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10 Best eCommerce Platforms to Build Online Stores in 2021

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Best eCommerce Platforms Reviewed

Are you wondering what are the best eCommerce platforms for 2021? Perhaps you want to take your business online, but you’re not sure what to do or what site to use. 

Well, fear no more! In this article, we’ve brought you the list of the top eCommerce platforms for this year! Including details, and all the features available to suit your needs!

How to Choose the Best eCommerce Platform?

Not all eCommerce platforms are made the same! Some might be terrible for someone’s shoe business while being amazing for taco retailers. The only way to know which one will suit your business is to do your research. 

You’ll need to know what your business needs, and what things it should prioritize. And for that, we suggest you think about these aspects:

  • Cost: Ecommerce platforms vary widely in that they can range from free, to very exclusive and expensive. Usually, the more expensive a platform is, the more it has to offer you in terms of functions. But you should choose a platform that suits your budget.
  • Freedom of choice: Different eCommerce platforms provide you with different customization options and themes for your website’s design. Similarly, you can find plugins, extensions, addons to extend features. Pick a platform that offers the flexibility and features you need.
  • Support: Support is really important for anyone new to web design. Proper support can help you troubleshoot any problem you may have. Support not only comes from the company itself but also from the people using the service i.e. users. A strong community can help you fix problems faster than the company might.
  • Ease of Use: Whether you’re a beginner or someone who knows what they’re doing, everyone likes something that is easy. A lot of eCommerce platforms will have features that make it easier for you to design a website. For example, you can choose a premade theme, rather than having to make one from scratch.

With that said, now let’s go directly to our list of best eCommerce platforms 2021.


10 Best eCommerce Platforms for Online Shops in 2021

1. WooCommerce

Considered to be one of the best eCommerce platforms, WooCommerce is widely used by more than 28% of all online stores. It’s the most popular eCommerce technology available on the market. 

WooCommerce Most Popular eCommerce Platform
WooCommerce

It’s somewhat of a unique platform in this list, mostly because it is free and open source. It is also not its own platform, and is instead a WordPress plugin.

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). This means it’s software that helps you create websites and upload content onto the said website. For instance, blog articles, images, and videos.

You can expand the features and functionalities of your WordPress by using plugins. Plugins are WordPress-based external programs that can be installed into WordPress in order to add more options on building your website.

WooCommerce is one such plugin and it adds eCommerce abilities to WordPress sites. Using this plugin, you can build a full-fledged eCommerce website easily. 

As the core WordPress software, all plugins including WooCommerce are open source programs. This means that anyone can alter it, including you! This brings limitless possibilities.

And fortunately, some developers have already built powerful extension plugins for WooCommerce. These plugins help to add additional features to your WooCommerce store. You can find dozens of such WooCommerce based plugins on the official WooCommerce website as well as on the WordPress.org plugin repository. 

However, it still means that only the eCommerce software is provided, and you have to take care of things like web hosting yourself.

Pros:

  • It has limitless potential, as it can be altered for any purpose.
  • It is free.
  • You can use your own skill to create additional functions and sell them.
  • It has a massive community you can consult, along with many professionals.
  • It doesn’t take a share of what you sell on your website.

Cons:

  • It is fairly difficult to start for absolute beginners. They need some time to get familiar with its interface. 
  • You need to manage all other aspects of making a website, like buying hosting, and domain name.
  • The costs of hosting and the domain name can add up and become expensive.
  • You’ll have to take care of the plugins and optimization aspects too.

Pricing: WooCommerce software is free! But you need to purchase a web hosting account and a domain name to start a WooCommerce store. WooCommerce hosting with a free domain is available for just $3.85 per month.  

Bottom Line: WooCommerce is amazing for those who want to build full-fledged eCommerce sites, as it offers total freedom over your website.


2. Shopify

With a self-reported worth of $41 billion dollars in mercantile value, Shopify is probably the most well-known eCommerce platform on the internet. It was founded in 2004 and has since made a reputation of being a sleek, out-of-the-box eCommerce service.

Shopify eCommerce Platform
Shopify

Unlike WooCommerce, this platform provides you with almost everything you need for making an online store, from web hosting services to domain names. The only thing you have to provide is your time, money, and creativity.

If you want to know more differences, then you can check our full comparison between WooCommerce vs Shopify.

With Shopify, it’s also very easy to build an eCommerce website. There’s a wide range of tools and features that can help you get started. There are also many tutorials and a well-trained support team! 

Pros:

  • You have the ease and convenience of making a website without technical skill.
  • It has a very well fleshed out support system.
  • It provides an extremely wide variety of themes.
  • You get a 14-day free trial.

Cons:

  • It is quite costly, with a basic plan starting at $29 per month.
  • It is a bit limited in that it isn’t open source.
  • Shopify takes a certain percentage of what you sell on your online store as a transaction fee.

Pricing:  Shopify comes with 3 different pricing plans for different types of businesses. The basic plan ‘Basic Shopify’ designed for new businesses costs $29 per month. The other plans ‘Shopify’ and ‘Shopify Advanced’ cost $79 per month and $299 per month. 

Bottom Line: A very out of the box, streamlined experience. This’ll get you running in no time!


3. BigCommerce

Another big contender, BigCommerce offers an extremely versatile eCommerce experience. It offers great features, especially suited for large companies. It also has features for you to take your physical business online.

BigCommerce eCommerce Platform
BigCommerce

Although it has fewer themes than Shopify, it has more ways to customize those themes to your liking. You can also somewhat alter the code to your liking if you have HTML(HyperText Markup Language) skills.

BigCommerce also provides you with 24/7 support from a team of trained individuals, in order to help you get started!

Pros:

  • Has many packages for many different purposes.
  • Has a custom option to create your own pricing plan out of the features available.
  • Allows you to use some technical knowledge to alter your website.
  • You can get a 15-day free trial.
  • Optimized for mobile.

Cons:

  • Websites with a large amount of data have to pay more.
  • It has a small number of themes.

Pricing: The basic plan is $29.95 a month. BisCommerce also offers a Plus Plan for $79.95 a month, and a Pro Plan for $299.95.

Bottom Line: A very streamline experience, albeit with a bit more of a technical aspect to it.


4. Squarespace

Squarespace is an extremely versatile drag and drop type eCommerce website builder, with plenty of features to offer. It’s meant for people who want professional-looking websites without having to spend long hours perfecting them. 

Sqaurespace eCommerce Platform
Sqaurespace

The downside is that your website might not look as unique or as eye-catching as you want it to. The features are somewhat limited.

Squarespace doesn’t have any additional themes either, which limits it to default themes. There are quite a few default themes, however, so not having access to additional ones isn’t a problem.

Pros:

  • It has a drag and drops web design feature.
  • It is simple to set up and use.

Cons:

  • It is fairly limited in design choices.
  • It doesn’t have a store for extra themes or features.

Pricing: Squarespace has 4 plans, which are:

  • Personal Plan: $12 per month
  • Business Plan: $18 per month
  • Basic: $26 per month
  • Advanced: $40 per month

Bottom Line: A very blocky, simple experience that requires no experience to use. It can be best described as premade, and simple to use.


5. Magento

Founded by Adobe, Magento is a high-end eCommerce platform, offering many different pre-made and custom solutions. Whether you have a small business or a massive corporation, Magento has you covered!

Magento eCommerce Platform
Magento

This platform is very versatile, with quite a few features and customization options. It also has a lot of demos, tutorials, and a dedicated support team to help you get started.

Magento is quite pricey, and has plans that can cost thousands of dollars.

Therefore, it isn’t really recommended if you’re making it for yourself or a small operation. Rather, it is better suited for formal businesses that have the resources to dedicate an entire team to design the eCommerce website. 

But it’s important to note that it’s also available as an open-source software. So, if you’re a developer, then you can download and user this platform entirely for free.

Pros:

  • Has a variety of options for small businesses and massive corporations.
  • Has a long term plan for large companies, with a one-time payment option.
  • Allows you to code certain features yourself.
  • Has a free option for people on a budget.

Cons:

  • It’s enterprise option costs thousands of dollars, which is quite expensive.
  • It is usually hard to use for beginners, due to its technical nature.

Pricing: Magneto pricing is hard to determine, and is based on factors that you have on your eCommerce site. However, a good estimate would be anywhere from $20,000 t $200,000. But it costs nothing to use its open-source software.

Bottom Line: A very feature heavy, robust platform suited for large companies.


6. Wix eCommerce

Undoubtedly, Wix is one of the best website builders available on the market. But, it’s not limited to creating simple business websites or blogs, it also has a powerful eCommerce site builder, ‘Wix eCommerce’.

Wix eCommerce Platform
Wix eCommerce

Wix eCommerce is a very simple, easy to use, and beginner-friendly eCommerce platform. Although it may lack a few features that the other eCommerce platforms may have, it’s probably the best one for starters. If you’ve just recently learned about eCommerce, this platform might be the best for you.

Along with 24/7 support, Wix offers you the best and most straightforward eCommerce website building experience. For a small business wishing to go online, and without much budget, Wix is all you need. 

It is relatively new to the market. Therefore, it might lack a few basic features that other platforms have. For instance, a customer won’t be able to save the purchases they’re about to make. 

However, with a growing community providing feedback, it won’t be long before almost all of the features needed will be available.

Pros:

  • Wix eCommerce is extremely beginner-friendly and well suited for small stores.
  • Its controls are straightforward, which saves time in building a website.
  • It has very good beginner support, as well as a lot of tutorials.

Cons:

  • It lacks some features of a good eCommerce platform.
  • As it is simple, it’s not well suited for larger corporations.

Pricing: Wix eCommerce offers 3 plans, increasing in price and functionality. They offer a $17/mo. ‘Business Basic’ plan with 20GB storage space. Next, there’s ‘Business Unlimited’ for $25/mo. and finally ‘Business VIP’ for $50/mo.

Bottom Line: Wix eCommerce is a really simple platform suited for beginners. 


7. Weebly

Weebly is yet another a surprisingly cheap and useful website builder tool. Having previously been less focused on eCommerce, it doesn’t really have much sophistication. However, you can still use it to its full extent and be satisfied.

Weebly eCommerce Platform
Weebly eCommerce

Weebly can be used for free, although it is very limited. Getting one of the paid plans will allow you to get your online store up and running properly. 

Weebly’s paid plans are also pretty cheap and can be quite versatile in general. It can also be used to create company websites, blogs, and the like. You can use drag and drop as well as HTML, making it useful regardless of your skill level.

Pros:

  • Having had a history as a general website builder, it can create a wide variety of sites.
  • It gives people of all skill levels to use their abilities to their fullest extent.
  • It is quite cheap for the features it offers.

Cons:

  • It is less specialized for eCommerce, thus it may be limiting.
  • It takes a fairly high cut off of your transactions.

Pricing: For online stores, Weebly has a ‘Pro’ plan for $12/mo. Next, ‘Business’ plan .00

Bottom Line: Weebly is a general platform, a jack of all. On one hand, you can made simple websites out of the box. On the other, an entire world of HTML customization awaits!


8. Volusion

If you want a very feature-rich, and yet beginner-friendly eCommerce experience, Volusion is your go-to company. It offers you many different features, ranging from a drag and drop website builder, to a page editor.

Volusion eCommerce Platform
Volusion

Volusion provides tons of beginner materials for those who wish to learn as well.

However, it has limitations  in products, and how much you can buy or sell.

Pros:

  • It has plenty of helpful tutorials l to get you started.
  • It has the capacity to create very detailed and well thought out websites.

Cons:

  • It has a limit on the number of products you can sell.
  • It costs extra to buy an SSL certificate, which would usually be provided by any other website building site.

Pricing: $29 per month for Personal plan.

Bottom Line: Volusion is a well made platform, that is capable of helping beginners create detailed and complex sites, with their immense library of resources.


9. Shift4Shop

Shift4Shop is a rebranded name of an old eCommerce platform 3dcart. In November 2020, Shift4, a leading payment technology company, acquired the 3dcart platform. And it has now rebranded the 3dcart platform with more powerful features including secure end-to-end payments with Shift4.

Shift4Shop Online Store Building Platform
Shift4Shop Online Store Building Platform

The new Shift4Shop offers an easy to use website builder so you can create your online store and start selling instantly. It includes features like inventory management, digital marketing, SEO, and tons of customer tools.

Pros:

  • Extremely good functionality.
  • It provides unlimited storage.
  • It has a wide variety of plans for anyone.

Cons:

  • The websites are a bit less visually appealing.

Pricing: Shift4Shop offers a 15-day free trial, plus a 30 day money-back guarantee to test its features. So, it’s safe to get started on this platform.

Bottom Line: Shift4Shop is great for websites that require good functionality, and can do without being flashy. This isn’t to say that Shift4Shop websites can’t be beautiful, of course, but they usually keep it simple.


10. OpenCart

Unlike most other platforms on this list, OpenCart isn’t a website builder. Instead, it’s an open-source eCommerce software, similar to WooCommerce, that can provide the functions needed to make an online store. 

Opencart eCommerce Platform
Opencart

This means like WooCommerce, you have to take care of creating the website yourself. You have to host it and buy a domain name yourself too!

Being open source, it has a huge amount of add ons and additional software that you can get. 

One thing that sets OpenCart apart, is that it provides paid technical support to fix all of your problems. Along with a community, it provides professional-level services.

Pros:

  • It is open source, so anyone can alter it to their will.
  • It is free.
  • You can use your own skill to create additional functions, and sell them.
  • It has a large community.

Cons:

  • You need to manage hosting and domain name.
  • The costs of hosting and the domain name can add up and become expensive.

Pricing:  Although OpenCart is free, you’ll generally spend anywhere from $5.00 and up for a web hosting plan, a domain name, and various plugins and add ons.

Bottom Line: Similar to WooCommerce, OpenCart grants you freedom like nothing else. 


Conclusion

In conclusion, you’ve seen all of the top eCommerce platforms for this year, and how they match up with each other. We hope to see your online shop up and running soon!

You may also want to see our article on the best blogging platforms to create a blog. 

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Written By SiteSaga Editorial
SiteSaga Editorial is a team of highly experienced writers, marketers, and web developers. We're here to help beginners get online with their self-made websites or blogs and succeed.

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