It has never been easier to start selling online with a huge range of online store builders on the market. They range from 100% dedicated e-commerce platforms to more versatile tools that give you a series of related features. This means that when you’re thinking about how to build an online store, you need a lot of background information.
This article will do the hard work for you, telling you about the top tools you can choose from today so you can make an informed decision.
Pros: A seriously powerful online store builder for free. What more do you want?
Cons: Not too much to say here
Bitrix24 have clearly thought about the entire process behind their online store website builder. Sure, you get an intuitive CMS to create your website and a bunch of payment options, but you also have a powerful customer relationship management tool so you can keep records of your customers and develop marketing campaigns to create loyalty.
Now for the big news: you can get started without spending a penny! That includes as many pages as you want, a custom domain name, SEO tools, a shipping cost calculator, and so much more. Plus, you don’t have to worry about coding. A simple drag-and-drop session can have you up and running in minutes.
Pros: Perfect for beginners without technical skills
Cons: No free version and it is at the higher end of the price scale
Shopify is the most well-known thoroughbred of the e-commerce platforms on this list and is still one of the easiest online shop builders to use. Part of this is the fact that it is hosted on Shopify’s servers, a great community that answers a huge array of questions, and SEO support — perfect if you’re no tech wizard.
You get a bunch of excellent features such as templates, multi-channel selling (online, social media, offline), and among the best UX you can possibly get.
Pros: Unbeatable if you already have a WordPress website
Cons: It can be difficult to use if you’re not a developer
As an open-source plugin for WordPress, WooComerce is ideal if you’ve already got your website set up and just need that final touch. It is totally free (minus maintenance and hosting costs) and there are zero transaction fees, which is a big plus if you’re just getting your online store started. That doesn’t mean it skimps on features either. You get mobile-friendly templates, a bunch of integrations, and an infinite number of products for your site.
The open-source advantages go even further, as it is one of the online store builders with the best communities to help you out whenever you run into issues. If you are lucky enough to have a developer on your team, you can take the source code and give it a really personal touch.
Pros: Plenty of features with the free version
Cons: Your sales per month are capped unless you upgrade
BigCommerce may be the little brother of Shopify when it comes to market share, but it is growing in popularity for offering a more affordable set of tools. You can forget about transaction fees, even if your payment app is a third-party integration. Furthermore, you get a great list of features with the free version, whereas others hold a lot of the better tools back until the paid tiers.
BigCommerce has got your back when it comes to SEO and reporting, the kind of things that come into play once you’ve got to grips with the basics.
However, it’s not all rosy. BigCommerce puts a limit on your sales per month before bumping you up a payment tier. If you’re OK with that, it’s a safe bet.
Pros: Excellent connectivity between online and offline stores
Cons: You can get better quality for less cost elsewhere
Square made their name offline, so they’ve got a good sales pedigree. Now on the world wide web, they’ve jumped onto the bandwagon and provide a solid product for a very reasonable price. As the only online store builder that started life in brick-and-mortar, they combine the two very well so you can sync your physical and online inventories.
On the downside, although there is a free version available, you don’t get as many features as with other similar products and you do have to deal with processing and transaction fees.
If what you need is an excellent all-round e-commerce store with tools to accommodate all aspects of your shop, you can’t look much further than Bitrix24.
Pros: Super intuitive and great apps from Wix’s App Market
Cons: Once you’ve picked a theme, you have to keep it
Wix is first and foremost a user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder and it can be easily adapted to become an online store builder. You can easily stand out from your competitors by using one of the countless free templates and adapting it to your brand.
If you can deal with Wix branding on your site and no analytics, you can in theory stick with the free version, but most users feel pushed into upgrading. Starting at $23 per month for the e-commerce-dedicated Business Basic, you get your essential custom domain, abandoned cart recovery and many more handy features.
Pros: Excellent SEO and templates
Cons: No free version or mobile app
Shift4Shop is another one of the early birds in the e-commerce world and after all these years, it’s still a leading online store website builder. What really sets it apart is its SEO optimization which helps you get your products out there without hemorrhaging money on expensive ads.
It comes with a range of website templates that compete with the best, and you have excellent customization capabilities.
Unlike most of the platforms here, Shift4Shop doesn’t have a mobile version and you can’t create online shops for free once you’ve used up the free trial.
Pros: Very original in its focus on digital products
Cons: Not much room for creative expression
Sellfy is an easy web store builder with the distinctive quality of being designed for digital products. You can use it to automate payments — through Stripe and PayPal — and delivery, which is a great time saver.
Whether you yourself are a web designer or not, you can get started straight away with very little technical knowledge needed. However this comes at a cost as there are very few options to customize your website to your own brand. Charging around the same as its main competitors, this does mean it’s perhaps best only for online stores specializing in digital products.
Of course, the best website builder for online stores really depends on what you need. Are you experienced in the game, confident in your abilities? Or are you still wondering how to build an online store for the first time?
The good news is, if you’re still at the stage when you’re asking yourself “how long does it take to build an online store?”, you’ll be happy to know that all the tools listed here are so easy. Just upload your content and you’re ready to go.
Ultimately, if what you want is an excellent all-round e-commerce store with tools to accommodate all aspects of your shop, you can’t look much further than Bitrix24.