Written by Sabrina Dougall Published on 28 April 2022 On this page Best for SEO and marketing: Wix Best for ease of use: Squarespace Best value for money: Square Online Best range of sales features: Shopify Best for multichannel selling: BigCommerce Best for speedy setup: GoDaddy Expert verdict FAQ Expand Our research puts Wix at the top of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses leaderboard, closely followed by Squarespace and then Square Online (yes, they are different). These three online store creators are the best around.We rated each ecommerce platform according to criteria that matter most for small businesses, including value for money, sales features, marketing tools and ease of use. We combined category testing with user trials to calculate a score out of five for each platform. In this way, we’ve made it simple to compare them on a like-for-like basis.Small business doesn’t mean small workload, and some days it can feel like you’re holding the sky up with your bare hands. You’ve got to find productivity hacks where you can – and creating a solid ecommerce website is a very good place to start.Selling online has never been more crucial for small businesses. As lockdowns drove a surge in internet shopping, customers’ appetite for ecommerce grew even more ravenous. Gartner predicted digital commerce software market growth of 16% in 2021 as well as a digital commerce platform revenue CAGR of 15% between 2019-2025.If you don’t know where to start, relax. We’ve done the in-depth research for you.The 6 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses:Our research + user testing = overall score out of 5Wix – 4.7Squarespace – 4.6Square Online – 4.5Shopify – 4.1BigCommerce – 4.0GoDaddy – 3.9Check out our comparison table followed by ecommerce platform deep dives. Psst – if your company is already growing you may want to check out our guide to the best ecommerce platforms for bigger businesses. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Editor's choice Wix Squarespace Square Online Shopify BigCommerce GoDaddy Score 4.7 Score 4.6 Score 4.5 Score 4.1 Score 4.0 Score 3.9 Best For Best overall Best For Combining design with impressive sales features Best For Value for money Best For Sales specific features Best For Multichannel selling Best For Speedy set up Price range CAD$28-49/month Price range CAD$33.76-61.28/month Price range CAD$0-90/month Price range CAD$36-372/month Price range CAD$37.51-375.64/month Price range CAD$11.99-27.99/month Try Wix Try Squarespace Try Square Try Shopify Try BigCommerce Try GoDaddy Need a website builder? If you are not ready to start selling online but still want a website, check out our in-depth guide on the best website builders instead. Wix 4.7/5 Best for SEO and marketing Shooting up from 4.3/5 to 4.7/5 in our most recent research, Wix came out on top. A solid all-rounder, it boasts first-rate website features including SEO analysis, slick marketing options and handy widget integration.In our research, Wix scored second highest for sales-specific features, beaten only by BigCommerce, which has superior reporting tools. It does what you'd expect it to: offers multiple sales types as well as check-out and order status. Yet it performs these basics to a super high standard – and includes nice extras such as abandoned cart recovery and diverse shipping options. Taking these into account, it's no wonder Wix scored a perfect 5/5 in our feature vs price testing – matched only by Squarespace among all the platforms we reviewed.Comprehensive creative tools let you craft your online shop exactly how you want to. Wix's impressive customer support and user-friendly interface means we rate it as the gold standard in launching small businesses online. That said, some test users found the editor page cluttered at times.No platform is perfect, and Wix is less capable of handling complex inventory than Shopify. It also scored 0/5 for storage space. But it will handle the sales volume you'd expect of most young companies.Wix is our top choice for small businesses looking to get seen online. Pros Brilliant SEO and marketing features Lots of creative freedom; huge template choice Best customer support Wix ADI can build a website for you within minutes Cons No storage space to speak of Can’t switch templates after publishing your site Editor page can seem cluttered and overwhelming at times Wix PricingWix offers a 14-day free trial period on its premium plans, of which there are three ecommerce-specific options. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Business Basic Business Unlimited Business VIP Price (Paying Annually) $28 per month Price (Paying Annually) $36 per month Price (Paying Annually) $49 per month Best For Starting a small online store Best For Selling internationally or subscriptions Best For High volume selling online or large-scale dropshipping Key Features List unlimited productsTake online payments20GB storage5hrs videoFacebook and Instagram salesAbandoned cart emails Key Features 35GB storageSell subscriptionsPrices in local currenciesPrint shipping labelsAutomated sales tax for 100 transactions/month10hrs video Key Features 50GB storageCustomized data reportsRewards for loyaltyUnlimited dropshipping (via Modalyst)Unlimited video hoursPriority support Transaction Fees 0% Transaction Fees 0% Transaction Fees 0% Sell without transaction fees thanks to Wix Try Wix Grow your sales with a wonderful Wix website Try Wix now Squarespace 4.6/5 Best for ease of use What impressed us most in our second round of testing was Squarespace's improvements on user experience, shooting up from a 3.4 to a 4.2/5 ease of use score. It's now the easiest platform to build an online store with. Overall, it’s a great choice for tech beginners looking for a straightforward online store setup.Stylish, ready-made templates mean you don’t need weeks to make a beautiful Squarespace store. This platform offers incredible value for money, supporting the sales of physical, digital, and service-based products. We’re impressed with its plentiful visual marketing plug-ins, too.Squarespace performed the weakest out of our top six in terms of multichannel sales – Instagram is your only external platform option. Stock monitoring capabilities were fairly limited as well, so don’t expect advanced visibility into your product levels.Nevertheless, Squarespace supports a fair number of payment processors, and test users found the build experience intuitive. Customer support, however, was on the weaker side. Squarespace scored 3.5/5 here, which still isn’t too bad, but its competitors are quicker to assist their new users.Squarespace is our pick for easily creating your first online store. Pros Easiest to use Incredible value for money Great visual marketing tools Cons Limited stock monitoring capabilities Only one external sales platform (Instagram) Customer support less than perfect Squarespace PricingSquarespace offers a 14-day free trial when you sign up to one of its ecommerce plans.Plus, you can save 10% on your subscription by using code EM10 at checkout. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Business Basic Commerce Advanced Commerce Price (Paying Annually) CAD$29/month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$35/month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$63/month Best For New entrepreneurs and small business owners Best For SMBs looking to sell online Best For Medium-sized ecommerce businesses Key Features Sell unlimited number of productsProfessional Google accountGoogle Ads extra creditSell gift cards Key Features Product waitlistsSell on InstagramEcommerce analyticsProduct reviewsDisplay stock levels Key Features Abandoned cart recoverySell subscriptionsCommerce APIsAdvanced shipping features (including a real-time cost calculator) Transaction Fees 3% Transaction Fees 0% Transaction Fees 0% Let's get your web shop up and running Go to Squarespace Want an easy-to-build ecommerce platform? Try Squarespace now Square Online 4.5/5 Best for value for money Square Online is a solid option for setting up a free simple online store. For the money-conscious, it’s definitely the one to watch.The ability to sell for free is a big draw. Instead, you pay 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction on most plans, which seems a bit steep when you consider Squarespace, BigCommerce and Wix have no fees at all. Yet the high quality of features and relatively low average pricing plan make Square Online the best value for money platform we tested, scoring 4.6/5 in that category.It’s obviously also a payments company, so your ecommerce account can give you access to Square Online POS products as well as business loans and credit cards – a boon for small businesses looking for cashflow solutions.Surprisingly, there are no marketplace integration options, so you can’t cross-sell on eBay or Google like you can on most other platforms. Like with Squarespace, your only additional channel choice is Instagram.Overall, Square Online is a no-frills approach to selling online. For that reason, it turned out to be pretty easy to use (third highest overall). It covers the basics very well, but doesn't go much further than that.Square Online is the best value for money platform for small businesses. Pros Bets value for money Easy to use Access POS products, loans and credit cards Cons No marketplace integrations (eBay, Google, etc.) High transaction fees Limited marketing functions Square Online PricingSquare has four price plans to choose from: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Free Professional Performance Premium Price (Paying Annually) CAD$0 per month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$15 per month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$30 per month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$85 per month Key Features Sell unlimited productsInstagram and Pinterest integration2.9%+30¢ transaction fees Key Features Custom font uploadsPassword-protected pagesFree custom domain for one year2.9%+30¢ transaction fees Key Features Customer reviews on your siteAbandoned cart recoveryAccept PayPal2.9% + 30¢ transaction fees Key Features Advanced ecommerce analyticsReal-time shippingLow processing rate2.6%+30¢ transaction fees Want to save money while you make money? Get Square now Shopify 4.1/5 Best for range of sales features Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce platforms on the market, offering more sales features than any other platform we tested. What’s more, you can easily sell across social media platforms – no one else enables sales through more channels.In truth, Shopify may be better suited to larger online stores with more complex inventories – it's a powerful solution that might be overkill or too expensive for small companies, with price plans starting from CAD$7 per month. It also enforces transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments – two things which may dent profits in your business’ early stages.That said, Shopify's backend is really easy to navigate. Test users scored Shopify a strong 5/5 in overall user experience. This puts it in a better position than platforms such as Woocommerce (as discussed in-depth in our comparison between the two), so you can’t go too far wrong with this one (even if it will cost you a fair bit).Shopify has a plethora of mighty sales features for your online store. Pros Excellent multichannel integration Best choice of sales features Great customer support Cons Transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments Pricey subscription Mobile editor not particularly easy to use Shopify PricingShopify offers a 14-day free trial period, so you can test its tools and build your entire online store before spending a penny. If you’re happy with Shopify after that period, you’ll then need to upgrade to one of Shopify's paid plans: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Starter Basic Shopify Advanced Plus Price (Paying Annually) $7/month Price (Paying Annually) $34.17/month Price (Paying Annually) $89.08/month Price (Paying Annually) $350.08/month Price (Paying Annually) From $2,627/month Best For Adding a buy button to your existing website or social media Best For Starting a small online store Best For Growing your business Best For Larger online stores Best For High volume merchants, large businesses Key Features Get “shoppable links” (URLs) to sell your products on social media and moreProduct pagesBasic order managementCustomer support Key Features Unlimited productsFour inventory locationsTwo staff accountsFree SSL certificateDomestic credit card rate (online): 2.9% + 30¢ Key Features Ecommerce automationsFive inventory locationsFive staff accountsDomestic credit card rate (online): 2.7% + 30¢ Key Features 15 staff accountsEight inventory locationsAdvanced reportsThird-party calculated shippingDomestic credit card rate (online): 2.4% + 30¢ Key Features 99.99% uptimeBuilt-in AR, video, 3D media on product pagesAutomation for complex processesFaster checkout Transaction Fees 5% Transaction Fees 2% Transaction Fees 1% Transaction Fees 0.5% Transaction Fees 0.15% Choose a price plan that's right for your online store Go to Shopify Sell out in no time with a Shopify online store Get Shopify now BigCommerce 4/5 Best for multichannel For businesses with a diverse customer base, BigCommerce has you covered. You can pull in sales from all directions with its excellent multichannel integration: Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Walmart and more. While Shopify has more social media integrations, BigCommerce takes the crown on sales-specific platforms.Its strengths lie in sales functions including shipping options, accounting integration and inventory management, scoring a perfect 5/5 in each of these areas. BigCommerce is perfect for online clothing stores as it offers the widest range of product filters as well as the option for headless commerce.BigCommerce also provides useful SEO prompts when you add products, which is helpful for new stores without an established online presence. What’s more, there are zero transaction fees (unlike with Shopify) so revenue can stay strong.What about the negatives? BigCommerce isn’t the best value for money; it has the highest base price of any of our platforms. For the extra price, there's no opportunity to make Facebook ads or Instagram stories, unlike with Wix and Squarespace.In addition, BigCommerce is still the least user-friendly platform we've tested (scoring 3.3/5 for ease of use). Nevertheless, BigCommerce is brilliant at helping you to manage your entire business processes, not just sell products.BigCommerce can help a small store master its inventory in no time. Pros Industry-leading inventory management No transaction fees Superb multichannel integration Cons Not user-friendly Not great value for money Can’t make Facebook ads or Instagram stories BigCommerce PricingBigCommerce offers a one-month free trial when you sign up to one of its three core plans: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Standard Plus Pro Price (Paying Annually) CAD$39 per month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$103 per month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$388 per month Key Features Sell an unlimited number of productsMultichannel sellingCoupon creationReporting toolsNo transaction fees Key Features Abandoned cart recovery emailsCustomer loyalty programmesStore credit card payment detailsNo transaction fees Key Features Product filters for sizes and coloursDedicated SSL securityGoogle reviewsNo transaction fees Want customers from more places? Get BigCommerce GoDaddy 3.9/5 Best for speedy set up Another fuss-free online store creator, GoDaddy is dependable but not awe-inspiring. It’s the only platform not to have improved on its overall score (3.9), achieving exactly the same rating as it did in our last round of research. It does, however, have a lower transaction fee (2.3% + 30¢) than Shopify or Square Online.GoDaddy uses an ADI (artificial design intelligence) approach – first asking you a few questions, then generating a new website within minutes. Simply put, GoDaddy is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses extremely tight on time.It offers some neat marketing tools such as email campaigns and social media integrations, so it will do more than the absolute minimum (but not a whole lot more). You can also sell through Google, eBay, Amazon, Etsy and Walmart – a wider selection of options than Squarespace or Square Online provide.Still, it has to be said that GoDaddy’s website features lack the quality found in competitor products.GoDaddy can build an attractive ecommerce store for you within minutes. Pros Fastest setup we tested thanks to its ADI function Competitive transaction fee: 2.3% + 30¢ Good cross-platform selling opportunities Cons Very limited creative control Limited range of features GoDaddy PricingGoDaddy offers a generous one-month free trial on its ecommerce-specific price plans: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Price (Paying Annually) CAD$24.99 per month Price (Paying Annually) CAD$24.99 per month Key Features List 5,000 productsSend 25,000 marketing emails monthlyFlexible shipping optionsAdd discounts and promos24/7 support Key Features List 5,000 productsSend 25,000 marketing emails monthlyFlexible shipping optionsAdd discounts and promos24/7 support Key Features List 5,000 productsSend 25,000 marketing emails monthlyFlexible shipping optionsAdd discounts and promos24/7 support Key Features List 5,000 productsSend 25,000 marketing emails monthlyFlexible shipping optionsAdd discounts and promos24/7 support Try GoDaddy Try GoDaddy Set up your online store in a blink Try GoDaddy now Expert Verdict Wix is our top recommendation of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses. It's the way to go if you need an ecommerce platform that will actively grow your business with professional marketing techniques. That said, BigCommerce could help you reach more buyers with its top-notch multichannel integrations. Alternatively, Shopify may suit a more complex business with ambitious inventory plans. The best choice really depends on your individual entrepreneurial strategy. Whichever provider you select should align with your profit goals, bearing in mind the current ecommerce industry trends.Every business starts small, but few want to remain that way for long. Armed with our expert knowledge, you’re now in a great position to choose the ecommerce platform provider that’s right for your entrepreneurial goals. Starting your online store doesn’t need to be an impossible mountain of frustration; in fact, all of these platforms excel at breaking down the workload for you.Whether you’re looking for the least scary setup in terms of design complexity (Squarespace or GoDaddy), the best budget option (Square Online), or the best marketing tools on the block (Wix), there’s definitely a platform to suit you. Here’s a quick roundup of our three best ecommerce platforms for small businesses…Wix came out on top thanks to its strong SEO features and improved sales opportunities.Squarespace is the better option if you want an easy online store without sweating over design details.Square Online is the best value for money, combining ease of use with the option of a totally free plan. FAQ Which online platform is best for small businesses? Wix is the best platform for small online stores because it boasts the widest range of sales and marketing features for the best value for money. Not only did our test users find it easy to create their Wix store, but they were impressed by the sheer range of sales-specific functions that deliver great customer experience. Wix also has great customer support – helpful if you want some guidance during the setup process. Which ecommerce platform is best for startups? Startups are recommended to use Wix as their first choice for an ecommerce platform, according to our in-depth research. This platform includes many inbuilt marketing tools to reach new customers, as well as SEO (search engine optimization) to help your business appear higher on Google results pages. Wix offers diverse shipping options to keep customers happy. Is Shopify best for small business? Shopify is a great ecommerce platform provider for small businesses, but in our opinion it’s not the best. While Shopify offers an excellent range of sales features, it may be more expensive than strictly necessary for a small business. It’s a very powerful online store builder that will enable you to do a lot with your inventory, but this could be overkill for young companies that are just finding their feet online. What is considered the cheapest ecommerce platform for a small business? Square Online is the cheapest way to run an online store as a small business. Uniquely, it offers you the chance to sell for free, whereas most other platforms require subscription fees. While Square Online will take a fee per transaction, our expert research found it’s still the best value for money ecommerce provider on the market today. Sabrina Dougall Writer Sabrina writes about tech for business as well as consumer software. She covers topics ranging from digital marketing to ecommerce fulfilment, security systems, franking machines, and more. Having run her own successful small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how much there is to keep on top of. Writing with your company’s needs in mind, she distils truly useful product information (without the sales pitch).