The best ecommerce website builders provide online stores designed to market and sell products free of geographical limitations. Whereas physical goods can be sent to your customer’s mailing address via your preferred shipping method, digital products can be delivered directly over email or through an online portal. Using the best ecommerce website builder for small businesses, you can create your own online store within minutes.
But why have an ecommerce website, you ask? It’s currently estimated that there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers globally by the end of 2021. That’s a lot of market potential to tap into. There are also anywhere between 12 and 24 million ecommerce websites operating globally, however, meaning that you’re in for tough competition.
Thankfully, not all ecommerce websites are competing within the same market space. Each industry has its own top players, managed and operated by experts within the industry itself. If you’re a creative professional with industry expertise—be it in fashion design, digital art, or something else—setting up an online store can help you monetise your work for extra income. In this article, we take a look at the best website builders for designing and launching your own creative online store, no matter your vocation or industry.
The best ecommerce website builders
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Wix is a flexible and intuitive platform for building websites of all stripes. It features a highly versatile drag-and-drop website editor and enough themes and layouts to fit any industry. While the platform can be used to build all kinds of websites, it also boasts some very exciting features in the ecommerce department.
Wix’s ecommerce offering comes with tons of features, including subscription management, abandoned cart recovery, fully-automated sales tax calculation, and a built-in event-booking platform. There are no limits imposed on the number of products you can sell or transactions you can process. There are also no commission fees per transaction, while dedicated analytics tools help you take control of your marketing campaigns. All business subscribers have access to 24/7 support via phone and live chat.
Wix has four specific plans for ecommerce websites. Business Basic, with its 20GB of storage space, is sufficient for most and costs $23/month. Business Unlimited and Business VIP offer 30GB and 50GB of storage space and cost $27 and $49 a month when paid annually. There’s also an Enterprise plan of over $500/month for large-scale businesses, with the pricing varying significantly based on your needs.
Shopify is the most powerful ecommerce website builder in the market, currently operating with a user base of over one million online stores. It is best suited for medium- to large-scale online businesses, however, as the platform is known for being expensive. Every plan comes packaged with excellent quality web hosting, including unlimited storage and bandwidth to get your website online.
With Shopify, you get 24/7 customer support, 70+ themes and templates, as well as a premium content delivery network (CDN). A few other notable features include abandoned cart recovery, shipping rate management, and customer account management. Plus, there are hundreds of third-party integrations to choose from within its built-in app store. You can add an unlimited number of products to your online store.
Shopify handles all ecommerce transactions made using its built-in payment gateway for free, whereas third-party payment gateways come with a fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. There are three plans available: Basic Shopify for $29 a month, Shopify for $79 a month, and Advanced Shopify for $299 a month. The latter two include additional features like gift cards, professional reports, advanced report building, and career shipping. Payments are calculated annually and can be made in advance for up to three years.
Thanks to an award-winning collection of themes and templates, Squarespace is favored by creative professionals and businesses all over the world. The designs are highly polished and completely responsive, with features that every ecommerce website can take advantage of. If looks and functionality are important to you, there’s no beating this platform.
Squarespace lets you sell physical and digital products with ease. You get excellent tools for blogging and SEO. Plus, there is a considerable collection of apps and extensions to choose from. Unfortunately, Squarespace has no centralized app marketplace, but it makes up for that with the ability to inject your own code to achieve your required functionality. Squarespace is really big on branding, allowing you to tweak and customize every aspect of your website to achieve a professional look. There aren’t many ecommerce-specific features, but the inventory system is exceptional.
Squarespace Personal is the starting plan and costs $12 a month. However, it doesn’t currently support ecommerce. Squarespace Business is perfect for most online businesses, though, at $18/month. Larger businesses can take advantage of Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce, which cost $26 and $40 a month, respectively, and come with 0% transaction fees. You also get a slew of advanced shipping and discounting options.
BigCommerce is an advanced ecommerce website builder for the social media-savvy entrepreneur. It enables you to increase your sales through a variety of social and ecommerce platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping, Amazon, and eBay.
The site editor is fully drag and drop, allowing you to create complex layouts without any coding knowledge. There’s a plethora of advanced features and functionalities to take advantage of, including bulk pricing and customer management. Since most of these features are built directly into the platform, BigCommerce doesn’t employ or need a third-party app marketplace. Because of the advanced nature of the website builder, users creating their first ecommerce website may be at a loss for what to do. There are a large number of features, and you can end up overpaying if you don’t prioritize the ones you really need.
BigCommerce Standard is $29.95 a month. It includes a 15-day free trial and comes with 24/7 premium support. Since all plans feature unlimited bandwidth and storage, the pricing scheme is based only on the features you will need. If you want functions like abandoned cart recovery, price lists, and product filtering, you can consider paying more for BigCommerce Plus at $79.95 or BigCommerce Pro at $299.95.
Weebly is an excellent website builder with a negligible learning curve and generous free plan for ecommerce websites. You can build, launch, and maintain a limited ecommerce website completely free of cost on this platform. It may not be the most robust platform out there, but it definitely has enough to suit the needs of most small- to medium-sized businesses.
Weebly is owned by Square. Accordingly, it integrates flawlessly with the company’s point of sale system and allows you to manage all your customers from a unified dashboard. The website editor is fully drag and drop and requires zero coding knowledge. However, HTML and CSS can be used to further customize the look and feel of your website if you so desire. Weebly also provides shipping and inventory management tools for ecommerce websites, and out-of-stock tags can be used to mark products that are currently unavailable.
Weebly offers business-specific plans for ecommerce websites. Pro starts at $12/month, Business at $25/month, and Business Plus at $38/month. All plans come with unlimited storage and the ability to connect a custom domain. Business and Business Plus also feature a shipping calculator, a tax management system, and an inventory system.
Volusion, founded in 1999, is the oldest ecommerce website builder. So far, it has sold its services for more than $28 billion and hosted over 30,000 online stores. This platform falls squarely in the group of ecommerce-specific website builders that offer advanced functionality in exchange for a steep learning curve.
Volusion’s systems aren’t easy to figure out by yourself, but luckily, you don’t have to. The company has published extensive online tutorials to help you get started. There’s a small choice of free templates to pick from, whereas paid templates are quite expensive. This means that you should expect a sizable investment going in, beyond the monthly subscription that you have to pay for. In return, you will gain access to features like abandoned cart recovery and customer data migration. There’s also a variety of payment gateways to choose from, including the native Volusion Merchant Program, Paypal, and Stripe.
Volusion’s plans start at $29/month with Personal. However, it limits you to no more than 100 products and $50K in sales per year, making it a good choice only for small businesses. Then there’s the Professional Plan, which costs $79/month for $100k in sales and 5000 product placements. Beyond that, you have the Business Plan, which costs $299/month. It’s quite a leap in pricing, but you get unlimited product placements and priority support. There’s also the Enterprise Plan, which comes with custom pricing.
Previously branded as Zyro, today's Hostinger Website builder is a beginner-friendly website builder with an easy interface and a really small starting price. It’s perfect if you are just getting started in the ecommerce industry and don’t feel ready to make a huge investment just yet. The platform even uses artificial intelligence to make the website building process as seamless as possible.
Hostinger Website builder offers a substantial collection of themes and plugins, separated into various categories depending on your industry. You also get excellent social media and ecommerce platform integration for Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. Using AI, Hostinger Website builder offers you a slew of powerful tools and add-ons, such as a business name generator, a logo maker, a slogan generator, and a heatmap. In fact, Hostinger Website builder goes so far as to offer an AI-based content creation platform that will generate text content for your website. This is particularly useful if you aren’t a writer and don’t have the budget to hire one.
Hostinger Website builder Basic costs as little as $1.89/month. It offers 1GB of storage and 3GB of bandwidth. While that’s not enough for most websites, higher-tier plans like Unleashed, eCommerce, and eCommerce Plus all come with limitless storage space and bandwidth. If you’re trying to launch an online store, you will want to consider either eCommerce or eCommerce Plus, both of which offer additional shipping and inventory management features.