10 Ecommerce Platforms to Launch Your Business
There are many ecommerce platforms now that offer a turnkey solution for getting your website online and selling. What you ultimately use will depend on how willing you are to dive into the software.
In the past, you had to register a domain, find web hosting, find a payment processor, and design your website from scratch. The difficulty level limited the number of people who could start an ecommerce business. Today, however, is a different story. Anyone can set up a small store selling a few products in just an hour.
We’ll take a look at ten hosted ecommerce platforms in this article. These ecommerce platforms are ready to set up your online store with a domain and hosting. Most, if not all, offer a free trial, so you’re free to test out the platforms to see if they fit your budget and needs.
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms because it offers a turnkey solution–domain registration, hosting, payments, etc. Their basic package, starting at $29/month, gives your business everything it needs to complete its website in a day (in a few hours if you’re familiar with website designs and layouts). You can list unlimited products with the basic plan.
Shopify also has free and paid themes, as well as free and paid plugins. These plugins deal with accounting, marketing, and social media. Even the free themes, with their variations, all look professional and clean, with very little work needed to customize the layout.
Shopify also has a point-of-sale (POS) system for businesses with a physical presence.
BigCommerce is another popular ecommerce platform. Like Shopify, BigCommerce offers a turnkey solution. One drawback is that they don’t give you as many free or paid themes as Shopify. BigCommerce starts at $29.95/month for their basic plan. Like Shopify, it allows unlimited product listings with the basic subscription.
Volusion is an excellent way for a small business to start. Their basic plan starts at $15/month, but it doesn’t offer nearly as many features as the competitors. Volusion also offers a 10% discount on multiple stores and annual payments. For the lowest price, there are some limitations. You’re only allowed 100 products and 1GB of bandwidth. That’s roughly 500-1000 visitors depending on the size of your website. Each additional GB is $7.
Their plans do not include an SSL certificate–they charge an extra $89-99 a year, whereas Shopify and BigCommerce include SSL certificates in their bundles. If you want to accept credit card payments through the website, you’ll need an SSL certificate.
3dcart plans start at $29/month, but they offer a 10% discount on annual payments. 3dcart has over 100 payment options, including BitPay for accepting BitCoin payments.
One benefit of 3dcart is that it has an integrated POS system so that you can use that with your ecommerce store as well.
Big Cartel sells itself as a platform for creative businesses. They have a free option for artists or musicians with five products. If you’re looking for a platform to sell your artwork, Big Cartel’s prices are competitive, and its layout is clean for creative businesses. Their basic professional plan starts at $9.99 for up to 25 products.
Squarespace offers personal and business plans. The business plans are competitive. There’s also a discount for paying for the year. The basic business plan starts at $26/month if you pay for the year upfront. Otherwise, it’s $30/month.
LemonStand is unique in that you have access to all their features regardless of what plan you choose. Costs depend on order volume, with their most basic service starting at $19/month that allows up to 75 orders.
LemonStand does not sell domain names, so you’ll have to purchase one and link it to your LemonStand account if you want a different name for your website.
Like LemonStand, Ecwid doesn’t quite register a domain name for you, but you can embed your Ecwid store into any other platform like WordPress or Facebook. Its integration feature is a nice touch for those looking for a quick way to expand their store to other platforms. The best part is the free plan for up to 10 products. You can set up your site and see how well it integrates before you buy it.
If you’re familiar with the Wix visual editor, then this may be a good choice for you. Their basic ecommerce plan starts at $17/month and includes domain name and linking to another name if you already have one.
PinnacleCart’s basic plan starts at $44.95/month and offers numerous features like accepting over 30 payment methods. They also give you a free transfer from an existing store, so if you’re moving from one platform like Shopify, you won’t have to setup your shop again.
The bandwidth is limited to 2GB though for their lowest-tiered Start Up plan. Their next tier, Standard at $94.95/month, offers QuickBooks Online integration.
Other ecommerce platforms that aren’t necessarily all-in-one–they require software downloads, web hosting, or WordPress to integrate.
Below, we’ve listed some favorite ecommerce tools, but they are not all-in-one solutions. So these platforms require a little more technical expertise to use.
Magento is one of the most widely used ecommerce platforms. Their Magento Community Edition is free to use.
WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. It’s one of the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugins.
osCommerce Online Merchant is a popular free online store software with a frontend shop and administrative backend. It also supports over 7,700 plugins.
Like osCommerce, PrestaShop is a free ecommerce store software that is popular.
One drawback is that these complete solutions don’t offer much regarding customization. You may not be able to use your domain name registrar or hosting, and finding your hosting provider may lead to better website optimization. A delay of even 1 second is enough to turn away potential customers.
There are numerous ecommerce platforms that you can use. If you’re new or not familiar with web technologies like HTML, MySQL, or PHP, then we suggest that you go with one of the hosted solutions listed in this article. The ten hosted websites are better suited for people who just want their ecommerce store up and running without hassle. If you want full customization, learn more about web hosting.