From creating your website, setting up product pages, and learning how best to sell to your online customer base, there are a lot of moving parts to manage with web stores. We’ve used just about every ecommerce site builder out there. Based on our experiences, Wix is the best option for most online stores. It’s the most beginner-friendly site builder we’ve used and it comes with a free domain for the first year, helpful features for growing your web store sales, and no extra transaction fees.
The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Most
Best for Most
Wix delivers everything you need in an ecommerce website builder, making the process as easy as possible. Includes a drag-and-drop builder, unlimited products, 975+ free starter templates, built-in SEO tools, integrated web hosting, and commission-free sales. Ecommerce plans start at $23 per month.
Wix is our top recommendation for most users because it’s incredibly easy to use and you get everything you need to launch your online store at an affordable price.
When you sign up, you get a free domain name for the first year, unlimited product listings, and more than 975 templates you can use to kickstart your website’s design without having to start from scratch. You can get started for free using Wix’s free-forever plan to take it for a test drive before spending a single penny.
The 8 Best Ecommerce Website Builder Options to Consider:
- Wix – Best website builder for most
- Web.com – Most hands-off way to build your online store
- BigCommerce – Best for rapid scaling
- Zyro – Best price for customer tracking and analytics
- Squarespace – Best for showcasing and selling creative work
- Shopify – Best for anyone needing extra support
- Weebly – Best for small stores that want to stay small
- Shift4Shop – Best for limitless customization
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into an Ecommerce Website Builder
In most cases, an ecommerce website builder is the easiest and fastest way to sell products online. They feature drag-and-drop page editors so you can create an entire website without touching a single line of code and they include everything you need to manage orders, shipping, and more.
The only exception to this is if you’re a highly experienced website developer or you already have a website somewhere else.
If you have a WordPress site, for example, you can install the WooCommerce plugin to add ecommerce functionality to your website without starting over. Alternatively, you can use the Shopify Lite plan to manage inventory and embed “buy now” buttons on your existing website.
But for everyone else, site builders are hands down the best way to go.
This is true even if you’re simply setting up an online platform to bolster sales through COVID-19.
If you find your brick-and-mortar sales are ramping down, the best ecommerce website builder can help supplement your company’s revenue through online sales. It can also help you find new customers who otherwise never would have found your business.
The bottom line: unless you’re a developer or already have a website, ecommerce website builders are the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to start selling your products online.
#1 – Wix — The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Most
Best for Most
Wix delivers everything you need in an ecommerce website builder, making the process as easy as possible. Includes a drag-and-drop builder, unlimited products, 700+ free starter templates, built-in SEO tools, integrated web hosting, and commission-free sales. Ecommerce plans start at $23 per month.
Wix is an incredibly versatile drag-and-drop site builder that turns non-designers into website building pros. With it, you get everything you need to start and launch your online store, including a free domain name and almost 1,000 pre-made templates for every type of online store you can imagine.
Our favorite thing about Wix is that it doesn’t charge any additional transaction fees, so you get to keep all of your hard-earned money (aside from standard payment processing fees).
Other options charge upwards of 3% or more on top of processing fees, so Wix’s 0% offer is outstanding.
It’s also dead simple to learn and use. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily make changes, update your site at will, add new products, and manage your orders with ease.
There aren’t any limitations on the number of products you can have and there are no caps on the amount of revenue you can generate from your online store. Other providers cap these to force you to upgrade to higher tiers, but Wix doesn’t. You can theoretically make millions and sell thousands of different products on the lowest tier.
With that said, the most significant limitations are storage space and included features, so it does make sense to upgrade at some point (although you won’t feel these limitations if you’re just getting started).
The cheapest plan comes with 20 GB of space (plenty for most stores), abandoned cart recovery, and the ability to sell on social media. You can also leverage Wix’s online booking platform to sell services and classes, host public or private events, and manage online orders for delivery or in-store pickup.
You also get access to 975+ pre-built design templates you can use as a starting point for your online store.
All of Wix’s templates are professionally designed, modern, SEO-optimized, and responsive. So, site visitors will have an excellent experience regardless of the device they’re shopping from.
As you get ready to launch, you can utilize Wix’s built-in SEO tools and features to ensure your site appears in search engine results to get the most eyes on your online store and boost sales. There are even social media marketing tools, basic email marketing features, and a logo maker to help you get started building your brand.
Even if you choose the cheapest plan, you still get everything you need to get started. And start growing.
If you need more advanced features, you can easily and seamlessly upgrade to higher tiers within your account dashboard. When you upgrade, there’s no downtime and your site will continue to offer exceptional shopping experiences to your visitors in the meantime.
Some of Wix’s more advanced features include priority customer support, the ability to sell memberships and subscriptions, automated sales tax, shipping discounts, and a built-in customer loyalty program.
Wix offers three ecommerce plans to choose from, including:
- Basic – $23 per month
- Unlimited – $27 per month
- VIP – $49 per month
Pro-tip: we signed up for a free-forever plan and got a 50% off offer for the Unlimited and VIP plans, bringing the price down to $13 per month and $24.50 per month respectively. The offer may not trigger for everyone, but it’s worth a shot if you’re looking at one of those plans.
If you’re just getting started, the Basic plan is probably more than enough. However, you can upgrade as you start to generate more revenue and want to take advantage of more advanced features.
Despite Wix’s advanced functionality on higher tiers, it will definitely feel a bit limiting in terms of design, customization, and flexibility for developers and advanced users.
But it’s an excellent choice for complete beginners and intermediate users looking for an all-around excellent platform that covers all of the ecommerce essentials at an affordable price.
Start your 14-day free trial or sign up for a free-forever plan to see if Wix is right for you today!
#2 – Web.com — The Most Hands-Off Way to Build Your Online Store
Most Hands-Off Solution
Why bother with trying to bend a DIY builder to your will? With Web.com, you can lean on their in-house team of design experts to get a custom ecommerce store that’s professional, elegant, and built to match your brand’s needs, all without having to do any design work yourself.
Getting an ecommerce store up and running can take time. Even with the easiest site builders, there can be a lot of tinkering with product pages, shopping carts, and other aspects until it feels ready for customers.
The easiest paths to creating a quality web store are often the most limited in terms of customization and design, though. But that’s not the case with Web.com.
In fact, they offer two distinct ways to easily build a new online store.
The first is the more common route—using Web.com’s builder to create your own ecommerce site.
It’s a pretty typical WYSIWYG site builder, with drag-and-drop functionality for moving elements around and a solid set of templates to give your new site a good-looking foundation to start from.
If you played around with other DIY site builders in the past, the interface will be familiar. You have a nice sidebar on the left full of page elements, settings, and site management tools.
But let’s say you need a web store yesterday. You don’t have time to get in the sandbox and build one of your own. But you also don’t want your new ecommerce site to look amateurish.
That’s where Web.com rises above the rest. They offer in-house web design to any customer.
You can give the pros at Web.com all the details of your business, products, customer base, and goals, and they’ll deliver a sleek, SEO-friendly, and fully built out web store that your company can deploy right away.
And they’ll do that with clear communication every step of the way, from the initial getting-to-know-you call to learn about your business and strategy, to a welcome call and walkthrough of your newly designed site before it goes live.
Better still, if there are issues with your site or changes you want to make to it, you’ll always have access to Web.com’s designers for fixes and updates. You don’t need to get your hands dirty at any point.
Not only is this great for people who don’t have the time or desire to build their own online store—it’s also fantastic for standing out from the crowd. Despite a wide array of templates available today, it’s easy to feel like you can’t customize a DIY site enough to truly look and feel different.
With Web.com’s ecommerce store design service, you get a completely custom design that matches your branding and grabs the attention of your customers and site visitors.
If you want to go the DIY route, Web.com makes it pretty easy on your wallet. Paying monthly will cost you a bit more than some other options (it’s $3.95 for your first month, but $20 per month after that), but paying annually is a steal. That only runs you $100 for your first year, then $200 annually after that.
Getting a bespoke site designed by the experts at Web.com requires reaching out for a quote and introductory call. And, for a limited time, you can get their professional design service for 50% of its normal rate.
Get the online store you’ve dreamed of with literally no design work on your part. Tap into the expertise of Web.com’s team and get a fantastic ecommerce site designed for you.
#3 – BigCommerce — The Best for Rapid Scaling
Best for Rapid Scaling
Rapid growth can make or break an online store (without the right tools running behind the scenes). But with BigCommerce, you get everything you need and the peace of mind you deserve in an ecommerce builder that scales alongside you, regardless of how fast you grow. Paid plans start at $29.95 per month.
Many ecommerce builders focus specifically on businesses that are small and brand new or already massive. However, BigCommerce focuses on online stores that are somewhere in the middle but looking to grow as fast as possible.
While the entry-level plan is more expensive than something like Wix, you get a lot more functionality and more advanced features to help you prepare your online shop for growth.
For rapid growth, the keys are automation, personalizing the customer experience, and delivering enhanced strategies to attract new customers. BigCommerce combines the powers of all three to help you scale your business as fast as possible.
These three areas are at the core of what this website builder does.
Plus, you can sell across multiple channels—like Facebook and Pinterest—pick your own payment gateway, and avoid transaction fees so you get to keep more of what you sell.
Unlike most other ecommerce website builders, BigCommerce places revenue limits on its plans. The cheapest plan caps out at $50,000 in annual revenue. So, it’s a good place to start but you’ll quickly outgrow it as your shop takes off.
The good news is that you’ll be able to afford a bigger investment once you pass the $50k mark, so it shouldn’t be a major financial burden to upgrade. The second tier caps out at $180k in annual revenue, so you’ll be able to stay on this plan until you’re making enough to justify upgrading again.
Every plan includes unlimited products and unlimited staff accounts, so you can onboard your entire team and every product in your catalog without ever needing to pay extra. You can also connect your store to powerhouse marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay.
One of BigCommerce’s standout features is a single-page checkout process that helps boost conversions.
Most of the builders on our list use a two-page checkout process, meaning potential customers have to go through more steps before completing their purchase. Reducing the number of clicks with a one-page design makes the process easier and can result in more sales.
Customers can pay also using a variety of payment methods, including Apple, Google, and Amazon Pay, making it easy to use their preferred method.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you get essential ecommerce features like discounts and coupons, enterprise-grade reporting tools, product ratings and reviews, a built-in blog, and real-time shipping quotes through various carriers.
When you’re ready for more advanced features, the software scales with you.
On higher tiers, you can take advantage of things like conversion audits, abandoned cart emails, advanced segmentation, and in-depth SEO optimization capabilities to bolster your growth even more.
You also get top-notch customer support with 85% of issues resolved on the first contact.
You can contact them any time, 24/7/365 with questions or for personalized site audits and tailored advice. There’s also a robust community-driven forum and thorough product documentation to help you along the way.
BigCommerce offers four pricing plans, including:
- Standard – $29.95 per month with a $50k annual revenue cap
- Plus – $79.95 per month with a $180k annual revenue cap
- Pro – $299.95 per month with a $400k annual revenue cap
- Enterprise – Custom pricing for those making more than $400k
There are no transaction fees on any plan, which is a boon. And you’re given a lot of room to add users and products to your growing web store.
Sign up for a free 15-day trial to take BigCommerce for a test drive today!
#4 – Zyro — The Best Price for Customer Tracking and Analytics
Best for Customer Analytics
Sporting an incredibly easy site builder, Zyro also includes a bevy of ecommerce tools and features on all of its plans. Get easy integration with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Facebook Ads to get a clearer picture of your customers and improve based on that data. Plus, you get all this at one of the better prices on the market.
Zyro’s best-known virtue is its simplicity as a website builder. That beginner-friendly simplicity holds true for its ecommerce plans as well. With 24 professionally designed templates to choose from and an intuitive drag-and-drop builder, it typically takes less than an hour for most users to get up and running.
Importing products and adding your inventory is likely to take longer than building your store.
While Zyro’s site builder emphasizes ease of use, you get deep marketing, tracking, and targeting capabilities on the back end. In fact, it’s the best price we’ve found for such in-depth analytics.
If you’re serious about getting ahead in ecommerce, you need a deep understanding of how your customers behave, where they’re coming from, and what they’re responding to or ignoring in your marketing.
Zyro’s ecommerce plans make it easy to use in tandem with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Facebook ads, and other re-targeting efforts. With Google and Facebook spilling over with information on who your audience is and what they do on your site, you can fine-tune your efforts based on tangible behavior and data.
With this in hand, you can optimize your store based on what you know about the people visiting your website.
For example, you can rearrange products on your Zyro site based on how things are selling, run a sale if one of your high-ticket items is leading to a lot of abandoned carts, or focus your marketing efforts on the channels that are bringing in real customers.
And just a reminder, this is on top of the incredibly intuitive Zyro builder plus full-fledged inventory and order management baked in.
Plus, Zyro makes it easy to accept payments of all types, from Stripe, PayPal, and traditional credit cards to dozens of other options. Not every ecommerce platform makes online payments this pain-free to implement and use.
Pricing for Zyro’s two ecommerce plans is quite competitive, especially if you have a small selection of products or services to sell.
Their lower-priced Online Store plan allows up to 100 products and comes with everything above. You can get it for a steal if you commit to four years upfront, or still get a good deal by opting for a one-year or two-year commitment.
Zyro’s Advanced Store plan costs a bit more, but you’re allowed up to 2,500 products. You also get product filters for your web store, translation into other languages, and integration with your stores on Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram, among many other helpful features.
Either way, you’re getting a lot of effective tools for building, improving, and marketing your web store for one of the better prices in the category.
Plus, if you ever feel overwhelmed or run into issues, Zyro’s 24/7 customer support is there to help.
Build your ecommerce site on Zyro, get better data on your visitors and customers, and then watch the growth opportunities blossom in front of you.
#5 – Squarespace — The Best for Showcasing & Selling Creative Work
Best for Creatives
Get everything you need to tell your brand story and put your visuals at the forefront of the user experience. Includes dozens of stunning pre-made visual-focused templates, social media marketing tools, and shoppable Instagram posts. Plans start at $18 per month.
If you rely heavily on imagery and branding to help sell your work online, Squarespace is an excellent choice that puts your visuals front and center. Since users can’t interact with what you’re selling, photos, videos, and your website have to do the heavy lifting for you.
It’s built specifically for creative, highly visual websites with dozens of aesthetically pleasing templates ready to go out of the box. Out of all the products we looked at, Squarespace’s templates take the cake.
Most of them require very little editing on your part since they look aesthetically pleasing out of the box. But you can easily customize the template you choose using an intuitive what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor.
It’s 100% drag-and-drop, which makes it easy to set up a visually appealing online portfolio, even if you’ve never built any type of website before.
Changing colors across your entire site takes just a few seconds. So, all you have to do is choose a template, apply your branding, upload your images and videos, set up your product listings, and you’re good to go.
On top of regular products, you can sell premium spots on your calendar for custom work or consultations using the online booking tool.
Another amazing feature is the ability to sell memberships and subscriptions on the advanced ecommerce plan. This is excellent if you plan to sell stock photography subscriptions, digital assets, or other products with recurring revenue.
When you’re ready to start marketing your store, Squarespace delivers various tools to help you get the word out via social media where you can connect with potential customers.
With Squarespace’s social media integrations, you can easily tell your brand story and sell your products directly within the platform. As such, your customers never have to leave the page to buy something from you, making the buying process a breeze.
And if you’re on Instagram, you can use Squarespace to set up shoppable posts so followers can see your offerings with one tap.
Every plan comes with built-in tax tools, the ability to create discounts, gift cards, mobile inventory, and store management, and in-person payments if you sell at pop-up events or art shows as well.
There are three ecommerce-ready plans to choose from, including:
- Business – $18 per month with 3% transaction fees
- Basic Ecommerce – $26 per month with no transaction fees
- Advanced Ecommerce – $40 per month with no transaction fees
There’s also a personal plan for $12 per month, but it doesn’t include commerce functionality or the ability to accept payments.
The Business Plan includes basic functionality and everything you need, but you do have to pay 3% of every transaction. Alternatively, you can opt for the Basic Ecommerce plan to keep more of what you earn and access more advanced features.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial to see if Squarespace is right for you today!
#6 – Shopify — The Best for Anyone Needing Extra Support
Best for Extra Support
Shopify delivers the hands-on 24/7/365 level of pro-level support you deserve. Never worry about building your online store alone, with a robust knowledge base, a massive community forum, and world-class live chat support any time you need it. Paid plans start at just $29 per month and include everything you need.
If you’ve never built a website before, customer support is a key piece in making your site-building process as smooth as possible. Out of all the builders on our list, Shopify stands out with the best 24/7/365 customer support of the bunch. All the reps are knowledgeable, friendly, and always go above and beyond to help.
That paired with a feature-rich platform and a drag-and-drop page builder gives you an easy path to starting and launching your online store, even if you have no prior experience.
There are even numerous free and premium store themes you can use to kickstart the design process.
Without ever touching a line of code, you can have a well-designed online store, complete with shipping, taxes, inventory management, fulfillment, and support for social media sales and in-person sales as well all in one place.
The best part is that you don’t have to do it alone. Whether you have a general business or strategy question or a technical question about the backend of your website, Shopify’s customer service team is ready to help you out any time of day.
You can reach them via live chat 24/7. In our experience, their response time is nearly instant, so you never have to wait around for hours in full-blown panic mode waiting for a response.
On top of world-class support, there’s a massive community forum full of questions and answers from Shopify experts and current customers alike.
You can search through previously asked questions or post one of your own if you can’t find an answer. Within a few hours, most questions get answered so you never have to struggle through building or maintaining your online store by yourself.
And if that isn’t enough, Shopify also has a robust knowledge base full of articles, courses, podcast episodes, and how-to guides written by Shopify itself.
Have a question on how to do something?
There’s probably a guide on it. However, if you can’t figure it out, you can always fall back on reaching out to support.
Aside from support, every Shopify plan comes with the essential features you need. From built-in marketing tools and digital gift cards to shipping discounts, unlimited products, and support for 133 currencies, the platform is packed full of valuable features you’ll need as you launch your online store.
If you need more functionality, there’s an app marketplace with more than 4,000+ free and premium apps designed to extend the capabilities of your online store.
From email marketing and social media integrations to shipping platforms and special discounts, there’s an app for (nearly) everything you can imagine.
There are five plans to choose from, including:
- Lite – $9 per month (only includes an embeddable buy button)
- Basic – $29 per month with essential features
- Shopify – $79 per month with standard features
- Advanced – $299 per month with all features
- Plus – Starts at $2,000 per month for large stores
The Lite plan doesn’t include Shopify’s page builders, so we don’t recommend that unless you already have a website set up elsewhere.
As such, we highly recommend starting with the Basic plan. It’s more than enough for most users just getting started.
While the Basic plan and marketplace apps work perfectly for most users, you can upgrade to a higher tier when you’re ready for more advanced features and functionality.
And as always, the Shopify team is ready any time to walk you through using all of these new capabilities to help you get the most out of your upgrade.
One important consideration to note is that you have to pay additional transaction fees on all plans unless you use Shopify’s built-in payment processor. This won’t be a deal-breaker for most users, but it’s something to think about.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial to take Shopify for a test drive today!
#7 – Weebly — The Best for Small Stores Wanting to Stay Small
Best for Small Stores
Weebly is the simplest site builder on our list, making it perfect for home-based businesses and local shops transitioning to online sales. Easily build your online store with in-person pickups, delivery options, coupons, and more without paying a penny on the free-forever plan.
Weebly is the simplest and easiest ecommerce website builder on our list. That’s a boon for smaller businesses, independent sellers, and local operations that need a no-fuss, no-frills solution to build a web store.
Over the last year, a lot of businesses—especially ones that lean hard on walk-up customers, like restaurants and small retailers—have needed to pivot to online sales because of the global pandemic.
As such, Weebly has become a popular option not only for smaller shops and operations, but for newcomers, latecomers, and those suddenly needing to incorporate ecommerce—and for good reason. In less than an hour, you can list your products, create your online store, and push it to your customers.
It’s incredibly easy to add new products, remove out-of-stock products, push updates, and track your inventory levels without fiddling too much with the platform itself.
There’s no need, then, to waste valuable hours fiddling with your web store to get it to work like you want it to, no matter if you’re leaning heavily on online sales or just using ecommerce as a supplement.
Every Weebly plan (even the free one) comes with a built-in shopping cart, a quick shop option that lets customers check out in a matter of seconds, and automatic tax calculations. You also get unlimited products and in-store or delivery options at checkout.
On top of that, you can create custom coupons, offer digital gift cards, and manage inventory in real-time as customers order.
You can even optimize your website for local SEO and capture leads to grow your email list.
Again, that’s all in the free plan. You get everything you need to set up and run your small store without ever paying a penny.
With that said, you can’t connect a custom domain name with a free account. This may or may not be a deal-breaker for you.
If it is, you can upgrade to a paid plan for just $6 per month.
One thing to be aware of: both the free and Personal ($6/month) plans display Square ads on your website, which isn’t a huge deal if you’re a small, local store or selling products as a hobby.
But, really, they’re very unobtrusive. No pop-ups or in-line ads. It’s just a little light or dark bar (you choose the theme) at the very bottom of your site.
If you decide to upgrade to a higher tier (starting at $12 per month), you can enjoy an ad-free website, plus a free domain name for the first year, no transaction fees, and unlimited storage space.
Weebly’s pricing plans include:
- Free – No monthly fees with a 3% transaction fee
- Personal – $6 per month + a 3% transaction fee
- Professional – $12 per month with no transaction fees
- Performance – $26 per month to access all features
The free and Personal plans are more than enough for smaller stores, so we highly recommend starting there. If you want your own domain and no transaction fees, the Professional plan is going to suit you best.
However, the Performance plan pales in comparison to other providers on our list with regards to the features you get at the price point. If you’re looking for upper-echelon performance, you can find a better package with better overall value elsewhere.
So, we recommend looking elsewhere if you need more than Weebly’s Professional plan offers.
Sign up for a free forever plan to see if Weebly is right for you today!
#8 – Shift4Shop — The Best for Limitless Customization
Best for Limitless Customization
Get the control, flexibility, and scalability you need with Shift4Shop’s truly limitless ecommerce website builder. With various developer tools, a core templating engine, the ability to build custom apps, and customizable checkout pages, you can create a custom buying experience. Did we mention it’s free?
If you’re an experienced website developer or have one on your team, the other options on our list will probably feel extremely limiting because you don’t get a lot of control over how your website looks or functions.
In response to this, Shift4Shop (formerly known as 3DCart) created a truly limitless ecommerce website builder specifically for anyone craving complete control.
Whether you prefer starting from a template and customizing to your heart’s desire or completely coding and developing from scratch, Shift4Shop delivers everything you need to create a truly custom online shopping experience.
When you sign up, you get access to Shift4Shop’s Core Templating Engine which makes building your own custom themes easier than ever before.
You can even use the platform to build a custom mobile app for easy shopping on the go.
With every plan, you get unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited product variants, and a fully functional built-in CRM.
As such, even the cheapest plan offers more than many other high-priced plans and is limitless in terms of the number of products and traffic your online store can have. On top of that, it’s one of the only options on our list that includes an option for bulk discounts.
This is a must-have feature for anyone interested in selling products wholesale as well as directly to consumers (or other businesses).
However, one of Shift4Shop’s standout features is the ability to customize your checkout page.
No other ecommerce website builder we’ve looked at allows this, so it’s an excellent way to streamline the ordering process specifically for your customers.
Even on the cheapest plan, you get complete FTP access, the ability to use REST APIs for a fully integrated experience, and access to Shift4Shop’s team of developers and engineers if you have questions or run into snags.
Recently, the company also revolutionized the way it handles pricing.
Shift4Shop offers a 100% FREE end-to-end ecommerce platform with access to every feature it has to offer. The only caveat is that you have to use the Shift4Shop payment processor and be based in the United States.
With the built-in payment processor, you’ll pay a standard transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30.
If you’re based elsewhere or want to use a different processor, you can also sign up for a standard plan. There are three options to choose from, including:
- Basic – $29 per month for 2 users with essential features (up to $100k/year in sales)
- Plus – $79 per month for 5 users with standard features (up to $250k/year in sales)
- Pro – $299 per month for 15 users and all features (up to $1M/year in sales)
We highly recommend going with the free Shift4Shop plan to get access to all features, including marketing, sales, automation, and more with no limits on user accounts or annual sales.
Sign up for a free-forever account with Shift4Shop today!
Methodology for Choosing the Best Ecommerce Website Builder
You can use any of these ecommerce builders to get the job done. But that doesn’t mean getting it done in a way that’s enjoyable with an end result that you’re proud of.
While they all seem exactly the same on the surface, it’s little—seemingly minute—details that separate one ecommerce platform from the next.
To make your decision easier, we developed a methodology that dives deep into these details to help you narrow things down. The first three criteria will help you pick your top three choices, and the last one will help you land on the best decision for your new online store.
Plan Limitations and Pricing Structure
Ecommerce website builders offer plans with differing limitations depending on the platform you choose. It can get a little confusing.
BigCommerce, for example, limits the amount of annual online sales you can have. The introductory plan only works if you generate less than $50,000 in annual sales.
On the other hand, Squarespace charges 3% transaction fees (on top of processor fees) and removes various features unless you choose an ecommerce-specific plan. But you can have an unlimited number of sales.
Wix only calculates sales tax for your first 100 transactions every month unless you upgrade to a higher plan. You’re also limited to 1,000 product reviews.
Still others may limit the number of products you’re allowed to list (like Zyro) or how many users can access your account. There are dozens of discrete limitations on every plan that vary from platform to platform, so be sure to read through everything before you decide.
When you’re just starting, these limitations may seem irrelevant. But, it’s important to choose a platform that delivers the flexibility you need as your business grows.
Try to think about the more advanced features you may need down the road, like customizable checkout pages, abandoned cart recovery emails, and loyalty programs.
Make sure you understand the cost of accessing those features when you’re ready for them.
Most platforms also offer add-ons, plugins, or apps that extend the functionality of your online store. Some are available for free, while others cost extra.
So, don’t forget to think about those extra costs as you estimate your monthly payments and decide which platform is a good fit for you.
Shopify charges 2% on the introductory plan, 1% on the midgrade plan, and 0.5% on its enterprise plan.
So, even at the highest level, you’re still stuck paying extra fees unless you use Shopify’s built-in payment processor (instead of PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.). It can be a huge negative, especially if you start negotiating discounted processing fees as you grow.
You’re either stuck paying extra forever or using Shopify’s payment processor instead.
Weebly charges an extra 3% unless you’re on its Professional plan, which starts at $12 per month, or higher.
Your Site-Building Skill Level
There’s a lot that goes into building websites from scratch. The last thing you want is a tech-madness nightmare adding even more stress to your plate, so it’s crucial to choose an option that matches your skill level.
They’re all beginner-friendly, featuring drag-and-drop editors and plenty of room to grow into more advanced ecommerce capabilities when you’re ready.
Or, better yet, employ Web.com‘s in-house design services and never have to lift a finger at all.
Shopify is also a strong contender for beginners, but it’ll take complete novices longer to get used to. It’s not necessarily difficult to learn; it’s just packed full of ecommerce features that may feel overwhelming if you’re just starting out.
That’s not to say you can’t use them if you’ve never built a website, but you’ll struggle a lot more than you need to if you go this route.
Both BigCommerce and Shift4Shop are more customizable, flexible, and developer-friendly than platforms built for beginners. If that’s something that excites you, it may be worth the extra time investment to learn how to use them.
Aside from skill level, each platform comes with various tools to help make your life easier, like Wix’s advanced design intelligence (ADI) tool, pre-built templates, and training materials.
If you want to get started as fast as possible, pre-built templates are going to be your best friend. So, take some time to explore the different templates available with each option you’re considering.
Do they look professional? Does it do everything you want it to, or will you have to hire a developer or designer to customize it for you? Do you actually like any of the designs?
If not, you’re going to have to do more work to build an online store that you’re happy with, which means spending more time and potentially more money than you originally planned.
Tech Support and Platform Policies
If you’re looking for an ecommerce website builder with top-notch tech and customer support, we highly recommend Shopify.
It outshines every other option on this list and its support team is usually timely, friendly, and knowledgeable. We’ve never had to wait more than a few hours to get a response.
Aside from Shopify, most ecommerce website builders are notorious for awful customer service and tech support. That’s not necessarily something you want to hear. But the good news is that they’re sufficient for most users.
Even for complete beginners.
Most of the problems you face can be solved using community forums, on-demand training manuals, implementation guides, and video tutorials. So, odds are you probably won’t have to contact them at all.
The most significant issues we’ve seen revolve around confusing cancellation and refund policies. So, the quality of support is okay—it’s the policies that aren’t so great.
A lot of users forget to turn off auto-renew, for example. They’re later faced with an unexpected charge when that renewal period comes around. To make matters worse, most platforms have policies stating that mistakes like this don’t qualify for a refund.
Other users forget to cancel their free trial before it expires and can’t get a refund because there’s a policy written (somewhere) about this exact situation.
The best way to avoid snafus like these is to read the fine print before making your final decision. Each platform is unique and has different policies in place. It’s up to you to make sure you understand them before signing up.
In terms of support quality, most support teams will get back to you… eventually. The main issue is how long it takes for them to respond, especially with builders claiming to offer live 24/7 support.
From our experience, 24/7 support means you can contact them at any time but it doesn’t guarantee a timely response.
You may have to suffer through 17 exhaustive phone menus only to realize you can’t talk to an actual person.
Or you may be connected to six different people before finally reaching someone who can help.
As such, we highly recommend reaching out to each platform you’re considering through various support channels, like live chat, phone, and email. Make a note of how long it takes to get a reply and the quality of their response.
This and customer reviews are often the only indicator of what support is like as a customer.
Find the UI You Personally Like the Most
We found that most people make their final decision based on their experience with the platform’s user interface.
Someone starting a side hustle may enjoy Weebly because it’s affordable and straightforward. But, an experienced business owner may feel restricted with Weebly and instead enjoy Shift4Shop because it offers the best in terms of flexibility and control.
The only way to find out what you like is by trying them out. So, we highly recommend using the first three criteria to narrow things down to your top three—or fewer—options. From there, you can sign up for a free trial or a free-forever plan to play around with them.
Start by building out two or three of your pages to get a feel for each site editor.
Then, add some products, design your home page, and play with several design templates to see how things work across your entire website.
During the process, pay close attention to your gut feeling. Does the structure make sense to you? Are you comfortable making small changes and regularly adding or updating product listings?
Or are you frustrated within the first ten minutes of trying to add your first product? Do you feel restricted or limited in what you’re allowed to do on the platform? Do the same for all of your top choices. If any of them feel frustrating, restricting, or overly burdensome for no reason, cross them off your list. Doing so will help narrow things down to the best ecommerce website builder for you.
Best for Most
Wix delivers everything you need in an ecommerce website builder, making the process as easy as possible. Includes a drag-and-drop builder, unlimited products, 700+ free starter templates, built-in SEO tools, integrated web hosting, and commission-free sales. Ecommerce plans start at $23 per month.
Building the Perfect Ecommerce Website
When it comes to growing your business these days, you have to have an online presence.
Even traditional brick-and-mortar stores should have a way to answer customer questions, provide valuable business info, and give users the option to shop online.
Using one of the best ecommerce website builders, you can create a store that appeals to customers and shows off your product catalog, all with a design that’s easy to use.
For most users, we recommend Wix. However, be sure to use the criteria we talked about as you go through the process of finding the right builder for your new ecommerce store.