June 10, 2019
The best ecommerce website builder will let you create a brilliant online store, and will work as a platform to manage all your different sales channels and orders. But, how can you tell which one is the best – particularly when all the ecommerce platforms claim to do the same thing?
Fortunately for you, we’ve tried every ecommerce platform out there, so we can help you pick the right one for your needs. Based on our thorough tests and assessments, we’ve found that Shopify is the best website builder you can use for creating an ecommerce online store. That said, it’s closely followed by Wix, a great website builder for smaller or more boutique online stores that you can easily create yourself.
The best will even let you manage your real-life point of sale transactions. All these features will give your business the perfect springboard for success.
Remember – the internet may be the biggest marketplace in the world, but unless your business has the right website, no one will be able to find your products, let alone buy them. So follow our recommendations and make the right choice before you start building an online store.
Best Ecommerce Website Builders to Choose
We put each ecommerce website builder through a rigorous testing and analysis program to cut the wheat from the chaff.
Shopify is the best-rated ecommerce website builder in our tests, although it may not be perfect for everyone. If you’re creating a large, complex online store, then Shopify is perfect – it can scale to match the needs of the most ambitious business.
However, if you want to create a smaller or more boutique online store, our top recommendation is Wix. This website builder makes it breathtakingly easy to design a professional-looking site from scratch and Wix now has some very sophisticated ecommerce functions and apps to help your business grow.
Based on our thorough tests, these are our favorite ecommerce website builders:
- Shopify – The best way to build an online store and manage your sales.
- Wix – A good choice for small boutique online stores
- BigCommerce – Runs Shopify very close for the top spot.
- Squarespace – Designed as a website builder, Squarespace is also a great ecommerce platform.
- Volusion – Great for sales and reporting, but a little hard to use.
- Weebly – You’ll get a good website, but lacks some sales features
Which are the Best Website Builders for Ecommerce?
Want to know more about our favorite ecommerce builders and what makes them so great? Below, we’ve rounded up our test scores for each of the main ecommerce website builders on the market.
Shopify came out top in our tests. It’s a market-leader when it comes to creating an online store, and for good reason. It has fantastic features and, crucially, it’s a great brand to choose if you’re building a large-scale online store.
If you’re looking to make a smaller, more boutique store, then we’d recommend choosing Wix – it has some fantastic ecommerce functions and competitive price plans that will be more appealing than the Shopify top tiers for larger stores.
See below for more detail on each of the ecommerce website builders we’ve tested:
|Verdict||The best ecommerce platform with unmatched features, great websites and a scalable platform.||Wix makes creating an online store brilliantly easy, and it’s perfect for smaller or boutique stores||Runs Shopify close with great sales features, but a small knowledge base and weaker website design let it down.||Can’t match the scalability of the first two, but you’ll get a great-looking, easy to use sales website.||A good alternative to BigCommerce with better web design. Can be confusing to use, though.||Has some advantages over Wix when it comes to sales features, but Weebly’s overall platform isn’t as compelling|
|Cheapest Ecommerce Plan (per month)||$29||$20||$29.95||$26||$26||$25|
|Priciest Ecommerce Plan (per month)||$299||$45.90||$249.95||$40||$269||$46|
|Number of extra sales channels||10||0||3||1||3||0|
|Physical Product Sales||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Digital product Sales||App required||✔||✔||✔||✗||✔|
|Service Sales||✔||App required||✔||✔||App required||✔|
|Value for Money|
|Help and Support|
|Ease of Use|
|Try it Today||Visit Shopify||Visit Wix||Visit BigCommerce||Visit Squarespace*||Visit Volusion||Visit Weebly|
* Save 10% on Squarespace with code ‘TECH10’
How we test and rate ecommerce website builders
The scoring in the table above is based on in-depth, independent assessments of each of the ecommerce website builders. So you can know which system is right for you, we put each brand through a series of tests and user feedback assessments.
For an ambitious online store, you’ll need excellent features and access to a range of apps – all of this goes into our features assessment. But, it’s no use having these options if they’re too complex to use. That’s why we also do real-life user testing, getting users with a range of skill levels to try out the website builders and feed back on how approachable they found them.
We rate the variety and quality of templates you can use to create an online store, plus we rate the Help & Support on offer when you need assistance. Finally, we give an all-important value for money rating, based on the variety of plans available and what you get in return for your investment.
For more detail on how each brand did in our tests, keep reading for our review summaries, below:
The best ecommerce website builder for large online stores
Shopify excelled across the board in our testing. It combines top class sales channel integration with a simple and intuitive UI, plus great reporting tools to help optimize your sales.
Shopify is nearly unmatched when it comes to integrating disparate sales channels into a single online platform. Through its Shopify Payments system, you’re able to track everything from sales on Instagram through to Google Shopping, and even real-world point of sale transactions. That’s right: If you run a bricks-and-mortar store, you can manage all your sales, inventory and accounting through one platform.
What’s more, Shopify is probably the best ecommerce platform when it comes to design (excluding Squarespace, but we’ll get to that). It offers loads of different website templates, all of which are mobile optimized and can be edited and changed to your liking with remarkable depth.
Want to know more? Read our full Shopify review
The perfect website builder for smaller online stores
Wix is brilliant for smaller online stores. It makes creating an online shop incredibly easy, even for first timers, and the results will look slick and professional thanks to some brilliant templates.
Wix doesn’t offer all of the features necessary for managing larger stores (such as supporting multiple sales channels, which Shopify can do). However, Wix has been working hard to improve its ecommerce functionality in recent months, with a host of new features and improvements, including its new Ascend all-in-one business solution and mass product imports. Ascend allows you to centrally control and automate a range of business functions, from promoting your business with marketing emails to giving customers help and support with chatbots. You can also easily create multilingual sites with Wix — ideal for users in countries with one or more major languages.
When you sign up for a Wix ecommerce site, you get the same excellent design options as the regular website builder, as well as great help and support options. What’s more, in our user testing, Wix scored well for ease of use — particularly for having an easy to understand interface.
Want to know more? Read our full Wix review
A close runner-up to Shopify for creating a large ecommerce store
While it can’t quite match Shopify, BigCommerce is still an excellent ecommerce platform. The main drawbacks to BigCommerce are its slightly limited customization options, and that its help and support options can’t match Shopify.
However, when it comes to its core function as a sales platform, BigCommerce can match Shopify stride-for-stride. This is thanks to its excellent reporting and sales analysis tools, excellent product inventory detail, and the wide range of sales channels it can integrate, including real-world point of sale transactions.
It also doesn’t place transaction fees on the sales you make – something that you might have to put up with if you opt for Shopify. However, BigCommerce will place a cap on the total value of sales you can make, which increases depending on the pricing plan you choose.
Want to know more? Read our full BigCommerce review
Exceptional website templates, but some drawbacks
You might be forgiven for thinking we’ve put Squarespace in by error. After all, it’s, a website builder first-and-foremost, designed to give you a great-looking website, and not designed as an ecommerce platform.
However, we found Squarespace to be a very competent ecommerce platform. For a start, it’s product and inventory management is just as advanced as any of the other platforms on this list, with a surprising amount of detail on offer. It also allows you to easily stock different types of products, from your standard physical products to digital downloads and even services.
It’s not completely without fault, though, as it limits your payment and accounting options to two third-party companies – not ideal if your business is already up-and-running. You’re also limited in your ability to internationalize due to tricky language settings and shipping choices.
Want to know more? Read our full Squarespace for ecommerce review
Powerful ecommerce features, but can be trickier to use
Volusion is a great ecommerce platform. However, it isn’t quite as intuitive and straightforward to use as BigCommerce or Shopify, which really holds it back in this context.
Like the others, it has a good range of sales features – especially its highly-detailed product and inventory management. This will pay dividends as your business grows, as managing your stock and analyzing your sales performance will be easy. It also has great, mobile-responsive website templates, which will help make your site stand out from the crowd.
But, as we mentioned above, it can be a bit confusing to navigate. Some features relating to your site’s design, for example, can be accessed from two separate menus, creating a doubled-up feeling which keeps your head spinning. Some menus are simply confusing, with pages you’d expect to be in one place being located in a seemingly unrelated menu. Still, Volusion’s proactive help and support team should be able to help.
Want to know more? Read our full Volusion review
A respectable ecommerce builder, but bettered by Wix and Shopify
Weebly, like Wix, is a website builder looking to improve its ecommerce game. However, it’s still got some way to go before it can really challenge the ecommerce giants or even Squarespace.
It doesn’t support multiple sales channels, and you’ll incur a 3% transaction fee on all but two of its pricing plans. Weebly also doesn’t give you the ability to customize your checkout, nor does it allow guest check out options. All of these factors will hold you back in your quest for online sales, particularly if you’re looking to run a larger store.
It’s not all bad, though. With a Weebly ecommerce site, you’ll still be able to use its impressive website builder functions and unlike Wix, Weebly does offer bulk product imports and stock management tools without the use of a third-party app. Weebly’s ecommerce plans are also on the cheaper side, starting from $12 per month so it’s likely to be a better option for smaller online entrepreneurs.
Want to know more? Read our full Weebly review
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