9 Best Ecommerce Platforms in 2021 (Reviewed, Compared, and Rated)

Hey, I caught you looking for some of the best eCommerce platforms, didn’t I? If you want tools to build an online store, you came to the right place.

But here’s the thing: With so many ecommerce platforms out there, how will you decide which is the best eCommerce platform for you and your budget?

best ecommerce platforms

Luckily, in this review we’ll compare all the ecommerce platforms, and score them – so you don’t have to. To get us started, a short primer on what an eCommerce Platform is.

What makes a great ecommerce platform?

An ecommerce platform is software for business owners to build an online store and sell products and services online. Most ecommerce platforms include tools to manage marketing, sales, and business operations. 

4 most common features are: 

  • Webshop builder
  • Product catalogue
  • Inventory management
  • Customer support functions

A webshop is an integral part of any online business. Your ecommerce platform is your digital storefront. A place to build your brand and relationships with your customers. 

So it’s not just about selling products—  the best ecommerce platforms help you grow revenue and offer a better customer experience. Now let’s take a deeper look at the nine best  ecommerce platforms in 2021.

9 Best ecommerce platforms reviewed

1

Shopify

Most popular ecommerce platform (4.4 / 5 stars)

Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform in the world. Launched in 2004, Shopify hosts over 1 million eshops.

best ecommerce platform Shopify

Shopify has all the essential tools built-in, including a drag-and-drop website builder, ready-made ecommerce themes, and templates. You get advanced features for content marketing and performance analytics on top.

It takes less than an hour to have your first, functional Shopify ecommerce store online. 

Shopify is a great choice for beginners that want to get serious about the online shop at minimal costs, and advanced merchants. You don’t need experience in coding or web design.

Standout eCommerce features:

  • 70+ webshop themes that make it easy to get started.
  • AI/Personalization that helps you drive sales.
  • Integrated marketing tools including social media distribution and email marketing to generate brand awareness and build an audience.
  • Inventory tracking so products in your online shopping platform are always in stock. 
  • Real-time sales statistics to guide your marketing strategies.
  • Full blogging platform to publish articles, create lookbooks, get traffic with your blog.
  • Unlimited product listings so you can offer more choice, and scale your ecommerce business.

What does Shopify cost?

Tier Monthly Cost Transaction Fees
Basic Shopify $29 2.9% + $0.30
Shopify $79 2.6% + $0.30
Advanced Shopify $299 2.4% + $0.30

In addition to the subscription, shopify also asks transaction fees. You can find full pricing here. If you’re interested in trying Shopify, check out the 14-day free trial.

What we like about Shopify:

  • Very easy to set up, even for beginners
  • Lighting fast load times
  • Excellent customer support and certified partners
  • One-Click Checkout which increases conversions
  • Multichannel and social selling

Cons:

  • Multi-language option is not that great
  • Costs can add up (themes, plugins, etc)
  • Limited options to customize the checkout page 

Try Shopify

Our Shopify Review

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce systems today, and with good reason. Eventhough Shopify isn’t cheapest ecommerce platform, you want to go with quality and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Shopify makes life easy with active customer support, chat and a user-friendly interface. Getting started is painless with ecommerce tutorials, customizable themes, Shopify drag-and-drop store builder, and pre-set templates.

Shopify is well-suited for beginners and advanced ecommerce store owners. You get full access to your theme code and can add plugins to customize your online store. For example, to instantly add wishlist functionality to your Shopify store. 

Overall rating: 4.4
Shopify is a top ecommerce platform for any size of business.

  • Design Options: 3.9
  • Ease of Use: 4.8
  • Features: 3.9
  • Integrations: 4.7
  • Performance: 4.5
  • Support: 4.7
  • Value: 4.4
2

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is one of the biggest ecommerce platforms, with sales above $25 billion across 120 countries.

The BigCommerce eCommerce platform is good for large retail brands, as it has a strong product search engine. Also, the BigCommerce user interface makes it easy to create an ecommerce store, even if you don’t have a web developer. 

The tools and templates are all beginner-friendly, but if you have tech skills, you can customize your store by editing the CSS and HTML code.

Standout Features

  • Unlimited product listings that allow your store to scale.
  • Unlimited bandwidth & file storage to keep your online store operating at optimum speeds as it grows.
  • Multi-currency sales to process transactions for international customers.
  • Reporting so you can learn more about your market, popular products, and business performance.
  • 12 free themes and 160+ paid themes that make it among the best ecommerce software for small business or startups.
  • Integrations with shipping and POS software to provide a seamless online customer experience.

BigCommerce has excellent support, including an active community forum and email support. For the 24-hour live chat support you’ll need a paid plan. 

 What we like about BigCommerce

  • Flexible and scalable platform
  • Excels with multi-channel selling
  • Unique theme designs
  • Strong SEO performance
  • Excellent abandoned cart functionality

Cons

  • Good SEO performance, but keep an eye on load speeds.
  • Cart abandonment is is only in Plus plan or up.
  • No 1-Click Selling feature

Our BigCommerce Review

Some of the best ecommerce stores are built with BigCommerce. It is a good choice for beginners, with ease of use on par with Shopify.

While it doesn’t have as many templates as Shopify, BigCommerce is better for SEO, as you can edit site elements like URLs and page titles. Also, multi-currency selling is an edge BigCommerce has over other ecommerce providers.

Some of the features, like shipping integrations and the abandoned cart feature, become available on higher tiers. 

Overall rating: 4.4
BigCommerce is the best ecommerce solution for small business and medium enterprises, as long as you have some money to spend. 

  • Design Options: 3.6
  • Ease of Use: 4.5
  • Features: 4.0
  • Integrations: 4.7
  • Performance: 4.8
  • Support: 4.7
  • Value: 4.7
3

Wix eCommerce

Easiest eCommerce solution

Wix is a cloud-based web and webshop builder. Wix is used on more than 110 million websites.  In recent years, Wix has earned a reputation as one of the easiest ecommerce platforms to build your online store.

best easy ecommerce store builder

Create a basic store with the drag-and-drop tools. You can save time and money by using ready-made templates. These options are perfect for beginners, and budget-conscious business owners.

While it lacks some of the advanced features you can find in enterprise ecommerce platforms, Wix is still evolving. It includes a clear dashboard and mobile app to easy store management and sales tracking.

Standout Features

  • Abandoned cart recovery to reconnect with leads through email to complete their purchase.
  • Instant purchase buttons that make it easier for customers to buy, which, in turn, boosts your conversion rates.
  • Add to cart from the gallery feature that adds a link directly under your product images. Customers like this quick way of online shopping. 
  • Loyalty programs and discount codes that build trust with customers, and motivate them to buy more.
  • Complementary $300 of online ad credit to increase business through paid advertising.
  • Payment integrations with 40+ providers, including PayPal, Stripe, and Square, as well as the in-house system, Wix Payments.
  • Multi-currency converter to accept foreign currency and sell products worldwide (Unlimited Plan only).

What we like about Wix eCommerce

  • A lot of free, modern-looking themes.
  • No transaction fees
  • Really easy to build your website or webshop.
  • 24/7 customer support with a ticketing system and call me back function.

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Lacks advanced marketing features like Etsy functionality or Schema for customer reviews.
  • Unable to easily change templates after creating a site.

Our Wix Review

Overall rating: 4.0
Wix is best suited ecommerce platform for small businesses that don’t have a web developer. Even if you have no experience in web design, it’s easy to create sites with the drag-and-drop builder. 

You can add plugins for advanced ecommerce functions. Despite the add-on capabilities, Wix is a website builder at its core. It’s ease-of-use may not make up for the limited features on the cheaper plans. 

For bigger businesses that want to build scalable ecommerce stores, it may be better to choose a different ecommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce.

  • Design Options: 3.5
  • Ease of Use: 4.8
  • Features: 3.5
  • Integrations: 4.0
  • Performance: 4.2
  • Support: 4.4
  • Value: 4.2

Try Wix

4

WooCommerce

ecommerce for WordPress

With Woocommerce you can turn any WordPress website into an ecommerce store. 

WooCommerce comes with a steeper learning curve than most platforms. Yet, with some patience, it’s possible to create a highly-customized WooCommerce site. You can use the WooCommerce Extensions Store to add advanced features and functions.

WooCommerce is the best choice if you want to use content marketing and SEO to build your business on WordPress or if you want to host your own eCommerce site. 

Standout Features

  • Good platform for SEO. Built with code optimized for search engines. WooCommerce has specialized SEO plugins, like Yoast.
  • The WooCommerce Extensions Store. Over 300 free and paid extensions to add features and improve your store.
  • 140+ payment integrations. All major region-specific gateways. This includes Stripe, PayPal, Google Pay, Square, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay.
  • Extensive documentation. WooCommerce has a support team and a public support forum to assist with questions.
  • Multilingual content and multiple currencies. WooCommerce is translated into 24 languages, including Danish, Persian, and Ukranian.

What we like about WooCommerce

  • Best ecommerce platform for SEO.
  • Highly customizable websites.
  • Massive WordPress community for expert advice and help.
  • One-Click selling app to make it easier to buy products.
  • Integrations with all major platforms tools to start Marketing Automation. 

Cons

  • You must pay separately for webshop hosting, which can be expensive
  • Practically zero customer service support, except through forums
  • A lot of extensions can slow your site down
  • Managing a lot of orders and products can get tough.
  • Not as easy to get started as some other platforms

Our WooCommerce Review

WooCommerce is a good choice if you are familiar with WordPress.

If you are new to WordPress, this road could be tough. It takes time and patience to set up a good WooCommerce business. WooCommerce is one of the best free ecommerce platforms, but you need to add a lot of extensions, too. Also, you have to buy separate hosting and a theme.

WooCommerce is the best choice to run an ecommerce store and affiliate website at the same time. The SEO power of WordPress means your ecommerce store can grow with search marketing. But remember, if you want to scale your business, be careful about adding too many extensions.

Overall rating: 4.1

  • Design Options: 4.2
  • Ease of Use: 4.2
  • Features: 4.1
  • Integrations: 4.3
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Support: 3.8
  • Value: 4.2

5

Shift4Shop (3dcart eCommerce)

Shift4shop (previously know as 3dcart) is an advanced ecommerce platform, in business since 2001. This platform is used by more than 22,000 businesses. And yet, it doesn’t receive the hype of some competitors. 

With built-in SEO tools, 3dcart / shift4shop is one of the best ecommerce platforms for experienced marketers. There is no drag-and-drop builder, which may frustrate novice users. To get the most out of this platform, you’ll need some development skills. If you can code, you can customize your themes and templates.

You can join the developer community to get help with website design. Also, 3dcart has good shipping solutions.

Standout Features:

  • 24/7 customer support on phone, live chat, and ticket support to help with any technical issues.
  • 200+ payment gateways to sell to a wide, international audience.
  • Integrations with third-party online marketplaces to extend store functions and performance.
  • Unlimited bandwidth so you don’t worry about added costs or website crashes if you get a lot of traffic.
  • Built-in blog to help you market through content and SEO.
  • Search engine optimized websites that rank well, attracting more customers.

What we like about 3dcart

  • No transaction fees
  • Good blog platform
  • Among the best ecommerce software providers for SEO
  • Advanced shipping solutions with no need for an API
  • Unlimited bandwidth makes it easier to scale

Cons

  • The admin dashboard isn’t that user-friendly 
  • Some themes and designs look outdated
  • Customer support can be slow or unresponsive

Our Verdict

3dcart isn’t as beginner-friendly as Shopify. However, 3dcart has some superb features. The SEO potential is handy if you want to focus on content marketing. Also, no transaction fees and unlimited storage space are nice perks. 

Overall, this platform offers good value with all its features. With some new themes, and an easier dashboard, it could be a top choice. For now, it’s best for medium, advanced users and developers.

  • Overall rating: 4.0
  • Design Options: 3.8
  • Ease of Use: 4.2
  • Features: 4.0
  • Integrations: 4.5
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Support: 4.2
  • Value: 4.5
6

Volusion

The Volusion ecommerce platform has been around since 1999, the webshop builder is powering 180,000+ ecommerce stores.

It is easy to create your store. You can use a drag-and-drop builder and in-page editing. There are 11 free themes and plenty of premium themes. 

However, Volusion doesn’t have a blogging feature. If you want to blog, you can connect a WordPress blog to your store using a plugin. Another catch is that you must buy a separate SSL certificate for website security, but you can also get a free SSL certificate these days.  

On the upside, Volusion has recently added sales of digital products. That’s good news for anyone selling ebooks, music, or software.

Standout Features

  • Product videos. This useful marketing tool is a unique feature that no rival platform currently offers.
  • In-depth analytics. A real strong point for Volusion. You can study key metrics like traffic sources, and your most visited pages. These insights provide information that can help improve your sales.
  • Suggested products. Another feature for increasing sales. Whereas Shopify users need to download a plugin, product recommendations come as standard in Volusion.
  • Slick mobile app. You can manage your store from anywhere, checking products and pricing. 
  • Supports 1,000+ apps. Partners with Zapier to cover everything from accounts to customer management.

What we like about Volusion

  • Helpful onboarding
  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • No transaction fees
  • Product videos
  • Flexibility with Sitemaps

Cons

  • No phone support on entry plan
  • Limited up- and cross selling 
  • No built-in blog
  • Poor URL structure
  • Slow for an SaaS platform

Our Verdict

Volusion has a great onboarding sequence with a step-by-step wizard. From the start, you get guidance to build your store. It offers truly helpful learning materials that help you grow your ecommerce business. 

With a clean dashboard, it’s easy to navigate. You also have plenty of good features for store management and marketing. The premium themes can be expensive. If you want to focus on blogging, it might not be the best platform for an ecommerce store. But, overall, Volusion is a solid provider for a new ecommerce business. 

Overall rating: 3.8

  • Design Options: 3.4
  • Ease of Use: 4.0
  • Features: 3.9
  • Integrations: 4.1
  • Performance: 3.8
  • Support: 4.6
  • Value: 3.4
7

Magento

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform for small to large, enterprise-level online stores.  Nike, HP, and Jack Daniels are just some of the major brands that use this platform. Check out our full Magento Commerce Review

You can build a dynamic store with lots of features, but coding is essential. If you don’t have the skills, you’ll certainly need to hire a magento developer or agency.

With a community of 300,000 developers and 1,000 trusted partners, you have expert support, and can find a creative web agency to help your business grow.

Standout Features

  • Catalog management to allow easy image uploads, pricing edits, and inventory control.
  • Practical SEO tools to optimize your pages, create meta-tags and generate Google Sitemaps.
  • Customer segmentation to personalize your marketing.
  • Mobile HTML5 technology that supports all major devices, so you can create mobile-friendly content.
  • Up/Cross-Sell features that increase average sales values.

Magento Open Source is a free version. You can download and install this ecommerce software on your own  server or with one of the many Magento Hosting services. This process requires technical knowledge, but it may be the best open source ecommerce platform.

The paid option, known as Magento Commerce, can also be self-hosted or hosted by Adobe in Magento commerce cloud. So, you don’t need to deal with tricky installation, setup or updates. 

What we like about Magento

  • Powerful platform with tons of features
  • Strong SEO performance
  • Huge developer community
  • Highly customizable and scalable
  • Flexibility with hosting

Cons

  • Watch out with custom development.
  • Not configured well, Magento can become very slow.
  • Confusing amount of settings
  • Development skills are essential

Our Verdict on Magento

Compared to other platforms, Magento is a professional solution. It is extendable, feature-rich, and can deliver top performance in search engines.

The global developer community is where Magento shines. You can work with any Magento agency to create a truly unique store. The marketplace has hundreds of useful extensions and theme designs.

On the downside, Magento is a complex piece of ecommerce software. It is not for newcomers to ecommerce or web design. Most likely, you will need to outsource development. Besides that, this platform can become very expensive for large enterprises. Many small stores also use Magento.

Overall rating: 3.1

  • Design Options: 3.7
  • Ease of Use: 3.3
  • Features: 4.1
  • Integrations: 4.3
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Support: 4.2
  • Value: 2.4
8

PrestaShop eCommerce Platform

PrestaShop is an ecommerce solution written in PHP. This freemium software is used by over 300,000 businesses. It’s available in 75 different languages.

Using PrestaShop seems straightforward. Simply download the software, or your website comes pre-installed and hosted by IONOS. There is a coding environment included. You get daily backups and 24/7 technical support.

Like other top ecommerce platforms, you can create products and sort them in categories. PrestaShop has an advanced inventory management system. The community support includes contributors who help optimize the source code. You can use any of the 250+ agency partners to get help building your store.

Standout Features:

  • Customers can upload photos and specs so you can customize your products to their needs. This feature offers a user experience for customized products that is hard to beat!
  • Assign shipping carriers based on the geographical delivery zones of your customers.
  • Product search engine on 404 Pages. Not exclusive to Prestashop, but this addition can help lower bounce rate. You might even increase sales.
  • Custom checkout design including a summary order page and order validation.

PrestaShop Ready is similar to other hosted ecommerce platforms. You don’t have as much technical work to do, and get better support. It comes with a SSL certificate for added security on your online store.

What we like about PrestaShop

  • Completely free ecommerce platform to download and use
  • Possibilities for custom designs
  • Active ecommerce community with ideas and solutions
  • Integration options for apps and payment providers
  • Good SEO capabilities

Cons

  • You must pay for support
  • Technical knowledge is essential to get set up
  • Expensive to build a store with advanced functions
  • No multichannel feature on PrestaShop Ready

Our Verdict

PrestaShop is good for small to medium businesses that need a simple ecommerce store. If you’re on a budget, you might not want a platform with high monthly costs. Then the freemium PrestaShop is worth considering. If you have development skills, and want full control over store design, this could work.

But if you don’t have technical abilities, Prestashop is not going to work for you. Of course, you can hire a developer, but that may get expensive.  If you want to build a larger online store, costs for extensions can add up.  

Overall rating: 3.8

  • Design Options: 3.6
  • Ease of Use: 3.5
  • Features: 3.4
  • Integrations: 4.0
  • Performance: 3.5
  • Support: 4.1
  • Value: 4.9
9

Ecwid

Sample subtitle

Ecwid is an ecommerce platform known for its speed and ease-of-use. G2 Crowd once named it the fastest ecommerce implementation platform in the world. 

This software is best if you want to add an ecommerce shop to an existing website. So, it’s a close alternative to WooCommerce. Ecwid is a flexible platform. You can use it to sell products yourself or on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Instagram.

Standout Features:

  • A simple checkout process that makes shopping smooth.
  • Customers can save their favorite products and return to buy later.
  • A customer address book that helps you build profitable relationships with customers.
  • Highly customizable storefront to make a big impact on site visitors when they arrive. Swap logos, colors, design and brands.
  • Built-in ad management to create and track Facebook and Google ads from your dashboard.

Our Verdict

Ecwid makes it easy to turn an existing site into an online store.  It’s a beginner-friendly dive into ecommerce. You don’t have to start from scratch, and it’s relatively cheap.  The free version is too limited, so we advise you to get a paid plan.

It is one of the best multi-channel ecommerce platforms. You can integrate with other ecommerce marketplaces or social media. Doing this allows you to reach a bigger audience. You can sell across several platforms from one dashboard.

If you already have a WordPress or Drupal business, Ecwid is a smart addition. You can quickly build a bigger ecommerce business. Unfortunately, the site may get slow when you scale. So it is a good option for smaller businesses, but not for large enterprises.

Overall rating: 4.0

  • Design Options: 3.9
  • Ease of Use: 4.2
  • Features: 4.0
  • Integrations: 4.1
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Support: 4.2
  • Value: 4.1

What Is the Best Ecommerce Platform? 

Choosing the right ecommerce platform, there are many factors to consider. For example, you must think about your skill level, budget, and business goals. 

It’s easy to opt for the more popular ecommerce platforms. But that could be a mistake. Here is our summary to help you make the right choice.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Beginners

Starting an online store, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. So many platforms to choose from, so much to learn. Look for one of the easy ecommerce platforms.

If you’re starting from scratch and don’t mind spending some money, go for Shopify. It has everything you need to build from scratch. Also, the blog and support team are excellent for helping you learn about ecommerce.

Ecwid is a user-friendly way to turn your existing site into an ecommerce store. You can play around with ecommerce store features with their trail.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Developers

Have you got some coding skills?

If you’re confident in website development, you can look beyond Shopify. You could try an advanced platform to create a more unique website. If you want to customize your site and grow a massive store, check out Magento.

For those on a budget, try PrestaShop. This open-source option is good for customizing websites for free.

If you have a bigger budget, 3dcart is a good choice for a scaling business.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Business

If you have a small business you need  a secure website that is PCI compliant. It also should have uptime guarantees, so you don’t risk losing potential sales. 

Shopify or Volusion are two options that offer the best ecommerce hosting for small businesses. Both of these platforms are easy-to-use, even without prior experience.

Volusion has some great free tools, and even offers small business loans.
Shopify has automatic shipping, which saves you a lot of time. 

Best Ecommerce Platform for Startups

Startup owners must think about costs. There are a lot of things to pay for, such as branding, marketing, and paid advertising. When it comes to your actual retail platform, you have to get it right without breaking the bank.

If you want to get started quickly, choose Shopify. It’s not the cheapest, but the support and tools will save you time and money in the long run. If you are concerned about budget, and have more time to design and customize your site based on WordPress, try WooCommerce.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Large Business

Anybody with a larger business should look for a platform without high fees. As such, Shopify is not a good choice. You want to scale your revenue without paying more to the platform.

For large businesses with no coding skills, choose BigCommerce. It has no transaction fees, and good features to support fast growth. If you have a bigger budget and can code or hire a developer, consider Magento.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Dropshipping

If you want to succeed with dropshipping, you need ecommerce software that easily integrates with wholesalers. You have to  connect your inventory across platforms, and automate shipping.

For this reason, Shopify is the clear winner here, as it is perfect for dropshipping almost any product. If you have a little more experience in dropshipping or development, you could also try BigCommerce.

Best Ecommerce Platform for Jewelry Sites

Jewelry is one of the most popular items for dropshipping. So, you can do well on Shopify or Wix if you’re targeting this niche. However, these two aren’t great for SEO.  

But if you want to use content marketing to build your jewelry brand, use WooCommerce. With this choice, you can build organic traffic with a WordPress blog.

Best Ecommerce Platform for WordPress

WooCommerce is the clear winner here, as it is the native plugin for WordPress websites. With just a few clicks, you can use the plugin to turn your existing WordPress site into an ecommerce store. 

On a related note, have a look at how to pick the best WordPress email marketing tools.

Summary: What is the Best Ecommerce Platform in 2021? 

So, there you have our ecommerce platform comparison guide.

Whether you have a startup or large company, there is always a match for you. 

  • The best ecommerce software platforms for beginners are Ecwid and Shopify.
  • For the best ecommerce platform for developers, go with 3dcart or Magento.
  • If you want the best ecommerce platform for small business or startups, go with Shopify or Wix.
  • Undoubtedly, the best ecommerce platform for dropshipping is Shopify.
  • Lastly, for the best ecommerce platform for large businesses, choose BigCommerce.

When choosing, consider your budget, goals, and current skills. Then, you can find the best ecommerce solutions provider for your needs.

CJ Haughey

About CJ Haughey


CJ helps B2B SaaS and tech companies establish online authority, build trust with people, and sell more products and services. Co-founder of Quill & Craft content marketing agency for B2B companies and a special love for B2B MarTech and digital marketing specialist.

Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0