So you want to start an eCommerce store and you’re not sure which platform to build it on. Or perhaps you already have a store, but you really hate your current platform. It’s time to find the right eCommerce website builder to create and host your store.
There are many considerations that go into choosing an eCommerce website builder; after all, it’s quite literally your store front. Some of the most common considerations are:
- Functionality – can the software do all the things you need it to do?
- Ease of use – can you operate the software without throwing something?
- Company reputation – is this website builder actually a quality company?
- Price – can you afford this software?
- Support – is this company going to have your back when you need help?
- Design templates – is this software going to help you make a beautiful store easily?
With these considerations in mind, I decided to compare four of the most popular eCommerce website builders on the market today.
Of the four eCommerce website builders I’m comparing here, SquareSpace might just be able to create the most beautiful websites. The templates SquareSpace offers are clean, structured, and modern. Be warned, though: SquareSpace is not for total beginners. While it’s a snap to use for anyone with some level of experience in designing, the interface can be difficult to navigate for beginners, making it hard to create the website of your dreams.
Pros: As a modern eCommerce website builder, Squarespace comes fully loaded with the expected: commerce analytics, a free customer domain, mobile optimization, integrated blog, and templates you can edit in drag-and-drop, HTML, or CSS. Some features that make SquareSpace special:
- Easily upload music to your site.
- Create mobile optimized pop-ups and banners for free.
- You can pinpoint the focal point of every photo, which allows for perfect thumbnail views.
- Easily enable lightbox views of product images.
- You can install multiple templates to a single site – or work on multiple designs for the same site at once.
- One major drawback to using SquareSpace is that the navigation of the interface just isn’t very intuitive. It takes a few minutes to find a page and then a few more minutes to figure out how to edit that page.
- A second drawback is that since the mobile websites are built right in, you have very little ability to create a separate look for your desktop and mobile sites. For instance, a larger image size may look excellent on your mobile screen, but overwhelming on your desktop. In that case, you’re just going to have to pick which screen matters more to you, or figure out a different way entirely to design the homepage.
Pricing: SquareSpace is one of the pricier options on this list, with their first tier of eCommerce starting at $26/month.
Wix is an excellent eCommerce website builder for entrepreneurs without much experience building websites. However, it’s complex enough to create websites that look like they required years of experience. Wix has over 500 beautiful templates that are insanely easy to edit on the drag-and-drop editor.
Pros: First, Wix has all of the features expected from a modern eCommerce website builder. It has a drag-and-drop editor, as well as an HTML editor. Wix is mobile responsive and allows for custom domain names. You can easily set up a blog to accompany your site.
- The navigation on the user interface is incredibly intuitive. It’s very easy to get to any page you’re looking to change and to quickly make changes without much hunting around.
- You can put a video as your background on any of your pages.
- There’s a built in contact manager, so you can easily manage customers on the back end.
- You can pin certain elements to the screen, so that they remain in view no matter how much the viewer scrolls.
- Send triggered emails and email blasts right from the site.
- Wix has an SEO Wizard that makes optimizing your site very simple.
- You can also set up some 3D effects through Parallax.
- Marketing features that often come standard with other eCommerce website builders are often not included in Wix’ base package. Pop-up boxes, for instance, are not free. Additionally, both pop-up boxes and banners do not appear on your mobile site.
- One reviewer mentioned that the 24/7 support is very difficult to get ahold of.
Pricing: While Wix’ base pricing starts at $4.08/month, their eCommerce package starts at $16.58/month.
Weebly is the easiest-to-use eCommerce website builder on this list. A first time site builder with very little design sense can hop right into this interface and come out with a clean, modern site.
Pros: Again, Weebly offers a drag-and-drop editor, with mobile responsive templates. You have access to the CSS if you’d like to edit your templates that way, as well. You get your own domain name, as well.
- It really is super easy to use – Weebly not only gives you access to a large amount of training resources to learn the interface, but also includes little guidelines and hints throughout the interface to keep you on target. It’s perfect for a first time site builder.
- Weebly’s creators designed Weebly with the intent of making it simple to create a conversion focused site. Each of the templates also come with landing pages to use for ads, for instance.
- Weebly has a built in filtered-search feature – so setting up your filter is a snap.
- It’s easy to sell non-physical goods on Weebly, like digital purchases or services.
- Weebly allows you to set up purchase points on any page on the site – even embedded into your blog!
- For those switching their store from platforms like Etsy or Shopify, Weebly’s actually able to import your store and set it up for you, for minimal work when switching.
- Weebly only has 10 templates to create a store with.
- Overall, Weebly is more limited for supporting a store than a large store could work with. If you’re planning for your store to grow rapidly, or if you already have a fairly large store, Weebly is unlikely to be the right fit for you.
Pricing: While Weebly does have a base level that’s free, it’s $25/month to run your store on Weebly.
GoDaddy is quite possibly the largest name in website builders in general. They own thousands of domains, and it’s quite likely that you’ve seen some of their provocative commercials. As a result, if company reputation is important to you, GoDaddy might just be the best option on this list.
Pros: GoDaddy offers a 300+ mobile responsive templates with a drag-and-drop editor. You get a free domain with your store and a business email with Microsoft Office.
- You can hire an expert from GoDaddy to design your website.
- 24/7 support
- GoDaddy offers the ability to sell on Facebook. This is a relatively new feature in the world of eCommerce software, but it’s catching on with retailers.
- Similar to Weebly, GoDaddy offers the ability to get hints on how to use the editor right in the editor itself.
- One important con is that GoDaddy grants no HTML access to their templates.
- Also, if you choose to change your store’s template, you’ll lose all the content you had on the previous template.
Pricing: Running an online store with GoDaddy will cost you $29.99/month.
What is your favorite eCommerce website builder and why? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for eCommerce software? Check out Capterra's list of the best eCommerce software solutions.