The 11 Best eCommerce Website Builders Compared

Are you thinking about starting a project on WordPress.com, but you’re unsure whether the platform’s right for you? Are you looking for a tool that offers beautiful web designs and first-rate performance? If so, you’re in the right place; we’re going to compare some of the best eCommerce website builders on the market to help you make a more informed purchasing decision. 

But first, why bother using an eCommerce site builder over a bespoke solution?

In short:

  • Designing and launching a custom website from scratch is expensive and complicated – especially if you don’t have the coding know-how. 
  • With an eCommerce website builder, you have the comfort that comes with using trusted software
  • Customers can checkout using reliable and reputable payment gateways 
  • You get access to support from the platform’s development team
  • Sometimes, if you already have a website, you can expand it into an eCommerce store rather than starting from the beginning again

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s examine some of the hallmarks all the best eCommerce website builders boast:

What to look for in the best eCommerce website builders

Put simply, here are a few must-haves that all the best eCommerce website builders have: 

  • Responsive design: This ensures your online store looks and functions well on any device.
  • High-quality templates optimized for user experience: These go a long way to getting a professional-looking online shop off the ground quickly
  • A selection of native integrations with leading payment providers: You want to offer customers payment methods they know and trust
  • Customization potential: By this, we mean a decent array of widgets and add-ons so you can build a storefront that speaks to your brand
  • Ease of use: Your chosen platform should be intuitive enough for you and your team to use from both the front end and back-end
  • SEO friendly (search engine optimization): This gives you the best possible chance of driving organic traffic to your site and extending your online presence via search engines
  • Scaleable: You’ll want a website builder that can scale alongside your success
  • Excellent customer support

With all these points in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular eCommerce store builders on the market:


WordPress.com on the eCommerce plan

WordPress.com

Pros:

  • Free domain for the first year
  • Best-in-class hosting for speedy page loading times
  • Fully responsive templates
  • Excellent real-time live chat and email support as well as top-notch self-help materials. 
  • Intuitive drag and drop page builder
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Access to over 50,000 third-party plugins to extend your site’s functionality

WordPress powers over 40% of all sites on the web. It’s a complete solution, providing users everything they need to hit the ground running. Most notably, web hosting, a domain name, security, access to over 50,000 plugins, automatic updates, a content delivery network, advanced SEO tools, and the ability to process customer payments from over 60 countries. You can also access WordPress.com’s API for more in-depth customization. 

Although you can take payments on WordPress.com’s Premium plans and above, if you’re serious about building an online store, WordPress.com’s eCommerce plan is the best option.

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing):
    • Personal: $4 a month
    • Premium: $8 a month
    • Business: $25 a month
    • eCommerce: $45 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: Stripe, Square, PayPal Checkout, and many more
  • Transaction fees: WordPress.com doesn’t charge transaction fees. However, payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal may impose separate pricing.
  • Number of products: Unlimited
  • Storage space: 200 GB
  • Verdict: WordPress.com is the best eCommerce website builder for business owners looking to launch a professional-looking online store via a scalable and easy-to-use platform. 

Self-hosted WordPress.org 

WordPress.org

Pros:

  • Customization options are near-on endless. 
  • You have complete control over your site because you have full ownership of it and all its data.
  • You can create membership sites. 

Cons:

  • Success hinges on the plugins and themes you install. If you don’t fully understand them nor have any coding know-how, this is a laborious and complex process. 
  • You have to find, pay, and maintain a custom domain, web hosting, and security, including an SSL certificate.  
  • You’re responsible for backing up your website.

WordPress.org is a free, open-source platform. As such, you have complete customization freedom. However, this is a bit of a double-edged sword as you also have to handle everything yourself. From buying a theme from a third party, installing it to a hosting provider, vetting and installing all necessary plugins, and managing website security, you have to do it all yourself. You’ll have to install an add-on like WooCommerce to add an online store to your website. 

  • User payment plans: It’s free!
  • Customer payment gateways: There are 100+ payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Klarna
  • Transaction fees: If you use WordPress’s WooCommerce plugin to launch your online store, WooCommerce Payments charges a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee on US credit or debit cards. For international cards, there’s an extra 1% fee.
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited
  • Storage space: This depends on your chosen hosting provider
  • Verdict: WordPress.org is the best eCommerce website builder for web developers looking for complete autonomy over their websites.

Wix

Wix

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly drag-and-drop editor
  • Built-in sales tools like abandoned cart recovery and multichannel selling.
  • Excellent pre-built templates; there are tons to choose from, many of which are explicitly designed with specific industries in mind.

Cons:

  • Wix’s inventory management tools could be improved. For instance, there aren’t any stock management alerts, meaning you’ll have to track stock levels manually.
  • You can’t chop and change between templates. If you want to switch themes, you’ll have to start from scratch.
  • The cheapest plan that removes Wix’s branding from your site is $14 a month. 
  • Locked into their closed system with no way to move content when you outgrow the service

This online store builder is best described as versatile and simple to use. Users benefit from an intuitive drag and drop editor, a vast array of pre-made templates, and zero transaction fees. However, there’s a trade-off between its simplicity and scalability. Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t offer much in the way of storage, design, or customization options. Also, it isn’t developer-friendly, so if you have coding smarts, you may find Wix frustrating. 

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): Wix offers loads of payment packages, so we’ll only reference the eCommerce and Business plans:
    • Business Basic: $23 a month
    • Business Unlimited: $27 a month
    • Business VIP: $49 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: There are 50+ payment gateways, including Wix Payments, PayPal, and Stripe
  • Transaction fees: Zero in Wix itself; other fees depend on which payment gateway you use
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited products on Wix’s cheapest eCommerce plan, Business Basic, at $23 a month.

Storage space: You get 20 GB with the Business Basic plan; however, this expands to 50 GB with the Business VIP plan ($49 a month). This pales in comparison to WordPress.com’s generous 200 GB allowance.  

  • Verdict: Wix is best for beginners and small businesses looking for an easy-to-use website builder to create simple websites.

Shopify

Shopify

Pros:

  • Wide array of robust online selling tools 
  • Extensive app store, including plenty of social media and dropshipping integrations. There’s ample opportunity to extend the functionality of your online store. 
  • 24/7 customer service.

Cons:

  • Shopify’s URL structure uses subdirectories which isn’t great for SEO
  • Unless you use Shopify’s in-built payment processor, Shopify Payments, Shopify charges a transaction fee on top of a processing fee. 
  • Only nine free Shopify themes to choose from

Shopify boasts a rich suite of eCommerce features. It’s also relatively simple to use, and users benefit from first-rate support. However, this comes with a hefty price tag – especially once you upgrade from the Basic Shopify plan ($29 a month). The Shopify package skyrockets to $79 a month, making it considerably more expensive than WordPress.com. Not to mention Shopify’s most affordable package, the Lite plan, doesn’t even include page building. 

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Shopify Lite: $9 a month
    • Basic Shopify: $29 a month
    • Shopify: $79 a month
    • Advanced Shopify: $299 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: There are 100+ payment gateways, including Shopify Payments, PayPal, and 2Checkout
  • Transaction fees: With Shopify Payments, you’re charged an undisclosed fee to cover payment processing costs. This fee varies depending on the credit card type and location. Alternatively, if you opt for a third-party payment gateway, you’ll incur extra expenses as follows: 2%, 1%, or 0.5%. These depend on whether you’ve subscribed to the Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify pricing plans.
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited
  • Storage space: Unlimited
  • Verdict: Best for enterprises running larger online stores

Squarespace

Squarespace

Pros:

  • Over 100 professionally designed and responsive website templates to choose from
  • Squarespace app enables you to edit and manage your online store while you’re on the run.
  • Excellent live chat support

Cons:

  • You can only create one sub-navigation on your menu, meaning more complex navigational hierarchies aren’t possible. 
  • Compared to other options on this list, Squarespace’s user interface is slightly more complex.
  • Squarespace’s marketing tools aren’t very advanced.

Squarespace provides everything you need to create minimalist, contemporary, and sleek-looking online storefronts. These templates are convenient for creative startups and visual artists. That said, Squarespace isn’t really built with eCommerce in mind, so if that’s your primary focus, Squarespace might not be the best option for you.

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Personal: $12 a month
    • Business: $18 a month
    • Basic Commerce: $26 a month
    • Advanced Commerce: $40 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: Stripe, PayPal, and Square
  • Transaction fees: With Squarespace’s Business plan ($18 a month), you’re charged a 3% transaction fee. To wipe this cost, you’ll have to upgrade to the Basic Commerce package ($26 a month) or higher.
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited products with the Business package.
  • Storage space: Unlimited
  • Verdict: Squarespace is best for artists, photographers, and anyone wanting to showcase their visual work online 

Weebly

Weebly

Pros:

  • Minimal learning curve 
  • You can create membership areas on your website
  • Responsive templates
  • Range of cheap pricing plans available. You only have to pay $12 a month to go ad-free

Cons:

  • Minimal design freedom
  • Challenging to create multilingual websites that are also SEO-friendly
  • Limited blogging tools available.

Weebly is incredibly easy to get up and running with if you want to launch a simple online store quickly. Its front end is very intuitive, and you can create coupons and gift cards even with Weebly’s free website builder. 

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Free
    • Personal: $6 a month
    • Professional: $12 a month
    • Performance: $26 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: Stripe, Square, and PayPal Express
  • Transaction fees: Zero transaction fees
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited 
  • Storage space: Unlimited storage with the Professional plan ($12 month)
  • Verdict: It’s great for small businesses wanting an intuitive website builder to create simple websites and entrepreneurs looking to publish portfolios

BigCommerce

BigCommerce

Pros:

  • Vast suite of advanced features
  • Quickly sell to customers across multiple currencies
  • Flexible solution for creating lots of different product variants.

Cons:

  • Compared to other solutions, you have to pay a fair amount to unlock BigCommerce’s abandoned cart functionality.
  • Page builder isn’t the most user-friendly. 
  • Sales thresholds are placed on annual online sales. Then, if you breach these limits, you have to upgrade to a more expensive program.

BigCommerce is a great site builder if you’re after payment plans that scale alongside your store. However, as we’ve just said, there are revenue caps on each program. For instance, you can only generate a maximum of $50k a year on BigCommerce’s cheapest plan. 

That said, BigCommerce makes selling across multiple eCommerce platforms like eBay and Amazon a breeze, and its integrations with other tools are excellent. 

However, despite the lack of transaction fees, BigCommerce doesn’t come cheap. If you’re a smaller eCommerce business with a tighter budget, BigCommerce probably won’t be for you. 

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Standard: $29.95 a month
    • Plus: $79.95 a month
    • Pro: $299.95 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: 65+, including Stripe, Square, and Amazon Pay
  • Transaction fees: Zero credit and debit card fees. You also get reduced PayPal rates, which get cheaper as you go up BigCommerce’s payment plans. 
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited 
  • Storage space: Unlimited 
  • Verdict: BigCommerce is excellent for larger businesses looking for a vast array of functionality and robust eCommerce tools

Shift4Shop (formerly 3DCart)

Shift4Shop

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • API access for more granular customization
  • No Transaction Fees

Cons:

  • Shift4Shop’s free templates are criticized both in terms of quality and quantity.
  • Revenue thresholds are imposed depending on your chosen payment plan
  • The speed and helpfulness of Shift4Shop’s customer support team varies

Shift4Shop is a very flexible website builder. Like many others on this list, you can either pick a pre-built template and customize it as you wish or start from scratch. If you boast coding smarts, you can develop your entire website using Shift4Shop’s “Core Templating Engine.” You can even build your own mobile app. 

However, this high degree of flexibility comes at a trade-off with ease of use. This platform is more complex to understand, making it best for experienced web designers and developers. 

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Shift4Shop: It’s free!
    • The Other Shop: $29 – $299/month for Standard plans. Then $2,000+/month for Enterprise plans
  • Customer payment gateways: +100, including Affirm, PayPal, and Sezzle
  • Transaction fees: Zero 
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited – even with the free plan
  • Storage space: Unlimited 
  • Verdict: Shift4Shop is best for experienced web designers and developers. 

Zyro

Zyro

Pros:

  • Excellent website templates
  • AI-fuelled tools that analyze images and tell you where the focus points are, enabling you to create graphic and web designs that convert. 
  • Library full of high-quality stock images 

Cons:

  • Connecting your own domain name is trickier than the majority of Zyro’s competitors.
  • Zyro’s web page drag-and-drop editor is very basic; there are only five content blocks to choose from – text, buttons, images, videos, and maps.

Zyro is exceptionally beginner-friendly, and its drag-and-drop tools enable users to create simple eCommerce stores very quickly. You benefit from artificial intelligence offering suggestions on your logo, business name, content, etc. 

However, all this simplicity results in very limited design and customization freedom. The standard eCommerce plan also limits the number of products you can list on your site.  

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • eCommerce: $19.90/mo
    • eCommerce plus $25.90/mo
  • Customer payment gateways: 70+
  • Transaction fees: Zero 
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan:100
  • Storage space: Unlimited
  • Verdict: Zyro is ideal for complete novices looking to launch a small, simple online store

Square Online

Square Online

Pros:

  • Easy to track KPIs like product sales and abandoned cart recoveries from one easy-to-read dashboard.
  • Inbuilt email marketing and paid ad tools
  • Sync online and in-store inventories

Cons:

  • Problems with account stability are relatively common 
  • Square Online’s customization options aren’t very extensive
  • Square Online comes with a bit of a learning curve 
  • Limited other payment options as Square is in itself a payment provider

Square is primarily known for its point-of-sale software, but it’s since expanded to offer a website builder. Using Square’s POS alongside its online store builder, you can sync your inventory in real-time and monitor it from one centralized database. However, its major drawback is that Square Online doesn’t have advanced web building tools and lacks functionality.   

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Free
    • Professional: $12 a month
    • Performance: $26 a month
    • Premium: $72 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: just Square itself
  • Transaction fees: 2.9% + 30 cents, unless you upgrade to their most expensive plan, where this is reduced to 2.6% + 30 cents.
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Unlimited
  • Storage space: Unlimited
  • Verdict: Square Online is perfect if you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, as you can integrate your online store, inventory, and POS.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel

Pros:

  • You get access to fantastic looking templates
  • Doesn’t require much in the way of configuration or setup.
  • You can access and tweak your site’s code

Cons:

  • Big Cartel isn’t very flexible or scalable
  • Limited SKUS
  • There’s no website search function available 

Big Cartel is an eCommerce builder designed with artists in mind. You get access to free themes, shipment tracking, automatic tax calculations, etc. But its customization options are minimal, and your chosen payment plan dictates the number of products you can sell. For instance, the free package only permits you to list five products. 

  • User payment plans (based on annual billing): 
    • Free
    • 50 Products: $9.99 a month
    • 500 Products: $19.99 a month
  • Customer payment gateways: There are eight, including PayPal, Stripe, and Venmo
  • Transaction fees: Zero
  • Number of products on the cheapest plan: Five (on the free plan)
  • Storage space: Even with the highest-tier paid plan (at 129.99/month), you’re limited to listing 500 products with five images each
  • Verdict: Big Cartel is excellent if you’re an artist not looking to sell vast quantities of products. 

Are you ready to start using the best eCommerce builder for your business?

We hope having read this blog post you now have a better idea of the different kinds of website building platforms on the market and how they compare. 

Although there are some exemplary eCommerce solutions out there, WordPress.com, on its eCommerce plan, provides the perfect compromise between beautiful web design, functionality, and value for money. You’re not hit with a price tag like BigCommerce or Shopify, content lock-in from Wix, or the design limitations that come with Weebly. Instead, WordPress.com hits a happy medium for businesses to launch a professional-looking online store with an intuitive interface.

Why not try WordPress.com for free today to get a feel for the platform’s layout without risking your hard-earned cash? Then if you feel that the solution’s right for you, you could upgrade to its eCommerce plan later down the road. What are you waiting for? Make the best choice with the WordPress.com eCommerce website builder.

Let our experts build your custom WordPress.com website.

Whether you need a landing page or a full ecommerce site, an online learning academy or an interactive informational site for your business, we can build it for you.

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