10 Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business (Ranked & Reviewed)
Are you starting an online store or a small business? Are you looking for a virtual storefront to expand your physical store? You’ve probably asked yourself, “What is the best ecommerce platform for small business?”
In this guide, I’ve ranked and reviewed the top ecommerce platforms for a small business to help you weigh which one fits your needs perfectly.
Shopify is an all-in-one solution that has everything you need to build your site and run your operations. Its interface is user-friendly and suitable for both beginners and advanced users.
You can create a beautiful, professional-looking store, and easily manage all aspects of your online sales, from product management and inventory tracking to processing payments and shipping orders.
Wix provides a comprehensive system to manage their own stores. With plenty of drag-and-drop customization options Wix is poised as one of the best platforms on which to build your online store.
Square Online is a user-friendly platform for low-volume retailers. It has a free plan that includes full features with only a low flat rate processing fee and transaction fee.
Weebly offers a platform providing easy access to essential features like the ability to sell up to 10 products, obtain a domain name and more. It is ideal for novice entrepreneurs looking enter the digital market.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
What Is an Ecommerce Platform?
An ecommerce platform is a software solution allowing online sellers to create websites and manage their businesses.
It’s the site where consumers can find your products, add them to a cart, and purchase them.
ecommerce platforms have all the tools you need to carry out ecommerce business processes, including website building, inventory management, and payment setup.
How Does an Ecommerce Platform Benefit Small Businesses?
Starting an online business doesn’t have to be daunting and complicated.
An online store provides small business owners with perks they won’t enjoy with a brick-and-mortar store.
Lower Operational Costs
Setting up an online store is undoubtedly cheaper than an offline one, making it a fantastic starting point for small business owners.
Staff wages, rent for office space, and utilities are just some of the startup costs for physical stores.
You’ll have none of these concerns with an online store.
You’ll still have to invest in your ecommerce platform and pay specific fees, but the expenses are considerably lower than those you’d incur with a physical store.
Wider Business Reach
The best thing about the internet is connecting with people worldwide.
Creating an online store makes your products available to locations you can’t reach with a physical store.
An online store allows you to build your brand, grow your customer base, and boost your profits faster.
ecommerce platforms offer automated delivery solutions ecommerce platforms that make it easy to facilitate shipping, track your products, and manage your inventory.
Customer and Marketing Insights
Running a successful retail business depends on knowing the factors influencing your sales.
Many ecommerce platforms have analytics features that give valuable insight into your target market, customer behavior, product performance, and more.
The more information you have, the better you can plan your marketing strategy and boost your online sales.
Unlike a physical store, you can receive orders 24/7 when running your own online store.
An ecommerce platform allows your online store to operate while you sleep.
Your software automates sales, preventing you from missing out on profit sales regardless of the time.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an ecommerce Platform
Running your own online store involves complex processes. An ecommerce platform can simplify them.
Here are the features you should look for in an effective ecommerce website for small businesses.
Not all small business owners are tech-savvy, and keeping the average online shopper in mind is essential, even if you are.
Your ecommerce platform should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface to ensure a smooth experience on both the seller’s and customer’s ends.
Design and Customization Options
Check the available designs and free themes an ecommerce platform offers. A more comprehensive range of options means more freedom to create your store’s appearance.
Consider your long-term vision for your business too. After all, you might want to update the design of your store as it grows.
You’ll want a platform that balances design freedom with convenient pre-made template offerings.
Efficient Store and Data Management System
An ecommerce platform should have an efficient store management system with easy-to-integrate add-ons, plug-ins, and optimization tools.
You should be able to track inventory and process orders easily.
Data management and a consolidation system are other critical considerations. After all, you must be able to measure your store’s performance before improving it.
A top-of-the-line ecommerce platform lets you collect and store data and integrates with analytics tools or services.
Variety of Payment Processing Options
Online shoppers would only be able to pay for their purchases through the system available on your site.
ecommerce platforms use a payment gateway to process payments and move money from customers’ accounts to yours.
This gateway limits the payment methods and currencies your store can accept.
Checking the payment avenues your platform supports and exploring third-party services you can integrate for more payment opportunities are essential.
Ensuring the security of customer data safe is a top priority for any retail business.
Your ecommerce site should have security standards and SSL certificates. It should offer secure payment processing options and contain additional measures against fraud and data breaches.
Adequate Technical Support
Technical issues will always arise when dealing with ecommerce software for small businesses, no matter how much you try to keep everything under control.
Fortunately, most ecommerce platforms today offer a plethora of documentation to provide technical know-how. They have an extensive library of guides and FAQs to help you find a solution without contacting a support team.
Some also offer 24/7 assistance if you can’t resolve the issue alone.
Check the level of support a platform provides to see if it’s adequate for your needs.
Promotion and Marketing Opportunities
Most ecommerce platforms offer small business owners opportunities and marketing tools to promote their online stores—the key is finding one that matches your ecommerce marketing strategy.
Since SEO is a driving force for promoting your store and products, your platform should be SEO-friendly.
Experts also predict that mobile commerce will generate more than half of US retail sales by 2025. With this in mind, your ecommerce platform should be mobile-friendly.
What Are the Types of Ecommerce Platforms?
Here are the three types of ecommerce platforms.
With an on-site or on-premise ecommerce platform, you host the software on your own server and manage it with an IT staff.
This approach lets you access the platform’s source code and exercise absolute control over security and performance.
You can optimize and modify your ecommerce site and make it as unique as you want.
However, this type of platform comes with a heft price tag.
You’ll have to pay licensing fees and additional hardware to back up your data. You’ll also need to employ administrators to monitor and maintain your servers.
This ecommerce platform isn’t the best choice for a small business owner starting an online business with minimal costs.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
The SaaS platform is cloud-based ecommerce software available to users through the internet.
Instead of installing it on your computer, you simply access the site through your web browser.
A SaaS platform eliminates many of the headaches of an on-site platform.
As ecommerce solutions go, this platform is excellent for small businesses because it offers functionality and security without the immense technical responsibility. It also has relatively low costs and tons of support services.
A SaaS platform is the way to go if you want to get your website up and running without a significant investment.
The downside is you can’t access the source code, limiting your control and flexibility. Customizing your online store also depends on the themes and templates available on the platform.
An open-source platform is similar to a SaaS platform, and the software is just as easy to access.
But there’s a critical difference between the functions of these two platforms.
Unlike SaaS software, an open-source platform lets you access and modify the source code to suit your needs.
You’ll have complete control over the design and operational choices that best match your online store.
However, you’ll also carry the full responsibility of maintaining site security.
You must ensure your ecommerce site complies with PCI standards and has safety measures against hackers.
Open-source platforms are free to download and use, making them the more economical option at first glance.
However, costs can add up when considering other fees involved in using open-source platforms.
- Licensing fees
- Hosting fees
- Web developer
- Maintenance costs
- Security and PCI compliance costs
- Apps, extensions, and integrations with other systems
What Are the Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses?
Here are the ten best small business ecommerce platforms.
A list of the best small business platforms wouldn’t be complete without Shopify. For many business owners, it’s the best ecommerce platform available.
This platform is for online sellers who want to design a unique store without learning complex coding and designing skills.
Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform that helps you build your online store. It has an extensive app market and is chock-full of features and tools.
The user interface is simple and easy to use, even for beginners. Hundreds of themes are available to fit practically every kind of online business.
You can contact their 24/7 customer support for assistance if you encounter issues while setting up your site.
Shopify also lets you scale your business without changing platforms. As your small business expands, you can simply upgrade to plans that serve larger stores more effectively.
Furthermore, Shopify doesn’t add transaction fees when customers buy from your online store.
It offers a responsive design that adapts your website to the customer’s device. Visitors can view your online store on a desktop or mobile device.
The drawback is that these features come at a hefty price tag, making Shopify one of the more expensive ecommerce platforms.
- Easy to use
- All-in-one POS system
- 24/7 customer support
- Multiple payment processors
- Wide variety of themes
- Built-in store for apps and plugins
- Scalable growth
- Expensive paid plans
- Challenging to exit
- Difficulty with blogging and content marketing
Shopify has three pricing tiers.
- Basic – $29 monthly ($173.28 annual billing)
- Shopify – $79 monthly ($473.28 annual billing)
- Advanced – $299 monthly ($1,773.36 annual billing)
Best For SEO Integration
Price Starts at $16/mo
Annual Discount Yes
Promotion 14-Day Trial
Squarespace is your best bet if you want a sophisticated yet straightforward website builder.
This platform is excellent for beginners because of its user-friendly interface and wide array of premium store themes.
Squarespace started as a website builder.
Over the years, the platform added features to cater to online sellers. Now, they’re one of the best all-in-one ecommerce solutions.
Squarespace offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, a video studio app, calendar syncing, email campaign features, and tools for analytics and marketing.
If you want unlimited bandwidth, Squarespace offers it across all plans.
What I like best about Squarespace is its built-in suite of SEO tools for site visibility. That’s a valuable resource, especially for ecommerce newbies.
The platform offers excellent customer support with the following features.
- Comprehensive knowledge base
- Live chat support
- 24/7 email support
- Active community forum.
The disadvantage of Squarespace is its lack of a free plan, which helps keep startup costs down.
Many themes are available, but many users find it challenging to customize templates.
- Easy-to-use interface
- Plenty of premium themes
- Budget-friendly plans
- Integrated sales channels
- Strong customer support
- Easy to scale
- No free plans
- Limited options for customizing templates
- Shortage of plugins and extensions available
- Large transaction fees
Squarespace has four pricing tiers for businesses.
- Personal – $16 monthly (when paid annually)
- Business – $23 monthly (when paid annually)
- Basic Commerce – $27 monthly (when paid annually)
- Advanced Commerce – $49 monthly (when paid annually)
Best For Experienced Sellers
Price Starting at $17/mo
Annual Discount N/A
Promotion Free plan, 50% off flash sales on paid plans
Wix has an easy-to-navigate system, making it one of the best ecommerce website builders for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs.
This ecommerce platform for small businesses is ideal for stores with a limited product selection of fewer than 50 products.
Its thousands of handy drag-and-drop customization options can help you create a unique storefront.
This SaaS platform has additional features to streamline your operations, including order tracking, payment processing, and multi-channel selling.
It even has an abandoned cart recovery feature that sends automated emails to customers to redirect them to your checkout page.
Another reason this site is popular with new business owners is its free plan option and low cost for paid plans. The site’s available storage options are also perfect for small businesses.
The downside is the platform may not be adequate for larger enterprises, which can be a concern once your business grows.
- Super user-friendly
- Live editing and previews
- Product differentiators
- Drag-and-drop build
- Easy integration with social media platforms
- Abandoned cart recovery campaign
- Complete SEO tools and solutions
- Extensive online resources and live support
- Free plan option
- No hidden hosting or transaction fees
- No free tracking and analytics with the basic plan
- Difficulty with migrating data
- Cannot change templates after publishing
- Not suitable for expansion
Wix has three pricing tiers for businesses.
- Basic – $17 monthly
- Unlimited – $25 monthly
- VIP – $35 monthly
Best For Multi-Feature with Option for Physical Retailers
Price Starting at $29/mo
Annual Discount N/A
Promotion Free Plan
Square Online is a SaaS solution hitting all the right marks for start-ups and physical retailers who want to expand into online selling.
It’s one of the best ecommerce website builders with a clean and easy-to-use interface to help you get your website up in minutes.
This platform’s intuitive features let you easily create and manage your online store without technical knowledge.
It delivers all the tools you need at an affordable price. You get a mobile app, data analytics, inventory tracking, receipts, and a robust point-of-sale (POS) system.
Square also chooses your shipping carriers and tracks your shipments, streamlining your order fulfillment process. View and manage your shipments on your Square Online Store dashboard.
You can process payments through a Square account. The platform accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal, all major credit cards, Square gift cards, and more.
Square Online also simplifies your data security and PCI compliance. You won’t need to utilize third-party service providers to maintain site security.
- Very user-friendly
- Full features for free
- Wide payment system
- Extensive resource library
- Chat support
- All-in-one payment processing system
- Limited customization options
- Suitable only for low-volume retailers
- Transaction fees can add up to a lot for high-volume sellers
Square Online Store has four pricing tiers.
- Free – 2.9% flat rate processing fee, plus $0.30 per transaction
- Plus – $29 monthly, plus a processing fee
- Premium – custom price, plus processing fee
Best For Simple Interface
Annual Discount Yes
Promotion 14-Day Free Trial
Feature-wise, Weebly is more basic than the other SaaS ecommerce platforms on this list.
However, Weebly’s simple features can be advantageous for those who want a straightforward and easily accessible platform when starting their online store.
Weebly’s free lets you sell up to 10 products, get a domain name, and access the platform’s ecommerce features.
Weebly offers three paid plans if you want more storage space and fewer restrictions. The Pro, Business, and Business Plus Plans have reasonable prices.
The Business plan is the one catering to small businesses and stores.
Weebly is part of the Square family, so it has comprehensive integrations with other Square-operated small business platforms.
You can access wholly integrated and secure point-of-sale and inventory management systems.
Small businesses benefit from the platform’s intuitive interface and these helpful features.
- Optimized mobile checkout
- Filtered product searches
- Order processing and management
- Various shipping options
It also offers ecommerce tools like SEO and site stats, customizable email templates for welcoming customers, and abandoned cart campaigns.
However, Weebly does have limits.
Square owns Weebly, so the two have the same payment processing systems.
Unfortunately, Square only accepts card payments in the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
You won’t be able to cater to customers in other countries.
- A free plan and reasonably priced paid plans
- Simple interface
- Powerful drag-and-drop builder
- Tight integration with other Square platforms
- Weebly mobile app
- Lack of multi-channel integration
- Payments are limited to Square-supported methods
- Limited blogging tools
Weebly has three pricing tiers.
- Pro – $12 monthly (when paid annually)
- Business – $25 monthly (when paid annually)
- Business Plus – $38 monthly (when paid annually)
Best For Budget-Friendly
Price Free (but you need paid tools)
Annual Discount N/A
You might find WooCommerce easy to use if you’re familiar with WordPress.
This platform is a WordPress plug-in and is a natural choice if your business has an existing WordPress site.
WooCommerce is a highly customizable and flexible open-source platform, especially if you have coding skills. You’ll also enjoy the support of a vibrant developer community.
Another thing I love about WooCommerce is its SEO-friendliness. WordPress is one of the most advanced platforms for SEO content, so businesses on WooCommerce tend to rank higher on search engines.
You get a free yet extensive suite of marketing tools, secure payment options, analytics tools, and more with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce lets you choose from over 6,000 third-party apps and integrations to extend your store’s functionality.
For instance, you can pair the platform with QuickBooks for faster and more accurate accounting and insights.
While the transition is seamless for existing WordPress users, this platform does have a bit of a learning curve for those unfamiliar with WordPress.
Though it’s technically free, the additional costs of integrations and extensions can add up to a significant amount. You’ll also need to pay fees for a custom domain name and a hosting service.
WooCommerce also doesn’t have dedicated support or a helpline because it’s an open-source plug-in.
You’ll have to turn to the active and supportive WooCommerce developer community if you need technical assistance.
- Easy transition for WordPress users
- Free subscription
- Easy integration with various third-party apps and extensions
- Built-in blogging capabilities
- Optimized themes for different devices
- No dedicated technical support
- Self-hosted and self-maintained
- Extra costs for integrations and extensions
WooCommerce is free, but you’ll need to pay for hosting, a domain name, and various basic costs.
Hosting plans can range from $3.95 to $ 5,000 monthly, while domain registration can cost about $15 annually.
You must also prepare for other costs, including paid themes, shipping extensions, and payment gateways.
Here’s an overview of the average expenses you’ll likely incur with WooCommerce.
Best For Speed
Price Free Plan Available
Annual Discount N/A
Promotion 14-Day Trial On Paid Plans
Ecwid is a SaaS ecommerce website builder with the small business owner’s interests at heart, making it one of the best ecommerce platforms for entrepreneurs.
Ecwid has earned several awards as an ecommerce platform for small businesses.
It’s a plug-in you integrate into an existing website. You can turn the site you built for your brand into a fully functioning ecommerce website.
Ecwid lets you create your online store on Instant Site if you don’t have a website yet. However, this option is limited, and I recommend it only for tiny online stores.
Ecwid makes it easy for small retailers who need multiple and flexible omnichannel selling capabilities. You’ll enjoy the option of adding your site to other sites, blogs, and social networks.
You can also sync and manage all your storefronts on a single control panel.
The platform also offers a wide range of store management features, including inventory uploads, updates to payment integrations, and shipping assistance.
Ecwid’s responsive design works with any device. It also comes with a host of marketing tools to increase customer retention.
With zero transaction or setup fees, you’ve got a flexible, affordable solution to help your business quickly get off the ground.
Ecwid is also scalable. The platform can entirely support your needs even as your business grows.
- Works with an existing website
- Easy to navigate
- Assisted setup with priced plans
- Easy to scale
- Allows digital product selling
- Full suite of marketing tools
- Comprehensive payment integrations
- Not a standalone ecommerce solution
- Lack of chat and phone support on lower plans
Ecwid has four pricing tiers for businesses.
- Free – $0
- Venture – $12.50 monthly (when paid annually)
- Business – $29.17 monthly (when paid annually)
- Unlimited – $82.50 monthly (when paid annually)
Best For Advanced Sellers
Annual Discount Yes
Promotion 15-Day Free Trial
BigCommerce is another fantastic choice for small businesses that want future expansion.
This open SaaS platform is suitable for creating ecommerce websites for small and large businesses. It offers customizable solutions and an extensive set of ecommerce tools for budding entrepreneurs.
One of its best points is its capability to support SEO and multi-channel marketing. You can integrate social media into your site and build an online storefront on other platforms like Amazon and eBay.
It also allows many payment options and offers affordable rates for payment processing. Round-the-clock assistance from their 24/7 customer support service is also available.
- Built-in marketing and analytics features
- Product rating and review options
- Perfect for multi-channel selling
- Easy to scale
- 24/7 technical support
- Advanced features and functionality can be challenging to use
- Fewer available themes
BigCommerce has three pricing tiers for businesses.
- Standard – $29.95 monthly (when paid annually)
- Plus – $71.95 monthly (when paid annually)
- Pro – $269.96 monthly (when paid annually)
Best For Small to mid-sized businesses
Price Starting at $12/mo
Annual Discount Yes
Promotion One Month Trial
GoDaddy checks all the boxes for skill level and budget. This platform is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses.
With GoDaddy, small businesses get an easy-to-use ecommerce and web hosting solution for a relatively low price.
The built-in Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) can help you quickly design your store.
This speed has its flaws, though. GoDaddy has a somewhat limited range of design features compared to other platforms.
However, GoDaddy still has three standout features:
- Website builder
- Free web hosting plan (with a free domain name)
- 24/7 tech support (phone, live chat, and email)
The free plan is perfect for those with a limited budget but has many restrictions.
You might do better with a paid plan if you want more features.
For example, you might need the Digital Marketing Suite, a set of tools for optimizing your small business and driving online sales.
You can use SEO features, analytics and reporting tools, customized action plans, advertising, and email marketing from one dashboard.
- Hosting available
- Domain registration
- AI Design support
- Quick setup
- Easy to use
- No coding experience or knowledge needed
- 24/7 support
- Little creative freedom
- Limited advanced features
- Limited marketing and blogging tools
GoDaddy has three pricing tiers for businesses.
- Standard – $10.49 monthly (when paid annually)
- Premium – $14.99 monthly (when paid annually)
- ecommerce – $16.99 monthly (when paid annually)
Best For Beginners Needing a Simple Solution
Price Starting at $39/mo
Annual Discount Yes
Promotion 14-Day Free Trial
Volusion is a popular option in the ecommerce platform market, and it’s ideal for small businesses that need room to grow.
This ecommerce website builder offers users budget-friendly plans with zero transaction fees.
As one of the first SaaS ecommerce sites, it gives you clean and professional templates. You’ll also gain access to all the tools you need to build and launch the perfect online store.
Customize your store further via the accessible CSS and HTML files.
The average user with limited coding experience might not know how to do this, but you can hire a developer to do it for you.
One of Volusion’s best features is its ability to offer in-depth data reports. You can find everything you need to monitor your site’s performance in one straightforward dashboard.
Volusion offers a built-in SEO management system, a CRM system, a newsletter tool, and third-party selling options to expand your reach.
The platform has a Social Media Center you can link to certain social media accounts and post to them via the dashboard.
However, Volusion’s advertising options aren’t as comprehensive as other platforms. It offers Google advertising, which might suffice for small businesses.
Entrepreneurs can launch campaigns with two systems: Google Ads and Google Shopping. The Google Shopping tool is convenient because it puts your products on search result pages.
Volusion falls short on blogging features, a serious problem if you want to bolster your sales strategy with a content management system.
Nevertheless, its available features and free unlimited bandwidth are enough to get your ecommerce website off the ground.
- Access to built-in SEO tools
- Access to custom editing via CSS/HTML
- Responsive design
- In-depth reporting tools
- Integrations with leading partners
- Free unlimited bandwidth
- Highly scalable; unlimited product options for higher plans
- Free themes are limited
- No blogging options
- Personal – $31.50 monthly (when paid annually)
- Professional – $71.10 monthly (when paid annually)
- Business – $269.10 monthly (when paid annually)
- Prime – Based on online sales
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do I Create a Small Business Ecommerce Website?
Here’s how to create your ecommerce website once you’re ready to sell online.
- Choose your ecommerce Platform.
- Register a domain name.
- Find a developer.
- Select an ecommerce theme.
- Customize your ecommerce template.
- Add your products.
- Set up options for payments.
- Fix your shipping settings.
- Do a test or preview and publish your online store.
How Do the Ecommerce Platform Needs of Small Businesses Differ From Large Enterprises?
Enterprise-level businesses have a solid brand identity they want to maintain.
Their primary goal is to get more revenue, so they choose ecommerce platforms that can provide faster performance and handle large transaction volumes.
On the other hand, small businesses have a different focus—getting their business up and running at a minimal cost.
The ideal ecommerce site for small businesses is a budget-friendly and simple enough one they can use without technical knowledge.
It should offer robust support, convenient marketing features, and business management tools to guide beginners.
What Mistakes Do Businesses Make With Ecommerce Platforms?
Many ecommerce businesses select the wrong platform, leading to a host of issues regarding customization, security, payment gateways, search engine optimization, and other problems.
Others choose based on their budget instead of focusing on their specific needs.
Avoid the same mistakes by determining your goals, requirements, and online selling strategies, and find the platform that can support them.
The Bottom Line
With the advent of ecommerce platforms, small business owners no longer have to shell out a considerable investment to open and operate a physical store.
Even if you already have a physical store, an ecommerce platform is still essential in today’s market. It acts as a virtual storefront that lets you reach a wider audience.
Like choosing a location for your physical store, choosing the best ecommerce platform for your business requires careful consideration. I hope my guide has made it easier for you to decide.
If you still don’t know what to sell, my list of 20 ecommerce business ideas can help you.
Founder of OJ Digital Solutions