11 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Your Business in 2024 - Shopify (2024)

Running an ecommerce business is exciting. You get to choose your business name, create a logo, and build a website to share your products with the world.

But—while it’s easy to get wrapped up in your to-do list, it’s also important to think about where your business is heading. What tools will you need in the future?

This guide compares the top 11 ecommerce platforms for starting an online business. Take a look at the features, price plans, and user reviews of these popular software products, and consider your entire business plan as you review each platform.

What is an ecommerce platform?

An ecommerce platform contains software for building and running an online store, and performing other retail tasks such as marketing, inventory management, and payment processing.

The best ecommerce platforms allow merchants to design unique websites and manage their businesses as they grow and evolve.

Here’s an overview of the 11 best ecommerce platforms for 2024 to help you make the right choice for your customers.

The 11 best ecommerce platforms

  1. Shopify
  2. Wix
  3. BigCommerce
  4. Adobe Commerce
  5. WooCommerce
  6. Squarespace
  7. Big Cartel
  8. Square Online
  9. Shift4Shop
  10. Volusion
  11. OpenCart

1. Shopify

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Shopify is theleading platform for ecommerce. Its self-hosted software helps you sell everywhere your customers are, with features to handle all aspects of retail—from website design to fast shipping.

Shopify merchants have a complete overview of activities from a single back office. You can focus on optimizing your online store, expand your reach by selling on social media, or try out popular sales models like dropshipping.

When your brand grows, Shopify will maximize your selling potential. Shopify has the best-converting checkout on the internet, while Shopify POS makes it simple to serve customers in person and sync orders back to your dashboard.

If you’re trying out a new business idea, Shopify’sfree trial is a great starting point. Choose from over 100 themes to build your store with no learning curve. After that, target your first sale with one month of Shopify for $1.

Need more helpful ecommerce features?

  • Manage inventory and get products into customers’ hands with Shopify Fulfillment.
  • Generate product descriptions and chat with shoppers using Shopify’s AI assistant.
  • Handle international currencies, taxes, and shipping with global sales tools.
  • Capture hesitant buyers with abandoned cart recovery and email marketing campaigns.
  • Fulfill orders on the move using Shopify’s mobile app.
  • Evolve your store with thousands of third-party apps from the Shopify App Store.

With Shopify, you can start an ecommerce website on your couch and grow until you’re an international brand with a brick-and-mortar storefront. You wouldn’t be the first Shopify merchant to do so.

Price: $29 per month when paid annually.

Integrated sales channels: Facebook, Instagram, Google, Walmart Marketplace, eBay, and Amazon.

Mobile app features: Suite of mobile tools to fully manage your online business.

POS: Yes.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.4

2. Wix

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Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder with customizable templates, web hosting, and domain name registration. You can build a basic website for free, but you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to use the ecommerce features.

For ecommerce merchants, Wix will accept online payments, track orders, and help you manage orders from multiple channels.

However, Wix lacks features that many product-based businesses need. For example, there are no built-in low-stock alerts, and other key inventory management features are missing. To get those features and the ability to sell through social media, you’ll need to use third-party apps. Learn how Wix compares to Shopify.

Pros:

  • Fully hosted
  • Free basic plan

Cons:

  • Tracking and analytics require a paid plan
  • Sites aren’t transferable
  • Lack of inventory management features

Price: Business Basic plan starts at $27 per month when paid annually.

Integrated sales channels: Facebook and Instagram require third-party app Ecwid.

Mobile app features: The ability to manage your website, though it lacks key business tools like inventory management and requires a separate app to use mobile POS.

Point-of-sale: Yes.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.2

3. BigCommerce

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BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform used by enterprise-level companies. Like Shopify and Wix, it offers web hosting and customization options for your ecommerce store, as well as tools for international selling, SEO, and listing products on marketplaces.

Because BigCommerce is built for bigger businesses, however, some merchants feel it lacks simplicity and flexibility.

The need for an easy, flexible interface was a major factor in clothing brand Grace & Lace’s decision to migrate from the platform. It moved toShopify’s enterprise solution to take advantage of the merchant-centric ecosystem.

Pros:

  • Fully hosted
  • Management tools for big businesses

Cons:

  • No native POS
  • Expensive themes
  • Some merchants find design tools lack user-friendliness

Price: Plans start at $29 per month when paid annually.

Integrated sales channels: Google Shopping, Facebook, price comparison engines, eBay, Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, and Instagram.

Mobile app features: View analytics, update orders, manage inventory and products, and search for customers; some features are Android-only.

Point-of-sale: Yes.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.2/5

4. Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento)

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Adobe Commerce is a non-hosted ecommerce platform made for developers. It offers flexibility for brands that want a bespoke website setup but users likely will need an in-house developer to maintain their site and get the most from the platform.

Adobe Commerce also lacks out-of-the-box tools to create a seamless multichannel strategy. There isn’t an easy way to turn on social commerce or marketplace selling—the same goes for handling international transactions.

Ecommerce kids’ apparel business Character.com wrestled with a complex Adobe Commerce site before migrating to Shopify. Its website contained thousands of products and tons of integrations, making content management exhausting. After moving to Shopify, Character.com conversions increased by 40%.

Pros:

  • Supports custom store designs

Cons:

  • Hosting not included
  • Requires technical knowledge
  • Lacking out-of-the-box tools

Price: Custom pricing only.

Integrated sales channels: Amazon.

Mobile app features: No.

Point-of-sale: Third-party extensions available.

G2 rating ⭐: 4/5

5. WooCommerce

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Rather than a standalone ecommerce platform, WooCommerce is a free, open-source plug-in for blogging platform WordPress. It converts a content-driven WordPress website into a store, complete with product listings, shopping cart and, checkout, for users who want to sell online.

With additional paid extensions, you can use WooCommerce to create an advanced ecommerce website, including customizable themes, shipping, security, and other standard features. There are both native WooCommerce and third-party extensions available.

While some merchants appreciate this ability to choose the features they want, many find WooCommerce’s add-on structure to be a disadvantage. With different functions of your store spread across a web of plug-ins and extensions, it can be hard to keep track of exactly how much you’re paying—and that’s aside from the cost of hosting and maintaining your WordPress website.

💡 WordPress user? Monetize your website with the Shopify Buy Button. Embed the button and start selling for only $5 per month.

Pros:

  • More than 6,000 integrations
  • Active expert community

Cons:

  • For WordPress websites only
  • Self-hosted
  • Requires merchants to manage multiple costs and plug-ins

Price: Free basic plug-in (additional commerce features and website hosting extra).

Integrated sales channels: Google Shopping, Etsy, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, and Walmart; integrations are disjointed.

Mobile app features: Add products, manage orders, and view analytics.

Point-of-sale: Native POS available.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.4/5

6. Squarespace

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Like Wix, Squarespace is a drag-and-drop website builder that offers features for ecommerce stores when you upgrade to a higher-priced plan.

Once you’ve upgraded, you can convert your website to an online store and add a checkout that accepts payments through Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Afterpay. There are also inventory tracking and management features, such as the ability to print shipping labels—plus the option to sell subscription products.

If you run a Squarespace website and don’t want to upgrade to the commerce plan, you can add a Shopify Buy Button to your site for just $5 per month. You’ll get a small piece of embeddable code for the button, and the ability to sell an unlimited number of products through Shopify’s secure checkout with more than 100 payment gateways.

Pros:

  • Professionally designed templates
  • No transaction fees

Cons:

  • Not an ecommerce-focused platform
  • Limited multichannel sales support
  • It is hard to override theme CSS and HTML

Price: Basic Commerce plan starts at $27 per month when paid annually.

Integrated sales channels: Shopping Feed extension to sell unlimited products on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Google Actions.

Mobile app features: Website editing, shipping label scanning, order management, inventory management, and customer communication.

POS: Available via mobile app.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.4/5

7. Big Cartel

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Big Cartel is a fully hosted ecommerce platform and website builder for makers and artists. It has a basic free plan with a customizable theme, payment processing, and real-time sales tracking.

While Big Cartel’s free plan offers more features than other free options in this list, its paid plans can be limiting. Merchants can add only five images per product listing, and few payment gateways are supported.

Big Cartel’s pricing is based on how many products you list, so your expenses will increase as your business grows.

Pros:

  • Free to set up and start selling
  • Designed for artists and creatives

Cons:

  • Low levels of customization
  • Lacks advanced ecommerce features
  • Extra costs for larger inventory

Price: List and sell up to five products for free. Paid plans start at $9.99 per month.

Integrated sales channels: No.

Mobile app features: Store analytics, adding/editing products, tracking order shipping, managing discounts, and printing packing slips.

Point-of-sale: Requires third-party integration.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.2/5

8. Square Online

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Square Online (formerly Weebly) is a simple ecommerce platform for small businesses. It allows merchants to connect online and in-store sales via Square’s payment processing solutions.

You can build a store with Square Online for free. However, you can’t use your own domain name or remove in-app ads until you upgrade to the paid ecommerce plan.

Pros:

  • Mobile-first store designs
  • Extensive free version

Cons:

  • Lacks advanced ecommerce features
  • Primarily for Square Payments users

Price: Free option. Paid plans start at $29 per month when paid annually.

Integrated sales channels: No.

Mobile app features: Drag-and-drop builder, order fulfillment, inventory management, payments, analytics.

Point-of-sale: Integrated Square POS.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.1/5

9. Shift4Shop

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Shift4Shop is a simple tool for creating an online store. It’s not packed with features, but it’s easy to set up and works well for mobile users. The platform also lets you link your store with other applications using its API.

If you handle at least $500 each month using Shift4Shop’s own payment system, you won’t have to pay extra to use the ecommerce platform. However, if your earnings are less, or if you want to use PayPal for handling payments, plans start at $29 per month.

Pros:

  • Extensive shopping cart solution
  • Ecommerce builder is free for existing Shift4Shop checkout users

Cons:

  • Harder to personalize your store than with Shopify
  • Lack of advanced commerce features

Price: Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Integrated sales channels: eBay, Amazon, Facebook.

Mobile app features: No.

Point-of-sale: Available for purchase.

G2 rating ⭐: 3.9/5

10. Volusion

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Volusion is one of the oldest ecommerce platforms around. Launched in 1999, it helps small businesses get online, with no frills. You can create a homepage and product pages, plus integrate with more than 30 payment gateways.

With Volusion, there is no free plan, and you can’t sell digital products. So, if you want to sell ebooks or music, you’ll need another ecommerce solution.

Pros:

  • 24/7 support
  • User-friendly website builder

Cons:

  • Restricted features with the basic plan, which is still expensive
  • Plans have limits for sales volume and product listings
  • No free SSL security
  • No support for digital product listings

Price: Plans start at $31.50 per month, when paid annually.

Integrated sales channels: No.

Mobile app features: No.

Point-of-sale: Available as an add-on.

G2 rating ⭐: 3.2/5

11. OpenCart

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OpenCart is a free, open-source ecommerce platform that’s simple to set up. The platform lets you create and manage multiple stores, with a dashboard that shows important metrics like sales and repeat customers.

OpenCart has more than 13,000 modules and free themes that you can build on to create your own website, along with plenty of integrations to connect your tools.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source

Cons:

  • Limited marketing and sales features
  • Self-hosted

Price: Free.

Integrated sales channels: No.

Mobile app features: Varies.

Point-of-sale: Yes.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.3/5

What types of ecommerce platforms are there?

To make your online store accessible to the public, you have to have a hosting solution. Hosting stores your information on a server, which lets internet users visit your site and view all of the content.

Every website is hosted somewhere, meaning it has dedicated server space from a provider. Some ecommerce platforms have hosting built in, while others require self-hosting or open-source hosting.

Hosted (cloud)

Some website builders offer a hosted platform. In this case, you don’t need to worry about the mess of self or third-party hosting and the additional fees attached. Shopify stores, for example, include website hosting in every plan.

All Shopify updates are automatic and hassle-free, so your site will always be up to date. Building on a hosted ecommerce platform gives you more freedom to focus on running your business—not on putting out fires caused by downtime and the need to fix bugs.

Self-hosted

Self-hosted or non-hosted ecommerce platforms require merchants to use their own server space or pay to rent space from a hosting provider. This complicates website management, as you’re responsible for updates, maintenance, and bug fixes. Self-hosting requires a larger allocation of internal resources, which you might otherwise allocate elsewhere.

Self-hosted platforms are typically open source, and you use a third party to host your website data. Third-party sourcing options charge fees for their services, which quickly add up. These hosting services often use tiered pricing structures, so those on the lowest plans don’t get much in the way of customer support. This can leave you hanging at important times, like traffic boosts after unexpected press coverage.

What are the benefits of self-hosted vs. cloud-hosted?

Self-hosted ecommerce platforms offer a high level of customization and control. Since you’re arranging the hosting of your website, you have the freedom to switch servers, modify code, and create a bespoke online store setup.

However, this comes with the responsibility of managing hosting. You’ll need to ensure customer information is safe and secure, and deal with any technical issues that arise.

These key elements of ecommerce platform management are handled with a cloud-hosted solution. Built-in security measures and automatic updates ensure your online store is always running on the latest software.

Choosing an ecommerce platform: Features checklist

If you’ve started a business and are ready to choose which ecommerce platform is best for you, there are several considerations. The best ecommerce software for you might differ from the best platform for another merchant—you need to consider your unique business needs and goals.

When evaluating your choices, set aside time to evaluate these features in particular:

  • Safe, reliable checkout and payment gateways
  • Online and offline selling options
  • Hosting environment
  • Inventory management and shipping
  • Marketing and customer growth tools
  • Security features
  • Business and financial management features
  • Support

Safe, reliable checkout and payment gateways

Checkout is a core component of your ecommerce site. You need a protected and dependable way to accept payments, while ensuring the process is quick and painless for shoppers. Shop Pay, for instance, increases checkout speed by four times. Shopify also offers simple integrations with more than 100 payment gateways, so you can offer the most relevant payment options for your audience, no matter where they are in the world.

Plus, it’s extra important to instill trust at this stage, so you’ll want to accommodate familiar payment methods like mobile wallets and PayPal. These known platforms can make customers more comfortable providing payment information and make their checkout process more straightforward at the same time.

Online and offline selling options

A good ecommerce platform should seamlessly integrate your online and offline sales channels. This means having a physical point-of-sale (POS) system that syncs with your online store.

Also, consider the types of POS devices available. Does the platform make its own POS hardware, or will you need to use a third party? Are there convenient options for handling transactions at a pop-up event, market stall, or via your mobile phone?

Hosting environment

Your domain host will affect the cost, performance, and security of your ecommerce website. A reliable hosting provider ensures your website is always accessible, loads quickly, and is protected from cyber threats.

Some ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, include hosting. Self-hosting your website brings the potential for increased control and customization but also increases the risk of security and technical issues.

Inventory management and shipping

If you’re serious about selling, it makes sense to pick an ecommerce platform that will help you track stock levels, manage suppliers, and automate reordering processes.

Find a platform with robust shipping options, including the ability to integrate with courier services, offer different shipping options to customers, and handle returns.

Marketing and customer growth tools

SEO tools, email marketing tools, social media integration, and customer review functionality will help you develop an ongoing marketing strategy.

No matter your niche, you’ll need to invest time in promoting your online store and building your brand—and the right ecommerce platform will help you out. Look for advanced features like loyalty programs, personalized recommendations, and customer segmentation.

Security features

Security is paramount in ecommerce. Your platform should provide robust security features to protect your business’s and your customers’ data. This includes SSL certificates, two-factor authentication, and compliance with PCI DSS standards for secure payment processing.

Business and financial management features

The right ecommerce platform will also offer features to help you manage your business and finances. This includes sales reporting and analytics, tax calculation, and integration with accounting software.

Support

Finally, consider the level of customer support provided by the ecommerce platform. Look for platforms that offer 24/7 support through multiple channels, including phone support, email, and live chat.

Self-help resources, such as tutorials and knowledge-base articles, are also great for quick fixes.

Bonus: Look for a platform that consistently invests in technology and stays ahead of the curve in commerce. Your website builder can become more than just a platform where you do business—it can be a vehicle for growth.

Choosing an ecommerce platform: Business needs

Beyond ecommerce solutions and platform features, you must also consider your business needs. Consider these aspects of your current situation and future goals:

Know your costs

While budget shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, it’s certainly important. You can get started for as little as $100. Still, you’ll likely put more than that into your startup business before you begin recuperating your investments, especially upfront.

According to Shopify research, most small business owners spend about $40,000 during their first year—and only 9% of that goes to online business needs (though Shopify merchants spent an average of $38,000, while non-Shopify merchants came in closer to $41,000). And when you have a platform that supports your business needs, you can make the money back or offset it with your profit margins.

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With so many other aspects of your business to fund, it’s essential you find an ecommerce platform that won’t suck your budget dry but still has the features you need to operate your business and make a profit.

When evaluating costs, look at more than just the setup and monthly fees. You’ll also want to account for payment processing fees, charges for adding integrations, and potential fees for customer support (PrestaShop, for instance). Remember, if hosting isn’t included, you’ll also need to figure that in as an added expense.

Find a good fit for your business model

Selling online takes many forms. You might sell tangible products or digital products, and other business models have emerged as well. If you dropship, for example, you’ll want an ecommerce platform that can easily connect in the back end to streamline operations.

A platform like Shopify has tons of apps you can add to your site to make selling easier for different business models. There are apps for print-on-demand and subscription businesses, for example, that make it easier to run on Shopify than other platforms.

Consider your future business plans

While your business might have humble beginnings, you likely have a vision for where you want to take it in the future. These goals are important to think about, even if you don’t plan to become a global brand.

You might also want to add physical retail to your business. With a limited ecommerce platform, POS integrations may be cumbersome. You risk having inaccurate inventory data due to disjointed online and in-person systems.

With a platform like Shopify, everything is tracked and synced in a single place. So you’ll have accurate inventory and sales data at any time—and you can be up and running for in-person sales in minutes. And you can also add services like local delivery and take advantage of the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

Many businesses need additional funding down the line. According to our analysis, as many as two-thirds of entrepreneurs pull from personal savings to fund their business in the early stages, as many as 23% borrow from friends and family, and 21% use personal loans.

However, other business funding options pose less risk to personal relationships. Look for ecommerce platforms that provide assistance to merchants, like Shopify Capital small business lending.

Start selling online with Shopify

While comparing ecommerce platforms, remember the goal isn't to find the best overall, but the one that best suits your needs and provides an effortless online shopping experience for your customers.

Consider not just the store builder, but also the additional business tools offered. A cohesive ecosystem, including your online store, payments provider, POS, and business lender, can be advantageous. Shopify, for instance, provides a comprehensive suite of tools to manage your business and an App Store with over 4,000 apps for customization.

With Shopify, selling online via your own ecommerce website is now simpler, quicker, and more scalable, allowing you to reach customers online, in-person, and everywhere in between.

Compare ecommerce platforms

  • Shopify vs. BigCommerce
  • Shopify vs. Commerce Cloud
  • Shopify vs. Lightspeed
  • Shopify vs. Adobe Commerce
  • Shopify vs. Prestashop
  • Shopify vs. Squarespace
  • Shopify vs. Webflow
  • Shopify vs. Wix
  • Shopify vs. WooCommerce
  • Shopify vs. WordPress

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Ecommerce platforms FAQ

What are the most popular ecommerce platforms?

  1. Shopify
  2. BigCommerce
  3. Wix
  4. Squarespace
  5. WooCommerce
  6. OpenCart
  7. Big Cartel
  8. Volusion

Is Amazon an ecommerce platform?

Amazon is the largest online marketplace, used by individuals and businesses in many countries and languages. Amazon is not an ecommerce platform. You can set up your own online store and run a business with Shopify. With Amazon, you are just a seller in a marketplace.

Which ecommerce platform is best for startups?

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for startups, due to its ease of use, affordable pricing, and robust features. It offers customizable templates, secure payment processing, and integrations with popular apps. Plus, it has a user-friendly interface and excellent customer support.

11 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Your Business in 2024 - Shopify (2024)
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