Have you ever thought about what you would do if you had a job that paid $16,000 a day?
If you’re willing to put some work in, there are great eCommerce platforms you can use to get an online store up and running. Your shop might have revenue on the same level as some of the biggest online shops.
Shilpi Yadav is an excellent example. The Indian-American immigrant quit her job to start an online clothing store based on her cultural heritage.
Despite all the risks, the brand now makes about six (6) million dollars a year (averaging around $16,000 per day).
She built her online store using Shopify, one of the best eCommerce platforms on the market. However, there are a ton of different options to choose from depending on what you need.
And the most significant thing standing in the way of your own million-dollar success story is deciding which eCommerce platform is right for your new store.
In this blog, I’ll go through the key factors to consider while selecting the best platform for your needs. Then we’ll look at eight of the best options on the market right now.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective and adaptable eCommerce platform, Wix is a wonderful choice. It’s known for its drag-and-drop interface, which allows for a lot of creative freedom.
Instead of having to write code, you can use the visual building tools to get your site looking just the way you want it.
Wix also gives you access to over 500 website templates that are ready to use right away and offer plenty of customization choices.
The Wix template library is quite useful when starting a new online store. Instead of fiddling with settings, you can just plug your products into a framework that will always look fantastic.
People visiting your store will think you spent days getting such a professional look, but it takes hardly any time at all with Wix.
Or, you can create your store’s pages from scratch with complete control.
Furthermore, they have a robust mobile app so you can make changes and manage your store from anywhere in the world.
Wix also has a number of marketing tools, such as email accounts and the ability to submit Facebook advertising and social network postings directly from your account dashboard. You can even sell your products directly through social media.
Their eCommerce plans include powerful features, like:
In addition, if you already use Wix, you can upgrade to an eCommerce plan in just a few clicks within your account dashboard.
Wix provides four eCommerce plans for online shops of various sizes, including:
If you have a small store or particular design requirements, this is a great solution. If you expect a significant volume of orders and a wide range of products, however, BigCommerce or Shopify are better options.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce website builder with over one million active stores, making it one of the most popular options on this list.
It is, however, not as customisable as Wix. But, because it is designed primarily to run online stores, it has more complex eCommerce functionality. It’s also simple to use and has just the appropriate amount of flexibility.
It’s also incredibly versatile, powering micro to large stores, and everything in between. Shopify plans include access to an incredible suite of eCommerce features, including:
Plus, you can construct a gorgeous and highly effective eCommerce store without having to start from scratch with 70+ professional themes (nine of which are free) and 4,100+ apps. Or write a single line of code.
Combine that with award-winning 24/7/365 customer support and you have an excellent eCommerce platform.
Shopify has five different options for different types of enterprises, including:
Shopify Lite is a great option if you want to embed products and “buy” buttons onto an existing website. However, it doesn’t come with an all-inclusive website builder.
Keep in mind that Shopify has its own payment processor. They charge 2.4% – 2.9% + $0.30 depending on the plan you choose. They also charge additional fees (0.5% – 2%) if you use a separate payment processor like PayPal or Square.
Squarespace is well-known as a free website builder, but they also offer three appealing eCommerce options.
You’ll get the same high-quality designs that Squarespace is known for, plus plenty of customization options to give your customers a really unique shopping experience.
There are other simple platforms that have some limitations in terms of what you can accomplish. Squarespace allows you a lot more creative flexibility.
Install and customize multiple templates at a time to see which one you like best. And switching between templates takes just a few clicks.
Aside from beautiful templates, Squarespace’s web store plans include:
Furthermore, Squarespace integrates with most of the popular email marketing and social media platforms so you can sell and market your products like a pro.
And they have fantastic 24/7/365 customer support ready to answer your questions and help you get things set up the way you want to.
Squarespace offers three ecommerce plans:
When you go through their price options, you’ll notice a Personal plan for $12 per month. This is wonderful for creating a website, but it does not have any eCommerce functionality, therefore it will not work if you want to put up an online store.
They also have an enterprise plan with a dedicated account manager, SEO consultations, and prioritized technical support.
And while the Business plan offers eCommerce capabilities, I highly recommend choosing Basic Commerce to start. It’s the cheapest plan with no transaction fees, plus it includes other essential features like customer accounts and eCommerce analytics.
You don’t need to settle for a cookie-cutter website builder to run your eCommerce store. If you’re serious about selling online (and you’re using or planning to use a WordPress site to do it), you should opt for WooCommerce, one of the most powerful tools out there.
This lightweight WordPress plugin adds eCommerce capabilities like accepting online payments, configurable shipping options, and product listings to your site. But that’s just the start.
WooCommerce is wildly extendible and able to be integrated with other business tools. Customize it through extensions in categories ranging from inventory, shipping, and fulfilment to marketing, customer loyalty programs, live chat support, and much more.
The platform, like many good WordPress tools, is developer-friendly. Use REST API to tweak and tailor WooCommerce to your needs with custom coding and modules.
Not sold yet? Here’s a taste of some of the other built-in features you get:
And the best part? It’s free to download, install, and use. Forever.
However, some of the extensions aren’t free, so watch out for that if you start digging into those.
With the power of WordPress behind it, your customization options are only limited to what you can imagine. So, the sky is legitimately the limit with WooCommerce.
But with that said, it’s not the easiest or most intuitive eCommerce platform. So, I don’t recommend it if you aren’t already using WordPress and 100% comfortable with it.
I really like WooCommerce. And, fortunately, I’m comfortable enough with WordPress to install, customize, and manage the WooCommerce plugin and the additional plugins that really make it shine on my own WordPress sites.
But I know many folks who would rather not have that responsibility, whether because of a lack of familiarity with WordPress plugins or just a lack of time to self-manage WooCommerce.
Bluehost gets that, too—that’s why they’ve rolled out an easy, turnkey solution to getting a WooCommerce store up and running in no time, for anyone.
With Bluehost’s package for eCommerce powered by WooCommerce, you get a handy guided store creator, plus:
And that’s all in the Standard Plan. The built-in SSL certificate is really helpful because it encrypts information customers enter on your website (like credit card numbers or login credentials), and protects everyone from hackers. All you have to do is click a button and your set with Bluehost–this can be much more challenging if the host doesn’t manage SSL certificates for you.
What I think is most convenient, though, is that Bluehost has preselected the top 20 store plugins that your WooCommerce store will need. Not only does that save you the headache of researching and installing plugins on your own, but they’re also included at no extra charge.
That’s huge. Some of these plugins cost around $200 a pop to install.
Take it one step higher to the Premium plan and you’ll also get:
Pricing is based on your initial term commitment. Choose from month-to-month billing, a one-year contract, or a three-year contract.
The Standard plan starts at $12.95/month for a three-year commitment, while Premium starts at $24.95/month for the same.
Both plans renew at the standard month-to-month rate after the term is completed—$29.95/month for Standard and $49.95/month for Premium.
So, if you want to get a WooCommerce store up in no time with no hassle on your end at all, head over to Bluehost today.
OpenCart is another open-source eCommerce platform, much like WooCommerce. However, it’s not limited to WordPress websites. But you do need to have an existing website to use it.
Over 300,000 online stores use OpenCart to confidently sell products of all shapes and sizes online. Plus, most web hosting companies offer one-click installation or will install it for free, so it’s incredibly easy to set up.
Note: I only recommend going this route if you already have a website up and running.
While you can sell products of any kind, the no-fluff interface (and free price tag) makes it an excellent option for selling digital products to make more money with your online business.
All without adding an extra monthly expense because it’s 100% free forever.
OpenCart offers a powerful set of eCommerce features, including:
Plus, with 13,000 modules and themes in the marketplace, you can add any functionality you can imagine including service integrations, conversion modules, email marketing, and more.
Keep in mind that not all of OpenCart’s extensions are free. You may have to pay for more advanced capabilities.
And they don’t currently offer support for free, either.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on their community forum, you have to pay for dedicated help. Dedicated support starts at $99 per site per month or $99 for a one-time fix.
BigCommerce is an all-in-one eCommerce website builder specifically for large online stores. It includes more advanced eCommerce features suitable for managing high volumes and a large number of products.
With a customer base of 100,000+ stores, including some big names like Ben & Jerry’s and SkullCandy, they’re a smaller player in the industry.
But that doesn’t make the platform any less powerful.
BigCommerce plans include access to powerful, industry-leading features, including:
Plus, all of their plans include unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts.
And you can choose between 12 free mobile-responsive design templates or opt for a paid template to make your online store stand out from the crowd without touching a single line of code.
BigCommerce offers four paid plans (with a 15-day free trial), including:
If you’re just getting started, BigCommerce is overkill for your online store. However, if you’re an established business or plan to sell high volumes, it’s an excellent choice.
Like OpenCart and WooCommerce, Ecwid is an eCommerce platform you can use to integrate with your current platform, regardless of what you’re already using.
It integrates with platforms like Weebly, Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, and more. So, if you already have a website set up and want to add eCommerce functionality, Ecwid is an excellent choice.
With that said, they also offer an all-in-one eCommerce website builder if you want to start from scratch. However, there are better website builders to use.
So, I only recommend Ecwid if you want to integrate eCommerce into your existing website.
This eCommerce platform includes a wide range of features, like:
The biggest downside is that you can’t manage your store from inside your website account dashboard. You have to log in to Ecwid instead. So, you need to manage two separate accounts.
But the good news is that you can start on the limited free forever plan to try it out before making any investments.
The free plan only allows up to ten products, so you have to upgrade if you need more. Ecwid also offers three paid plans, including:
This is the price if you pay month to month. If you are willing to sign a contract for a year, the price is a little lower.
As a stand-alone store builder, you might be better off with other options (like Wix and Shopify).
But if you already have a website and want to add an eCommerce store, Ecwid is a great alternative to WooCommerce and OpenCart.
The best eCommerce platform for your business depends on several factors like your experience level, your customization requirements, and the type of products you want to sell.
But choosing the right platform can feel overwhelming because there are countless options to choose from.
It may help to start with a list of requirements and the features you need. From there, you can narrow down your choices based on the following criteria.
Digital products are a booming market. Online courses, music, art, and podcasts are just some of the digital products netting new businesses tons of cash.
But selling and delivering digital products isn’t the same as delivering a physical product to someone’s doorstep.
If you want to sell digital products, Shopify is a really great option, but some eCommerce may not support digital products at all. So it’s important to understand which type you plan to sell before you make a decision.
What do you need to do to get your eCommerce platform up and running?
There are a few different ways to deploy your platform depending on where you are starting from and where you want to go.
If you already have a website, the best option is to integrate an online store rather than create a brand new website on a new platform. This way, you build on what you’ve already done. OpenCart is ideal for this use case.
For people with WordPress sites, you can add eCommerce functionality via a plugin like WooCommerce. This is super simple to set up and easy to manage.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want a website builder and other tools to help you design your platform.
In this case, going with solutions like Wix and Squarespace makes a lot of sense. They bundle everything you need to get started at a really affordable price.
Order management, product creation, tracking orders, and dashboard navigation are important factors of day-to-day eCommerce management.
Choose a platform that’s easy to use and manage on a daily basis. It shouldn’t feel like a struggle to create new products, check the status of an order, or update the pages of your website.
It’s all about finding the right balance of flexibility, customization, and ease of use. The more a platform can do, the harder it is to manage.
You can simplify your workload by choosing a platform that offers just enough flexibility without going overboard for your specific needs.
Do you want to be able to offer discounts or accept payments through different payment processors? Maybe you want to send visitors a reminder email when they exit your website with something in their cart.
Perhaps you’re interested in creating customer profiles and analyzing advanced analytics.
Other advanced eCommerce features include:
Think carefully about what you need and what would be nice to have. Then, you can use your list of requirements to narrow down your list of choices.
Some eCommerce website builders (like Wix) are truly drag-and-drop builders, meaning the customization options are endless. If you can imagine it, you can build it. But, that freedom also makes the platform more difficult to use.
Other platforms integrate into your current site, taking the look and feel of your existing website with very few customization options. For some users, this is perfect.
But others may want more control.
If you’re just starting out, simple designs and ease of use are more important than design flexibility.
However, if you already own a physical store or an established brand, design is more important so you can create a cohesive aesthetic from one touchpoint to the next.
Finding an eCommerce platform that does what you need is a breath of fresh air. After using dozens of different options over the years, I’m confident with my selection of the top options available:
My #1 recommendation for most users is Wix. It’s great for users of all experience levels. Plus, it’s easy to use, highly customizable, and affordable as well. But if Wix is too customizable for you, Squarespace is a fantastic alternative.
For large stores, I highly recommend BigCommerce or Shopify.
However, if you already have a website, WooCommerce, OpenCart, and Ecwid are excellent choices depending on what you need.
If you have a WordPress site and want an easier way to set up your WooCommerce store on it, you can’t go wrong with Bluehost’s WooCommerce Online Stores.
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