If you are looking to launch an online store and get your online business off the ground, then it makes sense to take a look at the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses.
The best small business ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Squarespace make it easy for you to sell your products online, manage inventory, connect to shipping providers, and manage customer service.
The majority of leading platforms also offer a mobile app so that you can keep track of sales performance on the go.
It makes sense to sell online
But picking the best ecommerce platform for your small business is not easy.
Beyond pricing and transaction fees, it's important to think about the level of customization you require, how much time and effort you want to put into your online store design, and whether you need to integrate your ecommerce platform into other tools.
Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses
We've tested all of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses so that you can quickly and easily pick the platform that is right for your small business.
- Weebly (powered by Square)
Focused Look At The Best Small Business Ecommerce Platforms
Our top pick for the best ecommerce platform for small businesses is Shopify.
Alongside Visualize Value (this site is built on Shopify), millions of small and large businesses use Shopify to sell physical and digital products - growing from humble startups to multinational enterprises driving millions of dollars.
Shopify offers a number of optimized ecommerce themes that you can leverage to get your online store off the ground. Their website builder has drag-and-drop functionality, so you don't need to know any coding experience to get set up.
Once you're up and running, Shopify makes it easy for you to integrate your products into marketplaces like eBay, Walmart, and Google, and connects to social media platforms so you can sell products via Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube with ease.
Like other leading ecommerce platforms for small businesses, Shopify has a mobile app that allows you track orders and manage customer support on the go, and offers over 8,000 supporting apps in the Shopify marketplace.
When you start making sales, Shopify also has market-leading inventory management functionality and connects you to shipping providers offering competitive shipping rates.
Shopify's Basic Plan starts at $29 per month, and includes an optimized checkout experience for customers, charging 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction.
Full disclosure - Visualize Value has used Shopify to sell over $2.5 million worth of digital products, and we recommend their platform firsthand.
Features we like
Website builder - access pre-built Shopify themes, no coding experience required, drag and drop page builders, fast setup
Apps & integrations - there are over 8,000 apps in the Shopify app store helping you scale and develop your small business over time
Sell anywhere - integrate products directly into Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, Google, eBay, and Walmart
Customized shipping - use default shopping rates offered by Shopify, track packages after you've sent them, fulfill orders in bulk, and ship internationally
Sales features - send abandoned cart recovery, promote coupons on your website, and run promotions during key trading windows
Integrated POS - Shopify offers you the ability to sell offline with sleek POS hardware that is directly integrated into the Shopify backend
- Integrations - seamless integrations with all of your wider tech stack. For us, that means our online course platform Mighty Networks, and our email marketing services platform, ConvertKit
Shopify offers 3 different payment plans and provides you with a 14-day free trial to get your online store off the ground.
Basic - $29 per month, 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction, basic reporting, 2 staff accounts
Shopify - $79 per month, 2.6% + 0.30 per transaction, advanced reporting, 5 staff accounts
- Advanced - $299 per month, 2.4% + 0.30 per transaction, custom reporting, 15 staff accounts
If you are looking for a Shopify alternative, then Squarespace is another brilliant option.
Like Shopify, Squarespace supports millions of small businesses that have successfully launched beautiful online stores and websites.
Squarespace offers a really effective website builder that makes it easy to launch an online store without any coding experience. The Squarespace drag-and-drop editor is easy to use and means you can get your store set up in minutes.
Small businesses can also use Squarespace to accept online bookings, sell digital products and services, and sell subscription services - making it ideal for service businesses.
If you are selling physical goods, Squarespace has a clean and easy-to-use inventory management system, and like Shopify, connects you with leading fulfillment partners with discount shipping rates.
For payment processing, Squarespace leverages Stripe to give your customers a seamless checkout experience.
Pricing starts at $16 per month, but we recommend the Business Plan which costs $23 per month. The Business Plan gets you to access to everything you need to get going.
Features we like
Award winning templates - there are excellent themes for every type of small business, including ecommerce, blogs, portfolio sites, and wedding websites. There are zero coding skills required, and Squarespace sites always look clean and professional
Rich product listings - you can embed videos, imagery, and related products into product pages to promote and cross-sell products - this is an excellent way to drive up average order value and sell more products
Digital products - Squarespace makes it easy to accept online bookings, sell digital products and services, and sell subscriptions and gift cards
Inventory management - you can launch unlimited products and product SKUs, and it's easy to set up multi-dimensional product variants (e.g. different sizes, colors, and shapes). Squarespace passes this information on to the customer by displaying low stock levels and sends you updates when it's time to re-stock inventory
Easy shipping - you can customize shipping options by offering flat-fee, weight-based, and real-time shipping rates. Once you make a sale, it's easy to print shipping labels directly from the Squarespace platform or offer local pickup
- Optimized payment processing - Squarespace uses Stripe to process payments and also gives you the option to offer customers alternative payment methods like Paypal, and Afterpay. One brilliant additional feature is the ability to promote recommended and related products directly in the checkout flow
Squarespace offers 2 different payment plans for ecommerce businesses.
The Basic Commerce Plan includes unlimited contributors, premium integrations and blocks, full control over your CMS, and fully-integrated ecommerce tools.
Credit card processing fees are managed by Squarespace's payment processor, Stripe.
Basic Commerce - $27 per month, 0% transaction fees
- Advanced Commerce - $49 per month, 0% transaction fees
BigCommerce is another leading ecommerce platform for small businesses.
And more so than Squarespace, it's built for scale. In fact, big brands like Superdry, Bliss, and Lark all use BigCommerce to power their ecommerce operations.
If you have big aspirations for your online business, it's worth thinking about the future. And BigCommerce has you covered.
BigCommerce offers an easy-to-use website builder, that is easy to customize and make changes to over time. They also offer the ability to customize checkout and offer a one-page checkout experience for seamless payments.
Like other ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce also has excellent inventory management tools, and connects you to leading fulfilment providers to manage and customize your shipping options for customers.
BigCommerce also integrates into all major point of service providers so that you can keep all of your brick and mortar and online orders centralized.
For digital marketers and SEO experts, BigCommerce offers more flexibility when it comes to creating URL paths - there is robot.txt access and it's easy to create customized URL paths for your category, products, and blog pages.
Pricing starts at $29.95 per month and includes full access to the majority of BigCommerce core ecommerce tools. For credit card processing, you can also access discounted payment processing rates via Braintree.
Features we like
Website builder - BigCommerce gets you set up and started with an easy to use website builder. There is drag-and-drop functionality and you can embed any rich media assets like imagery, video, and audio as you see fit
One-page checkout - BigCommerce supports one-page checkout and has a full suite of tools to recover abandoned carts. Customers can checkout using multiple currencies and payment methods from anywhere
Built for SEO - unlike other ecommerce platforms that are more rigid, BigCommerce allows provides robot.txt access and makes it easy to customize URLs
Inventory management - you can manage all of your orders from the BigCommerce dashboard, and enable low-stock level and out-of-stock messages for customers. BigCommerce will also update you when you need to reload stock with real-time updates
Customizable shipping options - you can set up customized shipping locations to establish shipping rules for each region and enable free shipping on specific products to encourage conversion. Once you've made a sale you can connect to all of the big shipping providers to keep customers updated about the status of their delivery
POS integrations - BigCommerce integrates into all of the big point of sale systems so that you can connect your brick and mortar sales to your online ecommerce sales, all powered by the same backend
Mobile app - like other leading ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce offers a brilliant mobile app that keeps you up to date on your small business performance from anywhere
- Customer support - global 24/7 customer support is available on all pricing plans, BigCommerc promotes that they solve 85% of issues during the first phone call
BigCommerce offers 4 pricing plans. For small businesses, the Standard Plan provides everything you need to get set up and launched.
The Standard Plan starts at $29.95 which is in line with Shopify and Squarespace.
Standard - $29.95 per month, 2.59% + 0.49 per transaction
Pro - $79.95 per month, 2.35% + 0.49 per transaction
Plus - $299.95 per month, 2.05% + 0.30 per transaction
- Enterprise - custom, 2.05% + 0.30 per transaction 0r lower based on negotiation
Wix is the best ecommerce platform for those looking for an out-the-box solution, without the need to spend hours designing and developing your online store.
Wix features over 800+ ecommerce templates that can be configured without any coding experience - meaning you can set up your online store in around 10 minutes.
There is drag-and-drop functionality and a unique feature called Wix ADI which designs your store for you based on the criteria you set.
Wix was designed specifically for small businesses, and features tonnes of sales features like logo makers, SEO tools, and custom domains. There is also 24/7 customer support available.
The Business Basic Plan starts at $27 per month, which is slightly cheaper than other leading ecommerce platforms.
Features we like
800+ ecommerce templates - it's easy to build websites using Wix. There is zero coding experience required, and you can get set up in 10 minutes. There is also a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to start from scratch or edit pre-built themes
Wix ADI - if you don't want to do any designing, you can also tell Wix's artificial intelligence tool exactly what you're looking for, and Wix will design the site for you - this includes picking the theme, color palette, and stock imagery that will bring your ecommerce site to life
Suitable for any small business - Wix is also suitable for restaurants, fitness businesses, and service-based businesses that are looking to sell digital products and take bookings
Integrated email and social posting - you can email customers directly within Wix's backend, and schedule social media posts and Facebook Ads directly
Point-of-sale solutions - Wix offers point-of-sale kits so that you can sell your products offline. This enables you to take payments anywhere, sell physical products, or accept bookings. You can also sell tickets for events when you're on the move
- Mobile app - like other leading ecommerce platforms, Wix has a mobile app that you can use on the go. This makes it easy to stay on top of sales, customer support, and live chat. If you are managing bookings via Wix, you can also make changes in real-time
Wix offers 3 ecommerce pricing plans. The Business Basic Plan provides access to basic ecommerce functionality but does not include access to advanced features like sales tax reporting, selling subscriptions, and accepting multiple currencies.
It's easy to upgrade to the Unlimited and VIP Plans if you need access to these sales features.
Business Basic - $27 per month
Business Unlimited - $32 per month
- Business VIP - $59 per month
Webflow is our top pick for small business owners who want flexibility, complete control, and the ability to build beautiful online stores.
Webflow takes longer to set up than other ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Squarespace, but is exploding in popularity with big brands like Rakuten, PWC, Dell, Vice, and Zendesk all opting to use their solution - in fact, Webflow is now used by over 3.5 million designers and developers.
Webflow offers a full suite of ecommerce tools, including the abilty to sell physical or digital products, offer custom delivery options, set up location based shipping rules and rates, and build customized checkout processes using Stripe.
On top of this, Webflow can be integrated with pretty much any software out there - including inventory management and tax tools, fulfilment software, and customer support technologies.
Webflow's Standard pricing plan starts at $29 per month, and allows you to add up to 500 items. They charge a 2% transaction fee, and allow you to drive up to $50k annual sales volume per year to help get you started.
To scale beyond this, there are Plus and Advanced plans available where transaction fees drop to 0% and you can market unlimited products.
Features we like
100% customization and control - one of the best things about Webflow is it's built to give you ultimate control over the look and feel of your online store. Webflow features a website builder that you can use to configure your site (with zero coding skills) but unlike other platforms that are more rigid, allows you to configure your site structure and pages as you see fit
Optimized for digital delivery - it's easy to add download links to confirmation pages and emails, and change checkout processes for orders that don't require shipping details. This means you can optimize the sales funnel for orders that don't actually require shipping details
Build a custom checkout - Webflow's checkout is powered by Stripe, which means you can accept payment from over 200+ countries. In addition, your customers can checkout using popular payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal
Optimize shipping rates - with Webflow it's easy to set up shipping regions with customized shipping rules and to automate order tracking, and create shipping labels within the Webflow backend
Connect to social media - it's easy to connect products to Instagram, Facebook, and Google in order to increase your product visibility
- Integrations - the great thing about Webflow is it integrates with 100s of 3rd party technologies via Zapier. That means as your business scales you can plugin email marketing services, fulfillment platforms, and dropshipping partners with ease
Webflow has 3 pricing plans for ecommerce businesses.
The Standard Plan is similar to the Shopify Basic Plan. It costs $29 per month and allows you to add up to 500 items to your online store. When you're selling on this introductory plan, you will pay 2% transaction fees until you upgrade to the Plus or Advanced plans.
Standard - $29 per month, 2% transaction fees, up to $50k annual sales volume
Plus - $74 per month, 0% transaction fees, up to $200k annual sales volume
- Advanced - $212 per month, 0% transaction fees, unlimited annual sales volume
WooCommerce is the most popular open source ecommerce platform on the internet.
Unlike other platforms that charge a monthly fee, WooCommerce is free to use, offering flexibility and access to a huge marketplace of integrating partners and supporting apps.
In fact, there are over 3.4 million WooCommerce websites online, making up over 25% of the total number of online shops on the internet.
The downside of using WooCommerce is that it does not give you the same easy-to-use functionality that exists in other ecommerce platforms.
While there is a large network of developers that can help you launch your store, you will need to set up your own hosting and payment processing relationships to start trading - making the setup time longer than platforms like Squarespace, and Wix.
Features we like
Developer friendly - you can leverage block themes to set up websites without any coding experience, WooCommerce is also supported by an extensive developer community that can help you get your ecommerce store off the ground
Digital marketing tools - it's easy to connect to social media and run ads across Facebook, Google, and other marketplaces. For advanced users, you can set up custom rules for your email marketing campaigns and automated email sequences
Sales features - it's easy to set up coupons, points systems, and gifting within your online store - this helps you increase conversion rate and average order value
Leverage WordPress - if you want to drive organic search traffic and help build your brand then you can easily leverage WordPress to build an optimized website that is fast, and optimized for organic search
Endless payment processing - unlike other ecommerce platforms that restrict your customers to using certain popular payment methods, WooCommerce provides unrestricted access to providers like Giropay, iDeal, Sofort, and Bancontact - this range of payment methods can increase conversion rate in certain countries
Easy shipping - connect directly to shipping companies like DHL, and UPS to offer competitive shipping rates. Prepare, print, and manage shipping labels from your WooCommerce backend
- Mobile app - run your store from anywhere with the Woocommerce mobile app, add products, chat with customers, and manage product shipping
WooCommerce is completely open source and free to use. There are zero monthly fees, but you will need to pay for your own website hosting and payment processing.
If you're a small business looking for an easy-to-use, affordable solution then Weebly is for you.
Weebly is operated by Square, one of the largest point-of-sale platforms online, founded by Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey
Weebly provides access to customizable themes, with drag-and-drop website builders that make it easy to set up your ecommerce store in minutes.
It's possible to connect to local and international shipping carriers like DHL, UPS, and FedEx, and inventory can be managed seamlessly within the Weebly backend.
Like Shopify, Weebly offers an easy-to-use mobile app and has a range of features, including advanced product search, coupon setup, and the ability for customers to leave product reviews.
The Weebly checkout is powered by Squarespace, and you can also utilize Stripe and Paypal to offer more payment options for customers.
The Personal Plan is the perfect starting point for small businesses looking to launch an online store, and it costs just $9 per month to get up and running.
Features we like
Drag and drop page builder - it's easy to build your online store with zero coding skills required. Add imagery, video, custom fonts, site search, and video with ease
Everything is taken care of - Weebly offers SSL certificates, domain name management, and hosting packaged into all of their payment plans
Analytics dashboard - keep on top of your store's performance with integrated analytics, track orders, and receive insights on your customers
Shipping and inventory management - connect to shipping providers like DHL, UPS, and FedEx, and track your inventory and stock levels from the Weebly backend
- Mobile app - manage your store via Weebly's mobile app to stay on top of site performance every minute
The Personal plan starts at just $9 per month and offers access to Weebly's introductory suite of ecommerce tools. When you're ready to ramp up, there are Professional and Performance plans that offer additional functionality.
Personal - $9 per month, 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction
Professional - $16 per month, 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction
- Performance - $29 per month, 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction
Why is it important to invest in ecommerce platforms for your small business?
If you are looking to sell physical or digital products and services online, then inevitably you will need an ecommerce platform to power your online business.
The best ecommerce platforms for small businesses are priced affordably and provide you with all of the tools you need to create a stunning online store with very little effort.
What's more, they leverage their economies of scale to negotiate favorable shipping and payment processing rates with 3rd parties, so that you can benefit from reduced operational costs.
While committing to paying a monthly fee for your ecommerce platform can be daunting, once you start to see online sales rolling in, you will be grateful for the powerful selling features that the best ecommerce platforms offer at your fingertips.
For further peace of mind, check out these other leading reasons that small businesses invest in ecommerce platforms.
Beautiful design - the best ecommerce platforms make it so easy to create visually stunning online stores. There is often a website builder that allows you to access pre-built themes, and content blocks to design the exact look and feel you're after. On top of this, if you do need the help of developers to bring your vision to life, ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Webflow have huge pools of skilled developers who can help you get set up
Make money while you sleep - the best thing about selling online is the fact you can make money while you sleep. Customers can access your custom domain from anywhere in the world, and pay for products in hundreds of currencies using the payment methods they already trust. We take it for granted now, but 10 years ago, this would have cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and maintain
Connect to social media - the best small business ecommerce platforms help you sell where customers interact - and that's predominantly social media. If you have a social media audience or understand how to drive social media traffic, then ecommerce platforms can help you monetize those audiences
Customer insight - it's always useful to understand who is visiting your online store, and what they're doing. The best platforms featured fully integrated analytics so that you can track customer behavior, sales, and revenue over time
- Customer support - alongside inventory management, which can be complicated without the help of leading ecommerce tools, you can manage all of your customer support from one central location. We love the fact that Shopify makes it easy for us to update customers, process refunds, and send automated service emails - we can even do this via our Shopify mobile app on the go
How to pick the best small business ecommerce platform?
Once you have decided to invest in an ecommerce platform to help move your small business online, it's important to pick a platform that will support your needs now, and in the future.
The good news is, you have plenty of choice.
The ecommerce platform space is extremely competitive, so each of the major players invests heavily in levelling up their features, negotiating more competitive shipping and processing rates, and integrating into a wider network of supporting applications.
Before you start to invest and build, check that you have the right mix of features.
Responsive design - if you are looking for a website builder that is easy to customize without any development skills then pick an ecommerce platform that makes it easy to piece your online store together. Platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are easy to configure and feature free themes that you can customize with drag-and-drop functionality. Each of the platforms we've featured also offers responsive design so your online store will render correctly on desktop, tablet, and mobile
Sales features - pick an ecommerce platform that supports the type of products and services you want to sell. That means, if you are selling services that require appointments, picking a platform that offers booking features. Likewise, it's useful to have the functionality to offer coupons and discount codes to incentivize users to buy
Shipping options - depending on whether you are selling locally or internationally, you will need to configure your shipping options accordingly. Pick platforms that allow you to configure shipping locations with custom delivery options. This is an easier process that it sounds, as the leading ecommerce platforms provide out-the-box solutions, with discounted shipping rates
Integrations - as you scale your ecommerce business, it's vital that your platform enables you to connect to other third party apps that will help you run your business. These include email marketing tools, online course platforms, point-of-sale systems, and customer service portals. Platforms like Shopify have huge developer communities surrounding them which can support with paid apps and plans to develop any part of your ecommerce business
Payment processing - check that your preferred platform can process payments as you require. Some ecommerce platforms partner with payment processors like Stripe and Braintree, whereas others manage the processing in-house. If you ship internationally, it's important to offer the local payment methods that customers already love to use
Costs - check that the platform you want to use has a pricing plan that will scale with your business and that you're not overpaying on transaction fees
Inventory management - managing your inventory and stock is vital if you want to be successful online. If you have fairly small stock levels you should be able to manage your inventory within your ecommerce platform, but as you scale it might make sense to use fully-fledged inventory management systems. Ensure that the ecommerce platform you pick is built to integrate with leading players in the space
- Security - the best ecommerce platforms offer secure websites with SSL certificates. This comes standard and out-the-box these days, but it's worth checking if you plan to pick an ecommerce platform that is not on our list
Sign up for the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses today
Launching an online store is one of the most exciting moments for any small business owner.
Once you have picked the platform that is right for you, access their free trial to start building your online store.
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