Do you want to create your own online store?

Build Your Store With Ease: The 9 Best Ecommerce Website Builders for 2021

Illustration of a basket made out of bricks and mortar, showcasing how an ecommerce website builder can help you construct an online store

Starting an online store may seem like a daunting task, but it can be rewarding and insanely profitable when done right. 

A good ecommerce website builder can help you tackle the hassles of ecommerce and get you set up with a beautiful online store, fast. That way, you can impress customers and start making sales immediately.

There are many easy-to-use website builders for online stores that can help you stand out.

In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the best ecommerce site builders from around the web. Since you have specific needs for your business, we’ve also given a rundown of each website builder’s most useful features. 

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9 best ecommerce website builders

Browse this list of online storefront builders you can use to start your ecommerce business:

  • Shopify
  • 3dcart
  • Weebly
  • Squarespace
  • BigCommerce
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy
  • WooCommerce
  • Volusion
  • Shopify

    The best ecommerce website builder for small businesses looking to grow

    Shopify ecommerce website builder

    Shopify is the easiest and most reliable way to bring your business online. As an ecommerce platform, Shopify makes it simple to build an online store without any coding skills or a big budget. Shopify powers over one million businesses and is known for its affordable pricing, beautiful designs, and helpful marketing tools. 

    If you want to create a Shopify store, you can choose from over 100 professional templates with built-in features, such as SSL certifications, domain hosting, abandoned shopping cart recovery, and other powerful tools to help you find customers, make sales, and manage your day-to-day operations. You can sell unlimited products through your ecommerce store and across multiple marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy through Shopify’s native partner integrations. 

    Additionally, Shopify Payments makes it easy to take payments online. You can integrate with over 100 payment gateways from around the world, including bitcoin, PayPal, and Shop Pay. There are also over 4,000 free Shopify apps you can use to extend your store’s functionality and sell more online.

    Features include: 

    • Over 100 professional themes created by world-renowned designers, such as Happy Cog and Pixel Union
    • Built-in mobile commerce shopping cart, so shoppers can buy on any mobile device or tablet 
    • Full access to your store’s HTML and CSS so you can customize every aspect of your ecommerce website 
    • Search engine optimized stores to help potential customers find you online
    • Simple inventory management to track stock counts and stop selling products when inventory runs out
    • No restrictions on the number of products you can sell in your store
    • Unlimited bandwidth, so you’re never charged based on the amount of traffic your store receives
    • Simplified reporting and analytics
    • Shopify POS system integration to connect in-person and digital storefronts 
    • App store with over 4,000 marketing, sales, and customer support tools
    • Mobile app to manage your business on the go
    • Dedicated customer support team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through email, live chat, and phone 

    Price: Try Shopify free for 14 days, no credit card required. Paid plans start as low as $29/month.

    3dcart

    Best ecommerce website maker for brick-and-mortars

    3dcart ecommerce site builder

    3dcart is a simple shopping cart for retailers who want to sell online. Its features aren’t as extensive as other site builders like Shopify or Wix, but with an attractive price, good sales reporting, and mobile-responsive themes, it’s a go-to builder for store owners needing to get online fast.

    While 3dcart has some good ecommerce features, you don’t have much creative agency over your stores. Templates are limited, and the builder can be hard to use. 

    Features include:

    • 160+ payment options, all integrated into your store with no coding required
    • Over 90 free templates to get your website up and running
    • Built-in SEO functions to improve websites search visibility 
    • Abandoned cart notifications to help recover lost sales
    • Good Zapier integrations to help extend your store's functionality

    Price: 15-day free trial. Paid plans start at $19/month.

    Weebly

    Best free online ecommerce builder for small businesses

    Weebly ecommerce

    Weebly is a basic online storefront builder powered by Square. It’s ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that want a small online store but don’t want to do much maintenance. If you’re a beginner user who doesn’t want to get lost in any technical elements, Weebly’s a good option for you. 

    Anyone can build a website on Weebly for free. But you won’t be able to use your own domain name (or get rid of the annoying ads) until you buy a plan. The free plan offers a few solid features, like real-time shipping and coupons, but if you want to grow beyond that, you’ll have to upgrade. 

    Business owners who use Square for payments can also check out Square online. Similar to Weebly (and owned by the same company), you can build a professional ecommerce website with no frills in minutes. 

    Features include: 

    • Easy-to-use website builder and management platform for controlling inventory and orders
    • Bulk inventory functions to edit bulk batches of products and import/export information
    • Mobile-optimized websites
    • Simple coupon builder (for paid plans) to create promotions in your store
    • Drag-and-drop builder and media library to walk you through website creation

    Price. Free. Paid plans start at $6/month.

    Squarespace

    Best ecommerce website creator for creatives

    Squarespace ecommerce builder

    The next ecommerce site builder on the list is Squarespace. Its drag-and-drop builder makes it easy to use with little technical knowledge. Similar to Wix, it was a traditional website builder first, not an online selling platform, so there can be a small learning curve on the back end when setting up an online store. 

    Squarespace offers well-designed templates to start designing your store. Once you choose a template, you can customize the colors, text, and images to align with your brand. However, you can’t sell anything online until you upgrade to a paid plan.

    When using Squarespace as your ecommerce solution, you can only accept payments through Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Afterpay. You can sell gift cards and subscriptions when you sign up for the Commerce Advanced plan. 

    If you don’t want to deal with setting up Squarespace ecommerce functions, you can always turn your basic website into an online store. For just $9/month, you can add the Shopify Buy Button (a small embedded piece of code) and get access to over 100 payment options, sales and growth tracking, simple shipping integrations, currency support, and more.

    Features include: 

    • Drag-and-drop builder with customizable templates and starter layouts to build your store
    • Automatically responsive designs and image scaling
    • Custom WYSIWYG editing to support content types and complex layouts
    • Lets you sell an unlimited amount of products
    • Automatic post-purchase email sequences
    • Finance, marketing, shipping, and sales extensions

    Price: 14-day free trial. Basic Commerce plan starts at $26/month. 

    BigCommerce

    Best ecommerce website building software for big companies

    BigCommerce homepage

    BigCommerce is an online storefront builder for enterprise-level companies. It offers web hosting and tons of customization options for tech-savvy business owners who want to scale. You can’t register your domain name through BigCommerce, so you’ll need to buy a domain name elsewhere and connect it to your store. 

    BigCommerces advanced features include international selling capabilities, SEO apps and optimized stores, and multichannel sales capabilities on social and online selling sites—but these features come with more complexity. 

    Retailers like Grace & Lace found the lack of flexibility and ease of use to be major drawbacks of using BigCommerce. After trying to work with the platform, Grace & Lace decided to move over to Shopify Plus, Shopify’s enterprise solution. This gave it access to powerful business tools and add-ons for its new Shopify Plus store and gave conviction for 20% year-over-year growth since migrating. 

    Features include:

    • Visual editor to edit website pages with a drag-and-drop tool
    • Customizable themes built with HTML, CSS, and Javascript
    • Checkout customization with server-to-server checkout API and SDK
    • Digital wallet payment options with wallets like Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and more
    • Cross-channel commerce with marketplaces such as Amazon and Google Shopping
    • Multi-currency and multi-language support for international sales

    Price: 15-day free trial. Paid plans start at $29.95/month. 

    Free: Shopify Store Trust Checklist

    Shopify’s research team conducted a series of in-depth interviews with North American shoppers to learn how customer trust is formed in online stores. This checklist is a summary of their findings, created to help business owners understand what essential aspects of their online store experience creates trust among customers, along with the trust-busting mistakes to avoid.

    Wix

    Best ecommerce website builder for individual sellers

    Wix ecommerce

    Following the industry trend of ecommerce, Wix now tackles online stores through its nontechnical website builder. You can use Wix’s drag-and-drop builder to create an online store that meets your needs. Wix offers customizable templates, domain name registration, and web hosting to help you get online with ease.

    The big drawback? You can build an ecommerce website for free, but you can’t sell anything until you upgrade to a paid plan. 

    Wix has a few helpful tools to manage your ecommerce business. It allows you to track orders, accept online payments, sell on multiple channels, and build abandoned cart campaigns. However, Wix’s basic plan lacks some crucial inventory management features, such as low-stock alerts, tax calculators, and dropshipping capabilities. If you have a big inventory, you’ll want an ecommerce platform with more effective inventory-tracking tools.

    Features include:

    • Simple editing interface to build your online store
    • Customizable templates to tailor your site from storefront to checkout
    • Integrations to help sell on Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping, and eBay
    • Free SSL certificate to protect customers’ personal information and payments
    • SEO optimized product pages to rank higher on search engines
    • Ability to import CSV files of your inventory into your store 

    Price: Business Basic plan starts at $23/month.

    GoDaddy

    Best ecommerce website builder for beginners 

    GoDaddy builder

    You may know GoDaddy as a website builder, but it can also be used to create an online store. GoDaddy has a beginner-friendly build that uses artificial design intelligence to make building an ecommerce site fast and easy. It takes information you input to create a customized site in minutes.

    The downside is that you don’t get much creative freedom. GoDaddy offers built-in tools for search engine optimization and email marketing campaigns but lacks depth in its features. Even though you can get up and running fast, you can only sell up to 1,500 products on a GoDaddy website. So if scalability is what you’re looking for, GoDaddy wouldn’t be the best ecommerce site builder for you.

    Features include:

    • Over 100 mobile-friendly templates to build your ecommerce site
    • Integrations with social media sites like Instagram and Facebook
    • Automatic sales and inventory management across all marketplaces and channels
    • Multiple payment options such as Google Pay and Venmo 
    • Integration with Square Point of Sale to connect retail and online businesses

    Price: Ecommerce plan starts at $24.99/month.

    WooCommerce

    Best open source ecommerce website builder

    Woocommerce

    WooCommerce is an open source platform for sellers using WordPress. It’s not an independent website builder; rather, it’s a WordPress plugin you can use to add ecommerce features to a website. You’ll likely want to work with a developer if you use this ecommerce website builder.

    WooCommerce gives you flexibility to manage website features such as inventory and tax management, secure payments, and shipping integrations. Like WordPress, WooCommerce’s features can be extended with thousands of Wordpress plugins and themes and different extensions built just for WooCommerce. It’s known for its large pool of developers, which you can easily access if you need to make advanced changes to your WooCommerce store.

    Features include: 

    • Exclusively built for WordPress, with connection to its ecosystem 
    • Mobile-friendly stores to make your products look good on any device 
    • Complete control over customer and business data—no third-party software has access
    • Worldwide community with over 350 contributors.
    • 100% open source for complete control over how your website looks and operates

    Price: Free

    Volusion

    Best ecommerce website builder for data-forward brands

    Volusion

    Volusion is one of the pioneering ecommerce website builders. Started in 1999, it helps get your business online without any frills. Its site creation tools let you do all the basics, like create a homepage and product pages, integrate with over 30 payment gateways, and sell unlimited products. But sometimes navigating the builder can be challenging. 

    What Volusion is known for is its data. You can easily access and understand inventory and analytics to see how your online store is doing and where to improve. It also sports a native “suggested products” feature in its stores. One downside is that you can’t sell digital products with Volusion. So if you want to sell ebooks, music, or art, you should consider another builder.

    Features include:

    • Customize page layouts with drag-and-drop content blocks for images, texts, reviews, and more
    • Zero transaction fees on any of Volusion’s plans
    • Responsive themes for mobile shoppers
    • CSS editor to tailor select website elements to your business needs 
    • Recurring pricing options for subscription businesses

    Price: Plans start at $26/month. 

    How to choose an online storefront builder

    Whether you’re a startup or building your 10th ecommerce store, keep these elements in mind when considering a platform:

    • Budget, plans, and pricing. How much are you willing to spend each year on your store? What are your plans for growth? Some site builders charge more as you add more products. Think about what your business needs today to launch, but also consider how many products you’ll offer down the road. 
    • Website building skill level. How much technical skill do you have? Many builders use drag-and-drop technology to help you create the best ecommerce site, but you’ll still need basic skills to create product pages, add products to your store, and set up any apps or plugins. Consider how much experience you have working with software and backend builders. 
    • Customization. Do you want a simple website to showcase your products? Or do you need more advanced features like adding size charts to product pages and adding a live chat window? Think about how you want your website to look and feel and what extra features you need to make it happen. 
    • Support. If you’re newer to building an ecommerce website, you’ll likely need some help. Does your desired site builder have live support and tutorials? Consider a platform that can help you solve problems quickly and easily, so you can get your store live and start selling online. 
    • Payment gateways. You need payment gateways to accept payments from customers securely and make payments easy for shoppers. For example, Shop Pay’s express checkout feature can increase checkout speed by 4x and help customers get what they want, faster. Shopify also offers integrations with over 100 payment gateways, so you can offer the best options for your shoppers, no matter where they are in the world.

    Finding the best store builder for your business

    Now that you know your options for finding the best ecommerce website builder, it’s time to test them out. Each option comes with its own pros and cons, but hopefully you have a better idea of which store builder is best for your business. 

    A professional ecommerce website can take your business to the next level. With all these free website builder options available, there’s no doubt you’ll find the best one to build an online store that you’re proud of, impresses customers, and makes sales for you automatically.

    Illustration by Till Lauer


    Ecommerce website builder FAQ

    What are the best free ecommerce website builders?

    1. Shopify
    2. Wix
    3. Squarespace
    4. WooCommerce
    5. BigCommerce
    6. Weebly
    7. GoDaddy
    8. 3dcart
    9. Volusion

    How do I make a free online store?

    If you want to build a free online store, use an ecommerce website builder to get started. Many platforms like Shopify offer a 14-day free trial, which gives you the time to create the best online store for your business and pay after the trial is up.

    Is it easy to create an online store?

    Yes. With storefront builders like Shopify, you can access well-designed templates to launch your store in minutes. You can customize colors, text, images, layouts, and more to tailor your store to your brand.
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