Top 10 Ecommerce Platforms Recommended for Small Businesses

The world is changing with more internet users showing confidence in ecommerce platforms and making online purchases with less fear. The skepticism about online stores are declining with internet users understanding how to locate fraudsters and verify real shops over the net. There is also an increasing number of online stores and newer applications for building online stores have also sprang up. In this post, we examine the top 10 platforms you can use to build your ecommerce store.

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1. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an online store builder (hosted shopping cart software) that powers tens of thousands of online stores in more than 150 countries. It allows you to do everything yourself, including add products, upload photos, process orders, create pages, create discount coupons, and more. You can also design your store with it, using drag and drop panels.

Founded in 2009, the company offers two plans for new or small to mid-size businesses, and two plans for large or high-volume businesses, each with various features ranging from fraud monitoring, abandoned cart saver, product ratings, and more.

It serves a wide range of industries including fashion, electronics, health products, gifts, jewelry and others, and it can be integrated with various shopping and comparison sites like eBay, Shopzilla, Nextag, and Shopping.com.

BigCommerce helps you create attractive and easily integrate storefronts for Facebook, eBay, Amazon and more. All while allowing you to manage payments, shipping and available products. If you want to simplify the process by automating listings, this is a great place to start.

The best part about BigCommerce is its flexibility: You can use it as a pure SaaS solution, you can use it as a “commerce engine only” (managing all of your sales channels from one backend hub), and you can use it with the CMS / site infrastructure of your choosing (there is a new WP plugin in beta and powerful APIs to make integration easier ).

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2. Shopify

You have probably heard of Shopify before. It has become one of the bigger ecommerce brands out there. It is also an affordable option, starting at just $29 per month for a basic account and offering enterprise quotes on request for the bigger names that have started using them. You can get tools for branding and no-experience design, help listing on Amazon and eBay, a POS feature and Facebook and Facebook Store solutions.

All of this in one dashboard. The only potential downside is that their pricing is based around stages of business. So one is for starting a new brand and one is for growing it. This could potentially cause some issues for those who would prefer a feature or two from the expanded list but may not need them all.

Shopify may cost more than you first estimate, given all of the add-ons for third-party apps you may need.

To build the online store, you’ll have 14 days free trial with Shopify. With no credit cards required. Since Shopify is based on the subscription business model, the monthly price after the trial period starts from $29 up to $299 for standard shops. For enterprise business, you can consider using the Shopify Plus package.

The Checklist of favorite and important Shopify links:

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3. BigCartel

Do you own a brand that is creatively based? Maybe you create jewelry, or sell prints of your art, or own a bohemian fashion line. BigCartel is made with artists and creatives in mind, aimed at smaller companies. Other platforms can be customized but will often have too many features that just aren’t relevant for a person who is selling their work on their own.
BigCartel is a simpler, more straightforward platform that doesn’t assume you will be expanding year by year. It has a free version for five products and moves up from there, so you can control how many items are for sale to keep within your budget.

If you are an artist, a budding fashion designer, or a jewelry maker, you will love Big Cartel. This website builder has its eye on the independent artist. Check out what Big Cartel can do for you.

  • Build your independent brand with a simple and no-fuss website builder. Customize your store, from images to colors to fonts and be in total control of how your store looks.
  • Get real-time data and statistics.
  • Basic set of features you need to operate and run a store. Tools for search engine optimization, order management, and promotion are included.
  • Stores are designed to be mobile friendly, allowing your customers to shop via tablets and smartphones.
  • iPhone app lets you deal with clients directly and handle sales in person.

Overview of Big Cartel Features

  • Quick setup
  • Order management
  • Digital Products
  • Sell in-person
  • Sell on Facebook
  • Seamless checkout
  • Real-time dashboard
  • Search engine optimized
  • Five images per product
  • Inventory tracking
  • Custom domains
  • Discount Codes

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4. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a fully customizable, open source ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It’s probably the most popular choice for small businesses looking for an easy integration with WordPress.

WooCommerce has been around since 2011 and has a strong development team behind it. Bolstered by this and its ever-growing popularity, WooCommerce keeps getting better and better. And more and more popular.

Just like WordPress, WooCommerce is free and open source. So despite it’s premium feel, it’s completely free for anyone to download, use and modify.

And, although it’s incredibly powerful and extensible, it’s also easy for beginners to use. With WooCommerce, anyone can set up and run a professional online store from their WordPress website. You really don’t need to know any code at all.

The biggest selling point of WooCommerce is its support: There’s a huge community of developers and a large variety of plugins making adding any feature a breeze.

There’s another side of that too: It’s hard to estimate the final price of the solution, since premium plugin costs can add up. Plus, as we all WordPress users know that too well, multiple plugins can cause conflicts, negatively impact the site security and slow the site down.

Why should I use WooCommerce?

  • WooCommerce is Easy to install and set up

Installing WooCommerce is as simple as adding any other WordPress plugin to your website. It’s available to download for free from the WordPress plugin directory, which is accessible right from your website admin.

Once installed, WooCommerce is also incredibly easy to set up. Thanks to the inbuilt Setup Wizard, it only takes minutes to get crucial aspects of your store sorted, including payment and shipping.

  • Powerful eCommerce features out of the box

WooCommerce comes with an amazing set of features right out of the box. Here are just a small selection of these:

  • Sell any kind of products you like: physical, digital or even affiliate
  • Add unlimited products and images
  • Add categories, tags and attributes – including size or color – to any product to make them easier to find and search
  • Show product ratings and reviews on product pages, including a ‘Verified Owner’ label
  • Customize store location with currency, language and measurement units
  • Product sorting and filtering lets customers sort products by popularity, newness, rating, price or attribute
  • Embed products and checkout on any page
  • Geo-location auto-detects customers’ addresses to simplify shipping and tax calculations
  • Choose how you’d like to process payments: use popular providers such as Stripe and PayPal, credit cards, Direct Bank Transfer, checks or Cash on Delivery
  • Choose shipping options and restrict options based on customer location
  • Manage orders and customers with one-click refunds, customer accounts, and guest checkout

Don’t see all the features you need? That’s not a problem – WooCommerce comes feature-packed, but there are a whole host of ways to extend its features much, much further…

  • WooCommerce is highly extensible

Sometimes, when a plugin is easy to use, it’ll only have limited flexibility. But the opposite is true for WooCommerce. There are a myriad of ways to expand the functionality of WooCommerce via themes, plugins, extensions, or even  – if you’re particularly keen – by editing the plugin code itself.

This means you can can create a shop that looks and behaves any way you’d like.

WooCommerce has everything you’d want from an eCommerce plugin. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an advanced WordPress user – WooCommerce is ideal for any store. Whether you want to sell from an existing WordPress site or you plan to start an online store from scratch – WooCommerce is the obvious choice.

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5. Squarespace

If you listen to podcasts you have probably heard of Squarespace. They appear to have become the go-to sponsor for every popular podcast on the web. Think of them as the new WordPress. They are easy to build, accessible to anyone and can be customized without any real knowledge about website creation.

What makes them different than WordPress is that it is focused from the beginning towards brand building and selling. No extensions to install or complicated back-door coding to slog through.

SquareSpace, on the hand, is seemingly fond of using a hybrid system. It’s known for its wide array of pre-created themes.

Additionally, it combines both content and design. You can conveniently work on both simultaneously.

But, you’ll need to have a solid collection of high-quality images to achieve a seamless design with SquareSpace’s themes.

The biggest disappointment for many shop owners, at least is the fact that SquareSpace is limited by not supporting a good number of payment gateways.

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6. Demandware

Mobile commerce is a must today. An astonishing $156 billion came from ecommerce sales in 2017, according to Statista. That is one area you can’t afford not to exploit. Yet, the reason that so many people do is understandable… creating a mobile app, strategy and sales portal is a bit daunting.

Demandware is a mobile commerce platform that makes it much easier to integrate mobile sales in your overall brand strategy. They also have a wider array of digital commerce tools included. There are some big name brands that use Demandware, like ADIDAS and GoPro.

7. YoKart

YoKart is another multi vendor system, but it is better known for its payment options. You can choose from credit cards, ewallets, bank transfers or cash on delivery. The last two are less common with smaller vendors, especially the CoD feature, which is rarely seen from online vendors but may be a better option depending on the type of product being sold.

It also has withdraw request, just in case you are running some kind of monetary earnback program or affiliate program. As for their online payments, they are compatible with most gateways (Paypal, Amazon, Stripe, PayU, etc.)

8. Magento

Are you planning on expanding your business into something much bigger? Magento is made for turning small companies into larger ones through a platform built on the idea of regular and measurable growth.

It has a product and payment platform, cloud commerce and flexible features so it will grow along with you and your needs, rather than putting you in one static plan and forcing you into one that is far beyond what you need yet. They also have a community with a pretty good network of experts, business owners, marketers and tech aficionados.

Magento is a self-hosted ecommerce solution which means that you need to download it and basically “take it with you”. All the hosting costs and set-up efforts are your sole responsibility.

9. Volusion

Some of the people reading this are probably a little overwhelmed at the complicated process of making and running a store. Isn’t there something that is just easy, fast and basic? Volusion might be the best platform for you.

You can set up a store within a few minutes, edit it whenever you want and run it right from a single dashboard. Their plans are based on how much in sales you estimate you will be earning (up to $50,000, $100,000, $500,000 or Enterprise levels). So it is pretty adaptable within the scope of those sales.

10. VTEX

VTEX offers an on-demand pricing model based on revenue share. For those who are looking at the tens of thousands or more in profit, VTEX is a pretty good ecommerce solution. Especially if you are not a new business and have outgrown other platforms.

Do you have a tool that should be added on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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