E-commerce has become an essential part of doing business online. Having the right e-commerce capabilities can make or break an online store’s success. One of the most important decisions when setting up an e-commerce website is choosing the right website builder. There are many website builders on the market that offer e-commerce capabilities, but they can vary widely in features, flexibility, ease of use and cost. This article will compare some of the top e-commerce enabled website builders to help you determine which is the best fit for your business.
Shopify is one of the most popular and fully-featured e-commerce website builders. Some key e-commerce capabilities of Shopify include:
- Built-in shopping cart and checkout system – Shopify handles the shopping cart and checkout processes including PCI compliance. You don’t need to integrate third-party systems.
- Multiple product options – You can have simple products, variations (such as size and color options), bundled products and more.
- Inventory management – Shopify can sync with your inventory levels and update counts as items sell.
- Multiple sales channels – Sell through your Shopify store as well as other sales channels like Amazon, social media and brick-and-mortar retail. Shopify has channel integrations and POS options.
- Robust reporting – Shopify provides detailed sales, customer and inventory reports to help you identify trends and opportunities.
- Discount options – Create single use, limited quantity and customer specific percentage discounts and coupons.
- Dropshipping integration – Shopify allows you to import products from suppliers like Oberlo and AliExpress for dropshipping.
- Abandoned cart recovery – Shopify can send automated abandoned cart emails to customers to remind them to complete their purchase.
Shopify has a vast app store with hundreds of integrations for features like email marketing, accounting, shipping and more. Overall Shopify is an excellent all-in-one platform for e-commerce. The main downsides are the monthly fees which can get pricey for high volume merchants, and the lack of website design flexibility.
Wix is a popular website builder with a user-friendly drag and drop editor. Their e-commerce capabilities include:
- Shopping cart – The Wix shopping cart allows customers to purchase multiple products, use discounts and view order summaries.
- Product options – You can create simple, customizable, and bookable products. Add ons like warranties are also available.
- Order management – Wix provides an interface to view, edit and fulfil orders, generate invoices and process refunds.
- Payment processing – Wix payments integrate with Stripe, PayPal and others to accept payments online.
- Shipping calculation – Real-time shipping rates can be configured based on customer location and order details.
-Tax calculation – Wix automatically calculates sales tax based on nexus rules and jurisdiction rates.
-CRM – The Corvid cart application adds CRM features like saving customer details and order histories.
-Inventory tracking – Inventory levels are automatically updated when items are sold. Manual adjustments can also be made.
-Coupons – Percentage and fixed amount coupons and codes can be created and managed in Wix.
-Abandoned cart emails – Emails can be sent to customers who abandoned their carts to remind them to complete the purchase.
Wix has an app market but not as robust as some competitors. Store design flexibility is high since Wix is fully customizable. Wix is also competitively priced making it a good mid-range option.
Squarespace is well-known for beautiful designer-made templates. Their e-commerce features include:
- Shopping cart – Carts support multiple products, quantities and discounts. Customers can save carts for later.
- Inventory tracking – Inventory levels automatically update when items are purchased or quantities can be adjusted manually.
-Order management – Orders can be viewed and managed directly within Squarespace including printing shipping labels.
-Automatic taxes – Squarespace calculates all required state sales taxes automatically.
-Shipping rates – USPS, FedEx and UPS integration provides calculated shipping costs.
-Payment processing – Stripe is the payment processor to accept major credit cards and Apple/Google Pay.
-Product options – Physical, digital, donation and gift card products are available. Options like size and color can be added.
-Discount codes – One-time and unlimited usage percentage and dollar amount coupons can be generated.
-Abandoned cart recovery – Emails are automatically sent to recover abandoned checkouts.
-Built-in CRM – Client details, order history and notes can be maintained for each customer.
-Analytics – Squarespace provides reports on metrics like sales, orders, inventory and traffic.
Squarespace is one of the easiest e-commerce platforms to use with an intuitive interface and good design flexibility. However, some more advanced features like dropshipping and custom discounts are lacking compared to other e-commerce website builders.
Weebly is a drag and drop website builder that also offers e-commerce capabilities including:
- Shopping cart – Add multiple products, adjust quantities, apply discounts and taxes and checkout.
-Order management – The Weebly dashboard provides order details, status, shipping info and communication with buyers.
-Inventory management – Inventory levels automatically adjust when items are purchased. Manual adjustments can also be made.
-Checkout processes – Weebly features secure checkout processes, coupons and the ability to create customer accounts.
-Tax calculations – State and local taxes are automatically calculated.
-Shipping rates – USPS and FedEx real-time shipping rates are calculated at checkout.
-Product options – Physical, digital and bookable products are supported. Variants like size and color can be added.
-Payment processing – Stripe and PayPal integrations accept major credit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
-SEO – Tools are provided to add titles, descriptions and alt text to improve SEO.
-Email marketing – Email newsletters and autoresponders can be sent to customers.
-Analytics – Sales, traffic and Engagement analytics help you monitor store performance.
Weebly is easy to use with a simple drag and drop store builder and has all the basic e-commerce features needed for most small businesses. However, it lacks more advanced capabilities bigger enterprises require. The number of integrations and apps is also smaller compared to Shopify and Square.
BigCommerce is a SaaS e-commerce platform with robust enterprise-level capabilities including:
- Shopping cart – Carts support discounts, taxes, shipping, saved carts and more. Mini-carts show selections across pages.
-Catalog management – Categories, products and variants can be easily managed even for large catalogs. Bulk editing is supported.
-Order management – The dashboard provides order timelines with statuses, packing slips and shipping label creation.
-Multiple storefronts – Manage multiple online stores from a single BigCommerce account.
-Checkout customization – Tailor the checkout process with options like 2-page checkouts.
-Integrated payment processing – Easily accept payments online with a choice of payment gateways like Stripe.
-POS options – Integrate with POS systems for unified online and in-store sales.
-Subscriptions – Create and manage recurring payment subscriptions for digital goods or services.
-Global sales – Built-in capabilities to manage currencies, languages, taxes and compliance for selling internationally.
-Abandoned cart savings – Send automated abandoned cart emails and offer discounts to recover sales.
-Analytics – BigCommerce provides detailed sales performance reports and KPIs.
BigCommerce offers enterprise-grade capabilities suitable for fast-growing and large e-commerce businesses. It comes at a cost though – pricing is on the higher side, especially for lower volume merchants.
Volusion offers an all-in-one e-commerce platform with features including:
- Shopping cart – Carts allow multi-product purchases, discounts, taxes and shipping rates.
-Catalog management – Categories, products, inventory and pricing can be managed from a central dashboard.
-Order management – View and manage orders from a single interface and connect to shipping carriers.
-Payments – Integrate with payment processors like Stripe and Authorize.net to accept online payments.
-Taxes – Tax rates are automatically calculated with over 16,000 tax rules applied.
-Discounting – Apply percentage and dollar discounts using promo codes and coupons.
-Subscription billing – Signup and bill customers for recurring subscriptions using predefined plans.
-Point of sale – Unify online and retail locations with integrated point of sale capabilities.
-International – Built-in multi-currency, language and tax support for global e-commerce stores.
-Abandoned cart – Automatically email shoppers who abandon their carts to complete the sale.
-CRM – Save customer order history and purchase behavior for segmented marketing.
Volusion provides a wide array of e-commerce features suitable for medium to large sized online stores. However, the interface is not as intuitive as some competitors which can slow down store setup.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to set up an online store. E-commerce features include:
- Shopping cart – Display cart widget on all pages, calculate taxes, discounts and shipping.
-Products – Physical, digital, variable and affiliate products are supported.
-Payments – integrate with payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal to accept payments.
-Orders – View and manage orders, generate PDF invoices and packing slips.
-Shipping – Calculate real-time shipping rates, print labels and track orders.
-Taxes – Automatically calculate taxes by location using integrations like TaxJar.
-Checkout – Customizable checkout pages with options for coupons, login and product recommendations.
-Subscriptions – Create subscription products customers can sign up and pay for on a recurring basis.
-Analytics – Monitor key store metrics like sales, traffic, conversion rates and more.
-Inventory – Link product inventory to sales and receive alerts for low stock.
-Discounting – Create coupon codes and cart discounts based on percentage or dollar amounts.
-Marketing – Integrate email services like MailChimp to collect subscribers and send campaigns.
With thousands of themes and plugins, WooCommerce is extremely flexible and customizable for developers. However, the extensive design and configuration required makes it better suited for advanced users.
3dcart is a fully hosted e-commerce platform with the following features:
- Shopping cart – Enables standard cart functions like multiple items, discounts, taxes and shipping estimates.
- Order management – View and edit orders, customize workflows and print packing slips.
- Payment processing – Integrated gateways like Chase Paymentech, Authorize.Net and PayPal.
- Product management – Create simple or variable products, downloadables, bundles and more.
-Inventory control – Manage stock levels automatically or manually and receive alerts.
-Shipping – Connect with carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS for accurate real-time rates.
-Taxes – Automatically calculates taxes for applicable jurisdictions. Nexus filing available.
-CRM – Provides a customer database and sales history reporting.
-Subscription billing – Schedule recurring payments for memberships and digital goods.
-Abandoned cart – Automatically recover lost sales through email save campaigns.
-Email marketing – Send campaigns using integrations like MailChimp and Constant Contact.
-Analytics – Detailed reports on traffic, sales, referrers, conversion rates and more.
3dcart includes a wide range of e-commerce features suitable for most small-medium businesses. It lacks some more advanced enterprise-level capabilities but at a lower cost than some competitors.
Here is a comparison table summarizing some of the key differences between the major e-commerce website builders:
Key Considerations When Comparing Platforms
When deciding which e-commerce website builder is best, keep the following factors in mind:
- Features – Carefully assess which e-commerce features are essential for your business model and ongoing needs.
- Scalability – Consider long-term growth plans to ensure your platform can scale up with your store.
- Ease of use – The builder should make managing and modifying your store intuitive and straightforward.
- Design flexibility – More customizable platforms allow you to differentiate your brand visually.
- Costs – Pricing can vary widely so factor in all fees like monthly subscriptions, transaction rates, and add-ons.
- Support – Good customer service and documentation can help troubleshoot any issues.
- Integrations – If using other tools for marketing, accounting etc, ensure compatibility.
- User reviews – Feedback from current users can reveal limitations to be aware of.
Choosing the ideal e-commerce platform involves finding the right balance of features, flexibility and cost for your specific business needs. Take time to thoroughly evaluate your options before committing to maximize your chance of success. With the wide range of website builders now available, there is sure to be one that can become the ideal online home for your e-commerce business.
E-commerce website builders all aim to provide businesses with the ability to sell online, but the features, capabilities and costs can vary widely. By evaluating aspects like built-in functionality, scalability, design customization, integrations and ease of use, you can determine which platform is the best fit for your specific business needs and budget. Shopify is a top choice for its all-in-one capabilities and app ecosystem but can get costly at higher volumes. Wix and Squarespace also provide user-friendly options. For advanced customization, WooCommerce leverages the flexibility of WordPress but requires more technical expertise. Enterprise-level merchants may benefit from BigCommerce’s robust capabilities. Carefully weighing the pros and cons of each platform will ensure you choose the ideal foundation for your online store to meet both your current and future e-commerce needs.