In the last chapter of the series on how to build an eCommerce site from scratch, we covered how to choose an eCommerce domain name. Now we are on the third step, i.e., selecting the best eCommerce platform for small businesses.
With specific requirements and the different options available, it can take time to determine the best one. Also, with ever-evolving technology, you must stay abreast of new developments to ensure you use the most up-to-date eCommerce platform.
But we have made it easier for you. In the course of eCommerce development, we have filtered out the best 17 eCommerce platforms for small businesses. Before we go into the details, here’s the gist.
- Comparison Table
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #1: Magento
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #2: Shopify
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #3: WooCommerce
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #4: BigCommerce
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #5: Wix
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #6: PrestaShop
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #7: GoDaddy
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #8: Squarespace
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #9: Shift4Shop
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #10: Square online
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #11: Centra
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #12: Volusion
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #13: Big Cartel
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #14: Vendasta
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #15: Ecwid
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #16: EKM
- Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #17: Jimdo
- Make an informed decision for your small business!
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #1: Magento
Magento is a great eCommerce platform for small businesses looking for an efficient, easy-to-use, and scalable eCommerce solution. Magento offers full support for selling products or services across multiple channels such as web stores, mobile devices, brick-and-mortar locations, and even social media networks.
It offers many features such as:
- multi-store capability,
- catalog management,
- order management,
- customer management,
- content management system,
- mobile commerce
- Supports multiple languages and currencies, making it a great choice for businesses that serve customers around the world
- Offers a wide variety of plugins and extensions to help you optimize your store for maximum efficiency
- Is SEO friendly, making it easier to increase your store’s visibility in search engine results
- Requires a significant investment in order to get set up and running properly.
- Due to the complexity of the platform, there is a steep learning curve associated with using Magento.
- Due to its popularity, it is important to take extra measures to secure your store against these threats.
- Create dynamic product ads based on customer interests.
- Offer free shipping and returns.
- Integrated marketing tools such as email marketing and automated remarketing to quickly reach out to potential customers, stay top-of-mind with existing customers and drive more sales.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #2: Shopify
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms for small businesses, with a user-friendly interface and an array of features that make it ideal for beginners. It helps small business owners build professional-looking stores with minimal effort and little technical know-how.
Here are some top features to look for.
- secure checkout,
- easy integration with third-party apps,
- a range of payment gateways,
- advanced analytics,
- inventory tracking,
- tax management tools,
- 24/7 customer support, and
- options for personalizing the store with customisations like themes, images, logos, fonts, etc.
- Is scalable
- Has an intuitive dashboard
- Has powerful search engine optimisation (SEO) capabilities that simplify getting your store noticed online
- Offers unlimited storage capacity, allowing you to list multiple products in your store
- Subscription plans are a bit expensive.
- Some advanced features, such as abandoned cart recovery, require additional apps, which add to the cost of building a Shopify store.
- You may need to hire a developer to make the needed changes.
- Small businesses can reach more customers through Shopify’s promotional tactics, such as discounts and coupons, email campaigns, and SEO optimization.
- The platform’s loyalty program and product recommendation feature help retain customers.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #3: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a powerful, open-source eCommerce platform created by Automattic, the same people behind WordPress. It is one of the most popular e-commerce solutions for small businesses, powering over 30% of all online stores worldwide.
Here are some features to look for:
- hundreds of extensions and plugins for store customization,
- multiple payment gateways,
- inventory management,
- shipping options,
- features product reviews
- Comes with technical support from Automattic and allows you to list an unlimited number of products
- Provides access to unlimited storage capacity, automated taxes, and multiple payment gateways
- Is complex – various settings and options available may overwhelm you depending on the size and scope of your store
- Has some third-party extensions that can be expensive, so be sure to research your options before purchasing any add-ons
- Set up subscription plans, which can help you retain customers over time and increase the lifetime value of your customer base.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #4: BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a user-friendly eCommerce platform that allows businesses to create a beautiful store without any coding, free SSL certificates, and take advantage of powerful SEO and marketing tools.
It also offers a wide range of features:
- product management,
- website customization,
- custom domains,
- product ratings and reviews,
- abandoned cart recovery,
- product personalization,
- advanced reporting tools
- Offers unlimited storage capacity, so businesses never have to worry about running out of space for their products
- Supports up to 500,000 products, so businesses can easily list multiple items.
- Has only around 10 free themes, so you’ll have to purchase a premium theme or hire a designer to create one for you if you want something more unique
- Google Shopping integration, email marketing tools, social media integrations, and an Affiliate Program.
- Powerful SEO and marketing tools help businesses optimize their websites for search engine visibility and drive more traffic.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #5: Wix
Wix provides a drag-and-drop interface to small business owners, making it easy to build an online store from scratch. It also includes powerful customization options to make your store look unique and professional.
Here are some intuitive features to look for:
- website-building tools,
- powerful marketing tools such as email campaigns,
- payment processing capabilities,
- hundreds of professionally designed themes to choose from
- Offers unlimited storage capacity
- Can allow an unlimited number of products to be listed
- Provides free templates and designs
- Supports multiple languages
- Is fully integrated with Google Shopping and PayPal so that you can accept payments quickly and securely
- Does not offer the same level of customizability as some of the more advanced eCommerce platforms
- The transaction fees are slightly higher than some of its competitors, which may make it more expensive for businesses that process multiple payments
- Point-of-sale systems, real-time inventory tracking, and automatic shipping calculations help you run your business more efficiently.
- Connect your store to popular marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy to reach more customers.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #6: PrestaShop
PrestaShop is a feature-rich, open-source eCommerce platform that allows you to have a successful online store in no time. It excels in providing business owners with a well-designed and professional online storefront.
PrestaShop doesn’t require business owners to be techies. With little to no coding experience, you can set up an attractive store for your business. It’s a great choice if you want your store to be a minimal yet sophisticated one.
Here are some features to look for:
- SSL encryption,
- brute force protection,
- fraud protection to keep your store safe from hackers and malicious attacks,
- integrations with more than 100 payment gateways
- Has an extensive library of themes, plugins, and modules that can be used to create unique and engaging storefronts.
- Can integrate with third-party services like payment processors, shipping services, and other popular eCommerce platforms
- Can handle high traffic levels, allowing you to scale up your store as your business grows
- Also supports multi-store functionality, allowing you to manage multiple stores from one dashboard
- Additional services and customization options can be expensive
- Hosting fees can add up if you don’t have an existing web hosting plan
- The free version of PrestaShop offers limited technical support – you’ll need to purchase a premium support plan for more in-depth assistance.
- Advertise your store in search engines, promote your store using social media platforms, and implement targeted email campaigns.
- Generate detailed reports and analytics to gain valuable insights into your store’s performance.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #7: GoDaddy
GoDaddy is an all-in-one eCommerce platform for small businesses that provides everything you need to build, manage and grow your online store. You can quickly and easily create a website, design a logo, and choose from various templates and themes to customize your store.
Some features to look for:
- fast loading times,
- automated backups,
- easy navigation,
- up to 10GB of bandwidth,
- unlimited email accounts,
- a drag-and-drop page builder,
- real-time shipping and tracking integration, and
- a secure shopping cart
- Offers excellent technical support at a priority
- Provides great storage capacity, allowing you to list multiple products
- Does not offer as many customization options as some of the other eCommerce platforms on this list.
- Get customers interested in your products with limited-time discounts and targeted email campaigns.
- With the integration of Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads, you can easily target potential customers and increase your reach.
- Powerful marketing automation tools allow you to segment customers easily based on their interests and purchase behaviour, so you can tailor your campaigns to target specific customer groups.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #8: Squarespace
Squarespace is an easy-to-use eCommerce platform with a user-friendly interface and provides a complete range of tools and services to help small businesses build and manage their online stores. It also offers a wide selection of attractive, professionally designed themes and templates to create a unique online shopping experience.
Some features to look for:
- an all-in-one solution for eCommerce businesses – from design and hosting to secure payment processing,
- powerful content management system,
- built-in analytics
- Provides top-notch technical support and tutorials
- Promises prompt response times
- Has a generous storage capacity, allowing you to list as many products as you need
- Allows access to real-time order tracking and comprehensive analytics to help track your store’s performance
- Limited customization options
- The platform’s design templates cannot be modified without the help of a web developer
- The built-in analytics feature is quite basic and does not provide the same level of insight as more advanced solutions like Google Analytics
- Discounts and coupons can be used in the checkout process.
- Abandoned cart reminders can help bring customers back to the site.
- Powerful analytics tool to track sales trends and customer behaviour to optimize the user experience further.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #9: Shift4Shop
Shift4Shop is a powerful eCommerce platform that provides small business owners with the tools and resources to launch, manage and grow their online stores. With Shift4Shop, users have access to a wide range of features, including:
- customizable themes,
- mobile-ready designs,
- multi-lingual support,
- product and order management,
- tools to create content-rich product pages,
- create promotions and discounts, and
- track customer behavior
- Offers unlimited storage, unlimited products, and no transaction fees
- Provides extensive technical support at priority levels, allowing users to get answers quickly
- Supports multiple currencies and offers integrated shipping solutions for a seamless checkout process
- Doesn’t provide access to some of the more advanced marketing tools that are available on other eCommerce platforms
- Users may find that the help desk is not always responsive or helpful
- Robust analytics and reporting to help businesses measure the success of their marketing and sales efforts.
- Discounts and coupons, email campaigns, cross-sells and upsells, and social media campaigns.
- All of these can be tracked and monitored with the platform’s built-in analytics to help businesses identify which activities are yielding the best results.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #10: Square online
Square online is an ideal choice for entrepreneurs looking for a comprehensive eCommerce platform with powerful features and plenty of room for customization. With its user-friendly interface and secure payment processing capabilities, Square online is an excellent choice for businesses.
Some features to look for:
- custom domain names
- beautiful templates,
- options to create a unique shopping experience
- integration with popular marketing tools like MailChimp and Google Analytics
- Offers unlimited storage capacity
- Provides hundreds of themes and templates to choose from
- Allows listing up to 10 products without any extra cost.
- Offers technical support with priority services, so your business can always have the help it needs.
- Does not offer access to third-party plugins or integrations, which can limit customization options
- Is limited in terms of SEO options and reporting tools
- Built-in social media sharing options so users can share their store on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Newsletter feature to keep customers informed about sales and new products.
- HTML code snippets to customize the store and make it more attractive to visitors.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #11: Centra
Centra is an excellent choice for small businesses looking for a comprehensive eCommerce platform. Its intuitive design simplifies setting up and managing your store, and powerful marketing tools streamline customer acquisition and promotion. The system supports multiple currencies and languages so you can offer localized content and services to international customers.
Here are some exciting features to look for:
- integration with accounting software such as QuickBooks, Amazon Seller Central, and Shopify,
- sync your store’s data to other services for better organization and analytics
- Is extremely user-friendly
- Requires minimal technical knowledge and setup time, so businesses can start selling quickly
- Is designed to grow with businesses, so they can easily add products, change pricing plans, and scale as needed
- Offers limited design customizations
- Referral programs lets businesses reward customers for referring their friends and family.
- Create unique coupon codes that customers can use to get discounts on their purchases.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #12: Volusion
Volusion provides a cost-effective yet comprehensive suite of tools and features to help you easily create and manage your online store. The highlight of the platform is its built-in CRM that helps you manage long-term relationships with your customers.
Apart from this, it offers a no-code solution specifically designed for small businesses with little to no technical assistance. Some features to look for:
- unlimited products,
- high-quality hosting,
- easy store setup and customization,
- real-time data analytics,
- secure payment processing
- Offers powerful marketing tools to help you get more sales and drive repeat purchases
- Allows access to a huge library of tutorials and video guides to help you quickly learn how to use the platform
- Provides unlimited storage capacity and can host an unlimited number of products
- Is not as intuitive or user-friendly as some other platforms and can be tricky to navigate
- The pricing structure is also quite complex and can be expensive if you have multiple products or a large sales volume
Email marketing tools, product recommendations, abandoned cart reminders, customer segmentation, customer loyalty programs, and more.
Simplifies listing products on major marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart to reach more customers.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #13: Big Cartel
Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform that is specifically designed for artists. The creative freedom it offers to creative minds makes it ideal for small businesses. Besides, its simple interface removes the burden on business owners to set up, organize, and run their stores.
The platform offers features such as:
- customizable product pages,
- secure checkout,
- advanced inventory management,
- analytics tools
- The technical support team can help users navigate the platform, resolve any issues they may encounter, and even make customizations to their store
- Allows merchants to customize their product pages and provides comprehensive analytics so they can track and measure their success
- Merchants cannot integrate with third-party applications or plugins
- Limits merchants in terms of features they can offer and how they can market their products
- Is a bit more expensive than some of the other eCommerce platforms
- Marketing tools that allow businesses to market their stores through email campaigns, social media platforms, and other online channels.
- Order management system to track sales and customer data.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #14: Vendasta
Vendasta is a white-label eCommerce platform specifically built for small businesses offering digital products/services to local businesses. Vendasta has partnered with more than 60,000 such businesses, from marketing agencies to media companies. It also allows integration with third-party services like shipping providers and marketing tools, making it easy to manage your store from one central location.
Here are some intuitive features to look for:
- a secure and reliable checkout system that allows customers to shop safely and easily,
- mobile-friendly design makes it easy for customers to shop on their phones or tablets
- Offers built-in inventory management and order processing to ensure you are always well-stocked with the items your customers want
- Businesses can easily add third-party integrations, such as social media platforms or CRM software
- Can be expensive for some businesses, as the cost of the platform varies depending on the features needed
- Some businesses may find website design options to be limited
- Customizable promotional codes, loyalty programs, and discount codes to offer incentives to your customers.
- Analytics and reporting features to track customer behavior and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #15: Ecwid
Ecwid is one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses out there. The USP of Ecwid is its low cost of entry, as the platform can be used free of charge with basic features or upgraded with premium plans starting at just $15/month. This makes it an ideal choice for smaller companies with limited budgets.
These features include:
- unlimited product listings,
- secure payment gateways,
- shipping options,
- management of customer accounts,
- promotional tools,
- integrations with popular third-party apps like MailChimp and Google Analytics
- Is highly scalable, allowing users to add more features as their business grows easily
- If you ever need extra assistance with setting up or managing your store, plenty of instructional videos and guides are available from the official Ecwid website.
- Design customization options are limited – this can be a problem if you want your store to stand out from the crowd.
- Can create discounts and promotions, allowing you to offer special deals to your customers.
- Create loyalty programs, which allow customers to earn redeemable points for each purchase they make.
- Makes it easy to acquire new customers.
- Provides integrated marketing tools, including a built-in email marketing platform and support for retargeting campaigns.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #16: EKM
EKM is a dedicated eCommerce platform for small businesses looking to get started selling online. With its wide range of features and great customer service, EKM makes it easy to take your business to the next level. Its major highlight is the Evolution Mode which allows businesses to get into a constant improvement mode with a dedicated account manager.
Here are some features to look for:
- customer management,
- comprehensive analytics,
- document management,
- logistics management,
- financial management
- Provides an intuitive user interface and easy-to-follow instructions
- Allows you to manage your products easily, including adding new products, updating existing ones, and setting prices
- Customization options are not as extensive as those offered by other eCommerce platforms
- Charges higher fees than some of its competitors which can be an issue for small businesses trying to keep their costs down
- Needs the best internet connectivity to work
- Promote products on social media and other popular websites, including eBay, Amazon, and Facebook.
- Target customers in specific locations and segment them according to their purchase history.
Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business #17: Jimdo
If you’re looking for an eCommerce platform that offers a user-friendly design and powerful marketing tools, then Jimdo might be the ideal choice for your small business. With Jimdo, you’ll be able to set up an automated shipping system, saving time and money while fulfilling orders.
Plus, Jimdo integrates with leading eCommerce solutions like Shopify and Amazon, making it easier than ever to connect with new customers.
- The drag-and-drop editor allows users to quickly add products and manage customer data
- Provides users with a wide range of customization options such as themes, fonts, and color palettes to make sure their store has a professional look and feel
- Lacks certain features that more established eCommerce platforms provide; does not offer abandoned cart reminders or customer segmentation capabilities
- May not be the best choice for businesses that need more advanced features, such as product bundles
- Tools to help you reach out to potential customers and promote your store.
- Integrate with popular advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Twitter Ads to run targeted ad campaigns.
Make an informed decision for your small business!
It takes hard-earned money to get an online store up and running. Being a small business, it’s all the more important to be vigilant while selecting an eCommerce platform specific to your needs.
So before you choose, make a checklist of your expectations from an eCommerce platform and revisit all the options. Try to check off as many points in the list as you can! Once you’re done, the next step is choosing an eCommerce domain name for building your eCommerce store.
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions below.
To choose the best eCommerce platform for small business owners, follow these steps:
Step #1: Create your budget
You need to be sure of the amount you’re willing to invest in an eCommerce platform. Put aside a desirable chunk of your budget for setting up the store and match it with different platforms’ fees. Many platforms will offer tiered pricing plans based on the size and scale of your business, so align those plans with your budget.
Step #2: Decide the type of products
Different platforms are designed to accommodate different types of products and businesses. For example, an image-heavy online store would need more capabilities than a minimal store with little dependency on visuals.
Step #3: Think of your scalability plans
If you don’t want the “small business” tag anymore after a while, look for platforms that allow businesses to scale. The platform you choose now should be able to accommodate any potential growth and changes you may experience in the future.
Step #4: Decide if you need any specific features in your platform
Every platform offers its own set of features and capabilities, and it is essential to understand these before making a choice. If performance tracking and analytics are at the forefront of your business operations, then choose a platform with similar capabilities.
Step #5: Check your technical know-how
If you are not tech-savvy and do not have any technical assistance by your side, you need a platform that doesn’t keep you busy with tutorials and support teams. But if coding is your strong arsenal, go for a platform that offers high-level capabilities.
The best online store platform for small businesses can be chosen according to specific business needs and budgets. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform with plenty of features and customizability, then Shopify is probably the best choice.
But if you’re looking for something cheaper yet feature-rich, then GoDaddy or BigCommerce could be good options.
However, if you want something really affordable and straightforward, then Wix might be the way to go.
The best eCommerce site for beginners is Shopify. It offers a straightforward platform that makes creating an online store easy. With Shopify, you get access to their intuitive admin panel, hundreds of customizable themes, and support from the knowledgeable Shopify team.
Yes, Shopify is worth it for a small business. With Shopify, you can start with the basic plan and add additional features as your business grows. This allows you to scale up without investing in more expensive solutions.
The best eCommerce platform to sell products is not limited to one. Among the top platforms, Shopify, Wix, GoDaddy, and BigCommerce all offer different advantages depending on the needs of your business.
Shopify is great for experienced business owners, while Wix is an excellent choice for beginners. GoDaddy provides everything you need in an affordable package, while BigCommerce is perfect for larger stores that need a robust platform with many features.