In this article I will share my opinion about what is the best ecommerce platform for beginners in 2021. The answer to that question is based on two factors: my own personal experiences of trying bunch of e-commerce platforms starting from 2014 and going all the way to 2021 and a wider picture view of what type of e-commerce platform / platform company I would recommend for those who are just getting started with ecommerce.
This page is structured so that straight from the beginning of the page you can find a quick comparison table of the best ecommerce platforms for beginners and then after that there is more information about each recommended platform. We consider especially three things important when picking an ecommerce website builder as a beginner: how easy to use the builder is, how cheap it is and if the builder’s store templates allow even beginners to easily create a professional looking online online.
Best ecommerce platform for beginners – top options compared
|Platform||How easy to use it is||How cheap it is||Quality of themes|
|Shift 4 Shop||Quite easy||Free or $19/m||OK|
Notes: 1) Shift4Shop is free for store owners from USA and for others prices for regular plans start from $19. 2) Zyro’s $8.99/month price reflects a price that is usually available by choosing a long term subscription, Zyro’s per month price can be as high as about $25, but they run lot of discount promos. 3) The part about themes refers to free store themes/templates that anyone can use, i.e. not to paid or customized templates, as those might not be realistic choices for ecommerce beginners.
Best e-commerce platform for beginners – based on my personal experience
Zyro was launched in 2019 and I myself had not heard about it until 2020. Despite of that I am confident that it is in 2021 the best ecommerce platform for beginners. There are lot of really nice things about Zyro, but from the point of view beginners there are two really nice things that make it a great ecommerce platform.
The first of those things is that Zyro can be really cheap when considering the cost of the platform in per month basis. That is as Zyro’s cheaper ecommerce subscription is usually available from just around $10/month. Although it is good to note that getting that cheap of a price requires buying long-term subscription (by the way, you can find more cheap ecommerce platforms from this page).
The second great thing about Zyro is that, it is very easy to use. And in fact I would go as far as to say that it might in 2021 be the easiest ecommerce platform for beginners and others. That is at least if you only consider the ecommerce platforms you would actually like to use for running an online store. Go to Zyro.
Looking for more information about Zyro? You can find our Zyro ecommerce review from here.
In my opinion Wix is right now the 2nd best platform for building your own store if you don’t have lot of experience with ecommerce (especially from the seller side). With Wix there is absolutely no need for coding skills nor is there a need for previous experience of launching an online store or even of having something like a blog.
Instead with Wix you just choose what type of a store you want to have, give some preferences and facts about your store and Wix’s system will design you a nice looking online store in maybe 30 seconds. After that you can easily add products to your store and do the small modifications needed for making sure that everything works as it should. Try Wix for free.
Wix for beginners – FAQ
Is Wix trustworthy? Yes, I would say so. Wix has been around for more than 15 years and it is owned by stock exchange listed company.
Can you try Wix for free? Yes. You can use a free version of Wix’s commerce store builder for as long as you want. It is not really feasible to properly launch your store with the free plan, but using it will give you a good idea about if Wix is the right choice for you.
How much does using Wix for ecommerce cost? Wix offers several different paid ecommerce options. With the regular pricing, the cheapest of those options costs $23/month. That cheapest option is usually good enough for lot of beginners. However, it is possible that once you have tried Wix’s free version for a while, they will offer you a discount on two of their more advanced ecommerce plans. If you are offered a discount, you can probably use Wix for even less than that $23/month.
Can I pay for my plan in monthly basis? Yes. While you can get significant discounts for paying for one year in advance, it is possible to pay for your Wix plan in monthly basis. And for lot of beginners that might indeed be a good way to get started with ecommerce.
Does Wix have in-house payment options? Yes. Wix offers its customers the option to accept payments with their own payment solution. With that solution you can, for example, easily accept credit card payments. It is also easy to accept, for example, PayPal payments with Wix. Open a Wix account.
Other good options for beginners getting into ecommerce
If you feel that neither Zyro nor Wix is the right choice for you, there are luckily also at least two other options that can be good choices for lot of beginners. Let’s examine them next and start by looking at the reasons for why Shopify is also a beginner-friendly e-commerce platform.
Maybe the biggest reason is their very good and helpful customer service. If you are like me, it is not once or twice that the customer service of some company has really frustrated you. With Shopify the support was very helpful and easy to reach (good live chat on the website, in addition to the other options). Having interacted with the support, I felt like they really wanted to help me to succeed in selling online and were able to explain things in clear manner.
The second reason for choosing Shopify is the trust factor. Shopify is a huge, stock-exchange listed company and as such you should be able to trust it. This is something that is especially important for beginners, because as a beginner it would sometimes otherwise be difficult to spot the ‘red flags’ that indicate a company is not a good choice for building your store.
14-day free trial. When you don’t have lot of or any experience with building an online store, it is natural that you might be very hesitant to start paying for an e-commerce platform straight from the start. Luckily though, Shopify currently offers a 14-day free trial – given how quick and easy it is to build your store with their platform, that should be plenty of time to decide if you want to become a paying customer of the company.
However, even if you decide to become a paying customer, it is good to note that just like at Wix also at Shopify you are not forced to sign up for a long-term commitment. Instead you can choose to pay for the platform on monthly basis, which might be useful because as a beginner it might be difficult to estimate the demand for your products.
The cheapest monthly plan for building a stand-alone store with Shopify costs just $29 month. And those who are ready to commit for the long-term for trying to make their ecommerce store successful should be happy to know that Shopify offers 10% discount for annual subscriptions and a 20% discount for 2-year subscriptions.
To sum it up: I think that Shopify is also a great choice for people who are looking to get into ecommerce. Thanks to their integration with Oberlo, Shopify is also a great choice for those who are interested in getting started with dropshipping as beginners. Open your Shopify account now.
Shift4Shop – good combination of safe and good features
While Shift4Shop is not perfect (see Shift 4 Shop review), it does have several things going for it. And from the perspective of people who are just getting started with ecommerce, there are three of them that can be particularly important.
First of all, Shift4Shop has all the most important features one needs from an ecommerce platform. And secondly, due to its very long history and reputable new owner, Shift4Shop should be very safe. And thirdly, Shift4Shop can be extremely cheap – even free if you happen to be from the USA. So if safety and cheap price are the deciding factors for you when choosing an e-commerce platform, it might be worth checking out Shift4Shop.
Looking for even more options? See our: Best e-commerce platforms 2021 -page.
Don’t pay too much attention to the fact that you might be inexperienced with ecommerce
If you are just getting started with ecommerce you might be tempted to choose the ecommerce platform that is, in your opinion, the easiest-to-use, even if that platform might not otherwise be very good. However, I think that choosing a platform like that would in almost all the cases be a mistake. There are three reasons for that.
1) Getting into ecommerce should really be seen as at least a relatively long-term commitment as it will very likely take some time to learn how to drive customers to your store and generate sales.
2) Whichever platform you choose, you will probably find yourself more or less committed to, i.e. it is not always easy to change the ecommerce platform you use. And that might lead to lot of headache down the line, when the platform you picked is not well suited for running a large commerce business.
3) Even most of the ecommerce platforms that are not the most beginner-friendly are usually so easy to use that you can within couple of days learn how to create a nice online store with them.
Feel free try to more than 1 ecommerce platform before choosing one
While it is relatively easy to figure which ecommerce platforms are more beginner-friendly than others, the fact is that which platform is the easiest to each individual user can differ: maybe you have used some other IT-solution that has the same kind of UI as certain platform while some other platform’s UI might just feel strange to you, even though it is very intuitive for most other users.
Luckily though, there is nothing wrong with opening an account at multiple ecommerce platforms and taking advantage of their free trials and/or money-back guarantees & seeing which platform suits you the best. The odds are that you can find the platform that fits you the best within few hours.
Some advice for ecommerce beginners
Take a long-term attitude to ecommerce. Especially if you have become interested in ecommerce due to someone discussing how easy business ecommerce is, you might be expecting to make lot of money in a very short period of time. Unfortunately though ecommerce is almost never that easy.
Instead it can take a long time before your store takes off and starts generating a significant amount of revenue – if it ever happens. Obviously the situation can be much better if you already have an existing clientele to market your ecommerce store to.
Even before launching your store, try to think about how you will get customers. The unfortunate fact is that people are not just going to magically flock to your store, and instead you need to have a way to drive them there. There are plenty of good articles on how you can try to get customers, but not all methods fit all stores.
Repeat customers are one of the keys to ecommerce success. While getting a customer for the first time to your store is important, it can be argued that it is at least as important to make sure that they become a repeat customer.
That is because customer retention can reduce your costs and increase your profit margins significantly. You can aim to improve your customer retention, for example, by posting interesting content to your store’s website, by using an easy-to-remember domain name and by launching a newsletter. If you decide to launch a newsletter, it is likely a good idea to look into good newsletter ideas before sending emails to your customers – that should help with making sure that your customers are happy to receive emails from you.
Try to find a market in which you being a beginner is not an issue. There are lot of ecommerce markets where the big players have extremely efficient processes and are able to offer low prices & fast shipping times. Entering such market as a beginner might not be a good idea: how are you going to compete against the big stores?
Instead it could be wise to try to find a market in which there is little competition and in which people are not overly concerned about the prices or shipping times. Of course that type markets are not easy to find, but they could, for example, be related to hobbies.
Questions and answers
Do I need to create a separate store design for different screen sizes? No. All the top ecommerce platforms offer responsive templates, meaning that they automatically adjust for different screen sizes. That obviously makes building a store much easier and faster than it might otherwise be.
Is it easy to add payment methods for my store? Yes. E-commerce website builders have contracts with payment gateways and many of them also have their own payment solutions. This means that you can usually add payment methods by simply going to your store’s admin panel and by following couple simple steps. In my experience you can in many cases add at least PayPal to your store in less than 3 minutes and connecting Stripe to your store appears also to be extremely quick and easy.
What is the easiest way to acquire products to sell in my store? Assuming that you are not going to make the products yourself, the easiest method is likely going to be dropshippping. If you decide to go the dropshipping-route, you might want to check our list of the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping before paying for an ecommerce platform subscription. That is as there are quite big differences in how good the different ecommerce platforms are for dropshipping.