So, if you’ve decided to create your own online store – this post will be highly useful for you. We’ve tried to answer on popular question – what is the best ecommerce website builder? For this we’ve analyzed and tested over 30 ecommerce platforms including such popular ecommerce platforms as: Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Wix eCommerce, WooCommerce etc. According to the results of this work we’ve created this review of best online store builders. For each ecommerce platform we’ve made short conclusion, specified pros and cons and prices for plans.
Creating an online store from scratch is both exciting and frustrating. While you’re dreaming of a successful eCommerce business, the total amount of expenses on development, design, support, and optimization rises up in times. But is there actually a chance to run an online store or test a new business idea with a low starting budget? A large number of new projects no longer use services of freelancers or web studios. Instead, they chose the more convenient and cheaper option – a website builder.
eCommerce web builders will help you create your dream sales platform for a super affordable price (sometimes, even for free). Managing such an online store requires no technical or web development skills but rather several hours of learning the editor’s interface and functions. Such a cloud-based solution will save you time for more important tasks like searching for the online store supplier, deciding upon the range of products and others. These are the major reasons why website constructors are so popular today. The other question is – what is the best eCommerce site builder? How can you find the best eCommerce website builder out of so many offered options? Hoping, this review of 10 highly-ranked site building services of different price categories will help you make a deliberate and smart choice.
Our list of top ten eCommerce website builders starts with Shopify. This is recognized internationally as a very solid product. Сreated specifically for the eCommerce projects, the builder managed to serve more than half a million online stores all over the world with the products worth $40 billion in total. Unlike many website builders, Shopify has no free plans, only a 14-day trial period.
Shopify looks more like an eCommerce CMS rather than a site editor in its structure and capabilities. The control panel is very similar to those of Prestashop, Opencart, and WordPress. Although the service is comprehensive in its features, learning how to use Shopify is way easier than you imagine. Shopify App Store has a bunch of useful apps divided into several categories (sales, social networks, service, statistics, marketing, etc.).
Shopify can boast of beautiful web templates (10 free and 45 paid ones) and powerful setting features. You can install several templates at once and then switch from one to another if needed. Besides, you can download your own themes to the service. Customization options vary but the template parameters are very detailed. You can configure absolutely everything to your taste, including a header, a sidebar, font as well as the cart, and storefront design. There is an absolute access to the code that you can download to your PC and edit one whenever you need.
- Supports many modern technologies like AR (augmented reality), Google Pay, sales through social networks, etc.;
- Access to a high-quality corporate mobile app – Shopify Ping;
- Great modern templates with a convenient design customization;
- Service takes care of your website hosting;
- Powerful analytical and marketing tools;
- Shopify App Store with a bunch of useful products;
- The ability to add third-party payment systems;
- Shopify Academy – free courses for entrepreneurs.
- No free plan, only a 14-day trial period;
- Relatively expensive fares;
- The cost of the plans does not include paid templates;
- Commission on sales, from 0.5% to 2%, depending on the chosen plan.
The price of using Shopify isn’t the cheapest:
Basic Shopify ( $29 / mo) – an unlimited number of products and 2 content manager accounts. 2% of the amount of all sales transactions will be withheld by the system as a commission.
Basic Shopify ( $79 / mo) – an unlimited number of products and 2 content manager accounts. 2% of the amount of all sales transactions will be withheld by the system as a commission.
Advanced Shopify ( $299 / mo) – 15 content manager accounts, advanced statistical data collection and the ability to connect the delivery companies. The most expensive option has a reduced commission (0.5%).
Wix for Ecommerce
Wix is a DIY eCommerce website builder and the leader in the industry for a good reason. Wix has one of the best site editors with a great set of ready-made solutions supplemented with the domain registration and hosting services.
Wix is a comprehensive and stylish solution for editing websites in an intuitive manner. However, when it comes to eCommerce websites, Wix configuration opportunities are somewhat limited. If you choose to create an online store using this platform, you can only divide products into categories, write their title and description, attach photos, insert the “Add to cart” button, and use features like online payment, discounts, order statistics, and some more general settings. Not a lot of options, agree?
Nonetheless, if you care more about the stylish look of your online storefront rather than its functionality, Wix should be your number one choice. This eCommerce site builder currently offers 38 aesthetic and modern templates for any small- or middle-size online store. Besides, the user gets an access to the Wix App Market with a bunch of marketing apps and other widgets or plugins to help create beautiful previews, convenient carts, and in general, improve the overall store’s design.
- Hundreds of stunning templates with adaptive designs, including 38 themes for online stores divided into most popular categories;
- Extensive Wix Apps Market that comes with all online store templates, and includes a plenty of sales and marketing features to help your eCommerce business grow in sales;
- Convenient and easy-to-understand Search Engine Optimization tools;
- Zero transaction fees;
- Wix Help Center with a wide collection of tutorials and videos;
- Friendly Customer Support;
- If you choose a free plan, it won’t let you sell online, but it lets you customize your online store before upgrading the plan and start your sales.
- No scalability. If you want your project to grow in size, Wix will not be the best platform for your site because it can’t handle large projects like Shopify or BigCommerce;
- Difficult to switch to another templates, and includes a plenty of sales and marketing features to help your eCommerce business grow in sales;
- No export of goods, after-sales tools, personal user accounts or other important items for an online store;
- Low website bandwidth.
For an online store, Wix offers to choose either an eCommerce or a VIP plan:
eCommerce Plan ( $17 / mo) – comes with a free domain for a year, several interesting advertising vouchers for marketing your website, two premium add-ons, and 20GB of storage.
VIP Plan ( $25 / mo) – comes with an unlimited bandwidth, VIP support, priority response, and a professional site review. Not much different from the e-commerce plan in features.
BigCommerce is a powerful e-commerce website builder that caters to large scale enterprises. It is a robust SaaS service that gives you free web hosting, domain registration and a host of other functions for enhancing your web performance. The platform is suitable for both beginners and professional developers. For while, the interface is intuitive and doesn’t require coding skills, you can customize the meta tags and HTML codes if you have the technical expertise. There is a total of 7 templates and layouts to choose from, each customizable and compatible with mobile devices. In fact, BigCommerce automatically creates a mobile-friendly version of the store as you publish it online to garner more views.
The e-commerce options allow you to create product catalogs, manage shopping carts, take care of the shipment and integrate multiple payment gateways like PayPal for secure transactions. You can also avail the benefits of several e-mail marketing services like MailChimp and Constant Contact for effective after-sales promotions.
- Easy to set up free and paid templates;
- Integration with major payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and others;
- A wide variety of marketing tools working for multiple platforms, such as Amazon Marketplace, Facebook, eBay, Pinterest, email provider integration, and more;
- Inventory and delivery & return management;
- Multicurrency support;
- Drop Shipping and Warehouse integration;
- Opportunity to sell products on third-party platforms;
- POS Integration;
- No transaction fees;
- Single page check;
- Comprehensive Customer Support;
- Affordable credit card processing fee.
- A small selection of templates;
- Fewer third-party integration apps;
- No mobile app.
Currently, BigCommerce offers 4 plans:
Standard Plan ( $29.95 / mo) – unlimited products, unlimited storage and bandwidth, multiple sales channels, accepting credit cards and PayPal, no transaction fees, 24/7 support. Works best for eCommerce businesses with an annual revenue of up to $50,000.
Plus Plan ( $79.95 / mo) – intended for companies with an annual revenue of up to $150,000. Real-time delivery, maintained cart requests, extended customer segmentation, etc.
Pro Plan ( $245.95 / mo) – suitable for businesses earning up to $400,000 a year. Includes all the features from the Plus plan, except for an additional access to Google Reviews and the in-store search filter function.
Finally, the large enterprises and brands should choose a Corporate Plan , requiring a personal call for negotiating the price terms. This plan comes with a dedicated SSL certificate and IP address, as well as a priority support.
SITE123 is one of the easiest eCommerce store builders stating to create a website “on the count of 1,2,3…”. One account lets you keep an unlimited number of sites – just choose a plan, pay for the annual use, and start creating websites. For webmasters and other experienced users, this builder will seem pretty simple and straightforward. It’s rather a convenient editor with a nice interface and good functionality suitable for building technically simple, adaptive, and good-looking websites with a small number of pages, including online stores.
You can sign up for SITE123 and start creating a site through your Google+ or Facebook account. The service is intended for beginners, so it might lack some convenient settings like auto add of goods, delivery parameters, payment options, discounts, and more. Among the available options are a shopping cart, and the ability to accept online payments via PayPal.
SITE123 offers nice-looking templates of a good quality, although they do seem pretty similar to each other. You can change the structure and design of the main page, enable parallax effect and transparency, upload your own images or change the color scheme and fonts.
The service allows you to connect various plugins that can be purchased in the local App Market. The apps are divided into three categories: analytical and marketing tools, live chats, and webmaster tools. The choice is very decent – about a hundred available apps, including Google Analytics / AdWords, Facebook Pixel, LiveChat, and Privy. Most of the plugins are meant for collecting statistics and promotion.
- Easy-to-use, even for a total newbie;
- A large set of modules with individual settings;
- Flexible and simple customization options for designing and structuring the site;
- Wide selection of third-party services in the App Market;
- Good set of SEO promotion tools;
- Responsive templates;
- Large database of images, videos, and fonts;
- The ability to track the site conversion;
- Multicurrency feature;
- Fast download time and almost constant uptime.
- A smaller number of templates compared to other eCommerce website builders;
- Weak support: no hotline and no immediate response to messages in the chat and via the “Contacts” form;
- Not functional enough for professional users;
- Too easy for online stores.
Creating an eCommerce website at Site123 is possible only with 2 out the 4 offered plans:
Advanced – 30 GB of disk space, 15 GB of traffic, 50 products, and 2 mailboxes. The cost is $22 /month for a monthly payment, $15.8 /month for a year, $ 13.8 /month for 2 years, or $11.8 /month for 3 years.
Professional – 90 GB of disk space, 45 GB of traffic, 500 products, and 5 mailboxes. The cost is $30 /month for a monthly payment, $21.8 /month for a year, $17.8 /month for 2 years, or $14.8 /month for 3 years.
Volusion is another DIY eCommerce website builder oriented completely for the online stores. One of its greatest advantages is the availability of eCommerce professional tools. If necessary, there is a Volusion paid service providing a professional web designer to help you make a unique customized store.
The builder’s intuitive interface allows you to understand the platform from scratch without the involvement of webmasters or any special knowledge. The service is focused on individual entrepreneurs as well as small and medium businesses involved in sales or providing services. For those who need it, Volusion provides an access to the original HTML code.
The functionality of the service includes CRM system, SEO tools, site search as well as integration with Google Analytics, social networks, and other marketplaces. The key eCommerce functions include warehouse management, delivery and logistics, inventory capabilities, import and export of goods, and the ability to view customer data and order history.
The template gallery keeps more than 300 themes suitable for various businesses and niches: beauty and health, sports, travel, food, clothing, car parts or interior. Using a drag and drop page editor, you can easily fill in fields with the information and move the blocks. When creating a new layout, you can not only place the products and descriptions but also add video, audio, slider, reviews, ratings, and reviews.
- A wide variety of functionalities;
- Individual services from web professionals;
- Easy to use interface.
- Volusion store uses a mobile version, which reduces its design responsiveness ;
- Not a great variety of add-ons in the store compared to Shopify or BigCommerce;
- No possibility to create a blog.
Currently, there are 4 available Volusion plans:
Personal Plan ( $29 / mo) – entitled for businesses with an annual revenue up to $50k. Includes 1 staff account, 100 products, unlimited bandwidth, and online support.
Professional Plan ( $79 / mo) – entitled for businesses with an annual revenue up to $100k. Includes 5 staff accounts, 5,000 products, unlimited bandwidth, and online + phone support.
Business Plan ( $299 / mo) – entitled for businesses with an annual revenue up to $500k. Includes 15 staff accounts, an unlimited number of products, unlimited bandwidth, and priority support.
And finally, Prime Plan at no fixed price (customized individually). Includes all features from the previous plans + unlimited staff accounts, products, bandwidth, and VIP support.
3dcart is less known among other eCommerce website building solutions. Nonetheless, one is rather a multifunctional platform for a quick and effortless launch of a small or middle online store. Since 2014, more than 17,500 global merchants have chosen 3dCart to start a successful eCommerce business.
3dCart opportunities are quite numerous: mobile sales and some of the best tools for sale through Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The builder allows customizing your own blog, newsletters, CRM, and business email. One has a very convenient backend panel and a responsive version of the toolbar for quick updates on the go through any electronic gadget.
- No transaction fee;
- Removed bandwidth limitations;
- SEO and Facebook marketing;
- Variety of checkout options;
- User-friendly interface for experienced users.
- Not so appealing dashboard;
- Disappointing free templates;
- Complaints on poor customer service;
- Learning all the features can take time.
3dCart contains 4 plans with such common features as domain registration, shopping cart, unlimited orders, 24×7 tech support, Facebook store, secure web hosting, 50+ mobile-ready themes, built-in blog, unlimited bandwidth, 100+ payment providers, and API access.
Startup Store Plan ( $9.50 / mo) – includes 1 staff user, no transaction fees, and 100 Products.
Basic Store Plan ( $14.50 / mo) – includes 2 staff users, no transaction fees, and unlimited products.
Plus Store Plan ( $39.50 / mo) – includes 5 staff users, no transaction fees, and unlimited products.
Pro Store Plan ( $144.50 / mo) – includes 15 staff users, no transaction fees, and unlimited products.
Web.com for Ecommerce
Web.com is not only a functional eCommerce platform with a professional support. The company also provides a web development service of any complexity, including marketing and search promotion, issuing SSL certificates, payment systems connection, etc.
With a help of Web.com, you’re able to connect the store to Google Local and set up monthly marketing reports. Also, you can configure a secure payment processing, accept credit and debit cards of all major issuers, set flexible prices and get paid on your own bank account.
SSL certification, various hosting options, and e-mail templates are available for any Web.com user. You can get analytical reports showing your online reputation, as well as search engine visibility reports, customize PPC advertising, and use SEO tools.
- 2500 easy to customize templates sorted into 30 categories;
- Low pricing;
- Convenient work with the customer database: creating mailings, blacklists, analysis of behavioral factors;
- Ability to use discount coupons.
- Imperfect filtering and search system of templates;
- Takes time to figure out how to use the website editor;
- Although the fee is low, starting from the second month, the price will go up to $20 for the cheapest plan;
- A mobile version of the website is a paid feature from the second month of use;
- Few educational videos.
For an eCommerce solution, Web.com offers a Website, Marketing and Store plan that costs $3.95 for the first month as a discounted price, and $39.95 as a full price for the next period. The plan includes a drag-and-drop eCommerce website builder, a free domain name for a year, stock photo and video gallery, hosting, and a 99% uptime guarantee.
Wazala for Ecommerce
Are you looking for the website builder with a convenient admin panel and drag-and-drop function? Then, welcome to Wazala . By using Wazala, you are able to create even the most complex online stores with customizable shopping carts, discount systems, payment gateways, an interactive gallery, etc.
Wazala offers useful tools to not only create an effective but also an interesting web design. You’ll have a choice of a variety of predefined templates with available plugins. Also, you don’t have to worry about your valuable private information – it’s kept in the storage and securely protected from hacking.
- Impressive mobile optimization;
- Promotional discounts and coupons;
- Mobile-optimized store in every plan;
- Payments through most widely accepted methods, including PayPal and Google Checkout;
- To use the 15-day trial, you’ll have to enter your credit card information;
- “Seamless” integrated translates to an overlay window over your already existing website;
- Lack of integration into apps like Quickbooks.
At the moment, 3 plans are available at Wazala:
Small ( $16 / mo) – includes a free setup, zero commissions, 50 products, and 1GB Digital Downloads;
Medium ($32 / mo) – includes all Small plan features + 5GB digital downloads, discount coupons, and Google Analytics;
Large ( $64 / mo) – includes all Medium plan features + unlimited products, 50GB Digital Downloads, custom language, affiliate tracking support, and order forwarding API.
Although Squarespace is rather focused on creating blogs and portfolios, the eCommerce option of this website builder is worth a mention. It helps creating beautiful and powerful multipage online stores with such features as the sitemap view, adding pages, and automatic linking between pages.
Squarespace has a large selection of templates for a free trial with convenient features of the color, font, and font size change. All the templates are super stylish and would be highly ranked even by a professional. You can start your website on one template and then, if necessary, switch to another, without any loses in the page or text design.
However, the builder lacks configuration opportunities. In general, the level of templates’ flexibility is low. For instance, you can’t just take an existing text block and move it a few pixels to the side. The unit will remain at the place it was originally placed, so you will only be able to replace the content.
Although Squarespace interface is aesthetically much prettier than of WIX, it is very complicated and non-intuitive. You might want to watch several video tutorials to learn how the platform actually works.
Finally, you can create a logo using logo.squarespace.com – an icon from a simple image and a company name, but be ready to pay $10 for it.
- High-quality stylish templates;
- Reliable with a 100% uptime;
- Unlimited number of items for sale;
- No transaction fees;
- Great support;
- Fully-adaptive design.
- No free plan, only a 14-day trial period;
- No localization;
- Not a wide choice of templates – about 40 of them;
- Inconvenient interface;
- Only 3 payment systems to choose from: Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal.
Squarespace offers 2 plan for online stores:
Basic Plan ( $26 / mo) – includes unlimited products, free user domain, mobile optimization, SSL security, powerful commerce metrics, Squarespace domain verification module, Xero, label printing, inventory, orders, taxes, customer accounts, and discounts, etc.
Advanced Plan ($40 / mo) – includes almost all features of the Basic and Business plans + abandoned cart recovery, real-time carrier shipping, flexible discounts, gift cards, and API orders.
And now, let’s get some answers to the questions you may wonder about:
How to Create an Online Store?
If you need an online store, the most real ways for a non-professional are:
Way # 1 – Use Services of Freelancers or Web Design Studio
No secret, all large and successful eCommerce projects work with individually-designed websites. Creating such online stores is more difficult, longer and more expensive and, by far, these are the only drawbacks.
With a help of an individually-developed website, you will be able to customize everything the way you want it to be and make it most suitable for your product, target customers and a business model. The configuration possibilities are endless. For instance, you can make a very special product’s search and personalize promotional offers (let’s say, there can be separate ads for men’s and women’s goods). Also, you’ll be able to fully work on improving the website CTR (click through rate).
Using professional services of either an individual freelancer or a web design studio might cost you thousands of dollars, although such a high price justifies oneself once the site starts to operate. Besides, a lot of studios include a full range of other services (full marketing analysis, the site administration) in the package. All you need to make sure is that your potential freelancer or web studio has an excellent reputation; otherwise, spending much money on the project from an unreliable person or agency wouldn’t make any sense.
The advantages of a professional web studio are obvious:
- much higher quality of the project;
- a completely new and unique project developed for your specific niche;
- a comprehensive analysis at all levels before creating the store;
- takes a minimum of your own time.
However, you should consider the following drawbacks:
- it’s a long and super expensive procedure;
- finding a good freelancer or web studio can be a challenge;
- there might be serious delays in deadlines (mostly, if you work with the first one);
- difficult for you to make changes later;
- long developmental process (1-2 months if not longer).
Way # 2 – Use a Website Builder
If you have no chance or desire to spend money on expensive design studios or freelancers and you have no idea how to work with HTML, scroll up this article and you’ll find some free eCommerce website builders or the ones for a minimal monthly fee. Such services provide modern but most importantly ready-made templates that you can easily edit in a drag-and-drop manner.
Why should you opt for website builders? They have a plenty of advantages:
- cheap or even free service;
- the ability to control the entire website yourself;
- the ability to easily make changes;
- creating an online store will take you several hours or even less.
Even though the drawbacks exist, they are not so significant:
- not as customizable as projects written from scratch and developed by a freelancer/professional studio;
- you’ll need to work on your project yourself.
Way # 3 – Purchase a Ready-Made eCommerce Template
In short, a template or theme is a ready-made design for your entire website. You can purchase templates online for a very affordable price and then use so-called CMS (content management systems) for its configuration and administration. The process comes down to three simple steps: 1) installing a CMS; 2) installing a finished theme; 3) final configuration and launch.
These are the most popular CMS for eCommerce:
Magento is a very powerful and functional CMS for online stores. One of its major advantages compared to other contestants is the ability to withstand heavy loads. The main disadvantages, however, are the relatively high price, demands on hosting resources and the small number of developers working with Magento. Unless you’re striving to have a large online project of the same scalability as Nike, Bulgari, or Pepe Jeans, opting for this “monster” will make no sense.
Opencart CMS has an intuitive interface and an excellent set of basic functions (product characteristics, discounts and promotions, order and sales reporting system). Offers many ready-made free modules that one can easily integrate into the online store to improve its design or functions.
PrestaShop is a free content management system with the ability to choose characteristics and categories for the product, and sort customers into groups, as well as with the internal systems for analytical data collection. Easy to manage, has a wide functionality and a large number of software modules.
Finally, WordPress. This CMS is not designed for developing online stores but if you only have a few products to sell (100-200), one can also be an option.
Why Is It Best to Build an eCommerce Website Using a Site Builder?
Creating a good online store is a painstaking and time-consuming process. Website builders were created specifically to simplify this procedure as much as possible. Their specific functionality will make it possible to quickly customize the design, implement a convenient navigation, arrange the storefront, etc.
And although you can set all of this by using other services like CMS or coding, choosing a website builder means choosing the simplest way. If you have no time and skills for launching a small online store, none of the above-mentioned methods would guarantee you the same convenience as website builders do.
Besides, if you choose to create an eCommerce store and “test” the business idea or a specific niche and you end up in a failure, splurging on more expensive options will be a total waste of money, time, and efforts. You can understand that it’s not the business you’d like to have; everything is more complicated than expected, no stable revenue, changing market, etc.
These are the major reasons why eCommerce constructors are the best choice for someone like you.
What Opportunities Do eCommerce Platforms Offer?
Website Builder is a ready-made, fully self-sufficient online service providing a full set of tools necessary to create and support the project later on. It opens a lot of opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs who have no idea about the code and must-have store elements. This means website builders not only provide a ready-made interface but also fully contribute to your future eCommerce business due to free consultations, webinars, and training materials. The mission of each platform sounds simple: everyone should be able to create and maintain an online store.
Specifically, this is what an average online store builder can give to the regular user:
- Create an online store of any complexity;
- Easy to use service thanks to the visual editor directly and absence of code in the process;
- Beautiful adaptive designs of ready-made and fully responsive templates developed by professional designers;
- SEO optimization settings to bring your online store to the top of search engine results.
- Affordable fees compared to the price for the service of a freelancer or pro designer. Some builders offer free versions;
- All inclusive package. Most often, a drag and drop eCommerce website builder is not just a tool for making a site, it’s a deployed infrastructure that provides everything from ready-made templates to the domain and hosting services.
The main advantage of such services is the ability to quickly test a new business idea without any significant financial and time losses. You will be able to get a ready-made store almost instantly for a small cost every, so if the idea turned out unsuccessful, the project can be simply deleted.
What Factors Should You Consider While Choosing eCommerce Website Builders?
When choosing a suitable eCommerce website building platform, users should pay attention to the following characteristics:
- the service monthly fee;
- the ability to connect the own domain;
- mailbox support;
- technical support service;
- quality and quantity of templates;
- a possibility to deeply edit site templates and add own modules;
- Supplemental services such as products comparison, pending products, customer base, payment methods, etc.;
- the ability to output the site from the service to your own hosting.
Thanks for your attention, dear reader! Hoping, this article helped you compare eCommerce website builders and decide on the best option for your future online store. We’ll keep on posting more eCommerce website builder reviews, so stay tuned!