Starting up your own ecommerce business can be stressful. There are lots of different things to think about — finances, balancing the books, your branding and marketing strategies... the list goes on. But here is one element that doesn’t have to be complicated — building your own website.
Around 10-15 years ago, building your own ecommerce website was a nightmare. It took a decent amount of coding knowledge, and even then it needed constant TLC.
But times are changing.
Nowadays, the internet is full of so many wonderful free or cheap platforms that will help you to build your website and maintain your ecommerce business. Having all this choice is fantastic, but this is when the option-paralysis kicks in — there are so many different ones to choose from, where do you even begin?
Luckily, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and checked out a whole load of different ecommerce platforms perfect for complete beginners. (You can have a look at my full-length reviews of each one here.)
Read on to discover what I think are the best ecommerce platforms for complete ecommerce newbies.
Running an ecommerce shop takes time and effort: you need to establish your brand, get your company out there and visible, direct that traffic to your site, and convert those leads to actual buying customers.
Luckily, there are plenty of amazing ecommerce marketing tools that will make your life so much easier. There are many different types of ecommerce marketing tools; they can help with all sorts of things from email automation to analyzing data to social media strategy.
We’ve put together a list of the best 10 ecommerce tools you need in your life. Read on to find out more.
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Shopify is a hosted, template-based platform. It was one of the first easy-to-use website platforms created — paving the way back in the early 2000s, Tobias Lütke originally built his own ecommerce platform in 2004 to sell snowboards, and this was so successful that it ended up becoming Shopify as we know it. Nowadays Shopify is worth millions, and hosts websites for the likes of Redbull, Budweiser and Lady Gaga.
Quite honestly, I think it’s the best one out there for beginners and here’s why. It’s a user-friendly, flexible store-builder that helps you to pick and choose what you want to include in your store, without sacrificing quality or usability of your store. Plenty of 24/7 help is also available from Shopify themselves.
You also have all sorts of different options for add-on apps and integrations, including everything from cart-abandoner pop-ups, social channel integration, product reviews and finances.
WooCommerce is the choice for anyone with a WordPress website wanting to expand to ecommerce store. It’s essentially a plugin which easily allows you to create a professional-looking online store.
This means it’s well suited for bloggers wanting to expand into ecommerce, or any ecommerce newbies. Because it’s built on open-source WordPress, it’s flexible, customizable and you can easily scale up when you want to increase sales, or add more products or services. This means that if you want to, you can go from blog to decent-sized store pretty quickly.
It may prove more difficult for complete website beginners however,
Free plugin: $0 per month
Hosting: $25 a month but varies a lot
Themes: usually less than $100
Wix has grown into a popular alternative to Shopify and WooCommerce in the last few years, with over 119 million users choosing the platform (although some of these are just websites, not online stores). It’s not surprising, considering it’s free, easy to use and can build amazing-looking stores.
Wix is a classic ‘drag and drop’ website builder, which means it’s perfect for complete novices wanting to have a go at creating their own stores. Wix prides itself on its range of attractive and professional-looking templates and layouts, which make for great first impressions whether you’re a small business, restaurant or photographer.
Buy Now and get important discounts
Buy Now and get important discounts
Buy Now and get important discounts
BigCommerce is another ecommerce platform option with many similarities to Shopify. It's simple and effective, with an easy-to-use builder and intuitive interface. It offers a large number of tools and features, and it’s flexible and customizable — ideal if you’re a beginner wanting to have a play with your store. If you’ve got any experience with coding, you can also use this to add your own unique bits to your site.
If you’re planning on going multi-channel and want to sell on Amazon, eBay and social networks as well as your site, then BigCommerce is a good choice as it integrates with all.
Squarespace is another a drag and drop website builder similar to Wix that has really built a name for itself over the last few years with its attractive site templates and premium feel.
It’s perfect for beginners with no coding knowledge and no interest in learning — building a highly customized site isn’t necessary for everyone, and Squarespace still lets you create a professional, attractive store using drag and drop.
Squarespace puts emphasis on aesthetics with beautiful shop fronts, and has marketed itself towards creative industries such as fashion, music and art. It’s used by some pretty huge artists, including as Keanu Reeves, Leon Bridges and John Malkovich.
PrestaShop is a freemium open-source ecommerce platform which is quickly gaining traction. It’s hard-working, clever, and one of the cheapest options at the moment to create your online store because of its low set-up costs.
PrestaShop is very popular in non English-speaking countries, and has a wide multilingual support community and built-in multi-language functionality. Ideal if you want to run a multilingual ecommerce store.
Hosting: $6-35 a month but varies a lot
Themes and modules: between $50 and $530
Ecwid is a really good option if you don’t want to build an entire store from scratch. It’s an alternative platform which allows you to sell your products on an existing site, Ebay, or your social media page (it integrates with Facebook and Instagram). If you’ve got a decent-looking website already that you’d be happy to sell on, then you might want to consider using Ecwid to save yourself time and effort.
Ecwid is another good option for multilingual stores — it auto-translates your storefront based on your visitor’s IP address or browser settings, so you can present your store in one of over 50 different languages.
As you can see, there are a range of ecommerce platforms available for complete beginners wanting to build an online store. These are some of my favourite options for newbies, for the reasons listed above.
To be honest, a lot of it is down to personal preference. Do you want an easy, code-free store builder? Go for a simple drag and drop builder like Wix. Are you a WordPress site owner looking to go into ecommerce? Choose WooCommerce. If you’re in a creative industry and you want an attractive storefront, pick Squarespace.
Pick an ecommerce platform that suits you, whether it’s a plug-in for an existing site, or a tool that lets you build a complete online store from scratch.
If you’re still unsure, then Shopify would be a good all-rounder for any ecommerce beginner. It’s very easy to use, intuitive and has lots of options for templates, add-ons and integrations. Plus it’s got great opportunity for scalability, so if you did want to increase the size of your store after a while, you have the flexibility.
And the ones to stay away from?
Platforms such as Magento are best left untouched if you’re a complete novice. Magento has a reputation as the ‘mature’ option for ecommerce platforms — it’s a sophisticated and flexible tool if you’re an established business. If you’re a complete newbie however, we would recommend leaving this one for now. It’s just too complicated for someone learning the ropes of ecommerce.