The Best Ecommerce Platforms for Canada 2024

Open laptop with the word website across the screen, comparing best ecommerce platforms

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Every year, we put market-leading ecommerce platforms through several rounds of hands-on testing against 300+ different criteria to find out who comes out on top for small businesses. This time round, the best ecommerce platform for small businesses in Canada is Shopify.

Shopify’s advanced inventory management features and smart AI text writing mean it’s best suited to ambitious merchants eager to grow their business. But Shopify’s ability to sync with online marketplaces leaves a lot to be desired – plus it’s not the cheapest solution.

The Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms for 2024

  1. Shopify: 4.7/5 – Best overall
  2. Wix: 4.6/5 – Best for bookings and services
  3. BigCommerce: 4.4/5 – Best for low transaction fees
  4. Square Online: 4.4/5 – Best free plan
  5. Squarespace: 4.3/5 – Best looking online stores

With ecommerce sales now making up around 15% of total retail sales in the US, according to the United States Census Bureau, it’s no wonder you’re keen to sell online. A dedicated e-commerce platform is essential for any online business, regardless of its size or status. With so many providers out there, it can be hard to know which to choose. Luckily, while you’ve been perfecting your business plan, we’ve been analyzing the best 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.

5 Best Ecommerce Platforms:

Below, you’ll find our comparison table followed by a handy overview of each platform.

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Square Online


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


Price Range
Price Range


Price Range


Price Range
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.

1. Shopify: Best Overall

  • Subscription pricing: Mid-to-high
  • Transaction fees: Fairly high
  • Ease of use: 3.5/5


  • Excellent multichannel integration
  • Best sales-specific features of any platform we tested
  • Strong server response time (pages load quickly)
  • Intuitive inventory management features


  • 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)

Suited to: Ambitious Sellers with a Clear Business Plan

Shopify is a comprehensive online selling tool with a website builder – and we’re impressed. The best feature of Shopify is that it will scale as your business grows. That means you’ll start with a clean, well-presented shopfront and you can bulk-import products as your catalog expands.

Shopify website editor preview with fashion model image
Shopify includes a library of free stock images for you to use.

Who We Recommend Shopify For

Shopify is aimed at business-savvy merchants with a very clear business plan. If you’ve sourced your products, decided on your branding, and looking to scale up your sales, then Shopify has the sales features you need.

We recommend Shopify over BigCommerce for sellers with dozens of inventory storage spots. Why? Shopify can cope with up to 1,000 inventory locations (on all plans), whereas BigCommerce facilitates selling and distribution from just four, five or eight (depending on your plan). Wix has much weaker inventory management features than Shopify.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers a 3-day free trial period plus the first month 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:

Connecting Marketplaces to Your Shopify Store

There are no native features to connect your Shopify store with any of the main online marketplaces. Exceptions are Facebook and Instagram marketplaces as well as a wholesale option called Handshake. For any of the others, you’ll have to connect an app, which comes with monthly fees. For instance, to connect Etsy, you’ll have to pay $19 per month to synch up to 20,000 products.

Unfortunately, third-party apps can present difficulties with functionality, because Shopify cannot help you when these go wrong. We’ve seen many Shopify community discussions between 2019-2023 trying to find workarounds when Amazon apps stop working.

Shopify app store Amazon channel This app is not currently available on the Shopify App Store. If you have support questions, contact Shopify directly.
This is the app which Shopify's help assistant specifically recommended.

Shopify’s AI Features

This year Shopify released its AI writing tool Shopify Magic, which we found effective in crafting creative prose for our product descriptions. While Wix has a similar AI text generator, it doesn’t offer the same range of tones of voice as Shopify’s tool.

Similarly, the AI chatbot assistant in the help center was quick and mostly effective at answering my questions about setting up additional sales channels. Its comprehension was not perfect, for instance, it couldn’t understand that the Amazon by Shopify app was no longer supported. Instead, it repeated (outdated) instructions for downloading that very app.

Shopify Pricing

Here’s an overview of Shopify’s pricing plans:

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Price (Paying Annually)
Price (Paying Annually)
Price (Paying Annually)
Price (Paying Annually)
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 pages
  • Basic order management
  • Customer support
Key Features
  • Unlimited products
  • Four inventory locations
  • Two staff accounts
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Domestic credit card rate (online): 2.9% + 30¢
Key Features
  • Ecommerce automations
  • Five inventory locations
  • Five staff accounts
  • Domestic credit card rate (online): 2.7% + 30¢
Key Features
  • 15 staff accounts
  • Eight inventory locations
  • Advanced reports
  • Third-party calculated shipping
  • Domestic credit card rate (online): 2.4% + 30¢
Key Features
  • 99.99% uptime
  • Built-in AR, video, 3D media on product pages
  • Automation for complex processes
  • Faster checkout
Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


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.

Since our last update...

  • Shopify Subscriptions app: The new, free app allows you to offer your products as auto-billed subscriptions. Your customers will be able to pause, skip, or cancel their subscription as they see fit. 
  • Sell digital products: B2B Shopify users can now sell wholesale digital products such as digital downloads and services to their customers.
Sell like never before with Shopify

2. Wix: Best for Bookings and Services

  • Subscription pricing: Mid-to-lower end
  • Transaction fees: Just the standard credit card rates
  • Ease of use: 4/5


  • Lots of creative control
  • Wide array of social selling and marketing features
  • Video-builder and logo-maker included


  • Editor is clustered and challenging to use
  • Slow server response time
  • Inventory syncing is fairly difficult

Suited to: Services-Based Business Leaders

Wix tops our website builder list thanks to the wide range of features but dips into second place when we consider its sales platform. The reason is its selling features are slightly less generous – Wix limits the number of transactions with automated sales tax, for instance.

red box outlines "generate AI Text" above a text box describing a recipe book
Stuck for inspiration? Wix has a built-in AI text generator for product descriptions.

Who We Recommend Wix For

Wix is a good all-rounder platform that’s suited to a wide range of business users. It’s not so complicated that only seasoned professionals can use it – we’d comfortably recommend this for beginners with very little web design or even commerce experience. You’ll get more design control than GoDaddy, but it’s not as complicated to configure as WordPress/WooCommerce.

AI-Assisted Store Set-Up

We’re excited about Wix’s use of AI, such as the text generator to speed up content creation. AI assists in the set up process too, with Wix suggesting features you’ll need based on your industry.

Here are some examples:

  • If you run a restaurant: table reservations, food delivery, menu listings
  • Hotel managers: season-specific room pricing, list add-on services at extra cost
  • Fitness enthusiast: bookings (in person or online) via Wix Fit, subscriber-only content,  automated reminders
  • Creative professionals: membership areas with paywall content, video streaming

Wix is better for the services industry compared to Square because the latter isn’t set up for paid members-only pages.

Just the Ticket!

If you’re selling tickets, then Wix takes a 2.5% commission from every sale.

Wix Pricing

Wix offers a 14-day money-back guarantee on its premium plans, and we’re glad to offer our readers a discount code: “TAKE10” for 10% off subscriptions. There are three ecommerce-specific plans to choose from:

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Price (Paying Annually)
Price (Paying Annually)
Price (Paying Annually)
Best For

Starting a small online store

Best For

Selling internationally or subscriptions

Best For

High-volume selling online

Key Features
  • 2GB storage
  • 30 minutes video
  • Remove Wix watermark
  • Free domain for 1 year
  • Light marketing suite
Key Features
  • 50GB storage
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Sell on social channels
  • 5hrs video
  • Professional logo
Key Features
  • 100GB storage
  • Data analytics
  • 10hrs video
  • Automated sales tax on 100 transactions per month
  • 24/7 customer care
Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


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.

Since our last update...

Wix now allows you to edit your media with Adobe Express without leaving the Wix Editor. You select an image in your Media Manager, log in to your Adobe Express account, then edit the image as normal. Once your edits are saved in Adobe, they are also saved in your Media Manager and available for your immediate use on your site.

3. BigCommerce: Lowest Transaction Fees

  • Subscription pricing: Good range of options
  • Transaction fees: PayPal (via Braintree) only
  • Ease of use: 3.3/5


  • Strong inventory management functionality
  • No transaction fees
  • Multichannel integration across marketplaces and social media


  • Interface not very user-friendly
  • Overwhelming for tech beginners
  • Restrictive template designs

Suited to: Product Retailers with a Large Customer Base

If your products are popular with everyday shoppers across Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Facebook, and Instagram, then BigCommerce is a convenient platform to manage orders from all of these streams. With Shopify, you’d need to install apps (at extra cost) to achieve the same multichannel sales set-up.

But the best bonus of all has to be the lack of transaction fees across major payment providers.

Another advantage of BigCommerce is the opportunity to speak with its web platform experts on its easily accessible phone line. That means it’s much easier to access customer support on BigCommerce than it is on Wix (you’d need to request a callback through a customer service ticket on the latter).

Who We Recommend BigCommerce For

It has to be said BigCommerce is aimed at larger sales operations or businesses that are looking to scale up in the near future. Its unlimited products and file storage space are intended for thousands, not hundreds, of products.

The lowest-priced Standard plan ($29 per month, paid annually) isn’t great value for money, as it’s missing some key features such as abandoned cart recovery, which is included with all Shopify plans (even its $5 Starter plan). You should aim for a budget of minimum $100 per month to invest in BigCommerce.

BigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce 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):

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Price (Paying Annually)


Price (Paying Annually)


Price (Paying Annually)


Key Features

Sell an unlimited number of products

Multichannel selling

Coupon creation

Reporting tools

No transaction fees

Key Features

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Customer loyalty programmes

Store credit card payment details

No transaction fees

Key Features

Product filters for sizes and colours

Dedicated SSL security

Google reviews

No transaction fees

Multiply inventory capability with BigCommerce

4. Square: Best Free Plan

  • Subscription pricing: Affordable
  • Transaction fees: Industry standard
  • Ease of use: 3.9/5


  • Ability to sell for free
  • Straightforward set-up
  • Easy to get started quickly


  • High transaction fees
  • Overall layout could be more logical
  • Restrictive design tools

Suited to: Small-to-Medium Sellers and Local Businesses

You’ll likely have seen Square’s sleek white card readers at bars and stores in your neighborhood. It’s a popular choice of payment terminal, likely due to its very low cost basic hardware. Its website builder product is affordable too – you can sign up to sell online with no monthly subscription fees on the Square Free plan.

This September, Square launched AI-generated product descriptions, which help you to publish your new product pages faster. That’s a really valuable time-saver, and means you won’t have to spend time and money on professional copywriters each time you want to launch a new product range.

website editor basic menu view
I couldn't quite position my image as I would have liked it to display.

Who We Recommend Square For

Square is ideal for entrepreneurs and small business leaders who sell in person as well as online. For instance, if you picture yourself selling through your website, but also attending festivals, and events, and perhaps selling at a brick-and-mortar location, Square is a good choice.

The Square POS (point of sale) hardware devices are, admittedly, an additional expense. However, Square’s ability to offer a very wide range of payment options for your customers is a big pull factor.

Square’s Limited Free Plan

The drawback of the Free plan is the basic nature of the editing tools. You won’t have as much design customization as you would with Square Plus. And you’ll have Square-branded adverts on your site.

But given how speedy, slick and clear Square’s free website builder is, we have little to complain about here.

Widening Sales Features for Local and National Sellers

Square has recently launched improvements to Square for Retail’s checkout including the addition of a “buy online, pick up in-store” option. We love that, across all price plans, you can opt for a courier to come straight to your location as soon as a sale goes through.

Shipping is now more streamlined, thanks to a refreshed Shipments Page, from which vendors can manage online, in-store, and subscription order fulfilment.

However, Square is not the best for international sellers. For $79 a month you can subscribe to either Square Premium or BigCommerce Plus – but only BigCommerce stores accept payments in multiple currencies.

Square Online Pricing

Square Online has four price plans to choose from:

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Price (Paying Annually)


Price (Paying Annually)


Price (Paying Annually)


Key Features

Sell unlimited products

Instagram and Pinterest integration

2.9%+30¢ transaction fees

Key Features

Customer reviews on your site

Abandoned cart recovery

Accept PayPal

2.9% + 30¢ transaction fees

Key Features

Advanced ecommerce analytics

Real-time shipping

Low processing rate

2.6%+30¢ transaction fees

Since our last update...

From March 25, 2024, creating and managing coupons will move from the Square Online dashboard to Square Marketing. Square Marketing is a free product suite of marketing automation tools. However, if you require advanced features like creating personalized coupons or sending coupons in marketing emails, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid subscription. If you’re already signed up with Square Online, you’ll need to recreate any existing coupons in Square Marketing.

Get online and sell for less with Square Online

5. Squarespace: Best Looking Online Stores

  • Subscription pricing: Lower end
  • Transaction fees: Reasonable
  • Ease of use: 4.2/5


  • World class template designs
  • Precise web design editing
  • Unlimited bandwidth


  • Very few apps available
  • Transaction fees on Commerce Basic
  • No multi-currency selling

Suited to: Artists, Creatives, and Visually-Driven Brands

Squarespace works well as a portfolio website, showcasing the aesthetics of your brand with classy web design. Think of your Squarespace website as a virtual art gallery: lots of white space, few features, and impeccable taste.

website section with image of child's craft activity, a small paragraph of text and lots of white space
Squarespace will suggest designs based on your business.

Who We Recommend Squarespace For

Squarespace is best suited to creative professionals such as photographers, artists, content creators, and high-end wellness or luxury brands. We appreciate Squarespace for its aesthetically appealing web designs and recommend it for portfolio-based selling.

Squarespace’s Lovely Editing Process

Using Squarespace, editing your web design is a really pleasant experience, and feels much smoother than using Shopify, GoDaddy or Square. Unlike most website editors we’ve tested (see our GoDaddy review for comparison), you can move every text box or image to the precise position you’d like.

Squarespace updated its editing experience this year so that a grid appears in the background when you click and drag design elements. This makes it easy to line them up evenly with others on the page.

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace 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.

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Basic Commerce

Advanced Commerce

Price (Paying Annually)


Price (Paying Annually)


Price (Paying Annually)


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 products
  • Professional Google account
  • Google Ads extra credit
  • Sell gift cards
Key Features
  • Product waitlists
  • Sell on Instagram
  • Ecommerce analytics
  • Product reviews
  • Display stock levels
Key Features
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Sell subscriptions
  • Commerce APIs
  • Advanced shipping features (including a real-time cost calculator)
Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


Transaction Fees


Since our last update...

Automatic subscription renewal emails have come to Squarespace. You’ll need to be signed up to the Commerce Advanced plan, which is the only plan that allows you to sell subscriptions. Subscribers to your products will be sent a reminder email 15 days before their subscription is set to renew. To qualify for reminder emails, your subscription terms need to be 12 weeks or more (if renewing weekly) or three months or more (if renewing monthly).

Get online in no time with Squarespace

The Best Free Ecommerce Platform

Square 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 Businesses

We 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


Is there a way to avoid transaction fees?
If you set your website up with Wix or BigCommerce, you’ll bypass transaction fees entirely. The same is true with Squarespaces’s Commerce plans.

Shopify does charge transaction fees for third-party payments, but if you use its own payment method, Shopify Payments, you can benefit from zero fees.

How do I transfer my site to Shopify?
If you’re unsatisfied with your current ecommerce platform, you may be keen to switch your ecommerce platform to Shopify.

The process can be simplified into these 10 steps:

  1. Complete the initial Shopify set-up process
  2. Migrate your store’s content and data to Shopify
  3. Tweak your store’s appearance
  4. Set up your web domain
  5. Set up your shipping process
  6. Organize your taxes
  7. Set up a third-party payment provider, or Shopify Payments
  8. Place test orders to check functionality
  9. Invite existing customers to create accounts on your new Shopify site
  10. Set up URL redirects to ensure returning customers are not lost
How do I add a payment method to my Shopify account?
To add a payment method to your Shopify account, go to your admin account. From there, click ‘Settings,’ and then ‘Payments,’ then ‘Add payment methods’. You can then search for the payment method or provider you’d like to add. Once you’ve found it, enter your account details and finally click ‘Activate’ to get going.
What is the difference between Magento and Shopify?
While Shopify is a subscription-based ecommerce platform builder, Magento software, now known as Adobe Commerce is open source (free) but requires much more advanced setup know-how. Shopify is aimed at a wide range of skill levels, whereas Adobe 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 – 27% of online shops in Canada
  • Wix –  13%
  • Squarespace (Add to Cart, Commerce or Active Store) – 19%
  • WooCommerce – 8%
  • Ecwid – 3%
  • Other (including BigCommerce) – 30%

Data is from Builtwith as of October 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
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:
A head shot of Natasha Willett - a blonde woman in a work shirt with a blue background
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.