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9 Best E-Commerce Platforms for Small Businesses (2022)

The biggest question every business planning to scale online is “how to start an ecommerce business” or “how to choose the best e-commerce platform to start an online business.” If this is you, then, this blog is for you. When starting a business online, identifying the best e-commerce platform for your online store can save you time, and money in the long run. 

 

This blog is based on the Forbes top reviews on the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses. We've listed the features, the benefits and everything you need to know to figure out which eCommerce platform is right for your business.

 

Keep reading to explore the free, beginner-friendly platforms for startups and small businesses. 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

  • What features to consider for an eCommerce platform?

 

  • Best eCommerce platforms for small businesses

 

01. OpenCart 


02. Adobe Commerce (Magento)


03. Shopify, Shopify Plus


04. WooCommerce


05. BigCommerce


06. Squarespace


07. Shift4Shop


08. Weebly

 

09. Wix

 

  • How to choose the right e-commerce platform? 

 

  • Final Thoughts

 

Thinking of starting your eCommerce store? 

Let us help you build your new store or develop the existing one. 

 

 

Let's dive right in.

 

 

What features to consider for an eCommerce platform?

 

01. Price/Budget:

Although an ecommerce solution offers much more than just its cost, as a small business owner, you'll be hesitant to incur any further expenses. The majority of small business owners prefer ecommerce solutions that are not only affordable but also jam-packed with valuable features. The good news is that the majority of open-source platforms and hosted systems available today provide free trials so you can try them out before you commit.

 

02. Tools to manage the back end: 

A back end is where you control your store and you need to be able to access it anytime. So the top platforms that ensures this offers mobile app management systems, support for CSS and SKUs, or even access to WordPress plugins. When choosing your platform, make sure you can access   inventory management systems, social platforms, SEO and everything from your back end.

 

03. Ease of use, design, develop:

When it comes to ease of use, platform with drag and drop editors are the best choice. They are easy to use and needs no technical knowledge. Moreover, open source eCommerce platforms such as OpenCart are often more challenging to develop. 

 

04. Speed and performance:

If a company's web pages take too long to load, it would be difficult to persuade customers to buy their items. Make sure that you can maintain the performance of your site with good hosting, regardless of how many goods you host on your website or how many plugins, add-ons, or other features you employ.

 

05. Customizability: 

Compared to platforms that are hosted, open source platforms are more flexible. However, by employing real-time editors and themes, you can usually still alter the appearance of your online store. Check out the customisation possibilities. any of your schemes

 

06. User experience: 

You need to have a positive user experience when creating your shop. However, you should also think about the experience your customers will have. Can you, for instance, provide a variety of payment gateways? Is it simple to utilize your shopping cart? How simple is it to use your online shop?
 

07. Marketing resources:

Can your e-commerce platform assist you bring in new clients and retain old ones? Some tools will provide you access to things like email marketing platforms, SEO tools, and cart recovery. Your marketing can be improved by using everything from content management to marketing solutions.

 

08. Scalability: 

Your current business may be small but that doesn't guarantee it will always be that way. In 2-3 years your business will no doubt, skyrocket. This is when you will need help managing a large number of products, new payment methods, and even selling digital goods. Hence, make sure your platform has a low learning curve and can scale smoothly.

 

 

Best eCommerce platforms to start with for small businesses

01. OpenCart 
 

https://www.opencart.com/
Opencart.com

 

Pricing: FREE

 

Best for: Open-source development for any business. 

 

OpenCart is an open-source e-commerce platform that businesses can start for free. Compared to other platforms, OpenCart offers over 13,000 modules and themes to choose from and build your own store. 
 

OpenCart Features


01. Catalog Management: Offers unlimited number of products and unlimited categories to manage. The platform also allows to manage multiple stores from one admin account. Any extra important product variables can be added.


02. Bandwith, storage:  N/A


03. Design templates: 13,000 modules and themes to choose from 


04. SEO tools: At a moderate level but can be customized with the right theme and plugins.
 

05. Shipping methods management: More than 8 shipping methods such as Australia Post, Citylink, FedEx, Parcelforce, Royal mail, UPS, USPS and more. OpenCart also facilitates 100+ other shipping methods.
 

06. Payment gateway integrations:  Authorize.Net, Amazon Payments, First Data, Klarna, LiqPay, Skrill, PayPal, SagePay are few of the 36 payment gateways integrated with OpenCart. OpenCart further allows the option to download the preferred payment gateway from hundreds of other methods available.
 

07. Multichannel integration: Available


08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Dashboard includes metrics such as sales, sessions, and returning customers, total orders, customers, people online, sales analytics and more widgets.
 

09. Free trial: No free trial.


10. Customer support and service: Dedicated customer support with community support and support tickets.  
 

OpenCart Pros

  • Free to start and use 

 

  • Open Source and ensures transparency

 

  • Customisation according to business requirements 

 

  • Unlimited products 

 

  • Numerous integrations available 

 

  • Easily develop and low costs for development 


OpenCart Cons

  • Lack of marketing and sales channels 

 

  • Need to self-host, develop and maintain

 

  • Moderately Slow 

 


If you're looking for an e-commerce site development agency, we can help you. 

 

 

Reccommended : 

 

[Case Study] User-Centric E-Commerce Experience and Digital Strategy for a Sri Lankan Fine Lingerie Brand

 

 

02. Adobe Commerce (Magento)  

 

Business,adobe,com


Pricing: Custom  

 

Best for: Enterprise Level businesses with expertise in PHP programming

 

Adobe Commerce or Magento is a drag-and-drop platform with AI integrations. The platform is ideal fro B2C and B2B with a massive audience. However, the platform is not for small businesses or novice users because it requires some prior tech knowledge to utilize. The benefit of Magento is that it's one of the most potent, customizable, scalable ecommerce platforms out there.

 

Adobe Commerce Features


01. Catalog Management:  Allows real-time product inventory availability, AI powered Live Search, AI product recommendations

 

02. Bandwith, storage: Depends

 

03. Design templates: Drag and drop to create content with the Page Builder, quickly build Progressive Web Apps in PWA Studio 

 

04. SEO Tools: N/A

 

05. Shipping methods management:  Integrate with ShopRunner, a subsidiary of FedEx Services and offers shipping within a couple of days, seamless checkouts and returns. Sell from anywhere with flexible, omnichannel options

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Available

 

07. Multichannel integration: 1,970 free built-in features but expensive multichannel integrations

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports:  Save visual reports to dashboard, automated report updates, data export options, and various user roles.

 

09. Free trial: N/A

 

10. Customer support and service: Phone support and online help center/technical support. 

 

Adobe Commerce Pros

  • Recommendations for Products

 

  • AI live Search

 

  • Customer accounts management

 

  • Multi-brand approach

 

  • Mobile First
     
  • Integrated B2B capabilities
     
  • Headless business
     
  • Business analytics 
     
  • Reports and Visual analytics 
     
  • Amazon Sales Channel
     

Adobe Commerce Cons

  • Not for beginners

 

  • PHP knowledge

 

  • Not SEO Friendly

 

 

03. Shopify

 

Shopify.com

 

Pricing: Starting price at $29, Shopify $79

 

Best for: Growing businesses

 

Shopify Features

01. Catalog Management: Unlimited products, assign inventory to retail stores, warehouses, pop-ups, abandoned cart recovery 

 

02. Bandwith, storage: Unlimited bandwith, unlimited  storage

 

03. Design templates: More than 100 paid or free themes to choose from and design your website. 

 

04. SEO tools: Yes

 

05. Shipping methods management: DHL Express, UPS, or USPS

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Shopify Payments, Paypal, Klarna and 100+ payment gateways

 

07. Multichannel integration: Facebook, Instagram, Google, Walmart Marketplace, eBay, and Amazon.

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Detailed reports are available

 

09. Free trial: 14-day free trial

 

10. Customer support and service: 24/7 support; callback, email, community forum

 

Shopify Pros

  • Quick start and efficient onboarding

 

  • Themes that can be customized

 

  • Community assistance

 

  • Outstanding integrated marketing tools

 

  • Sell everywhere, both offline and online

 

  • Access to the Shopify App Store's more than 6,000 apps

 

  • Excellent SEO 

 

  • Getting a custom domain is simple

 

Shopify Cons

  •  Only some nations are eligible for Shopify Payments.

 

  • Features available as apps 

 

  • Additional transactional fee 

 

  • Switching between themes is inconveninet

 

Recommended : 

 

[Case Study] How we developed this Health and Fitness Ecommerce Marketplace for Lexco Australia on Shopify

 

 

 04. WooCommerce

 

woocommerce.com
WooCommerce.com

 

Pricing: FREE

 

Best for: Versatality 

 

Woocommerce is the most used WordPress eCommerce plugin and powering over  24% of all online stores. With this free plugin merchants can create a seamless, fully functional and a self-hosted online store. 
 

WooCommerce Features

01. Catalog Management:  Product listing management, customer account registration

 

02. Bandwith, storage: N/A

 

03. Design templates: Themes available to customize

 

04. SEO tools: No

 

05. Shipping methods management: Available with cart calculators

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: 5 payment gateways including PayPal and Direct Bank Transfer

 

07. Multichannel integration: Google Shopping, Etsy, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, and Walmart; however these are disjointed. 

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Available

 

09. Free trial: 30-day money-back guarantee

 

10. Customer support and service:  live chat or email.

 

WooCommerce Pros

  •  Great choice for WordPress users

 

  • Beginner- friendly and easier to get started.

 

  • Open source and quite adaptable

 

  • An active community of expert developers

 

  • More than 6,000 WordPress plug-ins and integrations to add new features
     
  • Unlimited products and ability to scale the business. 
     
  • Self-hosted and gives total control to you. 
     
  • Themes to choose from and build the store. 
     
  • Sell anything  : physical goods, digital downloads, membership plans, drop-shipping stores, and affiliate products.

 

WooCommerce Cons

  • Self-hosted- Web hosting, domain and SSL must be purchased

 

  • High prices for hosting, development, maintenance

 

  • Technical knowledge is required 

 

 

05. BigCommerce

 

Bigcommerce.com

 

Pricing: FREE, Paid plans start from $29.95 - $299.95 / month

 

Best for: Optimize sales for businesses that are online based. 

 

BigCommerce is an open, easy to use e-commerce platform  to create, develop and expand online businesses. The platform has been the foundation for online stores  across 150 countries in many different industries. The platform  is ideal for large software firms and offers an array of customization options.


BigCommerce Features

01. Catalog Management: Full-featured online store, multi-storefront, Abandoned cart saver, Headless capabilities and integrations, Fully customizable checkout

 

02. Bandwith, storage: N/A

 

03. Design templates:  12 free themes and more than 100 paid themes

 

04. SEO tools: Yes

 

05. Shipping methods management: Real-time shipping quotes 

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Optional payments using a digital wallet (like Apple Pay)
Sync your online and offline payments with POS

 

07. Multichannel integration:  eBay, Amazon, and POS, 

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Best built-in sales features analytics

 

09. Free trial:  15 days.

 

10. Customer support and service: 24/7 customer support

 

BigCommerce Pros

  • To start the free trial, no credit card information.
     
  • Starting off with BigCommerce is quite simple. Simply sign up, provide information about your shop, and begin adding products.
     
  • If you don't want to pay for a unique domain name, you can get a free domain like mystore.mybigcommerce.com.
     
  •  Numerous payment processors, such as Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal powered by Braintree, and others are integrated into it natively.
     
  • Third-party apps to increase the functionality. 
     
  • Pre-built designs and themes available to create a professional storefront. 

 

  • No additional transaction fee — 0%

 

  • Unlimited Staff accounts

 

  • Unlimited API calls

 

BigCommerce Cons

  • The free trial only lasts for 15 days. After that, you'll have to continue paying $29.95 per month or more to maintain your store.

 

  • Since BigCommerce is an all-inclusive platform, you are only able to use their add-ons and themes.

 

 

Find out how we can help your business with our MarTech services.

 

 

06. Squarespace

 

Squarespace.com

 

Pricing: Starts at $23 , Commerce Basic $27, Commerce Advanced $49

 

Best for: Overall as a platform

 

If your business involves pleasing your visitors with visuals then Squarespace is for you. SquareSpace gives you the creative freedom to design and build the online business of your dreams. There are several clean and contemporary layouts available, and you may switch up your look whenever you choose.This cloud-hosted website builder has a similar aesthetic to Wix, but it has more sophisticated features such as good social network channel integration. 

 

Unfortunately, compared to Shopify, this solution doesn't offer as many eCommerce functionality. On the plus side, every annual plan comes with free SSL security and a domain. You also enjoy a mobile-optimized website checkout without any extra transaction fees on any of the plans.


Squarespace Features

 

01. Catalog Management: Unlimited products, seamlessly connect orders and delivery, gain support for international tax and currencies.

 

02. Bandwidth, storage: Unlimited Bandwidth, Unlimited storage 

 

03. Design templates: Offers the best template designs of any eCommerce website builder.

 

04. SEO tools: Yes

 

05. Shipping methods management: FEDEx, USPS

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Supports Stripe, Paypal, Square and more than 100+ payment gateways,

 

07.Multichannel integration: Available

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: monitor sales and growth trends

 

09. Free trial: 14-day free trial

 

10. Customer support and service: 24/7 Email, Live chat  

 

Squarespace Pros

  • Unlimited products

 

  • The most attractive ecommerce templates available

 

  •  Free trial allows to use all  premium features without adding any card details. 

 

Squarespace Cons

  • Limited number of payment options

 

  • Doesn’t support selling in multiple currencies

 

 

07. Shift4shop

 

Shift4shop.com
Shift4shop.com

 

Pricing: FREE. Paid plans start at $19

 

Best for: Best free E-commerce platform

 

Shift4Shop is an all-in-one eCommerce solution to create, promote, and sell from your online store. The platform includes E-commerce buy buttons, a range of shopping cart options to customize the payment process. Moreover, the platform's inventory system facilitates the merchants to  track of sales and products. Not only that, there are  customization options such as changing the theme as you prefer at anytime. 


Shift4shop Features: 

 

01. Catalog Management: Unlimited product options and variants, Unlimited categorization, Bulk product import and export warehouse management, barcode scanning, inventory synchronization across multiple stores, Abandoned cart emails
 

02. Bandwith, storage: Unlimited Bandwidth

 

03. Design templates: 50+ Mobile-Ready Themes

 

04. SEO Tools: Available

 

05. Shipping methods management: Real-time shipping and tracking

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Sync with eBay and Amazon and supports 100+ payment gateways

 

07. Multichannel integration: Facebook, Google Shopping Feed, Instagram

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Detailed Product Reports are generated. 

 

09. Free trial: N/A

 

10. Customer support and service: 24x7 Tech Support

 

Shift4shop Pros

  • Free templates

 

  • Over 200+ built-in features

 

  • No additional transactional fee

 

Shift4shop Cons

  • Difficult to set up if you're a beginner

 

  • Free themes a bit outdated

 

  • Limited number of apps

 

Let us help you build, develop your ecommerce store and create brand awareness with our expertise in digital strategy. 

 

Let's talk about your product. 

 

 

08. Weebly

 

Weebly.com

 

Pricing: FREE

 

Best for: Best value platform

 

Weebly store is an easy to use platform for solopreneurs, small businesses without any technical knowledge. With Weebly, anyone can build a standard website or an online store. However, this is not ideal for larger enterprises due to the lack of inventory data insights and social media sales channels. 


Weebly Features

 

01. Catalog Management: Unlimited inventory management, managing taxes, shipping, and inventory built into the checkout process.

 

02. Bandwith, storage: Unlimited storage

 

03. Design templates: Choose the ideal theme (design) for your website among other 100 options available. Building your website and managing the items in your store is simple with the drag and drop interface.

 

04. SEO tools: Available

 

05. Shipping methods management: Shipping calculator, integrated shipping labels available. 

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Square and third-party providers

 

07. Multichannel integration: Available

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Advanced site stats and advanced eCommerce statistics are available in the business version.

 

09. Free trial: N/A

 

10. Customer support and service: Access to live chat, email, community forum and even phone help with the free plan.

 

Weebly Pros

  • User-friendly and ideal for beginners

 

  • Connect custom domain

 

  • Remove ads 

 

  • Easy-to-use editor 

 

  • Custom themes  

 

  • A variety of integrated apps

 

  • Membership spaces and team collaboration spaces
     

Weebly Cons

  • Restricted blogging tools

 

  • Extra support costs are expensive

 

  • Cannot edit photos offline 
     

09. Wix

 

Wix.com 

 

Pricing: Basic website is free; Paid plan for eCommerce features
Business Basic: $17/month; Business Unlimited: $25/month; Business VIP: $35/month.
 

Best for: Small online businesses 

 

Wix is an easy-to-use drag-and-drop website builder that provides a range of features convenient for beginners. Registration of domain names, web hosting, and 500+ customizable website templates are few of the Wix free plan features. You can create a simple website with Wix, but e-commerce features are only available in the premium plan. Wix includes a few useful tools for e-commerce functionality. These are inventory management, payment gateways, marketing goods through various channels, and launch abandoned cart campaigns.


Wix Features

 

01. Catalog Management: Unlimited products available in the free plan, Abandoned cart recovery

 

02. Bandwith, storage: Unlimited bandwith ; 20GB-50GB storage

 

03. Design templates : 500+ customizable templates to begin with. or Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) helps to create a personalized website. 

 

04. SEO tools: Yes

 

05. Shipping methods management: N/A

 

06. Payment gateway integrations: Paypal, Wix Payments, Stripe, Square; 11 total payment gateways 

 

07. Multichannel integration: Yes

 

08. Sales analytics, Periodical Reports: Customized reports accessible only in the business unlimited

 

09. Free trial: Access to free plan 

 

10. Customer support and service: 24/7 customer care

 

Wix Pros

  •  Fully hosted
     
  • Free forever
     
  • Allows to track orders 
     
  • Online payments available 
     
  • Sell products on several channels 
     
  • Includes abandoned cart campaigns 
     
  • Convenient usability for beginners 
     

Wix Cons

  • No low-stock alerts

 

  • Not recommended to manage if you have more than 10 products

 

  • The paid plan is required to access Tracking and analytics

 

  • Non-transferrable site 
     
  • Wix branding included in the Free plan 
     

How to choose the best eCommerce platform for your small business? 

Here, you need to ask yourself what kind of features that are beneficial for you.

 

If you're a beginner,  Wix and Weebly are great options and excellent value for money platforms. Choose Shopify for dropshipping or if you're planning to eventually scale. SquareSpace is great to develop visually captivating online stores. And BigCommerce offers you the features you need to succeed at multi-channel selling. 

 

At the end of the day, you need to determine your business goals to decide the e-commerce platform features which can deliver to your customers and scale your business

 

Final Thoughts

 

When deciding the best eCommerce platform for your startup or business, there isn't actually a correct answer. It all depends on the business requirements. There's an eCommerce platform for every business irrespective of concerns on money or features. 
Finding a platform that is simple to use and easy to expand is what matters more. Before deciding, don't be scared to test out a few options. 

 

Hope this was helpful!  

 

Get in touch with us and let's talk about how we can help you develop your business eCommerce store and accelerate growth. 

 

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7 Most Effective Strategies to Expand Your Startup

 

 

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