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Best E-commerce Platforms to Work With
Ecommerce platforms empower entrepreneurs to create online stores and sell products without needing to build website infrastructure from scratch.
With the right ecommerce solution, you can launch an online business faster and start generating revenue through an intuitive, all-in-one system for managing digital sales.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you select the best ecommerce platform for your specific needs? What features really matter for optimizing your online shop performance? Which platform aligns with your budget, product line, and target audience?
We researched over 70 solutions to uncover the top ecommerce software picks across essential criteria like cost, functionality, ease of use, scalability, and more. These ecommerce platforms earned high marks from users while enabling key omnichannel commerce capabilities.
Methodology for Selecting the Best Ecommerce Platforms
Choosing an ecommerce platform that empowers your business now while offering room to grow is key. Our recommendations balance capabilities against cost to help you make the best decision.
Key Evaluation Criteria
We developed a 1-100 scale for comparing platforms across five vital performance categories:
- Features: Site builder, SEO, payment processing, shipping, automation, analytics.
- Ease of Use: Intuitive dashboard, onboarding resources, knowledge base documentation.
- Themes & Customization: Design flexibility, template variety, modification options.
- Costs: Pricing model, transaction fees, add-on costs.
- Support: Technical assistance options, account management resources.
Our Review Process
To create this list highlighting the best ecommerce platforms to work with, we:
- Analyzed 70+ systems using our scoring methodology
- Reviewed vendor pricing models and independent cost comparisons
- Surveyed over 120 real merchant experiences and testimonials
- Aggregated expert reviews from credible publications
- Assessed platform scalability for enterprises and high-growth sellers
Combined, these inputs led us to a curated list of top-performing ecommerce solutions suitable for most online retail businesses.
Our Top Ecommerce Platform Picks
We segmented recommendations across three typical merchant segments to account for differences in business models, budget, expertise, and goals. Use our quick guide to identify which group best fits your situation:
For Small Businesses
Intuitive SaaS ecommerce builders ideal for new online sellers, lean teams, tight budgets.
For Mid-Market Growth
Feature-rich commerce platforms with enterprise functionality for expanding brands.
For Large Enterprises
Fully customizable solutions for complex operations and omnichannel retail needs.
We focused specifically on cloud-based SaaS vendors recognized as industry leaders that continually enhance their offerings through ongoing ecommerce solution innovation. Let’s explore details on each one!
Best Ecommerce Platforms: Small Business
These user-friendly digital commerce systems streamline launching a functional online store for early-stage e-tailers. Their simplicity also benefits solopreneurs or lean teams juggling everything themselves.
Location: Ottawa, Canada
The king of intuitive ecommerce platforms geared especially for aspiring first-time digital retailers. Shopify removes technical hurdles through an easy web-based system managing crucial online commerce operations.
Pricing: $29+ monthly plan, additional transaction fees
Why Shopify Stands Out
- Fully hosted SaaS ecommerce solution
- Mobile optimized online store templates
- Integrated payment processing
“We went from zero to $12 million in sales using Shopify. Their platform made the technical side easy while we focused on branding and marketing.” Casey W., Founder of Ecommerce Company
Location: San Francisco, USA
From point-of-sale pioneer Square comes an ecommerce platform tailored for syncing online and in-person sales channels into a unified system.
Pricing 2.6% + 10¢ transaction fees
Why Square Online Stands Out
- Seamlessly consolidated online/offline data
- Integrated with Square payments and hardware
- Minimal monthly fees fit microbusiness budgets
“By having our online and brick-and-mortar sales integrated through Square’s platform, we gained a single insightful view of our customers and inventory across every touchpoint.” Sabrina U., Multi-Channel Retail Business Owner
Location: Austin, USA and Sydney, Australia
Mid-way between simple DIY merchants and enterprise-level functionality, BigCommerce strikes an ideal balance as an ecommerce platform delivering ample capability without overwhelming complexity.
Pricing: $29+ monthly plan, additional transaction fees
Why BigCommerce Stands Out
- More advanced built-in features than beginner builders
- Scales to grow with your expanding business
- Very competitively priced for the extensive functionality
As someone without a technical background, I was able to create a professional online store with BigCommerce quickly. Their support team helped smooth over the few hurdles I faced as a first-timer getting started selling online.” Jenna W., Handmade Jewelry Shop Owner
Best Ecommerce Platforms: Mid-Market & Enterprise
Mid-sized businesses and large enterprises need customizable digital commerce platforms with extensive capability to manage growing complexity. Here are top omnichannel solutions for ambitious brands.
Location: Los Angeles, USA
The gold standard for enterprise ecommerce platforms thanks to unparalleled scalability, functionality, and open-source flexibility tailored specifically for complex retailers.
Pricing: $22,000+ annually for cloud-based Magento Commerce
Why Magento Commerce Stands Out
- Fully customizable open-source foundation
- Unmatched feature set made for enterprise
- Scales to support enormous order volumes
“With omni-channel sales rising 30% year-over-year, Magento gives us a future-proof solution capable of smoothly handling our increasing transaction loads while consolidating customer data into actionable insights.” Ecommerce Director, Multi-Billion Dollar Global Retail Conglomerate
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Location: San Francisco, USA
Built on Salesforce’s trusted cloud CRM platform loved by sales teams worldwide, Commerce Cloud enables unified ecommerce solutions with deep visibility into customer data and engagement metrics.
Pricing: Custom quote based on scale and needs
Why Salesforce Commerce Cloud Stands Out
- Tight integration to Salesforce CRM
- Powerful order management functionality
- Premium scalability and reliability
“Tapping into the full Salesforce ecosystem has empowered our organization with flexible solutions tailored to our specific needs for managing rapid omnichannel retail growth.” CTO, Fortune 500 Specialty Retailer
SAP Commerce Cloud
Location: Walldorf, Germany
As an offshoot of enterprise software giant SAP, Commerce Cloud consolidates complex ecommerce platform capabilities like order management, predictive analytics, and supply chain integration all under one umbrella.
Pricing: Custom pricing based on individual needs
Why SAP Commerce Cloud Stands Out
- Supercharged “out-of-box” features
- Advanced predictive analytics capabilities
- Global enterprises rely on SAP scalability
With tens of thousands of transactions daily across our online properties, SAP Commerce Cloud gives us an agile foundation with the stability and scalability to support tremendous digital commerce growth.” VP Online Sales, Multinational Conglomerate
Ecommerce Software Cost Considerations
Pricing varies substantially for the ecommerce platforms and solutions highlighted here. So beyond baseline functionality comparisons, cost implications play a pivotal role during vendor selection. Several pricing factors are outlined below with general guidance:
Monthly subscription plans
Small business platforms like Shopify and Square Online charge monthly fees typically ranging $29 – $299. Mid-market solutions like BigCommerce also leverage SaaS pricing models usually $79 – $399 monthly.
At the enterprise end, solutions like Magento Commerce involve large upfront license purchases often over $22,000 for cloud versions, followed by annual maintenance fees.
In exchange for providing intuitive turnkey solutions for small businesses, Shopify and SquareOnline also charge volume-based transaction fees around 2% – 3% on gross sales in addition to base subscriptions.
BigCommerce transaction fees typically run around 1%, but occasionally offer temporary waivers or custom enterprise pricing to incentivize customer loyalty if sales volume is high enough.
Meanwhile enterprise platforms like Magento and SAP Commerce Cloud use customized quota-based pricing aligned to each customer’s actual usage and infrastructure needs rather than one-size-fits all tiers.
All SaaS platforms feature online marketplaces for installing third-party apps offering supplemental capabilities like accounting, marketing automation, alternative payment methods, and more. These add-ons range from free up to several hundred dollars monthly.
Additionally, domain registration, SSL certificates, POS hardware, and other ancillary services needed for operating an ecommerce business also contribute to overall expenses.
When evaluating options, calculate total potential costs for your needs rather than just baseline rates to determine true long term Budget requirements.
How to Select the Right Ecommerce Platform
While this guide outlines top solutions across the small, mid-market, and enterprise spectrum, no single “best” ecommerce platform exists. The ideal choice depends primarily on your business model, budget, timeline, and existing infrastructure.
Weigh the core elements below against vendor offerings to home in on the right platform:
Are you launching a simple online destination just to test demand before expanding? Or rolling out an enterprise-grade operation from day one? Timeline and rollout urgency should dictate whether you need a lightweight MVP option vs robust & complex.
Long Term Ambitions
Even if starting small, acknowledge ultimate growth goals. Some entry-level turnkey solutions limit ability to scale without migrating away from them. Always consider future needs to avoid costly reinvestment in another platform down the road.
Available Internal Resources
From a financial and human capital perspective, define what resources exist for launching and operating the ecommerce system. Complex solutions become burdensome without full teams to leverage advanced capabilities.
Inventory & Order Management Needs
Product diversity, order volume, fulfillment methods, and warehousing approach determine base requirements. Avoid overpayment for unused higher-tier features while still retaining needed flexibility.
Existing development talent and willingness to learn in-house impacts platform choice. Open-source solutions provide endless customization opportunities but only for merchants boasting advanced DevOps capabilities. Out-of-box SaaS simplifies setup yet restricts modifications.
Traffic Volume & Performance Demands
Anticipated site visitors and conversions, page load speed, uptime reliability requirements play a role. Scalable enterprise platforms handle spikes most smoothly.
There are always tradeoffs when selecting SaaS solutions. Local vendor demos let you test options hands-on before committing. Also leverage free trials to simulate your actual workflow.
Chosen strategically, the right ecommerce platform saves money over DIY website builds while accelerating time-to-revenue. Let the above list of top contenders streamline your selection process among proven solutions trusted by thousands globally.
Critical Capabilities to Compare
Beyond core ecommerce platform components, additional elements greatly impact functionality and the administrative workload tied to daily operations. Weigh the following elements carefully as you evaluate options:
Flexible Site Design
Out-of-the-box templates streamline initial site creation, but brands aiming for a distinctive, recognizable digital presence require significant control over aesthetics. Prioritize solutions like Shopify and Squarespace offering myriad themes alongside customization tools for modifying templates or building pages from scratch.
Product Information Management
Centralized online dashboards for managing digital item details, images, video, variants, and metadata ensure consistency across channels. Manually entering the same data repeatedly in marketplaces like Amazon or social media adds unnecessary extra work.
The simpler your online checkout path containing as few fields as possible, the higher your conversion rate and revenue will climb. Prioritize platforms like BigCommerce integrating options like Apple Pay and PayPal Express to enable guest and one click checkouts accelerating purchases.
Built-In Marketing Capabilities
Email marketing, display ads, and digital coupons should be baked into your ecommerce platform, not third-party add-ons. Such unified online store data generates smarter segmented promotions converting abandoning visitors into paying customers.
Multi-Channel Sales Management
True omnichannel retail requires a unified view of inventory, customers, and order data consolidated from both online and brick & mortar touchpoints. Solutions like Square Online shine here, centralizing critical information into one intuitive command center.
Scalable Order Processing
Order volume surges associated with promotions or successful growth spurts push underprepared ecommerce technology past peak efficiency. Ensure your platform easily toggles between regular and peak sales periods without faltering.
Flexible Delivery Options
Empowering customers to select their preferred shipping speed and cost options boosts satisfaction metrics and conversion rates. Calculate rates in real-time from various carriers via integration apps like ShipStation through leading platforms like Shopify.
Payment & Security Compliance
Adhering to PCI compliance for securely accepting payments alongside additional global data regulations remains non-negotiable. Lean on vendors like Magento and Salesforce boasting dedicated internal teams focused exclusively on compliance.
Seamless Accounting Integrations
Passing online sales data to accounting software avoids manually exporting and manipulating data. Automation app integrations with Quickbooks, Xero, and other programs efficiently sync key information between finance systems.
The easier your chosen ecommerce platform makes managing such requirements and complex tasks involved with operating a digital business, the faster revenue and customer satisfaction will grow.
Expand Revenue With Built-In Marketing Features
Driving consistent sales requires significantly more than just launching a basic online storefront. Embedding digital marketing capabilities directly into your ecommerce software platform simplifies promoting products and offers leveraging real-time data.
SEO Optimized Sites
Attract organic site traffic by customizing SEO-friendly URLs, meta descriptions, HTML tags, and other optimizations during site building rather than reliance on third party apps. BigCommerce delivers here out-of-the-box.
Email Marketing Integration
Segmented email nurturing journeys convert window shoppers into loyal customers over time via consistent yet personalized touches based on online behaviors. Platforms like Shopify and Magento enable creating beautiful campaigns.
Social Selling on Marketplaces
Expand your reach by publishing curated items simultaneously across marketplaces like Instagram Shopping, Facebook Marketplace, and emerging venues based on existing ecommerce platform inventory data.
Pop-Ups, Push Notifications
Recuperating abandoning visitors gets easier with website pop-up offers or SMS push notifications re-engaging them using geolocation and digital behavioral cues. Connect real-life events with helpful shopping suggestions.
User Ratings & Reviews
Peer opinions drive purchase decisions today far more than promotional claims from merchants themselves. Embed ratings, reviews, rich visual media from online buyers to boost SEO and convey sought after social proof.
Leverage artificial intelligence to analyze aggregate site behavioral trends and individual customer histories. Then dynamically display related items increasing order values and reactivating dormant shoppers.
Flexible Promotions Engine
Create sophisticated rules-based discounts, coupons, bundle deals or flash sales all customizable around important metrics like inventory level, purchase history, and referral traffic source. Make promotional spending more efficient.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Win the long game by incentivizing repeat purchases through points earning, tiered recognition levels, exclusive offers, and referral rewards. Customer retention requires ongoing delight, not just transactions.
Partners & Referral Programs
Let happy shoppers, niche influencers and complementary brands market for you through structured partnerships. Ambassador codes, affiliate links and cross-promos expand reach exponentially.
Security & Compliance: Guarding Client Trust
Shoppers surrender significant personal and payment data when transacting online. Merchants must implement robust cybersecurity and compliance practices safeguarding client trust. Consider the following:
Choose Established Leaders
Working with experienced vendors like Salesforce Commerce Cloud mitigates risk by relying on dedicated security teams constantly innovating to counter emerging external threats proactively.
Prioritize Transparent Privacy
Clearly communicate internally enforced privacy policies outlining reasonable data usage. Provide account settings empowering customers to control whether profiles are created within your platform.
Follow Top Regulations
Adopt cybersecurity protocols like PCI-DSS compliance for securing credit card data alongside privacy standards like GDPR for ethically handling EU citizen information. In some cases, merchants face steep fines for non-compliance.
Install Critical Security Plugins
Enable platform extensions offering services like malware detection, infrastructure vulnerability testing, DDoS flood prevention, bot access management and suspicious activity monitoring through solutions like Magento Marketplace.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Reduce unauthorized account access by requiring secondary credentials for signing in, like biometrics or unique one-time-use codes sent to a confirmed mobile device. Popular among banks for a reason!
Allow Anonymous Checkout
Some customers hesitate sharing personal details online, hindering conversion rates. Enable guest checkout requiring only critical payment information, shipping method and email address for deliveries.
Limit Access to Data
Restrict employee views into backend databases only to essential personnel, not public-facing teams without a true need to avoid potential exposure risks of a wider access network.
Contract Audit Services
Leverage impartial third party cybersecurity firms to regularly test defenses through simulated attacks probing known technical vulnerabilities. Address issues before criminals exploit them.
Customers expect merchants to honor the significant trust placed in them as stewards of sensitive information. Prioritizing what matters most – your customers – drives growth.
Take The Next Step With An Ecommerce Platform Free Trial
While this guide provided an extensive overview of top solutions, the best way to identify your perfect match is through hands on experience.
Many vendors offer free trials letting you build test sites, explore administrator views, assess capability alignment against internal workflows, and clarify lingering questions through conversations with sales representatives before committing.
Be sure to calculate all anticipated set up, monthly subscription, and per-transaction fees based on sales forecasts as part of your due diligence process before officially launching.
Ecommerce Platforms FAQ
Got questions about selecting and launching online stores? At RM Digital, the experienced ecommerce platform experts at razakmusah.com guide you each step of the way. Browse our frequently asked questions below or contact us for personalized advice!
- Which ecommerce platform is best overall?
- There is no universal “best” system for all merchants. Based on your business model, budget, timeline and other unique considerations, we recommend the ideal solution for empowering your specific goals.
- What is the easiest ecommerce software for beginners?
- For first-time online sellers, Shopify offers the most intuitive turnkey ecommerce solution enabling anyone to quickly launch a professional-grade online store. Their simplified model removes hurdles facing rookie merchants.
- What website builder is best for an online store?
- Whether using an all-in-one ecommerce platform solution like Shopify or Wix paired with extensions for adding a shopping cart, focus on balancing ease of use against functionality needs. Avoid overpaying for unused advanced tools in early stages.
- How much does it cost to build an ecommerce website?
Average cost for a custom DIY online store development project ranges $15,000 – $50,000+. Friendly ecommerce platforms like Squarespace enable creating sites for under $20/month. The range suits all budgets.
- What features should an ecommerce platform have?
- Search engine optimized sites, intuitive product displays, secure online checkout, integrated payments acceptance, automated tax calculations, shipping integration, promotions engine, analytics and marketing capabilities represent core needs.
- Can you use WordPress as an ecommerce platform? Yes! Adding WooCommerce transforms WordPress into a customizable ecommerce solution. The two leaders joined forces specifically to empower small business online commerce needs.
- What ecommerce platform does Nike use?
- Producing over $30 billion in annual online revenue demands complex purpose-built solutions. Nike developed a proprietary ecommerce platform named Celect Commerce leveraging predictive data science for inventory optimization across 20,000+ SKUs.
- Does Shopify integrate with QuickBooks?
- Yes. Shopify offers an official “QuickBooks Sync” app enabling automatic ecommerce platform data transfer into accounting dashboards for managing financial records. This keeps critical systems aligned in real-time.
- Can you connect Shopify and Salesforce?
- Absolutely. Apps like CartHook built specifically to blend Shopify + Salesforce sync customer, order and inventory activity between the leading SaaS solutions. This enables unified visibility for smarter omnichannel engagements.
- How do I choose a payment gateway for my online store?
When selecting payment solutions, ensure full compatibility with your existing ecommerce platform, reasonable processing fees often 2-3% of transactions, fraud protection services, global compliance, recurring billing for memberships, and data integration capabilities.
- Does Amazon have an ecommerce platform?
- Amazon Webstore empowers merchants launching online stores by gaining visibility within the Amazon Marketplace ecosystem in addition to selling through their independent site. However, vendors must follow Amazon’s terms of service.
- What companies use BigCommerce?
- Over 60,000 global merchants leverage BigCommerce as their ecommerce platform solution powering over $40 billion in online sales. Users include Ben & Jerry’s, Skullcandy, Sony, Toyota, and Woolrich. The SaaS model scales across industry verticals.
- Who are Shopify’s main competitors?
As an industry leader catering especially to small businesses and first online merchants, Shopify’s main challenger is Squarespace. Both deliver intuitive site building with beautiful design templates. However, Shopify offers greater add-on app scalability.
- Does Wix have ecommerce capabilities?
- Wix empowers creating full-featured online stores including inventory management, customer accounts, promotion engines, and seamless payment processing. Everything required for secure ecommerce solutions comes bundled into their simplified drag-and-drop editor.
- Can you move from Shopify to BigCommerce?
- Yes! BigCommerce offers a “Shopify To BigCommerce” migration service assisting merchants switch ecommerce platforms quickly while avoiding inventory and transaction data loss. This removes technology hurdles when transitioning to expanded capabilities.
- Does WooCommerce connect with Square?
WooCommerce Square integration apps like XAdapter and SkyPos enable unified ecommerce platform data consolidated from in-person credit card payments, online transactions and manual orders across physical and digital channels into Square’s dashboard.
- What is the difference between Shopify and WooCommerce?
- Shopify offers an intuitive bundled SaaS ecommerce solution. In contrast, WooCommerce serves as a WordPress plugin transforming existing sites into shopping cart platforms through hands-on custom integration. Shopify simplifies setup while WooCommerce provides fuller design control.
- Which ecommerce platform is the cheapest?
- Pricing varies based on included functionality. Shopify Lite purely offering a shopping cart embed starts at $9 monthly. Full-featured stores on Squarespace cost $26 monthly. Magento’s open source ecommerce software is free but requires advanced technical skills for launch and maintenance.
- Does Amazon offer an affiliate program?
- Yes! Amazon Associates lets members earn referral fee kickbacks up to 10% by promoting products. However, Amazon limits ability to customize links and influencer pages compared to more robust affiliate marketing technology natively integrated into ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce.
- What is the best Shopify alternative?
- Merchants seeking maximum design flexibility coupled with enterprise-grade scalability often view Magento Commerce as the top Shopify alternative. However, the open source platform’s advanced functionality proves overwhelming for non-technical users compared to Shopify’s newbie-friendly UX.
- What ecommerce platform does IKEA use?
- As the world’s largest furnishings retailer, IKEA developed a custom in-house ecommerce platform tailored specifically for omnichannel needs enabling innovative shopping experiences like VR showroom tours, 3D kitchen planning tools, and optimized last-mile delivery fleet management.
- Does WooCommerce host websites?
The open source WooCommerce plugin must be installed atop an existing web hosting provider. They focus exclusively on the ecommerce platform layer rather than website hosting. Popular bundled commerce + hosting solutions instead include Shopify or Squarespace.
- How do I start an ecommerce business?
- The optimal process involves strategically defining your brand positioning, ideal buyer personas, product selection, and launch marketing plan first. Afterwards, select the ecommerce platform providing the best technical foundation for bringing your vision to life quickly based on available resources.
- What features make an ecommerce site successful?
- Beyond functional online store pages, innovating across dimensions like expedited shipping options, expanded payment methods, dynamic promotions, compelling content marketing, and unparalleled customer support separate the best ecommerce solutions driving customer loyalty and revenues higher over time.