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What would you do with an extra $1,500 a day?
With a bit of work and the right ecommerce platform, you can create an online store that generates that kind of revenue (and more). Even an extra $1,500 a week would make a big difference for most people.
And the most significant thing standing in the way of your own success story is deciding which ecommerce platform is right for your new store.
In this post, we’ll take a close look at the top options available today:
- Bluehost – Best for hands-off WooCommerce store setup
- Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
- Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
- Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
- BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
- WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
- OpenCart – Best for selling digital products
- Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform
After the reviews, I’ll break down the major aspects to consider in choosing the right platform for your current situation
#1 – Bluehost Review — The Best for Hands-Off WooCommerce Store Setup
I really like WooCommerce. And, fortunately, I’m comfortable enough with WordPress to install, customize, and manage the WooCommerce plugin and the additional plugins that really make it shine on my own WordPress sites.
But I know many folks who would rather not have that responsibility, whether because of a lack of familiarity with WordPress plugins or just a lack of time to self-manage WooCommerce.
Bluehost gets that, too—that’s why they’ve rolled out an easy, turnkey solution to getting a WooCommerce store up and running in no time, for anyone.
With Bluehost’s package for ecommerce powered by WooCommerce, you get a handy guided store creator, plus:
- Built-in SSL and Jetpack for security
- Unlimited product listings
- Payment processing
- Customer reviews
- Coupon codes
- Manual order creation
- One year free of CodeGuard Backup Basic, for daily site backups
And that’s all in the Standard Plan. The built-in SSL certificate is really helpful because it encrypts information customers enter on your website (like credit card numbers or login credentials), and protects everyone from hackers. All you have to do is click a button and your set with Bluehost–this can be much more challenging if the host doesn’t manage SSL certificates for you.
What I think is most convenient, though, is that Bluehost has preselected the top 20 store plugins that your WooCommerce store will need. Not only does that save you the headache of researching and installing plugins on your own, they’re included at no extra charge.
That’s huge. Some of these plugins cost around $200 a pop to install.
Take it one step higher to the Premium plan and you’ll also get:
- Online appointment scheduling
- Subscription-based ecommerce
- Advanced product customization
- Local tax management
- Free domain privacy
- CodeGuard Backup Basic, included for free
Pricing is based on your initial term commitment. Choose from month-to-month billing, a one-year contract, or a three-year contract.
The Standard plan starts at $12.95/month for a three-year commitment, while Premium starts at $24.95/month for the same.
Both plans renew at the standard month-to-month rate after the term is completed—$29.95/month for Standard and $49.95/month for Premium.
So, if you want to get a WooCommerce store up in no time with no hassle on your end at all, head over to Bluehost today.
#2 – Shopify Review — The Best All-In-One Ecommerce Platform
Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce website builder that powers more than one million online stores, making it one of the most popular choices on this list.
Literally everything you need to build an online store is included. Launch a simple store in minutes and add to it over time. No other platform has such a deep range of apps, integrations, and new ways to sell.
You can start small and learn as you grow. Shopify plans include access to an incredible suite of ecommerce features, including:
- Point of Sale for brick and mortar shops
- Real-time carrier shipping rates
- Abandoned checkout recovery
- 100 different payment gateways
- Automatic tax calculations
- Customer accounts and profiles
- Fulfillment centers
- Advanced inventory management
- Unlimited products
- In-depth analytics
Plus, with 70+ professional themes (nine of which are free) and 4,100+ apps, you can create a beautiful and highly functional ecommerce store without having to start from scratch. Or write a single line of code.
Combine that with award-winning 24/7/365 customer support and you have an excellent ecommerce platform.
Shopify offers five plans for businesses of all sizes, including:
- Shopify Starter — $5 per month
- Basic Shopify — $39 per month
- Shopify — $105 per month
- Advanced Shopify — $399 per month
- Shopify Plus — custom pricing
Shopify Starter is a great option if you want to sell via email, on an existing website, or directly from your social media profiles. However, it doesn’t come with the all-inclusive website builder.
Shopify Payments is included with every plan. They charge 2.4% – 2.9% + $0.30 depending on the plan you choose. They charge additional fees (0.5% – 2%) if you use a separate payment processor like PayPal or Square, but you can just use Shopify Payments to avoid extra charges.
#3 – Wix Review — The Best for Flexibility and Customization
Wix is one of the most popular and reputable website builders on the planet. They also offer business plans with ecommerce capabilities, making it one of the easiest ways to create an online store without writing a single line of code.
You can start with one of 500+ templates that are optimized for selling out of the box. Then simply customize your pages with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
This provides you with exceptional design flexibility at virtually no learning curve.
You can design up a custom online store from scratch in less than an hour, and your customers won’t be able to tell the difference between your site and industry leaders. Wix gives you a professional appearance without the hassle and headaches.
I love the Wix mobile app. This makes it easy to edit your site from anywhere, with just a few clicks from your pocket.
Some of the top ecommerce package benefits include:
- Support of 90+ languages and local currencies
- 250+ apps for added functionality
- No extra transaction fees
- Fully customized product pages
- Global shipping and taxes
- Discounts and coupons
- Custom product collections
- Recurring payments
- Advanced sorting and filters
- Custom checkout
You’ll also have access to marketing features like email accounts and social media from your Wix dashboard.
To access ecommerce functionality, you need to sign up for a Wix business package:
Wix also offers custom solutions and pricing options for enterprise sellers.
With that said, high-volume ecommerce shops with extensive product catalogs would likely be better off using Shopify or BigCommerce. Wix is better for smaller ecommerce businesses.
#4 – Squarespace Review — The Best Ecommerce Platform for Creatives
Squarespace is well-known as a free website builder, but they also have a trio of attractive ecommerce packages.
You’re getting the same high quality of templates that Squarespace is famous for, with plenty of customization potential to create a unique shopping experience for your customers.
Some of the other easy-to-use platforms are a little limited with what you can do. Squarespace gives you a lot more artistic freedom.
Install and customize multiple templates at a time to see which one you like best. And switching between templates takes just a few clicks.
Aside from beautiful templates, Squarespace’s web store plans include:
- Subscriptions, digital products, and in-person compatibility
- Built-in tax tools for automatic tax calculations
- Discount codes and gift cards
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Mobile-optimized checkout
- Mobile store management
- Rich product listings
- Quick view capability
- Inventory management
- Real-time shipping estimates
Furthermore, Squarespace integrates with most of the popular email marketing and social media platforms so you can sell and market your products like a pro.
And they have fantastic 24/7/365 customer support ready to answer your questions and help you get things set up the way you want to.
Squarespace offers three ecommerce plans:
- Business — $18 per month + 3% transaction fees
- Basic Commerce — $26 per month + 0% transaction fees
- Advanced Commerce — $40 per month + 0% transaction fees
As you scan their pricing options, you’ll see a Personal plan for $12 per month. This is great if you want to build a website, but it doesn’t come with any ecommerce features, so it’s not going to work if you want to set up an online store.
They also have an enterprise plan with a dedicated account manager, SEO consultations, and prioritized technical support.
And while the Business plan offers ecommerce capabilities, I highly recommend choosing Basic Commerce to start. It’s the cheapest plan with no transaction fees, plus it includes other essential features like, customer accounts and ecommerce analytics.
#5 – BigCommerce Review — The Best for Medium to Large Stores
BigCommerce is an all-in-one ecommerce website builder specifically for large online stores. It includes more advanced ecommerce features suitable for managing high volumes and a large number of products.
With a customer base of 100,000+ stores, including some big names like Ben & Jerry’s and SkullCandy, they’re a smaller player in the industry.
But that doesn’t make the platform any less powerful.
BigCommerce plans include access to powerful, industry-leading features, including:
- Customer accounts for faster checkouts
- Mobile-optimized checkout
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Google AMP and Akamai
- Advanced product filters
- Coupons and discount codes
- Advanced inventory management
- Customer groups for personalized shopping
- 65+ payment gateways with no extra transaction fees
- Built-in shipping management
Plus, all of their plans include unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts.
And you can choose between 12 free mobile-responsive design templates or opt for a paid template to make your online store stand out from the crowd without touching a single line of code.
BigCommerce offers four paid plans (with a 15-day free trial), including:
- Standard — $39/month with a $50,000 annual sales limit
- Plus — $105/month with a $180,000 annual sales limit
- Pro — $399/month with a $400,000 annual sales limit
- Enterprise — custom pricing
Note that the prices above are for monthly plans. You can save 25% off your chosen plan when you pay for an annual subscription.
If you’re just getting started, BigCommerce is overkill for your online store. However, if you’re an established business or plan to sell high volumes, it’s an excellent choice.
#6 – WooCommerce Review — The Best for WordPress Websites
You don’t need to settle for a cookie-cutter website builder to run your ecommerce store. If you’re serious about selling online (and you’re using or planning to use a WordPress site to do it), you should opt for WooCommerce, one of the most powerful tools out there.
This lightweight WordPress plugin adds ecommerce capabilities like accepting online payments, configurable shipping options, and product listings to your site. But that’s just the start.
WooCommerce is wildly extendible and able to be integrated with other business tools. Customize it through extensions in categories ranging from inventory, shipping, and fulfillment to marketing, customer loyalty programs, live chat support, and much more.
The platform, like many good WordPress tools, is developer-friendly. Use REST API to tweak and tailor WooCommerce to your needs with custom coding and modules.
Not sold yet? Here’s a taste of some of the other built-in features you get:
- 140 region-specific payment gateways
- Support of subscriptions and deposits
- Automated tax calculations
- Real-time shipping rates
- iOS and Android mobile apps
- Physical and digital product capability
- Endless product variations
- Extensive tutorials and documentation
- Public support forum
And the best part? It’s free to download, install, and use. Forever.
However, some of the extensions aren’t free, so watch out for that if you start digging into those.
With the power of WordPress behind it, your customization options are only limited to what you can imagine. So, the sky is legitimately the limit with WooCommerce.
But with that said, it’s not the easiest or most intuitive ecommerce platform. So, I don’t recommend it if you aren’t already using WordPress and 100% comfortable with it.
#7 – OpenCart Review — The Best for Selling Digital Products
OpenCart is another open source ecommerce platform, much like WooCommerce. However, it’s not limited to WordPress websites. But you do need to have an existing website to use it.
Over 300,000 online stores use OpenCart to confidently sell products of all shapes and sizes online. Plus, most web hosting companies offer one-click installation or will install it for free, so it’s incredibly easy to set up.
Note: I only recommend going this route if you already have a website up and running.
While you can sell products of any kind, the no-fluff interface (and free price tag) makes it an excellent option for selling digital products to make more money with your online business.
All without adding an extra monthly expense because it’s 100% free forever.
OpenCart offers a powerful set of ecommerce features, starting with its administrator dashboard. You can see all the key information at a glance about your site’s performance, including total orders and sales. If you are running more than one online store, you can manage all of them from this dashboard.
You can give your team members different levels of permissions within OpenCart for managing the online store. You can set up an affiliate system as well, helping you promote your products and stores.
OpenCart allows you to set up discounts, coupons, and special sales prices, all from within the main interface.
Other features available include:
- Limitless product variables and variations
- Unlimited products
- One-click digital downloads
- Product reviews and ratings
- 36 built-in payment methods
- Recurring payments
Plus, with 13,000 modules and themes in the marketplace, you can add any functionality you can imagine including service integrations, conversion modules, email marketing, and more.
Keep in mind that not all of OpenCart’s extensions are free. You may have to pay for more advanced capabilities.
And they don’t currently offer support for free, either.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on their community forum, you have to pay for dedicated help. Dedicated support starts at $99 per site per month or $99 for a one-time fix.
#8 – Ecwid Review — The Best for Integrating With Your Current Platform
Like OpenCart and WooCommerce, Ecwid is an ecommerce platform you can use to integrate with your current platform, regardless of what you’re already using.
It integrates with platforms like Weebly, Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, and more. So, if you already have a website set up and want to add ecommerce functionality, Ecwid is an excellent choice.
With that said, they also offer an all-in-one ecommerce website builder if you want to start from scratch. However, there are better website builders to use.
So, I only recommend Ecwid if you want to integrate ecommerce into your existing website.
This ecommerce platform includes a wide range of features, like:
- Multi-channel selling (social media, marketplaces, in-person, etc.)
- Integrated email marketing and advertising features
- Centralized inventory and order management
- No transaction fees
- Fully responsive designs
- Built-in POS integrations
- Customer accounts for easy checkout
- Real-time shipping rate calculator
- Poduct variations
- Digital product capabilities
- 40 payment options
The biggest downside is that you can’t manage your store from inside your website account dashboard. You have to log in to Ecwid instead. So, you need to manage two separate accounts.
But the good news is that you can start on the limited free forever plan to try it out before making any investments.
The free plan only allows up to ten products, so you have to upgrade if you need more. Ecwid also offers three paid plans, including:
- Venture — $15/month (up to 100 products)
- Business — $35/month (up to 2,500 products)
- Unlimited — $99/month (unlimited products)
This is the price if you pay month to month. If you are willing to sign a contract for a year, the price is a little lower.
As a stand-alone store builder you might be better off with other options (like Wix and Shopify).
But if you already have a website and want to add an ecommerce store, Ecwid is a great alternative to WooCommerce and OpenCart.
What I Looked at to Find the Best Ecommerce Platform
The best ecommerce platform for your business depends on several factors like your experience level, your customization requirements, and the type of products you want to sell.
But choosing the right platform can feel overwhelming because there are countless options to choose from.
It may help to start with a list of requirements and the features you need. From there, you can narrow down your choices based on the following criteria.
Physical vs Digital Products
Physical products are a mainstay in ecommerce and won’t be going away anytime soon. Just think about something like Amazon. This company survives and thrives off of people ordering physical products online.
However, digital products are also a booming market that keeps growing and growing. Some of the top digital products include:
- Online courses
These are just some of the digital products netting new businesses tons of cash.
While both types of products are integral to ecommerce, the selling and delivering of each digital products is very different from delivering a physical product to someone’s doorstep.
If you want to sell digital products, Shopify is a great option, but some ecommerce may not have the support for digital products.
So it’s important to understand whether you plan to sell digital products, physical products, or both before you make a decision on your ecommerce platform.
What do you need to do to get your ecommerce platform up and running?
There are a few different ways to deploy your platform depending on where you are starting from and where you want to go.
If you already have a website, the best option is integrating an online store rather than creating a brand new website on a new platform. This way, you build on what you’ve already done. OpenCart is ideal for this use-case.
For people with WordPress sites, you can add ecommerce functionality via a plugin like WooCommerce. This is super simple to set up and easy to manage.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want a website builder and other tools to help you design your platform.
In this case, going with solutions like Wix and Squarespace makes a lot of sense. They bundle everything you need to get started at a really affordable price.
Order management, product creation, tracking orders, and dashboard navigation are important factors of day-to-day ecommerce management.
Choose a platform that’s easy to use and manage on a daily basis. It shouldn’t feel like a struggle to create new products, check the status of an order, or update the pages of your website.
It’s all about finding the right balance of flexibility, customization, and ease of use. The more a platform can do, the harder it is to manage.
You can simplify your workload by choosing a platform that offers just enough flexibility without going overboard for your specific needs.
Some ecommerce website builders (like Wix) are truly drag and drop, meaning the customization options are endless. If you can imagine it, you can build it. But, that freedom also makes the platform more difficult to use.
Other platforms integrate into your current site, taking the look and feel of your existing website with very few customization options. For some users, this is perfect.
But others may want more control.
If you’re just starting out, simple designs and ease of use are more important than design flexibility.
However, if you already own a physical store or an established brand, design is more important so you can create a cohesive aesthetic from one touch point to the next.
Advanced Ecommerce Features
Do you want to be able to offer discounts or accept payments through different payment processors? Maybe you want to send visitors a reminder email when they exit your website with something in their cart.
Perhaps you’re interested in creating customer profiles and analyzing advanced analytics.
Other advanced ecommerce features include:
- Email marketing integrations
- Memberships and recurring payments
- Gift cards and discount codes
- Partial payments or payment plans
- Shipping and fulfillment management
- Product variations
- Product categories
Think carefully about what you need and what would be nice to have. Then, you can use your list of requirements to narrow down your list of choices.
Finding an ecommerce platform does what you need is a breath of fresh air. After using dozens of different options over the years, I’m confident with my selection of the top options available.
My #1 recommendation for getting started is Bluehost. If you have a WordPress site and want an easier way to set up your WooCommerce store on it, you can’t go wrong with Bluehost’s WooCommerce Online Stores.
Shopify is easy to use for first-timers, yet Shopify can grow as big or as fast as you need it to.
For large stores, I highly recommend BigCommerce.
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