How To Find the Right eCommerce Website Builder For You

A well built eCommerce store should be easy to manage and simple to use so choosing the right website builder is key. Here's how to do it...

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Choosing the right website builder for your eCommerce store can be one of the hardest decisions to make. Between different coding requirements, hidden fees and scaling options, it can be hard to know where to start. Plus it not only has to work for you but it also needs to work for your customers too!

Not all website builders are created equally but SH1FT is here to help ease the decision-making process. We’ve rounded up some of the best platforms and outlined the key features, pricing and who should use them below.

In no particular order, here goes…

Shopify

A hosting platform, eCommerce platform and website builder in one, Shopify has quickly become one of the most popular choices for businesses.

Boasting over 70+ templates, intuitive navigation and an exceptionally easy-to-use interface, Shopify allows you to create your site quickly and efficiently. It also offers an incredible number of customization options, allowing you to add features like User Generated Content displays and tools to help with accounting to your online store.

In-built SEO features and blogging capabilities helps to get your website ranking and enables you to provide quality content alongside your products. In addition, their mobile optimisation keeps your site looking great, whatever the device.

With Shopify’s dedicated product section it’s simple to upload and manage inventory; you can set categories, sales prices, view stock levels and more. Payments are handled through the platform so there’s no need for third-party apps. However, you can also choose to integrate one of the hundreds of payment processors compatible with Shopify if you want.

eCommerce website builder example
example of a Shopify website

Pricing: $29 – $299 / month + additional transactional fees

Who’s it for: beginners and experts alike

Support options: 24/7 support options and a dedicated help section

BigCommerce

This paid eCommerce website builder is very similar to Shopify with one added advantage – BigCommerce includes more built-in features like tax set-up as standard. While the same features are available with Shopify, they need to be added to your site through additional apps.

With plenty of themes and customisation options to choose from, you can build your site quickly and get selling fast. The step-by-step store creation and straight-forward navigation bar make it easy to set up and manage your eCommerce business, while no transaction rates keep costs down.

BigCommerce is ideal for fast-growing businesses as its multi-channel selling capabilities allow you to sell through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Shopping, eBay, Amazon and POS.

eCommerce website example
example of a website built with BigCommerce

Pricing: $29.95 -$299.95 / month + no transaction rates

Who’s it for: beginners and experts – particularly good for fast growing business who need scaling options

Support options: 24/7 support via phone, email and live chat

Wix

Another popular website builder that requires no coding knowledge, Wix ranks highly for user-friendliness.

500+ templates and 100s of free plugins make it easy to design your site and improve its functionality, including SEO plugins to help your site get found in the first place. The templates available are considered quite visual-heavy, so if you’re looking for an image-led site it’s a good option.

If you don’t feel confident with design, or simply don’t have the time, Wix ADI can create a website (including custom text) for you in minutes from a few simple questions.

Commission-free payments and mobile optimisation are other key features that come as standard with Wix.

example of a website built with wix

Pricing: $20 – $35 / month + $300 ad voucher as standard

Who’s it for: beginners and experts creating visual-heavy sites

Support options: send support tickets or request calls during business hours (not 24/7)

Squarespace

The straight forward design of Squarespace makes this all-in-one solution one of the most popular eCommerce website platforms in the world.

The easy to use industry-specific templates built with customers in mind come complete with drag-and-drop technology making it quick and easy to set up your site.

example with mobile optimisation
example of theme and mobile optimisation

Known for its modular, minimalist styles Squarespace’s customisation options are limiting if you’re looking for something a bit different. However, the built-in SEO tools and ability to change templates without losing content make it easy to keep your eCommerce store looking fresh. With instant scaling options, it’s ready to grow when you are.

Squarespace offers fewer integrations than most others on this list but still has the key elements such as abandoned cart recovery, bulk shipping labels and more that make your site fully functional. It also doesn’t offer as many payment options but does work with both PayPal and Stripe which accepts most major credit cards.

Pricing: $18 – $40 / month when billed annually

Who’s it for: beginners and experts looking for a more minimalist layout

Support options: 24/7 emails, business hours live chat and dedicated help section

Weebly

Drag-and-drop options offer you the chance to alter designs but not fully customise with Weebly. In fact, actual customisation is very difficult with this platform, especially after initial set-up meaning there’s more pressure to get it right from the start.

templates
examples of templates

Standard templates allow for multiple images and videos for each product while clever sales features let you discount based on what’s in user’s carts.

Offering flexible payment options for customers and integrations for some marketing tools and social media, Weebly is a good option for small businesses looking for an online presence.

Cheaper plans make it desirable for smaller budgets but the limited design options mean it isn’t necessarily the most creative, user-friendly option.

Pricing: $15 – $30 / month + free domain

Who’s it for: beginners and experts, particularly small businesses who want a site quickly without lots of customisation

Support options: 24/7 email support, business hours calls

Magento

Bought by Adobe in 2018, Magento is a popular open-source software for building eCommerce stores.

Technically free, it requires expert skill and knowledge to operate but with the right know-how, you can create pretty much anything you want!

Ongoing management of the site is harder since as it’s O.S. software there’s no real tech support. It’s also self-hosted meaning you’ll need a domain elsewhere that you can install it on to.

With free and paid themes available, alongside various extensions to improve functionality, it’s possible to create a slick, user-friendly website if you have the skills or budget to build one.

Example of a website built with Magento

Pricing: free

Who’s it for: experts or those with the budget to hire a designer and developer

Support options: limited as open source software

WooCommerce & WordPress

Similar to Magento, this self-hosting open-source software requires external hosting and a domain. WooCommerce is actually an eCommerce plugin for WordPress so you’ll build the site through them before installing the selling capabilities.

It’s a good option for those with an existing WordPress site looking to start selling and considered more user-friendly than Magento. With plenty of themes and plugins available, it offers more customization than most platforms. However, since the setup is more complicated, getting the most from the customization options will probably require a designer and developer.

eCommerce website example
example of a website built with WooCommerce

Pricing: WooCommerce is technically free but charges for extensions. You’ll also need a WordPress site and domain and hosting.

Who’s it for: WordPress site holders or those with middle-weight knowledge or budget to hire designer and developer.

Support options: Support forums and theme/tech support when you log in through WordPress.

Zyro

With an interface specifically designed for new businesses and drag-and-drop options, it’s possible to set your store up in minutes with Zyro. And, with multi-channel selling tools, you can promote and sell across Instagram, Facebook and Amazon too.

website builder sample themes
sample themes

One of the big selling points for Zyro is its powerful AI business tools that include:

  • Name generator
  • Slogan generator
  • Logo maker
  • AI content generator (for SEO friendly content for your website)
  • AI heatmap

Pricing: $22.99 – $29.99 + free domain for one year

Who’s it for: new businesses, beginners and experts

Support options: 24/7 support

Things to Consider

Ease of Use

  • How do you upload products and manage inventory?
  • Is it drag-and-drop technology or does it require coding?
  • Can you switch templates easily after set-up?
  • What is the ongoing management like?

Built-in Features

  • Does it have a dedicated marketplace/app store for additional features?
  • Can you integrate third party apps?
  • Does it support multi-channel selling (if that’s important to you)?
  • How does it process payment and what commission does it take?

Design

  • Do the available themes fit with your brand aesthetic?
  • Can you customise for a unique and fully functioning website?
  • Does it require coding to change design elements?

Value

  • What’s your website budget?
  • Can you scale your website and plan as your grow?
  • What features are included as standard and are they ones you need?

Website Builders at a Glance…

  1. Shopify – Easy to use, simple customisation, beginner-friendly
  1. BigCommerce – More upfront features, cheaper since no additional fees, beginner-friendly
  1. Wix – build from scratch without expert knowledge, cheaper than most hosted platforms, beginner-friendly
  1. Squarespace – Easy to use, sophisticated industry-specific templates, more “unlimiteds” at a cheaper price than most competitors, beginner-friendly
  1. Weebly – limited customisation, best for small business with limited products, relatively beginner-friendly
  1. Magento – open-source, fully customisable, expertise required
  1. WooCommerce & WordPress – open-source, fully customisable, expertise required
  1. Zyro – designed for new businesses, powerful AI business tools, beginner-friendly

So there we go, SH1FT’s round-up of eCommerce website builders is complete. Of course, this is by no means a complete list, but these are some of the most popular options out there for you to consider.

While we’re not offering to upload the inventory for you, if you need help marketing it you know who to call.

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