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The 7 Best eCommerce Platforms for 2021 (Reviewed & Compared!)

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UPDATED
October 21, 2021

 

best ecommerce platforms

eCommerce platforms make it easy to get an online store up and running - quick! Each brand offers unique advantages, so check our criteria to choose the right platform for your business.

 

Our top eCommerce platform is Zyro – an excellent choice for anyone seeking both ease-of-use and value!

 

eCommerce platforms make it very easy to set up an online store and expand your sales channels. We’ve spent hours investigating each platform’s features and testing their promises. Each has been assessed with practical business-use in mind – so you can make an informed decision.

 

Top 7 Best eCommerce Platforms

 

  1. Zyro – Best overall eCommerce platform for beginners
  2. Wix – Great premium eCommerce platform
  3. Sellfy – Great digital product eCommerce platform
  4. Square – Most established eCommerce platform for PoS integration
  5. Shopify – Great multi-channel eCommerce platform
  6. Ecwid – Great plug-in eCommerce platform
  7. BigCommerce – Great eCommerce platform for larger businesses

 

Note

  1. All prices shown are based on a 12-month subscription rate.
  2. You may enjoy lower prices by opting for longer subscription period.

 

Retail eCommerce is set to grow to over $6 billion by 2024, so give this list a good going-over and pick one to get you jump-started!

 

Who are the Best eCommerce Platforms?

 

Thanks to increasingly borderless trade and newer technologies, businesses of any size can now hop onto that juicy eCommerce bandwagon with ease.

 

From looking at basics like usability and price, to checking out the latest features, we’ve compared the best eCommerce platforms in the business.

 

No. of Products

100

Overall Rating

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

Price (USD)

$12.90 /mo

Key Features

  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Commision free
  • Free SSL & domain
  • Stripe integration

“Zyro is easily one of the best platforms for beginners to quickly churn out a working eCommerce website.”

 

On our list of best eCommerce platforms, Zyro is likely the name least familiar. It’s the new kid on the block, the young upstart that has dared to challenge established behemoths in this space.

 

What we really like about Zyro

 

Having watched Zyro grow since infancy, I don’t doubt that this eCommerce platform is a strong contender. There are two particular advantages it offers.

 

First and foremost, Zyro is so user-friendly that it redefines the term “built for beginners.” If you have no idea what’s going on, Zyro offers all the simple tools you’ll need in almost every area. For example, their online store builder utility even has grid guidelines.

 

Approaching Zyro with fresh eyes, the experience felt like a toddler taking a first look at ego bricks. You may not have any idea what you’re doing, but it’s intuitive enough that you can simply piece things together. Everything you’ll need like images, text boxes, and the like are within easy reach.

 

zyro drag and drop system

Zyro’s drag-and-drop builder is dead simple

 

Other beginner-friendly features include a range of pre-built online store templates, and some handy AI tools.

 

zyro built-in ecommerce template

Zyro has a nifty range of responsive eCommerce templates.

 

The simplicity is coupled with a fantastic price. Zyro is one of the most budget-friendly solutions that will allow you to create a full-blown online store of your own easily. They only have two eCommerce plans, the cheapest of which will only set you back $9.90 per month.

 

Remember that this is essentially Software-as-a-Service (Saas), so for that price, you’re getting a visual builder tool for your eCommerce sites, the web hosting to base it on, free marketing tools, and even a domain name of your choice.

 

If your priorities for an eCommerce platform are ease of use and budget, then Zyro is likely the most fitting solution. There may be others in the market with a lower cost of entry, but those aren’t likely to offer the same completeness as you’ll find here.

 

Zyro pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Includes AI-based tools such as heatmap and text generator
  • Easy to use grid-based building system
  • Simplified CRM integration
  • Maximizes your earnings with zero commission payments
  • Save cost with free images included with your subscription

 

Cons

  • Some bugs (don’t worry, they get fixed quickly)
  • AI tools are a little rudimentary

 

Learn more about Zyro

 

 

 

No. of Products

Unlimited

Overall Rating

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

Price (USD)

$17 /mo

Key Features

  • 20GB storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Payments plans
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • Mobile editor

“Wix may cost a pretty penny, but it’s effective and highly stable in performance.”

 

Wix is one of the earliest of the new generation of eCommerce platforms around. It first emerged in the website builder category but quickly expanded towards helping users build online stores. While it may have started as a free service, its eCommerce expansion certainly isn’t.

 

wix store manager feature

Wix is a household name.

 

Part of what I love most about Wix is how much of a premium feeling the experience offers. It’s like the Apple of eCommerce platforms; it targets the upscale crowd, focuses on usability, and avoids cheesing people off with unwanted bugs.

 

What we really like about Wix

 

There’s a lot to like about Wix, though, and that’s not even considering ease of use. The first thing is the Wix App Market. There, you can get tons of professional extensions to enhance your Wix online store. Other platforms may have similar capabilities, but the Wix App Market is the strongest I’ve seen to date in this respect.

 

wix app market features

The Wix app market makes it easy to add extra features.

 

Another core advantage is Wix ADI; it’s an AI-based tool that helps you build your online store simply by asking you a few questions. It’s like having a personal concierge service included in the subscription price you pay.

 

I’ve tested Wix on and off since it first came into being, and they’ve improved it a lot over time. Aside from new features, the developers have managed to turn what was once a buggy interface into something so stable Microsoft would turn green with envy.

 

Seriously though, if you’re willing to invest in channel expansion, then Wix is the Bentley of eCommerce platforms.

 

Wix pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Extensive feature expansion possibilities via Wix Market
  • Wix ADI helps build your eCommerce store
  • US customers using USPS can offer real-time shipping updates
  • Multilingual interface
  • Dedicated editor for mobile site versions

 

Cons

  • No exporting of stores created on Wix
  • You can’t swap templates on already designed sites

 

Learn more about Wix

 

 

 

No. of Products

Unlimited

Overall Rating

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

Price (USD)

$19 /mo

Key Features

  • Store customization
  • Digital downloads
  • 0% transaction fee
  • VAT & tax settings
  • Print On Demand

“Sellfy fills a niche market neatly, allowing the sale of digital goods and services.”

 

Many eCommerce platforms keep their focus on helping customers build online stores that sell physical products. Yet, as many things digitize, soft products like applications, subscriptions, and even videos have become increasingly common.

 

Enter Sellfy, the eCommerce platform that’s addressing the digital product market space.

 

sellfy customization which minimalistic design helps reduce confusion for new users

Sellfy is ideal for digital products.

 

If you’d like to sell non-physical products, then Sellfy is one of the best choices around. It isn’t the only one but offers an edge for many reasons.

 

What we really like about Sellfy

 

Perhaps because of the type of products it specializes in, Sellfy has some unique options. For example, you can even offer donationware thanks to the “Pay what you want” pricing option. Yet that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and Sellfy has one of the most intuitive product management systems around.

 

It’s also a one-stop shop that integrates marketing tools so you can reach out to your customer base quickly. Rather than using separate services, you can blast email, upsell on offers, or build complete digital campaigns.

 

Sellfy redefines simplicity, and if you want to kick start an online store quickly, this is the way to go. It may not be the most feature-packed product around, but it’s more than enough for the average small business.

 

Sellfy pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Strong digital product focus shows in the way Sellfy’s designed
  • Minimalistic design helps reduce confusion for new users
  • Frequent updates and system upgrades
  • Sellfy’s pricing model is especially beneficial to small-scale businesses
  • Works cross-channel efficiently for increased sales reach

 

Cons

  • Forced to scale up to more expensive plans as your sales value increases
  • Forced Sellfy branding on lowest-tier plan
  • Limited payment processing gateway options

 

Learn more about Sellfy

 

 

 

4. Square Online

https://squareup.com/
square

No. of Products

Unlimited

Overall Rating

Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5

Price (USD)

Free

Key Features

  • Square POS
  • Offers shipping
  • SEO features
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Instagram integration

“If you have a physical store and want to merge it with eCommerce, Square Online provides all the necessary tools.”

 

Moving from the new generation of eCommerce platforms, we come to those that understand the needs of existing businesses. Square are the guys that provide answers to businesses already operating brick-and-mortar shops.

 

Square is great for existing brick-and-mortar stores.

Square is great for existing brick-and-mortar stores.

 

What we really like about Square Online

 

Adding a new sales channel doesn’t have to be an entirely separate endeavor. Not with eCommerce platforms like Square Online. Thanks to intelligent Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, everything works out of a single database. No more inventory headaches and instant status report generation included.

 

Square was an early adopter of POS systems like this and can help modernize existing businesses with ease. It brings all the benefits of modern digital retail and ties it closely with what companies already have in place.

 

There’s a slight drawback to using Square, though; its POS integration is slightly limited and only serves customers in Canada, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Still, they’ve done it well.

 

If you’re feeling very nervous about adopting an eCommerce platform for your business, I recommend Square. They offer a well-established one-stop shop that lets you start at a minimal cost. The free plan is good enough for a comprehensive assessment.

 

Square Online pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Great product dashboard for tracking sales
  • Integrated marketing features keeps everything on one platform
  • Get started for free with their $0 plan
  • POS integration starts free with a reader and iPad
  • Native payments API keeps everything in-house

 

Cons

  • Imposes transaction-based fees (fixed and percentage)
  • Limited location availability for POS integration

 

Learn more about Square Online

 

 

 

No. of Products

Unlimited

Overall Rating

Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5

Price (USD)

$29 /mo

Key Features

  • Fraud analysis
  • 24/7 support
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Shopify POS Lite
  • Sell in 133 currencies

“At Shopify, it’s all about the sale, and you get integrated access to multiple channels in one convenient package.”

 

Shopify is a Canadian-based eCommerce platform that’s made it to the big time. The platform aims to help customers sell products in any way it can. That means a formidable range of sales channels that you can combine to do more.

 

What we really like about Shopify

 

While many platforms center around their online store-building experience, Shopify goes the extra mile. It offers a truly vast range of selling tools for almost any channel. There’s hardly anywhere Shopify can’t help you sell: from directly on your online store to integration with Facebook, eBay, and more.

 

If that sounds awesome, there’s even more. Shopify has an equally strong support system for retailers with existing physical outlets.

 

The Shopify POS system has gained quite a measure of fame. The Lite version of Shopify POS comes free with all Shopify plans.

 

As a whole, the platform has many excellent tools that make it highly competitive. For example, abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, discount codes, and more. On top of that, all plans on Shopify support an unlimited number of product listings.

 

Shopify support an unlimited number of product listings.

Shopify is an expansive eCommerce solution.

 

You can sell in over 130 currencies and multiple languages so that international customers will feel right at home on your eCommerce site. Seriously though, in terms of localization, there are very few that can compete with Shopify.

 

If there’s a downside to Shopify, I’d have to say that it’s a victim of its success. Supporting such a wide range of payment options and countries means much complexity in how it prices things. You may have to wade through documentation to see precisely how much Shopify takes out of each sale.

 

Shopify pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Basic POS integration included with all plans
  • One of the best omnichannel sales platforms around
  • Offers the Shopify Pay native payment gateway (zero transaction fees)
  • Offers POS hardware for sale on the Shopify hardware store
  • Shopify Lite plan available for those with existing online sales channels

 

Cons

  • Shopify Payments isn’t available in all countries
  • Multiple rates and fees depending on your location

 

Learn more about Shopify

 

 

 

No. of Products

10

Overall Rating

Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5Rated 4 out of 5

Price (USD)

Free

Key Features

  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Socials advertising
  • One-tap checkout
  • Tax invoices

“Ecwid is best for those who already have a website and simply want to add some eCommerce features.”

 

Ecwid may be an eCommerce platform, but it’s another one that doesn’t try to do everything. Instead, its claim to fame lies in helping businesses extend their sales with simple drop-in functionality. However, let’s start from the top.

 

What we really like about Ecwid

 

There’s no denying that Ecwid does offer the full-blown eCommerce building experience. You can create an entirely new web store with all the tools needed in one convenient interface.

 

ecwid allows users set up new web store with all the tools needed in one convenient interface.

Ecwid lets you easily get a web store up and running.

 

The unique part is its eCommerce widget, though.

 

Using this widget (or plugin, extension, or whatever you’d like to name it), you can create sales functionality on an existing website. You don’t need to be running WordPress or any specific platform to use it; just add a few lines of HTML code to your website.

 

The best part is that this neat feature is available for free to start. If you’re selling just a couple of items, you won’t even need to think about upgrading. It’s a fantastic way for micro-businesses to join the eCommerce bandwagon.

 

Ecwid pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Add eCommerce features to existing websites with a few lines of code
  • The full-blown eCommerce building experience also starts at no cost
  • Offers a very consistent experience over time
  • One of the most straightforward interfaces around to use
  • Supports over 50 payment gateways

 
Cons

  • The free plan limits you to 10 products
  • Not many third-party channel integration options

 

Learn more about Ecwid

 

 

 

No. of Products

Unlimited

Overall Rating

Rated 3 out of 5Rated 3 out of 5Rated 3 out of 5

Price (USD)

$29.95 /mo

Key Features

  • 24/7 live support
  • Advanced SEO tools
  • Free dedicated SSL
  • Mobile responsive
  • Multi-currency

“BigCommerce is big business and designed to meet all customer segments, large or small.”

 

BigCommerce is one of the better-known players in the eCommerce platform space. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach, BigCommerce has a very professional build that separates the regular business from large enterprises.

 

BigCommerce has a very professional build that separates the regular business from large enterprises.

BigCommerce may better suit bigger players.

 

What we really like about BigCommerce

 

Regular users will be more interested in BigCommerce Essentials; it’s the consumer-oriented version of the platform. Don’t let that terminology fool you though, BigCommerce Essentials is perhaps the most feature-packed on this list.

 

It comes in a very corporate-style interface that larger companies tend to like. In addition, as though the included features aren’t enough, you also get access to over 800 apps that can extend your eCommerce capabilities.

 

Yet all of this does come at a small price. I find BigCommerce easy to use but not quite as smooth as newer players in this space. For example, the Wix ADI guides you through instant site creation; there’s just that tiny bit missing here.

 

Still, if hand-holding isn’t your thing, then BigCommerce has one point in its favor that not many on this list have. You can stick with their platform from the time you sign on, and they’ll be able to support you no matter what size your business grows to.

 

BigCommerce pros & cons

 

Pros

  • Caters to businesses of all sizes with dedicated consumer and enterprise platforms
  • Supports practically all payment options under the sun
  • Rock-solid platform stability
  • Extremely comprehensive reporting and analytics
  • Allows unlimited products (both physical and digital)

 

Cons

  • Not quite as user-friendly as it could be compared to peers
  • Some extra features can be pretty pricey

 

Learn more about BigCommerce

 

 

 

Why Use an eCommerce Platform Anyway?

 

eCommerce platforms are applications that come as a complete service, allowing you to build an online store quickly. They typically incorporate everything you need; web hosting, a visual store builder (often drag-and-drop), marketing tools, analytics functions, and more.

 

In the past, you would have needed to hire developers and embark on multi-year projects to build your eCommerce presence. Today, it can be as simple as signing up for a service, using a visual eCommerce store builder, then connecting a digital payments processor.

 

With an eCommerce platform, you can convert your business into a digital sales powerhouse; at a fraction of the cost than it used to be in the past.

 

How Can eCommerce Platform Help With Site Design?

 

A large part of the appeal of eCommerce platforms is that they often feature drag-and-drop design interfaces. It makes life a lot easier, especially for those of us not so keen on coding everything. However, these interfaces do sometimes impose restrictions.

 

The majority of drag-and-drop editors often make things as streamlined as possible. That means providing many lovely templates, color schemes, pre-built blocks you can use to add design elements, and even image libraries.

 

Mobile-friendly construction

 

Most eCommerce platforms today are, at the very least, rudimentarily mobile-friendly. This feature is essential since being mobile-friendly is now a measured element of search ranking. There are also differences in how eCommerce platforms cater to this.

 

mobile ready ux design

 

We can see a strong example of good mobile-friendly behavior in Zyro. All online stores built on their themes are responsive – which means they’ll look good on any device.

 

How Do eCommerce Platforms Affect Site Performance?

 

While eCommerce platforms may affect the performance of your online store to some degree, most established brands have been well-optimized.

 

A great eCommerce platform should help you make sure your website loads quickly for users.

 

32% of users will bounce if page load time takes up to 3 seconds

32% of visitors will leave if your store takes up to 3 seconds to load.

 

If you aren’t sure if yours is fast, use our free Bitcatcha speed checker to check. All you need to do is provide your website URL, and we’ll show you its performance metrics.

 

Equally important, though, is the reliability of service. A platform with frequent service outages can severely impact many things. If yours is letting you down, it’s time to consider a migration.

 

What Else To Consider When Picking An eCommerce Platform?

 

Besides performance, you’ll also need to consider other areas when selecting a new eCommerce platform. These include;

 

1. Ease of use

 

Many eCommerce platforms try to sell themselves as being “easy to use,” but that is something open to interpretation. Just because they think it is doesn’t mean that you’ll find it so as well.

 

That’s what trial periods are for; make sure you check out the interface to see if it feels like something to which you can quickly adapt.

 

Remember that you need to use the system to build your eCommerce site and maintain it as well. Product descriptions will need updating, new products or SKUs will come into play, and even images may change. If you struggle with the basics, it doesn’t bode well for the future.

 

2. Payment processing and fees

 

As an online sales channel, you will likely want to support as wide a range of payments as possible. It gives your customers more choice and could mean the difference between success and lost sales. Not all eCommerce platforms may support the gateways you need. Make sure to not only check out what’s available but if there are special charges for using them.

 

3. Analytics and reporting

 

When it comes to websites, it’s easy to get lulled into just thinking about visitor volume. eCommerce stores, however, need to look beyond that. Comprehensive reporting and analytics can help give you insight into areas of valuable information such as visitor behavior, product performance, campaign performance.

 

4. Search optimization

 

Many services today will try to sell you on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) since that’s a “thing.” However, you should know that the field of SEO is wider than the Amazon river, and fulfilling one of two SEO points isn’t going to cut it.

 

As an example of this, one potent SEO tactic is using content as an organic draw for traffic. Yet, not many eCommerce platforms make it easy for you to create and maintain such content and focus on the products alone.

 

5. Feature extension

 

You don’t want to get bogged down with an eCommerce platform that gets you stuck with just the features it wants to offer. Look for a service that is extendible through integrations with third-party apps and services.

 

This capability is vital for those already using some other services; MailChimp, specific social media platforms, or CRM applications. If you are, make sure the eCommerce platform you’re considering is compatible.

 

6. Customer support

 

Finally, we come to the most contentious point of all; support. While international business is good, working with a provider supporting customers only during set working hours may not be ideal. What if they’re in a different time zone than your customers?

 

When possible, look for a service provider that has round-the-clock customer support. You also need to consider the channels they provide to get in touch; email, a ticketing system, live chat, phone, and more.

 

What Are The Limitations Of eCommerce Platforms?

 

Thanks to plugins, modules, apps, or other forms of extensions, most modern eCommerce platforms have few limitations. If there’s something you need to do that’s not part of core functionality, there will likely be a way to add it on.

 

Some platforms do impose certain restrictions. Wix, for example, doesn’t allow you to export websites created with their platform.

 

Do be aware of any particular limitations native to each eCommerce platform before you sign on.

 

How Much Will All of this Cost?

 

The best part about using eCommerce platforms is the price. Hiring a team to build your online store can quickly run into the tens of thousands of dollars. eCommerce platforms develop one application and split the cost among many while allowing each store owner to customize their online store completely.

 

Yet even among eCommerce platforms, prices can vary greatly depending on your needs. Expect available plans to start anywhere between $10 to $30 per month. Where it goes from there depends on your business and how the service provider scales up.

 

Be aware, though, that you may incur additional fees due to payment gateways. Shopify, for example, has a complex fee structure that varies depending on multiple factors. Avoid falling for marketing gimmicks and read the fine print.

 

The good news is that many eCommerce platforms offer a free trial so that you can assess them individually. Some even have a completely free plan tier that small businesses may be able to survive on.

 

Final Thoughts On Picking Your eCommerce Platform

 

As a recap, here’s our top 3 eCommerce platforms for 2021:

 

No. of
Products

Overall
Rating

Price
(USD/MO)

Zyro

100

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$12.90

Wix

Unlimited

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$17

Sellfy

Unlimited

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$19

 

Moving into cyberspace is an essential step for many businesses today. Competition has grown significantly, with smaller margins adding to the pressure.

 

Because of this financial pressure, platforms like Zyro can really help you go a long way.

 

It packs a powerful punch, is suitable for absolute beginners to use, and comes at a price point that your wallet will thank you for. It’s certainly our top choice in many regards. We’ve used Zyro ever since it came to market and have seen it grow in front of our very eyes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. What’s the difference between an eCommerce platform and a website builder?

 

A website builder is simply a tool that helps users set up a website. An eCommerce platform has a similar function, but focuses on providing key features that help store owners easily sell online (e.g. tools to manage inventory and customer payment). If you’re setting up an online store, make sure to choose a reliable eCommerce platform that meets your business needs.

 

2. What is the best eCommerce platform for small businesses?

 

If you’re a small business on a budget, Zyro is an excellent platform for setting up and managing your eCommerce store. If you have a larger budget and are looking for something more customizable – Wix is a popular pick.

 

3. What is the best eCommerce platform for startups?

 

Zyro is a great eCommerce platform for getting a functional website up and running quickly. No coding knowledge is required since they use a drag-and-drop interface, and ready-built store templates are also available.

 

4. What is the best eCommerce platform for digital products?

 

Most great eCommerce platforms will let you sell both physical and digital goods. Sellfy is a platform that’s particularly suited for selling digital products, and has special features to help users do so.

 

5. What is the best eCommerce platform for WordPress

 

WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce plug-ins for WordPress users, helping you manage payments, shipping, inventory and much more. It’s simple to set up, but may require a slight learning curve for those completely unfamiliar with WordPress. Beginners may prefer eCommerce platforms that focus on ease-of-use.

 

6. What is the best eCommerce platform for clothing?

 

Zyro is the simplest eCommerce platform to build and launch a beautiful online boutique quickly. Users on a higher budget may want to consider Wix, as they offer a wide range of eCommerce features and extensions.