10 Best Ecommerce Platforms Compared and Reviewed

10 Best Ecommerce Platforms Compared and Reviewed
12 December, 2022 • ... • 587 views
Sara Kurczyńska
by Sara Kurczyńska

Starting an e-commerce business begins with choosing the right e-commerce platform. If you make the right call, you will get to enjoy its numerous benefits that can range from cost reduction and high customer satisfaction to a faster buying process. On the other hand, a clunky e-commerce platform can cause frustration for everyone involved and end up being a waste of time and resources.

There are a lot of e-commerce platforms out there that you can pick from. With such a large number of available options, you’re likely to feel a bit lost when it comes to which of them suits you best. Luckily, our article should help you with that! Here, you will find a list of tips for choosing the best e-commerce platform, as well as a list of top e-commerce platforms on the market.

What is an e-commerce platform exactly?

To put it simply, an e-commerce platform is the software that an online store needs to enable the process of buying and selling things over the internet. With it, you can create product pages and let customers write and post reviews of different products. Aside from that, it can handle transactions, as well as customer support and returns, among other things.

People use these platforms because, unlike creating your own website from scratch, they are easy to set up and use. You don’t have to deal with any coding, design or payment settings, as everything related to these matters will be managed by the platform itself.

How to choose the best e-commerce platform

The best way to do that would be to think about what features you value most in such a platform and compare the options that are available.

For instance, if you are a small business owner, you are likely to be looking for something affordable and basic. If you want to launch a big online store, you might want to invest in a scalable platform with plenty of advanced features. 

Either way, here are the most important factors that you should consider before making your final decision.

Features

The first thing that you need to do is to make a list of features that are important to you. Do you need a platform that can handle a large number of products and abandoned cart recovery? Do you need advanced features such as gift cards, loyalty programs, or email marketing for small business? What about selling things on Facebook and Instagram? Once you know what you need, it will be much easier to find a platform that you will be satisfied with.

Ease of use

Another important factor to consider is how easy the platform is to use. You don’t want to end up with a platform that is too complicated for you to understand. After all, you are going to want to change the design of the store or product descriptions from time to time. It should be easy for you to do so. 

Just keep in mind that ease of use is both objective and subjective. It depends on your preferences and on how experienced you are with such platforms. So, it might be a good idea to try a trial version of your chosen platform before committing to it. 

Scalability

If you are planning on expanding your business in the future, you need to make sure that the platform you choose is scalable. In other words, it should be able to withstand an increase in users and load. That way, you won’t have to invest in a new platform once your business starts to gain customers.

Available templates

When it comes to the design of your online store, you will want to have a wide range of templates to choose from. In addition, you should be able to customize them to your liking. The more templates the platform has to offer and the more customizable they are, the easier it will be for you to find one that you genuinely like.

Apps and add-ons

Have you thought about using chatbots or launching a loyalty program? If so, then you need to make sure that the platform you pick has apps and add-ons that will allow you to do so. If a platform that you’re interested in doesn’t work with many third-party apps, you might want to consider investing in a different one instead. 

Customer support

Remember to make sure that the platform you go with has excellent customer support. Even the best platforms can have some issues from time to time. If you encounter any problems, you will want to be able to get in touch with someone who can help you solve them as soon as possible.

Pricing

While you might be tempted to go for the cheapest option, it might not always be the best one. So, weigh the features that the platform offers against the price and that you actually need the features that you will be paying for. If you don’t want to invest in a platform blindly, consider choosing one with a free trial. That way, you can give it a try without investing any money into it.

It is also important to consider whether the platform has any hidden fees, such as transaction fees. If not taken into account, they can make the platform quite a bit more expensive than you initially thought.

Security

Finally, you need to think about security. You are going to be dealing with sensitive customer information such as credit card numbers. With that in mind, the platform you choose should have all the necessary security features in place. The most reliable ones include third-party risk management for vendors and the use of the latest and strongest data encryption.

10 best e-commerce platforms

If you don’t want to spend that much money on an e-commerce platform, you could go with something cheap. Just keep in mind that such platforms tend to be difficult to set up and maintain. For example, you might need to configure your own server or make some changes in their source code to make them work. Here’s a list of a few such solutions!

PrestaShop

pic
Source: Wikipedia

PrestaShop is an open-source e-commerce platform. It’s most suitable for businesses that are just starting out. It comes with basic business tools and features, including an online shopping cart, inventory tracking, and analytics.

Unfortunately, it does have quite a few downsides. To begin with, there is no built-in customer support. Instead, you have to either do some troubleshooting on your own or ask the community of store owners that use the platform for help. Moreover, it contains a bunch of unvetted add-ons and modules. 

Consequently, using PrestaShop might be best for people who know their way around coding. On the other hand, it’s probably more flexible than most user-friendly solutions out there.

G2 rating

4.3 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

You can download PrestaShop for free, but it isn’t a zero-expense solution. You’ll need to pay for hosting, as well as additional add-ons and modules. The price for hosting can range from $4 to $14 per month, while the prices of add-ons and modules range between $35 and a few thousand dollars.

WooCommerce

pic
Source: WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an add-on meant to be used with WordPress, the most popular content management system in the world. It allows you to manage orders and inventory, as well as handle secure and flexible payments, among other things.

Still, it’s not going to be of much use if you aren’t already familiar with WordPress. Plus, if you really want to customize your e-commerce sites, you’ll have to combine WooCommerce with a bunch of other add-ons. In short, it’s kind of like PrestaShop. While it’s flexible and customizable, it’s also not very advanced or user-friendly.

Obviously, the more add-ons you install, the more difficult your online store maintenance is going to be. It’s also worth noting that some of these add-ons can end up being a security risk. For instance, if you install an add-on that is meant to hijack user data, your customers could have their personal information stolen.

G2 rating

4.4 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

An average fee is around $30.00 per month. Aside from that, you will have to pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per sale.

OpenCart

pic
Source: Wikimedia Commons

OpenCart is a free and open-source e-commerce platform that is known for being very easy to set up and customize. With its help, you can launch and maintain numerous online stores and keep track of important metrics like total customers or repeat customers. Additionally, it comes with a bunch of integrations.

When it comes to its downsides, OpenCart offers few built-in sales and marketing features. Other than that, it’s self-hosted, which means that you will need to set up a server to make it work. It can also result in an annoyingly slow performance.

G2 rating

4.3 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Free

The following platforms are a bit more expensive than the ones listed above. However, the higher price tag comes with a bunch of advantages. The most important ones include ease of use and access to numerous ready-made templates. Taking this into account, they are definitely worth taking into consideration.

Wix

pic
Source: Wix

Wix is one of the most popular drag-and-drop website builders out there. It offers web hosting, domain name registration, and plenty of customizable templates. However, while it does give you an option to build a website for free, its free plan does not include any e-commerce features. So, if you are planning on launching an online store, upgrading to a business and e-commerce plan is a must.

When it comes to e-commerce functionality, Wix lets you accept online payments and track orders. It can also enable you to start selling products on various social media platforms, such as Instagram. On the other hand, it lacks key inventory management features, such as low-stock alerts.

G2 rating

4.2 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Business Basic — $27.00 per month

Business Unlimited — $32.00 per month

Business VIP — $59.00 per month

Squarespace

pic
Source: Squarespace

Squarespace is a platform that comes with a popular e-commerce website builder. Just like Wix, it uses drag-and-drop functionality, which makes it incredibly easy to use. Furthermore, it gives you a large number of high-quality templates to choose from.

On the flip side, Squarespace is primarily a website builder. In other words, adding e-commerce features to it can take a fair amount of tweaking. But if you manage to get it over with, it has pretty decent inventory tracking tools. It’s also worth noting that the more expensive paid plans give you the option to sell subscription-based products and gift cards.

G2 rating

4.4 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Basic Commerce — $27.00 per month

Advanced Commerce — $49.00 per month

Shopify

pic
Source: Shopify

Shopify is a great software-as-a-service platform for e-commerce. It comes with more than one hundred free and paid themes together with features for dropshipping and multichannel selling. It also offers search engine optimization and can handle payment processing with relatively low transaction fees.

The thing is that Shopify can get quite expensive. While the basic plan is an option, it has very limited features and is unlikely to meet your needs. It’s also worth mentioning that Shopify makes it hard for its users to switch to a different platform. If you ever choose to take your store elsewhere, you will only be able to take a CSV report with you, and nothing else.

G2 rating

4.4 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Basic Shopify — $29 per month

Shopify — $79 per month

Advanced Shopify — $299 per month

BigCommerce

pic
Source: BigCommerce

As the name suggests, BigCommerce is an excellent option for big companies. It comes with quite a few customization options and offers web hosting, which makes it pretty convenient in comparison to e-commerce solutions like OpenCart. On top of that, it can handle both multichannel and international selling. It can also deal with heavy user load, which is a functionality that can really come in handy if you have to process hundreds of orders at the same time.

Such powerful features come with a certain degree of complexity though. As a result, you might find it a bit difficult to get the hang of it. It’s also not the best option if you’re on a tight budget and your main objective is to launch an aesthetically-pleasing store. The themes BigCommerce offers can get quite expensive, and its design options aren’t as user-friendly as they could possibly be.

G2 rating

4.2 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Standard — $29.95 per month

Plus — $79.95 per month / $71.95 when paid annually

Pro — $299.95 per month / $269.96 when paid annually

Adobe Commerce

pic
Source: Adobe

Do you have PHP programming experience or the money to hire someone who does? If so, Adobe Commerce might be the right choice for you! It’s a non-hosted e-commerce platform that’s ideal for developers who want a flexible system to play around with.

Adobe Commerce is built using cloud-based headless architecture. As a result, it’s great when it comes to handling heavy user traffic. It can also integrate with a large number of solutions, from warehouse management systems to customer relationship management software. Furthermore, it can provide your customers with AI-driven product recommendations, which should result in improved conversion and better customer retention.

Obviously, such a platform might end up being really difficult to work with if you are a beginner with no technical knowledge. As for its other downsides, Adobe Commerce does not have the necessary tools for creating a multichannel selling strategy or accepting foreign currencies.

G2 rating

4.0 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Custom pricing only.

Square Online

pic
Source: Square

Square Online is a reliable e-commerce platform that comes with built-in inventory management, a point-of-sale system, and the ability to handle online payments. It’s also completely free, provided that you’re satisfied with the features that the free plan has to offer.

As for the drawbacks, Square Online is known for having customer support issues. The hours and days when you can get in touch with the customer support team are limited.

G2 rating

4.2 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Free — $0.00 per month

Plus — $29.00 per month

Premium — $79.00 per month

Big Cartel

pic
Source: Big Cartel

Last but not least, Big Cartel is an e-commerce platform that’s ideal for small business owners such as artists and crafters. It comes with many customizable templates and marketing tools, and can handle domain name registration for you.

The main downside of Big Cartel is that it’s not that scalable. You’re limited to very few payment and integration options, which can make multichannel selling pretty difficult to deal with.

G2 rating

4.2 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐

Price

Free for up to 5 products

$9.99 per month for up to 50 products

$19.99 per month for up to 500 products

Final thoughts

To sum up, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all business models when it comes to choosing the best e-commerce platform. The right one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. 

For instance, a highly scalable and expensive solution might be a great fit for a large enterprise, but a total miss for a small business. On the flip side, a free and basic platform might be great for a local arts and crafts store that specializes in physical products, but not for a big corporation selling digital products.

With that in mind, we hope that our article has helped you narrow down your options. While it might take some time and effort, choosing the right e-commerce platform is guaranteed to help you take your business to the next level. So, don’t wait any longer and start looking for the perfect e-commerce platform today!

12 December, 2022
Article by
Sara Kurczyńska
Sara Kurczyńska is an experienced content writer from Poznań, Poland. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, as well as playing video games and petting her fancy rats. In her spare time, you can find her birdwatching and taking long walks around the local parks and forests.
Visit Sara's

Latest Articles

Selzy Selzy Selzy Selzy