94 of the Best Paid and Free Ecommerce Platforms and Plugins in 2021
There are many Ecommerce Platforms and Plugins to choose from these days, and trying to decide which one is the best to suit your online store’s needs can be confusing, from Shopify to Woocommerce, to Squarespace and Wix.
The majority are SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms, meaning you pay a monthly or yearly subscription. One of the exceptions is Woocommerce, which is a free WordPress plugin. Most of the other eCommerce platforms have a free trial period before you start paying.
Most important things to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform:
- Site Speed – your pages need to load quickly whether on desktop or mobile. Just remember PAP – People Aren’t Patient
- ISP Uptime – don’t miss out on monthly sales due to poor uptime from your provider
- Product Variants – choose a platform that offers a range of colour variants, for example, to cater to a range of customers
- Apps and Integration – look for an eCommerce platform that has the best apps available and integrates with other platforms and marketplaces such as Printful and Etsy
- SEO – choose a platform that hallows you to include the best URL structure, page titles, descriptions, and of course User Experience (UX).
- Marketing Tools – coupon codes, exit intents pop ups, banners, abandoned cart strategies are also extremely important to maximize conversions.
- Monthly cost – $20-30 is reasonable for a reliable, basic service
- Transaction and Credit Card Fees – these might see insignificant, but over time will add up.
- Payment Gateways and Currencies – the more you can offer, the better chance you’ll have of securing the sale
- Free Domain Name and SSL Certificate – if you can get these two for free, that’s a bonus when starting out
- Free Trial – look for free trials and 30-day Money-Back Guarantees, just in case you’re unhappy or change or mind.
Below are mini-reviews of what I consider to be the best paid and free eCommerce platforms and plugins available today.
ECOMMERCE EYE TOP 4 PICKS
Shopify, which is based in Ottawa Canada, has become the most trusted eCommerce platform in the world and is now trusted by more than 1,000,000 businesses. It has been empowering individuals and business owners to build their own online business since 2004. Shopify is a one-stop-shop and handles everything from marketing and payments, to secure checkout and shipping. The platform’s flexibility allows the store owner to sell products to anyone, anywhere in the world, whether it’s in person with Point of Sale or online through a website, social media or an online marketplace.
WiX has been used to create a free website by 160 million people worldwide. You can either design your website from scratch or choose from over 500 designer-made templates with relative ease with the drag and drop website builder. All pages are totally responsive to any device. Free web hosting comes standard with WiX to make sure your site is safe and secure. You can also track customer’s orders and manage your inventory from desktop or mobile. WiX has multiple payment methods such as credit cards, PayPal, offline payments, and others, all commission-free.
Big Commerce is a software as a service (SaaS) product, meaning you pay for the software, usually on a monthly or yearly basis. 12 customizable and professionally-designed templates are made available allowing you to sell either physical or digital goods. If you’re a complete beginner you’ll really appreciate the easy to use the drag-and-drop feature. There are also some very handy marketing tools. When it comes to payment types, Big Commerce delivers with PayPal and many other popular payment options. If you know a thing or two about coding, you can edit the CSS and HTML as required.
3dcart is a simple yet powerful eCommerce website builder. 3dcart has recently added an HTML Builder so you can now drag and drop text, images, and more on to blog posts, web pages, and more. 3dcart’s checkout is optimized to ensure a smooth experience for customers. 3dcart includes built-in SEO tools to simplify all the tasks needed to rank as high as possible with no technical knowledge needed. 3dcart has been designed to be mobile-friendly, removing the need to maintain multiple versions of your website or use custom code.
Weebly allows you to get things started with a powerful free plan which gives you access to professionally designed customizable webpage designs and useful tools to build your website. There are very handy expert guides and planning tools on how to build and launch a website for beginners. Once your website is established, you can have a look at one of their low-cost plans, that will help you take things to the next level. Whether it’s a pop-up shop or your own online store, Weebly takes care of your payments for you, because it’s now part of the Square payment suite. Weebly’s Customer Success team is just an email, chat, or phone call away.
Woocommerce is the number one eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It started in 2008 as WooThemes and in 2017 decided to focus exclusively on eCommerce. It’s free and open-source, empowering anyone to sell anything, anywhere. Millions of people and businesses now use the plugin to sell their products or services. Being WordPress based, there are hundreds of Woocommerce compatible themes to suit your online store, it’s branding, and the products you’re selling. Woocommerce is backed by a massive online community for advice and support and a wide selection of plugins and extensions are available to add functionality.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Squarespace is how clean and minimal their template designs are. They definitely have a passion for text and images and the way in which they can interact to create a powerful statement and brand. Actually, one of their motos is “Helping Creative Ideas Succeed”. Squarespace was founded in Anthony Casalena’s dorm room at the University of Maryland in 2003 and 17 years later it powers millions of websites around the world. Even the checkout process on a Squarespace website is simple. Browse products, add the product to cart and check out with maximum efficiency.
With ucraft you can create a professional, fully responsive website, portfolio, or online store with their multi-functional, easy-to-use drag, and drop website builder. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a solopreneur, entrepreneur, artist, or blogger, ucraft allows you to build a website and present your brand in the best possible way. For reliability and peace of mind, fast and secure ucraft websites are hosted on Google Cloud. When it comes to eCommerce, ucraft allows you to become an eCommerce success with their multi-functional website builder including fast and secure transactions with no hidden fees.
Volusion is no slouch when it comes to eCommerce and online stores. 180,000 entrepreneurs have used Volusion eCommerce software to create their online store. As with most eCommerce platforms, there’s no need to know how to write code, or be a web designer or developer, because Volusion has responsive themes and a comprehensive site builder, which allow you to create a professional store in no time. eCommerce tools provide you with inventory management, payment collection, and unlimited product options. Dozens of powerful apps and integrations are included to easily add advanced functionality to your site.
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