Top 5 Best eCommerce Platforms Reviewed & Compared 2021
Are you in search of a reliable and user-friendly eCommerce platform for your digital store? If yes, you have come to the right place. For entrepreneurs who are starting their business as an online project, it is crucial to choose the best eCommerce platform. Without it, a digital shop can not make it to the top at a desirable pace. Business owners should make these decisions wisely, as they have a long-term effect on the growth and success of any online venture.
As there are several variables to consider, the question “what is the best eCommerce platform?’ is haunting for a beginner in the industry. For your ease and convenience, here is a guide that will help you in choosing the most ideal eCommerce platform that will cater to your business most efficiently. To get your hands on a complimentary medium that will boost the sales of your online shop and assist in targeting the right audience, there are a few characteristics and features that are imperative to consider. If you want to know more about how an eCommerce platform can help you climb up the ladder of success faster and which one you should choose to make that happen, continue reading.
The Top Five eCommerce platforms in 2021
Here are the top five eCommerce platform that every beginner in the digital business sector should know about:
- Wix eCommerce
Other eCommerce platforms
Due to the prevalence of modern technology, you can now enjoy a variety of eCommerce platforms. Apart from Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, and Wix, here are a few other eCommerce platforms that everybody should know about:
- Jimdo, LemonStand, Volusion, OpenCart, osCommerce, Spark Pay, 3dcart, Big Cartel, Squarespace, Selz, Gumroad, Storenvy, Weebly, E-junkie, SendOwl, Ecwid, X-Cart, PrestaShop, FoxyCart, ZenCart, MoonFruit.
These are listed by taking several factors in regard including overall reputation, pricing, ease of use, features, customer service, and popularity. The below guide will discuss the aforementioned best five eCommerce platforms according to these factors, which will help you decide which one will complement the nature of your business the most.
When it comes to popularity, Shopify is the first eCommerce platform that crosses the mind. In reality, the actual competitor that is making the most noise in the market is WooCommerce.
According to the BuiltWith.com data, WooCommerce boasts a market overall share of ~25% across the entire web. However, that does not mean that it is perhaps the best eCommerce platform among all, as things are not that plain in the online industry.
Regardless of the mentioned fact above, popularity does not only depend on the market share. According to Google Trends which has some interesting facts to show, over the past five years, Spotify owns the crown, and WooCommerce is fighting for the second position with Magento. Their battle is almost neck-to-neck in Google”s metric of “interest over time”
If you take a glance at the stats Google Trends has to offer, you will notice that most of the space belonging to eCommerce has been greatly dominated by Magento for a good five years this decade. Around 2014, Spotify managed to overtake the position, which was followed by WooCommerce that pulled ahead of Magento in 2017.
So what do the stats from Google Trends mean? The thing with Google is that it only analyses the “interest over time” metric, which determines the search term popularity. That means you can only figure out how many times people are searching for something. So it does not tell what happens after the user gets the result.
As Google Trends tells how popular the idea of something is on the search engines, it makes sense that Shopify tops the list in the stats. The reason why it is so globally known is because of its smart marketing strategy. Shopify promotes its services on multiple platforms. As a result, more and more people get exposed to the branding, which lures them into searching about Shopify on the web. However, it does not mean that Shopify is indeed the only best eCommerce platform in the world.
When one talks about eCommerce platforms, the features they offer define how useful the medium can be for business owners. You can always check what each of these eCommerce provides by going through their website once, as it is always a good idea to take a glance at their services. Once you do that, you will immediately notice that almost every eCommerce platform is offering the basic features – elements that are crucial for every emerging online store.
|Subscription-based service.||Standalone software (needs to be installed on a web server).||Standalone software + subscription-based service.||Subscription-based service.||Subscription-based service.|
|A subdomain and hosting space for your eCommerce store included + you can hook up your own domain name.||It’s part of your existing WordPress website, and it’s deeply integrated with it.||A subdomain and hosting space for your eCommerce store included + you can hook up your own domain name.||A subdomain and hosting space for your eCommerce store included + you can hook up your own domain name.||A subdomain and hosting space for your eCommerce store included + a free custom domain name (or connect your own)|
|Product management features.||Product management features.||Product management features.||Product management features.||Product management features.|
|Order management features.||Order management features.||Order management features (+ shipping charges).||Order management features.||Order management features.|
|Multiple payment gateways.||Multiple payment gateways.||Multiple payment gateways.||Multiple payment gateways.||Multiple payment gateways.|
|Basic customer management.||Customer management only via third-party plugins.||Customer management through customer groups and others.||Basic customer management.||Basic customer management.|
|100+ professional themes, plus hundreds more third-party.||Thousands of themes available on the web (free and paid).||Some themes are available on the web.||100+ professional themes.||500+ professional templates.|
|Mobile-friendly + you can edit HTML and CSS directly.||Mobile-friendly to the extent made available by the theme.||Mobile-optimized structure.||Mobile-friendly.||Mobile-friendly.|
|Unlimited bandwidth.||Bandwidth depends on the host.||Bandwidth depends on the host.||Unlimited bandwidth.||Unlimited bandwidth.|
|Good reports on sales and store activity.||Good reports on sales and store activity.||Advanced and in-depth reports on sales and store activity.||Great analytics module, with reports, purchase funnels, abandoned carts stats, and much more.||Okay, reports on sales and store activity.|
|Discounts, gift cards, and coupon codes.||Discounts and coupon codes.||Discounts and coupon codes.||Discounts and coupon codes.||Discounts and coupon codes.|
|Different sales channels, including Point of Sale, Facebook module, simple buy button, and others.||Thousands of extensions available.||More than 5,000 extensions available.||Let’s you sell in person with Square, and also sell on marketplaces and social platforms.||Hundreds of Wix apps available.|
|Thousands of Shopify apps available.||Built-in multilingual support. Newsletter features. API is available.||Built-in dropshipping via Modalyst|
As the experts say, “the devil is in the details,” so whenever you are selecting the best eCommerce platform for your business, it is imperative to give importance to elements that are particularly niche in nature, but can boost your venture’s sales and customer base at an exceptional pace. While it is true that if you start listing these factors, it is going to take substantial time, but it is critical to do your research and conduct an in-depth comparison after you have enough insight into the platform’s functionality.
For example, Shopify features an excellent POS ( point of sale) system that lets the user showcase their products and sell them on the go or assort them in their physical/brick-and-mortar store without the implication of any extra eCommerce machinery, such as external cash registers, etc. If you choose Shopify, you can dramatically decrease the overall costs of running a shop in the long term.
Considering this, many entrepreneurs, especially the fresh ones, would prefer Shopify as their eCommerce platform.
|10 / 10||9.5 / 10||9.5 / 10||9.5 / 10||8.5 / 10|
It is an excellent medium that is providing every feature that a business owner dreams of for running a digital store successfully. The bottom line is, if features are the primary priority for you as an entrepreneur, Shopify can be your go-to eCommerce platform. Simply, you can call it the only player that can cater to any shop’s online and offline needs both pretty efficiently.
3. Diversity in Designs
The next thing after features that an online store hugely depends on is design customisation. Many might think that a platform that offers several ready-made designs is enough for a digital store’s success. However, that is not true. When you are choosing an eCommerce platform, you should always gauge the overall ability of the medium to accommodate and allow adjustments and customisation when the user is working on the final look of the store.
a)Designs in Shopify
The most impressive thing about Shopify is the availability of modern-looking and striking designs. These diverse options can cater to any niche or type of store. However, there is one major downside. Recently, Shopify has been cutting down on the number of free themes. Initially, there were more in number, but now you have to pay to enjoy a variety of different layouts and designs. The price range varies from $160-$180 apiece.
b)Designs in WooCommerce
In case you do not know that already, WooCommers is a drop shipping WordPress plugin, which helps users in adding their content, product listings, and other such important elements with the help of a convenient and feature-rich dashboard. In fact, you can call WooCommerce the best eCommerce platform for dropshipping without a single doubt. If you already have a working WordPress website, it is less work for you to manage your online shop, as you get the liberty to use many creative themes. However, there are a few shortcomings of this medium as well. Sometimes, it gets difficult to fit different areas of the store together. Due to that, you might be forced to alter the entire theme of your shop so every piece can complement each other, which does not sound very convenient.
c)Designs in Magneto
Magneto might be a strong competitor in other departments, but when it comes to designing, it is not that popular among online business owners. The first fallout of the platform is that it does not offer any personalised themes of its own, which means the users only get to use the main software. As a result, they have to contact the third party to get the work done. Two of the most famous Magneto design sources are ThemeForest and the Magneto Connect community. They offer an entire Magneto section there where you can get inspiration for the designs of your online store.
d)Designs in BigCommerce
If you are a fan of Shopify’s design, you will surely like the approach of BigCommerce as well, as they are quite similar to each other. If you choose BigCommerce as your eCommerce platform, you can enjoy a range of compact and well-designed themes that have a distinct character. All you have to do is make the right adjustments and you will have a shop ready in no time. This platform allows the user to use both paid and free themes. The only bad news is, the free theme section is even more limited than Shopify’s.
e)Designs in Wix eCommerce
Wix offers around 500 plus ready-made templates that users can use. However, you will only find 100 relevant designs that can complement the stores that demand a more eCommerce optimised look. Despite that, people can take advantage of a non-eCommerce theme layout by adding more functionality to them. The good thing about Wix is that you can find a lot more variety in their eCommerce dedicated themes. For instance, you can get your hands on various niche templates for makeup, technology, T-shirts, and so on.
|9 / 10||10 / 10||9 / 10||7 / 10||9 / 10|
4. Customer Support
If you think running an eCommerce store is much easier than a brick-and-mortar store, you are wrong. It is a universal fact that a business can only run if its customers are happy and satisfied. That is why you should always consider the element of customer support when you are choosing an eCommerce platform for your venture. For instance, WooCommerce might be hailed as one of the best free eCommerce platforms, but as it is not a paid medium, there is no supported source for WooCommerce. For that, the user has to make use of other means.
a)Customer Support with Shopify
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that offers 24/7 customer support. However, there are also other ways you can get in touch with its team when there is a need. These options include:
- Live chat
Other than that, it also provides detailed information about their website so any user can help themselves if they are struggling with something. Additionally, if you are using tools that do not officially belong to Shopify, for example, third-party apps or themes, in that case, you will need to get in touch with the original developer.
b)Customer Support with WooCommerce
If you are using the core WooCommerce plugin, you already know that it is not a paid source tool. For beginners who do not have the budget, use it extensively, as it is an excellent way to keep the costs low, but the fact that it does not offer dedicated support for individuals using the core free tool is a major downside. However, that does not mean that you can get in trouble if WooCommerce is your chosen platform. It maintains a knowledge-rich public base that anybody can use to help themselves out of a problem.
c)Customer Support with BigCommerce
Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce also provides its users with 24/7 support for the core eCommerce platform. You can get in touch with the customer support team via:
- Live chat
Furthermore, the customer support staff at WooCommerce is also well-equipped to assist you with the technical issues that many users face when they are not much aware of the functionality of the platform. Other than that, you can also reach out to them if you have any queries concerning the advertising department.
d)Customer Support with Magento
When it comes to customer support, Magento’s approach is similar to WooCommerce. Users can opt for two packages if they choose Magento as their ultimate eCommerce store:
- An unpaid open-source tool that any user can install themselves. It is called the Community Edition.
- A paid and hosted enterprise service specific to Magento.
- The free Community Edition, which does not provide any support.
If you choose the Community Edition, you can only receive community support or you can invest in a third-party support service. However, if you purchase Magento’s Enterprise Version, you will be able to enjoy dedicated and expensive support through email and phone.
e)Customer Support with Wix eCommerce
Wix eCommerce comes with a variety of options when it comes to customer support. As Wix offers a well-detailed knowledge base, you can always consult it if you prefer the self-help route. Other options include their 24/7 English support through the phone via their callback service. Other than English, Wix provides customer support in various languages including French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian. Furthermore, you are also allowed to open a ticket if using the phone service does not seem convenient to you.
|10 / 10||7 / 10||10 / 10||7 / 10||10 / 10|
5. Simplicity in use
If you want to gauge the ease of use of an eCommerce platform, you need to consider two key characteristics:
The ease that the platform can provide when a user starts from scratch. How easy it is for the user to manage everything on their own without the help of any outside party.
a)Simplicity in use with Shopify
If you talk about the signup process, Shopify offers a well-optimised layout. The user can enjoy a seamless, step-by-step, and less complicated procedure that does not demand much information. In order to get started, the only things that are needed are a relevant email address, password, and a unique name for your online store. Afterward, it only asks a few more questions, so the platform can have a more robust understanding of your products, taking you forward by the hand. Once you are done, you will get an already well-optimised store to start with.
b)Simplicity in use with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is pretty simple when it comes to functionality. However, the provided condition is that you should already have a functioning WordPress website. Users need to keep in mind that WooCommerce is different from other eCommerce services, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, as it is only software. If you want a smooth journey when you are using WooCommerce, it is crucial to get your hands on a good host first. The best way to do that is to install WordPress on your account. After that, proceeding with its dashboard is pretty easy.
c)Simplicity in use with Magento
If you are planning to design your online store from scratch with the help of Magento, it can be really problematic, especially if you are a beginner. The ease of use with Magento also depends on what kind of package you are going for. If you are launching anything with Magneto’s paid source, you will need a robust host provider that will make the dashboard more compact, simple, and easy to use. However, if you use the free source, even after installing a paid host provider, it is not very friendly for beginners.
d)Simplicity in use with BigCommerce
Many experts compare the functionality of BigCommerce with Shopify. It is because they are both cloud-based eCommerce platforms. Instead of downloading or installing them, you have to sign-up for their services. As a result, BigCommerce is more user-friendly for beginners. After you give out your basic information, such as email address and password, the journey from here is pretty simple. Additionally, BigCommerce asks several additional questions, such as the niche of your business to get a more clear insight.
e)Simplicity in use with Wix eCommerce
For people who are new to the eCommerce industry, Wix eCommerce might not be the right option for you. While it is simple to use in many ways, it can take a lot of time for the user to understand the functionality of the interface. The first step is to select your Wix site template. After that, you can easily access the Store Dashboard to manage the different aspects of your online store.
|10 / 10||8.5 / 10||9.5 / 10||7 / 10||9 / 10|
Last but not the least, a business owner who is planning to run an online store needs to keep in mind the pricing factor. While it is true that it is important to invest in order to enjoy high profits in the long run, you still have to be careful when you are choosing an eCommerce platform, so you do not accidentally risk your financial standing.
The following are the packages that different eCommerce platforms have to offer:
|$9 / month*
$29 / month
$79 / month
$299 / month
*This plan is limited
|$0 for the software itself
~$100 / year for hosting
|$29.95 / month
$79.95 / month
$249.95 / month
enterprise-level solutions, up to $900+ / month
|$0 for the community edition of the software itself
~$100 / year for hosting
up to $15,000 or even $50,000 / year for the enterprise edition
|$17 / month
$25 / month
$35 / month
|10 / 10||10 / 10||9 / 10||7 / 10||10 / 10|
The Final Verdict
Now that everything is said and put on the table, it is time for the final verdict. After all the hassle, which eCommerce platform is the best one for you? Here it goes:
|Features||10 / 10||9.5 / 10||9.5 / 10||9.5 / 10||8.5 / 10|
|Designs||9 / 10||10 / 10||9 / 10||7 / 10||9 / 10|
|Customer support||10 / 10||7 / 10||10 / 10||7 / 10||10 / 10|
|Ease of use||10 / 10||8.5 / 10||9.5 / 10||7 / 10||9 / 10|
|Pricing||10 / 10||10 / 10||9 / 10||7 / 10||10 / 10|
|OVERALL||9.8 / 10||9.0 / 10||9.4 / 10||7.5 / 10||9.3 / 10|
You should go with Shopify if you do not have a website at hand. Also, if you are a small or emerging business, you can go ahead and try out how Shopify works for you. It provides the users with a decluttered interface, a streamlined setup of featured platforms, and offers a complete and full package of rich and useful features that a successful and running eCommerce demands.
On the other hand, if you own a WordPress website and you intend to create an online store, you should choose none other than the brilliant WooCommerce. It might seem just like a WordPress plugin, but it is indeed the best eCommerce platform for SEO, designing, and when the goal is to target the right set of audiences. With WooCommerce, you can manage every single aspect of your store under one admin panel. All in all, it will be nothing short of a thrilling experience to start your online venture with WooCommerce.