Struggling to figure out the best Ecommerce platform for small business? Here’s a complete guide to discovering the best Ecommerce platforms!
E-commerce websites dominate the Internet in the United States. More than 110,000 individual eCommerce sites account for 12%+ of the 100,000 websites with the highest online traffic.
It may seem like there’s no more room until you consider that more than 1.65 billion people shop online. Researchers expect that number to grow to almost 2.15 billion by 2021.
You can still compete for a slice of that massive pie if you choose the right platform to build your business. Learn what is the best eCommerce platform for small business below.
What is the Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business?
If we go off popularity alone, WooCommerce takes the prize as the most used eCommerce platform. 22% of the top 1 million websites using an eCommerce tool use WooCommerce. That’s about 4,000 more than use Shopify, the second most popular.
Despite this popularity, it’s impossible to know for sure what platform would work best for your small business.
The best eCommerce platform is the one that you feel comfortable using and meets your preferred standards. Even though WordPress is so popular, there are definitely some great advantages to hosted eCommerce solutions like BigCommerce.
Check out the following breakdown of the 7 most popular eCommerce platforms to help you figure out what will work best for your business.
Self-hosted price: Free
Since we already established WooCommerce is the most popular, we’ll look at their services first. The WooCommerce platform is standalone software that gets installed on a web server and fully integrates with an existing WordPress site.
WooCommerce comes with many useful features like:
Integrated order and product management
Customer management through third-party plugins
A variety of payment options
Thousands of paid and free themes online
Mobile-friendly (as long as the theme is mobile-friendly)
Decent reports on store activity and sales tracking
Bandwidth limited based on your host
The ability to offer coupon codes and discounts
Thousands of available sales extensions
It’s important to note that as an open-source eCommerce tool, the free, basic WooCommerce plugin does not come with dedicated customer support. Find answers to any questions in the official community forums and in WooCommerce Docs.
You can purchase a paid dedicated support extension through their website, but this means the service isn’t free.
Standard price: Ranges from $9 up to $299 per month
Shopify comes in a close second to WooCommerce in terms of popularity. It’s a subscription-based service that includes hosting for your online shop as well. The service also includes a subdomain that you can connect to your main domain name.
Shopify comes with the following features:
Integrated order, product, and basic customer management
A multitude of payment gateways
100+ themes as well as more available through third-party websites
The ability to directly edit HTML and CSS
Mobile-friendly with thousands of apps
Decent reports on sales tracking and store activity
The option to offer discounts, coupon codes, and gift cards
The ability to sell through multiple sales channels including Facebook, Point-of-Sale, and more.
24/7 dedicated customer support via email, phone, live chat, and even Twitter
Shopify’s ability to adapt to a variety of sales channels makes it the ideal choice for switching over from a traditional retail store. It also means you can easily go the opposite way and start with an online shop and expand to a brick-and-mortar store while still using Shopify.
Self-hosted price: Free
Enterprise edition: Between $15,000 and $50,000 per year
Magneto is another subscription-based service that works similarly to Shopify. It also provides hosting space and a subdomain for your shop that you can link to your business’s domain.
Magneto includes these features:
Integrated order, product, and basic customer management
Multiple payment options
In-depth analytics with great reports and information on abandon carts, purchase funnels, etc.
The ability to provide coupon codes and discounts.
The option to sell on social media platforms and in online marketplaces as well as in-person using Square for credit cards
If you love data, then you should consider Magneto for its extensive analytics module.
It’s also advantageous that you can sell both in-store and online. This makes the transition from exclusively selling one way or the other easier.
Standard price: Ranging from $29.95 to $249.95 per month
Enterprise edition: $900+ per month
BigCommerce offers both standalone software and a subscription-based service. It works similarly to Shopify and offers hosting services as well.
Expect the following features from Big Commerce:
Product and order management
Customer management via customer groups and other outside sources
40+ payment options with no transaction fees
Unlimited bandwidth (when hosted through BigCommerce)
In-depth, advanced reporting on store activity and sales
A whopping 5,000+ available extensions
The ability to provide discounts and coupon codes
Flexible shipping options with instant rate calculations
Options for returns
Multi-lingual support options
The option to create newsletters
Multiple available APIs
Integration with social media networks, eBay, and Amazon
The large number of tools and extensions that work with BigCommerce make it easy to customize your experience. Check out their app store to see the many options for automation, product promotion, and email marketing.
Standard price: Ranging from $26 to $269 per month
One of the oldest eCommerce platforms out there, Volusion is a drag-and-drop visual website builder first established in 1999.
It also offers hosting and comes with the following features:
Product, order, and customer management
The ability to sell from 100 to an unlimited number of products
Many payment options
1-35GB of bandwidth per month
Built-in tools for SEO
Detailed reports and analytics like abandoned cart stats
Integration with social media, Amazon, and eBay
Calculation of shipping rates
The option to take phone orders
The ability to sell through many channels including with Point-of-Sale systems
Access to multiple APIs and batch ordering
24/7 customer support through phone and online chat
A manager dedicated to your account
The bandwidth limit may pose issues if you don’t know how much traffic your site receives each month. You must pay an expensive price for the additional traffic over your plan’s allotted bandwidth.
Volusion also charges you for an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate that every online retail store needs to prove their reliability. Expect to pay at least $180 for one.
You also cannot create a blog directly through the platform. However, it does allow you to link to third-party blog sites through your site menu.
Cloud-hosted: $30 to $200 per month
OpenCart is the last open source eCommerce platform on this list. You must install OpenCart on your business’s server or find a third-party to host your site. However, they do have a cloud option that relies on Amazon Web Services if you do not feel comfortable hosting the site yourself.
OpenCart includes the following features:
14-day trial to test out services
Product and order support
An easy-to-use dashboard that lets you control multiple stores in one place
Unlimited products, categories, and orders
The ability to sell digital and physical products
Hundreds of payment options including PayPal
13,000+ themes and modules
Options for product reviews and ratings
SSL Certification included
Automatic backups with restore points
Thousands of available plugins and extensions
The ability to offer discounts, coupon codes, and specials
Supports a variety of currencies
Decent sales reports
Be aware that OpenCart only offers dedicated customer support for cloud users only. Otherwise, you can find answers to your questions in their large community forum.
Standard price: Ranging from $19 to $229 per month
Finally, 3dcart is another visual website editor without the drag-and-drop component. Its main dashboard reflects this visual focus by being clear and easy-to-navigate.
3dcart comes with the features that follow:
Product, order, and customizable customer support
The option to sell up to 100-unlimited products
The ability to sell digital products
Bulk exports and imports
100+ payment gateways with no transaction fees
Unlimited bandwidth, file storage, and orders
Included SSL certificate
Great analytics and reports
Integration with Shopzilla, Facebook, Google Shopping, Amazon, and eBay
Automatic daily backups
FTP for file access
24/7 customer service via phone or live chat
The ability to include customer reviews
Options for waiting lists and to upsell or cross-sell to customers
Integrated marketing and SEO tools
The best part about 3dCart is the support you get from start to finish. Just read through or watch the many tutorials and how-tos that breakdown things like picking your theme or linking to eBay. This makes 3dcart a great option for beginners.
Get More Great Advice for Small Business Owners and Freelancers
You can use an eCommerce platform to expand as a traditional retail business or to build your own online business from scratch. There’s no single answer to what is the best eCommerce platform for small business. That all depends on you, your particular business, and your customers.