpful for small businesses as well. This e-commerce website allows you to post directly on the Instagram feed and this is a really good feature to have especially in a time when digital space holds so much importance.
Square enables users to order food online, you also get tools for in-person retail, you can also accept donations for non-profit organizations to name a few etc. Square Online allows you to scale your plans based on your growth. This can be beneficial for both small or medium scale businesses.
Square Online is a good option for people who are looking for a platform that provides them with marketing facilities and can be useful for all types of businesses. It has an easy-to-use interface and it can be operated by beginners as well. It is one of the best e-commerce platforms available in the marketplace.
If you have looked at the most popular e-commerce platforms already, you must have come across Ecwid. It is a really popular platform that has a customer base of 1.6 million small businesses.
It has also been awarded the fastest e-commerce implementation platform.The platform is really simple and easy to use. It is very flexible for its users and you can also sell your products on sites such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, or Instagram.
This can be beneficial for people who are looking to try various sites and do not prefer restrictions. This only increases the number of buyers that you can look at.
Ecwid as mentioned above is a platform that is easy and simple to use. It is not restricted and rather flexible in nature. When you are someone who is starting on platforms such as Joomla or WordPress business, it is easy to integrate your business with Ecwid. Being beginner-friendly, it should not be much of a problem.
Apart from these things, it offers a customizable platform and there is higher visibility. It allows users to create and manage their own advertisements. You can create the perfect Facebook ads here. Ecwid has a seamless payment procedure for its users.
Ecwid is a really good option for someone who is looking for a more affordable platform that provides a good number of features at its price point. It can be pointed out that while there are certain cons, the platform is designed to increase your customer base.
Another popular website builder is Zyro that came up with its e-commerce platform under the same name. It was launched in early 2020 and is recent in those aspects.
Zyro offers a basic plan with minimal costing which is accompanied by three other priced plans at different price ranges. These are quite affordable according to the features that they have to offer.
It is a simple and easy-to-use platform that does not require higher-level technical knowledge. Even when they are new platforms, they have features that are commendable and can provide good competition to their other contemporaries.
There are a variety of features that are offered by Zyro. You can sell your products on multiple channels with Zyro and you do not have to stick to one platform. Not all platforms provide this. Like we have mentioned for Shopify, Zyro also does not require much time for you to start your business.
When we talk about what it gives, it provides everything that you could need. There is inventory management, 50+ payment options for the consumers, tax and shipping is managed, and discount codes and gift cards are also provided by them. You can freely host your website as well.
Zyro is a really good option for people who are looking for a really affordable yet easy to use e-commerce platform. The Basic plan can help you understand how to use the platform and can help you make a decision. It is extremely beginner-friendly and useful for people who are starting young or with less money.
Unless you are living under a rock, you must have heard of WooCommerce. It is the e-commerce platform for a business and is known to have over 74 million downloads and has been observed to power 25% of the stores that are there online.
It was launched in 2011 and has become one of the most popular and most-used e-commerce platforms today.
It is a completely free plugin but requires you to pay if you need some advanced functions. You can also add third-party plugins to make the most of WooCommerce.
It is definitely an option one should look at if they are considering an e-commerce platform with a WordPress website.
The features that WooCommerce offers are really good. WordPress offers the best SEO features and is a platform that works on the concept of SEO. WooCommerce is an extension of WordPress and has great SEO options along with customizations. You can also customize the WooCommerce platform according to your likings.
This highly customizable platform has a community of developers that can make changes in this open-source platform. It is an easy-to-use platform. Most of the third-party payment options are supported, at least the ones that are popular. If you spend some amount of money on the plugin, you can get yourself a fully functioning e-commerce website.
WooCommerce is one of the best e-commerce platforms for those who have a WordPress site. It can be used with other plugins as well to help you make the best use of it. It is also advisable to use the paid option to make sure that you get to enjoy the advanced features.
Sellfy is an all-in-one e-commerce platform that provides the facility to sell products and subscriptions all from one digital platform. It also enables users to sell digital products.
It is a cloud-based service and hence does not require you to let it take too much space. You can use it from multiple devices such as tablets, phones, or laptops.
It has paid plans that are termed as a starter, business, and premium plan all at different price points. However, it does offer a 14-day trial. This can help you get familiarized with the platform and help you in reaching a decision on whether you want to purchase a plan or not.
Sellfy offers features that are comprehensive in nature. There is design customization available at an extreme level which enables the users to be able to add logos, change colors, or so on. You can also add to your custom domain. You are free to choose whichever language you want for your platform.
There is an option for a mobile-optimized interface and gives a seamless experience. It has also integrated with payment getaways that are popular such as PayPal. It also provides an analysis of how your business is performing in-depth which can give an insight into your business and help you work on aspects you are lacking.
Sellfy is a really good option for someone looking for an e-commerce platform that can offer a variety of features such as good marketing facilities. You can rely on this and it is considered the best for bloggers, creators and will be beneficial for small businesses as well.
3dcart is an e-commerce platform and is platform that can be put up against Shopify. It offers various functionalities. It offers a wide range of functions that can be beneficial for someone who is beginning to start a business on an e-commerce platform.
This e-commerce platform was formed in 2001 and has provided assistance to more than 17,000 merchants. The number of features that are offered is of a good variety and this e-commerce platform is useful for both small and large businesses.
Some of its clients are Kitchen Restock and U.S. Salon Supply.
3dcart is an e-commerce platform with a simple user interface and is affordable. It has more than 100 payment gateways that it can integrate. The popular payment processing options that it integrates are PayPal, Stripe. There is a support forum along with extensive webinars and tutorials on how to make the best of this platform. This can especially help beginners.
The plans that are offered by 3dcart are done on a month-to-month basis and thus prove to be beneficial in case you want to discontinue the platform as well. It does not bound you to use it. All of the various plans that it offers include features such as basic SEO tools.
3dcart as a platform has been around for quite some time and is a dependable platform. It offers a good number of features and the plans are worth it as well. The price is not too expensive and includes a variety of functions. It is definitely worth a try if you are looking for a good e-commerce platform.
Started in June 2019, ShopBase is a brand new platform. It has really great tools. When it comes to ShopBase, there are unique settings on each page. This means that you can have your customization in several aspects. It is also possible to edit every site’s HTML and CSS programming.
ShopBase is known for its features that especially benefit e-commerce sites. It is also possible to edit every facet of the checkout page.
Checkout pages are one of the most important pages on an e-commerce website. They have three paid plans that offer different features at different price points.
As mentioned above, the features offered by ShopBase are e-commerce centric. You get unlimited bandwidth with web hosting. The templates are very well-designed and are available for free. The major beneficial tool here is that you can easily transfer or migrate to other platforms. This is not a feature that is found everywhere.
ShopBase provides premium product sourcing and ensures that everything is automatically optimized on your pages such as the product or checkout page. It is a site that is known for the customization features it offers. Abandoned cart recovery emails are also offered by ShopBase.
ShopBase is a really good e-commerce platform when used in a way that makes the best of the features available. The cheapest plan is quite affordable and offers a good number of features as well.
Volusion was founded in 1999 and has been around for a long time now. It was then launched in 2004 by a 16-year-old. Volusion e is another all-in-one platform that provides various functionalities. It is definitely a good pick from e-commerce platforms.
The plans that are offered by Volusion are paid however there is a 14-day free day trial that is available. There are higher and lower-tier plans available.
The functioning of the platform is easy to use and is user-friendly in terms of design as well. The customer service offered by Volusion is also commendable.
Volusion offers a wide range of features such as search functionality, barcode creator and allows inventory management as well. The customer accounts are allowed to be managed and reviews are also collected. This can be beneficial in an e-commerce platform especially when you require to know the problems that customers face.
The SEO features also help in managing aspects such as meta-description. Along with this Volusion offers social media integration which is important for an e-commerce platform. Other features such as discounts and abandoned cart delivery are also offered by this e-commerce platform.
Volusion is an extremely good option for an e-commerce site and if you are someone who understands the functioning of its features, it can be a really good option. There are some cons, however, it will heavily benefit small businesses.
Another all-in-one webstore solution is PinnacleCart. It is an eCommerce platform that gives utmost importance to user experience and at the same time provides benefits of conversion rates.
It has various paid plans that can benefit the users.
PinnacleCart is a platform that has it all and has strong SEO features. SEO, conversion rates, and user experience become important aspects when someone is considering going for an eCommerce platform. These aspects can help you get the most out of your business.
PinnacleCart offers many features like they have special SEO tools that contribute to the further development of your site. You can also index your site to popular search engines. The product visibility can also be increased by adding the same products to other popular sites such as Amazon.
An interesting feature that comes along with PinnacleCart is the ability to have its own server. By purchasing a perpetual license, it is possible to get these support and licenses. These are a few of the many features offered by PinnacleCart.
PinnacleCart is another great option for someone who is looking for an e-commerce platform. It offers a variety of benefits in the different plans and if you splurge some more it can add exceptional benefits to your experience.
Squarespace is a website builder, launched in 2004, designed to assist individuals to build their own websites with ease and help them to showcase their work. Squarespace works best for professions like photography, art, and those inclined towards the appealing elements of the website.
Squarespace is a section-based drag-and-drop website known for stunning design templates geared toward business and creativity which goes with its slogan “Build it Beautiful.” There’s a wide range of sections to choose from and most of them are customer-oriented. It is also known to have excellent blogging, scheduling, podcasting, audio players, etc. It is definitely an option one should look at.
Squarespace has several templates that run with modern themes and colors making work appear even more relevant. This is its main attraction as it's very appealing. It also has an updated design panel that incorporates ease in changing colors, fonts, and spacing. Social media integration has allowed its users to conveniently link their social media accounts and enjoy wider coverage.
It has an app that allows users to add in extra features apart from the existing ones. This website builder allows you to purchase a domain name or link it to an already existing one. In fact, it provides a one-year free trial after which the standard rate applies.
Being an all-in-one platform always acts as a benefit especially because it helps you get everything on one platform.
The pros and cons of this particular website builder suggest that it mainly complies with the artistic professions or those who wish their sites to appear artistically pleasing. Overall, Squarespace is a fair and reliable app with excellent templates and a lot of easy information and use.
Types of Ecommerce Platforms
The B2B business type follows online transactions of its products to another intermediate buyer before the product reaches the consumer.
In a B2C business model, the business and the consumer are directly involved where the consumer can directly place an online transaction through the company's website.
Example: Amazon, Flipkart, eBay.
The C2C plan of action causes customers to offer their services like private property, cruisers, and/or lease a room by distributing their data on the site, etc. to other buyers in need.
Example: OLX, Quikr.
This is a business model in which consumers create value and businesses consume that value.
This is majorly covered by the diverse services consumers are willing to provide to businesses in need of personnel.
Example: Freelancer, Upwork.
B2G model contains websites that are used by governments to trade and exchange information with various business organizations. These websites are accredited by the government and provide a medium for businesses to submit application forms to the government.
Governments use G2C model websites to approach citizens. The main aim of G2C websites is to reduce the average time for fulfilling citizen’s requests for various government services. Such websites also provide services like registration for birth, marriage, or death certificates.
This refers to the relationships between organizations of public administration and enterprises (businesses). Example: government procurement, e-learning
A peer-to-peer service includes two individuals who interact directly with each other, without any intermediation by a third-party. Example: Napster
Benefits of eCommerce Platforms
To the Consumers:
e-Commerce websites provide consumers with a variety of products at services within just a click. This convenience is the leading factor for the e-commerce industry. Consumers can order products and avail of services at any place and any time.
2. Room for comparison:
e-Commerce websites allow consumers to look at competitors’ products/services before going forward with the purchase. This feature is certainly not possible in the traditional method of trade as location tends to be a hindrance.
Almost everything is available on the e-commerce sites and there is no limit to the diversity of catalogs that producers tend to offer. For a consumer, variety is a strong attraction as he/she has a range of alternatives to choose from.
4. Ease in payment:
e-Commerce websites come in handy when it comes to payment options. Most platforms have a standard, easy mode of online payment and/or cash on delivery which certainly becomes very reliable in an era of M-commerce.
These online platforms are computer-oriented with human support and provide 24 X 7 assistance and availability to the consumers when in need. Unlike traditional methods, there are no time constraints on e-commerce as they’re internet operated.
A majority of online platforms inculcate the practice of reviewing products by recent purchases which further acts as a deciding factor for new consumers. This not only helps new consumers but also decides the demand for the given product.
7. Time saving:
e-Commerce platforms save plenty of time for consumers as they don't need to go to any geographical locations to make the purchase and its payment happen.
B. To the Organization:
1. Global markets:
e-Commerce websites help businesses grow by taking their respective businesses to an international level without major costs, unlike the traditional method. This reduces cost for the organization as the majority of costs that are likely to occur in terms of international order are related to its shipments.
2. Taps newer segments:
Online websites help sellers tap newer customers that are untouched as e-commerce websites usually cover a wider range of customers from all over the world.
3. Elimination of intermediaries:
e-Commerce websites ascertain a direct relationship between the seller and the buyer removing intermediaries which many times increase cost, causes delay, and affect the relationship of the buyer and seller.
4. Customer relationship management:
e-Commerce websites improve CRM by understanding consumers' needs and behavior better through data.
5. Reduction in cost:
e-Commerce assists in leading a digitized economy by assisting in processing, distributing, retrieving, and managing the information.
6. Improves brand image:
Organizations that have online sites have an improved brand image as their loyalists perceive them to be consumer-oriented trying to provide convenience.
Things to consider before starting an e-commerce business
1. Market Research
When considering entering the e-marketplace, it is critical to thoroughly research and understand the needs of the consumers in the markets so as to select the right kind of product/service to sell instead of blindly following a particular line of business because of its popularity. Furthermore, it is essential to also research and set a target audience- to who is the product being offered? Target audience is an essential element of marketing and other strategies. Lastly, it is also important to gauge the competition for the particular product/service being offered so as to offer something over and above the competition.
2. Logistical decisions
a) Order taking: Order taking and order tracking are important aspects of the eCommerce platform.
b) Inventory management: If the business deals in physical goods, efficient inventory management is a prerequisite for customer satisfaction and therefore profitability. There are several third-party companies that offer such services. In the case of digital goods, the functions of inventory management and stock tracking are eliminated.
c) Shipping: Tie-ups with various shipping service companies is important. Most online vendors make it a point to explicitly display the shipping costs in the final invoice for customers to know the real price of shipping. Many e-commerce companies integrate this with order tracking software to enable tracking the shipment.
d) Payment: The payment gateways to be offered and their feasibility are also necessary. This can determine user performance.
3. Price, profit, and budget
The monetary aspect is extremely important to consider since customers are more sensitive in the e-marketplace. Pricing policy developed with the help of planned and incurred expenditure, cost of maintaining a website, competitors position, etc. A budget is an important tool of planning and control which enables cost-cutting, better practices, and greater profit sustenance.
4. Licenses and insurance
Selling products or offering services online may require obtaining licenses from the government in areas of operations. These legal requirements need to be kept in mind while starting an e-commerce venture. It is always advisable to consult an attorney and insurance agent to understand any specific requirements.
5. Website development
The kind of website you offer makes a huge difference in customer appeal. There are several options available- WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, etc which aid website development at a nascent stage. Other alternatives include hiring professional web developers to build the entire website with all necessary features and given requirements. Another way to enter the e-marketplace is through setting up stores under platforms like Amazon, eBay, etc, however, these sites charge steep fees.
To ensure maximum reach of the website its compatibility with web explorers-Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc, must be checked. Also, the compatibility with devices/gadgets- Mac, iPad, smartphones need to be considered as well.
7. Maintenance and upgrades
In order to build a stellar reputation on the web and social media platforms, maintenance and upgrades of the website and app are essential. Regular technology updates, software updates, and product/service updates are true game-changers.
If you are someone who has an already established business, it is useful for you to consider shifting to e-commerce. Social media integration is also an important aspect to consider. An e-commerce site requires you to pay attention to SEO and frame effective digital marketing strategies as well.
These are the best 13 e-commerce platforms that we have created for you. All of these can be distinguished and compared based on their features, pros, and cons. All of these can provide benefits to different types of businesses. Now e-commerce platform you choose will also depend on your scalability and products. It is inevitable now to not utilize the digital space to its full potential and make use of the features it has to offer.
It is important to keep certain things in mind whenever you are starting out your business on an e-commerce platform and we have enlisted all such points. Most of these eCommerce platforms are simple to use and can be used by people who are also just beginning. Today, these eCommerce platforms can also be utilized by students who are in school and are barely starting out. Hopefully, this article provides you with all the information that might be required. Happy Business!