There was a time when the idea of selling goods and services without a physical store didn't seem feasible. If customers were interested in buying your products, they had to drive to your brick-and-mortar location to find what they wanted.
These days, you can find everything you need online with just a few keystrokes. E-commerce platforms make it easy to order items, movies, and even food from your laptop or mobile device.
E-commerce platforms make life easier for customers, and they also make it easier for new businesses to get started. And if you want to create an online store in 2020, there are plenty of options from which to choose.
Now that you know what to look for in an e-commerce platform, let's look at some options you can consider. Here are our top five picks for the best e-commerce platforms in 2020.
OUR TOP PICK
Our top choice is Shopify which is incredibly easy to set up and use. One of the most popular choices for small businesses, Shopify is a great site for you to start with and allows for a lot of growth thanks to the various additions and extensions that you can incorporate into your site.
One of the most convenient aspects of Shopify is that you can run your entire business from one site so all of your outgoings and incomings will be coming from one place.
They have a wide array of free themes as well as an extensive library of free stock photos. For those who don’t want to build a business from scratch, there are many existing online stores that you can buy.
If you’re unsure whether Shopify is the best place for you to set up, you can take advantage of their 14 day free trial without entering in any financial information so you are not obliged to continue should you choose to set up your online store elsewhere.
With packages starting at $9 per month, setting up your business online has become more accessible and affordable for those who may be on a strict budget. The more your business grows, the more you can add to your plan and extend your budget accordingly.
- Allows for a lot of growth thanks to the various additions and extensions that you can incorporate into your site
- Can take advantage of their 14 day free trial without entering in any financial information so you are not obliged to continue should you choose to set up your online store elsewhere
- With packages starting at $9 per month, setting up your business online has become more accessible and affordable
- Harder to customize a theme
Our second selection is Wix which is a free website builder that offers an array of ecommerce packages with plans starting from $17 per month.
One of the cheapest options, this is a fantastic platform to use for those on stricter budgets as you receive a free domain within your package and have limited additional fees.
The most expensive package is $25 per month and offers an array of fantastic features including priority service and ticket support should you need it. You’ll also receive lots of SEO tools to help promote your site’s presence on search engines.
Wix is great for those who want to sell both physical and digital products making it highly accessible for a variety of businesses. Whether you are simply selling physical products such as clothes or offering services where customers can book an appointment or click and collect, this is one of the best sites to consider.
Its versatility has made it extremely popular with both small and large businesses and the easiness of setting the site up and customer friendliness makes it an ideal choice for startups .
- Offers an array of ecommerce packages with plans starting from $17 per month
- Can receive lots of SEO tools to help promote your site’s presence on search engines
- Its versatility has made it extremely popular with both small and large businesses
- Templates are not interchangeable
Our third choice is Squarespace which is one of the most user friendly sites you can choose.
For those who want to ensure versatility in their site, each Squarespace theme comes with a guaranteed mobile phone user friendly interface making it easy and accessible for all customers to browse your site.
You also have the option to disable this feature in the settings. With a wide variety of themes available, this is a brilliant choice for those who will be incorporating a lot of images into their site as the Responsive Image Loader generates numerous versions of every photo you upload for easiness and convenience.
Squarespace can be used for a variety of businesses and uses advanced technology so the site can detect what device is being used to access your site and customize the images and layout accordingly for ease of use.
What makes Squarespace such a strong choice is that they have thought carefully about the interface layout so all of your email updates and marketing campaigns will be altered according to what device your customers are using.
- Each Squarespace theme comes with a guaranteed mobile phone user friendly interface making it easy and accessible for all customers to browse your site.
- Responsive Image Loader generates numerous versions of every photo you upload for easiness and convenience
- All of your email updates and marketing campaigns will be altered according to what device your customers are using
- Higher price points
Our penultimate selection is Magento which is a great choice for retailers who are wanting to integrate their brick and mortar store with an online presence.
Used by some of the biggest brands in the world, Magento is extremely popular thanks to its intricate features. It is free to download but it does take time to set up due to its advanced tools.
However, for those who want the best SEO available, Magento offers the best tools that will make your website more prominent on search engines.
No matter whether you are an established business or a startup, Magento provides a seamless experience so you can build your business and brand with a budget that suits you thanks to their various packages.
When it comes to developing your website, you can add tools to the open source platform so you can run a click and collect service or even inventory control. With access to a free theme, you can see if Magento is the right platform for you and have a wide range of themes that are available to purchase from $29.
Because of the scope of Magento’s themes and features, it is a brilliant choice for those who want their business to grow as there are endless possibilities and additions that you can apply to your site according to your changing business needs.
You can add on an array of extensions including accounting, customer support and security among many others so your site will be customized to you.
- Offers the best tools that will make your website more prominent on search engines
- You can add tools to the open source platform so you can run a click and collect service or even inventory control
- You can add on an array of extensions including accounting, customer support and security among many others so your site will be customized to you
- Can be difficult to use
Our final choice is WooCommerce which has been built on WordPress meaning that you can easily add plug-ins into your site.
Integrating a popular content management system, this is one of the most popular and easiest ecommerce platforms to set up and use. In turn, WooCommerce boasts user friendliness as you can incorporate various extensions and customization.
With 300 extensions in its store, you can run your entire website and business from the comfort of your single account meaning that your bills will only be payable to one site rather than numerous parties.
Bear in mind that the more features you take advantage from, especially when it comes to payment and shipping that there can be additional charges.
There are some free themes available on WooCommerce including Storefront which has some variations so you can see if this site works for you. The better you are at coding, the better your theming will look.
You will have to pay extra costs for hosting and domain registrations but the costs are a lot lower than other competitors and have proven to be a popular choice among business owners who have never used an ecommerce platform before.
- Integrating a popular content management system, this is one of the most popular and easiest ecommerce platforms to set up and use
- With 300 extensions in its store, you can run your entire website and business from the comfort of your single account meaning that your bills will only be payable to one site
- There are some free themes available including Storefront which has some variations so you can see if this site works for you
- Poor SEO rankings
Best Ecommerce Platform For Startups Buying Guide
Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business is one of the first big decisions you will have to make when it comes to setting up your online shop.
This article features the best platforms that you should consider but if you’re wanting to conduct further research before making your final decision, then you should look at the SEO, user friendliness, software integration and your budget.
Once you’ve looked into each of these carefully, you’ll have the knowledge and understanding to make a fully informed decision.
The first thing you want to consider are the built in SEO tools that come with your ecommerce platform. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which relates to how easily your website can be found when customers are searching online.
The better the tools a platform can provide, the more prominent your website will appear which equates to more customers and more profit.
Depending on what kind of package and platform you choose, you can opt for enhanced SEO tools in your plan to make the most out of your website. The more you invest in your website’s SEO, the more expensive it will become monthly.
The next factor to think about is the user friendliness. This is especially important if you haven’t set up your own ecommerce site before.
There are a lot of things you have to think about from the customer’s point of view such as accessibility for a range of devices including mobile phones as this will bring in a huge percentage of your revenue.
Also you want to make sure that your online storefront is easy to navigate to prevent any negative experience for your customers. You need to make sure that your customers can easily search for products.
Software integration is essential as you want to make sure you can integrate your store with other applications.
This could be in the form of including your social media sites onto your website or perhaps add in plug-ins that work with an existing site such as WordPress. This will help you to build your brand.
Lastly, you need to think about your budget. Whether you are a small startup or a large business, the budget is always the most important part as you want to make sure that you can afford your monthly subscriptions and outgoings.
Most of these ecommerce sites offer a free trial to give you the chance to see if they work for you and it is worth taking advantage of these. This will give you the opportunity to use the various features on offer.
Also bear in mind any extra expenses such as hosting or extensions among many other things.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you really make money with a Shopify store?
You can make money using a Shopify store by building and creating your ecommerce theme.
You can make 70% for every time someone applies your Shopify theme to their own store. On average, Shopify stores make around $11,000 every year.
What is the easiest ecommerce platform?
The easiest ecommerce store to choose is Shopify as it is easy to set up thanks to the drag and drop builder which is highly convenient.
Doing thorough research into various ecommerce platforms is important as you want to make sure that you are maximizing your customer’s experience which in turn will generate a higher profit for your business.
Making sure you choose a platform that is easy for you to use whilst also allowing your business the chance to grow is going to ensure that you’re having a steady income.
Make sure you think about your own criteria and requirements and weigh up the pros and cons of each platform before making that important final decision.