illustration of a shopping cart in a store window for ecommerce platforms for small business

10 Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses In 2021

Online stores have made shopping super fun and convenient. 

Well except for the time when the online store doesn’t give you a discount coupon cause it is your neighbor’s birthday! Heartless people. 

But when you are running a small business, getting your feet wet in the ecommerce industry, things can get jarring very quickly. Things like inventory management, platform customization, analytics, etc., can confuse the best of us Bezos aspirants.

Small business owners need an ecommerce platform that simplifies use and lets you deploy all the complicated ecommerce functionalities with relative ease.

The idea is to go for a platform that makes all the nerdy technical stuff easier so you can focus your attention on making your product better.

Do not fret. I have created the ultimate list of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses like yours. The list features low-priced ecommerce solutions that solve every pressing need of a small business owner looking to start an online business and sell products online.

To help you further, I have outlined every platform’s functionalities and listed the criteria for its selection.

The Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses

Here’s a shortlist of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses:

  1. Lightspeed eCom 
  2. CloudShoppy
  3. EvolveAR 
  4. Shopify
  5. BigCommerce 
  6. Square Online 
  7. Swell 
  8. Elavon 
  9. WP Engine 
  10. Wix 

Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses: Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Is the experience clutter-free? Are the logical steps clearly laid out at the right place to execute the features swiftly?
  2. Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? 
  3. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations? Does it integrate with apps like Stripe, PayPal, and QuickBooks? Does it work smoothly with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay? Do the integrations and extensions work smoothly without hiccups? Integrations can become jarring, so they must work as smoothly as possible.
  4. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Do the deliverables justify the pricing plans?

Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses: Key Features

Inventory Management 

Does the tool make complex inventory management tasks simpler? Does it have features like tracking the stock levels? Does it let you add multiple variants to each product? Does it give you real-time data about stock levels?

Inventory management is one of the most crucial aspects of an ecommerce platform and also its most complex one. Doing this right solves a major barrier that ecommerce business owners face while competing with large retail giants. 

Analytics

Does the tool provide useful insights and data about your store performance? Are digital analytics laid out strategically to assist optimization?

Customization 

What is the level of customization you can achieve with the product? As a small business owner, you need to depict and customize your ecommerce platform according to the brand’s design language and tonality of your business. 

You need to maintain consistency between the look and feel of your online store with that of your website. So we need to look for things like customization of the header, footers, brand colors, fonts, and more.

Support

How good is the platform’s support feature? What are the various modes of support? Is support available 24/7 or just on weekdays? Is there a knowledge base available? Is there an active community of customers and developers behind the product? 

Support is a critical aspect of using any new product. It becomes all the more vital for products like ecommerce platforms that directly deal with revenue generation.

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses

Here’s a brief description of each of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses on my list, showing what it does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.

1. Lightspeed eCom – Best cloud-based retail POS system

Lightspeed Ecom for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
Lightspeed ecommerce gives you real-time performance data which you can use to optimize your revenue (Source: Lightspeed ecommerce).

Lightspeed eCom is a feature of Lightspeed HQ, a cloud-based retail POS system.

Lightspeed eCom lets you import stock from your physical store to your ecommerce platform with a one-click system. It gives shoppers live updates on quantity on hand levels. Apart from that, the tool lets you make mass updates to your inventory data with spreadsheet imports and exports. 

The analytics dashboard gives you data on daily, weekly, and monthly performance. The tool also provides a special conversion report that tells you where your store needs optimization to increase sales.

Support is available by phone with varied time listings based on its different offices. Apart from that, the support can also be reached by email.

Lightspeed integrates with apps like Mailchimp. Restock, Stripe, and other retail ecommerce apps.

The pricing for the plan that includes the ecommerce features starts at $99 per month.

2. CloudShoppy – Best affordable eCommerce solution for small businesses in India

Cloudshoppy for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
CloudShoppy lets you choose from a variety of free and premium themes (Source: CloudShoppy).

CloudShoppy is an affordable eCommerce solution for small businesses. It comes with pre-integrated features like payment gateways, SMS marketing, logistics, order management, and more.

The product lets you sell physical products and digital goods. It offers a range of variety in terms of website themes.

Its inventory management lets you add multiple variants to each product with the ability to set quantity-based or location-based pricing.

The analytics dashboard gives you insights on sales reports, abandoned cart details, inventory reports, customer reports, orders by location, logistics reports, and more.

Support is available by chat, phone, and email. The help docs and knowledge base come with clear instructions and screenshots. Having said that, the instructions can feel jarring at times.

Ecommerce businesses operating out of India have their own nuanced ecosystem that often does not work with run-of-the-mill ecommerce platform solutions. CloudShoppy solves that.

CloudShoppy integrates with 6 payment options including CCAvenue, CitrusPay, PayU, PayPal, and India-focused Instamojo. Integrations with all the major logistics companies in India like FedEx, Aramex, Delhivery, India Post, and DTDC, along with India-focused payment gateways, make it one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses in India.

The pricing for the starter plan is Rs.3000 per month or approx $41 per month.

3. EvolveAR – Best augmented reality eCommerce platform for small businesses

Evolve Ar for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
EvolveAR lets you showcase your product in 3D format (Source: EvolveAR).

EvolveAR is an augmented reality tool that lets you create immersive experiences around your product. Use it to display your product in a 3D format to enhance the engagement of customers. You can then add call-to-action buttons to drive sales.

The analytics feature captures every interaction and delivers useful insights for optimization. It lets you compare different CTAs and assets.

Customer support is available by phone, email, chat, and even fax. There is also a knowledge base, but I would recommend seeking direct help if the need arises.

The basic plan starts at $99 per month.

4. Shopify – Best eCommerce platform for small business in terms of reliability

Shopify for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
Shopify provides users with real-time insights on order management and inventory management (Source: Shopify).

If you have read my other articles on ecommerce platforms, you might have noticed that Shopify is a frequent feature in them.

From storefront to inventory management to marketing tools, Shopify equips an ecommerce site with all the necessary tools to launch and scale an online store in 2021. The product has features like SEO tools, email marketing, search optimized product pages, shopping cart, and more.

The Shopify SaaS is known in the industry for its stability and always-on availability.

Shopify lets you perform all the necessary inventory management tasks like tracking and adjusting inventory, exporting or importing inventory via CSV files, and more.

Shopify’s analytics give you critical ecommerce insights like store visits, transaction data, site speed, and more.

The product works with other commonly used ecommerce business apps like Oberlo, Facebook Messenger, Amazon, Stocky, Apple Business Chat, and 3k other apps including marketing, reporting, shipping, and customer support.

The Shopify mobile app lets you sell products and manage your ecommerce store on the go.

Shopify has direct support via chat and email. Also, it is backed by one of the largest active communities of ecommerce entrepreneurs. You can engage with the community via the Shopify community forum or via social media groups dedicated to the product.

Shopify plans start at $29 per month with a free trial option.

5. BigCommerce – Best full-service eCommerce platform for ease of use

Bigcommerce for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
BigCommerce has state-of-the-art editing features (Source: BigCommerce).

Being one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, BigCommerce plans are structured around how much you can sell on their platform.

The inventory management feature lets you track orders and understand order trends over time. Next, it gives you accurate reports on stock levels and adjusts pricing.

The back-end dashboard is one of the easiest to use compared with other platforms on this list.

The analytics make it fairly simple to track insights like Average Order Value (AOV), identify your biggest customers, and view other marketing data that will help you scale your product fast.

The site editor lets you easily edit the look and feel of the site according to your brand’s design language.

BigCommerce works great with popular apps like Webgility, ActiveCampaign, Avalara Tax, Stripe, and 100s of other essential integrations. You can also integrate with marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, as well as list your products directly on these sites by using the BigCommerce control panel.

The support team is available 24/7 via email or phone. 

The BigCommerce standard plan starts at $29.95 per month with a 1-month free trial option. The bandwidth of BigCommerce plans depend on how much you can sell on the platform.

6. Square Online – Best free eCommerce platform for small business owners

Square Online for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
The free version of Square Online comes with all the basic features small businesses need to launch an online store in 2021 (Source: MerchantMaverick).

Square Online is the result of Square, the payment processing giant, buying Weebly and creating the Square Online builder. It lets you sync inventory from other channels and with the Square Point of Sale solution. The product has a free ecommerce plan, which is perfect for a small business just starting out.

The dashboard is simple and lets you track product sales, customer journeys, and abandoned cart recovery. In terms of customization, the product falls behind with limited editing availability.

The product integrates nicely with apps like WooCommerce, WordPress, Magento, BigCommerce, and more.

Customer support is available by phone, email, and live chat. Also, there is an extensive knowledge base filled with over 180 articles.

The professional plan starts at $16 per month with a free forever plan that lets you take a small business off the ground.

7. Swell – Best headless eCommerce app for small businesses

Swell for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
Swell uses headless ecommerce technology to build a robust ecommerce platform (Source: ProductHunt).

Swell leverages headless ecommerce technology to create customized customer experiences for your online store.

Swell offers ecommerce features like unlimited pages, real-time shipping quotes, payment processing, and more.

In terms of inventory management, you can add unlimited product options, variants, and attributes. It also comes with features like bulk editing and product bundling. Apart from that, you can track item shipment, and edit order items before finalizing orders.

The product gives you in-depth sales reports that you can filter by product, customer, coupon, and more.

It also comes with PayMotion, a multi-channel ecommerce platform that provides revenue optimization features designed to boost sales.

Swell offers support via phone, email, and live chat.

The basic plan starts at $59 per month with a 14-day free trial.

8. Elavon – Best payment processing solution for small businesses based in the U.S.

Elavon for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business
Elavon’s interface has categorically laid-out options that make accepting payments a smooth experience (Source: TheatreManager).

Elavon is a merchant service provider selling a wide variety of financial products like payment processors, point of sale hardware, and payment gateways.

Elavon allows you to take both online and in-app payments. The tool’s end-to-end payment solutions help minimize risk for ecommerce store owners by protecting cardholder’s credit card data with EVM authentication, encryption, and tokenization.

Elavon offers Payments Insider, a customer portal with customizable reporting, providing critical insights on all your payment activities.

The product offers 24/7 multilingual customer support via phone and email.

Pricing is available upon request and based on the custom needs of a business.

9. WP Engine – Best eCommerce platform for lightning-fast web speed

WP Engine screenshot for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
The Genesis framework comes with beautiful templates that you can use to quickly build a custom online store (Source: WP Engine).

WP Engine is a web hosting provider that’s primarily used for blogging due to its superfast site speed. Recently, they have started offering their Genesis pro subscription plan that comes with a feature-packed website builder.

The framework comes with built-in marketing features. The Gutenberg-ready site builder can be used to create reusable modules and enable next-level customization on headers, logos, or any aspect of your ecommerce website to match your design language.

There’s an open-source community of developers that audit the framework and add new security features. You can use the sample child theme that sits on the top of the framework to beautifully edit the design of your site without affecting the underlying site code.

The community also provides for hundreds of useful integrations, plugins, add-ons, and extensions. It integrates with WooCommerce and other major ecommerce apps.

With WP Engine as the web hosting provider, the sites load super fast, which in turn can be great for the site to rank on Google.

The pricing for WP Engine’s startup plan starts at $25 per month.

10. Wix – Best eCommerce platform for design customization

Wix for Ecommerce Platforms for Small Business Screenshot
You can use the design freedom given by Wix to present your product in an attractive manner (Source: Wix).

Wix is known for its beautiful design templates. Wix’s drag-and-drop website builder comes with 800+ free themes that you can customize based on your brand tonality.

The Artificial Design Intelligence tool helps you automate the website design process based on insightful questions about your product.The dashboard seems well-organized, with everything you need organized in the right order.

Wix integrates seamlessly with apps like Mailchimp, QuickBooks, and other essential B2B business apps.

The product comes with a Help Center, but a live chat option seems to be missing.

Wix’s ecommerce and business plans start at $23 per month.

Other Ecommerce Platform For Small Business Options

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.

  1. Helium 10 – Best eCommerce tool to sell on Amazon
  2. Now Commerce – Best small business online ordering platform for wholesalers and distributors using QuickBooks
  3. Ecwid – Best small business eCommerce platform for adaptability and flexibility of use
  4. SellerChamp – Best ecommerce software for small businesses to do a bulk listing of products
  5. Smartlook – Best marketing app to track user behavior and improve conversions
  6. Shift4Shop – Best turnkey ecommerce solution for small businesses
  7. Ontraport – Best marketing automation platform for scaling small businesses
  8. FreightWise Logistics Cost Management – Best transportation cost management tool for small businesses
  9. Liftoff – Best ecommerce platform for small businesses to manage multiple clients from a single dashboard
  10. Kangaroo – Best loyalty program tool for small ecommerce businesses
  11. MarketStudio – Best product content automation tool and multi-channel marketing platform for small businesses
  12. K-eCommerce – Best ecommerce platform designed for Microsoft Dynamics and SAP business applications
  13. Evidence – Best social proof app for ecommerce stores to increase conversions
  14. Shippo – Best professional shipping aggregator for small businesses
  15. BeProfit – Best real-time profit calculator app for ecommerce stores running on Shopify
  16. ewiz commerce – Best ecommerce software to leverage AI-based personalization
  17. eHopper eCommerce – Best ecommerce tool to sync online orders with POS
  18. Rain Point of Sale – Best POS tool for retail businesses
  19. Auro CRM – Best open source CRM software for small ecommerce businesses
  20. Nexternal – Best USPS compatible ecommerce checkout cart for small businesses
  21. Bookmark – Best AI-based website builder for small ecommerce businesses
  22. GetMeAShop – Best online shop platform for Indian ecommerce businesses
  23. Ensemble – Best ERP solution for small businesses
  24. Volusion – Best ecommerce platform for small businesses in terms of reliability

Ecommerce Platform For Small Business: Software FAQs

To make this list of best ecommerce platforms for small businesses even more comprehensive, I wanted to cover some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

Here they are:

Is Ecommerce Good For Small Businesses?

Ecommerce platforms enable small businesses to sell products to their customers that would not have been possible before due to the costs involved in running a physical store.

Ecommerce is one of the best ways to get your products in the hands of your customers as it involves very low operational costs, due to everything being managed online. 

Also, since a lot of communities have arisen around the ecommerce niche, there are hundreds of ecommerce platforms and fulfillment services to choose from. This makes the pricing of the product very competitive and also more efficient. This way, ecommerce becomes a win-win situation for small businesses.

Learn about emerging ecommerce trends here: 5 Retail Ecommerce trends in 2021: What To Expect

What Is The Cheapest Ecommerce Platform?

BigCommerce and Shopify are among the cheapest ecommerce platforms. Apart from being the cheapest, they are one of the most trusted ecommerce platforms in the market due to their proven track record and a huge active community behind both products.

The BigCommerce standard plan starts at $29.95 per month.

The Shopify basic plan starts at $29 per month.

If you want to find more ecommerce platform options, you can check this article here.

What Do You Think About These Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses?

These are my top picks for ecommerce platforms for small businesses.

Now I want to know your opinion. Which tool fits the best according to your business needs? Also, what ecommerce platform is missing from the list? 

Are you looking into other e-commerce platforms? Check these out:

Let me know what your favorite ecommerce platform is in the comments.

Also, guys, I would really appreciate it if you can share the article with your network. Who knows who you might end up helping and the opportunities that can lead to!

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