Written by Sabrina Dougall Reviewed by Natasha Willett Updated on October 2, 2023 On this page Quick Comparison: Best Online Store Tools 1. Shopify: Best for Multiple Inventory Locations 2. Wix: Best for Bookings and Services 3. BigCommerce: Lowest Transaction Fees 4. Square: Best Free Plan 5. Squarespace: Best Looking Online Stores How To Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for Your Business Online Marketplace vs Ecommerce Platform Should I Use an Ecommerce Platform or Online Marketplace? Expert Verdict How We Test Ecommerce Platforms FAQs 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. Every year, we put market-leading ecommerce platforms through several rounds of hands-on testing against 300+ different criteria to find out who really comes out on top for small businesses. This time round, the best ecommerce platform for small businesses 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 leave a lot to be desired – plus it's not the cheapest solution. What are the Best Ecommerce Platforms? Shopify: Best overallWix: Best for bookings and servicesBigCommerce: Lowest transaction feesSquare: Best free planSquarespace: Best looking online storesClick any of the above links to go straight to the provider's website where you can try a free trial.With ecommerce sales now making up around 15% of total retail sales in the US, according to the United States Census Bureau, it's small wonder you're keen to sell online. The convenience and popularity of online shopping means there's more competition than ever to get your products on screens.To help you make a decision quickly, we created an easy comparison of online store tools. And below, you’ll find a side-by-side summary of the top ecommerce platforms followed by individual reviews of each one. Read until the end for some more guidance about how and where to sell online. Quick Comparison: Best Online Store Tools Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward 👑 Shopify Wix BigCommerce Square Online Squarespace Score 4.7 Score 4.6 Score 4.4 Score 4.4 Score 4.3 Best For Small businesses overall Best For Bookings and Services Best For Multichannel selling Best For Selling without subscription fees Best For Attractive online stores Price Range $5-$299/month (paying annually)First three months: $1 each Price Range $27-$159/month$24.30-$143.10/month with code: “GET10!” Price Range $29–$299 Price Range $0-$79/month Price Range $23-$49/month$20.70-$44.10/month with code “EM10” Transaction fees 5%-0.15% Transaction fees None Transaction fees None Transaction fees Up to 2.9% + 30¢ Transaction fees 0-3% Credit card rates Up to 2.9% + 30¢ Credit card rates 2.9% + 30¢ Credit card rates None for many gatewaysPayPal powered by Braintree: from 2.59% + 49¢ Credit card rates Included in above fees Credit card rates Stripe: 2.9% + 30¢PayPal: 3.49% + 10¢ or 5¢Others vary Unlimited storage space? Unlimited storage space? Unlimited storage space? Unlimited storage space? Unlimited storage space? Free trial Free trial Free trial Free trial Free trial Try Shopify Try Wix Try BigCommerce Try Square Try Squarespace 1. Shopify: Best OverallSubscription pricing: Mid-to-highTransaction fees: Fairly highEase of use: 3.5/5 Pros Up to 1,000 inventory locations Good shipping discounts Marketing automations Great AI text writer Cons Lots of fees No native marketplace connections Limited staff accounts Suited to: Ambitious Sellers with a Clear Business PlanShopify 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 includes a library of free stock images for you to use.Who We Recommend Shopify ForShopify 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.Connecting Marketplaces to Your Shopify StoreThere 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.This is the app which Shopify's help assistant specifically recommended.Shopify's AI FeaturesThis 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 PricingHere's an overview of Shopify's pricing plans: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Starter Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify Shopify Plus Price (billed annually) $5/month Price (billed annually) $29/monthGet your first three months for $1 each Price (billed annually) $79/monthGet your first three months for $1 each Price (billed annually) $299/monthGet your first three months for $1 each Price (billed annually) $2,000+/month Best For Selling on social media Best For Starting a small online store Best For Small and medium sized businesses Best For International sellers Best For High volume retailers Key Features Get shoppable links (URLs)Product pagesBasic order managementCustomer support Key Features Sell an unlimited number of productsUp to two usersSell in 33 currencies (1.5% conversion fee)Basic performance reports Key Features 5 user accountsImproved reportsBetter shipping discountsShipping insurance (with Shopify Payments) Key Features 15 staff accountsAdvanced reportingThird-party calculated shipping ratesCollect duties and import taxes at checkout Key Features Faster checkoutAutomate workflowsSecurity and compliancePriority support Transaction Fees 5% Transaction Fees 2% Transaction Fees 1% Transaction Fees 0.5% Transaction Fees 0.15–0.30% Payment processing fees Online: 5% + $0.30¢ Payment processing fees Online: 2.9% + 30¢Online international or Amex: 3.9% + 30¢In person: 2.7% + 0¢ Payment processing fees Online: 2.6% + 30¢In person: 2.5% + 0¢ Payment processing fees Online: 2.4% + 30¢Online international or Amex: 3.4% + 30¢In person: 2.4% + 0¢ Payment processing fees Variable Ready to scale up your sales? Shopify is our top choice for an online store Try Shopify In terms of costs, Shopify pricing is not the most generous on the market – in fact, the free trial period is now just three days. Although it offers a really accessible entry price point (its Starter plan is $5 monthly), that comes with 5% transaction fees when you're signed up to Shopify Payments. And you'll likely need apps with – you guessed it – more monthly fees.You'll have to pay transaction fees and payment processing fees for every sale across all plans. That's not the case with Square or BigCommerce. This places Shopify on the pricey end of the ecommerce platform scale.That said, it's not without its advantages. Overall, its tier structure, while not exactly cheap, is very clear on what each tier gets you. In our Woocommerce vs Shopify comparison, we noted how Woocommerce's lack of priced tiers make it harder to budget for when compared to Shopify, for example.We've gone into more detail in our Shopify review, in case you're still undecided. Otherwise read on for more options. Shopify for Wholesalers Shopify looks set to take on Alibaba and Amazon as it moves into the wholesaler space. In September, Shopify announced investment in Faire, a platform that helps D2C (direct to consumer) merchants shift to a wholesale business model. 2. Wix: Best for Bookings and ServicesSubscription pricing: Mid-to-lower endTransaction fees: Just the standard credit card ratesEase of use: 4/5 Pros Accept deposits and pre-orders Bookings with multi-calendar synch AI assisted web design Cons Maximum 50,000 products Restricted storage space Capped sales tax automation Suited to: Services-Based Business LeadersWix 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.Stuck for inspiration? Wix has a built-in AI text generator for product descriptions.Who We Recommend Wix ForWix 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-UpWe'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 listingsHotel managers: season-specific room pricing, list add-on services at extra costFitness enthusiast: bookings (in person or online) via Wix Fit, subscriber-only content, automated remindersCreative professionals: membership areas with paywall content, video streamingWix 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 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 Light Core Business Business Elite Enterprise Price (billed monthly) $23/month Price (billed monthly) $34/month Price (billed monthly) $38/month Price (billed monthly) $172/month Price (billed monthly) Variable Price (billed annually) $16/month$14.40/month with code: “GET10!” Price (billed annually) $27/month$24.30 per month with code: “GET10!” Price (billed annually) $32/month$28.80/month with code: “GET10!” Price (billed annually) $159/month$143.10/month with code: “GET10!” Price (billed annually) Variable Best For Basic small business website Best For A small online store Best For Expanding online sellers Best For Fast-moving online stores Best For Competitive large retailers Key Features No online store2GB storageNo Wix adsFree domain (1 year)Customer data forms Key Features 50GB storageFree domain (1 year)Sell products, video, music1 auto backup/monthBasic gift cards Key Features 100GB storageFree domain (1 year)Sales tax automationPrint shipping labelsSell in 6 currencies Key Features Unlimited storageFree domain (1 year)Loyalty rewardsPriority customer supportCustom reports Key Features Account managerPerformance tracking and site optimizationEnterprise-grade security Create a versatile website that works for your customers Try Wix Wix is very similar in pricing to Squarespace, with Squarespace Business costing $23 per month (compared with Wix Core at $27 per month). But Wix could prove cheaper as Squarespace charges 3% transaction fees on its Business plan, whereas Wix charges no equivalent fees.We've created a Wix pricing page if you want to look more closely at costs. The number of Wix stores grew by 37% in the first quarter of 2023 compared with 2022 Join Wix At Last, Pay on Android More than six months after launching tap to pay on iPhone, Wix has now launched smartphone payment on Android. Now in-person sellers can take payments on non-Apple smartphones. 3. BigCommerce: Lowest Transaction FeesSubscription pricing: Good range of optionsTransaction fees: PayPal (via Braintree) onlyEase of use: 3.3/5 Pros Sell on Amazon, Walmart, eBay Limitless products, storage, staff accounts Sell in multiple currencies Cons Limited product filtering Extra cost for more storefronts Few free templates Suited to: Product Retailers with a Large Customer BaseIf 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 ForIt has to be said BigCommerce is really 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 clearly intended for thousands, not hunreds, 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 PricingYou get a generous 15-day free trial when you sign up to BigCommerce for the first time. Here are the price plans: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Standard Recommended: Best Value Plus Pro Price (billed monthly) $39 per month Price (billed monthly) $105 per month Price (billed monthly) $399 per month Price (billed annually) $29 per month Price (billed annually) $79 per month Price (billed annually) $299 per month Best For Starting a small or medium-sized online store Best For Growing your online store Best For Scaling your business to new heights Key Features Sell an unlimited number of productsMultichannel sellingCoupon creationReporting tools Key Features Abandoned cart recovery emailsCustomer loyalty programmesStore credit card payment details Key Features Filter products through size and colour variantsDedicated SSL securityGoogle reviews Try Now Try Now Try Now BigCommerce pricing is very similar to Shopify's: both have a plan for $29 per month and one for $299 per month. Yet Shopify charges more transaction fees than BigCommerce, making the latter a more affordable option for many retailers.But this will depend on the payment gateway you choose, because Shopify Payments removes Shopify's transaction fees (though credit card processing fees still apply).Still, BigCommerce charges processing fees between 2.59% + $0.49 and 2.05% + $0.49 under its Braintree pre-negotiated rates. Slowl-AI Getting There In July, BigCommerce announced big plans for Google Cloud AI technology integrations such as product recommendations and product descriptions. As of September, there's still no sign of these on the platform, however. BigCommerce seems to be slower at launching its AI features compared with main rival Shopify. 4. Square: Best Free PlanSubscription pricing: AffordableTransaction fees: Industry standardEase of use: 3.9/5 Pros Take payments on free plan Integrates well with POS (card reader) Automatic tax calculation Cons No membership log-in areas Limited web editing on cheaper plans Unsuitable for international selling Suited to: Small-to-Medium Sellers and Local BusinessesYou'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.I couldn't quite position my image as I would have liked it to display.Who We Recommend Square ForSquare 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, 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 PlanThe 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 SellersSquare has recently launched improvements to Square for Retail’s checkout including the addition of a “buy online, pick up in-store” option. We really 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 PricingSquare has three price plans to choose from: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Free Plus Premium Price (billed monthly) $0 per month Price (billed monthly) $32/month Price (billed monthly) $79 per month Price (billed annually) $0 per month Price (billed annually) $29/month Price (billed annually) $72 per month Best For Smaller businesses Best For Growing your loyal customer base Best For Customer service-focused sales Key Features Sell unlimited productsInstagram and Pinterest integrationCollect customer contact dataDiscount coupons Key Features Better site editing toolsCustomer accountsMore item customizationOrder status text alerts Key Features Real-time shipping ratesLower transaction fee (2.6% + 30¢)24/7 phone support access Want to scale up your sales with fewer fees? Try Square Square's premium price plans are good value for money, in our eyes. At just $29 per month, Square Plus will send personalized product recommendations to your customers (if they're logged in). Customers will also get order status text alerts. That's a surprisingly affordable price point for such a personalized customer experience. By contrast, BigCommerce doesn't even allow for product filtering on your site until the $299 a month (paying annually) Pro plan.Square's simple pricing structure (monthly subscription fee + set fee per transaction) is also much easier to understand than Shopify's multi-layered payment fee structure.That said, you should be aware of the following payment processing fees with Square:AfterPay (you get the full amount upfront, but the customer pays in installments): 6% + 30¢ per transaction feeCash App (digital wallet): 2.9% + 30c per transaction feePayPal: 3.49% + 49¢ per transaction feeGoogle Pay/Apple Pay (via Square Payments): 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction fee 5. Squarespace: Best Looking Online StoresSubscription pricing: Lower endTransaction fees: ReasonableEase of use: 4.2/5 Pros World class template designs Precise web design editing Unlimited bandwidth Cons Very few apps available Transaction fees on Commerce Basic No multi-currency selling Suited to: Artists, Creatives, and Visually-Driven BrandsSquarespace 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.Squarespace will suggest designs based on your business.Who We Recommend Squarespace ForSquarespace 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 ProcessUsing 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 actually 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 PricingThere are four Squarespace price plans to choose from, all of which are relatively low cost compared with the larger platforms Shopify and BigCommerce: Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Personal Business Commerce Basic Commerce Advanced Price (billed monthly) $23/month Price (billed monthly) $33/month Price (billed monthly) $36/month Price (billed monthly) $65/month Price (billed annually) $16/month Price (billed annually) $23/month$20.70/month with code “EM10” Price (billed annually) $27/month$24.30/month with code “EM10” Price (billed annually) $49/month$44.10/month with code “EM10” Best For Early stage entrepreneurs Best For Small businesses Best For SMBs looking to sell online Best For Growing retail businesses Key Features Free domain (1 year)Unlimited bandwidth and storageCollect visitor dataVideo maker Key Features Sell unlimited number of productsFree domain (1 year)Free Gmail (1 year)Pop-ups and banners Key Features Point of SaleCollect reviewsProduct waitlistsFree Gmail (1 year)Free domain (1 year) Key Features Abandoned cart recoverySell subscriptionsLocal shipping ratesAPIs for custom integrations Squarespace has the best-looking templates of any we've seen Try Squarespace You may have noticed Squarespace pricing is similar to Wix, and they're near competitors because of their focus on design and style. You wouldn't come to either for complex inventory management and warehouse services, for instance.Both Squarespace Commerce Basic and Wix Core cost $27 per month, but with Wix you'll get 5 hours of video storage versus 30 minutes with Squarespace. You'll also get slightly better selling features from Wix at this price point, including abandoned cart recovery emails, applying discounts automatically, and the ability to accept pre-orders.But if you want to sell more than 50,000 products, you should choose Squarespace over Wix. And if product reviews are important to you, Squarespace is the better choice once again, as Wix limits these. Squarespace for Online Instruction As of August, you can now sell digital “Courses” (learning programs) on your Squarespace site. While this is a decent idea that's highly relevant to its creative business user base, it remains to be seen how successful this model will be given the competition from Patreon, YouTube, and purpose-built education platforms such as Coursera and Udemy. How To Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for Your BusinessThe best ecommerce platform for Staples (a brand that happens to use Shopify) isn't necessarily the best choice for you. Here are the factors you should bear in mind when it comes to selecting an online selling tool:Selling location – Wix is better for digital sales, but Square is easy to connect with in-person sellingFee structure – Shopify has several payment fees, whereas Square has oneLevel of technical skill needed – Wix is on the easy side, whereas WordPress/WooCommerce is harderInternational selling capability – BigCommerce supports multiple currencies, Squarespace doesn'tAfter you've identified those key features of your business plan, you can move forward with selecting an ecommerce platform. We've gone into more detail about which type of user each tool is best suited to, in the reviews below. What's the Difference Between an Online Marketplace and an Ecommerce Platform?It's easy to get confused about the different types of online selling platforms. But the differences matter. A lot. An online marketplace is owned by a company, and shoppers can buy from many different sellers who list their goods there. By contrast, an ecommerce platform is a tool you can use to build your own online store, and yours are the only goods or services for sale on that website.Here are the different examples:Online marketplaceEcommerce platformAmazonBigCommerceeBayShopifyWalmart MarketplaceWixEtsySquare OnlineAs you can see, the marketplace sites (also confusingly known as ecommerce sites), are akin to a shopping mall where you can choose to enter a number of different stores. But the ecommerce platforms are the online version of your physical store.The Google results for "Ecommerce sites" confusingly combine ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. Should I Use an Ecommerce Platform or Online Marketplace?Honestly, there's nothing stopping you from using both. But if you do, you'll need to ensure you synch your inventory across all of your online sales channels. That way you'll avoid a situation where you can't fulfil orders from your website because you've already sold out on eBay.Let's quickly look at the differences between using an ecommerce platform versus an online marketplace:Online marketplaceEcommerce platformWebsite speed and hosting is managed by the platform owner (not you)You’re responsible for website speed and hostingQuick and easy to set upMore involved set-up processMinimal tech skills neededSome tech confidence neededNo control over user journeyCustomize checkout, pop-ups, and moreCompete for visibility of your products among other sellersShoppers only see your products on the siteWeb domain is marketplace nameOption to use a custom domain namePlatform takes a large commission (8-15%) plus listing and payment processing feesPlatform takes smaller commission (0-5%) plus payment fees (2-4%) plus monthly subscription feeThe main points of difference are the cost to you (the seller) and product visibility. Let's look at each of those.Costs of Ecommerce Platforms vs Online MarketplacesThe main costs of ecommerce platforms are the monthly subscription fee (although Square Online has a free plan), which online marketplaces typically do not charge. Almost all ecommerce platforms charge payment processing fees (except, again, Square Online, which instead charges a flat fee for its premium monthly plans).Online marketplaces typically take a commission per sale – some ecommerce platforms do this as well, such as Shopify. This is what makes Shopify a pretty expensive ecommerce platform. Some online marketplaces charge a listing fee – eBay and Etsy do this. However, ecommerce platforms do not charge such a fee.You can also pay extra to “boost” visibility of your product listing on an online marketplace. On platforms like eBay, you are charged only when a click on a paid placement leads to a sale. On Etsy, however, you are charged per click no matter if the viewer buys your item or not. A model like this can cause you to lose out on profit per sale. However, promoted listings can draw in shoppers to browse the rest of your store.Etsy charges sellers per click on each promoted listing.Product Visibility on Ecommerce Platforms vs Online MarketplacesThe supposed advantage of listing your products on marketplaces like Amazon is that buyers are already searching there. Therefore your products should automatically get lots of visibility from eager buyers. But if that were entirely true, there wouldn't be any need for paid marketplace listings (described in the section above).Therefore listing your products on a third-party marketplace is certainly no guarantee of better visibility for your wares.With an ecommerce platform, SEO strategy is vital. That means you need to set your website up well enough that search engines pull in your product pages. However, you may also want to promote your ecommerce store with pay-per-click ads on Google, Bing, Ecosia or other search providers. Expert Verdict Our research found Shopify is the best site to set up an online store in 2023. Although it's on the pricey end, it's got the advanced selling tools that confident, ambitious merchants need to scale up in the competitive arena of ecommerce.If you're put off by the extra fees and tricky online marketplace connections, then larger-scale sellers can look to BigCommerce for a smoother retail experience.Alternatively, local businesses that sell services, subscriptions, and paid appointments are usually best off with Wix. We favor Wix for bookings and other face-to-face business ventures, thanks to its convenient scheduling features. 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 US 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 algorithm in a nutshell!Our main testing categories for ecommerce website builders are:Website Features: the capabilities and functionalities offered by an ecommerce website builder, e.g. blog functionality, SEO capability, and marketing capacity.Sales Features: the sales capabilities and sales functionalities offered by an ecommerce website builder, including shipping, inventory capacity, and payment options.Design: the aesthetic appeal and visual layout of a website created using an ecommerce 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 ecommerce website builder – the market position and reputation a website builder holds.Ease of Use: how user-friendly and intuitive an ecommerce platform is for people with varying levels of technical expertise.Value for Money: the balance between the cost of an ecommerce 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 an ecommerce builder. This can include tutorials, knowledge bases, and email or chat support. FAQs What is an ecommerce platform? It's a proprietary set of tools that allow you to sell things online, either directly to customers or, in some cases, to other businesses. More simply, an ecommerce platform is an online store. It usually consists of a website that's customized to suit the particular product offering. Often it's linked to other digital sales channels, such as social media shopping and marketplaces like Amazon, Google Shopping, Walmart or Etsy. Which ecommerce platform is the best for small business? Shopify is the best online sales platform for small businesses that are looking to scale up their sales. It scored 4.7/5 in our thorough research of ecommerce platforms, taking the top spot above Wix, BigCommerce, and Square Online.Best suited to those with a clear business plan, Shopify has advanced sales features and marketing automations to increase revenue from online customers. Which is the cheapest ecommerce platform? Square is the most affordable route to setting up your online sales. You can actually publish a custom online store and take payments from customers without paying any monthly subscription fees. You'll only pay when you sell (a transaction fee of 2.9% + 30¢ in the US). Note that you can't accept PayPal payments until you upgrade. 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.