10 best ecommerce platforms of 2020 – choose the one that fits your needs the best

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to launch a high-quality online store, it is a good idea to use an ecommerce platform. Ecommerce platforms are online-based software solutions that allow one to build an online store quickly even if they have absolutely no experience with coding or anything like that. In 2020 there are lot of ecommerce platforms that all promise great things, but in reality not all of them are equally good. And the purpose of this page is to help you find the platforms that are both good on a general level and also a great fit for your or your company’s specific situation and needs.

Shopify – for most founders the best ecommerce platform in 2020

While Shopify’s success has pushed many of its competitors to improve their offering, in my opinion, Shopify is still in 2020 the best ecommerce platform for most people who are looking to launch an online store.

Shopify’s most important advantages include, for example, how easy it is to use, how good their customer service is and the fact that their plans are priced in a very open and clear way. In 2020 the cheapest proper Shopify plan still usually costs $29/month and the two other normal plans cost respectively $79/month and $299/month. And, if you pay for a year or two in advance, you can get a discount on those already relatively modest prices.

Does Shopify’s offering have problems in 2020? While Shopify is a pretty great ecommerce solution, it is not perfect. And in my opinion Shopify’s two biggest problems are its quite big transaction fees (especially with the $29/month plan) and the fact that Shopify doesn’t, in my opinion, give enough options for modifying the URLs of store pages.

You can in a way fix the first problem by increasing your markup and the second one might not be a big issue for those who are looking to have their store in English (in practice the issue with Shopify’s URLs is that you are forced to have elements such as /products/ in them). However, if you are looking to have your store in language other than English and don’t like having English-language words in the URLs, 3dcart (presented seventh on this page), for example, might be a better option than Shopify for you for launching an online store.

Shopify’s transaction fees. From left to right: $29/month-plan, $79/month-plan, $299/month-plan.

Nice to know about Shopify: Previously Shopify’s users who were on the $29/month plan could not offer/sell gift cards to their customers. However, this was changed earlier in 2020 and currently all the regular Shopify plans include the option to have gift cards. Thus the $29/month Shopify plan is now even better deal than it was before.

Shopify is currently offering all new users a 14-day free trial. Try Shopify for free.

More information about Shopify: Shopify review.

Wix – surprisingly good, great for less tech-savvy founders

If I had to guess which e-commerce platform might become the “next Shopify”, I would guess Wix. That is because Wix appears to have done significant improvements on its ecommerce solution and in addition to that it is also, for example, quite modestly priced (and in fact Wix is currently one of the few platforms that we recommend for those looking for a cheap ecommerce solution with no turnover or product limits). In practice Wix’s listed prices for its e-commerce platform start from $23/month, but it is very possible to be offered a significant discount by Wix after you have tried their store builder for a few minutes.

What are some advantages of Wix in 2020? The most obvious one is that, it is extremely easy to design a nice looking store with Wix. And I suspect that even if you never before done anything like it, you can build a solid looking Wix store in 15 to 30 minutes. It really is that easy.

What are some of the cons of Wix in 2020? Based on my experiences, Wix might not be a great choice if you are looking to launch a non-English language online store, this as it appears that their translations are not always great and as a user you also don’t have a full control over them. Also, while Wix might be a great choice for those just getting started with ecommerce, experienced and/or ambitious founders might be better off choosing a platform (such as Shopify or BigCommerce) that is not as easy to use, but offers more freedom.

Is Wix trustworthy? Wix was established about 15 years ago and it is listed in the Nasdaq stock exchange, where it currently has a market value of more than $10 billion. In other words, Wix should be very safe option for launching an online store. Try Wix for free.

BigCommerce – good choice for tech-savvy and/or very ambitious founders

While BigCommerce has been moving more into serving really large companies, it does also have a pretty or even a very good ecommerce solution geared more towards small and medium sized ecommerce businesses. That part of BigCommerce’s offering is called “BigCommerce Essentials”. And the one that is serving large clients is called “BigCommerce Enterprise”. On this page we will focus on “BigCommerce Essentials”, for more information about the enterprise-solution I recommend checking out BigCommerce’s website.

When considering just the features of the platform, BigCommerce Essentials might actually in 2020 be even better than Shopify: Just like Shopify, BigCommerce also offers lot of different ways to customize how your store looks and functions and also with BigCommerce it is possible to launch your online store quite quickly. However, in addition to those things, BigCommerce also offers, for example, more options than Shopify when it comes to customizing your store’s URLs. And what is also great is that at least in many cases BigCommerce charges less transaction fees than Shopify.

Unfortunately though, BigCommerce also has some downsides. The first two of them apply to pretty much all BigCommerce users and the third one to those who would like to have their store in some other language than English.

The first issue is that BigCommerce has revenue limits on its 3 Essentials plans. In practice that means that with BigCommerce’s Standard-plan you can sell at most $50,000 worth in a 12-month period, with Plus-plan you can sell at most $180,000 worth in 12 months and with Pro-plan the limit is set at $400,000 in one year. However, in regard to the Pro-plan it is nice to know that it is possible to increase the yearly revenue limit by paying extra $150/month for every $200,000 in the yearly limit.

The second issue with BigCommerce is that it has a bit steeper learning curve than, for example, Wix or even Shopify. So, if you are going to use BigCommerce and don’t have previous experience with building online stores or websites, it will probably take some time to get everything to look and function as you want them to. However, it is good to note that BigCommerce recently introduced a big update to their platform, which made it much easier to use. If this progress continues, BigCommerce might very well in the future be as easy as, for example, Shopify.

The third issue with BigCommerce is that their themes are currently only available in English. According to BigCommerce it is possible to translate your store to another language but obviously that will take some work and you might run into some hurdles when doing it.

How much does using BigCommerce Essentials cost? That depends on the plan you pick. The Standard-plan costs $29.95/month, the Plus-plan costs $79.95/month and the Pro-plan costs $299.95/month. Those are the prices when paid in monthly-basis, however with the Plus- and Pro-plans you get a 10% discount if you pay for a full year in advance.

Does BigCommerce offer a free trial? Yes. BigCommerce Essential users get a 15-day free trial. Try BigCommerce for free.

Little bit more about BigCommerce: BigCommerce review.

Weebly – a decent option for running a small e-commerce store on a small budget

If you are looking for a quick and cheap way to launch a simple online store, Weebly could be a good option. With Weebly’s e-commerce platform it is very easy to build a decent store in under 30 minutes, and best of all Weebly’s cheapest e-commerce plan costs less than $15/month when paid in yearly-basis. While those things are good reasons for choosing Weebly, it unfortunately also has couple cons.

The first possible con of using Weebly is that, stores built using it might not look as modern and flashy as stores built with many of the other platforms mentioned on this page. Additionally, it is good to be aware of the fact that Weebly’s cheapest e-commerce plan allows one to list at most 25 different products for sale. Try Weebly for free.

WooCommerce – Best (possibly) free ecommerce platform

If you are familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce might be as good of an option as Shopify. That is because with WooCommerce it is these days extremely easy to start a nice looking online store. And naturally it is also nice that WooCommerce is free – unless you need to buy plugins which, granted, is quite likely to happen.

What are some of the cons of WooCommerce? Maybe the biggest issue with WooCommerce is that if you are not familiar with WordPress, you first need to learn how to use it in order to use WooCommerce and to go along with that you also need to pay for hosting for your WordPress site (e-commerce platform services such as Shopify give free hosting with a subscription).

More about WooCommerce: 2020 WooCommerce review.

Squarespace – reasonable choice for a store focused on aesthetics

Given how heavily Squarespace focuses on its traditional website-builder, it is understandable that its ecommerce store builder is sometimes overlooked when people think about the best ecommerce platforms. And while I don’t rank Squarespace on the level of, for example, Shopify or WooCommerce, I would consider it as an option if I were to launch an online store with just a few products and in a niche where aesthetics (e.g. high fashion) are extremely important.

Why Squarespace is usually not the best choice for launching an online store: Squarespace’s big problem is that its ecommerce solution allows one to do very little advanced customization of their store. That might not seem like a big issue when you first launch your online store, but as time goes on it is very possible that you will get frustrated with Squarespace and wish that you would have picked a different platform.

2020 Squarespace ecommerce solution prices: When paid in monthly-basis the cheapest Squarespace plan that you can use for ecommerce costs $26/month and the two more expensive options cost, respectively, $30/month and $46/month. It is good to note that when using the $26/month-plan, Squarespace charges a quite hefty 3% transaction fee on purchases, with the two more expensive plans the fee is 0%.

Some more information about Squarespace’s ecommerce solution: Squarespace ecommerce platform review.

3dcart – founded over 20 years ago and still a pretty good choice

When thinking purely in terms of the quality of the platform, 3dcart is probably not as good of a choice as some of the other options mentioned on this page. But in the real world low cost is sometimes more important than high quality. And that is where 3dcart shines: 3dcart’s cheapest regular plan costs $19/month, which already in itself is quite cheap, but then in addition to that 3dcart also runs lot of promotions. During those promotions you can often get a 3dcart plan for 50% off, and at that point 3dcart becomes really cheap for what it can offer.

Are there reasons other than its cheap price for choosing 3dcart? At least two. The first one is its age: 3dcart was founded in 1997 and thus it can be a good choice for those looking for a well-established e-commerce platform – the fact that 3dcart is already 23 years aged is also a strong indicator that 3dcart is safe. The second reason is that 3dcart gives an impressive amount of freedom for your store’s URLs,

In practice that second reason means that with 3dcart you can have product URLs such as whatever.com/whatever, whereas with some other e-commerce platform your product pages might be forced to have URL’s such as whatever.com/products/whatever – maybe not a big issue if your store’s language is English, but quite annoying if your store is, for example, in German or French.

What you should be aware of before paying for a 3dcart subscription: 3dcart, like Bigcommerce, is one of these platforms that limits how much sales you can generate on a specific plan before you need to upgrade to a more expensive one. So, for example, with 3dcart’s cheapest plan (“startup”) you can generate at most $50,000 in sales in a 12 month period before you need to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Try 3dcart for free.

Looking for more informaton about 3dcart? See our 3dcart review.

Volusion – a reasonable option for people from the United States

Volusion has couple things going for it: First of all it charges no additional transaction fees, and that can mean really big savings, when compared to something like Shopify where the fees can be up to 2.9%+30c per transaction. And secondly, Volusion’s new store builder is aesthetically very pleasing. And as with all the other good e-commerce platforms, also with Volusion it is easy to build a solid online store.

However, Volusion also has some disadvantages: First of all, its cheaper plans have quite low turnover limits and the cheapest Volusion also plan has a quite low product limit. Secondly, Volusion’s own payment solution is only available for people from the United States and thirdly, Volusion’s cheaper plans don’t support 3rd party gateways. Those last two things add up to the fact that, while Volusion might be worth considering for those people who are from the United States, the rest of us are probably better off choosing some other ecommerce solution.

More about Volusion: 2020 Volusion review.

AmeriCommerce – worth considering in some situations

Generally speaking there are two kinds of online stores: those that aim to be sort of an experience and those that just want to present the products that are for sale. AmeriCommerce is probably not the right choice for you if you want your store to be an experience. However, if you know that your customers are just looking to quickly find and buy products, then you might want to consider AmeriCommerce. That is because with AmeriCommerce it is easy to design simple product-focused online stores – the stores built with AmeriCommerce might not look particularly beautiful and exciting, but they are easy for customers to use and browse.

What does using AmeriCommerce cost? The cheapest AmeriCommerce plan costs $24.95/month. In addition to that cheapest plan there are also four other plans, with the most expensive one costing $299/month. Interestingly enough AmeriCommerce does not give those who pick one of the two cheapest plans a discount if they choose the annual subscription (instead of the month-to-month). Almost all the other ecommerce platforms give a discount for all those who pay for at least one year in advance.

No need to buy a store template: If you are looking for an inexpensive way to run an online store, one benefit of choosing AmeriCommerce is that they have lot of free store themes/templates to choose from. Way more than, for example, Shopify does. Additionally, AmeriCommerce doesn’t have sales limits, which means that you don’t have to upgrade to a more expensive plan if your store starts gaining traction. However, AmeriCommerce does have a product limit, but luckily even with the cheapest plan you can have up to 100 products for sale in your store. New AmeriCommerce users get a 14-day free trial. Test AmeriCommerce for free.

More information about AmeriCommerce: 2020 AmeriCommerce review.

Magento – an option for large businesses

Magento differs quite a lot from the other ecommerce platforms mentioned on this page. And due to the fact that using Magento requires considerably more IT/Technical-skills than the other platforms and due to the fact that Magento can also be quite pricey, it is likely not a great choice for small businesses. Or maybe even for most medium-sized businesses.

However, if you already have a popular commerce business that you are just looking to take online or you are absolutely sure that your ecommerce business will become the next big thing, it might be a good idea to look into Magento. Some of Magento’s advantages include, for example, how advanced it is and the fact that they can give more personal guidance to their customers than the other platforms can.

Are there other ecommerce platforms possibly worth considering in 2020?

If none of the above platforms seem like the right fit for you, it might worth checking out, for example, Ecwid. Although at least my experience of Ecwid was that it should be considerable easier to use. However, on the plus side Ecwid can be quite cheap, which is obviously nice.

A few things to consider when choosing which ecommerce platform to use

  • How much you are willing to pay (good to keep in mind that in the ideal case you will be running the store for a long time, i.e. $10 vs. $30 is not a big difference, but 60×$10 vs. 60×$30 can be)
  • Do you consider ease of use to be more important than that there are lot of options for customizing your store
  • How important is it that the company behind the platform can provide good customer service (I would recommend choosing Shopify if it is very important)
  • Would you prefer running an ecommerce store that looks quite traditional (even simple) or would you want your store to look very fresh and modern (if the former Weebly or 3dcart can be a great choice, if the latter Squarespace, Shopify or Bigcommerce might be the right choice)
  • Which geographical market are you focusing on? If you are going to focus on a market other than the US, you might notice that some platforms are not as good of a choice for launching your store as they would otherwise be. That could be, for example, because they don’t have lot of payment options available for customers from that market.

About our review process

We only recommend platforms / companies with which we are familiar. That means that no platform or company is listed on this page, unless we have tried at least one of their products (some companies have multiple products) and familiarized ourselves with the company behind the product.

For the sake of openness: We have the most experience with using Shopify and WooCommerce. As well as we have the most knowledge about the companies behind those two platforms. On the other hand, our experience with Squarespace’s ecommerce product is very limited – we are, however, very familiar with their traditional website builder, which shares lot of features with their ecommerce solution.

Are you looking to do dropshipping?

Dropshipping is probably the fastest growing type of ecommerce and not all ecommerce platforms are equally good choice for traditional ecommerce and dropshipping. Thus we have put together this list of the best platforms for dropshipping.

Questions and answers about ecommerce platforms

Is it easy to change ecommerce platform?

This depends partially on from where and to which platform you are looking to change. However, it can be quite tricky and as such it is likely a good idea to test several platforms before choosing the one you want to use for launching your store.

Are top ecommerce platforms trustworthy?

Yes, they should be. Operating/owning a company that offers ecommerce platform services can be very lucrative (at the time of writing this Shopify’s market value is more than $100 billion) and as such the companies behind the platforms have strong incentive for ensuring that their services are safe and secure. Additionally, as someone who has followed the ecommerce platform -industry for 5+ years I have never seen a platform that would have turned out to be somehow untrustworthy.

How much do ecommerce templates/themes cost?

All the top of ecommerce platforms offer free store themes. However, most of them also have paid themes. Those paid templates usually cost from around $140 to $300/theme.

Unlike the cost of using an ecommerce platform in itself, the cost of a store theme is usually a one-time fee and not something you have to pay for monthly or annually. That means that even a template that costs, for example, $200 is quite inexpensive when you consider how much it costs per month, for example, over 3 years.

Is it possible to sell in multiple currencies?

Yes, but not with every ecommerce platform. Out of the platforms listed on our list of the top ecommerce platforms, for example, Shopify and BigCommerce are ones that allow you to sell in multiple currencies.

This page has last been updated on September 16th, 2020.