There are numerous solutions available to create your online store, each with its unique features, pros, and cons. For a beginner looking to get started with their online store, it can be overwhelming to select the right shopping cart software for your brand and business model.
In this post, however, we will help you take a look at some of the most popular e-commerce platforms you can get started with. For each of the platforms, we will delve into their Pros and Cons so that you can easily compare and select the platform that best suits your business.
According to statistics by Google Trends, Shopify is by far the most popular e-commerce platform in the United States. It is also a standalone eCommerce platform, meaning online store owners do not need to host their sites anywhere else to use this software. Shopify is a good option for both new and experienced businesses who need an all-in-one powerful eCommerce platform. It allows its users to customize the store’s design, and add several feature extensions. It also enables users to sell all kinds of products including physical or digital products, services, downloads, or even drop-ship products.
- Shopify is easy to set up even for complete beginners.
- It offers a free 14-day trial.
- It can be used both online and offline.
- Pricing is relatively affordable and straightforward. The basic option starts at $29 per month.
- Users have access to over 100 high-quality, stylish pre-designed themes.
- The platform offers free features including unlimited file storage, daily backups, product reports, social media integration, site stats, an unlimited number of products, blog module, among others.
- It is noted for its top-notch customer care, with 24/7 access to a customer service adviser.
- Shopify accepts various payment options including Stripe, Paypal, Cash on delivery, and bank deposits.
- Only a few of the store design templates are offered for free. A majority of the themes can run you up as high as $180.
- Without the use of Shopify Payment, users will be charged additional transaction fees per sale.
- Shopify users do not have full control over their eCommerce store as well as their site’s data.
- The Advanced option costs an upward of $299 per month.
- The platform uses liquid markup language. This means that although business owners can make several customizations, they come at additional costs.
BigCommerce is among the most popular shopping cart software in the online retail industry. It is particularly recommended for businesses that want faster growth for their stores and SEO optimization. This company claims that its users record a growth rate of 28%, twice more than the growth rate of other eCommerce businesses. They are also backed by big brands, such as Toyota and Camelback, which use their platform. BigCommerce is noted for being SEO-friendly, offering unlimited products, bandwidth, and staff accounts. Let’s look into some of its Pros and Cons.
- There is no need for hosting, updates, or maintenance expenses.
- Users are not charged any additional transaction fees.
- It is extremely SEO-friendly.
- It has a beginner-friendly dashboard and instructions to set up your site within a short time.
- It provides unlimited bandwidth, staff accounts, and unlimited products.
- The standard plan costs $29.95 per month
- It has built-in features ranging from newsletters, customized shipping, tax system, coupons, analytics, among others.
- It provides access to customer support through email, live chat, phone, or forum.
- There is an annual limit on the sales volume depending on the plan you choose.
- Recurring billing is not in-built on the platform.
- Unlike many eCommerce platforms, they don’t offer free themes.
WooCommerce is an extremely popular plugin for WordPress users who need an eCommerce store. The company claims to have a huge stake in the e-Commerce industry as it powers about 39 percent of online stores found on the internet. As an open-source program, it offers its users highly customizable options when it comes to the functionality or appearance of their shop. Users however need WordPress as their Content Management System to be able to configure a WooCommerce store.
- It is a Free WordPress Plugin.
- WordPress users find it easy to navigate.
- Ability to choose from thousands of WordPress themes.
- Unlimited product categories and products.
- Full control over your store’s data.
- Built-in payment gateways including Stripe and Paypal, bank transfers, checks, and cash on delivery options.
- Numerous plugins are available. A variety of plugins including those that can optimize your site’s SEO.
- Although WooCommerce is a free open-source software, you still have to pay other third-party sites for hosting, domain, and SSL certificate to run your store.
- It can take longer to set up your eCommerce store depending on your web knowledge level. You need to register a domain name, set up a hosting account, install WordPress, and a theme before you can start installing the WooCommerce plugin.
- File storage and bandwidth are usually limited by your hosting plan.
Square is another popular shopping cart software great for business owners who want to build an online store without necessarily having to code. The platform offers its users some of the best features.
- Free services including SEO tools, inventory management, and unlimited products.
- Users only pay a processing fee after making a sale.
- Easy to integrate with social media platforms.
- Transparent Pricing.
- Limited Customer Support.
- Usage of Square’s payment processing required.
- Square ads can only be removed when users upgrade to the Professional plan.
Ecwid is widely used by business owners because of its excellent in-built features which are necessary for the effective running of an e-Commerce store. Their free plan is by far one of the best available, especially if you don’t mind displaying less than 100 products in your store’s catalog.
- Unlimited products, orders, bandwidth, and file storage
- Ability to sell through multiple sites, social networks, and blogs
- Accepts payments across 40 different payment options
- Great for selling digital products
- Inbuilt smart shipping calculator and customer address book.
- Access to live chat, phone, and 24/7 priority support for paid plans
- No customer support for free plan users.
6. Magento Commerce
Magento is among the most loved eCommerce platforms due to its suitability for small business owners and enterprise-level companies. Its scalability and responsiveness make it a great choice for several Fortune-500 companies. With this eCommerce platform, users have the flexibility to select from several pre-designed themes and mobile-optimized templates. Developers and users with coding knowledge can also decide to create amazing themes and customize their store easily.
- Excellent user experience.
- Offers numerous opportunities to customize since it is an open-source software.
- Free to download the software. Users also do not have to pay transaction fees.
- Offers over 100 free themes, free social media extensions, and a variety of apps.
- It is SEO-friendly.
- Since the platform is self-hosted, store owners would have to pay for hosting and a domain name.
- Customization may require expert hands and can become complex
- No access to 24/7 customer support personnel. Users can however fill in support forms to have their issues fixed.
Wix easily stands out because of its appealing and scalable design templates. The platform is noted for its rapid and easy site-building capacity and for offering professional themes.
- Offers multi-channel selling on social media platforms.
- Beginner-friendly Interface.
- Mobile responsive templates and designs.
- Advanced e-commerce tools.
- Ability to create multilingual sites.
- Difficult to scale.
- Users need to pay to access analytics and tracking.
- Templates are not interchangeable.
3Dcart is another simple, all-in-one eCommerce platform. It offers some great customization options for experienced coders. However, the platform has an easy-to-use interface that seems to be clear to follow, even for beginners. 3Dcard has a built-in mobile selling feature that allows users to sell through their social media sites.
- A high number of well-designed, free, and paid templates to choose from.
- Its intuitive interface is ideal for both newbie users and experienced designers.
- Top-notch customer support available.
- Unlimited bandwidth, Storage, and products.
- Most of its features are only available on upgrades or higher plans.
- Its POS system is only compatible with a few devices.
- It is less customizable than its competitors. Business owners may need to hire a developer for this task.
Volusion is ideal for developers, coders, or business owners with coding knowledge who want to build an online store while saving some money. For this eCommerce platform, its main catch is its affordability. With a significantly lower-priced basic plan of $15 per month, one can build a fully functional online store with up to 100 products displayed.
- Relatively cheaper as compared to other platforms. ($15/month for their mini plan).
- Free 14-day free trial.
- Users do not have to pay any transaction fees with either of their plans.
- Responsive design and intuitive user interface.
- Ability to set up a customer loyalty program.
- Can be integrated to sell products on eBay and Amazon.
- Provides 24/7 customer support via different formats.
- Only about 28 of its themes are free. The rest have to be paid for.
- Limited number of products.
- Users need to be knowledgeable about coding if they want to customize the design or layout of their store.
- Limited amount of bandwidth as compared to other platforms.
10. Big Cartel
Big Cartel is ideal for the minimalist business owner. The platform is ideal for beginners and experienced online store owners alike because of its relatively simple and basic user experience. Most of its features are basic and the only ones you need when starting to build an online store.
- Offers an entirely free plan.
- Unlimited orders and bandwidth.
- Easy Search Engine Optimization.
- Mobile-friendly responsive designs for your store.
- Available promotional tools with e-mail support available throughout working hours.
- Real-time analytics is available.
- Difficult to scale with once products and sales start to increase.
- Limited options to customize.