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Top 5 Best Ecommerce Website Builders for Your Online Business

May 18, 2023
12 min read
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​​In the ever-evolving world of eCommerce, having a robust online presence is no longer a luxury—it's an absolute necessity. With fierce competition at every corner, businesses need to ensure they have an engaging and converting website.
But how can you build such a webshop? What eCommerce platform should you choose?

In this article, we’ll dive into the top 5 best eCommerce website builders, exploring their unique features, and offering some guidance on when and why to choose each solution. Get ready for an informative journey as we guide you through the world of Magento (Adobe Commerce), Shopify, Shopware, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.

Our goal is to help you select the best eCommerce website builder for your specific business needs. So, let’s get started and give your online business the strong foundation it deserves!

What is an eCommerce Platform?

An eCommerce platform is a comprehensive software solution that allows businesses to create, manage, and scale their online stores. These platforms provide the necessary tools and features to streamline various aspects of online retail, including product listing and management, shopping cart functionality, payment processing, order management, and customer relationship management. In essence, an eCommerce platform is the backbone of any successful online store, enabling businesses to efficiently operate and grow in the competitive digital marketplace.

Key Components of an eCommerce Platform

  • User-friendly store builder: Ecommerce platforms should offer an intuitive and easy-to-use store builder, allowing businesses to create and customize their online store without extensive technical knowledge.
  • Product management: Efficient product management tools are crucial for adding, editing, and organizing products, as well as managing inventory and keeping track of stock levels.
  • Payment processing: Secure and flexible payment processing is vital for any online store. Ecommerce platforms should support multiple payment gateways and offer seamless checkout experiences for customers.
  • Shipping and fulfillment: Ecommerce platforms should provide tools for managing shipping rates, carriers, and order fulfillment, ensuring that orders are processed and delivered efficiently.
  • Marketing and SEO features: Built-in marketing tools and SEO features are essential for driving traffic to an online store and improving its visibility in search engine results.
  • Customer relationship management: CRM tools help businesses manage customer data, track interactions, and provide personalized experiences to foster customer loyalty and repeat business.

Analytics and reporting: Comprehensive analytics and reporting features enable businesses to track their online store’s performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize sales and growth.

Types of eCommerce Platforms

There are several types of ecommerce platforms available, catering to businesses with varying needs and budgets. These include:

  • Open-source platforms: Open-source ecommerce platforms, such as Magento and Shopware, offer businesses complete control over customization and functionality. However, they often require technical expertise and significant development resources.
  • SaaS platforms: Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, are hosted solutions that provide a user-friendly experience, with regular updates and maintenance managed by the platform provider. These platforms typically have lower upfront costs but may require ongoing subscription fees.
  • Hybrid platforms: Some ecommerce platforms, like WooCommerce, offer a hybrid approach, combining the customization capabilities of open-source platforms with the ease of use and managed hosting of SaaS solutions.

Selecting the right ecommerce platform depends on various factors, including business size, technical expertise, budget, and specific requirements. Businesses should consider each platform’s features, scalability, ease of use, and community support when making their decision. Ultimately, the right ecommerce platform should empower businesses to create a seamless, engaging, and successful online store that meets their unique needs and goals.

Let’s take a look at some of the best eCommerce website builders.

Magento (Adobe Commerce)

Magento, now known as Adobe Commerce, is a leading eCommerce website builder that offers a powerful and feature-rich platform for businesses of all sizes. Renowned for its flexibility, scalability, and wide range of extensions, Magento has become a go-to choice for many online retailers. Some key features of the platform include:

  • Customizable and responsive themes
  • Extensive catalog management capabilities
  • Built-in SEO tools and marketing features
  • Seamless integration with popular payment gateways and shipping carriers
  • Integration with Adobe Creative Suite for streamlined design and branding

Just like any other eCommerce, Magento has its advantages and downsides.

Pros:

  1. Highly scalable, making it ideal for growing businesses
  2. Unlimited customization capabilities
  3. Wide range of extensions and integrations to enhance functionality
  4. Strong community support and a large ecosystem of developers
  5. Magento PWA Studio to turn a Magento website into a Progressive Web App (PWA) quickly
  6. Functionality for B2B, B2C, D2C, and B2B2C businesses

Cons:

  1. Requires technical expertise for customization and maintenance
  2. Higher hosting and development costs compared to some other platforms
  3. Steeper learning curve for non-technical users

Pricing

Adobe Commerce offers a custom price depending on your selling volume, so it’s best to contact Adobe directly to get a quote for your business.

When to Choose Magento

Magento is best suited for large and complex eCommerce businesses that require a high degree of customization and scalability. The platform’s robust architecture allows for extensive customization and the flexibility to handle a large volume of products, customers, and transactions.

One of the key advantages of Magento is its PWA Studio, which enables businesses to transform their Magento website into a Progressive Web App quickly and without spending too much money. PWAs provide a seamless user experience across devices, improving conversion rates and customer engagement.

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Shopify

Shopify is a popular eCommerce website builder designed for businesses of all sizes, catering to a wide range of industries. This user-friendly platform offers an extensive selection of themes and apps to help you create a unique and engaging online store. Some of the key features of Shopify include:

  • Drag-and-drop store builder for easy customization
  • Responsive and visually appealing theme
  • sComprehensive product management and inventory tracking
  • Built-in SEO and marketing tools
  • Seamless integration with popular payment gateways and shipping carriers
  • Extensive app marketplace for added functionality

Shopify has numerous benefits along with some drawbacks.

Pros:

  1. Easy to set up and manage, with no coding skills required
  2. Wide variety of themes and apps for customization
  3. Reliable hosting and regular platform updates
  4. 24/7 customer support and a large community of users and developers
  5. Scalable plans to accommodate business growth

Cons:

  1. Limited customization compared to open-source platforms
  2. Transaction fees may apply if not using Shopify Payments
  3. Some advanced features require higher-priced plans
  4. Not all products are allowed to be sold on Shopify-powered websites
  5. Shopify may change the rules of the game and your website will be blocked
  6. You can hit a ceiling too soon with a growing business

Pricing

Shopify offers three main plans:

  • Basic: $39/month
  • Shopify: $105/month
  • Advanced: $399/month

There is also alternative eCommerce solutions:

  • Starter ($1 per month) selling products through social media messaging apps
  • Shopify Plus ($2,000/month) for high-volume merchants
  • Commerce Components (modular pricing) for large-scale businesses

Keep in mind that transaction fees may also apply depending on your payment gateway.

When to Choose Shopify

Shopify is an ideal choice for small to medium-sized businesses that want a user-friendly and straightforward solution for creating an online store. Its drag-and-drop store builder, along with a vast selection of themes and apps, allows for easy customization without the need for technical expertise. Businesses that prioritize ease of use, reliability, and scalability will find Shopify a perfect match

However, businesses requiring extensive customization or control over their online store’s code may find Shopify’s limitations a drawback. In such cases, an open-source platform like Adobe Commerce may be a more suitable option.

In summary, Shopify is an excellent choice for businesses looking for an easy-to-use, reliable, and scalable ecommerce website builder with a range of pricing options to suit varying needs and budgets.

Shopware

Shopware is an open-source eCommerce platform that caters to businesses of all sizes and industries. Focusing on content-driven commerce and storytelling, Shopware offers a flexible and user-friendly solution for creating engaging online stores. Some of the key features of Shopware include:

  • Intuitive and customizable storefront builder
  • Responsive and modern themes for various industries
  • Extensive product management and catalog capabilities
  • Built-in SEO and marketing tools
  • Seamless integration with popular payment gateways and shipping carriers
  • Strong community and ecosystem of developers and partners

Still, the platform has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Pros:

  1. Open-source platform with a high level of customization
  2. Focus on content-driven commerce and storytelling for an engaging user experience
  3. User-friendly interface suitable for non-technical users
  4. Scalable and adaptable to businesses of all sizes
  5. Active community and wide range of plugins and integrations

Cons:

  1. May require some technical expertise for advanced customization
  2. Hosting and maintenance costs can be higher compared to SaaS platforms
  3. Smaller ecosystem compared to some other open-source platforms
  4. Limited SEO features
  5. Limited B2B functionality

B2B functionality is quite limited compared to Adobe Commerce.

Pricing

Shopware is available under different pricing models:

  • Rise: free to get started but involves a fee when you start making the first sales. Also, the provided capabilities are quite limited.
  • Evolve: a paid version of the platform with some advanced features. The price is calculated based on the gross merchandise value (GMV) and other individual factors.
  • Beyond: a paid version of Shopware of the platform with the most advanced features for returns management, customer-specific pricing, marketing, and store management. The price is also calculated based on GMV.

When to Choose Shopware

Shopware is a versatile eCommerce platform that can accommodate businesses of all sizes and complexities. It is particularly well-suited for businesses that want to emphasize content-driven commerce and storytelling, providing a unique and engaging shopping experience for customers.

While Shopware offers a user-friendly interface for store creation and management, it also allows for advanced customization through its open-source nature. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses that require more control over their online store’s design and functionality, without sacrificing ease of use.

Although Shopware’s hosting and maintenance costs can be higher compared to SaaS platforms like Shopify, its scalability and adaptability make it an attractive option for businesses planning for growth.

However, if you work in a B2B area, Shopware won’t be able to satisfy your needs, as its B2B functionality is quite limited compared to Adobe Commerce.

In summary, Shopware is a flexible and user-friendly open-source ecommerce platform that focuses on content-driven commerce and storytelling. It is an ideal choice for businesses looking for a scalable and customizable solution that offers an engaging customer experience.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a popular open-source ecommerce platform that operates as a plugin for WordPress, making it an ideal choice for businesses already using or familiar with WordPress as their content management system. WooCommerce combines the customization capabilities of open-source platforms with the ease of use of managed hosting solutions, offering a user-friendly and flexible ecommerce solution. Some of the key features of WooCommerce include:

  • Seamless integration with WordPress for a unified content management experience
  • Customizable and responsive themes designed for various industries
  • Comprehensive product management and inventory tracking
  • Built-in SEO and marketing tools
  • Wide range of plugins and extensions for added functionality
  • Integration with popular payment gateways and shipping carriers

Just like with any other platform, WooCommerce has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  1. Perfect for businesses already using WordPress or seeking a WordPress-compatible solution
  2. High level of customization and control over store design and functionality
  3. Large community of users and developers for support and resources
  4. Wide range of plugins and extensions to enhance store capabilities
  5. Free core plugin, with additional costs for premium themes and extensions

Cons:

  1. Requires some technical expertise for advanced customization and maintenance
  2. Hosting and maintenance costs can vary depending on chosen hosting provider
  3. Limited to the WordPress ecosystem, which may not suit all businesses

Pricing

WooCommerce is an open-source and free eCommerce platform for businesses with websites on WordPress. However, you will need to pay for premium extensions and themes, hosting, domain (such as Godaddy), and for development services.

When to Choose WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an excellent choice for small businesses that are already using or familiar with WordPress as their content management system, or those looking for a WordPress-compatible eCommerce solution. It offers a high level of customization and control, allowing businesses to create a unique online store that aligns with their brand and specific requirements.

While WooCommerce provides a user-friendly interface for store management, it does require some technical expertise for advanced customization and maintenance. Additionally, hosting and maintenance costs can vary depending on the chosen hosting provider, making it essential for businesses to research and select a provider that meets their needs and budget.

Overall, WooCommerce is the way to go if you don’t have large and complex product catalogs, do not plan to grow and scale your business, have a limited budget, and want to create an MVP fast. It tends to be easier for first-time users, but lacks prominent features that other eCommerce platforms provide out of the box.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a powerful and versatile SaaS eCommerce platform designed for businesses of all sizes and industries. It offers a comprehensive solution for creating and managing an online store, with a focus on ease of use and scalability. Some of the key features of BigCommerce include:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop store builder for effortless customization
  • Responsive and modern themes suitable for various industries
  • Robust product management and inventory tracking capabilities
  • Built-in SEO and marketing tools
  • Seamless integration with popular payment gateways and shipping carriers
  • Wide range of apps and integrations for added functionality

Let’s take a look at the benefits and downsides of this platform.

Pros:

  1. Easy to set up and manage, with no coding skills required
  2. Reliable hosting and regular platform updates
  3. Scalable plans to accommodate business growth
  4. Large selection of apps and integrations for enhanced store capabilities
  5. 24/7 customer support and an active community of users and developers

Cons:

  1. Limited customization compared to open-source platforms
  2. Some advanced features require higher-priced plans
  3. Transaction fees may apply if not using the platform’s preferred payment gateway

Pricing

BigCommerce offers four plans:

  • Standard: $29/month
  • Plus: $79/month
  • Pro: $299/month
  • Enterprise: custom pricing

Also, a free 15-day trial is available.

When to Choose BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an ideal choice for businesses that prioritize ease of use, reliability, and scalability in an ecommerce platform. Its user-friendly drag-and-drop store builder, along with a vast selection of themes and apps, allows for straightforward customization without the need for technical expertise.

However, businesses that require extensive customization or control over their online store’s code may find BigCommerce’s limitations a drawback. In such cases, an open-source platform like Magento, Shopware, or WooCommerce may be a more suitable option.

In summary, BigCommerce will be a good choice for small and medium-sized businesses. It offers great customer support, necessary SEO features and reliable security patches. On the other hand, if your business starts to grow and you need to expand it, you will probably face problems. Most likely, you’ll hit the ceiling too fast because of the fact that BigCommerce is a SaaS service model with a limited amount of functions for customization.

How to Choose the Best eCommerce Builder

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a critical decision for any business looking to establish a successful online store. With numerous options available, each with its own set of features, strengths, and limitations, it can be challenging to determine the most suitable platform for your unique needs. This chapter offers guidance and recommendations on how to choose the ideal eCommerce platform for your business.

  1. Assess your business needs and goals
  • Size and complexity: Consider the size and complexity of your business, including the number of products you plan to sell, the anticipated volume of transactions, and your desired level of customization.
  • Budget: Determine your budget for both initial setup and ongoing maintenance costs, including hosting, transaction fees, app subscriptions, and potential development expenses.
  • Technical expertise: Evaluate the technical expertise available within your team or assess the resources you are willing to allocate for development and maintenance tasks.
  1. Compare features and functionality
  • Ease of use: Choose a platform with an intuitive interface that allows you to easily manage and customize your online store.
  • Customization: Select a platform that offers sufficient customization options to create a unique and engaging shopping experience that aligns with your brand and meets your specific requirements.
  • Scalability: Opt for a platform that can grow with your business, providing the necessary tools and resources to support expansion.
  • Integration and compatibility: Ensure the platform supports seamless integration with essential third-party tools, such as payment gateways, shipping carriers, and marketing tools.
  • SEO and marketing capabilities: Look for a platform with built-in SEO and marketing tools to drive traffic and improve your online store’s visibility.
  1. Research community support and resources
  • User community: Explore the user community for each platform, including forums, blogs, and social media groups, to gauge the level of support and resources available.
  • Developer ecosystem: Investigate the developer ecosystem for each platform, including the availability of pre-built apps, plugins, and integrations, as well as the expertise of developers for custom development.
  1. Evaluate pricing and value
  • Setup and ongoing costs: Compare the initial setup costs and ongoing expenses for each platform, considering hosting fees, transaction fees, app subscriptions, and any other associated costs.
  • Value for money: Assess the overall value for money offered by each platform, considering the features and resources provided in relation to the costs.
  1. Test drive the platform
  • Trial period: Take advantage of free trials or demo periods to test each platform, evaluating its ease of use, customization options, and overall performance.
  • Customer support: Test the responsiveness and quality of customer support provided by the platform, as this can be a crucial factor in your long-term success.

Best eCommerce Website Builders: Key Takeaways

Choosing the best ecommerce platform for your online business depends on your unique needs, goals, and resources. Here’s a quick summary of when to choose each platform:

  • Magento (Adobe Commerce): Best for medium to large-sized businesses that require extensive customization and scalability, and have the technical resources to manage an open-source platform. Magento PWA Studio and GOPWA Storefront can be leveraged for creating fast and cost-effective PWAs.
  • Shopify: Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that prioritize ease of use, reliability, and scalability, with a user-friendly interface and various pricing plans to accommodate different budgets.
  • Shopware: Well-suited for businesses that emphasize content-driven commerce and storytelling, offering a flexible and user-friendly open-source platform with scalability and adaptability for growth.
  • WooCommerce: Perfect for businesses already using or familiar with WordPress, looking for a high level of customization and control over their online store within the WordPress ecosystem.
  • BigCommerce: Great for businesses seeking an easy-to-use, reliable, and scalable SaaS ecommerce platform with a range of pricing options to suit varying needs and budgets.

Consider factors such as the size and complexity of your business, your budget, technical expertise, desired customization, scalability, and integration with essential third-party tools when choosing the most suitable platform for your online store. Don’t forget to take advantage of free trials or demo periods to test each platform and ensure it aligns with your business needs and goals.

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    FAQ Main Picture
    Frequently Asked Questions
    What is the best eCommerce website builder?

    There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the best ecommerce website builder, as it depends on your specific needs and goals. Popular options include Magento, Shopify, Shopware, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Consider factors such as ease of use, customization options, scalability, and budget when choosing the ideal platform for your online store.

    What features should I look for when choosing a website builder for eCommerce?

    Key features to consider include a user-friendly interface, customization options, scalability, integration with essential third-party tools (payment gateways, shipping carriers), built-in SEO and marketing tools, and an extensive developer ecosystem. You don't want to choose a platform that won't allow your eCommerce business to grow.

    What are the benefits of using a website builder for eCommerce?

    Using a website builder for eCommerce simplifies the process of creating and managing an online store, allowing businesses to focus on core tasks like marketing and customer service. It also provides a range of tools and features that make it easier to create an engaging and user-friendly shopping experience, boosting conversions and sales.

    What is the most customizable and scalable website builder for eCommerce?

    Magento is often considered the most customizable and scalable eCommerce platform due to its open-source nature and extensive feature set. Assess your business needs, technical expertise, and resources when choosing the most suitable platform for your online store.

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