If you're planning to start an online business and build a brand, there are few decisions more important than the first major one you will need to make: which ecommerce platform to use.
When launching your store, you will be sure to encounter a range of options – from household names like Shopify to ones you may not be as familiar with. In the process of deciding where to build a home, you'll have to consider factors like ease of use, plugin integrations, payment support, and more.
To save you time and give you actionable advice that you can use to make a proper decision, we've highlighted some of the best ecommerce platforms that are available to join right now, and what we like about each one.
Here's a quick breakdown of our top picks for the best ecommerce platforms for different use cases (we recommend reading the full article to learn how we came to these recommendations):
- 📈 Best for building a new brand - 🥇 Shopify
- 💄 Best for physical products -🥇 Shopify
- 💻 Best for digital products - 🥇 ClickFunnels
- 🚰 Best for sales funnels - 🥇 ClickFunnels
- 💵 Best for affordability - 🥇 Wix
- 🎨 Best for website design - 🥇 Webflow
- 🧑🎨 Best for customization - 🥇 WooCommerce
Our #1 overall pick: 🥇Shopify
Shopify is the best ecommerce platform because of it’s full suite of ecommerce-specific functionality, expansive 3rd party app ecosystem, ease-of-use, and low maintenance requirements. It’s the perfect solution for new ecommerce entrepreneurs or enterprise-level brands.
What're the best ecommerce platforms? 🚀
As anyone who's shopped online or supported a DTC brand knows, the world of ecommerce is anything but boring. The platforms out there offer a wide range of customizable features, from user-friendly interfaces to advanced inventory management systems and beyond.
Understanding the specific requirements and goals of your business is crucial to pinpointing the platform that best aligns with your needs. Whether you're a solo entrepreneur or an established retail brand looking to scale your presence online, there's something for everyone.
In our overview below, we'll take a tour of some of the best options available, with the goal of guiding you in the right direction.
Let's dive right in.
At its core, Shopify provides a comprehensive set of tools and functionalities designed to streamline the entire ecommerce process. From setting up a stunning storefront to managing inventory and tracking orders, Shopify offers an intuitive experience from day one.
The cherry on top is the wide range of third-party apps and integrations available on the Shopify App Store, which allow you to enhance your store's functionality with features like SMS and email marketing, user-generated content, upselling and cross-selling, personalized recommendations, and customer support tools.
You can read more about our favorite Shopify apps here.
Shopify Key Features 🧰
- Extensive selection of professionally designed themes
- Drag-and-drop store customization and branding
- Mobile-optimized shopping experience
- App store with 6,000+ plugins and integrations
- Secure payment processing with Shopify Payments
Shopify Pros ✅
- Efficient inventory management tools
- Built-in SEO features for improved search engine visibility
- Marketing tools for increased promotion and customer engagement
- Comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities
- 24/7 dedicated customer support
Shopify Cons ❌
- Limited control over server infrastructure and data, as hosting is handled by Shopify
- Transaction fees for using external payment providers
- For more advanced design or functionality changes, requires coding knowledge or the assistance of a developer
- Dependency on apps and integrations from within the Shopify ecosystem
Shopify Pricing 💰
Shopify has a Basic Plan available at $39/month, a Shopify Plan at $105/month, and an Advanced Plan at $399/month.
Who is Shopify Best For? 🙋
Shopify is best for entrepreneurs and brand owners that want a full suite of ecommerce solutions included out of the box with the option to expand on functionality using specialty 3rd party applications. Additionally, it’s best for non-technical brand owners and operators that don’t want to have to worry about implementing any custom code, or having to maintain technical site updates - Shopify automates all of this on the backend. If you want something that just works, Shopify is for you.
BigCommerce is another powerhouse that allows you to craft and control your online store the way you want it. From tailor-made themes to smooth product management and optimization, BigCommerce is a go-to choice for unleashing and expanding your online sales.
BigCommerce Key Features 🧰
- Multi-storefront support, and support for multiple sales channels like Amazon and eBay.
- Drag-and-drop store builder for easy arrangement and branding.
- Responsive mobile-optimized layouts for efficient shopping on all devices.
- Product management tools, including bulk editing and real-time inventory tracking.
BigCommerce Pros ✅
- Good for large catalogs with multiple variants due to Shopify restraints on number of variants per product group.
- Comprehensive analytics and reporting dashboard for tracking store performance and customer behavior.
- Advanced marketing and conversion tools to boost sales and customer lifetime value.
- Abandoned cart recovery, discount, and promotion creation.
BigCommerce Cons ❌
- Inability to set smart product rules that categorize your inventory automatically.
- Limited number of free themes available, with a greater push toward paid, premium themes.
- Custom typefaces aren't supported in the page builder widgets.
- Restricts access to backend code, which can limit extensive modifications.
- Small 3rd party app store available.
BigCommerce Pricing 💰
BigCommerce has a Standard Plan at $29/month, a Plus Plan at $79/month, and a Pro Plan at $299/month.
Who is BigCommerce Best For? 🙋
BigCommerce is best for multichannel resellers with large catalogs because it can support large variation product groups. It also includes more out of the box functionality and thus, requires a few less 3rd party apps.
WooCommerce is more than just an ordinary platform – it's a practical way to turn your WordPress site into a best-selling online store. It has a user-friendly setup that lets you build your shop from the ground up, manage products, process payments, and refine your strategies with ease. It's a dynamic choice for those aiming to elevate their brand identity and start selling products online.
WooCommerce Key Features 🧰
- Flexible integration with WordPress, allowing you to turn your website into a full-fledged online store.
- Wide range of customization options and themes to create a unique and compelling store design.
- Extensive product management capabilities, including inventory management, product variations, and downloadable products.
- Hooks into popular payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal, enabling secure and convenient transactions.
- Built-in features for tax calculations, shipping options, and flexible shipping rates.
WooCommerce Pros ✅
- Integration with over 1,400 plugins and extensions, allowing for enhanced functionality and customization.
- Active community support and knowledge center, providing access to resources, tutorials, and guidance.
- Ample storage space for product images and media (up to 200 GB).
- Greater ownership and control over data and intellectual property.
WooCommerce Cons ❌
- Requires a WordPress website.
- Additional costs for domain registration and premium themes.
- More responsibility for store maintenance, including core updates and plugin compatibility. Failure to properly maintain your site can result in your site breaking and experiencing downtime.
- Limited phone support.
WooCommerce Pricing 💰
WooCommerce has an Essential Plan at $39/month, and a Performance Plan at $70/month.
Who is WooCommerce Best For? 🙋
The DIY marketer that likes to tinker and fully customize every aspect of their store. If you don’t care about the specifics and just want a store that works out of the box and requires no maintenance, WooCommerce is not for you.
Next up on our list, Wix is a website builder that enables you to create your own site without requiring advanced technical skills. With a drag-and-drop interface that anyone can master, it allows you to easily design and customize your website according to the needs of your ecommerce catalog.
Wix Key Features 🧰
- 800+ professionally designed templates and themes for various industries and styles.
- Automated sales tax calculation with the most current rates.
- Unique store branding (no Wix branding on your site).
- Ability to print labels, manage end-to-end order fulfillment, and connect to external shipping apps.
Wix Pros ✅
- Support for up to 50,000 products in your store catalog – more than many other platforms.
- Conversion tools let you display product pricing in your customer's local currency.
- Integrated marketing tools, including email marketing, CRM, and social media management.
- Free domain for up to 1 year.
Wix Cons ❌
- Limited design flexibility compared to coding-based platforms.
- Switching templates can be challenging, as it often requires rebuilding parts of your website.
- App compatibility can vary, with limited integrations available on the Wix App Market.
- Higher priced tier required to unlock the advanced developer platform.
Wix Pricing 💰
Wix has a Light Plan at $16/month, a Core Plan at $27/month, a Business Plan at $32/month, and a Business Elite Plan at $159/month.
Who is Wix Best For? 🙋
Wix is best for non-technical people that just want to launch a simple website with ecommerce functionality. It’s typically best for small hobbyists and older generations with less technical know-how.
Webflow caters to entrepreneurs who want more control over the creation of their storefront. It's a visual web design platform that lets you build and launch a website from wherever you are, while also offering the flexibility to add custom code if needed. Webflow empowers you to create a unique, responsive website without the constraints of traditional templates – so you can sell physical or digital products faster than ever before.
Webflow Key Features 🧰
- Central dashboard for viewing order details, updating order status, and issuing refunds.
- CMS-driven templates for efficient content management and website updates.
- Can create engaging animations and interactive elements on your site.
- Native integrations, as well as third-party apps, can be connected to your store to generate more sales and better manage the fulfillment process.
Webflow Pros ✅
- Can accept payments from 200+ countries through PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
- Lets you create customized shipping regions and rules.
- Allows you to upload your own logo and modify colors to properly brand your order notification emails to customers.
- Automatically calculates sales tax and VAT tax.
Webflow Cons ❌
- More advanced design and development capabilities require more intermediate knowledge.
- Creating highly customized designs takes more time and expertise.
- The availability of third-party integrations and plugins is not as diverse as the Shopify App Store.
- Products capped at 500 items on the Standard Plan, which is not ideal for more extensive collections.
Webflow Pricing 💰
When it comes to the Ecommerce Site Plans on Webflow, the Standard Plan costs $29/month, the Plus Plan costs $74/month, and the Advanced Plan costs $212/month.
Who is Webflow Best For? 🙋
Webflow is best for brands and individuals that want to build beautiful sites with more creative freedom and without having to custom code. With Webflow, anything is possible from a design perspective. It’s like having Photoshop built into a website builder. However, Weblfow lacks on the ecommerce side - it has limited functionality, takes more manual work to set up, and doesn’t have a wide app store.
Squarespace is an all-in-one platform that provides an easy way to create a polished and professional website. With built-in features like analytics and SEO tools, Squarespace is a streamlined solution for business owners in search of a hassle-free avenue for establishing their online presence.
Squarespace Key Features 🧰
- Easy-to-customize templates for showcasing your merchandise.
- Built-in blogging platform with features such as tags, categories, and scheduled publishing.
- Lets you offer a variety of shipping options, including flat-rate, weight-based, and real-time rates.
- Custom domain registration and integration options.
- Ability to collect customer emails and build mailing lists.
- Integration with popular third-party platforms through their connected services marketplace.
Squarespace Pros ✅
- Lets you handle shipping, fulfillment, taxes, and payments all in one place.
- Easily connects your store to Printful for customized merchandise sales without the headache of production and shipping logistics.
- Can share updates directly through integrated social media channels.
- Modern templates that can be edited directly within your browser.
Squarespace Cons ❌
- All changes published immediately after saving.
- Difficult to undo edits to your site.
- Not ideal for websites that require an extensive menu hierarchy.
- Be cautious of sluggish load times that can impact search engine rankings.
Squarespace Pricing 💰
Squarespace offers a Personal Plan at $16/month, a Business Plan at $23/month, a Commerce Plan at $27/month, and a Commerce Advanced Plan at $49/month.
Who is Squarespace Best For? 🙋
Squarespace is more limited on the ecommerce side and is mostly used by brick and mortar stores that want to launch a simple ecommerce site that’s integrated into their POS (point of sale).
ClickFunnels is a marketing platform geared towards those aiming to optimize their online strategies. It offers a suite of tools that allow you to create landing pages, sales pages, and complete sales funnels, all designed to result in a conversion. It's a reliable choice for entrepreneurs seeking to maximize their online marketing efforts by creating a focused and effective customer journey.
You can read more about our review of ClickFunnels here.
ClickFunnels Key Features 🧰
- Easy-to-use funnel builder for creating sales funnels, landing pages, and marketing campaigns without coding or technical expertise.
- Wide range of pre-designed templates and customizable elements to suit different needs and objectives.
- Drag-and-drop editor for seamless customization and branding of your pages.
- A/B testing capabilities to optimize funnel performance and conversion rates.
ClickFunnels Pros ✅
- Upsell and downsell functionality to maximize revenue and increase cart value.
- Membership site and content delivery features for creating and managing online courses or subscription-based content.
- Email marketing automation and follow-up sequences for nurturing leads and engaging with customers.
- Integration with external tools and platforms, such as CRM systems, email marketing software, and analytics tools.
ClickFunnels Cons ❌
- Requires basic web design knowledge, particularly around effective use of margin, padding, and different typefaces.
- Reliance on ClickFunnels' infrastructure for hosting and performance, limiting control over speed and scalability.
- Steeper learning curve for implementing complex automation workflows or integrations with external tools.
- Constraints around international selling, with a lack of built-in translation features.
ClickFunnels Pricing 💰
ClickFunnels offers a Basic Plan at $127/month, a Pro Plan at $157/month, and a Funnel Hacker Plan at $208/month.
Who is ClickFunnels Best For? 🙋
ClickFunnels is best for building sales funnels and selling digital products such as courses, memberships, and ebooks.
Read our ClickFunnels vs Shopify article for a more thorough comparison of ClickFunnels and Shopify.
What are Ecommerce Platforms? 🤔
Ecommerce platforms are the engines that power online businesses. They're the digital spaces where entrepreneurs like yourself can set up shop, showcasing your products to the world.
Think of it this way: if you want to open a physical store, you'd need a brick-and-mortar location, shelves, a checkout counter, and a way to handle your inventory. Ecommerce platforms provide the virtual version of all this. They offer tools to create your store's look and feel, sort your products into categories, and apply prices and descriptions that entice potential customers.
There's no better way to hit the ground running and start building your brand.
Benefits of using an Ecommerce Platform? 📈
From a thoughtfully laid out catalog that people can browse, to the payment gateways that process your transactions securely, ecommerce platforms let you run your business from one centralized location.
But it's not just about the basics. Ecommerce platforms also come with features that help you market your products, better understand your customers, and adapt as your business grows. They let you optimize your store for search engines, run sales and promotions, and even integrate with your social media accounts.
And with analytics and reporting tools, you can track what's working, who's buying, and where you might need to make changes.
Some platforms, like Shopify and BigCommerce, are turnkey solutions – you pay a fee, and they handle the technical stuff so you can focus on your products. Others, like WooCommerce and ClickFunnels, give you greater control but require a bit more involvement. And if you're more knowledgeable about web design and development, something like Webflow offers endless customization.
While Shopify is our number one overall pick, no matter which platform you go with, we hope this overview sets you on the right path, giving you the tools you need to level up your online business and sell like never before.