The Best eCommerce Platforms of 2022 – for Professionals and ‘DIY’ers – Small and Large businesses
Whether it’s buying a physical product or booking a salon appointment, customers are getting used to purchasing more products, services, and memberships online.
As of Q1 2022, ecommerce sales make up 14.3% of retail sales in the United States. Yet, 28% of small businesses in the U.S. don’t have websites, making it hard for their customers to shop with them and, in turn, causing them to lose out to competitors that are using dedicated ecommerce platforms to create a seamless shopping experience.
I reviewed my favorite ecommerce platforms based on price, range of features, ease-of-use, scalability, and more. Here are my top picks, in no order, each offers pros and cons that you will need to know to fit to your own business. As always, WebWithoutWaste can help with consultation and a free quote to build your website and eCommerce solution to your everyday business needs.
Started in 2004 by three entrepreneurs trying to start an online snowboarding equipment store, Shopify has grown to over 5,000 employees worldwide serving millions of businesses in 175 countries. We chose it as the best overall because it’s an affordable, robust, and easy-to-use platform for both beginners and growing businesses.
As an all-in-one ecommerce platform, Shopify is easy to set up and administer, making it a great choice for businesses with little in-house technical support. The platform lets users sell products from an online store, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and in-person with Shopify’s point-of-sale (POS) system.
Shopify offers some of the most advanced inventory management features of all the platforms we reviewed. Users can easily view stock levels and orders at a glance and create detailed product pages with custom metadata, images, pricing rules, and more. Shopify also streamlines shipping tasks including printing labels and sending tracking information to customers.
Shopify has a built-in payment processor that works with major credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Users can choose from third-party payment processors like PayPal for an additional fee.
Designing a Shopify ecommerce store is easy with a drag-and-drop store builder, around 100 paid and free store themes, and the ability to customize anything without needing design skills. Finally, Shopify integrates with thousands of marketing, sales, inventory, accounting, and other apps to expand its already extensive ecommerce capabilities.
I personally think the prices of Shopify plans are too expensive when compared to other platforms, but to you, paying more might give you the most benefit by saving you time creating your website. At least hosting is provided with the cost, which could be another pro or con depending on your needs and expectations.
Squarespace was built in a dorm room at the University of Maryland in 2003 as a basic platform for building and hosting blogs. In 2013, it added ecommerce features and a simple drag-and-drop interface, making it a strong competitor alongside Wix and Weebly. We chose it as the best for creatives because it makes it easy to create sleek, visual, portfolio-style sites for showcasing and selling creative works.
In addition to selling products, Squarespace makes it easy to sell services and gift cards, create subscriptions and membership programs, and for customers to book appointments online. Integrated email marketing features let users build loyalty by offering discounts and deals. The platform also supports a number of third-party integrations, including Printful and ShipStation, so custom products can be easily created and shipped.
Squarespace keeps payment processing simple as well, allowing customers to pay via PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, and Afterpay. Checkout is streamlined and simple for quick transactions, and users can customize the checkout process by adding surveys or gift messages, setting custom tax rates, and alerting customers when inventory is low. Easy social integrations allow products to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.
Squarespace’s intuitive dashboard allows users to quickly check and manage inventory, fulfill and ship orders, and get valuable insights on site traffic, sales trends, and customer data. In short, Squarespace is an ideal ecommerce platform for creatives who don’t want to mess with complex data sales tools.
Built originally as an online shopping cart by two developers in 2009, BigCommerce now boasts over 1,000 employees and serves over 150 countries. We chose it as the runner-up because it is comparable to Shopify with a focus on larger businesses and more robust SEO capabilities.
One place where BigCommerce differs from Shopify is in payment processing. Unlike Shopify, which charges 0.5% to 2% per transaction for using third-party payment processors, BigCommerce lets users choose from over 65 processors, including PayPal, Square, and Stripe, without extra fees. This is great for businesses that want to stick with their established merchant accounts.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce makes it easy to build beautiful ecommerce sites and sell on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. It also offers an equally impressive marketplace of apps for shipping, marketing, accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and more.
Where BigCommerce pulls away from Shopify is with SEO and analytics. BigCommerce’s SEO increases page load times for better customer experiences and also lets users customize page titles, metadata, and product URLs to improve the chances of products showing up in Google search results. Many of these advanced SEO features are only available from Shopify as add-ons.
BigCommerce provides advanced reporting and analytics with every plan, unlike Shopify, which only offers this on its more expensive plans. In addition to getting real-time data on orders, customers, and conversions, users can also drill down and create custom reports on revenue, customer habits, order details, and more.
WooCommerce was developed by WooThemes in 2011 as an ecommerce extension for the popular WordPress content management system. We choose it as the best for WordPress sites since it is the most popular, flexible, and affordable extension for WordPress users who want to create a full-featured ecommerce site.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that can be used to add ecommerce functions to any WordPress site. Because WordPress is one of the best SEO platforms on the market, WooCommerce makes it easy to create a scalable online store of any size.
Like many of the other platforms we reviewed, WooCommerce offers its own payment processor. Users can also add PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay, and Stripe with free extensions. In addition to a wide variety of templates and back-end-management tools, WooCommerce features integrated analytics, reporting, shipping, tax tools, and more—all for free.
WooCommerce offers basic inventory management that, while useful for basic stock management, isn’t well suited for high-volume businesses. Order management is more robust, however, allowing users to drill down to view products sold, billing and shipping addresses, and customer records.
Finally, WooCommerce’s extensions allow users to sell products on social media and marketplaces, including Facebook, eBay, Pinterest, and Amazon. In short, many of WooCommerce’s limitations can be overcome with its huge library of paid and free extensions.
Although WooCommerce is completely free to use, some of the more useful extensions that increase the platform’s flexibility cost upward of $300. I personally haven’t had to buy anything yet that was absolutely necessary.