It can be challenging to decide how to start your online business effectively. There are so many options for online platforms to display your products on and get you connected with customers. But all ecommerce platforms are not created equal. Some are more intuitive, or cheaper than others. Some have more
Ultimately, the best ecommerce platform may not look the same for every business. Top ecommerce platforms when you’re just starting out should offer free or
Guide For Selecting A Great Ecommerce Website
There are many things to look out for as signs of a useful ecommerce platform. First, they need to be transparent about their company’s strategies and site usage. If you feel like you’re going to expose way more information than is necessary, especially if payment is involved, it might be time to look elsewhere! A good ecommerce website will be designed professionally and have clear guidelines for selling products and costs.
Additionally, you should analyze whether the platform provides
Ecwid is a fantastic option for both new and experienced business owners alike. Their free plan provides plugins for an existing site domain and provides new users with a completely free starter website. The ease of use for any seller has made them a popular eCommerce platform, attracting nearly 1M users worldwide. You’ll be able to sell up to five products in two different categories, as well as set your taxes and create discounts for specific items.
What’s great about Ecwid?
- Easy to navigate — Ecwid has a straightforward online interface, which is excellent for novice sellers.
- Global accessibility — Available in 50 languages, 80+ payment processing options.
- Fantastic free features — The free plan still packs a punch, offering services for calculating taxes, content management,
real-timetracking of total sales, and more.
- No fees — Ecwid themselves does not require any transaction fees on sold items.
What’s not so great about Ecwid?
- No Free Plan For Bigger Businesses — Staff accounts and promo codes are only available with a premium plan.
- Lack of URL customization — Ecwid doesn’t allow for specific items to have customized links. Instead, it just adds product IDs to URLs.
Big Cartel is a popular ecommerce platform that is great for anyone trying to sell artistic or handmade products. The website markets itself explicitly to creatives selling their passion projects. Their free plan features fantastic benefits, like no transaction fees, a customizable URL (sort of, you’ll still need to include bigcartel.com at the end), and a detailed
What’s great about Big Cartel?
- Great for beginners — BigCartel is designed with small business owners and doesn’t include any extraneous fees or complicated web formatting.
- Effective free plan — You can have up to five products on your free plan, offer discounts and promos, and change your shop URL.
- Niche market — Not many eCommerce platforms brand themselves specifically for makers, but it’s nice to know that Big Cartel has plenty of options to grow small creative businesses.
What’s not so great about Big Cartel?
- Not Many Images — The free plan doesn’t allow you to add multiple images per product.
- Complicated Customization Options — If you’re not familiar with HTML, you might have a bit of trouble changing the theme of your website.
Another popular eCommerce platform to sell your products is Wix. Wix features a
What’s great about Wix?
- Delightful Design and Marketing — Along with an
easy-to-useplatform, Wix makes website building fun with versatile tools and an AI designer for web building.
- Lots of Storage — The free plan comes with up to 500 MB of bandwidth and storage consecutively.
- Great for Mobile — Wix prioritizes quick and easy access to your site, both on your computer and on your phone.
What’s not so great about Wix?
- Temporary Payment Bliss — You’ll eventually need to upgrade to a paid plan to accept payment for your products.
- Limited Customization — While Wix offers you a free URL, its tagline needs to be attached to the end of it. Additionally, you can’t change your website template.
Weebly is another excellent eCommerce platform powering over 50 million websites to date. Their free plan is great for new sellers, particularly those located within the US. Additionally, they include a
What’s great about weebly?
- Products Galore — You can add unlimited digital and physical products to your store on the free plan.
- Ease of Use — Weebly is fantastic for beginners, providing another
drag-and-dropinterface and customizable designs.
- Blog About It — Knock out two birds with one stone and start up a company blog in addition to your website.
What’s not so great about Weebly?
- US Exclusive — Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t offer free plans to users outside of the United States.
- Transaction Fees — Weebly charges a 3% transaction fee in addition to whatever expenditures are required for your
Square Online is a
Square Online has a paid plan available for $29 a month, with custom plans also available upon request.
What’s Great About Square Online
- Unlimited Product Listings — Most free ecommerce plans limit the amount of product listings your store can create. But Square Online allows unlimited product listings, which is great if you plan on expanding your inventory.
- Fast and Easy Setup — Setting up your store with Square Online is incredibly quick and easy. The design templates are clean and professional, and creating your product listings is also straightforward.
- Highly Scalable — From unlimited product listing to advanced sales features, it’s very easy to expand your business with Square Online.
What’s Not So Great About Square Online
- Transaction Fees — Square Online is free to get set up, but not totally free to use. Transaction fees can end up costing more than expected, which can take away from profits and rapid expansion.
- Limited Customization — While Square Online is easy to use, it only offers two basic layout templates. While you can customize other features (like color scheme, brand imaging, and fonts), the basic structure of your online store will be fairly basic. This is not a big problem for everyone, but it can be frustrating if you want to create a unique branded experience.
WooCommerce is technically a plugin for WordPress, but it’s still a complete ecommerce platform for WordPress users. WooCommerce is highly flexible and
What’s Great About WooCommerce?
- Great Flexibility and Customization — In terms of design, business management tools, and inventory accommodations, WooCommerce is excellent. Users can access many features and design their websites exactly how they want.
- Large and Active Community — Having a dedicated community means WooCommerce receives tons of support and frequent updates.
What’s Not So Great About WooCommerce
- Exclusive to WordPress — If your website is hosted by any platform other than WordPress, you can’t use WooCommerce.
Added Features Behind Paywall — While WooCommerce is free to download, many added features and extensions require fees to access.
The Next Steps To Start Selling
While this is not an exhaustive list of eCommerce platforms, these are all great options for starting your online business. You’ll most likely want to check out a few different platforms and make your decision based on inventory or business goals. However, many options support small sellers in getting their companies out in the world.
If you’re looking for a free, fully automated approach, we suggest Ecwid. If you’re looking for a complex website, maybe check out Wix. If you’re a new US seller, check out Weebly. If you’re an artist aspiring to make a living off their work, finally, Big Cartel sounds like the platform for you. Whichever platform you end up choosing, make sure their company values and policies line up with your own and provide you with the most functionality for your business.