The top 8 e-commerce platforms for 2023

Launching an online business has become much easier than before. With an e-commerce platform, you can create a stunning website and sell products fast and effectively.

But how do you select the best among so many e-commerce platforms available? We’ve featured eight leading platforms for small business e-commerce in our guide, giving a summary of each product, its target audience, and its advantages and disadvantages.

Our goal was to help SMBs find the best e-commerce software for their needs. We compared 15 leading products and 39 different plans based on more than 1600 criteria and created a ranking. We looked at how each e-commerce platform performed in terms of pricing and value, features tailored for e-commerce, payment and accounting integration, customer support quality, and website creation tools. We gave our Editors’ Grades to the top eight choices from our ranking.

Shopify: Best e-commerce platform for small businesses

Monthly pricing: From $39
Ease of use: Excellent
Free trial: Yes (3 days)

We chose Shopify because it is the leading e-commerce platform for U.S. websites, with a 28% market share according to BuiltWith. It is a one-stop solution that lets you build and run an online store with ease.

It impresses us with its combination of user-friendliness, features, and flexibility. It has professional-looking templates and a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it very accessible, even for beginners.

Shopify has a comprehensive set of tools to help you succeed: unlimited product listings, inventory management, 100+ payment providers, multiple sales channels, and high-converting checkout.

Its Basic plan for small businesses costs $39 a month (slightly less if you pay annually), a bit higher than most other options in our guide. Also, remember the transaction fees when you use third-party payment providers (other than Shopify Payments) and the price of premium apps.

  • User-friendly interface
  • Versatile, with 150+ themes
  • Excellent marketing tools and social integration
  • Transaction fees for third-party payment processors
  • The cost of premium apps adds up
  • Extensive customization requires technical expertise

Who should use it:

Shopify is a good choice for small and medium-sized businesses that want a simple, all-in-one solution. The platform can also grow with your business, thanks to its large app store and API functionality (and its advanced and enterprise-level plans), and can handle your inventory, order management, and other requirements.

Shift4Shop: Best e-commerce platform for search engine optimization (SEO)

Monthly pricing: From $29
Ease of use: Fair
Free trial: No; offers a free plan

We chose Shift4Shop because it makes it easy to create a business website with little effort. It has a website builder and an order management system that provide a complete solution.

It also helps you boost your search engine rankings. It has features like highly customizable metadata and mobile-friendly design that could help your small business rank higher in search results.

If you use the Shift4 payment processor and make at least $500/month, you may not have to pay for your Shift4Shop subscription. But if you use a different payment processor, the fees start from $29/month. Also, some user reviews say that the setup is not very simple.

  • Free, if you can meet the minimum
  • A variety of features creates value
  • Comprehensive SEO tools
  • Must use Shift4 payments in the free plan
  • Customer service gets mixed reviews
  • Some users complain of complex setup

Who should use it

If you are confident about meeting the revenue limit and want to use its payment service, Shift4Shop’s pricing plan is very attractive. It has many features for marketing and SEO, which can help businesses boost their online presence and attract more natural visitors. Shift4Shop is a good option for such businesses.

Wix: Best e-commerce platform for startups

Monthly pricing: From $27
Ease of use: Above average
Free trial: No

Our reason for choosing it

Wix is ideal for startups who want to create an online presence quickly and cheaply. It has a user-friendly, drag-and-drop builder and e-commerce features that make it easy to build a professional online store without technical skills.

Wix’s main goal is to be simple and flexible. It has over 900 free templates, so you can start right away. And the pricing is very fair. Wix has a free plan for basic websites, and e-commerce plans start at $27/month.

Keep in mind that storage is somewhat limited in Wix’s lower-tier plans compared to other providers in our guide (50 GB in the $27/month plan versus unlimited storage in similar plans from Shopify and BigCommerce). It’s also not focused on e-commerce, so it doesn’t have the wide range of e-commerce features that platforms like Shopify have, and using proprietary or third-party apps from Wix’s App Market can be expensive.

  • User-friendly website builder for beginners
  • Affordable pricing
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Not as suitable for complex e-commerce needs
  • No free e-commerce plan
  • App Market fees can add up

Who should use it

Wix is ideal for small businesses that want to create a website quickly and easily. It’s a great option for startups who want to build a professional, attractive online store with little technical knowledge.

Read also:

The best platform to create an online store

Ecwid: Best e-commerce platform for omnichannel selling

Monthly pricing: From $19
Ease of use: Average
Free trial: No; offers free plan

Our reason for choosing it

Ecwid is a remarkable free e-commerce store option that offers a free shopping cart and store with built-in centralized inventory and order management.

It stands out as our best omnichannel e-commerce platform, providing your customers with a seamless and consistent shopping experience across all sales channels. Ecwid lets you create one catalog and use it everywhere — from Ecwid’s Instant Site to CMSes like WordPress to custom-made websites. It also lets you sell on Amazon and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more. You can even transform your store into a mobile app, and it connects with POS services to sell in-person.

Its free forever plan is a good way to start for many business owners, but if you want to sell on social media, you’ll have to start with the Venture plan, which costs $19/month. While Ecwid has extensive omnichannel features, it’s somewhat weak in reporting, providing only basic reports; more advanced reporting is only accessible through analytics apps in the Ecwid App Market such as Kliken Stats.

  • Seamless integration between sales channels
  • Centralized management of inventory and customer data
  • User-friendly interface
  • Only 5 products in the free plan and 100 in Venture
  • Limited analytics and automation
  • Reliance on the App Market for advanced features

Who should use it

Ecwid is a solution for businesses that want to manage their products and inventory seamlessly across different channels. Whether customers shop on the web, on mobile devices, or in physical stores, Ecwid ensures a consistent and satisfying experience.

BigCommerce: Best e-commerce platform for business-to-business (B2B) sales

Monthly pricing: From $39
Ease of use: Fair
Free trial: Yes (15 days)

BigCommerce is a high-end e-commerce solution that makes site building and order management easy. It is great for B2B and B2C sales, with a rich platform that supports wholesale selling, bulk pricing, and various payment gateways for wholesale. It also has useful features for bulk editing and product importing/exporting, and it meets several security standards.

BigCommerce can work for any business, but smaller ones may not need its advanced features. It may also be hard to customize your website without paying for apps and templates (it only has 12 free templates). Plus, it has sales caps on its plans (for instance, the $39/month Standard plan has a yearly online sales cap of $50,000).

  • Focus on complex B2B management
  • Advanced sales tools
  • Secure, compliant platform
  • Advanced features unnecessary for many small businesses
  • Only 12 free templates
  • Plans have sales limits

Who should use it

BigCommerce is a good option for businesses that do B2B sales or that need an advanced tool that can handle sophisticated pricing structures and product management.

CoreCommerce: Best e-commerce platform for reporting and analytics

Monthly pricing: From $29
Ease of use: Average
Free trial: Yes (15 days)

CoreCommerce is a simple e-commerce solution, offering the Core Platform, which gives you ready-made tools for creating a shopping cart and taking online payments.

CoreCommerce is ideal for businesses that value data-driven decision-making. Among its many features, real-time data reporting and analytics stand out, covering everything from sales and taxes to affiliate statistics and keyword/search term reports.

While businesses that focus on marketing may appreciate the data-centric design, CoreCommerce falls short in other areas — like POS offerings. Paid plans also restrict how many products you can have, with 10 allowed in the $29 Pioneer plan and 300 in the $79 Pro plan.

  • 15-day free trial
  • Robust reporting and analytics
  • Feature variety suitable for small business
  • Paid plans limit product count
  • No mobile app
  • No POS for in-person sales

Who should use it

CoreCommerce is a platform that offers data analysis and insights and is easy to use. It is suitable for businesses that have a limited range of products.

Square Online: Best e-commerce platform for brick-and-mortar stores

Monthly pricing: From $29
Ease of use: Excellent
Free trial: No; offers a free plan

Square Online is designed for brick-and-mortar stores that want to sell online and offline with ease. It has a simple system that lets you handle orders from both channels. It also has a quick and easy setup process and many helpful features — such as POS integration, various delivery options, and mobile-friendly theme designs.

You can use Square Online for free, but you’ll have to pay 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. If you choose a paid plan, which costs $29 or $79 per month if billed yearly, you’ll get more customization options, a free domain for a year, real-time shipping rates, and a lower transaction fee depending on the plan.

Square Online works best with physical stores. It has some e-commerce-only features, but they are not as valuable without the POS software. It also has limited customer support hours and no integrations with Amazon and other big marketplaces.

  • Quick setup and user-friendly interface
  • Great integration between physical and online stores
  • Unlimited products
  • No integration with Amazon or other marketplaces
  • High focus on physical stores and POS
  • Marketing add-ons can get pricey

Who should use it

Square Online has a hassle-free setup process, making it a convenient option if you find other platforms difficult. Businesses that operate both online and offline will benefit from the seamless POS integration.

Squarespace: Best e-commerce platform for visual appeal

Monthly pricing: From $23
Ease of use: Above average
Free trial: Yes (14 days)

Squarespace is a website builder that allows business owners to pick a template and customize it. It also has various tools for selling, marketing, and SEO to boost your sales after your site is ready.

Squarespace has over 160 modern and high-quality templates that appeal to businesses that care about visuals. It also keeps updating and releasing new features that enhance the creative side of building an e-commerce site.

Its Fluid Engine editor lets you drag and drop elements to create your site while giving you enough tips to ensure good results. And with Squarespace Blueprint, which came out in mid-2023, you can make unique sites from more than 1 billion different design options.

Squarespace is known as an easy and beginner-friendly e-commerce platform. But it has fewer templates than some other platforms in our guide (for example, Wix has about 900). And you need to pay $65 per month to access advanced e-commerce tools, like advanced shipping and discounting options. The Business plan, which costs $33 per month, only gives you basic e-commerce features.

  • User-friendly website builder
  • Visually appealing templates
  • Tools for appointment-based services and subscriptions
  • A limited number of premade templates
  • Can get expensive
  • No phone support

Who should use it

Squarespace is a great option for businesses that want a visually appealing online store. It is also user-friendly and suitable for businesses that are building their first site.

Our picks at a glance

Company/ProductStar ratingLowest e-commerce monthly subscription price (excluding free option)Abandoned cart recovery tool
$39 per month
$29 per month (free if you process at least $500/month)
$27 per month
$19 per month
Included for Business and Unlimited plans
$39 per month
Included for Plus and Pro plans
$29 per month
Square Online
$29 per month
Included for paid plans
$33 per month
Included in the Commerce Advanced plan
Our goal was to help SMBs choose the best e-commerce software for their needs. We gathered data on top e-commerce products using a specific set of criteria. We then filtered our data to 25 different vendor-plan pairs based on five main categories with 43 metrics. We gave each metric a weight according to its importance for small businesses. We used the final score of each product to pick the eight that stood out for this list.

We also gave each product an Editor’ Grade based on four key factors before turning the final scores into a star rating out of five. This grade was independent of our selection process and key data points.

What are the key features of e-commerce software?

Payment processing: E-commerce software enables safe payment processing. You can choose from various methods, such as credit cards, digital wallets, and bank transfers.

Inventory management: Effective inventory management lets businesses monitor stock levels, get restock notifications, and control product availability.

Customization: Generous customization options let you adjust the appearance and functionality of your online store, maintaining brand identity and creating unique user experiences.

Security: Strong security features protect customer data and transactions with encryption, SSL certificates, and fraud prevention.
Analytics: Good e-commerce software provides reporting tools that give you insight into sales data, customer behavior, and other important metrics.

What to look for in an e-commerce platform

Selecting the right e-commerce platform is crucial for success. To help you make a smart decision, we’ve outlined the key factors to consider. User-friendliness vs. customization

Running a small business is challenging, and you don’t have a lot of time to waste. Choose a platform that combines ease of use with customization so your website looks good without being identical to every other online store out there. Mobile responsiveness and optimization

Mobile commerce is more vital than ever, as customers need a smooth shopping experience across devices. This is mandatory, so make sure your chosen platform is responsive and works well on mobile. Integration capabilities

As a small business, you depend entirely on the integrations offered by your chosen platform, since you can’t just create it yourself. Your e-commerce platform must integrate properly with the channels through which you want to sell and the software systems you use.

Integrations can also offer additional functionality customers want, like Google Maps support, saving payment details, and product sharing on social media. SEO and marketing functionality

It’s no use launching an online store that no one visits. Prioritize platforms that offer features to help you optimize content, increase traffic, launch promotions, and build customer loyalty. Pricing and value for money

The monthly subscription isn’t an e-commerce platform’s only cost. Look out for hidden fees; transaction fees, processing fees, and app store/theme fees can all affect your finances. Ensure the platform matches your budget while providing useful features. Customer support and community

Don’t ignore support. When issues arise, which they will, you’ll be grateful for quick and dependable customer support. Look for 24/7 support, active community forums, and ample documentation.

Sophia is passionate about Digital Marketing, E-commerce, and travel. I also like photography and writing interesting articles.