Top 3 Online Store Builders

Mychelle Blake
female shop owner working at home

Starting your own online store is easy and affordable with an online store builder. Programming and coding knowledge are not required and using these highly rated and feature-rich choices will start you on your way.

Shopify

Shopify is one of the most widely known and respected eCommerce platforms. The interface makes the user experience painless, even for website novices. Create a professional website for your products and enjoy a long list of features.

  • Free and premium themes
  • Stock photo tool to help design your site
  • Included website hosting
  • Wholesale pricing setups
  • Selling via Amazon.com, eBay, and Facebook
  • Apps for features such as inventory control, shipping, bookkeeping, and social media
  • Chip and swipe reader for in-person sales
  • Access to Shopify Payments, which lets you use payment processor without using a third- party site

Costs

Shopify has multiple levels of plans ranging from about $30 per month to about $300 monthly with transaction fees from 0 to 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction. For states that collects sales taxes, you will need to factor in those costs, as well.

Pros and Cons

According to reviews on A Better Lemonade stand, Shopify is a great option for beginners because much of the legwork of getting an online store up and running is done for you. You don't need to worry about setting up hosting, and the program walks you through creating a store step-by-step. The downside of Shopify is cost. New businesses may find transaction fees and monthly cost prohibitive.

Another con to Shopify is its multi-lingual capacity, which isn't optimal if you plan to list your products in more than one language. You can use add-ons for this, but they may be challenging for the non-tech savvy. Shopify also doesn't include purchasing a domain name and email hosting as part of their packages. This is an additional fee to add to costs; however, you can purchase your domain name through Shopify.

BigCommerce

Larger businesses may benefit from the BigCommerce platform, which has a rich feature-set.

  • Access to a variety of themes
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Flexibility in creating products with few limitations
  • Integrations for selling through other sites such as Amazon, Google Shopping, and eBay

Costs

Plan costs are progressive based on sales levels with a low, mid, and high range plan ranging from about $30 per month to around $250 monthly.

  • Basic plan: Up $50,000 per year in sales
  • Mid range plan: Between $50,000 and $150,000 annually in sales
  • Pro plan: Between $150,000 and $400,000 annual sales
  • Enterprise level plan: Has custom sales figures and pricing based on each individual larger business

Pros and Cons

With so many options available, a complete website novice may become overwhelmed or intimidated with the process. However, a big plus of BigCommerce is the lack of transaction fees, which can have a positive impact on your budget. Alternatively, BigCommerce's pricing model automatically changes when you hit specified sales numbers, so costs rise progressively. BigCommerce is known for being a better option for SEO compared to Shopify with many built-in marketing tools. BigCommerce's page structure is better suited for SEO, although you will need to have knowledge of how to implement optimization techniques. It is also a good option if you have some coding knowledge as tweaking CSS and HTML is more accessible than in Shopify.

Wix

Wix does not have as many features compared to Shopify and BigCommerce, but Ecommerce guide excellent reviews show it's a terrific option for businesses on a budget that need to start small to keep costs down. It's also good for people with no website experience. Features include:

  • Drag and drop platform with multiple themes
  • $300 voucher for use with Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and local listings
  • Marketing tools available via apps including live chat, social media promotion, SEO, and productivity management

Pricing

There are two levels of price plans.

  • Ecommerce plan starts at about $17 monthly with no limit on products
  • VIP plan is $25 monthly and includes more levels of customer support

Pros and Cons

A nice feature of Wix is you can create a website using their free service and upgrade that to the eCommerce option when you're ready. However, this may require switching your template completely, which can involve more work.

Wix has fewer options for payment processors than Shopify and BigCommerce, but you can use the major players such as Paypal, Stripe, Square, and Authorize.net. Wix also does not have the option to send automatic emails to people who have "abandoned" the shopping cart, which is a feature available in Shopify and BigCommerce.

Choosing the Best Online Store Builder

Your choice of store builder will depend on your individual business needs and familiarity with how to handle important business tasks. Before you build, determine budget, the number of products, their complexity, shipping arrangements, and wholesale options, which can help you choose appropriately.

Top 3 Online Store Builders