Written by Sabrina Dougall Reviewed by Natasha Willett Updated on 6 March 2023 On this page Best for sales features: Shopify Best for SEO and marketing: Wix Ecommerce Best for multichannel: BigCommerce Best value for money: Square Online Best for ease of use: Squarespace The Best Free Ecommerce Platform Expert Verdict How we test ecommerce platforms FAQ Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. After extensive testing, Shopify (4.7/5) topped our list of the best ecommerce platforms on the market today. With Wix coming in at a close second (4.6/5), we'd recommend Shopify for online sellers prepared to spend more on quality sales and inventory software. The Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms 2023 Shopify: 4.7/5 – Best for sales-specific featuresWix: 4.6/5 – Best for marketing featuresBigCommerce: 4.4/5 – Best for multichannel sellingSquare Online: 4.4/5 – Best for value for moneySquarespace: 4.3/5 – Best for selling digital products or portfoliosWe know how tough it is to pick the best ecommerce platforms Canada has to offer. While you’ve been cooking up great business ideas, like dropshipping, we’ve been analysing web store builder software tools.We compared these programmes based on factors that matter most to Canadian merchants: value for money, design options, ease of use and sales functions. Our researchers scored each platform based on more than 50 aspects, and asked a focus group for their feedback, too.Here are the results.5 Best Ecommerce Platforms:Below, you’ll find our comparison table followed by a handy overview of each platform. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Shopify Wix BigCommerce Square Online Squarespace Score 4.7 Score 4.9 Score 4.4 Score 4.4 Score 4.8 Best For Advanced sales features Best For Creating a good-looking website with excellent sales features Best For Multichannel selling Best For Value for money Best For Selling digital products or portfolios Price Range CAD$7-CAD$2,675+/month Price Range CAD$28-CAD$49/monthCAD$25.20-CAD$44.10/month with code: “GET10!” Price Range CAD$39-CAD$400/month Price Range CAD$0-CAD$85/month Price Range CAD$37-CAD$66/monthCAD$33-CAD$59.40/month with code “EM10” Try Shopify Try Wix Try BigCommerce Try Square Try Squarespace All prices in Canadian dollars (we've converted Shopify and BigCommerce pricing from USD, as listed on their websites). Looking for website builders? This page compares ecommerce platforms for building online stores where you can sell products. If you're looking for generic website builders (to create portfolios, personal sites, business or landing pages), check out our guide to the best website builders. Shopify 4.7/5Would suit an ambitious entrepreneur ready to invest in sales functionsSales features /5Design /5Value for money /5Help and support /5Ease of use /54.73.93.04.43.5 Shopify In our latest round of testing, Shopify shot up to an overall score of 4.7/5 compared with 4.2 the year prior. This comes down to its intuitive inventory management tools and improved customer support. Our researchers appreciated the ability to upload single or multiple products, receive daily revenue reports and use an online invoice generator for simpler payment collection.Shopify also offers superb multichannel integration, letting you sell through Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and others. In that sense, it offers more options than Wix and Woocommerce.However, it’s the only platform to enforce its own transaction fee (2% on the ‘Basic’ plan) unless you use Shopify Payments. It also relies on third-party apps for much of its functionality, which also adds to costs.Shopify is a secret weapon for complex inventory management. Pros Excellent multichannel integration Best sales-specific features of any platform we tested Strong server response time (pages load quickly) Intuitive inventory management features Cons Transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify’s own payment gateway Less creative freedom on your storefront than Wix eCommerce Fewer in-built features (you'll rely more on costly apps) As of February, Shopify now allows you to show different products to international audiences, so you can ensure customers only see products available in their region. That's helpful for global businesses that retail in more than one geolocation. You can also set country-specific pricing with Shopify, which you can't do with Wix, even though it's a commonly requested feature.Shopify PricingShopify offers a 3-day free trial period plus three months for $1. There's three core price plans (priced in USD, but we've converted to CAD). We go into more detail on the features available at each price tier in our Shopify price guide but here's a quick overview: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Price (Paying Monthly) Starter Price (Paying Monthly) Basic Price (Paying Monthly) Shopify Price (Paying Monthly) Advanced Price (Paying Monthly) Plus Price (Paying Annually) $7/month Price (Paying Annually) $38/month Price (Paying Annually) $99/month Price (Paying Annually) $389/month Price (Paying Annually) From $2,677/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)Product 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 If you're keen on starting an online store but not sure how it should look, then go and get some style inspiration from our rundown of the best 10 Shopify stores. You'll be able to pick up some truly handy tips and hints on web store creation from some big brands that already use Shopify.On the other hand, you may not even know what you want to sell yet. If you're interested in earning extra income through ecommerce and want to put a lot of effort into the creative branding and marketing side of things, you can always get into dropshipping. This means purchasing inventory after you've made a sale so you don't have any storage fees. Curious? Why not check out our guide on how to start dropshipping with Shopify to learn more. Sell like never before with Shopify Try Shopify now Wix Ecommerce 4.6/5Would suit your business if you want SEO and digital marketing prowessSales features /5Design /5Value for money /5Help and support /5Ease of use /220.127.116.11.34.0 Wix If you’re struggling to get the word out about your company, Wix ecommerce plans boast six marketing apps, social media integrations and live social media feeds. It offers a built-in video-maker and logo-maker as well as the option to hire quality-checked freelancers.Wix scored a perfect 5/5 in SEO functionality testing, offering everything from image alt attributes to SEO best practice prompts. As detailed in our Wix review, it offers comprehensive ecommerce functions, including abandoned cart recovery, across all three price options.Drawbacks? There’s a steep learning curve – test users found the editor clustered and challenging to use. Plus, syncing your physical inventory with your online store is far easier on other platforms. There’s also no specific fraud detection, unlike with Shopify and BigCommerce.Wix is our top choice for business owners looking to improve marketing and search engine reach. Pros Lots of creative control Wide array of social selling and marketing features Video-builder and logo-maker included Cons Editor is clustered and challenging to use Slow server response time Inventory syncing is fairly difficult When you're in charge of any kind of website, search engine optimisation is the set of techniques you need to draw in visitors from Google, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex. Wix is a market leader in helping non-experts get ahead in the SEO stakes. Not only does the website builder offer SEO tips as you create, but since 2022, Wix users have been able to integrate the Semrush SEO tool into their Wix website. Wix articles and video guides show you how to best use free keyword research data and search volume analysis with this integration. That gives you a better chance at making sales, because SEO is non-paid marketing that attracts interested buyers to your wares.Better yet, as of February this year, Wix now integrates with Google Search Console, the silver bullet of SEO analytics. Wix Analytics builds website traffic reports based off data directly from Google. This gives you accurate understanding of which web pages perform well on Google, compared with guesswork and applying general best practice.Neither Shopify or Squarespace have Semrush or Google Search Console integrations. Instead, Shopify offers “SEO Olympus” which is a much more basic SEO tool. You won't get anywhere near the depth of data you would with Semrush plus Google Search Console.Wix eCommerce PricingWix offers a 14-day money-back guarantee on its premium plans, and we're glad to offer our readers a discount code: “GET10!” for 10% off subscriptions. There are three ecommerce-specific plans to choose from: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Price (Paying Monthly) Business Basic Price (Paying Monthly) Business Unlimited Price (Paying Monthly) Business VIP Price (Paying Annually) CAD$28 per month$25.20 per month with “GET10!” code Price (Paying Annually) CAD$36 per month$32.40 per month with “GET10!” code Price (Paying Annually) CAD$49 per month$44.10 per month with “GET10!” code 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 Wix is one of very few ecommerce platforms that doesn't charge transaction fees. If you want to find out more about the costs and features of each tier, check out our Wix pricing guide. We've also taken a deep dive into the pros and cons of Wix vs Squarespace in case you'd like to take a more in-depth look at those two side-by-side. BigCommerce 4.4/5Would suit your business if you want wider multichannel selling optionsSales features /5Design /5Value for money /5Help and support /5Ease of use /54.64.23.04.53.3 BigCommerce BigCommerce is geared towards larger enterprises and is best suited for online clothing stores. A major reason for this is its strong multichannel integration – BigCommerce enables sales through Walmart in addition to eBay, Amazon and Google Shopping.Its stand-out feature is inventory functionality, though overall it feels like an all-in-one solution with great multichannel marketplace and social media sales integrations. One user said: “BigCommerce goes beyond just creating a website – you can create an online business with the capability of running itself once you have the setup correct.”As far as pricing goes, BigCommerce scored low in value for money (3/5). That said, it charges no transaction fees – unlike Shopify and Square – and this is a major financial bonus.While it’s the least user-friendly platform we've tested (scoring 3.3/5 for ease of use), BigCommerce is brilliant at helping you to manage your entire business process, not just sell products.BigCommerce can grow multichannel selling for your clothing store. Pros Strong inventory management functionality No transaction fees Multichannel integration across marketplaces and social media Cons Interface not very user-friendly Overwhelming for tech beginners Restrictive template designs BigCommerce PricingBigCommerce offers a generous 15-day free trial period, and three core price plans in USD, which we’ve converted to CAD (enterprise pricing is available upon request): Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Recommended: Best Value Price (Paying Monthly) Standard Price (Paying Monthly) Plus Price (Paying Monthly) Pro Price (Paying Annually) $39/month Price (Paying Annually) $106/month Price (Paying Annually) $400/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 Multiply inventory capability with BigCommerce Try BigCommerce now Square Online 4.4/5Would suit your business if you want value for money. Sales features /5Design /5Value for money /5Help and support /5Ease of use /18.104.22.168.13.9 Square Online Square Online lets you build a website and sell for free, which is by far its biggest selling point. It's also one of the quickest and most affordable ways to build an online store.While it could massively improve its design flexibility (users scored it a measly 2.6/5), and offer better reporting features, Square Online has all the essentials you need to start selling online for free, including multichannel integration. The transaction fees are relatively high, and the overall layout could be more intuitive, but Square Online is an excellent no-frills approach to selling online.We recommend Square Online for small online stores as it doesn't overwhelm you with data fields like BigCommerce does.Square Online is the best value for money platform we've tested. Pros Ability to sell for free Straightforward set-up Easy to get started quickly Cons High transaction fees Overall layout could be more logical Restrictive design tools Square Online PricingSquare Online has four price plans to choose from: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Price (Paying Monthly) Free Price (Paying Monthly) Professional Price (Paying Monthly) Performance Price (Paying Monthly) Premium Price (Paying Annually) Free Price (Paying Annually) $15/month Price (Paying Annually) $30/month Price (Paying Annually) $85/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 Get online and sell for less with Square Online Try Square Online now Squarespace Ecommerce 4.3/5Would suit your business if you need a user-friendly interface.Sales features /5Design /5Value for money /5Help and support /5Ease of use /22.214.171.124.94.2 Squarespace Squarespace impressed us with its intuitive inventory management, visual marketing approach and improved ease of use – going from a 3.4 to 4.2/5 score since our previous testing. In fact, it's now the easiest platform to use on our list.As detailed in our Squarespace review, it supports multichannel selling, offers the ability to create and brand your Instagram story posts, and allows for built-in social media live feeds on your website – a feature that costs extra with other platforms. Squarespace has also increased the number of integrated payment processors from two to five.Space for improvement? Sure. Squarespace has limited stock monitoring capabilities and a relatively poor site speed performance. For a platform focused on design, we were disappointed to find a limited number of ecommerce-specific templates, too.Squarespace is the easiest platform for a basic online store. Pros Excellent value for money Easiest to use Great for visual marketing Cons Relatively limited stock monitoring Poor site speed performance Few ecommerce templates Squarespace PricingSquarespace offers a 14-day free trial period and has two ecommerce-specific pricing plans. Also, don't forget you can save 10% on Squarespace by using code EM10 at the checkout. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Price (Paying Monthly) Business Price (Paying Monthly) Basic Commerce Price (Paying Monthly) Advanced Commerce Price (Paying Annually) $31/month Price (Paying Annually) $37/month Price (Paying Annually) $66/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 Get online in no time with Squarespace Try Squarespace now The Best Free Ecommerce PlatformSquare Online is the best free ecommerce platform for businesses in Canada. Offering reasonable functionality at zero cost is a huge draw for many. It’s the only platform in our review to offer a free ecommerce product, though Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce and Squarespace all provide at least a 14-day free trial period.That said, nothing in this life is truly free: Square Online takes a slice of every sale made on its free platforms. Also, its design features scored pretty low in our user testing. Overall, you’d make far better use of your time and resources by investing in a premium model to grow your sales the way you need to. Expert Verdict The best ecommerce platforms are Shopify and Wix eCommerce, scoring 4.7/5 and 4.6/5 respectively in our testing. Shopify is the all-in-one ecommerce solution, ideal for larger, more complex setups. In comparison, Wix eCommerce has more creative marketing options for Canadian businesses eager to grow their customer base.Increased competition between ecommerce website builders results in improved features every year. This is great news for business owners, who enjoy a pretty good selection of online store options. Nowadays, it’s easy for just about anyone to set up their digital storefront in a few clicks. Whether you’re looking to sell services, physical items or digital products, you’re sure to find an ecommerce plan and price that’s right for you.Why not bookmark this guide and come back to it after you’ve come up with a budget? How We Test Ecommerce Website Builders for BusinessesWe tested eight market-leading ecommerce website builders to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, accuracy, and aesthetics so we can make the most useful recommendations to Canadian businesses.Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in seven main categories of investigation and 47 subcategories – in fact, we covered 341 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!Our main testing categories for ecommerce website builders are:Website Features: the capabilities and functionalities offered by a website builder, e.g. blog functionality, SEO capability, marketing capacity.Sales Features: the sales capabilities and sales functionalities offered by a website builder, including shipping, inventory capacity, and payment options.Design: the aesthetic appeal and visual layout of a website created using a website builder. It encompasses aspects such as page templates and customizable themes.Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular website builder – the market position and reputation a website builder holds.Ease of Use: how user-friendly and intuitive a website builder is for people with varying levels of technical expertise.Value for Money: the balance between the cost of a website builder and the benefits it provides. It considers factors such as pricing plans, subscription models, and available features.Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using a website builder. This can include tutorials, knowledge bases, and email or chat support. Reach a wider audience with Wix Try Wix now FAQ What is the best ecommerce platform in Canada and why? Shopify is the best ecommerce platform because it has a wide range of sales-specific features and multichannel integration. In our research, Shopify scored 5/5 in its provision of alternative sales channels, the highest of any platform we tested. Its huge selection of apps enables a highly flexible merchant setup, plus testing revealed a rapid server response time. Is Shopify the best ecommerce site? Yes, Shopify came out on top of our best ecommerce platforms research. Scoring an impressive 4.7/5 overall, test users noted its strong capability in large inventory management. Of the online store builders we tested, Shopify came out on top thanks to its stellar sales-specific features – including stock monitoring, which neither Wix nor Squarespace offer. What is the difference between Magento and Shopify? While Shopify is a subscription-based ecommerce platform builder, Magento software is open source (free) but requires much more advanced setup know-how. Shopify is aimed at a wide range of skill levels, whereas Magento is only really for developers and those with a deeper interest in design control. What is the most popular ecommerce platform in Canada? The most widely used ecommerce platforms in Canada (meaning a type of website builder that lets you create an online shop) are:Shopify – 28% of online shops in CanadaWix – 23%Squarespace (Add to Cart, Commerce or Active Store) – 21%WooCommerce – 15%Other (including BigCommerce) – 9%Ecwid – 3%Data is from Builtwith as of March 2023. Who is Shopify's biggest competitor? BigCommerce is the main rival of Shopify, according to audience and search data from Similarweb. Both platforms provide a scalable way to sell products online, enabling entrepreneurs to host a custom website and take payments for products, services, and subscriptions. The advantage of BigCommerce over Shopify is the fact you'll pay no transaction fees with the former, while the latter takes a percentage of your sales unless you use its proprietary payment gateway. Written by: Sabrina Dougall Web Marketing Expert Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master’s in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation. Reviewed by: Natasha Willett Head of Research For over 9 years Natasha has worked as a mixed method researcher working across a range of sectors from insurance and policy development, to business services and software. As a member of the Market Research Society, Natasha is an advocate for high ethical, commercial and methodological best practices.