We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Lori Ballen is a member of the Amazon Associates Program
There is no shortage of eCommerce platforms for newcomers ready to pull the trigger on a brand new store. However, if you’re looking for the best eCommerce platform for startups, things can get pretty overwhelming.
It’s easy to get mesmerized by the promises of cool SEO-friendly applications and dozens of tools that bring cool new features to your store. While these things are helpful and can give your store the edge, it’s not the fancy bells and whistles that make or break a successful eCommerce store.
Instead, to prepare for a successful store, other metrics and features must be considered and made available to give you the best odds of creating a business that makes money. Integration, obtaining and reading measurable data, efficient logistics, site load times, and mobile optimization are some of the most vital driving forces in crafting a successful venture. The best eCommerce platform for startups focuses on these variables first.
It doesn’t matter how many people your site snags through SEO or how over-the-top your marketing tools are. If you can’t efficiently handle your inventory and logistics through integration or customers bounce from your site because of slow load times or lack of mobile-friendliness – well, marketing and SEO mean very little.
90% of eCommerce platforms fail – most of those failures are attributed to the lack of an efficient plan and choosing a platform based on all the wrong reasons. In this article, we’ll show you the top 11 eCommerce platforms based on several categories and help you choose the right one for you.
- We like WooCommerce as the best eCommerce platform for startups
How We Selected the Best eCommerce Platform for Startups
We used a meticulous review process to craft our list of the best eCommerce platforms for startups. Because so many variables were involved, we used a two-part review process involving finding and ranking measurable data and a hands-on approach that allowed us to gauge things like functionality and usability directly.
We used an eCommerce platform tool that measures specific data regarding multiple platforms and websites. We chose 15 platforms and used the tool to select 50 websites from each platform that were the most active in revenue generated.
With this data, we measured mobile friendliness, site load and page speed times, mobile user dashboards, and search engine rankings using a keyword tool. After choosing what we felt were the best 11 platforms based on this data, we tested each one, creating what would be considered a mid-sized eCommerce store that would generally require a substantial amount of integration and other features to open a successful store.
We rated each experience during the creation of each store on separate platforms and ranked them based on how straightforward the building and development process was and how well-prepared the finished product would be for a grand opening. Our goal was to determine how well any given platform was at giving us the tools and functionality we needed to create a store that had the best odds of becoming profitable and successful.
In measuring these rankings, we looked at things like the visual quality of the site, ease of use for consumers, integration, functionality, customer service options, SEO features, and additional tools and apps that helped promote a winning store. We found it challenging to rank eCommerce platforms in a straightforward, numbered manner from best to worst.
Instead, we found that certain platforms were more efficient at a specific group of tasks while another specialized in a different category. A good eCommerce platform for newcomers might not be the best for a veteran. A five to six-figure eCommerce store probably needs a different platform than a four-figure, side hustle business.
So we took our findings and crafted this list of 11 of the best eCommerce platforms ranked from best to worst for startups, with additional information on which demographic might benefit more if not geared towards newcomers.
The Best eCommerce Platform for Startups: Ranking the Top 11
It’s also our pick for the best eCommerce platform for new online businesses.
One of the most convenient features of WooCommerce for those with eCommerce stores is that if you already have a pre-existing WordPress site, one click integrates this eCommerce platform, giving you a fully functional online store in a matter of seconds.
What’s made this eCommerce platform so popular is its incredibly easy use and the expansive gallery of third-party applications available for online store owners to choose from.
If you’re into drag-and-drop, you’ll have the option of using ShopEngine, the Elementor plugin that makes building your store incredibly straightforward.
You can also integrate your online business with your social media platforms, using multiple sales strategies and handling an unlimited number of inventory and sales, making scaling easy without switching to other eCommerce platforms later.
If you’re looking to open your first eCommerce store and want the most comprehensive platform for startups, WooCommerce is probably the most well-rounded tool on the market.
Choosing WooCommerce as your preferred eCommerce platform, you won’t pay a dime for the membership and plug-in unless you purchase upgraded features. However, you’ll have other costs in opening your online store using this service. Your hosting for WordPress, additional features, and plug-ins require additional purchase. An alternative SaaS version of WooCommerce requires payment, but this is only for an online store that uses a subscription-based model.
- Straightforward WordPress installation
- Drag-and-drop options for constructing your store
- Easy-to-use product listings
- Great for smaller businesses or large organizations
- Built-in payment processing
- Free resources for constructing your site
- Easy-to-use interface
- Simple integration with third-party programs
- Great for SEO
- The SaaS version requires a monthly payment
- Advanced options require purchasing third-party applications.
Build exactly the eCommerce website you want
WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress. Get started now.
Shopify is considered by many to be the most popular eCommerce platform. This versatile service is great for normal business owners who want to transition to eCommerce stores. This structured eCommerce platform makes it easy to plug a physical storefront into the Shopify structure and bring it to life as an online store.
The interface is easy to get the hang of and allows companies from almost any industry to build the type of website that works best for their particular niche.
You’ll have the option to choose from a template that specifically caters to your business model – then you’re handed the keys to one of the most customizable eCommerce platforms on the market.
The available templates give you the frame for crafting your store; it’s up to you to adjust the fine details, which are made easy through the drag-and-drop website builder. You’ll also have access to a sea of applications that add unique features to your eCommerce business.
Things like pop-up discount codes, an exit pop with “spin the wheel” promo code options, real-time purchase updates for credibility, and other fancy bells and whistles help put some incredibly fun finishing touches on your online store that net you additional sales.
But the real magic of this eCommerce platform comes in its functionality and ability to create any type of business model you want.
Users of this eCommerce website builder can sell digital or physical products, subscription-based services, membership options, and even dropshipping distributors directly into your interface for automatic product selection and shipping. Integration with multiple payment processing options makes it easy for your customers to settle up with your eCommerce business.
Shopify is another eCommerce platform that makes it easy to scale – any online store, from side hustles to million-dollar producers, will find the features they need for steady growth. And this eCommerce platform certainly facilitates that growth, as Shopify constantly adopts new features and remains one of the most forward-moving options in the industry.
There’s a versatile selection of different subscriptions based on the size of your eCommerce store. The ground package is known as the “Lite Plan” and sells for $9/month. This only adds eCommerce store functionality to your already existing website.
If you’d like to build an entire website and store using Shopify, you’ll need the Basic Plan, which is $29/month. For $79/month, Shopify Central has advanced features like overseeing multiple physical inventory locations and individual reporting.
The most extensive option is the Advanced Plan for $299/month. If you’re a corporate enterprise, you’ll also have options – but you’ll need to contact Shopify directly for pricing options.
- Ready for dropshipping
- Over 6,000 applications to boost your eCommerce store
- Ready-made wholesale products
- You can hire experts to build and market your store
- Lots of unique applications to make your eCommerce website more exciting
- Unlimited product tracking
- You can scale to the moon
- Plenty of help and live guidance
- Free and paid templates and themes
- Tons of payment processing options
- It easily gets expensive the more applications you acquire
- If you don’t use Shopify payments, your transaction fees add up
Sell online with Shopify.
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3. Wix eCommerce
Don’t let the ease of use fool you, as you’ll still have access to a huge range of smart tools, including an algorithm that helps you build the most efficient website based on your needs.
eCommerce sites looking to bring onboard the most functional smart apps and technology will find Wix a great way to stand out among other eCommerce solutions.
You’ll spend hours browsing the templates, catering to a different niche or industry, the app store with various plugins, and selecting a theme that optimizes your site for mobile.
There’s no shortage of payment gateways, and this eCommerce platform is known for allowing users to craft beautiful product portfolios and galleries. Some users complained about the checkout process for customers on different payment gateways and being limited to only certain types of products they could sell.
Wix is a true eCommerce platform for startups, as many organizations going through growth may begin having difficulty squeezing the most use out of the platform’s capabilities.
Wix has a business and eCommerce plan that unlocks more features for eCommerce sites. If you upgrade, you’ll have different payment gateways to choose from, along with options for setting up different checkout templates. The cheapest plan is $13/month and provides 20GB of cloud storage. However, you’ll enjoy unlimited bandwidth.
Business Unlimited for $17/month gives your online business the edge by generating auto sales tax. Finally, the Business VIP plan on this eCommerce platform allows 500 purchases with additional shipping solutions for your online business, which is only $22/month.
- Built-in payment processing
- Automatic cart and checkout pages
- Auto currently switcher for international sales
- Lots of free themes and ready-to-use media
- Easily integrated with Google Analytics
- Constantly upgraded features
- Payment Security
- Manage eCommerce websites and online sales with mobile feature
- AI enhancements make it one of the most popular eCommerce platforms for new users
- Limitations for larger eCommerce businesses
- Not easy to export data to other platforms
Build a Website with Wix
Create an Impressive Website with Wix & Boost Traffic With Powerful SEO & Marketing Tools
BigCommerce uses a fitting name, considering eCommerce businesses can scale incredibly fast with this eCommerce software. This is one of the best eCommerce platforms for a small business on the verge of extensive growth.
You’ll find a large gallery of versatile tools and features, and all the resources you need for crafting your store are built into the platform. You won’t have to worry about tons of free themes or paid plugins.
With BigCommerce, you get the best of both worlds – the freedom to customize with a simple interface. The platform allows you to sell various services, physical and digital products and even leverage multiple channels like eBay, Amazon, and social media.
Users also benefit from taking multiple forms of payment through several payment gateways, all with no transaction costs. Even the best eCommerce platforms rarely waive transaction fees.
Choosing an upgraded subscription allows you to access more advanced features like storing card info for repeat customers and saving abandoned shopping carts for the time you select. These features go a long way in boosting your conversion rates, which goes with your ability to market and increase sales by using additional BigCommerce features.
Most eCommerce platforms offer free trials, and BigCommerce is no exception. The lowest-tiered subscription plan is $29.95, making it one of the more expensive eCommerce solutions, but this allows for $50,000 in yearly revenue.
You’ll need an upgraded plan for $79/per month to sell additional items. The highest tier is $299 monthly but allows you to accept $400k in yearly sales totals.
- No transaction fees
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Staff features for people you hire
- SEO tools and other options are already built-in
- One of the best eCommerce platforms for support
- Multiple payment options
- Limited themes
- It might take a while for new online stores to learn the functionality
If you’re looking to open a digital store and use your creative juices, Squarespace is one of the best avenues for newcomers. This eCommerce solution has long been a driving force behind some of the most visually-stunning online websites.
You’re guaranteed to make a cosmetic impact through top-tier templates and visual customizations, making Squarespace optimal for vendors that want to be noticed. In addition, the features are built-in to the platform, giving users options for advanced editing and full-width graphics.
There is a bit of a learning curve with Squarespace, but compared to other advanced graphics tools, it’s not nearly as difficult. It won’t take long until you get the hang of using the dashboard and interface.
However, if you do progress in creating websites, Squarespace gives you full control over CSS, allowing you to make incredibly specific changes to the layout of your store. In addition, your customers will have a full range of options for paying for your wares, although not as many as other sites like Shopify.
This is a great option for new digital store owners with a decent website creation and graphics background. There aren’t a lot of features that allow you to integrate with other programs, and it could be difficult to scale.
However, this provider is right up your alley if you’ve dug out a niche that requires advanced customization and high-caliber graphics (think portfolios, artists, and eclectic apparel).
New users can take advantage of a 14-day trial before committing. If you pull the trigger, the basic plan is $10, which only allows you to build a site. If you want to sell, you’ll need to upgrade to a Business plan ranging from $15 to $20 per month. Choosing a top-tier package also decreases the transaction fees you pay.
- Versatile design options
- Available webinars for new learners
- Great support team
- Easy product and catalog listing
- Highly-responsive interface
- Full reign of CSS control
- Free domain name
- Social media integration
- Zero app market options
- The lowest tier has high transaction costs
Create Your Website
Quickly create a website that looks great and functions perfectly with Squarespace. No coding is needed – templates are easy to use and customizable. Get all the features you need to run your business online, like eCommerce, marketing tools, and more. Try it for free today!
If you’ve never heard of this eCommerce provider, don’t feel bad – lots of people haven’t, either. However, the uninitiated may be missing out on a great option. Branchbob could be the best provider for the budding digital business owner.
Why the relative obscurity around this company? They began in Germany, so the exposure to the American eCommerce proprietor has been limited. However, they now offer their services in over 100 countries.
Best of all, Branchbob is 100% free with no charges or pricing tiers. This completely eliminates any initial budget issues regarding investment in a paid platform. The interface is amazingly basic, allowing you to throw up an online shop in a few minutes.
Select your preferred theme, publish your logo and any posts or content, and click the mouse. It’s that easy.
New users will find all the basic functions they need to begin their journey as online merchants. You’ll also have the option of adding additional varieties of products and customizing your inventory, marketing, and order management.
A few paid and free applications are available via the limited plug-in shop if you want to expand your horizons. However, it’s unimpressive – but this adds to the simplicity that makes this option so efficient.
Branchbob won’t cost you a dime. There’s no monthly subscription, and you won’t even pay any transaction fees. This allows you to take a stab at selling online before you upgrade to a paid platform. You’re only expected to pay anything if you choose an upgraded function through the app store.
- Free of charge
- Intuitive interface
- Plenty of payment methods for users
- User-friendly mobile app
- In-depth mobile app to manage on the run
- Smart interface
- One of the only truly free options
- Customers have many ways to pay
- Unique coupon functions
- Limited customization
- Only ten themes for building
- No digital products
- No drop shipping options
Not to be confused with Squarespace, Square is the platform available through the popular payment processor of the same name. Building a store through Square gives you an excellent variety of SEO options and access to multiple channels for providing your goods or services.
Plenty of features make Square an excellent option, including the ability to sync inventory between online and offline functionality, making it much easier to track your inventory. The platform also allows you to leverage the power of any data you might have previously tracked through the payment platform. It’s not uncommon for many physical store owners to transition into a digital option after using Square as a payment option.
Square gives you everything to transition from physical to digital, even allowing you to create a custom storefront, maintain a blog, and some of the best customer support in the industry. Selling across multiple channels is available through social media integration.
Square provides one of the most cost-effective ways to create your digital storefront. It’s free to begin construction, but you’ll have to cover transaction fees. The only payment option you’ll have is through Square so that you can kiss Stripe and other options goodbye.
Choosing a paid plan delivers advanced reports, data tracking, and more complex sales tools. You can lower your transaction fees by choosing the $72 per month plan, but we don’t recommend this until you’ve scaled to considerable heights.
- One of the cheapest ways to go live
- Easy interface
- Great for physical and digital business integration
- Discounted shipping
- Great pricing
- Easy to manage the interface
- Money-saving shipping discounts
- SEO and advertising tools available for marketing
- Certain themes are limited
- Content management could be better
SellFy is another option geared towards helping owners go live as fast as possible. The easy-to-use and large number of tools are what make SellFy stand out. If your business sells a complex or versatile range of products, SellFy could be the platform you want to start your career with.
You’ll have support if you run a dropshipping business, and there’s also support for print-on-demand businesses to expand your horizons. SellFy has features that aren’t available on any other platform, including a POD market, many ways to customize, and an unlimited number of transactions. With most options already built-in, you won’t have to hassle with plug-ins or applications.
A plethora of marketing tools await store owners, and the option for integrating your email marketing platform gives you a chance to run newsletter campaigns and email swipes. Real-time reporting helps keep your finger on the pulse of your business, and SEO comes fairly easy.
There’s a free option available with SellFy, which severely limits your access to advanced features. You can only place 10 items in your store, but automated tax and other calculations make things easier.
The paid version of SellFy is available for $19 each month, allowing you to sell digital products. It also comes with a free domain name and SSL. There’s also a Business package that upgrades your limitations on your revenue, as well as a Premium service for $99 monthly.
- Printing available
- Unlimited products with a paid plan
- Wide range of payment options
- Excellent reporting and analyzation
- Print-on-demand ready
- Automatically calculates taxes
- Unlimited products
- Print detailed reports
- Optimized mobile dashboard
- Must pay to remove branding
- The free plan is very basic
Ecwid provides users with an exceptional experience that delivers an easy-to-use dashboard with various great tools to help put your site over the top. This is an open-source option, so users can easily integrate it into their current website.
This is handy to avoid building a new site from the ground up but switching providers. After downloading Ecwid, everything you need is automatically unlocked and at your disposal. Because it’s open source and is integrated into your current builder, everything available on the interface will look familiar, making it extremely easy to navigate.
The convenience of the shopping options for your customers is a nice addition, and you can adjust it further to accommodate your visitors. Multiple payment methods with affordable transaction fees make this an extremely affordable option.
Ecwid has a free version, but you’ll find your options extremely limited. You’ll eventually want to upgrade to the $15 monthly premium package. Upgrading further means unlocking additional features, even allowing users to build multiple stores for a franchise-like setup.
- Plenty of bandwidth and storage
- Multiple payment methods
- Different selling channels
- One of the best support systems
- Perfect for those with a website already built
- Support for new users
- Multiple channels for different types of stores
- Lots of space and bandwidth
- You can’t build a full site using Ecwid alone
- Larger companies won’t find it as useful
10. Magento (Now Adobe Commerce Pro)
Before Shopify and other eCommerce options, most users flocked to Magento. At one point, this was the number one eCommerce provider on the market.
They’ve downsized considerably and since been purchased by Adobe (now known as Adobe Commerce Pro), but they could still be a viable option for new owners. The acquisition by Adobe did some great things for this platform, adding many new features like a premium subscription and the use of top-tier graphics options.
The platform also switched to a SaaS service, meaning there’s no free version. However, an open-source option is available that won’t cost any money, but you’ll have fewer features and need some know-how. Alternatively, you can ask Adobe for a free demo before pulling the trigger on purchasing the full version.
If you had to compare Magento to a more well-known platform, you could put it side-by-side with WooCommerce, and the features are similar. It gives users the option of creating a site using drag-and-drop with no use for coding or any technical knowledge. That said, it could still prove to be difficult for novice users.
If you’re working with a decent-sized budget and have some technical experience, this could be a good option for the advanced startup.
There’s a free, open-source version, but you’ll need plenty of coding knowledge to even fire it up. The website lists no prices for the Adobe Commerce platform, but after speaking with support to request a demo, we discovered the lowest tier was $22,000 for one year.
- Great support for a new website
- Easily manage orders and products
- Resources provided for the learning curve
- Friendly dashboard
- Provides insight and advice for improving
- Advanced templates and interface
- Huge library of learning material
- Great customer care
- Not many options to integrate third-party apps
- Extremely expensive
11. Big Cartel
Our final offering on the list is probably the best option for any international owner, in addition to any merchant looking to design and sell any type of art product. Big Cartel is the go-to for any owner looking to forge an art-centered business on the web.
Any creative, design-centered, or craft-based niche must check out Big Cartel. The platform does use a SaaS model, but there’s a free version for new users. You can only upload five products, but it gives you a taste of what the platform brings to the table.
The premium option gives you additional insight into managing your store, including integration with Google Analytics to provide you with summarized advice. This version also allows more efficient product management and order tracking.
If you want an art or crafts-based store without the need for technical or coding knowledge, give Big Cartel a shot.
Five products won’t cost you a dime. However, upgrading to 50 is only $9.99, and 500 only runs $19.99, making it a very affordable option.
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Created by artists, so it’s very user-friendly
- No need for third-party tools
- The dashboard is easy to navigate and provides useful information
- Quality user interface
- Easy shipment tracking
- Automatic sales tax
- Bulk editing allows you to save plenty of time
- No payment option included
What’s the Best eCommerce Platform for You?
So, what’s the best eCommerce platform for you? Only you can answer that question. Depending on the needs and logistics of your eCommerce website, one of the options on the list should suit you.
The most important dynamics you must consider when selecting an eCommerce platform are what size eCommerce site you want, how much revenue you expect from your online business, how intricate the design must be, and any additional special features you might need.
After spending some time answering the questions above, finding the most appropriate eCommerce solution for you is much simpler!
eCommerce Platforms FAQs
Is Shopify good for startups?
Yes, Shopify is one of the top eCommerce platforms for startups. This tool has plenty of features and a high level of usability for completely fresh website builders but is still sufficient for veterans. You’ll also find many different subscription levels to cater to users of all levels and facilitate growth and scaling.
In addition, different themes are available to accommodate different industries, allowing new users to optimize their site for their exact business type.
Which eCommerce platform is the most used?
Depending on when you look, the answer to this question is either WooCommerce or Shopify. These two juggernauts have spent the last couple of years duking it out for who has the largest percentage of the market share. Based on the most recent statistics, WooCommerce was in the lead with a 27% share of market ownership.
What is the best eCommerce platform for 2022?
The answer to this question is far more complicated than you might imagine. Instead of thinking of the question in broad terms, it’s much easier if you niche down to find the most efficient options based on your site’s needs or level of experience. For example, Big Cartel is one of the best eCommerce platforms for artists, but beyond that, other industries might find difficulty finding value in the platform. Square Online is perfect for a physical store looking to open a quick and simple online site with merchant functionality to give their current customers an online shopping option and expand their horizons. However, a true digital store focused strictly on the online space that needs solutions for marketing, SEO, shipping, product inventory, integration, and all the other bells and whistles wouldn’t find Square Online so appealing. This type of owner is far better suited for an option like Shopify or WooCommerce.
Who is Shopify’s biggest competitor?
Shopify has several competitors, but the most established are WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, and Square Online. However, as other platforms continue to adapt and climb through the ranks, the eCommerce provider space is becoming the most competitive market. However, this is positive, as it only leads to companies developing better technology and more competitive prices.