The 6 best ecommerce platforms for small businesses in 2023 Your ideal ecommerce platform will help you grow your retail business and allow more customers to discover you online. Find the right platform for your online store today. Written by Ross Darragh Updated on 24 October 2023 Our Research When recommending the best ecommerce platforms, our expert team of writers and researchers focus on the features that matter most to small businesses. We rate platforms on their value for money – including setup costs and ongoing transaction fees – design features, including store templates; inventory management; payment processing options; help and support, plus customer feedback. Written and reviewed by: Ross Darragh Writer Robyn Summers-Emler Digital Growth Editor Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. Following our rigorous testing, we found that Wix is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses. It's a great all-rounder, offering fantastic sales and design features for an affordable price – helped in particular by some regular Wix deals and discounts that keep it ahead of the competition. That's why it tops our charts scoring an overall 4.8 out of 5.Shopify comes in a close second, scoring a strong overall 4.6 out of 5 in our research. This is thanks to its superb features and extensive app market that give ambitious ecommerce businesses everything they need to scale rapidly. 6 Best Ecommerce Site Builders for 2023 Wix Ecommerce – Best all-round ecommerce platform for small businessesShopify – Best for dedicated sales features when selling onlineSquarespace – Best for design and creative controlSquare Online – Best free ecommerce site builderBigCommerce – Best for multi-channel sellingGoDaddy – Best for ease of use According to the International Trade Administration, internet shopping is more popular in the UK than in any other country, so you'll need an ecommerce platform you can rely on.To help you make this crucial decision, we've compiled a list of the top six ecommerce platforms for small businesses. Our methodology was built on our latest round of in-depth research and user testing.Short on time? For a quick overview of our top-rated ecommerce platforms and their best features head-to-head, you can visit our handy ecommerce builder comparison page.Otherwise, read on for a comprehensive review of each ecommerce platform. The best ecommerce platforms UK: Wix ecommerce Shopify Squarespace Square Online BigCommerce GoDaddy Our methodology Best ecommerce platforms: Final verdict Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward BEST ALL ROUND BEST SALES FEATURES Wix Shopify Squarespace Square Online BigCommerce GoDaddy BEST FOR All-round ecommerce platform for small businesses BEST FOR Best range of apps and extensions BEST FOR Best for ease of use and great design BEST FOR Best value – start selling for free BEST FOR Best sales features BEST FOR Creating a simple online store Overall Score Based on our in-depth research and user testing 4.8 Overall Score Based on our in-depth research and user testing 4.6 Overall Score Based on our in-depth research and user testing 4.6 Overall Score Based on our in-depth research and user testing 4.3 Overall Score Based on our in-depth research and user testing 4.2 Overall Score Based on our in-depth research and user testing 3.9 Pricing £7.50-£119 per month£6.75-£107.10 with code “GET10!” Pricing £19 – £259 per month, billed annually£1/month for 3 months Pricing £17-£35 per month, billed annuallyUse code “STARTUPS10” to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans Pricing £0-£64 per month Pricing $29-$299 (around £23-£240) per month Pricing £12.99 per month (first term savings available) Try Wix Try Shopify Try Squarespace Try Square Visit site Try GoDaddy What is an ecommerce platform?An ecommerce platform lets you create an entire online store with a professional-looking website, manage your stock and inventory, and sell your products or services online.Ecommerce platforms can be built by a business of any size because they are no-code. This means that even someone with no experience using website builder software can get started.Examples of large-scale ecommerce platforms include Amazon or eBay, while small businesses are likely to use Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, or BigCommerce.One big advantage of an ecommerce platform is that it integrates all the business and commerce functionalities under one roof, giving you the features needed to operate and grow your store. You can also have your ecommerce store on mobile, but keep in mind it will have to be optimised. 1. Wix ecommerce: Best all-round ecommerce platform for small businesses Wix Online Store 4.8 Our top ecommerce platform gives you a full arsenal of fantastic features and bags of creative freedom, all for a very affordable price. Visit Wix FREE TRIAL 14 day money back guarantee PRICE FROM £14 per month, billed annually Flexible pricing plans Perfect solution if you want more creative freedom Great additional features that support everything any up and coming merchant needs Summary Wix is the most popular website builder in the UK and our top recommendation for small businesses wanting to sell online - especially if they have relatively small inventories (20 products or fewer). When we say Wix really does have it all, we mean it. Its largely improved sales features now support multi-channels including Facebook and other marketplaces. The Light plan, at only £7.5 per month, comes equipped with 24/7 customer support, unlimited product showcasing and the option to sell on social channels. If you want further insight into your ecommerce business and control of where you can sell, the £119 per month Business Elite plan comes with customised reports, marketplace selling capabilities and priority customer care. However, despite the product priding itself on its ease of use, a rather steep learning curve is required, particularly when navigating set "ecom" functionalities. Show moreless Our in-depth user testing shows that Wix is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses, scoring an impressive 4.8 out of 5 overall.The ecommerce platform takes the top spot for features, design flexibility, and help and support. Its closest contender, Shopify, trails behind by only 0.2 points, partly because Wix gives you more value for money.With more than 70 different ecommerce templates to choose from – each of which is highly customisable – you can create a unique online shop that’s tailored to your brand. However, you'll need to choose your template carefully because it cannot be changed once your website is live.From our first-hand user testing, we found one of our favourite parts about Wix's features: it recommends items that you should put onto your website based on its type, industry, and name. For instance, if you're building an ecommerce site, Wix will automatically recommend you add in a chatbot. This makes the process of building a website quicker.While it might not be an ecommerce-specific platform – like Shopify and BigCommerce – Wix's extensive App Market gives it the sales functionality you'll need. This includes multiple payment options, secure checkout, and abandoned cart recovery – all of which will help you increase sales and grow your customer base.It also boasts the most advanced SEO features of all the ecommerce platforms we tested. One unique element of Wix's SEO offering is its exclusive partnership with Semrush, which users to access Semrush's industry-leading SEO keyword data directly through the Wix dashboard. Back in February, Wix added SEO reports using Google Search Console to its arsenal of SEO tools. This is great as you can easily create new reports from GSC, including top search queries and top pages in search. However, keep in mind you'll need to be relatively well-versed in SEO to make the most out of this Wix feature. Therefore, it's not ideal for complete SEO newbies.This will help Wix users improve their website visibility for search terms relevant to their business, and increase valuable web traffic by moving up those all-important search rankings.In our latest round of testing, Wix improved in a few notable areas. Its sales features score increased from 4 out of 5 to an excellent 4.4 out of 5, putting it just behind Shopify in this specific category.Wix's ease of use score rose from 3.6 out of 5 to 4 out of 5, making it even easier for you to use Wix to create a fantastic online store. This is thanks to its drag-and-drop functionality, which makes website building a more intuitive exercise.It's also important to mention that Wix offers incredible value for money, costing just £20 per month for its Business plan. This is compared to a whopping £49 per month for Shopify's equivalent plan. To learn loads more about exactly how well Wix performs as an ecommerce platform, make sure to check out our in-depth Wix ecommerce review. Wix ecommerce pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Core Business Business Elite Price £14 per month£12.60 with code ‘GET 10!' Price £20 per month£18 with code ‘GET 10!' Price £119 per month£107.10 with code ‘GET 10!' Features Basic ecommerceAccept paymentsBasic site analyticsAbandoned cart recovery Features Standard site analyticsStandard eCommerceAutomated sales tax for 100 transactions per monthAccept pre-orders Features Advanced eCommerceAdvanced developer platformAdvanced site analyticsLoyalty program by Smile.io Free trial? Free trial? Free trial? Claim Deal Claim Deal Claim Deal Our dedicated Wix pricing page breaks down the company's ecommerce plans in more detail, so you can work out which is the right fit for your business. All prices are shown when billed annually. Pros Best website features of any non-ecommerce-specific website builder Wix puts your brand front and centre, giving you the creative freedom to design a website that really represents your brand The editor lets you manipulate elements in the frontend, so you’re never editing your storefront blind Cons You may have to pay more for third party apps Small list of multichannel integrations allowing you to sell on other platforms Currently no option to change your template once you’ve published your website What the users said It just looks really professional, even after adding a couple of buttons on to the homepage. It's very clean, and you can easily identify where things are and how it would appear (on your website) once published. Wix may be our highest-rated ecommerce platform, but how does it compare with our runner-up Shopify? Read our full review to find out which one wins in the Wix vs Shopify for small businesses battle. Our top pick: Wix Our testing highlighted Wix as the best all-rounder for small businesses wanting to sell online. Start with a free trial today. Free Trial Discover what it can do for your online business 2. Shopify: Best for sales-specific features Shopify 4.6 Shopify’s superb features and extensive app market give ambitious ecommerce businesses everything they need to scale rapidly. Try Shopify for free FREE TRIAL 3-day free trial PRICE FROM £19 per month Preempts and predicts what a merchant might need next in all aspects of creating a website Best range of apps and extensions Perfect for dropshipping Summary Shopify is perfect for users looking for that all in one online store solution. Its ability to predict what a merchant will need next when creating a website is a brilliant feature, and its countless apps give you complete control over your business, enabling you to grow through diverse multi channel integration options and automated SMS and email marketing. It is definitely better suited to store owners with complex, larger inventories and because there are fewer built in features, using the platform can get expensive compared to other feature-filled competitors like Squarespace and Wix. Show moreless In our most recent round of in-depth research and testing, Shopify scores a very strong overall rating of 4.6 out of 5.Its customer score – the proportion of users that would be likely to recommend a platform to a friend – Shopify held onto its position as our top provider for this metric with an impressive 4.7 out of 5.Its simple and straightforward approach to design is central to its appeal. While our researchers found that creating an online shop with other ecommerce builders could be ‘overwhelming', Shopify’s user interface was described as ‘clean and refreshingly intuitive', making it easy to get the results you want.Shopify's scores have remained pretty steady in our latest testing. It's held onto its position as the second-best ecommerce platform, though BigCommerce is now ahead of it for sales features. It also has a very solid affiliate program, which we've determined is the best for ecommerce brands.Although both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer an arsenal of sales features, you can differentiate the two by comparing dropshipping functionality, of which Shopify is ahead. Moreover, Shopify is also better at customisable features and has a larger app store than BigCommerce.As for Shopify's standout features, the platform pre-empts and predicts what a merchant might need when creating a website. This kind of automation is unmatched in the ecommerce space, and means small businesses can feel confident they are setting up an online store that's tailored to the needs of their customers.Unlike other ecommerce website builders, Shopify first prompts you to fill in your inventory rather than building the site. This means it's a better fit for businesses that have a game plan.Competitively priced, easy to use, and with a bevvy of great sales features, Shopify is an excellent option for ambitious, growing businesses. You can also trial the platform for free for three days. To discover more about where Shopify excels as an ecommerce platform – and where it could do better – head to our in-depth Shopify review. Shopify pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward GET 3 MONTHS FOR £1/MO Starter Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Price £5 per month Price £1 per month for 3 monthsThen £19 per month Price £49 per month Price £259 per month Features A simple, instant storefrontUnlimited product pagesFast and secure checkout Features Unlimited productsAbandoned cart recovery Features Professional reports and analytics5 staff accounts Features Advanced reportsCalculated shipping rates Online card processing fees 2.9% + 30p for online sales Online card processing fees 2% + 25p for online purchases Online card processing fees 1.7% + 25p for online purchases Online card processing fees 1.5% + 25p for online purchases Visit Shopify to learn more about its pricing plans Visit Shopify Prices shown for annual billing. Pros Multi-channel integration, giving you the ability to sell via multiple social media platforms Offers the highest number of sales features, averaging 61/65 across the 13 sales specific areas evaluated Really supports users with more difficult ecommerce tasks, such as shipping and accountancy Shopify is an entirely customisable platform – should you require a bespoke feature it can assist, directly within the builder, on the template you choose, or through its app market Cons Shopify imposes transaction fees if you don't use its own payment gateways - meaning it's not the best for value for money Limited trial period with restrictive design flexibility Pick your template wisely, as you will need to reformat your entire site if you decide to switch themes once your website has gone live What the users said It doesn't pretend that building an online store is simple. For ecommerce, you have to know about inventory, prices, and variants. With Shopify, it's just all there, ready to fill in, and you can run a real business if you are up to it. 3. Squarespace: Best for creative control Squarespace Online Store 4.6 It might not have the best sales features, but Squarespace’s excellent editing tools make it quick and easy to get your online store up and running. Try Squarespace Squarespace Ecommerce full review FREE TRIAL 14-day free trial PRICE FROM £17 per month Use code "STARTUPS10" to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans Ideal platform for digital sales i.e online events Our highest scorer for ease of use Use code "STARTUPS10" to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans Summary Squarespace's ecommerce offering has plenty of great selling points to keep its users happy. There have been huge UX improvements since we last tested the platform, moving from 3.4 to a 4.2 ease of use score. The ecommerce platform has also greatly improved its app store and customer support. Although it's the ideal platform for digital sales (where stock is not directly needed) it falls short when it comes to stock monitoring capabilities. It also has very limited ecommerce templates compared to other competitors like Wix, despite charging a higher monthly price of £17 per month on a Business plan. Show moreless Like Wix, Squarespace is a website builder that rivals ecommerce-specific platforms when it comes to creating a professional online store.Squarespace is now our joint top platform for design functionality (alongside BigCommerce), earning an impressive overall score of 4.6 out of 5. It offers a range of beautiful and stylish themed templates for numerous industries and, unlike Wix, you can change your theme whenever you want. It even has a checkout style editor, so you can make sure your checkout page matches your site’s aesthetic.Another feature we liked from our first-hand user testing is that you can import directly from Etsy, which is handy if you already have an established customer base there.The editing interface itself is clean and easy to navigate, and our testers praised the creative freedom allowed. However, they found that there can be a steep learning curve for beginners.It is also lacking in the sales features department, achieving the lowest score in the category with 3.4 out of 5. This drop in score is largely because you'll need to sign up for one of its pricier plans to access features like subscriptions and abandoned cart recovery. Dropshipping functionality is non-existent.Alongside Wix, it’s now our joint second-best value ecommerce platform. You'll struggle to find a more design-focused ecommerce solution, with a genuine focus on its users’ needs, for such a great price. Check out Squarespace’s pricing plans here. Our dedicated Squarespace ecommerce review is the place to go to discover much much more about what Squarespace has to offer as an ecommerce platform. Squarespace pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward BEST VALUE Squarespace Business Basic Commerce Advanced Commerce Price £17 per month Price £23 per month Price £35 per month Features Fully integrated ecommerce3% transaction feeSell unlimited products Features No commerce transaction feesPoint of sale integrationCustomer accounts Features Abandoned cart recoveryPowerful ecommerce analyticsAdvanced shipping Use code "STARTUPS10" to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans Get deal Struggling to work out which Squarespace plan is right for you? Our Squarespace pricing page will give you the lowdown on which plans offer which features, and what sort of business each plan is best for.Prices shown for annual billing Pros Highest ease of use score in our research Top value for money score of all tested website builders Best designed templates that cover a wide range of industries Cons Poor site speed performance for desktop use Fewest payment options supported, sites must use PayPal or Stripe Worst sales features score in our research What the users said Its templates look incredibly professional and there was enough of a range, with Squarespace providing a description of the features each particular template had already embedded. It was really useful to base your decision on the features you wished to incorporate into your store. 4. Square Online: Best for selling for free Square Online 4.3 The best platform to use if you want to start selling for free Try Square Online Free plan Yes Price from £0 per month Start selling for free Excellent analytics Supports dozens of payment types Summary Square Online is the only website builder that allows you to start selling products without upgrading to a paid plan. You’ll still have to pay a 1.9% transaction fee for every payment processed, but you won’t find a more cost-effective way of getting an online store up and running anywhere else. It’s a great way to get to grips with things before you upgrade to one of Square's premium plans, which start from £9/month. Show moreless Square Online is the only provider among the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses that allows you to start selling products for free. This is why our researchers found it to be the best value ecommerce platform on the market.However, this doesn’t mean you can sell for free. It is also the only platform that does not allow you to waive the transaction fee, adding a 1.4% + 25p charge to every payment processed.But what's it like to create an online store with this ecommerce site builder?Square Online is pretty solid as there is no limitation to how many products you can feature or the type of product – be it physical, digital, donation, event, service, or even to sell as a restaurant. This is great because you can literally sell your products and services without having to spend money on a premium ecommerce plan, some of which can cost you over £50, like Shopify and BigCommerce.The other handy feature we found from our testing is the ‘hide category' in its inventory management, allowing you to set up a new product ahead of launch day.Stock and inventory can be configured any way you wish, with decent analytics and reporting tools available even on a free plan. These can help you make data-driven decisions based on your best-selling products.On the design front, Square Online scores incredibly low, with a score of 2.7 out of 5. This is because there’s no choice of templates and the only changes you can only make changes to the font and colours. That said, the basic online store design it offers is very clean and follows user experience best practices. This is in stark contrast to the likes of Wix and Shopify, which offer a multitude of templates and design features for you to take advantage of.Overall, we found it to be a neat, simple, and affordable online shop builder that’s partnered with an industry-leading payment system. Read our Square Online review for an in-depth look at how Square Online stacks up as an ecommerce platform. Square Online pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Free Plus Premium Price £0 per month Price £20 per month Price £64 per month Features Start selling onlineSell on Instagram and FacebookSEO toolsSync with Square POS Features Custom domain10GB storageCustomised font uploadsPassword-protected pages Features Professional featuresAccept PayPalAbandoned basketAdvanced reportingProduct reviews Check out Square Online's great ecommerce prices Visit site Prices shown for annual billing Pros You can sell for free (just pay the transaction fee) Easy-to-use site dashboard keeps track of product sales and customer journeys Our highest rated ecommerce platform for help and support tools Cons Restrictive design features Not the most intuitive interface for new users, uses unfamiliar terminology High transaction fees Did you know? 82% of the UK population bought at least one product online in 2021. While this was symptomatic of the pandemic, it definitely shows how easily customers can adapt to online shopping. Therefore, you want to have the most user-friendly ecommerce site to make the customer journey as seamless as possible. 5. BigCommerce: Best for multi-channel selling BigCommerce 4.2 With the most comprehensive range of sales features around, BigCommerce gives you everything you need to create a fully-optimised online store Try BigCommerce Free trial 15-day Price from $29 per month Quality in-built sales features Excellent SEO support Great for scaling businesses Summary BigCommerce is the big budget option for small businesses with big ambitions. Its plans range from £23/month to £240/month. Quite pricey, but for that you’re getting access to the most extensive range of high-quality, in-built sales features on the market. The costlier the plan, the more advanced the functionality, of course – you also increase your sales allowance. This ranges from an upper limit of $50,000 on the Standard plan to a maximum of $400,000 on the Pro plan. And if your sales are likely to be higher than that, BigCommerce offers custom enterprise solutions. Just get in touch with its sales team to find out more. Show moreless BigCommerce offers users the most expansive range of sales features of any platform we reviewed, supporting multiple languages and currencies. This should be your go-to ecommerce platform if you’re wanting to expand your operations overseas.Unlike Shopify, most of its ecommerce features are built in (rather than from third parties), which means they’re generally of a much higher quality. This is why BigCommerce has overtaken Shopify as the platform with the best sales features. However, based on our first-hand testing, we do think BigCommerce's sales features are more advanced than Shopify, so expect to hit a steep learning curve if you're an ecommerce beginner.Despite being slightly difficult for beginners, BigCommerce made some recent improvements to its ease of use. Its drag-and-drop builder offers you design flexibility, so all you have to do is select a page element you like and insert it wherever you want it to go. During testing, we found that this feature wasn't super intuitive. If this is something you're after, we'd recommend looking at Wix.BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial for its Standard, Plus, or Pro plans. So you can try out the platform before signing up for any of its (rather dear) plans.While BigCommerce integrates with Facebook Marketplace, it falls short in many other aspects. For one, it is easily the most expensive ecommerce platform available (scoring just 3 out of 5 in our value for money category). To put it into context, BigCommerce's cheapest plan will set you back £23 per month. When compared with Wix, which will cost you £15 per month for far better ease of use and customer support.BigCommerce is not for everyone, but scaling ecommerce businesses should look no further, particularly if you have the budget to spend. For greater insight on what BigCommerce does well and not so well, hop over to our BigCommerce review. BigCommerce pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Best plan for small businesses Standard Plan Plus Plan Pro Plan Enterprise Plan Price $29 per month (around £23) Price $79 per month (around £64) Price $299 per month (around £240) Price Custom Features Coupons and discountsReporting toolsMulti-channel selling Features Customer groups and segmentationAbandoned cart recoveryStores credit card details Features Google customer reviewsProduct filteringCustom product filtering Features Express routing, priority support, and customer success managementAPI (application programming interface) supportCustom sales limit See what BigCommerce could offer your small business Try BigCommerce for free For more detailed information about BigCommerce pricing plans, visit our dedicated page on BigCommerce Pricing.Prices shown for annual billing and only available in USD Pros No transaction fees, meaning you fully reap the rewards of every sale you make, in comparison to platforms like Square that charge per transaction Superb international selling functions, that include multiple currencies, tax calculation, and even regional pricing variations Excellent SEO assistance to ensure you hit the higher reaches of the SERP results and grow traffic One of the only platforms that integrates seamlessly with Facebook Marketplace, allowing you to sell products on the platform effortlessly Cons Challenging editing interface makes it harder to make changes to your website quickly and easily An expensive option for many small businesses, and should only be considered by startups looking to scale What the users said They really do think about all the extra features to make your users’ shopping experience that much more personal and enjoyable. Bigcommerce really supports this, and makes sure you as the merchant are aware of these little extra add-ons by making it easy to tick a box and incorporate a feature. Then they do the rest. 6. GoDaddy: Best for ease of use GoDaddy 3.9 A simple way to build an online store. Try GoDaddy Free trial Yes Price from £12.99 Easy to use Simple pricing Fairly good value Summary It lacks sophisticated sales and design features, but GoDaddy is still one of the easiest ways to create an online store. It just has one ecommerce plan, for the reasonable price of £12.99 per month. Show moreless GoDaddy is an entry-level website builder that makes starting your own ecommerce site a breeze – even if you’re not technologically inclined. It received an overall score of 3.9 out of 5 in our analysis.Our researchers rated GoDaddy the second easiest ecommerce platform to use. We found it to be an accessible, helpful editor that includes an Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) function that can save time while making your online store look slick and professional with minimal effort.However, this very same ADI also severely limits your creative control. This isn't a problem if you just want to get up and running with a great-looking online shop, but it's less appealing if you want to create something unique. Once you've created your store using ADI, you can't change much more about it. However, Wix and Shopify still give you the creative freedom to make any changes you want.The GoDaddy Online Store is easy to get to grips with, even for complete beginners. It’s also one of the cheapest ecommerce website builders, and promises real business growth (not just a pretty shop front).However it is seriously lacking website features. It only scores 2.5 out of 5 for this category in our research, the worst score of any of the providers. You will get the bare minimum with GoDaddy, and SEO prompts and reporting are pretty lacklustre.GoDaddy is still a solid choice for small businesses that want to get up and running quickly and easily.GoDaddy pricing Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Ecommerce Price £12.99 per month, billed annually Features Product listingsFlexible paymentsFlexible shipping optionsDiscount and promotional features Check out GoDaddy's ecommerce plan Visit site To learn about what is included with each GoDaddy plan, head to our dedicated GoDaddy pricing page. Pros GoDaddy's ADI function is the quickest and easiest way to create an online store Restore hero prevents errors or mistake causing added stress by allowing you to create up to five backup versions No surprise fees Cons Limited creative control, as the ADI function takes away a lot of design freedom Lacks the advanced features of some of its rivals What the users said If you need to get online and need to sell products, it can be quite overwhelming, and you’ve still got to do all the product management. GoDaddy do something incredibly well – they take one of those areas away from you and actually, from a design point of view, do it really, really well. Our methodology: How we choose the best ecommerce website builder for small businessEach platform has been put through rigorous user testing and ranked on the six key factors that matter to you most.By gaining an understanding of the factors we used to determine our list, you can decide to what extent each matters for your online store.Customer scoreOur customer score is based on three areas of investigation: user experience (UX), ‘likely to recommend', and brand awareness (an assessment of popularity based on keyword research).Design functionalitiesThis factor is based on several areas of investigation, including templates/themes, flexibility of design, a mobile editor, and more.Help and supportHelp and support is based on restore options (whether a website builder offers the option to restore your website), customer support, and the availability of a knowledge centre.Sales featuresAn assessment of sales features, including security, multi-channel integration, payment options, and shipping options.Value for moneyThis is based on three areas of research: features vs price (a combination of the average pricing plan score and quality of feature score), free trial availability, and the average pricing plan.Website featuresWe look at everything from the quality of website features to internationalisation, marketing power, SEO features, blogging competence, and beyond.How does an ecommerce platform work?An ecommerce platform is a website builder that's specifically designed to create online stores. In a short amount of time, a business owner can design and build a no-code ecommerce website using drag-and-drop functionality, so you can have complete control over what your store looks like.On top of that, you can add third-party apps and extensions to oversee everything from managing stock, to taking customer payments.Customers will then be able to find your products and add them to their cart for checkout via a fully-automated sales process where products are catalogued, payments taken, and shipping is managed all from one end-to-end location.What types of businesses are ecommerce platforms suitable for?If you want to sell a product or service online as part of your business offering, you should invest in an ecommerce platform.Ecommerce builders are DIY software, so we recommend them to companies that don't have a complex sales cycle and need an inexpensive, simple tool to get their online store set up quickly.If you plan to launch a dropshipping business, you will also need an ecommerce platform to sell from.Using an ecommerce website builder, dropshippers can design an entire online shop front for customers to make a purchase. Businesses can then automate the sales process to review, process, and deliver the product straight to customer. Best ecommerce platforms: Final verdictWix is our top ecommerce platform for small businesses because it has everything you need for a great price, while our runner up, Shopify, will allow you to fully optimise your online store with top-quality sales features and opportunities to scale and grow.If you’re looking for maximum creative control, then Squarespace is the online shop to go for, beating Wix and Shopify in this regard.When it comes to the best ecommerce platform, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. It all depends on what your business model is, and what you're looking for.If you’re not sure which provider is the right choice for your business, try a free trial or free versions. With Wix, you can try the (very limiting) free plan, or just sign up and get a money-back guarantee on your subscription if, for any reason, you change your mind. Squarespace, BigCommerce, GoDaddy, and Shopify all offer free trials. Frequently Asked Questions Which ecommerce platform is best? Our in-depth testing shows that Wix is the best overall ecommerce platform. It offers users creative freedom, a long list of powerful website features, and an intuitive interface that will let your see the impact of your changes immediately. What is Shopify best for? Shopify offers a strong range of sales features, making it easy to scale your online business. It also handles multi-channel selling with ease, allowing businesses to effortlessly sell across multiple social media platforms. Our researchers noted that Shopify makes an effort to support users with difficult ecommerce tasks, such as shipping and accountancy. What is an ecommerce platform? An ecommerce platform is a website that allows you to sell online. Amazon and eBay are two of the world's largest ecommerce platforms (and SMEs can use either to sell their products), but many small businesses like to take the lead and build their own ecommerce website using an ecommerce platform. By doing this, you can make your online store reflect the look and personality of your brand, your products won’t be rubbing shoulders with competitors, and your customers will be able to easily check out and pay on your site. What are the pros and cons of a hosted ecommerce platform? An ecommerce platform provides the code and server you need to run your ecommerce site for a small monthly fee. This helps you cut additional costs of signing up with a server/hosting platform. There is added security, easy access to the latest features, and a platform that can scale as your business grows. The downsides of hosted ecommerce platforms include limited customisation, incompatibility with unusual business models, and needing to wait for customer support. However, the only way to overcome these is to either build the site yourself or invest in a dedicated website developer. This simply isn't practical for most SMEs, so we'd recommend using a hosted ecommerce platform. Which ecommerce platform is best for startups? The best ecommerce platform for startups is Wix. While Shopify and BigCommerce do have some incredible sales features, Wix offers a similar level of functions for a fraction of the price. Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Written by: Ross Darragh Writer Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website. Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Condé Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism. Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.