Launching your own eCommerce store is a cost-effective way to sell products, make money and build a reputation around your brand.
But due to the growing number of eCommerce platforms available, it can often be tough to decide which one is the best option for your business so that you can make a start and get things off the ground.
With that thought in mind, I decided to test and analyze different online store builders and see how suitable they would be to build an online business. I tested a number of things - including its ease of use, reliability, and feature set - to find the top 4 options on the market.
And without further ado, here are my best eCommerce website builder picks:
- Shopify (Great selection of templates)
- Wix (Quick and easy building process with a drag-and-drop editor)
- Squarespace (Modern design solutions)
- Weebly (Lots of responsive themes)
Recommended for: users who want a web-based website builder with a user-friendly interface and over 100 templates.
To kick things off, let's start with one of the most popular solutions in the business - Shopify. One of the things that makes this platform stand out is the selection of free and premium templates on offer.
These include coffee shops, book clubs, homeware, and fashion retail. You name it - it's got it. A large selection of the templates are mobile-friendly and come with free updates.
The interface itself is easy to use and provides plenty of options when listing products. And to complement this, Shopify uses an organized database to monitor customer information. This is a great feature that allows you to keep a watchful eye over which products your customers want, and track sales and growth trends.
To shine a light on some of the most important eCommerce features, here's a list of them:
- Shopify supports over 60 payment platforms including PayPal, Amazon Payments, and BitPay;
- Users can manage unlimited products and inventory;
- Sell products from your branded online store, an online marketplace, and social media channels;
- Shopify App store is home to thousands of apps to help boost your business;
- Take payments on the go with Shopify POS;
As you can see, there's a bucket load of features to build an excellent online store.
Well, there are three paid plans that range from $29 -$299 per month. However, if you're running a small but growing business, I would recommend the $79 Shopify plan - it includes 5 staff accounts, 24/7 support, manual order creation, gift cards, unlimited products and many more.
And while those features cost quite a lot, most of them can be really useful for most online shops. So while this is the most expensive option on our list, it makes up for it with the features.
- 100 + templates
- 24/7 customer support
- Unlimited products with every plan
- Pricing is on the higher side of website builders
Price: $20-$35/month (for eCommerce solutions)
Recommended for: users who want to set-up an eCommerce store with minimal fuss.
There are over 100 responsive templates designed specifically for this type of business. Each one has a clean and tidy layout with a high focus on imagery, which is a valuable factor for creating an online store.
The Wix interface is extremely easy to use, and there are lots of elements that can be customized using its drag-and-drop editor.
Overall, the Wix design is far from simple, but thanks to its intuitive design features and stunning templates - even the most inexperienced user can build a professional looking website.
Additionally, the Wix app market is home to thousands of apps to boost your business or brand. Along with things like Wix chat, events, and iPlayer HD - there are 39 online store apps.
The most popular app is called Wix Stores, and here are some of its features:
- Users can sell an unlimited number of physical or digital products;
- Accept payment methods such as PayPal, credit cards and offline payments;
- Integrated email marketing will help boost and promote your store;
- The intuitive store manager will allow you to track your sales;
- Manage your store on the go with the Wix mobile-app;
- This app alone is one of the reasons why Wix is one of the top eCommerce;
This app alone is one of the reasons why Wix might be the best eCommerce website builder out there!
However, Wix is not the most affordable solution on the list.
The cheapest eCommerce plan will cost you $20/month and it gives 20GB of storage for your merchandise and unlimited bandwidth.
If your shop gains popularity you can easily upgrade to the Business VIP plan, priced at $35/month for more storage.
Additionally, all paid plans are 100% commission free - all the online payments you get are yours and the platform doesn't take the cut.
- 100% commission free sales
- Accepts all major online payment gateways
- 24/7 customer support
- Plenty of online store templates
- Once you select a template you cannot go back to change it
Price: $26-$40/month (for eCommerce solutions)
Recommended for: users who want a unique online store design with immense image quality.
Squarespace is known for having top quality templates and insanely good image quality. The design of each template is minimalistic but extremely sophisticated - which almost guarantees that your products will look great.
Only a small number of templates are specifically designed for online stores - however, pretty much all of the templates can be adapted to suit eCommerce websites.
When it comes to building your website, this is done by adding blocks to pages that hold your content. Using a drag-and-drop editor, you can add things like images, text, videos, forms etc., and then reposition your content to create your preferred layout.
The drag-and-drop editor also comes in handy when you want to organize and manage your products with tags or categories. And with its visibility and scheduling feature, you can put products on your virtual shelves when they're ready to go.
Squarespace also has an excellent blogging feature, and adding products to blog posts is a great way to drive sales and promote certain products. What this also does, it allows the user to zoom in on product details and make the most of the image quality that Squarespace offers.
To give you a clear view of some of the other Squarespace features, I have made a handy little list. You can:
- Calculate real-time shipping rates from FedEx, UPS, and USPS at checkout;
- Identify your most valuable customers and gain insight into order value, order history and more with the CRM tools;
- Accept PayPal, Apple Pay, and all major credit card payments;
- ShipStation allows Squarespace customers to ship seamlessly;
For most small businesses, I would recommend the Basic plan ($26.00 per month).
It includes heaps of key features that include SSL security, label printing with ShipStation, unlimited contributors and integrated accounting.
The Advanced plan includes gift cards, flexible discounts, abandoned cart auto recovery and more.
- Specifically designed online store templates
- 24/7 customer support
- Accept PayPal and Apple Pay
- Exceptional image quality
- No app store and lack of integrable options
Price: $12-$38/month (for eCommerce solutions)
Recommended for: users who want a user-friendly interface with a drag-and-drop editor to build their online store.
Weebly is well-known for being one of the most user-friendly website builders around today. But since eCommerce websites have become more popular, they have since improved their features in this field to become one of the best online store builders.
There are lots of responsive themes specifically designed for online stores, and they each have a unique design with a modern layout. While some of the templates feature a one image background for catching the viewers attention, others take on a grid-like layout to display multiple products.
Weebly has one of the most simplistic and user-friendly editors in my list, which is great for creating top eCommerce websites. To create your website Weebly uses a drag-and-drop builder - you can add images, text, video backgrounds, and even parallax effects for an eye-catching website.
There are a few design options built specifically for online stores, like product search and badges, coupons and gift cards. And adding customer reviews is a good way to keep a watchful eye over their thoughts on your services.
With Weebly's mobile app, you can do all of this on the go - including being able to manage, analyze, and edit your website.
Thanks to Weebly's Shipping tools, selling, shipping, printing, and tracking is all done in one place. It uses real-time shipping rates, and with the advanced inventory tools, you can easily keep track of your stock. The final step for your customers is checkout, and with Weebly, payment options are PayPal, Stripe, or Square.
However, users who upgrade to the Business plan ($25.00 per month) will have access to integrated shipping with Shippo. Also included in this package is a shipping and tax calculator, inventory management, digital goods, product reviews and more.
Weebly offers three plans specifically for eCommerce websites. The cheapest Pro plan is priced at $12/month and includes a free domain, unlimited storage, SSL security, and other premium features. However, if you want 0% transaction fee - you'll have to upgrade to Business plan ($25/month).
- User-friendly interface with a drag-and-drop editor
- Chat, email and phone support
- Fairly priced paid packages
- Design features are limited
Which One Is The Best eCommerce Website Builder?
Each one of these website builders is a winner in my eyes. They each bring something unique and edgy, and therefore picking one outright winner is too tough of a decision.
But to help you choose the one that is the best suited for your business, I have created a list of who (I believe) each of them suits the best:
- Shopify is suited to users who want a large selection of templates and plenty of eCommerce website boosting apps.
- Wix would make a good choice for users who want an intuitive interface and Wix Stores app.
- Squarespace is perfect for users who want a unique looking store for showcasing expensive products.
- Weebly is a great match for users who want to set up a professional looking store with minimal fuss.
There's no denying that Squarespace has enough design features to create a wonderful looking online store. However - it doesn't quite have the same quality all around package that you get with Wix and Shopify. All in all, however, your decision depends on your needs. Make sure to give these pages a visit and see what you think.
Do you own an online business and use a different website builder? Or maybe you have questions? Please share your reviews and thoughts in the comments below.