E-commerce isn’t the future of business; it is the ‘now.’ Over the last few years, e-commerce has grown by 300%, and the pandemic did nothing to slow that down. With cities locked down and people forced to stay indoors, consumers rely on online shopping to meet their needs (and wants).
It’s safe to say that investing in e-commerce is the only way to go.
However, there are countless e-commerce solutions in the market. How do you know which e-commerce platform is the best for small businesses? Which one will bring in robust profits and turn visitors into paying customers?
Qwantify breaks down the 10 best e-commerce website builders that will get your business off the ground in no time.
At a Glance
Pros: Easy to Use, Tons of Functionalities, Hosting Included, Great Support
Cons: Poor Product Search, Poor CMS, Not Scalable
There’s a reason Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce web builders in the world. It does almost all the work; everything an entrepreneur needs to install on their website is integrated into the platform. You have a streamlined storefront design, plus content marketing features. You can expand functionalities with third-party extensions.
Because Shopify is an easy-to-use platform, more than one million businesses in almost 200 countries patronize it, covering various industries, like lifestyle, food and beverage, home furnishing, electronics, and more.
Here’s why Shopify would be a great fit for you:
Easy to Learn
Shopify is easy to learn, even if you have no prior experience in building a website.
- Choose a Template – It has codeless store-building tools and an intuitive interface. Shopify has a wide range of templates, so you may choose one that best fits your brand.
- Tweak the Codes – If you can’t find a theme that matches your brand, Shopify gives you full access to the code, so you can tweak it and create a unique website. You may use add-ons and extensions to enrich your site’s capabilities.
- Fuss-Free Hosting – Shopify provides all the software and hosting; you don’t need any technical expertise. You may focus on listing your products and making them attractive to visitors.
- Convenient Phone Apps – If you’re more of an on-the-go entrepreneur, Shopify has free iPhone and Android apps that let you manage your store from your mobile device.
Shopify has integrated dozens of payment gateways in its themes, including its Stripe-powered gateway.
All of Shopify’s themes are mobile-responsive, so your website will adjust to any screen size.
One important aspect of running a website is performance analytics, which gives you the baseline data to improve site performance. Shopify’s analytics include:
- A Dashboard
- Product Reports
- Export Reports
- Google Analytics
- Traffic/Referral Reports
Shopify offers 24-hour chat support to its partners, so you can get hold of a troubleshooting expert in case an issue arises. You can also consult the Shopify Help Center or ask help through phone support.
Shopify also offers free online courses via the Shopify Compass, covering digital marketing, web design, and more. There are also tons of community forums from which you can get answers to common Shopify concerns.
Apart from its user-friendly features, Shopify lands in the more affordable range of e-commerce platforms:
|Plan||Price per Month|
You can get a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).
Universally loved as it is, Shopify has its fair share of disadvantages.
- No Rich Content– Shopify has a poor Content Management System (CMS). Its purpose is to display and sell products, and it’s not designed to create and edit rich content. Shopify isn’t the ideal platform if you want to add videos, blogs, vlogs, carousels, and other rich content on your site.
- Not Scalable – While Shopify is great for small businesses, it isn’t ideal for companies expecting major growth. Users have reported several scalability issues, where they have trouble dealing with a huge volume of transactions. Shopify (as with most hosted solutions) cannot efficiently handle millions of customers.
- Poor Product Search – Shopify’s search mechanism isn’t perfect, so much so that it can’t recognize mistypes and doesn’t provide suggestions. It can create a frustrating experience for a customer who’s in a hurry.
At a Glance
Pros: Beautiful Templates, Design Flexibility, Animation
Cons: Poor Loading Speed, Difficulty in Switching Templates
Wix is a cloud-based website builder that allows users to create online stores with ease. It’s no surprise that it runs millions of e-commerce sites around the world.
It has over 300 templates, so you can choose one that matches your brand and industry. While anyone can use this e-commerce solution, it is ideal for small businesses that don’t have a dedicated web designer because it’s easy to understand and use.
Wix is mostly known for its beautiful, highly customizable templates, but it has many pros, too.
Templates Designed to Sell
Wix offers hundreds of templates, with pre-built layouts for many industries. It has prepared templates for:
- Online Stores– It comes with a Shopping Cart and Live Chat features.
- Restaurants– It comes with dedicated menu templates, online ordering, table reservations, email marketing, and more.
- Hotels and Travel– It provides a Hotel Booking feature.
- Real Estate– It has a Bookings feature for scheduling viewings.
- Blogs– It comes with a mailing list signup form for newsletters.
- Photography and Design– It offers Bookings, Client Login, and File Download features.
Wix takes templates a step further by offering subcategories. For instance, if you’re a photography business, you can choose between templates specifically designed for landscape photography or wedding photography. If you have a Portfolio or CV section, you can choose between ones designed for fashion designers or scientific professionals. In the Fashion and Beauty Category, you choose between Hair and Beauty or Fashion and Accessories.
Flexibility and Animation
Compared to other website builders, Wix provides a greater degree of flexibility over the placement of elements so you can move the elements pixel by pixel. This is different from other builders like Weebly, where the elements snap to a grid. In Wix, you have complete control over the position of the elements.
Wix is also one of the few site builders that let you animate text and other elements.
Automatic Site Backup
The website builder creates backup points of your website that can be restored at any time. You won’t lose any important details.
The editor supports 16 languages, and you can build multilingual sites. However, there are limitations — you can’t have unique URLs for each language, which can prove difficult for your SEO efforts later on.
Depending on the plan you’ve subscribed to, you get A-level support from Wix. It offers phone support, social media support, and e-mail support, on top of community forums and the Wix Help Center. If you have a Business VIP plan, you get priority phone and ticket status.
Wix offers three Premium Plans for business and e-commerce users.
|Plan||Price per Month|
|Wix Business Basic||$17.00|
|Wix Business Unlimited||$25.00|
|Wix Business VIP||$35.00|
Despite its glowing features, Wix gets left behind in several areas compared to other e-commerce web builders.
- Loading Speed– This is a common issue among users, as many of Wix’s competitors show impressive loading time.
- Difficult Template Switching– Should you decide to switch to another template, you can’t transfer content from the original template you’re working on. You have to start from scratch and move the content manually.
- Forced Wix Branding – The free versions of Wix carries the Wix branding on the top of the page, which can dampen the brand experience of your users.
At a Glance
Pros: Rich Content, Blogging Features, Extensive Support
Cons: No Multilingual Pages, Flat Websites, No Autosave Feature
Squarespace is a New York-based SaaS company that provides e-commerce store building and hosting solutions. Its main selling point is that it’s engineered for users who not only sell products but also produce blogs and showcase portfolios. As a result, it has better blogging functionalities compared to other e-commerce platforms on this list.
Squarespace websites contain rich content in minimalistic but beautiful sites.
- Template Switching– You can use multiple templates into a single website.
- Diverse Style Editor– You have hundreds of customizable settings to use, covering fonts, colors, and page configurations.
- Chart Blocks– You can publish interactive line graphs, bar graphs, and pie graphs.
- Video Backgrounds– Squarespace supports video backgrounds for a powerful visual experience.
- Blogging Features – These include multi-author functionality, post scheduling, commenting feature, and more.
Easy Image Management
Squarespace makes it easy to publish images on your site.
- Drag-and-Drop Feature – Simply drag images from your desktop to your browser window.
- Progressive Image Loading – The images on top always load first.
- Getty Images Integration – You have access to over 40 million photos from Getty Images ($10 each plus taxes).
Video and Audio Collections
Videos and audio files are easily integrated into your site. You can even host your own podcast.
- Audio – You may upload music directly onto the site.
- Video – Videos can be uploaded into video gallery blocks for easy browsing.
Several third-party tools help you get the most out of a Squarespace site.
- Inventory and Product Extensions (managing inventory, stock levels, and new launches)
- Finance Extensions (bookkeeping, accounting, filing sales taxes, etc.)
- Shipping and Fulfillment Extensions (fulfill orders, ship products, manage product returns, etc.)
Depending on the Squarespace plan, you get 24/7 email support, a 24/5 live chat support, and access to the Squarespace Learning and Community.
Squarespace offers four plans. They also offer a free trial.
|Plan||Price per Month|
|Squarespace Basic Commerce||$26.00|
|Squarespace Advanced Commerce||$40.00|
Here are Squarespace’s limitations:
- Difficult Navigation– While you can create an unlimited number of Squarespace pages, you can’t organize these pages into a structured hierarchy. As such, you can only create flat websites (those with a maximum of two levels). Consequently, Squarespace is not an ideal builder for retail websites or businesses with a complex range of products (which need lots of categories and subcategories); Squarespace can’t create a deep website with a deep menu hierarchy.
- No Multilingual Feature– If you are catering to users with different languages, Squarespace isn’t ideal for you. It’s not designed to create a network of multilingual sites. You’d have to invest in a third-party tool.
- No Autosave Feature– Users should be wary of the absence of an autosave functionality. Even if there are workarounds, an autosave feature is present in many of Squarespace’s competitors; Squarespace is a bit left behind.
At a Glance
Pros: Easy to Use, Large Site Structure, SEO
Cons: No Multilingual Sites, Limited Designs, Limited Site Backup
Powering millions of websites, Weebly is famously free of frills, so it’s incredibly easy to use, even to those without prior experience in building portals. It allows you to display many products and has all the features needed by a successful e-commerce store.
Weebly has relatively low pricing plans, making it a preferred e-commerce software for small businesses without deep pockets.
There’s practically no learning curve when using Weebly, and it offers rich functionalities.
Weebly has over 40 themes, which all have an online store, image galleries, and blogs. It has a drag-and-drop feature, which makes it easy to place elements on a web page. You can add video backgrounds and animate background pictures for a more powerful visual experience. If you know how to code, you can tweak the site for a truly customized experience.
Weebly templates handle hundreds of pages, unlike many e-commerce platforms that are limited to shallow websites. Weebly also supports large site structures and allows for unlimited levels of navigation hierarchy, which is ideal if you have lots of product subcategories.
The free plan doesn’t come with a proper domain name, but you get a free domain for the first year under the priced plans (monthly prices are based on a one-year contract). All its Online Store Pricing Plans come with a free SSL Certificate.
Mobile Responsive Themes
All Weebly themes are mobile-responsive. They will give smartphone and tablet users the same positive experience as those browsing from a desktop. However, Weebly generates the mobile version, and you can’t edit the elements on the mobile website.
SEO elements are customizable at page levels so that you can make your portal SEO-friendly right off the bat. These include:
- Meta title
- Meta descriptions
You can create blogs to support your marketing campaign. Articles can be scheduled, and you can integrate commenting systems. There is, however, no multiple author feature.
Weebly offers three pricing plans for online stores.
|Plan||Pricing per Month|
|Weebly Business Plus||$38.00|
Here are Weebly’s drawbacks:
- No Multilingual Sites– Weebly doesn’t have a specialized feature that enables multilingual sites. It’s also not ideal for businesses that want a website with non-English characters, like Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
- Limited Designs– The themes by themselves are excellent, but if you’re looking to customize the placement of elements down to the last pixel, Weebly isn’t for you. Its elements snap into a grid, which limits design flexibility.
- Limited Site Backup – Weebly offers site backups, but the backed-up site can’t be uploaded back into a Weebly site or any other service provider. You will have to build your content from scratch.
At a Glance
Pros: Product Variation, Stock Management
Cons: Limited Payment Options, Limited Design Flexibility
Square Online is an affordable e-commerce website builder for merchants who need a store up and running in no time. You get all the sales features you need, as well as robust customer support. The platform offers SEO and marketing tools, but design flexibility is limited.
It’s very similar to Weebly in that it allows merchants to build functional stores, but the online storefront doesn’t stand out much from competitors.
Here are some of Square Online’s main selling points.
It’s easy to create product variations in your Square Online store. For instance, you can add modifiers for product personalization. This is great if you’re selling gifts or promo items.
Creating new product categories is also a breeze — the Square Online platform itself will suggest categories. Moreover, you can display indicators that show the stock level of each product (for instance, “Only a Few Left” or “On Sale”). It creates a sense of urgency that pushes customers toward conversions.
Square Online makes it easy to manage your inventories.
- Inventory Recount – The website will replace the current stock with the number you enter.
- Stock Received – You can enter a certain quantity, and the website will update its existing record.
- Restock Return – You enter a number, and the website adds it to the existing stock total.
- Damage– You enter the number of damaged items, and the website decreases the stock number.
- Theft – You enter the number of stolen items, and the website decreases the stock number.
You have some options when calculating shipping costs.
- Flat Rate
- Free Shipping
- Order Weight
- Order Total
- Real Tim Rates
On top of the free plan, Square Online offers three pricing plans.
|Plan||Pricing per Month|
Here are Square Online’s drawbacks:
- Limited Design Flexibility– While you have scores of colors to choose from, the layout doesn’t offer much room to play around with. Customization options are limited because compared to other website builders, Square Online has a relatively smaller template library.
- Limited Payment Options– Square Online only offers Square. If you have a Performance or Premium plan, you can add PayPal. This is a far cry from the payment gateways available in Square Online’s competitors.
- Not for High–Volume Sellers – Because of limited design flexibility and payment options, businesses handling high order volumes will find Square Online restrictive.
At a Glance
Pros: Stock Management, Complete Site Building, Google AMP
Cons: Annual Sales Limit, Similar Themes, Limited Support
BigCommerce has raised billions of dollars in sales since its launch in 2009. To date, this e-commerce platform is used by small and medium businesses (SMBs) in almost every industry, from fashion to automotive to healthcare. It has four price tiers, with each tier offering better features than the next.
The main reason entrepreneurs prefer BigCommerce is that it allows for easy customization and stock management.
Complete Site Building Tools
A BigCommerce plan includes everything you need for a successful e-commerce website. You get a custom domain, your choice of theme (from a library of 12 free themes and 160+ paid themes), unlimited product listings, unlimited file storage, and even multi-currency sales. You can also display ratings, reviews, and gift cards.
HTML and CSS Tweaks
You have access to the code to tweak CSS and HTML.
Stock and Returns Management
BigCommerce boasts an intuitive interface that makes it easy to manage stock and product returns. This way, you can easily monitor your inventory and respond to fluctuating product demands.
Through BigCommerce, you can integrate your e-commerce store into popular marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay. It gives you more opportunities to attract customers and expand your reach. You can even integrate your business on Facebook and take advantage of its high targeting capabilities.
BigCommerce is the first e-commerce platform to integrate Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This simplifies category and product pages, speeding up page loading time dramatically and creating a positive experience for visitors. It reinforces SEO, too.
Online Marketing Apps
You have a number of apps to boost conversions and increase revenues. For instance, some apps could integrate social networks, shopping car recovery, one-click payment, and more.
As with many other e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce has analytics that helps you monitor performance. It includes product reports, Google Analytics, traffic reports, and more.
It includes PayPal, along with other popular payment gateways.
BigCommerce platform comes in four different price tiers.
|Platform||Price per Month|
|BigCommerce Enterprise||Custom Pricing|
BigCommerce offers a free 15-day trial, as well.
BigCommerce also has some setbacks.
- Limited Support– BigCommerce’s support systems, like the 24-hour live agent support, could only be used by entrepreneurs subscribed to paid plans. But it does have a Resource Center with e-commerce articles, guides, and e-books that will put you on the right track.
- Similar Themes – You’ll have to exercise your CSS skills because the themes, in many cases, are too similar to each other. It may be an unattractive choice for small businessesthat want striking e-commerce websites.
- Limits on Annual Online Sales– BigCommerce places limits on annual sales. If you exceed these limits, you have to subscribe to a more expensive monthly plan.
At a Glance
Pros: All Necessary E-Commerce Features, Security, SEO
Cons: No Blogging, Limited Design Options, Not as User-Friendly
Volusion is one of the oldest e-commerce platforms in the market, and its staying power is proof of its ability to create profitable sites. Despite formidable competitors like Shopify, Volusion is still the preferred choice of thousands of sellers. To date, it has generated billions of dollars in sales.
Volusion’s biggest sell is that it offers most of the needed features of an e-commerce site. Unlike other platforms that require you to install this or pay for that, Volusion hosts everything for you. All you have to do is design your store and add your products, and the platform will handle everything else. It’s an ideal e-commerce solution for small businesses with a finite number of products and a tighter budget.
Volusion offers rich features to its users.
All the Necessary E-Commerce Site Features
A Volusion site has virtually everything needed to get a store up and running.
- Inventory Management– A Volusion’s dashboard displays product statuses, monitors orders, tracks stock levels, sends low stock alarms, and more.
- Search Feature– Volusion’s search functionality enables easier and quicker navigation.
- Barcode Creator– You can create custom product barcodes, which ease inventory management.
- Related Products– By showing related products on product pages, you have the opportunity to upsell.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery– You can send emails to customers who left products in their carts without checking out.
- Customer Review– Volusion lets buyers leave a review on the website, which can be managed from the dashboard.
- Social Media Integration– You can connect your site to your social media accounts.
All Volusion sites are Level 1 PCI-compliant. Moreover, every pricing plan comes with an SSL certificate.
A Volusion site supports prices and accepts payments in multiple currencies, including the Canadian dollar, Japanese yen, and British pounds.
Discounts and Gift Cards
Volusion recognizes the power of discounts in generating conversions, which is why you can create discounts in various amounts, as well as special discount codes that buyers may use at checkout. Volusion sites generate gift cards, too.
Volusion gives you the tools needed to make your site SEO-friendly. Through these tools, you can manage your:
- Meta Descriptions
- Title Tags
Apart from 24/7 email, phone, and live chat support, you also have access to the Volusion Help Center, which is a treasure trove of articles to help you make the most of the platform.
Volusion offers a free version, as well as four price plans. It also offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).
|Plan||Price per Month|
|Volusion Custom||Custom Pricing|
Volusion offers the basics, and for that reason, it’s not ideal for users who want to go the extra mile on their e-commerce site.
- Not as Easy to Use – Volusion is fairly user-friendly, but compared to its competitors, it requires a steeper learning curve. Some users report that they had to refer to support articles to finish their sites.
- Limited Design Options – Volusion offers about a dozen or so free templates and about 40 paid themes. Without a drag-and-drop option, you’d need strong CSS or HTML skills to tweak and fully customize the themes.
- Limited Blogging – Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Volusion doesn’t offer features that enable blogging and rich content publication. You’ll have to install WordPress to create blogs and articles.
At a Glance
Pros: Free, Open Source, Thousands of Themes
Cons: Relatively Lower Support, Plugin Complexity, Difficult SEO
WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress shopping cart plugin developed by WordPress. It’s ideal for users with WordPress experience. It’s also the preferred website of businesses with a tight budget because it’s free but offers a great deal of flexibility. In fact, millions of sites have been created with WooCommerce, and it has powered businesses in almost all industries.
Ultimately, it is prized for its cost-efficiency — it requires little investment but generates robust returns.
WooCommerce sites have a lot of features that will give your SMB a competitive edge.
- Free – It stands out from other platforms because it’s free. Its free versions have significantly more advanced features compared to the free versions of other platforms.
- Open Source– Any user, designer, or programmer can alter its code. Customization options are virtually endless, thanks to access to CSS, HTML, and PHP style codes.
- Thousands of Themes and Plugins – Other e-commerce platforms have hundreds of themes, but WooCommerce offers tenfold more. It has thousands of third-party themes and plugins so you can build a unique site. Whether you want a barebones site or a portal with all the bells and whistles, WooCommerce will give you options.
- Various Payment Gateways – WooCommerce has secure gateways and e-wallets, like PayPal, WePay, Payza, and Stripe. It accepts major credit cards, bank transfers, checks, and cash on delivery. There are also 140 region-specific gateways to choose from.
- Easy Fulfillment – WooCommerce’s dashboard makes it easy for managers to update products and fulfill orders. You enjoy automated tax calculations, live shipping rates, and more. WooCommerce can sell anything from physical products to members-only digital content.
- Multilingual Content – For businesses that want to go global, WooCommerce supports multilingual content and prices in multiple currencies. Your website can be translated fully into 24 languages.
WooCommerce is a free plugin, so you’ll need a WordPress site that can use plugins. You’ll have to shoulder the hosting and store management costs:
|WooCommerce Shipping Extension||$0 – $108 per year|
|Payment Gateway||2.9% +0.30 cents
plus a monthly fee of up to $30 per month
You also have the choice to purchase themes from a WooCommerce developer, which cost between $20 and $100 a year.
While heavy fees won’t burden you, there are hidden costs to using WooCommerce.
- Poor Support– There are online help guides and community forums, but the free version of WooCommerce doesn’t provide phone or email support, unlike other popular e-commerce solutions. Your small business has to purchase add-ons to be entitled to dedicated support.
- Plugin Complexity – Businesses need to add plug-ins to achieve their desired e-commerce functionality, but it slows down the website. It makes for frustrating user experience. It can be frustrating for the admins, as well, because loading orders and editing content become needlessly time-consuming and complicated.
- SEO – Unlike other e-commerce platforms, WooCommerce isn’t big on SEO elements. For instance, many users report page doubling, canonical URLs, and URL layouts, which are crucial in optimization. This means more SEO work down the road.
At a Glance
Pros: Full E-Commerce Features, Easy Store Management
Cons: Unintuitive Interface, Ordinary and Similar Templates
3dcart has powered thousands of online stores since its release in 2001. It’s a good choice for entrepreneurs who are just starting their business, as well as those who handle hundreds of sales regularly.
3dcart requires no transaction fees and offers unlimited storage. It’s also an attractive choice for brands without a dedicated marketing department, as even the starter plan offers marketing tools to promote your business.
Here’s what makes 3dcart attractive to businesses:
Domain and Hosting
When you set up an online store, you’ll be provided with free domain registration and hosting. 3dcart also comes with an SSL Certificate and 24/7 tech support.
E-Commerce Site Features
A 3dcart portal:
- Is Mobile-Ready– A 3dcart website adapts to the visitor’s device, regardless of screen size.
- Has a Secure Shopping Cart– 3dcart has built-in security features to make shopping as secure as possible.
- Has Pre-Built Email Templates– The e-commerce platform makes it easy for you to build an email marketing campaign.
- Allows for Marketing Integration– You can sync your site with eBay and Amazon.
- Has Abandoned Cart Tools– 3dcart enables Abandoned Cart Recovery to maximize sales.
- Has Various Payment Gateways – 3dcart is compatible with over a hundred payment gateways.
- Has Customer Wish Lists – Customers can add items to their wish list, making it easier to nurture leads and convert them into sales.
- Allows for Customer Rewards – Customers can accumulate points towards their next purchase to encourage them to shop more.
3dcart also makes it easy for you to manage your store:
- Order Management – It generates detailed reports that show product performance. This feature also allows you to streamline bookkeeping.
- Inventory Management – 3dcart enables inventory management, but it can be labor-intensive. It also sends you an email to warn you of low inventories.
- Shipment Tracking – There are a shipment cost calculator and real-time shipment tracking for easier customer service.
3dcart offers five pricing plans. You can also try it for free.
|Plan||Price per Month|
|3dcart Startup Store||$9.50|
|3dcart Basic Store||$14.50|
|3dcart Plus Store||$39.50|
|3dcart Power Store||$64.50|
|3dcart Pro Store||$114.50|
There’s a reason 3dcart doesn’t do as well in comparison with younger e-commerce website builders, like Shopify and BigCommerce. It’s not as user-friendly, and its templates are nothing out of the ordinary.
- Not for Beginners– The website builder is not as intuitive, even when there’s an onboarding video to welcome users. It takes a lot of time to understand and get used to the interface.
- Conventional Templates – While the templates have functionalities needed by an online store (that is, to sell products), they’re not as modern. Some users report that they feel outdated. 3dcart isn’t ideal for businesses that want a unique look for their digital portal.
- Similar Templates – While most templates are free, some look decisively similar to one another, with minor color and typeface differences. So users who are working on a free plan don’t have much in the way of choice.
At a Glance
Pros: Easy to Use, Uncomplicated, Designed for Artists
Cons: Limited Customization, Basic Themes, No Abandoned Cart Recovery
Big Cartel is a fully hosted e-commerce solution that, although it has a relatively smaller following, targets a niche — it’s an excellent website builder for creators. Features are pared down and uncomplicated, allowing users to build a site in no time. This simplicity is the reason it powers thousands of creative websites across the world.
It focuses on artists who need a portal to sell their creations, from artwork to photo prints to jewelry. In fact, it’s hailed as an alternative to Etsy, only simpler and with more customization options.
Here are some of Big Cartel’s attractive features:
- Pared Down Features– Unlike other site builders, Big Cartel isn’t designed for huge online stores with large and complex inventories; it’s meant to be used by artists, bloggers, and creative agencies that simply want a way to monetize their work. As such, this platform comes with fewer features — no frills, just the basics.
- User-Friendly Prompts– Because it’s simple as can be, Big Cartel is easily user-friendly. It has clear navigations, and you can quickly master the tools. When you’re setting up your website, it gives you helpful prompts and suggestions.
- Payments – Big Cartel has three payment options: Stripe, PayPal, and Square. A customized checkout sends confirmation emails bearing your branding and chosen theme. It doesn’t charge transaction fees, even on its free plan, which means you keep more revenues.
- Order Management Area – The website builder has a comprehensive order management area for printing packing slips, viewing orders, checking shipment reminders, and exporting order data.
Big Cartel offers four pricing plans.
|Plan||Price per Month|
|Big Commerce Gold||Free|
|Big Commerce Platinum||$9.99|
|Big Commerce Diamond||$19.99|
|Big Commerce Titanium||$29.99|
Though easy to use and affordable, Big Cartel also has big drawbacks:
- Limited Customization– Since it’s designed to be simple, you don’t have as rich of customization features as other online e-commerce website builders. It doesn’t offer much creative freedom. You’ll need to know how to code to get the most out of Big Cartel.
- Basic Themes– The 16 themes Big Cartel offers are not as diverse and different from each other; they’re as barebones as can be. There’s little room to tailor the themes. If you want to make a huge impact on visitors, Big Cartel isn’t for you. It can create a positive experience, but it won’t be as memorable.
- Limited Options on Free Plan – While the free plan is attractive to sellers, it has its limitations — you can only add five products with one image each. You also can’t create discounts, which are excellent in generating conversions and spurring customer loyalty.
- No Abandoned Cart Recovery – Unlike other e-commerce site builders, Big Cartel has no abandoned cart recovery feature, which means you can’t send reminder emails to a customer who left products in the cart without checking out.
Choosing the Best E-Commerce Platform
At Qwantify, we believe that there is no perfect e-commerce site builder. Each one will have its drawbacks, and it’s up to the seller to decide whether these drawbacks are a deal-breaker.
Moreover, some builders are more suited to your business than others. You’ll have to consider a lot of factors to determine what the best e-commerce platform for your website is. What’s your budget? How big is your product line? How many orders do you handle? What payment gateways do you prefer?
By distilling the core characteristics of your online shop, you will be able to pick which e-commerce platform best fits your needs.
For more insights in building successful e-commerce stores, check out our guide on creating an e-commerce website from scratch.