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Every great online store starts in the same place – with an ecommerce website builder. With these tools, anyone can easily start an ecommerce business by building a website from scratch.
So, if you want to sell products or services on the internet, you need to find an ecommerce builder to build your online store.
However, as you will soon discover, ecommerce website builders come in a variety of sizes. Which is the best? Continue below to view my buying guide and top recommendations.
The top 7 options for ecommerce website builders
- Square Online
How to choose the best ecommerce website builder for you
Before searching for different ecommerce site builders, you need to know how to evaluate these options. There are certain factors to consider as you shop around and narrow down your top choices. I will explain each one in more detail below:
Technical competence level
What's your technical background?
Some ecommerce website builders are designed for beginners, others for advanced users and developers, and the rest are somewhere in between. If you are a DIY enthusiast, your technical skills will play an important role in choosing the right platform.
Beginners should target platforms that do not require coding. With these website builders, you can put it all together with simple drag-and-drop functions.
Advanced users and developers may want to have access to the site's backend code for advanced customization. Companies should consult with their tech team or whoever ultimately works on the site before making a decision.
Business phase and size
New business and fast-scaling startups don't necessarily have the same requirements for an ecommerce website builder. Some of you may even want to sell a handful of products online as a small side project or part-time job.
If you already have an existing website, you might not need a full site builder. There are other tools you can use to add shopping cart functionality to your current website (more on that in a bit).
Do you still need to register your domain name? Have you already chosen a web hosting plan?
There are website builders out there that give you all of these features out of the box on a single platform. In other cases, you'll need to get your domain and hosting plan separately.
Dropshipping allows you to run an ecommerce website without having to buy, store, or ship inventory to your customers. When someone buys something from your website, the supplier takes care of the fulfillment and ships the product directly to those customers.
If you want to run an ecommerce website that follows this business model, you need to make sure your website builder supports dropshipping.
While not every website builder comes with dropshipping capabilities out of the box, the best of them integrate seamlessly with third-party dropshipping software and tools.
Design and templates
Think about the visual aesthetic of your ecommerce website. The best ecommerce website builders allow you to create a beautiful website without hiring a designer.
The easiest way to do this is to start with a pre-made template and customize it with your content. You should be able to choose a theme or template that fits your brand image and industry.
As you browse and rate different platforms, you'll quickly find that the templates and design tools are not the same everywhere – some are undoubtedly better than others.
Not every ecommerce website builder comes with a long list of features by default. In some cases you need to customize the functionality of your website by adding functionality from a marketplace or app store. Depending on the functionality you're looking for, you may even need to integrate your website with a third-party tool or platform.
With this in mind, other site builders will give you all the functionality you might need right out of the box (with some limitations).
There really is no right or wrong answer here. It's all about personal preference. Would you rather have full functionality as soon as you create an account? Or would you prefer to add features as needed?
The answer to these questions will help you narrow down your choices.
Your ecommerce website builder may limit the number of products you can sell on the website. Some platforms even charge you additional fees based on your traffic volume.
This is usually not a problem for new websites, but as your website scales this can definitely become an issue.
Look beyond the rock-bottom prices and entry-level plans offered by various platforms. See how much it costs you when your product list doubles, triples, or quadruples. Do you have any additional fees?
Some ecommerce site builders are better at selling just a dozen or so products than managing large product catalogs in the hundreds or thousands.
The Different Types of Ecommerce Website Builders
Ecommerce website builders fall into a handful of different categories. I want to briefly explain the different types of ecommerce site builders before we move on. This makes it a lot easier to find the best option for you.
Traditional website builder
There are many great website builders out there that you can use to build any website from scratch. Some of the most popular platforms also have ecommerce website plans.
These are great options for beginners. You can create a new website with one of the world's most popular site builders without writing a single line of code. You benefit from tools like drag-and-drop functionality and the ability to bundle the registration and hosting of domains in a single plan. Basically everything you need is in one place.
Just make sure you choose an ecommerce plan offered by the traditional site builder you are evaluating. Otherwise, you won't be able to sell online.
WordPress is a great option for people who want complete control over their ecommerce website. As a free, open source CMS, the functions and adjustments are almost unlimited.
For those of you with an existing WordPress website, you can add ecommerce functionality by installing a WordPress plugin. You can sell online with these plugins.
Even if you're starting a new ecommerce website from scratch, WordPress is a viable option. Some ecommerce WordPress plugins can even help you design and lay out your website instead of just adding a shopping cart.
That's pretty self explanatory. Ecommerce platforms are specially designed for ecommerce websites.
Unlike a traditional website builder, these tools have product catalogs and shopping cart functionality built into each plan. So you don't have to worry about upgrading or choosing an ecommerce-specific plan to sell online.
Ecommerce platforms are also great for SEO. The themes and templates have been created to organically place your website and products in SERPs.
Shopping Cart Extensions
Shopping cart extensions are perfect for people who already have a website on the internet. Instead of building the entire website from scratch, these tools simply add shopping cart functionality to your existing website.
They're not always ideal for large-scale sales, but they're great for managing a handful of products.
Say you're a blogger looking to sell a t-shirt, hat, or mug. A shopping cart extension is a quick and easy way to add ecommerce functionality to your blog.
# 1 – Shopify Review – Best Out-of-the-Box Ecommerce Features
Shopify is king in e-commerce. It is considered one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the market today by more than 1 million websites in 175 countries.
Shopify has enabled more than $ 200 billion in online sales.
The platform is extremely versatile. Whether you're starting a new ecommerce business from scratch or expanding your physical presence to include an online store, Shopify can cater to your needs. It contains everything you need to build your website and sell it online:
- Industry-specific templates
- Supports multiple sales channels (point of sale, social media, online marketplaces, etc.)
- Drag and drop storage builder
- Over 70 templates
- Custom domains
- Secure checkout
- Gift cards
- 24/7 support
- Unlimited products
- Built-in payment processing
- Shipping discounts
- Marketing tools
- Business insights
Regardless of your company size or industry, Shopify's ecommerce platform is versatile enough to power your website.
Plans start at just $ 29 a month. You can try Shopify for free with a 14-day trial version.
# 2 – Wix Review – Best Drag and Drop Ecommerce Builder
Wix is one of the best site builders out there today. The platform can be used to build any website – including e-commerce websites.
More than 160 million people around the world have used Wix to build a website from scratch.
Wix is a great option for beginners. Anyone can use this platform to build an ecommerce website regardless of their technical ability. Here's what makes Wix great:
- Intuitive drag and drop site builder
- Over 500 stunning templates
- Optimized for SEO
- App marketplace for custom functions
- Advanced design features such as video backgrounds, animations and scroll effects
- Ecommerce website optimized for mobile devices
- Custom domain, free hosting and free SSL certificate
- Supports multiple payment methods
- Product pages and store manager tools
- $ 300 worth of promotional coupons
- 24/7 customer support
- Unlimited products
Wix ecommerce plans start at $ 23. However, I recommend starting with at least the Business Unlimited plan. It costs just $ 4 more per month and has advanced features.
You can create your Wix site for free to try out the drag and drop builder. Then use a 14-day free trial to access premium features.
# 3 – BigCommerce Review – Best for Large Ecommerce Websites
BigCommerce is another industry leader in the e-commerce world. For more than a decade, this platform has served ecommerce websites in over 120 countries.
Over $ 25 billion in retailer sales was generated by BigCommerce.
This platform is great for wholesalers, international ecommerce websites, B2B sellers, and multi-channel sales. If you want to sell on a large scale, BigCommerce is the place for you.
- Easy to use and secure platform
- Powerful e-commerce analysis and customer insights
- Drag-and-drop tools to create without coding
- WordPress integration
- Custom checkout functions with Checkout API and SDK
- Optimized for mobile and SEO
- Built-in faceted search
- Cross-channel sales support (stationary, social, marketplaces, etc.)
- Multi-currency support
- Global CDN
- Cross-border fulfillment
- Built-in payment processing
Overall, BigCommerce is my top pick for large ecommerce websites. If you want to sell online with no restrictions this is a top option.
Plans start at $ 29.95 per month. Try BigCommerce for free for 15 days.
# 4 – Squarespace Review – Best Beautiful Ecommerce Designs
Squarespace is another all-in-one website builder that can be used to build any type of website.
Unlike other traditional site builders, however, Squarespace is optimized for business. With the exception of the personal plan, all Squarespace subscriptions have built-in e-commerce functionality.
Squarespace is a popular choice for creatives looking to showcase their portfolios and sell them online. It comes with features like:
- Award-winning design templates
- Built-in control tools
- Supports subscription and digital content sales
- Discount codes and gift cards
- Secure checkout process from any device
- Abandoned cart recovery tools
- E-commerce integrations for shipping and payment processing
- 24/7 customer support
You need to hook up your own payment processor to run an online store with Squarespace. Ecommerce plans start at $ 18 a month. Upgrade to the Basic Commerce Plan ($ 26 per month) to avoid 3% transaction fees.
If creating a visually stunning ecommerce website with stunning designs is your number one priority, Squarespace should definitely be on your shortlist.
# 5 – 3DCart Review – Best Developer Friendly Ecommerce Software
If you have specific needs and are working with a developer or designer, 3DCart might be the solution for you.
3DCart isn't quite as popular as some of the other ecommerce website builders on our list. Even so, it's not for everyone.
While 3DCart has drag-and-drop tools for beginners, the software is powerful enough to meet the needs of developers and design professionals. So it can essentially be as simple or complex as you want it to be.
Other top features and notable highlights of 3DCart are:
- Over 200 built-in functions
- Over 200 ways to accept payments
- 50+ free themes
- Simple and versatile shipping settings
- Robust security
- Supports dropshipping
- Supports subscriptions, tickets, events, and print-on-demand sales
- Powerful CMS
- Optimized for SEO
All plans include secure hosting, unlimited orders, 24/7 support, and no transaction fees. Prices start at just $ 8.55 per month.
Subscriptions are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try it for free for 15 days.
# 6 – Square Online Review – Best for Small Businesses with Physical Sales Space
Square is known for its payment processing and POS solutions. The platform also offers business owners the option of creating a free online shop.
If you are a brick and mortar retailer currently selling with Square POS, there is an easy way to expand your online presence by creating an ecommerce website with Square Online.
Let's take a closer look at some of the features and benefits of Square Online:
- Quick setup with no coding
- Built-in payment processing
- Automatic synchronization with your Square POS system
- Supports in-house and on-demand delivery
- Instagram integration
- Inventory management tools
- Accept gift cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay
Starting an ecommerce website with Square Online is free. You only pay the transaction fees (from 2.9% + 0.30 USD). For more advanced features, paid plans start at $ 12 per month.
# 7 – WooCommerce Review – Best Ecommerce WordPress Plugin
If you currently have a WordPress website and need to add shopping cart functionality, WooCommerce is the best option for you.
This plugin is specially designed for WordPress and is one of the most popular WordPress plugins on the market today.
What Makes WooCommerce So Great? Let's take a closer look:
- Fully customizable with features that can expand functionality
- Flexible and open source
- Over 140 gateways and payment integrations
- Ability to manage orders on the go
- Supports physical products, digital products, and subscriptions
- Hundreds of free and paid renewals
- Fully scalable
- Developer friendly with REST API
To get started with WooCommerce, you need an existing WordPress site. This means that you have to do the domain registration and hosting yourself.
The WooCommerce plugin can be installed for free.
The first step in selling online is to find a usable ecommerce website builder.
Which is the best? It really depends on what you are looking for.
For information on how to find the best option for your website, see the buying guide, reviews, and recommendations in this post. This will definitely help you narrow down your options.