The Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses
Here’s a shortlist of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses. Head to the overviews for more information.
Picking an e-commerce platform for small business can be challenging. Mainly because of the number of platforms that have made it to market in recent years.
However, did you know e-commerce represented only 11.8% of total retail sales in 2021? I love to share this statistic just to put into perspective how, even though it feels like we buy everything online, it's still not more significant than in-person sales.
As a small business owner, you need an e-commerce platform that is easy to use and lets you deploy all the complicated e-commerce functionalities with relative ease. The idea is to go for a platform that makes all the nerdy technical stuff easier so you can focus on improving your product.
The following list and FAQ section will give you knowledge that will help you start your online business and master this space. You can also check out how I picked the software on this list at the bottom of this article.
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
Best eCommerce platform for marketing & SEO
BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that helps small businesses scale their online presence and increase sales. It provides tools for creating an online store, managing products, and processing payments, as well as providing analytics and insights into customer behavior.
BigCommerce offers various tools for creating an aesthetically pleasing website with a professional look. It has a drag-and-drop editor that makes designing the storefront easy. There is also an in-depth style editor that allows users to change colors and fonts within the template without needing any coding knowledge. This includes customizable templates that can be used to create unique designs that reflect the business’s brand identity and style. The templates are also mobile responsive, allowing customers to browse the website from any device without compromising on quality or design.
BigCommerce offers powerful marketing tools such as product reviews, discount codes, gift cards, and automated email campaigns. These features help businesses reach new customers by increasing visibility through SEO tactics. The platform allows businesses to create customized product pages which provide detailed information about each product so that customers can make informed decisions when purchasing items from the store. It also has built-in email marketing capabilities so users can easily create campaigns and send out newsletters or promotional emails directly from the platform itself.
Additionally, it integrates with Google Shopping Ads so businesses can list products on Google’s search engine results pages without having to manually upload each product individually. BigCommerce provides built-in payment processing services which make it easy for customers to pay for purchases quickly and securely using a variety of payment methods such as credit cards or PayPal. The platform also integrates with other popular payment providers such as Stripe or Amazon Pay so that businesses can accept payments from more customers around the world.
Features include customizable templates, built-in SEO, marketing tools, shipping & fulfillment, inventory management, reporting features, mobile-friendly design, responsive checkout, multiple payment gateway options, extensive third-party integrations, and 24/7 customer support.
Integrations include LiveChat, ShipStation, Georgias, Mailchimp, Quickbooks Online, Yotpo Product Reviews, Justuno, Brightpearl, Acumatica, ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, Klavyio, Shopgate, Printify, and dozens of other apps.
BigCommerce costs from $29.95/month and offers a 15-day free trial.
Best eCommerce platform for lightning-fast web speed
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.
Best eCommerce platform for small business in terms of reliability
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 costs from $29/month when paying monthly, with 2.9% + $0.30/transaction. Shopify offers a 3-day free trial from their website. If you shop around, you can find affiliates who offer 14-day free trials.
Best free eCommerce platform for small business owners
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 $35 per month with a free forever plan that lets you take a small business off the ground.
Best full-service eCommerce platform for ease of use
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.
Best eCommerce platform for design customization
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.
Best cloud-based retail POS system
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.
Best headless eCommerce app for small businesses
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.
Best payment processing solution for small businesses based in the U.S.
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.
Best affordable eCommerce solution for small businesses in India
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.
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The Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses Comparison Chart
Here are all the tools we just reviewed, side by side. If you would like to expand your research beyond this list, we have other options you can look at.
15-day free trial
|From $29.95/month||Visit Website|
|From $25 per month||Visit Website|
3-day free trial
|From $39/month||Visit Website|
Freemium plan available
|From $35/month||Visit Website|
15-day free trial
|From $29.95/month||Visit Website|
14-day free trial
|From $20/month||Visit Website|
|From $99 per month||Visit Website|
14 days free trial
|From $59 per month||Visit Website|
Contact Sales for info
|Available upon request||Visit Website|
|From $41 per month||Visit Website|
Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.
- Helium 10 - Best eCommerce tool to sell on Amazon
- Now Commerce - Best small business online ordering platform for wholesalers and distributors using QuickBooks
- Ecwid - Best small business eCommerce platform for adaptability and flexibility of use
- SellerChamp - Best ecommerce software for small businesses to do a bulk listing of products
- Smartlook - Best marketing app to track user behavior and improve conversions
- Shift4Shop - Best turnkey ecommerce solution for small businesses
- Ontraport - Best marketing automation platform for scaling small businesses
- FreightWise Logistics Cost Management - Best transportation cost management tool for small businesses
- Liftoff - Best ecommerce platform for small businesses to manage multiple clients from a single dashboard
- Kangaroo - Best loyalty program tool for small ecommerce businesses
- MarketStudio - Best product content automation tool and multi-channel marketing platform for small businesses
- K-eCommerce - Best ecommerce platform designed for Microsoft Dynamics and SAP business applications
- Evidence - Best social proof app for ecommerce stores to increase conversions
- Shippo - Best professional shipping aggregator for small businesses
- BeProfit - Best real-time profit calculator app for ecommerce stores running on Shopify
- ewiz commerce - Best ecommerce software to leverage AI-based personalization
- eHopper eCommerce - Best ecommerce tool to sync online orders with POS
- Rain Point of Sale - Best POS tool for retail businesses
- Auro CRM - Best open source CRM software for small ecommerce businesses
- Nexternal - Best USPS compatible ecommerce checkout cart for small businesses
- Bookmark - Best AI-based website builder for small ecommerce businesses
- GetMeAShop - Best online shop platform for Indian ecommerce businesses
- Ensemble - Best ERP solution for small businesses
- Volusion - Best ecommerce platform for small businesses in terms of reliability
How I Picked The Best Ecommerce Platforms For Small Businesses
I started by researching all the popular e-commerce platforms to build your own online store, based on user reviews and ratings. Then, I narrowed down the options by weighing a variety of factors that make software the best option for small businesses. The following are the criteria that I used to evaluate the top software.
User Interface (UI)
I look for platforms with a user-friendly interface. This is not only good for beginners, but also for experienced users who need to find advanced features quickly. The easier it is to distinguish elements on the platform visually, the better.
You may be using this platform to do dropshipping or build an online storefront for your physical store to diversify your sales channels. Whatever the reason, you need a platform that is easy to learn and master. Therefore, I look into available support, tutorials, training videos, and online documentation.
Is it easy to connect with other tools? I look for third-party apps, like Zapier, that let you connect to external tools (these typically require an additional monthly fee). Also, I look into pre-built integrations that the platform already has to make it easy for you to accept Apple Pay, start a social media integration, and connect with Squarespace or another payment processor. Finally, I look at custom integrations made possible through available API and webhooks.
I search for information on paid plans, transaction fees, and anything relevant to your purchasing decision. If available, I will mention free plan options, free trials, and any relevant discounts.
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.
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.
What is an e-commerce platform?
Is Ecommerce Good For Small Businesses?
What Is The Cheapest Ecommerce Platform?
Where can I learn more about the e-commerce industry?
Since we are big on helping you win at work, how about a quick guide that will run you through the set up of 3 essential reports for e-commerce? You may also be interested in learning about the e-commerce conversion funnel and 9 proven e-commerce marketing strategies that will help you shine!
Related tool lists:
- 10 Best Headless Ecommerce Platforms In 2023
- 10 Best Multi-Channel Ecommerce Software 2023
- 10 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms In 2023
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