The 10 Best Ecommerce Platforms of 2020 & Beyond
eCommerce is powering the internet – and beyond. We see screenshots of success stories doing the rounds on social media every day. Many are considering launching their own eCommerce businesses and are probably wondering what eCommerce platforms others are using.
In this article, we are going to talk about the best eCommerce platforms of 2020 & beyond. The score is awarded based on things like marketing features, SEO juice, multichannel functions, ease of use, integrations supported and much more.
The success of your business will depend a lot on the platform you pick to suit your business. This is the hardest part for many people for a couple of reasons. First, there are many platforms to choose from and sometimes the most common option may not be the best choice for your business. The nature of your business must have a say.
So let’s introduce the best eCommerce platforms worth considering:
For an eCommerce solution that powers 1million+ online businesses, Shopify is arguably the best and obviously, the most common choice. It’s very much possible that you can never go wrong by picking this platform.
Being an all-inclusive platform, Shopify helps you to put up your store pretty fast through drag and drop. This is the way to go if you don’t have an in-house team or the resource to start putting up a site. What’s more, this platform is very easy to use.
The versatility of Shopify makes it a go-to eCommerce resource for netpreneurs. Its structure is flexible enough to comfortably accommodate both entry-level and enterprise-grade businesses.
Kylie Jenner’s billion-dollar cosmetic company (Kylie Cosmetics) was launched on Shopify. And it’s not the only one. Some of the big names on this platform include Red Bull, Yeezy Supply (Kanye West clothing line), Nestle, Tesla, Kim Kardashian West Beauty and many more.
Shopify integrates with over 3k apps, supports multiple payment channels and has so many themes to play around with. It allows you to sell your goods via many online marketplaces, social media, and Shopify’s POS. whatever you’ll need they will most certainly have it.
Pros of Shopify
- Affordable membership plans
- A very app-rich App store (over 3200)
- Multiple payment channels
- You don’t need to have design or technical skills to use the platform
- Multiple selling points
- Exemplary mobile and desktop SEO
- Supports the dropshipping model
- Integrates with many third-party apps
- Has a blog for promoting your business
- You get 14 days to try them for free
- Sometimes you have to download or install an app to use a functionality that’s supposed to be a key part of the platform
- Limits sellers from creating even the simplest product category levels
Shopify’s wide acceptance and use is the best reason why you could be safe with them. Obviously, they already have a boatload of features, simple structure, and other limitless capabilities. However, their large user base means they are financially stable and will remain that way for long.
New eCommerce platforms are still struggling to get by. Entrusting them with your business is nothing short of gambling. If they go down, you’ll have some loses to deal with.
How would you feel if your business had unlimited potential? You would feel great, right? Guess what, Bigcommerce can help you accomplish that. Having been in business for over a decade, they do know what it takes to set up a successful online store.
Compared to Shopify, this platform has an overwhelming number of built-in features and most of them are free. With the latter platform, you can find yourself spending so much more on third-party app integrations.
Bigcommerce is a flexible eCommerce solution that can be used as a pure SaaS or commerce engine (to manage sales channels). You can also mount it on a CMS infrastructure to get it to do what you want. Basically, WordPress users, B2B store owners, and wholesale stores will find this platform to be more than sufficient for their needs.
Features aside, BigCommerce is respected for having flawless systems. We are talking about better security, faster speeds, and multiple selling portals. You can sell anything from service-based products, physical goods, and digital products. They have three plans in place;
- Standard-charged at $29.95 per month
- Plus-$79.95 a month
- And pro plan at $249.95 a month
Pros of Bigcommerce
- Like Shopify, Bigcommerce is financially stable and thus will be around for a long time
- They have multiple selling channels
- Fantastic SEO tools
- Massive built-in features than any other eCommerce solution
- You’ll get 15 days of free trial
- Exceptional data reporting tools
- There is a small learning curve involved when dealing with advanced features
- Its split editor is complex
- Overall, it’s slightly difficult to use than Shopify
Bigcommerce is the next best alternative to Shopify. If anything, there is very little difference between these two eCommerce titans. Checkout BigCommerce vs. Shopify comparison articles to be able to learn some of the little things they differ on.
As a scalable eCommerce solution, BigCommerce gives your store a chance to grow and expand into an empire without being bottlenecked. Every store gets an automatic upgrade once it hits a certain growth milestone-pretty hassle-free, right? Yeah.
After reading about Shopify and BigCommerce, it’s possible to wonder what 3dcart and other remaining eCommerce platforms can offer. Well, you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them because they too have unique purposes.
For advanced eCommerce individuals (those with coding and development skills), 3dcart is an option that you may not want to turn a blind eye to. To begin with, they have many subscription plans that are a few dollars cheaper than both Shopify and BigCommerce.
This platform also takes the crown for providing advanced shipping and over 200 payment getaways. There is no third-party app that you’ll need that it will fail to integrate with-never! It works with virtually anything. On top of all these magnificent features, they don’t charge transaction fees and you still get a free domain to get started with for a year.
3dcart has the best SEO features (including a better blog feature) for putting your shop at the top of search engines. The dashboard is clean with an introductory video placed right in the middle. Despite the fine layout, typography and color schemes are inconsistent. There is also no drag and drop construction feature.
One of the biggest pitfalls of this platform is failing to integrate mobile apps. This is the latest eCommerce trend no one should ignore. Nevertheless, if some of its shortcomings don’t affect your business model, then you’ll find it a worthy eCommerce solution.
Pros of 3dcart
- They have the best blog feature than the first two titans
- Supports multiple integrations
- Superb business management
- Advanced shipping that needs no API
- Out of the box, it has more features than Shopify
- They offer useful SEO prompts
- Their templates feel outdated
- Not the best option for beginners
- You cannot duplicate product categories
3dcart favors advanced eCommerce individuals who want a cheaper option that lets them customize their shops. It comes with powerful management tools, multiple payment gateways and accepts virtually any integration tool.
Still a new kid on the block, Wix started as an online website builder but later upgraded to include eCommerce services. Through the drag and drop feature, you can have yourself a stable and effective online store with all the necessary features and functions.
Building a site from scratch is something no one looks forward to. Wix makes this possible through its 500+ template collection. However, out of all these, only 72 of them are for free.
There are so many theme categories from tourism, corporate to anything you can think of. Additionally, some of them come with pre-configured content that you can either work on or delete.
Besides the themes being mobile responsive, the drag and drop editor lets you customize everything and view how it would appear on mobile screens. Everything can be revamped through some coding, of course.
Wix app store is laden with all the tools and plugins that make your shop look good and sell as well. Some of the tools include Embed HTML, Voila (for blogs) marketing tools, analytics tools, event planning, live chat, forum section, eCommerce tools and many more.
Pros of Wix
- The best drag and drop site builder
- Over 500 eCommerce templates
- Doesn’t take commissions
- Reliable SEO features
- Affordable subscription plans
- Responsive customer support
- Doesn’t support dropshipping yet
- Still lacks high-end marketing features
- Free plans come with Wix branding
- Might be hard to transfer your site
Wix is a growing platform and therefore ideal for those starting small businesses or personal websites. The good thing about them is that you get a lot of cool features at a fraction of what others offer. Given their efforts at implementing what customers want, this eCommerce solution is bound to get bigger and better with time.
You know how good Adobe is, right? In case your memory doesn’t serve you right, then let give it a jog. Adobe is the creator of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash Builder, Adobe reader, and many others. On top of that list, add Magento.
Magento is an enterprise-level eCommerce platform that suits big brands like Nike, Canon, HP, Samsung, Procter & Gamble..along those lines. Their solutions are tailored for large scale B2B and B2C companies. As such, its services are nothing short of flawless.
As an open-source programmable eCommerce solution, you’ll have to put in a lot of resources including hosting fees and other expansion charges. That said, you get quite a lot from unlimited product listing, multiple payment channels, ability to offer discounts, automatic selling…anything you can think of or want.
Magento is not just a platform, but a powerhouse full of top talent from serial programmers to online business optimization gurus. You can tap the unlimited knowledge of these experts but at a fee. Their beginner software is free but advanced plans can stretch into tens of thousands.
Pros of Magento
- 1-click selling
- Packed with a community of distinguished experts
- Plenty of robust features
- Unlimited customizability
- Extremely scalable
- Expensive themes and subscription plans
- You must have a team of experts or possess some design skills
- You need a lot of space and memory for the software to work
- There is no support-you are mostly on your own
If you have a small store or are planning to start a small business, forget about Magento for now. They have advanced eCommerce solutions with pricing that is tailored to large scale companies. Despite being a powerful system, this platform allows customization on a massive scale and has limitless features and tools.
This is not a full-blast eCommerce platform like the ones above. Rather, it is a plugin for WordPress websites that converts them into online stores. With over 80 million downloads, this eCommerce plugin is inarguable another popular choice to consider.
Like any other plugin, WooCommerce is not complicated to mount on a site. But first, you must have an active site already running( domain, hosting plan and a WordPress account.
This service has an extensive store from where you can pick apps of your choice. A few of them include marketing tools, payment processors, automation tools, store management tools and many more. By the way, some are free but others can go as high as $300.
WordPress is an open-source platform with limitless customization. Now, when you use WooCommerce, the same gene is passed to your store. You can play around with everything to achieve a design that fits your market or users.
- Pretty easy to customize
- Installable on WordPress sites
- Over 300 useful extensions
- Supported by a large user base
- Not a full-scale eCommerce solution
- Premium costs can add up to a big chunk(unless if you know your final estimate)
WooCommerce is a good idea for a content-based website whose primary intention is to educate or inform rather than make money. However, if your core goal is to have an online shop with full eCommerce capabilities, you would be better off with other platforms.
Before you dismiss Volusion for appearing at the bottom of the page, check this out; this is a pioneer eCommerce platform with over 200k stores. Up to the time of this writing, it has generated over $28 billion in sales. Oh, you didn’t see that coming, did you?
This platform adopts a very simple and straightforward structure for stating and scaling your online business. Unfortunately, it’s majorly designed to deal with physical products so don’t expect digital downloads.
Volusion has no restriction on the number of products you can list. So if you have a bucket load of physical products, this is the place to stage your shop. While they boast of exceptional customer service, it mostly depends on the plan you choose.
There are four pricing plans available:
- Personal ($26/month)
Shipping rates vary from one plan to another. However, those with bigger plans get better discounts. Like BigCommerce, your shop gets an automatic upgrade when its sales cross a certain threshold.
Pros of Volusion
- Outstanding customer service
- Two weeks to try for free
- You can list as many products as you want
- 1-month money-back guarantee
- Limited to physical goods
- Outdated themes
- No in-built blogging feature (but you can use a CMS or another plugin)
Volusion provides you with an easy way out when it comes to creating an online store. All happens from a single dashboard. And no one limits you on how many products you list. But as we said earlier, you better be dealing with physical products.
When you know very little about website creation or building an eCommerce shop, it’s easy to give up on your dreams. You can also go ahead to hire developers with experience and pay a lot only for these folks to turn to platforms like Squarespace which does everything through drag and drop feature.
Like WordPress, Squarespace takes away the complicated stuff that would otherwise require someone to have coding knowledge. In fact, you can easily customize this platform’s online stores and sites without back-door coding or extensions.
Unlike WordPress, Squarespace moves with you from the building stage to the selling point and further. They stock a good number of beautiful templates and you can install several on your site without them clashing.
As an eCommerce solution, this platform allows you to stock unlimited products (physical and digital) recover abandoned carts, manage subscriptions, use gift cards and much more. The checkouts are also mobile-optimized to allow mobile users to make purchases.
On the flip side, Squarespace doesn’t have an app store. Don’t get this wrong; they have plenty of plugins and extension but that’s just it. No place to get more. So it would be ideal to go over all their extensions and plugins to ensure they have everything you’ll need along the way.
This platform has four pricing plans; Personal ($12/month), Business ($18/month), Basic Commerce, ($26/month), and Advanced Commerce ($40/month). The first plan doesn’t have eCommerce capabilities, though.
Pros of Squarespace
- You can list unlimited products
- Very affordable plans
- Multiple beautiful templates
- They don’t have an app store
Squarespace is ideal for beginners who are still unsure of which platform to use or which direction to take. Given that they don’t restrict a lot of things, you can’t go wrong with them. Furthermore, you don’t need any coding skills to get going.
Sometimes all you want is to convert your high-traffic website into an eCommerce hub. Well, you already know that is possible through Woocommerce, right? But if your site is not built on WordPress, then you can resort to Opencart.
This platform comes with multiple eCommerce functionalities-most of which you can tweak. Everything is adjusted and monitored from a single dashboard. Do you want to hear something pretty cool? OpenCart has a very extensive marketplace with over 13k themes, modules, and extensions. Imagine what you can do with all that?
This platform is an open-source software that’s free to use. No monthly subscription at all. If you run into a pickle, there are over 110,000 experts registered on the platform that you can hire at a fee. They also have a massive FAQ section that could provide solutions for free.
In case you need dedicated help from the software’s developer, you’ll need to spend $99 a month.
Pros of OpenCart
- No monthly fees
- Can be installed on any website
- Over 13k themes, modules, and extensions
- Over 550k FAQ posts
- Possible to get dedicated support
- High customizable
- Without a proper estimate, you could end up spending more on premium extensions and other help from experts
- Doesn’t have the best speed
- You take care of hosting and maintenance costs
- Built-in marketing features are limited
OpenCart is a world of endless possibilities. As an open-source software, you can forget about monthly fees. Of course, there are some charges involved like using some extensions amongst other things. But if your aim is to have a simple site with no need for premium tools, then you have all the reasons to stick with this platform.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware)
Shopify and BigCommerce may boast of massive users but none of them can match Salesforce Commerce Cloud in terms of sophistication. As a cloud-based solution, this platform connects all the aspects of your business-from order fulfillment, customer service, social media selling to brick and mortar operations.
Put simply, this eCommerce solution puts you at the center of your business. You can manage everything from promotions, pricing, to customer engagement. Its functionalities revolve around eCommerce, order management, mobile-first POS and predictive intelligence.
Thanks to advanced AI, you will be able to operate a shop that is based on real data-not guesswork. This translates to massive returns. Their multi-tenant architecture is of unparalleled performance. If we start counting their features, it would take us a few hours to get done.
To give you a glimpse of what Salesforce offers, their key features include social integrations, content management, marketing tools, site search, product management, data analysis, cart and check out management and the list goes on. Unfortunately, they don’t have a clear pricing system. You have to contact admins to get a quote.
Pros of Salesforce
- Uses AI to drive sales
- Unlimited tools and features
- You can manage all your operations from one place
- Integrates with thousands of CRM and other plugins
- High level of personalization
- Can handle traffic spikes comfortably
- Pricing is not transparent
- Not for small businesses
If you run a massive B2B or B2C company, Salesforce is the perfect solution to have. While their features are certainly costly, they are exactly what you need to succeed. Furthermore, the platform has nothing but thousands of glamorous reviews.
Wrapping Its All Up
Choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business guarantees a smooth and productive ride. But sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of things to consider from your business model, your financial position, the skills you possess, the tools the service has and much more.
Sometimes you’ll need to even to foreshadow the direction your business will take to avoid having to deal with hard or impossible transfers. All in all, it seems the two choices that are widely recommended are Shopify and Bigcommerce.
If you have coding knowledge and wish to work with fully customizable solutions, then 3dcart and Magento will suffice. The latter, alongside Salesforce, is feature-rich to drive sales for those with enterprise-level ventures.
If you wish to deal with drag and drop eCommerce platforms only, then the top options are Wix, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Squarespace. There is always an eCommerce solution for any type of business you have in mind.