The best eCommerce platforms are those that provide you with the tools you need to build and operate an online store at the least possible cost.
There are many of them, so it would be wise to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform before you make a decision. As such, the platform you choose will meet your expectations by the time you sign up.
I will share with you my personal experience as I have used many of these platforms. My review for these best eCommerce platforms is based on price, usefulness, ease of use, value for money, and most importantly, features that will help you build your store.
In the end, you will realize that no platform fits all. You need to list down the features you want and choose the platform that gives you the best bang for your buck.
Best For : People looking for the best eCommerce platform with a complete suite of tools to launch an online business.
Shopify has been the most dominant of all the best eCommerce platforms globally for a while now. It took the world by storm as it changed the game. It is a publicly-traded company, and it debuted in the New York Stock exchange in 2015.
The eCommerce platform has a website builder, but it is fundamental. For example, you cannot drag and then drop functionalities on your site.
Shopify changed the game by integrating all elements of an eCommerce platform into one.
In the old days, an entrepreneur had to create a website from scratch or create different apps to make an online store. The experience was like creating Frankenstein’s monster.
With Shopify, they streamlined the process. First, you pick a theme; then you add your products and their prices.
Every theme in Shopify has the backend program in mind. It is like buying a car that is ready to go. All you have to do is to step on the gas and drive.
However, you can customize the car if you choose, and the same thing goes with Shopify. Another wonderful thing that they did was to invite developers to sell apps.
Although Shopify is not an open-source platform, app developers can sell small software programs that business owners can buy. These apps will help website operators to make their businesses unique.
You may want to have a pop-up game on your online store. A pop-up game that looks like the Wheel of Fortune is not a default feature in Shopify. However, you can buy this app and integrate it with your store.
Shopping is also fundamental to the success of a Shopify store. As such, the company has a partnership with various shipping carriers. These carriers offer discounts to Shopify sellers. There is also an automated shipping label program that you can use.
- Sales Channels – you can integrate your Shopify store with your Facebook Shop and Amazon Store. Anything you upload in Shopify will reflect in these integrated stores automatically.
- Discount Codes – you can create discount codes and make them work on the backend. Then, give the code to your consumers, and when they enter the code on your checkout page, they will get a discount.
- App Store – Shopify has the support of app creators. So if you need anything to make your store look or function better, you can install apps and use them. Some apps are free, and some have a fee.
- Analytics – you get to access a dashboard of your performance, including traffic, sales, and inventory reports.
- True To Its Promise – with Shopify, you get what they promise. Once you sign up for an account, you choose a template for your store, and the website is up and running.
- Simplicity – its simplicity as an eCommerce platform is what makes it an ideal choice. They even allow you to use a free domain name, albeit your store’s URL will carry the Shopify domain.
- Cost – you can operate a fully functional online store for as low as $29 per month.
- Shipping Discount – has partners in the shipping industry like UPS; you will pay lower shipping fees.
- Basic Shopify – costs $29 per month; you get the online store plus unlimited product uploads.
- Shopify – costs $79 per month; you get up to five staff accounts and up to 88% shipping discount from its partners.
- Advanced Shopify – costs $299 per month; use international domains and international pricing features.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial where you can access all its features.
There was a time when BigCommerce used to be expensive. Now, the company is trying to compete with Shopify.
There are two main umbrellas in the services of this company. One is the Enterprise, and the other is the Essentials.
What you need as a solo entrepreneur is under-essentials. Here, you will get an eCommerce platform where you can build an online business from scratch.
The Enterprise is for large businesses. For example, a shipping company may need software to run its operations.
BigCommerce looks intimidating at first. The entire ecosystem of the platform is enormous, but they have excellent customer support where you can get guidance.
One thing BigCommerce focuses on is specialty stores. They understand that not all stores have to look the same. As such, they have experts in some niches that can help you build a unique store.
Here are some examples:
- Apparel and fashion
- Health and beauty
- Food and beverage
- Manufacturing industry
- Automotive industry
BigCommerce, you do not need to depend on cookie-cutter website templates. Instead, they will build a unique online store for you. First, however, you need to contact them and then prepare to pay a considerable price.
Once you become successful in your business, the next step is to outsource some types of work. Again, it would help if you did this to help you grow.
For example, you can avail of services like technical account management, customer service management, and so much more. Instead of interviewing people, you only have to speak to BigCommerce and tell them what you need.
They can build a technical runbook for you if you want. It is process documentation that your employees can use if there are technical issues.
You can also hire a technical account manager who can work with the BigCommerce liaison. As such, two groups will work together to solve client escalations.
- Traffic Support – if you sell online, you need traffic. As an eCommerce platform, BigCommerce gives you access to tools that can help you drive this metric. For example, it has SEO tools. You can also integrate your social media channels with the system.
- Conversion Features – one common issue with eCommerce platforms is that there is not enough support to incase conversion. People who have an online store may have traffic, but the customer is not buying.
With BigCommerce, you get streamlined checkout, abandoned cart recovery, and many other features that convince a site visitor to purchase.
- Expert Customer Support – unlike some other eCommerce platforms, this one gives you access to the real deal. You can schedule a call with them to get help. You also have the option to get SEO coaching, boost conversion rates, and many more.
- Store Management – there are many features here that allow you to manage your inventory, create a personalized shopping experience, view reports and analytics, and so much more. But, again, BigCommerce has the right tools to help you understand what is happening in your business.
- Fantastic Customer Service – customer support is 24/7 for any plan. The service channels are phone, chat, and ticketing.
- Shipping AI – you can increase checkout rates because the system has sophisticated shipping rules.
- Blog – I like that it has a built-in blog, which can help you increase organic traffic and visibility.
- Multi-Currency – you can program the tool so that a consumer will see prices on your online business in his local currency.
- Standard – costs $29.95 per month; get a fully functional eCommerce site with no transaction fees.
- Plus – costs $29.95 per month; get everything from the Standard Plan plus marketing features like abandoned cart recovery and persistent car.
- Pro – costs $29.95 per month; you will get extra features like product filtering for your customers and Google customer reviews.
BigCommerce has no free trial. However, you can request a free demo.
Wix is an eCommerce platform that offers two types of services. The names of these are Website plans and eCommerce plans.
The website is for blogs. For an online store that has eCommerce functionality, you need to get their eCommerce Plans.
Wix made it a point that the website you build here works with mobile. Overall, the market share of mobile app users worldwide is 54%, and experts expect it to grow.
It means that the website you make automatically adjusts according to the device the consumer is using. As such, the potential customer has a better mobile app experience.
There are hundreds of templates that you can choose from Wix. Of course, the right eCommerce platform must have these. Wix, however, added contact management tools so you can market your products better.
As you can see, it is not only the aesthetic appeal of the site that matters. What users do and how you use their information are equally important.
With Wix, there are social media marketing tools embedded in the platform. You can launch your products on your social media pages without doubling the effort of doing so.
There is also an app market in Wix. These apps are like plug-ins that add some elements and functionalities to your site. Somehow, they compensate the online store builder.
- Services And Memberships – apart from an eCommerce business, you can also build a site where your customers pay you a recurring subscription. For example, it works best for an eCommerce site that sells food supplements.
- Dropshipping – you can integrate Modalyst with your Wix store. It is a dropshipping directory where you can move products to your own online store with a few clicks.
- Multi-channel Selling – integrate your store with Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Instagram. Manage all these stores from your Wix dashboard only.
- Online Payment Gateways – no need to worry about payment processors. Wix has an in-house payment process. You will get competitive processing fees and charge money in multiple currencies.
- Video Uploads – unlike some eCommerce platforms, you can upload videos on Wix. It makes sense because videos make customers stay longer on your site.
- Customer Support – despite not being as big as BigCommerce, Wix offers 24/7 customer support. If you get the VIP plan, you will also receive top priority support.
- Report Customization – if you want to change how you see the reports, you can toggle the options and make changes. However, this eCommerce functionality only works in the VIP plan.
- Unlimited Bandwidth – if your store has unusually high traffic, Wix will boost your site speed and content delivery. Some eCommerce platforms have a limit to bandwidth.
- Business Basic – costs $17 per month; you get to operate a store and sell online, but you have a limit of 20GB in storage.
- Business Unlimited – costs $25 per month; your storage space is now 35GB, and you can upload up to 250 products for a dropshipping business.
- Business VIP – costs $35 per month; you can upload an unlimited number of products, and your storage capacity is 50GB. You also get unlimited hours for videos that you upload.
Wix offers a free website, but it is not an online store. The free version is just a basic website.
WooCommerce is a plug-in that you integrate on your website. It is one of the best eCommerce platforms because it offers flexibility.
What it does is convert an ordinary website into an online store. Once you do the integration, you can now add products, have a shop page and a checkout page.
For example, let us say that you are paying for web hosting services from Siteground, and your website sits on WordPress plus an online store builder like Elementor. What you have there is merely a blog.
After installing WooCommerce, you now have a fully functional store. However, be warned that many elements are not present. You have to buy them separately from WooCommerce.
There is nothing in the world of online selling that you cannot do with WooCommerce. The beauty of it all is that you can choose what feature you want.
Pretty much, the approach of WooCommerce is like a basket or cart. You pick the service you want and pay for it. These apps do not come from third-party apps developers. WooCommerce made them, and because of this, all these apps will work seamlessly in your own online store.
For example, let us say that you do not want to have a product collection in your store. Most platforms include this already. However, it means that you are paying for it even if you do not need it.
WooCommerce also has a list of features bundled together for specific niches. For example, let us say that you are operating a CBD company. In this case, you may not know what kind of apps you need to run your store smoothly.
But WooCommerce knows. To help you out, they have a section called CBD Essentials. Here, they packaged all apps that you need to run your CBD store. Some examples are product subscriptions, additional payment gateways for CBD users, and dynamic pricing.
As you can see, you do not need to grope in the dark trying to understand what your store is missing. Instead, WooCommerce has recommendations to make your store better. These recommendations come from their database of thousands of stores.
- Payment Gateways – you can simplify the payment process in the system. It allows you to collect money and also charge recurring fees from customers. You can also accept in-person payments and use other services like Apple Pay.
- Marketing – it has marketing features that allow you to reach other consumers on Facebook and their platforms. You can also sell on Amazon and eBay. On top of this, you can use the abandoned cart feature to remind customers to continue with their purchases.
- Shipping – you can print DHL and USPS shipping labels once a customer completes the checkout. You no longer have to copy and paste the customer details. You also get discounted shipping rates. However, this feature is only available in the United States.
- Checkout – unlike other checkout pages, you can customize yours on the platform. If you want, you can simplify the user flow and then use multiple payment methods.
- Free To Use – you can install WooCommerce on WordPress, WPEngine, or Ecwid. The platform is free to use, and you can convert your website into a blog.
- Pay For What You Need – with WooCommerce, you only pay for the service that you need. What this means is you do not have to pay a monthly fee. Instead, you get to choose the function you want, and you pay for that only.
WooCommerce does not have a pricing plan. Instead, you buy the kind of service that you need. The WooCommerce eCommerce platform is free to use.
Shift4Shop is a reasonably new player in the eCommerce space. However, I like that they have an affordable plan to set up shop at a low cost.
The beauty of Shift4Shop as an eCommerce platform is that it offers a complete suite of tools at no extra cost. Pretty much, the basic plan should be enough to run an online business.
I can say that it has the power to rival big companies like Shopify and BigCommerce. They offer robust marketing and SEO features, all at an affordable price.
Shift4Shop has more than 100 free themes. This feature is a plus because others like Shopify only have a few. These themes vary in design, and you can choose one that fits your business niche.
For example, themes for restaurants are different from those that you can use for dental practices. In addition, the presentation and order of the images and videos vary, and it is your choice which one applies the best to your business.
I cannot say that you should expect something revolutionary in the design. Since these themes are free, you may find that some elements are missing. However, this should not be an issue as the platform offers a lot of customization options.
I like that the platform’s themes are mobile-friendly. I noticed in many cases that some of my websites always get Google AMP issues. With Shift4Shop, you will not have the same problems. In addition, the themes work great as a mobile app.
As far as order management is concerned, the platform offers a complete process. You can select specific orders and move them to a bucket, like if you have fulfilled them already. You can also pick each order and add manual changes.
The platform also has a shipping label printer software. You no longer need to copy and paste the customer’s shipping details to the courier’s platform. It happens automatically, and all you need to do is print it.
Another thing you will love is the return process. Sometimes, we cannot help it if a customer wants a refund: the platform has a return-merchandise system or RMA.
With this system, you can create options for consumers to select why they are returning the item. From here, you can do business analysis and fix your company’s problems.
- Website Builder – the platform allows you to customize your store to fit your niche. It has tools that can convert your website into a subscription or a dropshipping platform. You can also sell digital products like ebooks, which Shopify and many other best eCommerce sites do not offer.
- Marketing And SEO – you can enjoy marketing and SEO tools like the use of meta tags, headings, customizable URLs, and ALT tags. They offer free domain registration and page speed optimization. In addition, you can also integrate Google Analytics with your site.
- Secure Hosting –web hosting is instead a cumbersome service to get. With Shift4Shop, it should not be a problem. They automatically host your website and its contents on their servers. You no longer have to install things like a CMS, client file transfer protocol and all that.
- Product Management – you can do bulk product import and export from CSV files, saving you a lot of time. You can also bring your products to life by adding videos and unlimited images to the product pages.
- Free Plan – you can build a store for free, and it is free forever.
- Unlimited Service – even at the free plan, you can upload as many products as you want and enjoy unlimited bandwidth.
- Integrations – you can integrate your store with Facebook, eBay, and Amazon.
- Basic Store – costs $29 per month; get up to two staff users and unlimited product uploads.
- Plus Store – costs $79 per month; get access to grouping your customers and features like product Q&A or purchase order modules.
- Pro Store – costs $229 per month; you can auto-ship recurring orders and access robust automation rules.
Shift4Shop is free to use for end-to-end commerce. This free account is for US users only.
Volusion has been around for 15 years. So while you may not have heard noise about the company before, it is a huge one.
It has more than 250 employees, and they support over 30,000 online stores. So far, the company has helped merchants generate over $28 billion in revenues.
Volusion, unlike other eCommerce platforms, offers a fully functional online store at an affordable cost. However, it does put some limitations on what you get if you are in the basic plan.
Volusion is now on its second version. It now has a better inventory system, and it also improved the UX aspect of its platform.
The platform has video options. It is an excellent feature because video hosting is expensive. It is not unusual for an online store not to have this at all. Typically, you have to launch your video on YouTube, set it to private, and embed the YouTube link in your online store.
With Volusion, you do not have to do that. Instead, if your product requires video to market it better, you can upload it to your site. As such, you will have great visuals, and your site visitors are likely to respond better.
Another thing you will like about the platform is that it has a “suggested products” feature. On many platforms, this feature is an add-on, and you have to pay for it.
A feature like this can boost upsell revenue. It can also make a customer buy something after deciding not to buy his first pick.
The platform also has a mobile app. As a result, you can access your store and do business with the mobile app no matter where you are. Most online store builders do not have this. Because of that, you will tie yourself to your desk to process orders.
But not with Volusion. The app allows you to check inventory, update the prices of your products, or even take product photos with your phone and upload them to the store from the mobile app.
- Rich Content Editor – it is not precisely a drag-and-drop website builder, but it allows you to edit the content of your pages. As a result, you can make changes to your site on the fly with no need for coding knowledge.
- Product Category Pages – it refers to the pages where you can showcase categories of your products. Once a customer clicks on it, a new page will open to see images of the various products you offer for that category only.
- Payment Gateways – you have several options to get paid. Examples of the payment processors that you can integrate are PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, and wire payment. You can also accept electronic checks and money orders.
- Shipping Features – you can specify the shipping rates for what you sell and even offer discounts on your shop. For example, you can program your shop to reduce shipping by 50% if the customer meets a particular cart value.
- Themes – there are dozens of free themes you can use; these themes are from professional designers, and you can customize them.
- Marketing Services – you can work with their in-house marketers to improve your conversion rate. They have a team of experts who can help you increase your revenue by 90%.
- Site Design – you can work with the company to have a website that is truly your own. You do not have to rely on cookie-cutter theme templates.
- Personal – costs $26 per month; you pay zero in transaction fees, and your limit on product upload is 100 products only.
- Professional – costs $26 per month; the product limit is now at 5,000, and you can have up to 5 staff accounts.
- Business – costs $26 per month; you no longer have a limitation to the product upload, and you can have up to 15 staff accounts. You also get to integrate your store with other platforms like Amazon and eBay.
Volusion offers a 14-day free trial that you can get now. No credit card is required.
Prestashop is a critical player in the industry in the sense that it does what many platforms do not: it offers its services for free.
In addition, it is an open-source platform, which means that significant updates are happening whenever it is necessary.
With Prestashop, what you get is a self-hosted store where you can sell online. So there is no need to pay a different company for your web hosting needs. To use it, you need to download the system, and then you can modify it all you want.
- Global Sales – they allow global sales, which means you can sell to any country in the world. However, they have some advice before you do this. For example, you need to prepare yourself for cross border shipping.
- Theme Selection – your theme is one of the things that will help you market your products effectively. Prestashop has more than 171 templates, and they consistently add new ones. In addition, they have themes for any niche, making things easier for you to bring your online store to life.
- Dropshipping Store – the eCommerce platform allows dropshipping. They have modules or apps that you can integrate with your store. From these apps, you transfer products to your site and sell them.
- Agency Partnership – they partner with experts who can help you design your site to your liking. They can work on your backend and frontend. These agencies offer UX and UI designs, migration, module development, and so much more.
- Free – the website builder for your store is free to use 100%.
- Customization – like the other best eCommerce platforms, you can change some sections on your site and personalize your content.
- Secure Payment Gateways – All payments processed in the platform are secure. In addition, your website automatically comes with SSL, which means that hackers cannot intercept data between you and your customers.
- Demographics – you can sell to the world and make your site offer products in local currencies.
Prestashop is 100% free, and they do not charge commissions or transaction fees.
Weebly is something that I can compare with Wix. It offers two types of services. One is the Website Plans, and the other is called the Online Store Plans.
There is no free plan for the Online Stores, but there is one for the Website Plans. I would recommend Weebly if you are a beginner—as in you have not done any website building or blogging activity before.
Weebly is one of the most affordable platforms I have seen where you can sell online. They even give out a domain name with a $20 value plus $100 free in Google Ads credit.
- Search Engine Optimization – all pages, including product pages, allow you to create rich snippets, meta titles and descriptions, plus URL customization.
- Functional Online Store – at a low cost, you get an online store that works. You can upload products, change the store to the design you want, and take payments. There is no need to upgrade if you only need a basic storefront for your products.
- Google And iOS App – the eCommerce platform has an app you can use on either Android or iOS. So if someone buys from you, you do not have to go to your desktop to process the order.
- Shipping Tools – you can sell globally, and Weebly has the tools to help you create varying rates according to the destination. On the platform, Weebly has partner carriers that automatically calculate the shipping rate according to the address the customer used as the shipping destination.
- Easy Customization – there is no need to code to make changes to your site; it only takes a few clicks to personalize our online store.
- App Integration – Weebly has an app store if you need other tools to make your site look and function better. Some of these apps are free, and some are not.
- Pricing – Weebly is one of the most affordable eCommerce platforms out there. At the lowest plan, you can operate your store with no fuss.
- Pro – costs $12 per month; you get to build a fully functional store without bells and whistles like coupon codes and tax calculators.
- Business – costs $25 per month; includes pop-up notifications and access to shipping calculators and integrated shipping labels.
- Business Plus – costs $38 per month; includes advanced eCommerce reporting dashboard, real-time shipping, and abandoned cart emails.
Weebly is free to use for a website, but you have to upgrade to get the eCommerce features.
The best eCommerce platform for sales funnels is ClickFunnels. If you are selling digital products like ebooks, webinars, and services like dentistry or coaching sessions, then ClickFunnels is the tool you must use.
You can also sell a physical product here. However, the platform is best suited for a single product. You cannot build a store that has many categories. The way it works is you create a sales funnel for each product.
A sales funnel is not your typical online store. Usually, it only has a landing page, pop-ups for email marketing sign-ups, a checkout page, and then a “thank you page.”
ClickFunnels is best for those who want to drive action, not just traffic. The difference is that site visitors do not “look around” like they do with online stores with a sales funnel. Instead, they have to decide to either buy or leave the site.
- Templates – there are hundreds of templates you can use to get started. The site editor has a drag-and-drop feature, too. The templates are complete, which means they have a squeeze page, sales page, checkout, and thank you page.
- Automated Sequences – with ClickFunnels, you only have to choose the type of product you are selling, and then you can add more pages you need for your sales funnel. For example, if you are selling a membership, the system will automatically open a section to add the price per month for your product. It will also create a member sign-up page.
- Webinars And Memberships – you can create membership programs and webinars on the system. All you need to do is select the proper funnel or template, and then the program will do the backend for you. There is no need to install other apps to make the webinar work.
- Hackathons – you get access to a coach who will guide you step by step to build your funnel step by step. Along with this, you will have access to courses that will teach you how to market your product.
- Robust System – ClickFunnels is not trying to be one of everything. Instead, it focuses on building sales funnels.
- Marketing And Integration – you can use many other software programs like GetResponse, MailChimp, and even WordPress.
- Functionality – unlike some eCommerce platforms, you can build a membership site here where you can charge consumers for a subscription.
- ClickFunnels – costs $97 per month; you have a maximum of 20 funnels and 100 site pages. There are three payment gateways available to you, and you can use up to three domains.
- Platinum – costs $297 per month; you no longer have a limit on the number of funnels and pages you can build. You can have up to three sub-users and nine gateways plus nine domain names.
- Two Comma Club X – costs $2,497 per month; this plan is best for agencies that need many staff accounts and a lot of domain name integrations.
ClickFunnels has a 14-day free trial where you can use the system and see how it works.
Best For : People who want to sell unlimited products at a low cost with an option for a subscription type of selling.
The websites you can build here are lovely to look at, and you can stage your online products perfectly. Some themes use the parallax effect, and your site will not look outdated.
- Designer Templates – the templates you get here are those that won awards. The company employs world-class designers. These templates are free to use. However, they are not generic in the sense that you can choose a template according to your niche.
- Reports And Analytics – you will see traffic and trends about your store’s performance. Because of these insights, you can make better business decisions and improve your conversion rates.
- Connected Services – this feature refers to accounts you can integrate with your store. For example, you can connect Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. From your store, you can share items you uploaded, such as images and audio files. You can also embed links from YouTube and Vimeo.
- Experts For Hire – if the template you want is not in the free themes database, you can hire an expert who will build your desired website for you. These experts are independent contractors, not people who work for Squarespace.
- Templates – there are lots of templates to choose from; all of these are ready for publication.
- Interface – the backend framework is easy to understand and use; even beginners will not get confused.
- Multiple Uses – you can use the site as a platform for selling, blogging, membership, and subscription. You can also build an online course on the platform.
- Customer Support – the customer support team is available 24/7. However, there is no phone support.
- Personal – costs $12 a month; at this rate, you will not have an online store but only a website.
- Business – costs $18 a month; you can add eCommerce functionality on this one. In addition, this plan gives you access to the fully-integrated eCommerce platform with a transaction fee of 3%.
- Basic Commerce – costs $26 a month; this plan opens up new features like a point of sale, analytics, and merchandising tools. The transaction fee is 0%.
- Advanced Commerce – costs $40 a month; you will have access to all the features of the best eCommerce platform, including a subscription-based kind of selling.
You can try Squarespace for free for 14 days.
Magento is like WordPress. It is now a part of the Adobe family, and it is one of the most popular site builders in the world. More than 200,000 websites use Magento.
Like WordPress and WooCommerce, the technology is open source. In addition, it comes with a shopping cart system and a robust store platform.
What you will like about Magento is that it works on any website size. In addition, unlike other eCommerce platforms, you do not limit the number of products you can upload.
Since it has been in business since 2007, it has all the systems you need to build an eCommerce store. Like WordPress, there are thousands of extensions you can use. These extensions are the equivalent of plug-ins or apps.
- Marketing Tools – the system allows you to upsell and cross-sell; you can also set pricing rules to create landing pages for various product categories.
- Site Management – you can control several websites with only one admin panel. You can also use templates from the platform, all of which are customizable. If you want, you can even add a CAPTCHA on your site to prevent bots from spamming you.
- Catalog Management – it is easy to configure your catalog. You can create variants, sizes and also create bundled products. In addition, you can create several price points.
- Product Browsing – you can improve your conversion rate by adding multiple images to one product. Customers will also see the available stock. Those who already have an account can add an item to their wish list.
- SEO – the entire platform supports SEO initiatives. You can create SEO-friendly URLs and also add tags and meta titles, and descriptions. The site you build is also responsive across all devices.
- Load Speed – one critical aspect of succeeding online is speed. Magento offers fast speeds regardless of the bandwidth your website needs.
- Content Management – since it is a complete platform, you also get a content management system like WordPress. So there is no need to integrate it with a CMS.
- Advance Reporting – there are more than 20 reports you can choose from. The reports include typical ones like traffic and sales.
Magento is free to use. However, if you want to build your store on the Adobe Commerce platform, you must contact their customer support.
You can use Magento for free by downloading the open-source platform.
Now that you have an online store, the next step is to optimize it.
The best eCommerce platform you chose made it easy for you to build an eCommerce store, it does not mean that it will work to its total capacity.
So, what can you do? There are five tips I want to share with you on how you can optimize your online store.
Your product page is the very thing that makes a customer decide. You do not need to do a lot of research. Just go to Amazon, and you will get best practices from there.
Here are some essential factors to consider
- Images – use only clear images; avoid pixelated ones at all costs. Instead, use several photos that show the product from different angles.
- Price – make the price easy to see; do not hide the price as it makes customers suspicious.
- Details – put as many points as you can. For example, add the product features like size, weight, dimensions, battery life, etc.
You must anticipate customer inquiries about your product. For example, if it is an electronic toy, is the battery included?
You can also add other information like whether or not you wrap what you sell as gifts.
The product page only has one purpose: to sell. To be able to do this, you also have to overcome objections.
I learned about copywriting that you have to focus on the product’s benefits, not its features.
The difference between a feature and a benefit is that a feature is technical, whereas a benefit explores what the customer will achieve.
People only buy if the price is right. To optimize the price, there are several things you can do.
First, you can compare two products, and you can do this in the product description. This technique is anchoring. It would help if you made it seem like your product offers better value for money.
Next, have a clear call-to-action (CTA). If you want people to decide and buy, you have to tell them to buy. It is for this reason that many online stores use the same technique over and over again.
With a CTA, you have to use action words to make them effective. Examples of this are “buy now” or “try it now.” You can also use other variations like “Add to cart.”
Make sure that your CTA button is visible and that it has a different color. Use the CTA in buttons if you can, and add more buttons in specific areas on the product page.
Another thing that will help increase your online store conversion rate is charm pricing. Studies show that you will have better chances of getting orders if you sell products ending with “9.”
Make sure that your eCommerce platform allows you to optimize for mobile views. Your online store has to be mobile-friendly.
What does this mean?
It means that it must change in shape and size according to what device the site visitor is using.
As you know by now, websites no longer look like they are in “browser view” if the customer is accessing the eCommerce website from a mobile device.
Navigating a website with a traditional browser view is a pain in the eye. The user experience is awful, and a site visitor on your online store is likely to leave.
You do not want that, and many marketers for online stores know this. As such, check with your eCommerce platform how to optimize your online store for mobile app viewing.
To my knowledge, this feature should already be a default. However, advanced designers or eCommerce store builders like Elementor allow you to choose which areas to hide in mobile devices.
For example, you can choose to hide some elements if the customer’s device is a phone. Then, you can choose to show these website elements if the customer is using a PC.
In this regard, you have to use light images as they load faster.
You may have observed by now that many online stores offer more than what the customer initially wanted to buy. This process is what we all upsell, and the eCommerce platform automates this offer.
If you go to McDonald’s, they will offer you to supersize your fries and drinks for a little extra cost. While the upsell price may seem paltry, it does wonders for the revenue of online stores.
The upsell strategy is one of those things that cannot fail. It does not hurt to offer something at a higher price. If the customer does not bite, you lose nothing.
Here is an example of an upsell:
- You sell a drone with Battery A
- If the customer buys, you try to upsell to Battery B
Battery B is better but more expensive. If the customer buys Battery B now, you will increase the average cart value but make sure that the deal is good.
For example, Battery B costs $10 separately. If the customer buys it now with the upsell offer, now it only costs $7.
As you can see, the customer will see the value in this proposition and is likely to buy the upsell bundle
Not all eCommerce platforms have this provision. Sometimes, you need to upgrade or use third-party apps.
A flash sale is a kind of sale that is happening quickly. It is typically unannounced, and the customers who will benefit from it are random. The best eCommerce platforms have a system that would help you do this.
All you have to do are the following things:
- Check the products that you want to be on sale
- Decide the percentage value of the price markdown
- Set the length of time of the sale
Once done, just click on “activate” or “save” from the eCommerce platform system, and it will automatically function on your eCommerce website.
Depending on the platform, you can add a timer on the product pages. If you have this, then excellent. You will increase your eCommerce site revenue because of FOMO or fear of missing out.
When people see that supply is scarce, they are more likely to buy. You can have this eCommerce functionality in the best eCommerce platform, but only if you upgrade. The alternative is to use a free or affordable plugin.
Be careful when doing this. First, make sure you understand your profit margins. If you put your products on sale, you may lose profits.
Online stores make huge sales because they are convincing enough. But, if you think about it, the owner or corporation that owns a big online store employs professionals—from coders to graphic art designers, they have everything.
As a solopreneur, you may not have the resources to hire these people. However, if there is one thing you can do, you can take the time to optimize your site. There is no amount of excellent marketing strategy that will work if your site is not optimized.
An eCommerce platform is a software system where you can build a website for selling. It is not like the typical WordPress website where you create a blog.
As such, the platform must have the following fundamentals:
- Product pages – upload your products, and the system will auto-generate a page for that product.
- Checkout pages – the page where the customer enters his billing and shipping details
- Add-to-cart – it is the button that allows a consumer to add items to his online shopping cart.
- Payment processing systems – the system must allow you to charge via credit cards; it must also give you options to integrate payment processing systems like PayPal, Google Pay, etc.
Without these, the website that you build cannot function as a sales infrastructure. Many eCommerce platforms are free, but the paid ones give better services.
My first recommendation is Wix because it offers a free website. However, if you are a beginner, there are so many things you need to explore in building an eCommerce store.
You will learn a website’s nooks and crannies from a free site. Then, you can move on to a paid subscription later on.
As a beginner, you may find yourself hard-pressed deciding how to design your site. It is always best to start free so that you can familiarize yourself with how websites work.
Weebly is also great for beginners because there are many templates you can choose from. These are website templates that, on their own, are functional stores. You just have to edit them according to your brand.
In addition, the eCommerce platform offers a plan that costs only $12 a month. At this rate, you can operate a fully functional online store.
The basic plan of Weebly may not be the best, but it is enough to start with a few products. It does not come with all the bells and whistles, but you can always upgrade to a better plan later.
Shopify is undoubtedly the best eCommerce platform out there. I strongly recommend it for SEO because every page here has areas to add your SEO meta titles and descriptions.
SEO is in the system of Shopify. So there is no need to code to get it right. All you have to do is to type the correct words for your product titles and descriptions.
I also recommend WooCommerce for your existing website or online store because it works with WordPress. WordPress powers more than 60% of websites in the world.
WooCommerce, being the best eCommerce platform for WordPress, is ideal for search engine optimization.
Like Shopify, there are areas in the backend where you can adjust your meta title and description. You can even toggle how your URL appears on search engines.
By far, the best eCommerce platform for dropshipping is Shopify. I am saying this because a Shopify subscription has everything you need to dropship.
In addition to that, there are many plug-ins you can use in the Shopify universe to do dropshipping. A plug-in in Shopify is called an app.
The two most popular are Spocket and Oberlo. With these apps, you can move products from a source like AliExpress with a few clicks. If there is a price change in the source, it will automatically reflect on your Shopify store.
You can automate your pricing profit too. For example, if you programmed the system to add $5 for each product, any adjustment made from the source will happen in your eCommerce store.
For example, if a bag you sourced in AliExpress costs $20 today, and then the seller changed it to $30 tomorrow, your Shopify store will automatically adjust your store’s bag price to $30 + $5 even if you are asleep.
That way, you do not lose money when someone buys, and you are not around.
Shopify and WooCommerce are what I recommend for local businesses. If you want an online store that is easy to manage, use Shopify.
Shopify has built-in templates you can use to build an online store. No coding is necessary, and the entire system backs you up. It takes only a few clicks to get you up and running.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is excellent if you need personalization. It does come with a lot of eCommerce features that will help you build a professional site.
My gripe with WooCommerce is the cost.
Although the main eCommerce software is free, you have to pay for the rest if you want to use them. Despite this, I love that you can integrate a website builder like Elementor. In the, you are the architect of your eCommerce website.
For large companies, my two recommendations are Shopify and BigCommerce. Again, Shopify is the eCommerce platform for creating an online shop. It has a plan called Advanced Shopify, where you pay only 0.5% transaction fees.
In this plan, you get all the features that Shopify offers and add up to eight inventory locations. In addition, you can add up to 15 staff accounts to manage your business.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, is an excellent choice because the platform is a perfect match for a large eCommerce website.
From B2B to wholesale to multi-channel selling, BigCommerce has it all. You can even convert offline sales to online. What makes BigCommerce an excellent option for a large business is its other services.
You can request architectural services with the platform if you do not want to use a website builder. In addition, you can get other services such as data migration, enterprise launch coaching, and project management.
ClickFunnels is what I recommend for selling digital products. It is by far the most robust and complete platform with all the eCommerce features you need to sell online.
For one, you can build a landing page for your online store. In addition, there are dozens upon dozens of templates you can use, all of which were carefully designed by their marketing experts.
The platform also has a provision for uploading your digital products. So, for example, you can upload your music file (if you are selling music) and then program the system to deliver the downloadable file to the customer after he pays.
You can also set up a webinar in the ClickFunnels system. If you want, you can also set up a membership site. Here, you charge your customers a monthly subscription. Then, you deliver fresh and exclusive content to them regularly.
Below is a list of the product features that I want you to consider before choosing the best eCommerce platform.
Choose an eCommerce platform where you do not have to build from scratch. My preferred platform is one where you merely select a template for your website.
Of course, a drag-and-drop builder is a valuable feature, as it allows you to choose the sections that you want for your product and landing pages.
For functionality, ensure that the platform works as an eCommerce site. My gripe with some eCommerce platforms is that they allow you to build an online store, yet they want you to upgrade to use a payment system.
Of course, these kinds of offers do not make sense. But, at the very least, the best eCommerce platform has everything it takes to build a fully functional online store.
You must be able to upload a product by merely clicking something like “Add Product.”
This feature must allow you to upload texts, images, variants, and prices. In the backend, the system must create this page automatically for you, and then all you have to do is choose the category where it belongs.
The system must also provide you with the shopping cart function, the add-to-cart button, and a checkout system where the customer can pay you.
A page creator is a system to create different pages for your website, not just the default ones. For example, you can create blog pages, landing pages, and others.
Why is this important? It is crucial because you want to give your customers all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Here are some examples of the pages that you may want to add to your online store:
- Terms and Conditions
- Blog pages
- Landing page or home page
- FAQ page
- Category pages
- Shop page
As you can see, creating pages gives you the liberty to design the kind of website you want. Without it, you could only depend on what they offer. As such, your web design has a limitation.
In addition to this, do not choose an eCommerce platform where you can only build a few pages here and there. There will come a time when you want to develop several pages for your marketing and promotion campaigns.
I also want you to be cautious of system providers that make it seem like you get unlimited pages. What I want you to do is to read the pricing plan.
Some of these site builders are misleading. For example, they tell you that you get unlimited services, but they do not tell you that it can only happen if you purchase the most expensive package.
The cost of the platform is necessary as it directly affects your budget and profit. Some of the best platforms cost an arm and a leg.
While these expensive platforms offer the best customer support systems and features, they are also ill-advised. For one, I do not recommend that you get costly packages because you are just starting.
There are so many things that eCommerce software providers promise you. For example, they charge premium fees for deep-level analytics.
I want to ask you: do you need a multivariate testing feature right now? Most likely not.
My advice is to purchase an inexpensive plan. What matters is that you have a website that works—a website that is pleasing to the eye with little to no restriction on bandwidth and creativity.
You can forego different features like A/B split testing, Facebook marketing integration, or email marketing autoresponders.
I am not saying that you should only consider the free ones. In my experience, an eCommerce website you build for free feels amateurish. However, there are also many limitations, and they will only prevent you from growing your business.
Get one like Shopify. It is not free, but it does not cost much. All you need is about $30 per month to get started.
You would be surprised that many eCommerce business platforms have limitations. For example, you can only have 5,000 site visitors per month.
They do this because they want to force you to upgrade. It is a red flag. It tells me that the provider does not have a great system.
If there is a limit to your bandwidth and hosting, you are not paying for an excellent service. For example, some popular eCommerce platforms only give you like 10GB of storage. If this is what they offer, I strongly urge you to step back a little and reconsider.
There are downsides to these limitations. For example, what if you advertised on Facebook and got 5,000 clicks? It means that you have reached your limit, and then you have to upgrade. If you do not, your website will not be accessible anymore.
Also, your business is a product-based one. As such, you need to upload hundreds of images. If there is a limitation, you will find yourself in a position to upgrade to upload more products.
Choose an eCommerce space or platform that has no limit. But, of course, there has to be a limit on both bandwidth, storage, and hosting.
The last important factor you have to consider is the transaction cost. Believe it or not, there are eCommerce platforms that charge money from each of your sales despite you paying a monthly fee.
I am not saying that this is wrong. All I am saying is that be cautious about it. In my experience, I can say that the companies that do this charge a small monthly fee.
For example, Shopify charges only $29 a month for the basic plan, yet you get many services. However, because of this low price, you have to pay a transaction fee. Therefore, you can get rid of extra expenses if you purchase the most expensive plan on eCommerce platforms.
It seems that we cannot get away with sales transactions. I think the reason behind this is that the eCommerce platforms themselves pay financial fees. That fee is for processing a customer’s payment.
Instead of the platform shouldering the fee, they pass it on to the merchants. If you want to get rid of the fee, I recommend that you build a WordPress site. Use WooCommerce with it. However, you will pay transaction fees to your payment processors like PayPal or Stripe.
These five features are the most important among all the things the best eCommerce platforms offer. To me, they are non-negotiable.
If a platform you are eyeing does not meet these conditions, you have to reconsider.
I am not saying that they are not the best eCommerce platforms, but you certainly have better options. But, again, the size of your budget is what matters. If you are new to this, make sure that you get the best value out of your money.
To help you decide, I boiled down all these options into three choices only: Shopify, WooCommerce, ClickFunnels.
- Shopify – without a doubt, this is the best eCommerce platform out there. It is affordable, and it can do pretty much everything you want in your online store. From product pages to checkout pages and payment processing, it has almost everything.
- ClickFunnels – is the eCommerce platform you want to use if you sell a single or digital product. It is a tool where the focus of your eCommerce website is to make a sale. With it, you can build a landing page, sales page, and an entire sales funnel.
- WooCommerce – it is the best eCommerce platform if you are looking for something free. It only works on a WordPress site. It can convert your existing blog page into an online store. While this eCommerce platform gives you essential tools, you have to pay for other high-end eCommerce features.
Understand what you need from a website builder. If you are selling physical products, use Shopify.
If you are selling digital products like ebooks, webinars, or downloadable items, use ClickFunnels.
If you want something free and flexible, use WooCommerce.