The Best Ecommerce Platform for Beginners: 9 Solutions to Consider
The best ecommerce platform for beginners is one capable of providing all the functionality you need to sell online, without the complexity. While there are many amazing solutions out there for enabling sales, not all offer the same user experience.
Some platforms are designed for those with coding experience, to provide more control over the inner workings of a website. Other solutions are intended for those with rapidly-growing businesses, and a lot of advanced requirements.
Today, we’re going to be looking specifically at the best ecommerce platforms beginners can consider. We’ll be looking for the perfect blend of simplicity and feature richness from all of our contenders. Let’s get started.
Shopify is easily one of the better-known ecommerce site builders in the world, offering an excellent blend of simplicity and flexibility. You can build your entire website in no time with Shopify, using a selection of high-quality professional templates and advanced features.
There’s also plenty of scope to appeal to a wide range of customers, with various payment options, and the opportunity to sell all kinds of physical and digital products.
No matter what kind of business you want to run as a beginner, Shopify has you covered. You can build membership sites, access dropshipping plugins, or simply run a standard store. There’s also an extensive app market, where users can unlock a variety of capabilities intended to make their store even more impressive, from customer reviews, to video widgets.
Shopify even has a comprehensive knowledgebase, so you can get plenty of guidance for the store you want to build too. It’s an ideal solution for beginners.
Shopify’s Pricing starts with a $9 per month “Lite” plan to add product purchases to a blog or existing website. If you want to build your store with Shopify, you’ll need at least the “Basic” plan for $29 per month. The more you pay, the more functionality you can access.
The central “Shopify” plan for $79 per month offers advanced capabilities like reporting and multiple inventory locations. “Advanced” provides shipping rate calculation and international pricing for $299 per month. There’s also an enterprise option available via quote.
- 14-day free trial to get you started.
- Extensive range of payment options.
- Add-ons and extensions to enhance your store.
- Unlimited products on all pricing plans.
- Lots of support and guidance for beginners.
- Convenient pricing plans for smaller businesses
- May get pricy with premium plugins and themes
- Transaction fees are an issue unless you use Shopify Payments
Try Shopify for 3 months for only $1 per month!
Shopify has begun offering a special deal for sellers who sign up for a new Shopify plan. That deal? Pay Shopify $1/month for 3 months of full access to the platform! And that pertains the $29 Basic Shopify Plan, and the $5 Starter Plan.
» Start your free trial here «
Further reading 📚
Shopify Review 2023 – Is Shopify the Best Ecommerce Platform?
Shopify Pricing Plans and Fees (Mar 2023): Which Shopify Plan is Best for You? Basic Shopify vs Shopify vs Advanced Shopify
Regularly recommended as the go-to solution for creative professionals, Squarespace is all about beautiful themes and eye-catching layouts. With this ecommerce website builder, artists and designers can showcase their skills, cultivate memberships, and earn purchases.
Though there are a few tricky elements to Squarespace, it’s definitely one of the more intuitive tools out there. Once you get used to the wide range of features, you’ll be able to manage your website with ease. What’s more, every plan comes with award-winning 24/7 customer support, so you can access all the help you need, whenever you need it.
If you do happen to have a little extra coding knowledge, you can also edit the CSS of your site, which means you have more freedom to step outside of basic layout options when using Squarespace. What’s more, everything you need to make your business a success is already included within the platform, so there’s no need to go searching for extra plugins.
With Squarespace you can easily sell physical and digital products, memberships, and subscriptions, as well as selling appointments and taking bookings. There’s even abandoned cart functionality for recapturing leads.
Like most leading eCommerce platforms, Squarespace comes with a 14-day free trial so you can test the functionality before you commit to anything. After that, you’ll save around 25% annually by paying for a yearly plan, instead of monthly.
Pricing starts at £10 per month for the “Personal” plan with a free custom domain, but you’ll need at least the “Business” plana t £15 per month to sell products. There’s also a 3% transaction fee to consider. The more advanced ecommerce features are available from Basic Commerce at £20 per month, which has no transaction fees.
- Award-winning customer service
- Excellent themes which are both attractive and responsive
- Social media integrations
- Free domain name with annual plans
- 24/7 customer support
- Free SSL certificate with every plan
- High transaction fees on the cheapest plan
- Limited payment options available
Further reading 📚
Squarespace Review (Feb 2023) – 11 Pros and Cons of Using Squarespace
Squarespace Pricing Plans (Feb 2023) – Which Squarespace Pricing Plan Should I Pick?
When it comes to simplicity in website building, there are few solutions with a better reputation than Wix. The solution is one of the top choices on the market for beginners, with a host of great themes to choose from, and an easy drag-and-drop builder for customization. To make life even easier, if you don’t want to build your own website you can get the AI system to do it for you.
Wix gives you tons of creative control over your website, with a host of features like a dedicated app store and customizable templates. You’ll be able to set up stunning product galleries and provide a range of payment options for your customers too.
There’s endless guidance and support available for beginners on Wix, so you can get bonus help every step of the way when you’re building your site. Everything is carefully designed to be as intuitive as possible, so you can avoid having to seek out specialist help. However, there are some slight limitations when it comes to ecommerce performance.
Wix is one of the best options for beginners on the market, particularly if you don’t need to create the most complex store for your customers. You can get your business up and running in no time, without compromising on functionality.
To access the ecommerce functionality of Wix, you’ll need to leverage the company’s “Business and eCommerce” plans, which start at £13 per month. The cheapest plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and 20GB of storage space.
If you’d like more storage space, and extra tools, like automated sales tax, you can upgrade to Business Unlimited at £17 per month. The £22 “Business VIP” package comes with support for 500 transactions per month and advanced shipping, multiple currencies, and various other features.
- AI support to help build your website
- Integrations with tools like Google Analytics
- Wide range of secure payment options
- Lots of stunning templates to customize
- Easy-to-use for beginners
- Excellent mobile app for managing your website anywhere
- Somewhat limited ecommerce functionality
- No option to export your data
Further reading 📚
Wix Ecommerce Review (Feb 2023): Everything You Need to Know – Wix Ecommerce Pros and Cons
Wix Ecommerce Pricing (Feb 2023) – A Guide to Wix Ecommerce Fees
BigCommerce is an excellent ecommerce platform for scalability – but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits as a beginner too. Part of what makes BigCommerce so appealing to many beginners, is everything you need for your store comes built into the ecosystem. This means you don’t have to go searching for plugins to add further functionality.
BigCommerce features an easy-to-understand interface, with convenient drag-and-drop building options and plenty of customizations. You can use the system to sell on a range of channels, like Amazon, Facebook and eBay, and create a single page checkout for customers.
Another bonus of BigCommerce is there are no transaction fees at all, so you only have to worry about monthly subscription fees, and any processing costs from your payment provider. You can also access unlimited staff accounts for your co-worker, and 24/7 support from the BigCommerce team.
There’s a 15-day free trial available from BigCommerce to help start you on your journey. After that, the cheapest pricing comes from annual plans starting at $29.95 per month for the “Standard” package. With the Standard plan, you can sell up to $50k annually, and enjoy a range of great features from BigCommerce too.
The Plus plan for $79.95 per month supports sales of up to $180k annually, while the “Pro” plan at $299.95 per month enables around $400k in annual sales. Enterprise packages are available too.
- All the tools you need already built-in
- Visual merchandising tool for beginners
- No transaction fees required on any plan
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage on any plan
- Multi-channel selling
- Lots of 24/7 support
- Not the widest selection of themes
- May take a while to master all the features
Further reading 📚
BigCommerce Review 2023: The Complete Guide
BigCommerce Pricing Plans (Feb 2023): How Much Are You Going to Pay With BigCommerce?
5. Square Online
For beginners making the transition from offline store to online selling, nothing compares with Square Online. You’re probably already familiar with Square as a leading payment processor, but it can also help you to build a fantastic custom website too.
Because it’s built on top of the Weebly technology for website building, Square Online is notoriously easy to use, with a convenient interface and a range of great templates to choose from. Although there are a few outdated elements in places, you’ll have no trouble setting up your store and making sales to customers all over the globe.
Square Online makes it quick and simple to create a website which enhances your sales potential. You can unlock features like synchronization for your online and offline inventories, so you can keep track of what kind of products you have available. The system is also excellent for things like building your own blog or linking out to social media.
Square’s affordable and easy-to-use ecosystem can offer a simple point of entry into the digital world for any company looking to grow online.
Unlike most ecommerce platform providers, Square allows users to build their website for free. However, you will have some costs to consider long-term. For instance, there are transaction fees to consider when you’re managing payments, and you need a custom domain for your website.
The “Ecommerce” plan from Square will get your site up and running online for $12 per month. Alternatively, you can access analytics and more advanced sales tools for $26 per month on the “Performance” plan. There’s also a premium plan at $72 per month which significantly lowers your transaction fees.
- Excellent pricing to help you get online
- Very easy-to-use interface
- Fantastic for syncing online and offline selling
- Various SEO and marketing tools available
- Discounted shipping on premium packages
- Pricing can go up very quickly
- Not the most advanced ecommerce features
Further reading 📚
Square Online Review (Feb 2023): Everything You Need to Know
Beginners often look for ecommerce solutions that are both low-cost and very simple to use. If that sounds like you, Branchbob may just be the ideal answer to those requirements. This straightforward eCommerce builder charges no fees, making it perfect for beginners wanting to try selling online without committing too much money upfront.
Branchbob was formed in Germany but now helps merchants in over 100 countries sell online. You can create a store using one of ten themes and customize your site using your own brand logo and content.
From your Branchbob cockpit (AKA your dashboard), you can manage your products, orders, and inventory. You can also review basic business analytics and run promotions with coupon codes.
The tool’s simplicity means that beginners won’t get overwhelmed. However, on the flip side, users will also reach the platform’s limits quite early. That’s why Branchbob’s great for finding your feet as a seller online, then moving on to a tool with more functionality.
Branchbob doesn’t charge any monthly fees, nor does it charge transaction costs on digital payments. It is altogether free to use! The only charges you might incur are if you purchase your own custom domain or want to extend the platform’s functionality with premium apps from the app store.
- It’s effortless to use, making it perfect for complete beginners
- It’s free
- There’s a good range of customer payment options available
- You get access to reasonably advanced coupon functionality
- There is a mobile app from which you can manage and build your store
- Branchbob stores are rapid to set up
- Customization is minimal.
- There are just ten themes to choose from
- Few integrations are available (there are no third-party shipping or drop shipping integrations listed in their app store)
- You can’t sell digital products.
- Basic functionality overall
- It’s not very scalable.
Sellfy is a fantastic online store where users can sell both physical products and digital downloads. This is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms for artists, because it’s easy to create an entire gallery featuring a number of products.
Sellfy comes with a host of helpful features for startups and store owners, including real-time reports, SEO tools, shopping cart customizations, and a range of backend tools. Business owners can make unlimited sales per year and connect to social media platforms too. There’s even access to print on demand features built-in.
With print on demand, online business owners can increase their portfolio of products using a user-friendly environment for quick and simple growth. You don’t need to worry about inventory management with a POD company.
Sellfy, like many leading tools, does have a free package, but you need at least the basic plan to sell more than 10 products online. The initial paid plan starts at $19 per month with access to all the sales tools you need.
The more advanced you get, the more you can take advantage of features like abandoned cart recovery and subscription product selling. There’s a package for $19 per month and $49 per month as well as a premium package for $99 per month.
- Print on demand already built-in
- Tax and VAT calculations
- Unlimited products and sales
- Multiple payment processing tools, including Stripe and PayPal
- Business insights and reporting
- Mobile optimization
- Need a more expensive package to remove branding
- Very simple free package
If you’re looking to add sales functionality to a WordPress or BigCommerce website, Ecwid could be the ideal open-source ecommerce platform tool for you. This unique add-on simply attaches to your existing website, allowing you to add your own ecommerce software.
As soon as you download your WordPress plugin, or a simple add-on, you’ll be able to start accepting payments in no time. Ecwid offers fantastic ease of use, and various tutorials to help beginners to get started. There’s also easy integration with a range of other pre-existing plugins and add-ons for your chosen site builder.
With Ecwid, your ecommerce store will be packed with customization options, and flexibility. You can even unlock functionality to make your store more compatible with POS devices, or ensure it thrives when you need help being found on the Google search engine.
There’s a basic version of Ecwid you can access for free. However, you’ll need to access more advanced premium versions of the service as your site grows. The first pricing package starts at around $15 per month for beginners, with access to features like Instagram and Facebook connectivity.
For agencies building stores online, Ecwid offers excellent access to white labelling tools. This makes it much easier to build a memorable name for yourself online.
- Excellent for running a store on multiple platforms
- Easy to use back-end environment
- Multi-channel sales solution
- Various great payment options
- Plenty of bandwidth and free themes
- Not an all-in-one site builder
- Might not be suitable for larger companies
9. Big Cartel
Ideal for a range of would-be online store builders, Big Cartel allows entrepreneurs to start selling online as quickly as possible, with access to a host of customizations. You can make changes to the code of your website, like you would with WordPress and WooCommerce, or build everything using pre-made templates and themes.
Big Cartel focuses specifically on creatives looking to develop their online store. There are tons of designs to make your website look fantastic. You’ll also be able to access a range of payment gateways, and convenient reporting tools for examining the functionality of your site.
Depending on your choice of pricing option, small businesses can run discounts, promotions, and offer gift cards. There’s also the possibility to unlock sales tax automation to help you track the costs associated with every credit card payment.
Big Cartel is easy enough to help you set up your ecommerce business in no time. You’ll also get things like inventory management and shipment tracking with every package.
Big Cartel supports selling up to 5 products for fee with the “Gold” package. This supports a single image per product. You’ll also get a custom domain which is unique for a free ecommerce plan. To sell more products and access more features, you’ll need the first paid package at $9.99 per month.
The most expensive package for this ecommerce solution comes at $19.99 per month, which allows you to sell up to 500 products. The store builder has no listing fees, and includes tax autopilot for store owners.
- Easy to build an attractive storefront
- Cheap solution with affordable web hosting
- Excellent inventory management and shipment tracking
- Code access to build your store from scratch
- Generous free plan
- Not ideal for a larger online shop
Further reading 📚
Big Cartel Review (2023): All the Pros and Cons
Big Cartel Pricing (Feb 2023) – Here’s What You Need to Know
Choosing the Best eCommerce Store for Beginners
There are plenty of great store building tools out there. We’ve mentioned a handful of options here, but you can also check out things like Prestashop, Volusion, Magento, and even a host of existing online marketplaces.
The right store builder for you will depend heavily on your business plan. Start by thinking about the features that matter most to you, such as in-built integration with email marketing, or social media systems, and make your short list from there.