Top 10 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

November 22, 2022
Contents

When we say e-commerce, it refers to buying and selling goods or services using the internet and transferring money and data to execute these transactions. 

E-commerce saw a surge in usage during the pandemic when everyone used the internet to its best, and e-commerce was the most convenient form of buying and selling everything. People even bought groceries online!

While there are big e-commerce businesses like Amazon, Walmart, and Flipkart, small companies also have online stores. 

Small businesses should build an excellent online store because it is an intelligent way to reach more customers.

This article lists the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses and how to choose the best one. 

How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses?

There are a few things you should keep in mind when you choose an e-commerce platform for your business:

Features and Integrations

Integrations and features are the most critical factors to watch out for in your platform, and choose if it is the best for your small business. 

Not all platforms offer all kinds of integration, so keep in mind and find your business requirements to determine the available features and functions correctly.  

Ecommerce platforms have evolved, with many now offering a range of features that can help you grow the sales of your product or service. Here are some things you should look out for:

  • Accounting
  • Email Marketing
  • Customer Loyalty Programs
  • Payment & Shipping
  • Third-Party Digital Tools

Design and Ease of Use

It takes a lot of time and effort to learn complicated operations and complete the usage of a platform. 

Therefore, choosing an e-commerce platform with an easy-to-use interface and website design is more convenient to help you create the perfect website for your small business. 

You don't want to spend time figuring out how to use your new e-commerce platform because it doesn't make sense for your business. Here are some things to check out when evaluating their design:

Navigation Menus 

Are they intuitive? Is there a clear hierarchy and logical order? Is there enough content on each page so visitors can quickly find what they want? 

Omnichannel capabilities

With customers buying more devices than ever, your business must have an omnichannel strategy. 

Omnichannel means creating a brand experience without any boundaries across all channels like Instagram, Facebook, or any other social platform.

It means you can provide a seamless shopping experience to your customers across all channels. 

So, before you choose an e-commerce platform, make sure it can easily integrate and implement in all of your channels, and see if the website is compatible with all kinds of devices, be it desktops, smartphones or tablets.

Flexibility

The platform should be able to grow alongside your business. So, to do that, it must be flexible. The platform you choose needs to be ready for everything, both now and in the future. 

It must be prepared to handle high traffic or surge in demand and be ready to tackle all kinds of situations.

Cost of Ownership

The cost of ownership differs from one platform to another, depending on the business size and the required features. 

So these are a few of the things you should have on your checklist while choosing your e-commerce platform and see if they include the following:

  • Web development.
  • Security. 
  • Monthly hosting
  • Programming and functionality.
  • Maintenance.

Futureproofing Your Technology Stack

E-commerce is a fast-growing form of business, and it is a fact that technology will continue to change and have a massive impact on how a company manages its everyday operations.

A tech stack is the set of all technology services used to build a single application. These technologies include programming languages, libraries, and frameworks such as Python, Java, etc. 

The tech stack consists of two layers: the front end (the client side) and the back end (server-side). 

The front end is the storefront of your online store, i.e., what your customer sees, such as web design and user experience.  

Meanwhile, the back end concerns retailers' marketing, sales, and operations. 

So, all you have to do is ensure that both the front and back ends of your tech stack are flexible enough to keep pace with the changing trends of both the present and the future. 

Furthermore, your business needs to accept the changes to increase productivity and profits to stay abreast with the latest technological trends. 

This includes developing methods to create flexibility and replacing your technology stack according to the recent trends by futureproofing your technology or, in simpler words, being ready for the future.

Best E-Commerce Platforms for Small Businesses Comparison

No. Name of e-commerce platforms Pros Cons
1 Shopify Easy to use, Great customer support, Customization, Free trial Expensive, Difficulty in content marketing
2 Wix 800+ template designs, marketing tools, Most popular in testing No free trial, Less powerful data tools
3 WooCommerce Best for SEO, Budget-friendly, and Flexible. Built for WordPress. Expensive, Difficulty in troubleshooting
4 SquareOnline Great marketing features. Built-in payment processing.Free plan Restrictive design features, Non-intuitive interface
5 BigCommerce Built-in product review function. Drag and drop page builder. Limited online sales, Expensive, Less customization.
6 SquareSpace Beginner-friendly, Stunning template designs, Great for simple stores. Limited Payment Gateways, and No Phone Support.
7 Weebly Mobile-friendly and built-in SEO, Customizable themes, and templates. Disappointing SEO, and Lacks Amazon integration.
8 Zyro Integration with POS systems, Website editor offers great UX. No free trials, Highly-priced renewal plans.
9 nopCommerce Multi-store feature, built-in SEO features. open-source Premium support is expensive, Less user-friendly.
10 GoDaddy Artificial Intelligence Design support, Excellent for speed Restricted creative control, Lacks advanced features.

10 Best E-Commerce Platform for Small Businesses

Shopify

Shopify is a complete e-commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business. Shopify unifies all of your e-commerce needs onto a single platform. 

Shopify is cloud-based and hosted, which means you can use it on any connected compatible device, and they will handle software and server upgrades and maintenance for you. 

This allows you to access and run your business from anywhere with an internet connection. 

It is the best for small businesses seeking a plug-and-play all-in-one package.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Great customer support
  • Variety of themes and customization
  • Free trial for 14 days
  • Flexible and supports all kinds of online businesses

Cons

  • High Pricing
  • Difficulty with content marketing
  • Limited customization
  • Difficult exit

Price:

  • Basic Shopify: $29.99/month; 
  • Shopify: $79/month; 
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month; 

10% discount on annual plans and 20% on biennial plans when paid upfront.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

With Shopify, you can set up a fantastic online store without any previous knowledge in coding, designing, or doing anything technical online. 

The platform offers unlimited bandwidth and online storage, so the prices will stay the same as your website gets more traffic and sales. The ease of use and flexibility make it great for all small businesses.

Wix

Wix provides a cloud-based web development service that allows you to create HTML5 websites and mobile sites through online drag-and-drop tools. 

Wix helps to build, customize and manage your website for your business, customers, and community. 

It's an easy-to-use website-building app that will help you create & manage your online presence anywhere and everywhere using its powerful website-building tools.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Features like 800+ template designs
  • You can use it for marketing, accounting, and blogging
  • Most popular in testing
  • Total creative control

Cons:

  • No free trial
  • Less powerful big data tools
  • Can't swap templates later on
  • Help and support are not as great

Price: Ranges from $23 to $49 per month (billed annually)

  • Business Basic: $23/month; 
  • Business Unlimited: $27/month; 
  • Business VIP: $49/month.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

It is best for visual, image-centric eCommerce site designs. When designing your store, there are more than 500 templates to choose from. 

The drag-and-drop interface is easy to use as you customize the look and design of your online store. Wix supports subscription-based billing and dropshipping through third parties. 

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is WordPress's answer to selling online. It has now evolved into a fully-fledged website builder, with the option of adding WooCommerce to make online sales. 

Pros

  • Best for SEO.
  • Experts are available to help you if you need them.
  • Match your budget to only the tools you need. 
  • Flexible.
  • Built for WordPress.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Little to no support.
  • Troubleshooting can be complex.
  • Extensions are necessary for many functions, even simple ones.

Price: Average monthly fee is up to $30; $120/year for hosting, $15/year for domain name registration, up to $100/year for your site theme, up to $108/year for shipping, 2.9% plus 30¢ per sale, up to $348/year for marketing and communications, up to $79/year for SEO, up to $65/year for SSL certificate.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

WooCommerce is open source, so it's highly customizable, especially if you have the technical skills to design websites. 

There are more than 6,000 third-party integrations to choose from if you want to expand the functions of your store. As a result, WooCommerce offers a lot of flexibility.

Square Online

Square Online is an e-commerce platform that allows businesses to sell products with built-in inventory management, a point-of-sale (POS) system, and the ability to accept payments online. There's a free plan available, but the paid plans offer far more features to help your small business sell more effectively.

Pros

  • Reasonably easy to use.
  • Great marketing features.
  • Available business management tools.
  • Built-in payment processing.
  • Free plan available.
  • Easily add products.
  • Beginner-friendly.

Cons 

  • Restrictive design features.
  • Not the most intuitive interface.
  • High transaction fees.
  • Limited customization.

Price:

Ranges from $12 – $72 per month (Free option available) 

Free; Professional: $12/month; Performance: $26/month; Premium: $72/month.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

You can start with one of many templates tailored for retail, restaurants, non-profits, and more. Square Online offers built-in payment processing. Product offerings include other business management tools. With integrations to other Square products, Square Online works with mobile wallets and is easy to use.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is best suited for already flourishing small businesses looking to scale growth quickly. 

It's also an excellent choice for companies with more extensive inventories. 

BigCommerce provides basic SEO tools, drop shipping, coupons, real-time shipping rates, tracking, and Amazon FBA integration, regardless of the plans.

Pros

  • Easy to sell products across multiple channels.
  • Great SEO performance.
  • No transaction fees.
  • Built-in product review function.
  • Drag and drop page builder.

Cons:

  • Limited online sales.
  • Expensive.
  • Less customization.
  • Limited free themes.

Price: Ranges from $29 to $299 per month, depending on your plan. 

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

BigCommerce is mainly aimed at people without design skills, but it also allows more tech-savvy users and developers to take things further. 

BigCommerce is a software as a service (SaaS) solution meaning that you don't own the software but instead pay a monthly fee.

The platform comes with a range of customizable templates to help you design your online store; you can use it to sell either physical or digital goods, and there are also some tools provided to help you market your store.

Squarespace

Squarespace is a well-known content management system and website builder. When it started in 2004, it was not an e-commerce platform. 

As the market has evolved, Squarespace added e-commerce functionality to compete with other platforms. Squarespace, like Shopify, is a SaaS or software-as-a-service e-commerce platform. 

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • No fees outside of the credit card processing fees.
  • Limited technical skills required to operate.
  • Stunning template designs.
  • Great for simple stores.

Cons

  • Fewer eCommerce Integrations.
  • Limited Payment Gateways.
  • No Phone Support.
  • Limited features.

Price: Ranges from $26 to $40 per month

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

Squarespace is best for small stores, boutiques, print-on-demand businesses, and physical stores. The ease of usage, the minimum pricing, and the platform's cost-effectiveness make it suitable for small businesses.

Weebly

Weebly is an easy-to-use site builder with a free option. It lets you create and publish attractive, responsive-design sites, blogs, and online stores. Weebly is one of the most user-friendly and reliable website builders you can use without any previous knowledge of coding or web designing.

Pros:

  • Mobile-friendly and built-in SEO.
  • Customizable themes and templates.
  • Free account option.
  • Intuitive interface.
  • Beginner-friendly.

Cons

  • Less editing options.
  • Disappointing SEO.
  • Lacks Amazon integration.
  • Transaction fee on lower plans.

Price: Ranges from $8 to $38 a month for Weebly's e-commerce platform, depending on your chosen plan.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

Weebly is best for stores that require limited functionality. It also works well for businesses with personalized products that need more money to work with other e-commerce solutions. Its easy access and the free account option make it a lucrative choice for small businesses.

Zyro

For UX design enthusiasts and business hobbyists, Zyro is the best website builder. It has POS integration, which means that the hardware and software help customers purchase via the online checkout. With a straightforward design editor, Zyro lets you quickly create aesthetically pleasing storefronts. 

Pros

  • Integration with POS systems.
  • Helpful in starting a business.
  • Website editor offers great UX.
  • Helpful grid layout.
  • Clean templates.

Cons

  • The interface needs to integrate better.
  • Lacks instructions.
  • No free trials.
  • Highly-priced renewal plans.

Price: Free plan available; price ranges from $2.69 - $39.99 / month

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

Zyro is a simple, easy-to-use e-commerce builder. Its prices are very low, but that's reflected in its less powerful features. Zyro works well for smaller online stores on a budget that doesn't need scalable marketing tools. It works well for hobbyists and UX design enthusiasts. 

nopCommerce

nopCommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform based on Microsoft's ASP.NET Core framework and MS SQL Server 2012 backend Database. It provides a catalog front and an administration tool backend, allowing shopping cart creation.

Pros

  • Unlimited product listings and product modifications.
  • It's free.
  • It has a multi-store feature.
  • Users get access to built-in SEO features.
  • It's open-source, so customization freedom is unlimited.
  • There are lots of integrations available.

Cons

  • Premium support is expensive.
  • Less user-friendly.
  • Widgets and plug-ins are not free.
  • Difficult to use.

Price: Free to use. But Premium support costs $83.25 a month for a year's support or $999 upfront.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

nopCommerce is a feature-rich free e-commerce platform; it's an attractive option for small businesses keen to expand. However, regarding nopCommerce's website, beginners may find its terminology somewhat complex, which may prove a stumbling block for some.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is an internet domain registrar and web hosting company facilitating online businesses. 

It uses Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) to simplify building your store. It offers more support for businesses than many of its competitors.

Pros 

  • Convenient and easy to use.
  • Artificial Intelligence Design support.
  • Excellent for speed when you want to get online fast.
  • No coding knowledge is required.
  • Hosting available.

Cons 

  • Very little creative control.
  • Only a few advanced features.
  • Lacking tools for bloggers.
  • Not free.

Price: Starts around $19.99 per month for the Online Store price plan.

Why is it suitable for small businesses?

GoDaddy will give you one of the easiest-to-use platforms on the market today. 

However, the service can be a little lacking in some areas, particularly if you're a small business amid significant growth. 

For small businesses, finding an e-commerce and website hosting solution that's easy to use is vital, and GoDaddy gives precisely that.

Other Challenges Ecommerce Startups Face

Competing Against Big Brands

As a small business, you must be ready to compete with big-name brands that have way more money, employees, and resources than you. 

And there's a chance they can throw small startups or businesses right out of the market. 

So, you can avoid direct competition with large enterprises by choosing a less competitive niche which goes along with doing your research and nailing down the right market and audience.

If you can find a niche with fewer competitors, you'll have more freedom to focus on growing and promoting your business.

Get Good Data And Do Market Research

It is crucial to figure out what you will sell and who you will sell it to. But finding the right product and market means you must do your research.  

Always remember that there are equal opportunities and competition in every niche you can think about.

So before building your website and blindly adding new features, take time to extensively research the environment, potential competitors, and demand for your product or service. 

As a startup, choosing a market niche with fewer competitors and more growth opportunities is a good idea.

Marketing Efficiently with ROI

With so many marketing channels, like Instagram, Facebook, or Amazon Marketplace, it seems lucrative to promote your brand on all of them. 

But more channels do not always mean more sales. Make sure that your profits are more than what you invested in your small business and that you get a good return on the money and time you invest in your business through your sales and profits.

On the other hand, using every marketing tool will likely only cost a lot of time, energy, and money. 

So instead of going over the top, it's better to use these channels judiciously, testing each to find out which will give you the best ROI or return on investment and then focusing your efforts only on a few and making sure to give your undivided attention to that.

Although there are challenges, you can still expand your business. So, strategize your online store according to the challenges and keep them from dissuading you from making the best use of e-commerce.

FAQs: Best eCommerce platform for small business

Which E-commerce is best for small businesses?

The two options for small businesses e-commerce are- Open source and SaaS- software as a service. It is better to use a SaaS platform if you have a budget and minimal tech knowledge. 

But if you know how to code and have a small budget, an open-source e-commerce platform is the best option.

Which online platform is best recommended for small businesses?

Some of the best online platforms for small businesses are:

  • Wix – Best overall e-commerce website builder for small businesses.
  • Shopify – Best for sales-specific features.
  • Squarespace – Best for creative control.
  • Square Online – Best value for money.
  • BigCommerce – Best for growth.

How do I choose an e-commerce platform for my business?

Consider the following factors while choosing the best e-commerce platform for your business:

  • Hosting and Platform Ownership
  • Cost of Ownership
  • Integrations
  • Themes & User Experience 
  • Speed & Scalability
  • Store Functionality & Ease of use
  • Platform Security
  • Multiple Payment Gateways Support.

Which e-commerce platform is most used?

Shopify and Wix are the most used e-commerce platforms.

Conclusion: Best E-commerce Platform for Small Businesses

To find the best e-commerce platform available, always remember to do your research and check all the pros and cons.

Many business decisions are subjective to your organization and your goals. Be it the budget or the features, or something else entirely, there's an e-commerce platform for every business that answers each of your queries.

Most of the platform offers a free plan or a free trial, so you can begin building the foundations for your future e-commerce empire at no cost. 

Find a platform that's easy to use and ready to grow with your small business. Furthermore, remember to test which platform works best for your business before selecting the right one. 

Finding the best e-commerce platform is one of the most critical decisions for your online business. It can make or break your brand, so choose wisely!

Written By
Ankita

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