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.

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:
Robyn Summers-Emler Grow Online Editor

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

Following our rigorous testing and expert analysis, it's clear that Wix is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses. It's a great all-rounder, offering fantastic sales and design features for a very 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. 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

  1. Wix Ecommerce – Best all-round ecommerce platform for small businesses
  2. Shopify – Best for dedicated sales features when selling online
  3. Squarespace – Best for design and creative control
  4. Square Online – Best free ecommerce site builder
  5. BigCommerce – Best for multi-channel selling
  6. GoDaddy – Best for ease of use

However, there are plenty of options on the market, and picking out the best ecommerce platform for your business requires careful consideration.

Owing to the cost of living crisis and the ongoing difficult economic climate as we enter the winter months, getting online shoppers to commit to transactional decisions is no easy feat in current times. According to the International Trade Administration, internet shopping is more popular in the UK than in any other country so you definitely need an ecommerce platform you can rely on.

To help you get this crucial decision right, 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.

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Square Online




All-round ecommerce platform for small businesses


Best range of apps and extensions


Best for ease of use and great design


Best value – start selling for free


Best sales features


Creating a simple online store

Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing

£14-119 per month, billed annually
£7-£59.50 until Nov 30


£19 – £259 per month, billed annually

£1/month for 3 months


£17-£35 per month, billed annually

Use code “STARTUPS10” to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans


£0-£64 per month


$29-$299 (around £23-£240) per month


£12.99 per month (first term savings available)

What is an ecommerce platform?

An ecommerce platform is a type of software that lets you create an entire online store, with a professional-looking website; it also lets you manage all of your stock and inventory and sell your products or services online.

Ecommerce platforms can be built by any size business, because they are no-code. This means even someone with relatively little experience of using website builder software can get started. Examples of large-scale ecommerce platforms include Amazon or eBay, but for small businesses, you're likely to use a platform such as Shopify, Wix, Squarespace or BigCommerce.

There are a lot of different functions that online sellers need to carry out to run their store. One big advantage of an ecommerce platform is that it integrates all the business and commerce functionalities under one roof, giving you every feature you need 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
Our top ecommerce platform gives you a full arsenal of fantastic features and bags of creative freedom, all for a very affordable price.
  • 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.
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According to our in-depth user testing, Wix is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses, scoring an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars overall.

The ecommerce platform takes the top spot for its 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 can be customised to your heart’s content, you can create a unique online shop that’s perfectly tailored to your brand. However, choose your template carefully, because you can’t change it once your website is live.

From our first-hand user testing, one of our favourite parts about Wix's features was that it recommends you which items to put into your website based on the type, industry and name. For instance, if you're building an ecommerce site, Wix will automatically recommend you put in a chatbot. This makes the process of building a website quicker.

And while it might not be an ecommerce-specific platform – like BigCommerce and Shopify – thanks to its extensive App Market, Wix offers all the sales functionality you could ever 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 out of all the ecommerce platforms we tested. One unique element of Wix's SEO offering is its exclusive partnership with SEO giants Semrush, which allows Wix 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 in order to make the most out of Wix. 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 has improved in a few notable areas – most importantly in its sales capabilities. Our researchers increased its sales features score from a strong 4 out of 5 to an excellent 4.4 out of 5, putting it just behind the ecommerce platform Shopify in this specific category.

Wix also increased its ease of use score from just 3.6 out of 5 to an admirable 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 in comparison to ecommerce-specific platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, Wix has 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

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Business Elite


£14 per month

£7 until Nov 30


£20 per month

£10 until Nov 30


£119 per month

£59.50 until Nov 30

  • Basic ecommerce
  • Accept payments
  • Basic site analytics
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Standard site analytics
  • Standard eCommerce
  • Automated sales tax for 100 transactions per month
  • Accept pre-orders
  • Advanced eCommerce
  • Advanced developer platform
  • Advanced site analytics
  • Loyalty program by
Free trial?
Free trial?
Free trial?

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.

  • 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
  • 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 is our highest-rated ecommerce platform. But how does it compare to runner-up Shopify? Read our full review to find out who wins in the battle of Wix vs Shopify for small businesses.

Wix website builder
Our top pick: Wix

Our testing has 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’s superb features and extensive app market give ambitious ecommerce businesses everything they need to scale rapidly.
  • 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.
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In our most recent round of in-depth research and testing, ecommerce behemoth Shopify scored a very strong 4.6 out of 5, the second-highest overall rating.

And if we look at the ever-important customer score – in other words, the proportion of users that would be highly likely to recommend a platform to a friend – Shopify held onto its position as our top provider for this metric with an even more impressive 4.7 out of 5.

A 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 – a result of “complex terminology and confusing interfaces” – 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 overall ecommerce platform, though BigCommerce has just edged 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 just edges ahead. Moreover, Shopify also is better at customisable features ad has a larger app store than BigCommerce.

As for Shopify's standout features, the platform preempts and predicts what a merchant might need next in all aspects of creating a website. This kind of automation is unmatched in the ecommerce space, and means small businesses can feel confident that they are setting up an online store perfectly 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 not a fit for businesses that are still working on their inventory, and instead, is a better match for ecommerce businesses that already have a clear 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

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Basic Shopify




£1 per month for 3 months

Then £19 per month


£49 per month


£259 per month


A simple, instant storefront
Unlimited product pages
Fast and secure checkout


Unlimited products
Abandoned cart recovery


Advanced reports
Calculated 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

Prices shown for annual billing.

  • 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
  • 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 be professional and know lots of inventory things, prices and variants. I like with Shopify that it's just all out there, ready to fill it in, and you can run a real business if you want and if you are up to it.

3. Squarespace: Best for creative control

Squarespace Online Store
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.
  • 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.
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Like Wix, Squarespace is a website builder first and foremost. But it more than rivals the ecommerce-specific platforms when it comes to creating a professional online store.

Squarespace is now our joint top ranked platform for design functionality (alongside BigCommerce) earning an impressive 4.6 out of 5 overall score. It offers a range of beautiful, stylish, themed templates for nearly every single industry we evaluated – 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 was that you can import directly from Etsy, which is handy if you already have an established customer base there.

Best ecommerce platforms - Squarespace

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 is largely due to the lack of sales features available on its less expensive plans, only when you sign up for its most expensive plan do you get access to features like subscriptions and abandoned cart recovery – and dropshipping functionality is nonexistent.

Although 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

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Squarespace Business

Basic Commerce

Advanced Commerce


£17 per month


£23 per month


£35 per month


Fully integrated ecommerce
3% transaction fee
Sell unlimited products


No commerce transaction fees
Point of sale integration
Customer accounts


Abandoned cart recovery
Powerful ecommerce analytics
Advanced shipping

Struggling to work out which Squarespace plan is right for you? Our Squarespace pricing page gives you the lowdown on which features come with which plans, and what sort of business each plan is suited to.

Prices shown for annual billing

  • 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
  • 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
The best platform to use if you want to start selling for free
  • 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.
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Square Online is unique in this ranking of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses, in that it’s the only provider that allows you to start selling products for free, without signing up for a premium plan.

But that doesn’t exactly mean you can sell for free, as it is also the only platform that does NOT allow you to waive the transaction fee, imposing a 1.4% + 25p charge for every payment processed.

That's why, according to our researchers, it's held onto its position as the best value ecommerce platform on the market.

But what's it like to create an online store with this ecommerce site builder?

Well, for what it is, Square Online is pretty solid. There are no limitations on how many products you can feature, or on 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 (with the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce) will be setting you back £50-plus.

The other handy feature we found from our testing is its ‘hide category' in its inventory management. This means you can set up everything you need for a new product so that on the day of the launch you just have to hit publish.

And stock and inventory can be configured any way you wish, with decent analytics and reporting tools available even on a free plan to 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 make are to things like 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, then, a neat, easy, and affordable online shop builder that’s partnered with an industry-leading payment system.

For an in-depth rundown of how Square Online stacks up as an ecommerce platform, check out our Square Online review.

Square Online pricing

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£0 per month


£20 per month


£64 per month


Start selling online
Sell on Instagram and Facebook
SEO tools
Sync with Square POS


Custom domain
10GB storage
Customised font uploads
Password-protected pages


Professional features
Accept PayPal
Abandoned basket
Advanced reporting
Product reviews

Prices shown for annual billing

  • 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
  • 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. Whilst 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 e-commerce site to make the customer journey as seamless as possible.

5. BigCommerce: Best for multi-channel selling

With the most comprehensive range of sales features around, BigCommerce gives you everything you need to create a fully-optimised online store
  • 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.
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BigCommerce does what it says on the tin. With the most expansive range of sales features of any platform we reviewed, and multiple languages and currencies supported, this should be your go-to ecommerce platform if you’re an ambitious, growing business that wants to expand its operations overseas.

And, unlike rival Shopify, most of its ecommerce features are in-built (rather than from third parties), which means they’re generally of a much higher quality. That's why, in our latest round of rating and ranking, BigCommerce has overtaken Shopify as the platform with the best sales features. Howevre, based on our first-hand testing, we do think BigCommerce's sales features are more advanced than Shopify so you'll experience a learning curve if you're a beginner in the world of ecommerce.

Despite being slightly hard to use for beginners, BigCommerce is a great option as it has made some recent improvements to its ease of use. BigCommerce's 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.

Best ecommerce platforms - BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial for any Standard, Plus, or Pro plan. So you can try out the platform to see if it is right for you, before signing up for any of its (rather dear) plans.

Although BigCommerce runs the show in terms of sales features, particularly when it comes to its integration 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). From our first-hand testing, we also found its Drag & Drop wasn't super intuitive. If this is a feature you're expressively after, we'd recommend looking at Wix instead.

To put it into context, BigCommerce's cheapest plan will set you back £23 per month, compared to Wix, which will charge 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

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Standard Plan

Plus Plan

Pro Plan

Enterprise Plan


$29 per month (around £23)


$79 per month (around £64)


$299 per month (around £240)




Coupons and discounts
Reporting tools
Multi-channel selling


Customer groups and segmentation
Abandoned cart recovery
Stores credit card details


Google customer reviews
Product filtering
Custom product filtering


Express routing, priority support, and customer success management
API (application programming interface) support
Custom sales limit

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

  • 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
  • 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

A simple way to build an online store.
  • 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.
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GoDaddy is an entry-level website builder that makes starting your own ecommerce site a breeze, even if you’re not technically inclined. It scored 3.9 out of 5 overall in our analysis.

Our researchers rated GoDaddy the second easiest ecommerce platform to use, with an accessible, helpful editor, and an Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) function that saves time and makes 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’re after something a little more unique. Once you've created your store using ADI, you can't change much more about it, compared to Wix and Shopify which will still give you the creative freedom to make any changes you want.

GoDaddy Online Store is ultra-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 in website features, scoring just 2.5 out of 5, the worst category 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 as quickly, and as simply as possible.

GoDaddy pricing

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£12.99 per month, billed annually


Product listings
Flexible payments
Flexible shipping options
Discount and promotional features

To learn more about what is actually included in each GoDaddy plan, head to our dedicated GoDaddy pricing page.

  • 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
  • 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 do we choose the best ecommerce website builder for small business?

As we said in the introduction, each 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 score

Our 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 functionalities

This factor is based on several areas of investigation including Templates/themes, flexibility of design, Mobile editor and more.

Help and support

Help and support is based on testing of things such as restore options (whether a website builder offers the option to restore your website), customer support, and knowledge centre availability.

Sales features

An assessment of a plethora of sales features including security, multi channel integration, payment options, and shipping options among many more.

Value for money

Based on three areas of investigation: features vs price (a combination of the average pricing plan score and quality of feature score), free trial availability, and average pricing plan.

Website features

Covering 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 will 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 a cheap and easy tool to get their online store set up quickly. If you just need a site for customers can click and checkout a product, ecommerce builders are the way forward.

Dropshipping companies are a good example of a company that would use an ecommerce platform to sell from.

Using an ecommerce website builder, dropshippers can design an entire online shop front for customers to purchase a product from. Businesses can then automate the sales process to review, process, and deliver the product straight to customer.

Best ecommerce platforms: Final verdict

Hopefully, one of the six ecommerce website builders above is jumping out at you as the best choice for your online shop.

If you’re after a great all rounder, then Wix – our top ranked ecommerce platform for small businesses – has everything you need for a great price. The fact its lowest score was 3.8 out of 5 (for help and support) speaks volumes about its capacity as an ecommerce platform.

If, however, you want a dedicated ecommerce platform that allows full optimisation of your online store with a full arsenal of top-quality sales features – and that gives your online venture endless opportunities to scale and grow – look no further than Shopify.

If you’re looking for maximum creative control, then Squarespace is the online shop to go for, even over both Wix and Shopify.

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 absolutely sure which one is the right choice for your business, why not try out their 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.

Whichever you choose, happy selling!

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Which ecommerce platform is best?
    According to our in-depth user testing, Wix is the best overall ecommerce platform. We love the creative freedom it gives you, its long list of powerful website features, and the intuitive interface that lets your see what impact your changes will have immediately.
  • What is Shopify best for?
    Where Shopify really shines is the range of sales features it offers that make 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. Finally, our testers noted that Shopify really 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 when they find your site online.
  • What are the pros and cons of a hosted ecommerce platform?
    All the providers discussed above are examples of hosted ecommerce platforms. These sites take the pain out of creating your own online store by providing the code and server you need to run your ecommerce site for a small monthly fee. The major benefits of this approach include cutting costs, not having to deal with the headache of finding a server/hosting platform, extra security, easy access to the latest features, and a platform that will scale as your business grows. The downsides of hosted ecommerce platforms are more limited customisation, incompatibility with unusual business models, and having to wait in line for customer support. However, the only way to overcome these is 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 arguably Wix. This is because, although Shopify and BigCommerce have some incredible sales features, Wix offers a similar level of functions for a fraction of the prices. And of course, cost is important to all startups! 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 to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

Written by:
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.
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