7 Best Ecommerce Platforms To Start Your Online Business In 2024
Ecommerce isn’t just a buzzword anymore; it’s a fully realized industry that’s shaping the future of how we buy and sell. As we move into 2024, the ecommerce business landscape has evolved to become more dynamic and competitive than ever. With technological advancements and customer expectations constantly changing, it’s crucial to choose the right ecommerce platform to start your online business in 2024.
Perhaps you’ve considered starting a Shopify store, attracted by its user-friendly interface and wide array of customization options through the Shopify apps store. Or maybe you’re weighing the pros and cons of various e-commerce platforms, each promising a different set of features, pricing models, and scalability options. The decisions you make now will have long-term impacts on the viability and profitability of your online business.
Start your Online Business in 2024
With this heightened importance of making the right choice, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to make your decision a little bit easier. Through exhaustive research and real-world analysis, we’ve distilled a complex market down to a shortlist of seven e-commerce platforms that are best suited to help you achieve your business goals.
So, whether you’re a small retailer taking your first steps into the online world, a medium-sized business looking to pivot, or a large enterprise seeking scalability and versatility, our list aims to guide you towards the most reliable and efficient ecommerce solutions available in 2024.
In 2024, the online marketplace is more competitive than ever, and choosing the right ecommerce platform can make or break your business. After intensive research and analysis, we’ve narrowed it down to the seven best platforms that can help you kickstart your online venture.
Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage their own online stores. Founded in 2006, Shopify has become one of the most popular solutions for entrepreneurs looking to sell goods or services online. The platform offers a range of features that make it easier to design, set up, and manage a store, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro.
Shopify handles everything from product listings and inventory management to payment processing and shipping. One of its major selling points is its user-friendly interface, which allows users to customize their online stores using a variety of themes and apps, available through the Shopify App Store.
This enables merchants to extend the functionality of their shops in countless ways—be it enhancing SEO, automating parts of their business, or adding new ways to engage customers.
Another advantage is its scalability. Shopify can accommodate businesses of all sizes, from small boutiques to large enterprises. Its pricing models also reflect this scalability, offering plans that suit a variety of budgets and needs.
Shopify’s extensive set of integrations and partnerships further enrich the platform. For example, it has built-in integrations with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, allowing merchants to reach wider audiences easily.
Overall, Shopify offers a comprehensive solution for those looking to start or grow an e-commerce business, simplifying many of the complex tasks that come with online retail.
- User-friendly interface
- Robust inventory management
- Over 4,000 apps in Shopify App Store
- Basic Shopify: $29/month
- Shopify: $79/month
- Advanced Shopify: $299/month
Pros and Cons
|Easy to use
- Shopify powers over 1 million businesses worldwide. Source
- Shopify powers over 1.7 million businesses in more than 175 countries. (Source)
- It has facilitated over $200 billion in sales since its inception. (Source)
- Offers more than 6,000 apps in the Shopify App Store for extended functionality. (Source)
Verdict: If you’re a beginner in the ecommerce world, Shopify is your go-to. It offers a range of free templates, and the set-up is as easy as it gets. The downside is that it charges transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments.
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin designed for WordPress, one of the world’s most popular website building platforms. Launched in 2011, WooCommerce has become a major player in the online retail space, especially attractive for businesses and individuals already familiar with WordPress. It’s an ideal solution for those who are looking to set up an e-commerce operation without breaking the bank.
One of the standout features of WooCommerce is its flexibility. Being open-source, it allows for extensive customization. Developers can create or modify themes, add extensions, and even adjust the plugin’s core code, giving them full control over the look, feel, and functionality of their online store. The platform’s extension library is incredibly extensive, offering a wide range of options from SEO optimization to payment gateways.
WooCommerce is particularly strong in the area of SEO, thanks in part to the robust SEO features offered by WordPress. This gives online retailers an edge when it comes to ranking on search engines like Google. Additionally, WooCommerce offers native integration with many payment processors, making it easy to accommodate different customer preferences.
Another advantage is its scalability. While WooCommerce can be a good fit for small businesses or individual sellers, it’s also robust enough to handle the needs of larger enterprises. The plugin itself is free, but running a WooCommerce store will require some additional expenses, such as hosting, domain registration, and any premium extensions you might need.
Finally, WooCommerce benefits from a large and active community. This provides a valuable resource for store owners seeking advice, troubleshooting tips, or new ways to enhance their online store.
In summary, WooCommerce offers a highly customizable and scalable e-commerce solution that integrates seamlessly with WordPress. It’s a strong choice for anyone from novices to experienced web developers looking to take their retail operations online.
- WordPress integration
- Highly customizable
- Free to download
- Variable costs for hosting and plugins
Pros and Cons
|Requires some tech skills
|Additional costs for extensions
- WooCommerce holds a 23% market share among the top 1 million ecommerce sites. Source
- WooCommerce is used by a whopping 28% of all online stores. (Source)
- It has been downloaded over 123 million times. (Source)
- Offers more than 1,000 free and paid extensions on its marketplace. (Source)
Verdict: For those already familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce is a natural choice. It’s a powerful platform with flexibility, though you might need some technical chops to maximize its potential.
Magento is a feature-rich, open-source e-commerce platform that provides online merchants with unparalleled flexibility and control over the look, content, and functionality of their e-commerce store. Founded in 2008 and later acquired by Adobe in 2018, Magento has established itself as a go-to solution for medium-to-large enterprises seeking robust, scalable online retail platforms. It’s considered one of the most powerful e-commerce platforms available today.
One of Magento’s strongest suits is its customizability. Unlike other e-commerce platforms that come with certain limitations, Magento’s open-source nature allows for deep customization, giving businesses the freedom to create a store that perfectly aligns with their brand and operational needs. With a wealth of extensions and plugins, you can further enhance the functionality of your store, from improving SEO to integrating with various payment gateways.
When it comes to scalability, Magento shines. It’s designed to manage a large volume of products and customers, making it ideal for businesses with ambitious growth plans. The platform can adapt as you expand, whether you’re adding new products or breaking into new markets.
Security is another strong point for Magento. With features like two-factor authentication, data encryption, and a dedicated security center, Magento takes a comprehensive approach to safeguarding your business and customer data.
However, it’s worth noting that Magento can be resource-intensive, requiring a solid hosting environment and potentially additional development resources. This means that while the platform itself is free to use (for the open-source version), the total cost of ownership can be on the higher side.
The platform also boasts a vibrant community of developers, users, and partners who contribute to its ecosystem, offering advice, troubleshooting tips, and even free extensions.
In summary, Magento is a robust, highly customizable e-commerce platform best suited for medium to large businesses that need the freedom to scale and adapt their online stores to their unique business needs.
- B2B functionality
- Free Community Edition
- Enterprise Edition starts at $22,000/year
Pros and Cons
- 12% of all ecommerce sites are powered by Magento. Source
- Magento boasts of handling over $155 billion in gross merchandise volume annually. (Source)
- It has a vast community with over 300,000 developers. (Source)
- Offers 5,000+ extensions and themes in its marketplace. (Source)
Verdict: If you’re looking for a platform that can scale with your business, Magento is the one. However, the cost and complexity can be barriers for smaller operations.
BigCommerce is a leading SaaS (Software as a Service) e-commerce platform that offers a comprehensive set of tools for building, running, and scaling an online store. Founded in 2009, BigCommerce has earned its reputation as one of the most versatile e-commerce solutions available today, serving a wide range of industries and business sizes.
One of BigCommerce’s standout features is its intuitive interface. Designed with user experience in mind, the platform makes it easy for business owners to manage their online stores without the need for technical expertise. Its drag-and-drop functionality allows you to easily customize the design of your store, while the dashboard offers real-time analytics and reporting tools.
Flexibility is another key selling point. BigCommerce offers a variety of pre-designed templates to get you started, as well as advanced customization options through HTML, CSS, and other web technologies for more tech-savvy users. Additionally, the platform has an extensive app marketplace, enabling you to add features like payment gateways, SEO tools, and marketing integrations with just a few clicks.
When it comes to scalability, BigCommerce excels. The platform offers a range of plans that can cater to small businesses as well as large enterprises. Its high performance, coupled with unlimited bandwidth and product listings, ensures that the platform can handle increased traffic and sales as your business grows.
Security is another area where BigCommerce shines. With features like DDoS protection, secure customer data storage, and full compliance with industry standards, BigCommerce offers a secure and reliable environment for online trading.
However, BigCommerce operates on a tiered pricing model, meaning that as you hit certain revenue benchmarks, you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan. This is worth considering when budgeting for your e-commerce platform.
To sum it up, BigCommerce offers a robust, user-friendly, and scalable solution that can meet the diverse needs of businesses looking to establish or grow their online presence.
- Zero transaction fees
- SEO features
- Multi-channel selling
- Standard: $29.95/month
- Plus: $79.95/month
- Pro: $299.95/month
Pros and Cons
|No transaction fees
|Less intuitive than competitors
- BigCommerce supports over 150 currencies. Source
- BigCommerce serves more than 60,000 online stores. (Source)
- Stores built on BigCommerce have seen an average growth rate of 28% year over year. (Source)
- Offers more than 800 pre-integrated apps and services. (Source)
Verdict: With its zero transaction fees and robust SEO features, BigCommerce offers a good balance between cost and features.
Wix eCommerce is a part of the Wix website builder platform, and it’s tailored specifically for businesses looking to sell products or services online. Founded in 2006, Wix has expanded its feature set beyond website building to offer a comprehensive eCommerce solution that’s easy to use, especially for those with little to no technical background.
One of the primary advantages of Wix eCommerce is its simplicity and user-friendliness. With a drag-and-drop interface, you can design a professional-looking online store without needing to write a single line of code. This is particularly beneficial for small business owners or individuals who want to focus more on their business operations than on technical website development.
Customization is also a breeze with Wix. Their App Market offers a wide array of add-ons and third-party integrations, ranging from inventory management to customer reviews and SEO tools. This flexibility allows you to adapt your online store to the unique needs of your business, enhancing both functionality and customer experience.
When it comes to scalability, Wix provides various pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets. While it may not be as scalable as some other dedicated eCommerce platforms, it offers a quick and efficient way to get an online store up and running. It’s perfect for small to medium-sized businesses, though larger enterprises with complex needs might find it somewhat limiting.
Wix also places a strong emphasis on security. It offers free SSL certificates, ensuring that transactions and customer data are securely encrypted. This gives both you and your customers peace of mind during the buying process.
However, it’s worth noting that while Wix offers a lot of built-in features, its SEO capabilities have been considered somewhat basic compared to other platforms. If SEO is a significant focus for your online store, you might need to supplement it with additional tools or plugins.
In summary, Wix eCommerce offers an easy-to-use, customizable, and secure platform for setting up an online store. While it may not have the scalability and advanced features of some other platforms, it provides a solid foundation for small to medium-sized businesses looking to venture into online sales.
- Drag-and-drop builder
- Multiple payment options
- Good for small businesses
- Business Basic: $23/month
- Business Unlimited: $27/month
Pros and Cons
|Not suited for large businesses
- Wix has over 200 million registered users. Source
- Wix has more than 200 million registered users worldwide. (Source)
- The platform hosts over 500,000 online stores. (Source)
- Offers over 250 apps specifically tailored for e-commerce in its App Market. (Source)
Verdict: If you’re a small business owner with limited tech skills, Wix is a great option. It’s affordable and easy to use but may not be ideal for larger, more complex operations.
Squarespace is a website-building platform that also offers robust e-commerce capabilities. Founded in 2004, Squarespace has become known for its visually appealing designs and user-friendly interface, making it an excellent choice for creative businesses and individuals who want a stylish online storefront.
One of the standout features of Squarespace is its professional design templates. Unlike other platforms that may require you to sift through countless themes or templates, Squarespace curates a smaller, high-quality selection aimed at different niches, from portfolios to online stores. Each template is fully customizable, giving you the creative freedom to make your site truly your own.
Squarespace is not just about aesthetics; it also offers a variety of integrated e-commerce tools. From inventory management to secure checkout and payment gateway options, the platform provides a comprehensive set of features to manage your online store efficiently.
In terms of scalability, Squarespace may not be as flexible as some other dedicated e-commerce platforms, but it offers various plans suitable for smaller businesses and individual entrepreneurs. The platform’s simplicity makes it easy to start small and gradually expand as your business grows.
Security is another aspect where Squarespace excels. All Squarespace websites come with a free SSL certificate, ensuring that customer data is encrypted and secure during transactions. This creates a trusted environment for your customers, which can be crucial for online sales.
However, one downside to consider is the limited app marketplace. While Squarespace offers various built-in features, it doesn’t have as extensive a selection of third-party apps or extensions compared to other platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce. If you require specialized functionality, you may need to consider this limitation.
In summary, Squarespace offers a balanced blend of design and functionality, making it a strong choice for small to medium-sized businesses that prioritize aesthetics without sacrificing e-commerce capabilities.
- Beautiful design templates
- Inventory management
- Good for creatives
- Business: $18/month
- Basic Commerce: $26/month
Pros and Cons
- Over 2 million websites are powered by Squarespace. Source
- Squarespace hosts over 2 million websites. (Source)
- It has generated over $100 million in annual revenue. (Source)
- Offers integrated e-commerce tools that eliminate the need for many third-party apps. (Source)
Verdict: If you prioritize aesthetics and you’re running a smaller operation, Squarespace is a strong contender. However, it may lack some ecommerce-specific features.
OpenCart is an open-source online shopping cart system that has been providing businesses with easy-to-use, robust e-commerce solutions since 2008. It’s particularly popular among small and medium-sized enterprises because of its low-cost, feature-rich offerings.
One of the most appealing aspects of OpenCart is its flexibility and customization options. Being open-source, it offers nearly limitless opportunities for customization. If you have some technical know-how, you can modify the source code to fit your specific needs. Even without coding skills, you can take advantage of the platform’s extensive library of extensions and modules to add various functionalities to your store.
OpenCart also excels in scalability. Whether you have a small online shop with just a handful of products or a large, multi-category store with thousands of SKUs, OpenCart can efficiently accommodate your needs. It supports an unlimited number of products and categories, along with a multi-store feature that lets you manage several stores from a single admin interface.
When it comes to security, OpenCart has various built-in features to help protect your online store. These include support for SSL certificates, a secure admin dashboard, and user permissions. However, you’ll often need to take additional security measures and regularly update the system to protect against vulnerabilities, which is typical for open-source platforms.
One thing to keep in mind is that OpenCart does require some level of technical expertise to set up and maintain, especially if you want to take advantage of its more advanced features. While there are many community-contributed guides and a support forum, you might still need to hire a developer for more complex customization or troubleshooting.
In summary, OpenCart is a versatile and cost-effective e-commerce platform suitable for businesses of all sizes. It’s particularly attractive for those who want a high level of customization and control over their online store but be prepared to manage some technical aspects yourself or hire expertise to help you out.
- Free to use
- Costs for additional extensions
Pros and Cons
|Requires technical expertise
- OpenCart has over 1,300 free and premium extensions. Source
- OpenCart boasts of more than 342,000 live websites. (Source)
- It has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times. (Source)
- Offers over 13,000 extensions and themes in its marketplace, both free and premium. (Source)
Verdict: OpenCart is perfect for those on a budget and who have the technical skills to make the most of this open-source platform.
So there you have it—seven e-commerce platforms that could be the launching pad for your online business in 2024. Your choice will depend on your budget, technical skills, and specific needs. Happy selling!