Looking for the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses to start up your online store?
This post contains 6 of the best options that are great for new and growing businesses.
Ecommerce platforms offer business owners the opportunity to have an online store to sell their products and services on the internet. They make it a lot easier to showcase your products to potential customers.
As a small business owner, one challenge you may face is narrowing down the choice of platforms to use.
There are a lot of suggestions, and you might have troubles knowing the right one for your business. Not to worry, this post will help you find your spark.
Why you Must Choose a Good eCommerce Platform for your Business
Your business will constantly grow, so it’s important you use an established or promising eCommerce Platform for it – a platform that can accommodate your growth in the future.
Every business needs a wide range of features and tools to aid management and promote growth. Ensure you build your store on a platform that provides you with the right tools and features.
A wrong choice can ruin your business! I understand that finances often influence decisions to pick cheaper options, but the wrong decision may destroy years of long endeavours! Look beyond the cost and focus on getting value.
While you look for cost effective platforms, ensure you look into other important aspects like the features and tools they provide for your business.
Things to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform
There are many factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform for your small business. Below are some features to look out for:
- Ease of Use
- 3rd party Integration
Types of E-commerce Platforms
Hosted eCommerce Platforms
These types of platforms provide the infrastructure and hosting for the business. You don’t have to worry about the technical aspect of running your business because they take care of that.
There are many benefits to using a hosted platform; I have listed some below.
- Reduced Costs: With a hosted platform, you don’t have to spend more money on infrastructure or software.
- Reduced Time to Market: A hosted platform is easy to set up, which means you can start selling products right away.
- Reduced Risk: Using a reliable hosted platform like Shopify that has stood the test of time reduces the risk of losing or destroying your business.
Self-Hosted eCommerce Platforms
These platforms allow businesses to build and manage their own eCommerce stores with no third party. They usually require more technical knowledge and include more features and options.
Benefits of using a self-hosted platform include:
- Increased Control: You have full control over the look, feel, and functionality of your store.
- Increased Revenue: With more control over how you sell your products, you can increase revenue.
- Reduced Costs: Self-hosted platforms often cost less to set up and maintain than hosted platforms.
- Increased Flexibility: You can add features and customize your store to match your business’ needs.
What are the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses?
If you have ever wondered which ecommerce platform is best for your small business, here is a quick answer to help you choose.
The best ecommerce platform to sell products will vary depending on the specific products being sold, the target market, and the individual needs and preferences. To make things easier for you, I have put together a list of some of the best ecommerce solutions for small businesses.
Each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they all offer a variety of features that will help you get started selling online. I compiled this list based on their features and affordability.
WooCommerce is the 2nd most popular eCommerce provider and one of the best platforms for small businesses.
It is a plugin that works on WordPress; a popular open-source content management system which allows you to create virtually any type of website.
WooCommerce has a wide range of features to suit small and large businesses. Here are some of the outstanding features you’ll appreciate.
- Customizable checkout flows.
- A wide range of payment gateways.
- Useful widgets and extensions.
- 100s of useful plugins to boost usability
- Multiple language support
- Internationalization support.
- A vast community of users.
- It’s easy to find free and premium eCommerce themes for your store.
Why use WooCommerce?
- The WooCommerce plugin is free to use (requires you to host your WordPress website).
- It is easy to find a good and affordable hosting provider.
- You do not need any web development skill to install and setup the plugin on WordPress.
- You can sell anything on WooCommerce; digital products, physical products, and services.
- WooCommerce integrates with print on demand platforms like Printful.
- WooCommerce has a large community of users who can help you with any issues you may encounter.
- WooCommerce grows with your business.
- You can extend WooCommerce features with plugins.
- It’s easy to find a website theme that suits your store.
Things to Note if You Want to Use WooCommerce for Your Small Business
Since WooCommerce runs on WordPress, and WordPress needs a hosting platform to come alive, you must use a good web host.
You’ll find different web hosting providers for WordPress, but here is a list of some official recommendations by WooCommerce;
- Bluehost starts at $9.99 per month – first year discount is $2.95/month
- Siteground starts at $14.99/month – first year discount is $2.99/month
- Godadday starts at $3.99/mo
- Personal recommendation – Interserver starts at $5/month
You can also check out Interserver if you are on budget but want a reliable host. Interserver offers great services to small businesses and gives them room to grow. Their plan starts at $5/month.
Note: If you want to use WordPress.com for your WooCommerce shop, you must subscribe to the eCommerce plan at $45 per month, billed annually.
Shopify is currently the #1 most used e-commerce platform on the internet.
Businesses and entrepreneurs widely use this platform because of its features, including an easy-to-use ecommerce platform, an extensive library of plugins, built-in marketing tools, payment processing, and shipping capabilities.
Shopify is a perfect fit for people who want to build an online store without the hassle of securing a web host and, in most cases, domain.
It includes tools such as custom domains, expansive ecommerce integrations, and advanced security features.
Note: Businesses that have grown incredibly large can switch to Shopify Plus, an add-on to Shopify that offers more features and capabilities.
Shopify offers a range of features that are perfect for businesses. Here are some features:
- A wide range of payment gateways.
- Multiple language support.
- Internationalization support.
- Built-in marketing tools.
- A large community of users.
- Free and premium themes to beautify your store.
Why use Shopify?
- With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about server cost or security venerability.
- Shopify has set everything in place to give you a safe space for your online store. All you have to do is subscribe to one of their plans and they will handle other technical aspects for you. Shopify plan starts at $5/month – enjoy 14 days free trial.
- You can integrate with popular dropshipping and print on demand platforms.
- Shopify is SEO friendly and integrates with most social media platform to aid marketing.
Aside from the ease of using Shopify for business, it is popular among big brands and has the largest user community. This means that it is a trusted platform, and you will find help and support whenever you need it.
So, is Shopify a great ecommerce platform for small business?
There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding if Shopify is the best eCommerce platform for your small business.
First, consider your budget. Shopify has a fairly straightforward pricing structure, but it can be more expensive than some other options.
Shopify has a $5/month starter plan that may lack the features you need – the best features come the more priced plan that starts at $29/month.
The Shopify Starter plan includes just what you need to sell your products to audiences on social media like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, Etsy, LinkedIn, and more.Shopify Starter Plan
Second, think about the features you need. Shopify has a lot of great features, but if you need something specific like a more sophisticated email marketing functionality and more, it might not be the right fit.
Finally, look at the integrations and app store. Shopify has a lot of great integrations and apps for dropshipping, print on demand and more.
Overall, Shopify is a great option; and one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses.
It is easy to use, has a lot of great features, and is fairly priced. However, it is important to consider your specific needs before deciding.
Ecwid is a platform that helps small business owners manage their ecommerce needs. It has a user-friendly interface that is easy to customize for any type of business.
It also offers features such as online order processing, shipping tracking, and inventory management.
To help small businesses sell online, Ecwid offers a free plan that enables you to upload up to 10 products with access to a few other features.
They have premium plans that offer more features and support – pricing starts at $15/month (get it cheaper if you subscribe for their yearly subscription method).
Why Use Ecwid?
- Apart from the opportunity to own a shop for free, Ecwid offers significant features.
- You can integrate your store into an existing website.
- Ecwid plan prices are considerate and come wide a range of ecommerce features.
- The platform offers POS functionality you can use in your offline store.
- This platform also integrates dropshipping and POD platforms.
Selar – Recommended for Nigerians and Africans
Selar is a fairly new but fast-growing platform with 60,000 users. It’s currently one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses in Africa.
This platform targets African countries and carter majorly to small business owners in Nigeria. It is also open to anyone in the world who wants a space to sell online.
If you live in Nigeria and need to sell your products online without hosting your website, I suggest you use Selar.
This eCommerce solution makes it easier for Nigerians to sell on the internet without the usual limitations, especially with getting paid.
They offer a free lifetime plan you can use to sell over 40 products with minimal fees. Their premium plans pricing starts at #8000/month ($20).
Why Use Selar?
- Selar has a user-friendly interface
- They offer a free plan with minimal fees and up to 40 products!
- Their free plan allows you to sell different products and services.
- You can sell digital and physical products.
- Africans using the Selar platform can sell their products locally and internationally and get paid with up to 6 currencies.
- Sellers can apply to list their products in the Selar marketplace.
Wix is a hosted eCommerce platform similar to Shopify, but a lot more suitable for small business owners.
Wix offers everything a good eCommerce Platform offers; from online order processing, shipping tracking, inventory management and all the important features a small business will need to grow.
Like the other hosted platforms, you do not need any coding knowledge to set up your store. Wix plans pricing starts at $23/month.
Why Use Wix?
- The platform offers a simple yet powerful interface for businesses.
- Their drag-and-drop builder makes setting up your eCommerce website super easy. You can create a website in minutes with Wix.
- It offers online order processing, shipping tracking, and inventory management.
- Has a community of active users that makes finding solutions a lot easier.
Etsy, although slightly different from the aforementioned platforms, is another great option for small business owners.
Etsy is unarguably one of the best ecommerce solutions for small businesses who do not want worry about hosting their own shops. Etsy gives you the platform to list your products to their audience.
Etsy is a free to join marketplace where businesses can sell varieties of handmade products and vintage finds. You can also sell your digital products and services on Etsy.
Sellers rarely have to worry about driving traffic to their shop because Etsy has a community of active buyers and they constantly promote their platform on the internet.
First, you are enjoying a free platform with minimal fees, then their existing customer base.
Why Use Etsy?
- Etsy offers a free space to sell your products online with minimal fees.
- Etsy offers integration which allows business owners to sell their products through Etsy without having to create a separate website.
- Etsy offers features such as online order processing, shipping tracking, and inventory management.
- There are a lot of potential buyers on the platform, you just need to target them.
- They integrate with print on demand platforms to aid seamless order processing.
Drawbacks of Using Etsy
While Etsy offers an attractive space to sell online, there are some limitations.
- You do not own your customers. It’s more like you are renting an audience from Etsy.
- Etsy limits access to their ecommerce solution to a few countries.
- Etsy allows sellers to receive payments through Etsy Payments alone. You can not integrate your own payment method.
- You will compete with over a million sellers. A user coming to Etsy through your product listing doesn’t guarantee a sale because there are a lot of distractions.
Other notable ecommerce solutions for small business
While these platforms did not make the list of our best eCommerce platforms for small businesses, they are still worth checking out if you have unique product offerings and are willing to invest in a custom-designed site.
BigCommerce is one of the leading eCommerce platforms, powering over 95,000 businesses in 175 countries.
It is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that provides businesses with everything they need to create an online store and sell their products and services.
It’s a turnkey solution that includes everything from a customizable website builder and templates to a secure shopping cart and payment processing.
BigCommerce also offers a wide range of features and integrations to help businesses grow and succeed online. Pricing starts at $29.95/month.
Adobe Commerce (Formerly Magento)
Adobe commerce is a widely used eCommerce platform that enables businesses to create an online store quickly and easily.
It is flexible, scalable, and provides a wide range of features and options that allow businesses to tailor their stores to their specific needs and requirements.
Adobe commerce is a great eCommerce platform for small businesses and large enterprise businesses. It is easy to use and has a wide range of features that make it a versatile platform for businesses to create their online stores.
PrestaShop is a free, open source e-commerce solution. The software is released under the Open Software License (OSL). It is written in the PHP programming language with support for the MySQL database management system.
PrestaShop is used by more than 250,000 shops worldwide and is available in 60 different languages. It is easy to use and set up.
The software has a lot of features that make it very flexible and powerful. It is also constantly being improved and updated by the community of developers who contribute to the project.
PrestaShop is a great eCommerce platform for small businesses who want an open source solution.
OpenCart is an eCommerce shopping cart application that is available for free. It is written in PHP and can be run on any platform that supports PHP and MySQL.
OpenCart is an Open Source project released under the GNU General Public License. OpenCart provides an easy way to set up an online store with a very low cost.
This eCommerce platform includes all the necessary tools needed to run a successful online store. It is also very user-friendly and has a lot of features that are important for a small, growing, and established business.
Bigcartel is an eCommerce platform that enables creative entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.
It’s simple to use and comes with everything you need to get started, including a customizable website, shopping cart, and order management system.
Bigcartel is perfect for entrepreneurs who are looking for an easy way to sell their products online. Since its launch in 2005, Bigcartel has helped millions of entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Below is a breakdown of Bigcartel’s pricing options;
- Free – 5 products
- $9.99/month – 50 products
- $19.99/month – 500
Drupal Commerce is a free and open source eCommerce platform built on top of the Drupal content management system. It is used to build online stores, marketplaces, and other eCommerce solutions.
Drupal Commerce is a highly flexible and extensible platform that anyone can customize to fit the specific needs of their business. Some of the key features of Drupal Commerce include:
- A flexible and highly customizable platform
- The ability to sell digital and physical products
- A powerful set of tools for managing products, inventory, orders, customers, and payments.
- Integrations with popular payment providers such as PayPal and Stripe
- A responsive design that looks great on any device
- Support for multiple languages and currencies
Drupal Commerce is the best eCommerce platform for small businesses that use the Drupal CMS.
Whether you are selling physical or digital products, Drupal Commerce has the tools and features you need to build a successful online store.
Volusion has been existing since 1999 and has helped over 40,000 businesses to grow and succeed online. This platform is a great eCommerce platform for small businesses other sizes because it has a lot of features, and is very affordable.
Volusion has a drag and drop interface that makes it easy to create your online store without any coding knowledge. Some of these features include;
- A built-in blog
- Email marketing
- Coupons and discounts
- Abandoned cart recovery.
Volusion pricing starts at $29 per month.
Weebly has a user-friendly eCommerce solution that makes it easy to sell online. You can create a professional online store in minutes, with no experience necessary.
Weebly gives you everything you need to get started, including a customizable platform, templates, and drag-and-drop features.
With Weebly, you can create a professional online store in minutes. You can also use Weebly to create a simple website or blog.
If you’re looking for an easy way to sell online, Weebly is one cool solution. To sell on Weebly, you need to purchase either the basic business ($25/month) or business plus ($38/month) plan.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive eCommerce solution, Squarespace is a great option to consider. With tools to help you build and customize your online store, accept payments, track inventory, and ship orders.
Squarespace has everything you need to run a successful online business. Squarespace’s eCommerce features are robust and easy to use, making it a great platform for businesses of all sizes.
With everything you need to build and run a successful online store, Squarespace makes it easy to sell online.
To sell on Squarespace, you need either of these plans;
- Business plan – $23/month
- Basic eCommerce plan – $28/month, or
- Advanced eCommerce plan – $49/month.
All these ecommerce platforms have their own unique set of features, so it is important to do your research before deciding which one is right for you.
Ultimately, the best ecommerce platform for small businesses is the one that meets your needs and is affordable.