200+Hours of research
- Hosting capabilities and security methods matter most
- More sales channels always result in higher revenue
- Some companies offer shopping cart tools
- Review the prices for possible hidden fees
HOW WE ANALYZED THE BEST ECOMMERCE WEBSITES
We looked at important hosting features such as bandwidth file storage capacity when putting together our rankings. Top level encryption and other security features also scored well with our team.
MARKETING & ANALYTICS
Services that offered extra customer outreach and sales tools as well as analytic insights to help grow your eCommerce business received higher ratings overall.
Most providers offer at least a few tiers of service depending on business size. Extra features often incur additional costs, and transaction fees as common. Flexibility always receives good grades.
Companies with strong BBB and Trustpilot customer ratings scored highest with our team. Transparent terms of service were also considered before tabulating our results.
OUR LIST OF THE BEST ECOMMERCE WEBSITES
MORE INSIGHT INTO OUR METHODOLOGY
The first thing we consider when looking for an eCommerce website builder is what its hosting capabilities are. Bandwidth and file storage are the backbone of any stable website, and as such are particularly important for eCommerce sites, which could see their revenue interrupted if hosted by a company with low bandwidth and/or file storage potential. Although many eCommerce website builders provide unlimited bandwidth and file storage, there are some exceptions. Second, we look at the number of staff-level accounts that a website owner can create. This attribute is more important for larger businesses, which usually need the additional division of labor and have managerial staff for it. We also consider the number of products a customer could list on the website. Naturally, the more products a user can list, the better. One more important feature for eCommerce platforms is the security methods they implement to keep both the website and consumer information safe. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance are the two most important security features we look for.
In addition to the hosting features already mentioned, we take a few others into consideration as well. Payment methods can be numerous, and eCommerce platforms with greater variety earn better marks with us. Platforms with filtered search boxes also earn higher marks, since they are a great help to consumers. Finally, responsive websites are a very sought-out feature which allow websites to remain intuitive for users of all devices–something crucial, with the number of purchases being made over smartphones and tablets nowadays.
Bandwidth refers to the amount of information (data) that can be transferred from the server a website is hosted on to an end user (consumer) over a given period of time. When accessing a website, computers first download the assets that construct the page–images, text, videos, documents, etc.–first so they can display content. The amount of content being transferred determines how much bandwidth is used at any given moment. Bandwidth is also used when backing up your website, when someone downloads additional files from the server manually, and when sending emails from your hosted email account.
Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second, but due to how fast modern network links have gotten you might see it measured in millions of bits (megabits) per second or more. Having too little bandwidth slows your page down, harming your online presence in the process. The amount of bandwidth your website needs depends on how asset-heavy your website's pages are. The popularity of your website will also determine how much bandwidth it needs to keep up with consumers.
The number of staff-level accounts available for use with an eCommerce platform. Account owners can review these accounts and manage them in order to set permissions and restrictions.
File storage is the amount of space available on a web host's server for storing assets, such as HTML, images, script, and emails, as well as log backup files and old copies of web pages. You should pay close attention to your storage space, as once it is full, no more data can be stored on the server hosting your website. As a rule of thumb, expect your website's storage space to grow up to 3 or 4 times its original size as more and more folders of information are added to it.
Number of Products
Your eCommerce website builder determines the number of products a user can list on their website. This might vary depending on the membership level you choose. Generally, the number is unlimited, but there are exceptions.
SSL Protection - standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser.
PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) Compliance - information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card issuers.
Fraud Analysis/Score - helps identify potentially fraudulent purchases.
Responsive websites are able to adapt to the device a consumer is using to access them. For example, a responsive website would be able to change its layout to accommodate the size of a smartphone or tablet screen. This helps the page run smoother and look visually appealing, which ultimately creates more conversions and therefore higher revenue for the website.
Search with Filters
Uses filters like size, color, and brand to help consumers find what they are looking for.
MARKETING & ANALYTICS
eCommerce website builders offer a number of features on top of what you can regularly expect from average website builder features. These features are generally geared towards landing sales and increasing overall revenue by garnering more visits to the site. The first thing we look at is the kind of customer outreach tools that the platform provides. Customer outreach means anything that allows a website to reach customers through means other than its basic services. This can be achieved through organic content creation in the way of blogging, email marketing campaigns, having integration with popular social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter, and more. The second thing on our list is conversion tools, which are an essential part of any eCommerce platform that wants to increase sales. Even if people are visiting your website in droves, you need tools to keep them engaged–and to drive them to finalize shopping decisions. To this end, eCommerce website builders can provide abandoned cart savers, rating and reviews for individual products, and even discounts so customers feel sure they are making a sound purchase through your site. After looking at the kind of tools eCommerce platforms can provide, we look at the kind of SEO optimization and analytics information their content management systems offer. Lastly, we consider the number of sales channels supported by the platform. A higher number of channels almost always equates to higher revenue thanks to the added flexibility customers will have when paying for your business' products or services.
Customer Outreach Tools
Customer outreach tools help the website advertise its presence through marketing, third-party deals, and content creation.
Conversion tools help websites secure leads and drive customers to finalize purchases.
eCommerce website builders typically feature more than a single subscription plan and levels for consumers. This is done so that customers are paying for what their business really needs, instead of spending extra money on tools or features that they won't actually use. For companies with more than three plans, we list the three most popular ones. After seeing the kind of plans a company offers, we then look for any additional fees users might incur when using their website through the eCommerce platform. These can be transaction fees, charged when shoppers buy products on your website, and setup fees, charged for the cost of having an eCommerce website done for you through the platform. Setup fees are uncommon, but transaction fees are not; many eCommerce website builders charge on top of their regular monthly fee in order to make a higher profit. The last thing we examine is whether or not the platform includes a free trial period so consumers can test the product, and the number of free templates available–if any.
Fees charged when consumers buy products through your eCommerce platform-hosted website. Same as transactions fees anywhere else.
Fees associated with setting up your eCommerce website.
To evaluate customer experience we first look at customer reviews on the BBB and Trustpilot. Complaints and negative reviews for eCommerce website builders tend to focus on billing and customer support; customers most often disclose that they were unaware of auto-renewal policies and other billing practices. On the BBB, we also consider the grade given to the company by the bureau and whether it is accredited or not. We then document support hours and available methods of communication. Finally, we take a look at the platform’s mobile app–if it has one.
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization offering verified, unbiased information on more than 30 million North American companies and their business practices. Their goal is to set the foundation for marketplace trust by enforcing ethical standards of business behavior and monitoring compliance among their member companies. The BBB is an essential resource for consumers wanting to determine a business' reputability. Although not all companies are registered with the BBB, participating members demonstrate a greater commitment to developing business acumen and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Trustpilot is an online review community offering overall customer satisfaction ratings for over 170,000 businesses as well as access to customer-provided feedback on verified orders for their products and services. Just as with the BBB, not all businesses are registered with Trustpilot, yet participating companies—especially those who actively engage with their clients—can be assumed to be more concerned about their customers' experience and satisfaction than those who fail to establish an online presence.
HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT ECOMMERCE WEBSITES
“eCommerce,” is recognized as any form of business transaction conducted online, such as purchasing and selling products or services over the internet. The most common form of eCommerce is online retail, in which consumers use their credit card information to buy apparel, devices, furniture, and various other items that are later shipped to the consumer’s home. While eCommerce retailers such as Amazon and eBay are popular, many people invest in do-it-yourself website builders to create their own eCommerce website to sell their products or services.
ECommerce website builders are for businesses and people who desire an online store, but who do not have a background in coding, or do not want to hire a web designer. With do-it-yourself eCommerce websites, you can create a professional online store quickly and proficiently using pre-designed themes and drag-and-drop software tools. Online stores help extend your products and services beyond your geographical location to users all over the world, provide around-the-clock availability to customers, and allow you to work remotely if needed.
When comparing one eCommerce website builder to another, there are a few things to consider beforehand. You’ll first want to compare the packages they offer, such as hosting plans, domain name setup process, and amount of file storage. Depending on the needs of your business, it’s helpful to first review the provider’s pre-designed themes and customization features that can best fit your store’s brand. It’s also important to consider their security features, such as how they’ll protect sensitive customer information and monitor unusual traffic to prevent cyber theft. Last, but not least, you’ll want to check the features of your shopping cart tools. As an eCommerce website, your shopping cart is the essence of your website. Many shopping cart tools include inventory management, order tracking, and diverse payment methods, all of which are important to online customers.
With the convenience and popularity of online shopping, many new eCommerce website builders are hitting the mainstream. It’s important to carefully review the prices of these websites if you’re on a budget, as there are possible hidden fees. You’ll also want to avoid website builders that aren’t responsive or mobile-friendly, meaning that their designs do not adjust to smartphones and different desktop sizes. A significant amount of online users shop via mobile device and it helps to be optimized for mobile. Watch out for website builders that do not permit ownership of your domain name, in case you plan to leave that website builder for another and want to keep the same domain. It’s imperative that you review all prices and attributes, as well as understand all terms and conditions of eCommerce website builders before deciding on the best option for your online store.
Owners of eCommerce sites might also benefit from communicating directly with customers and building a following. You can do this with an email list, but another way is to build engagement on your content with discussions and comments. It's valuable for eCommerce brands that might have a blog. An easy option is to use Disqus. It strives to help publishers build, grow, and retain loyal audiences on the open web by facilitating meaningful discussions and interactions between publishers and their readers. They reach over 2 billion visitors each month across millions of sites, including 88% of the web’s top 1000 most engaged sites.
FAQS ABOUT ECOMMERCE WEBSITES
How do I deliver the products I sell to the customers?
There are various methods to deliver your products to the customer:
1) Basic Shipping – write your own shipping labels and drop the packages off at the post office. This method is ideal for new eCommerce vendors.
2) Intermediate Shipping – print out automated shipping labels and couriers will pick up the packages at your home or place of business. This is an upgrade on basic shipping.
3) Fulfillment Warehouse – receive, fulfill, and ship orders directly from the warehouse.
4) Dropship – purchase inventory from a third party—termed dropship partner—who will ship the orders directly to the customers. As the merchant, you do not own or hold inventory. Dropship partners are usually wholesalers or manufacturers.
Most eCommerce companies provide tools for merchants to register with couriers, calculate shipping rates, print labels, and enable free shipping or in-store pickup options.
What can I do to keep my eCommerce website protected?
To protect your eCommerce website, it’s important to regularly back up your data, in case of manual error or hardware failure. Choose a reputable hosting service that provides SSL (Security Sockets Layer) Certificate to secure and protect online transactions. Make sure that you use complex passwords and change them periodically. You can also install extra security software on your website, such as anti-fraud and anti-malware.
What are the security risks associated with eCommerce?
All of our top recommended eCommerce websites are secured with encryption, which privatizes any password and sensitive information entered. However, as with any online platform, there is possibility of security risks from cyber criminals, such as hacking, credit card fraud, money theft, and data misuse.
How can I take credit card payments online?
Depending on your eCommerce website of choice, you can choose to have on-page checkout options, where users can enter their credit card information to purchase, or offer alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or a point-of-sale app connected to your website.
How much does building an eCommerce website cost?
The cost of building an eCommerce website depends on the platform you choose and your individual needs, such as purchasing your own domain name, file storage, special features, and transaction fees. Website builders can range from as low as $8 per month up to $300 per month. Keep in mind that while eCommerce websites display their monthly costs, most will process the total fee for the year upfront.
What are the different types of eCommerce?
There are four main types of eCommerce transactions:
1. Business-to-Business (B2B) - Businesses selling or outsourcing their services and products to other businesses.
2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) - Businesses selling their services and products to users.
3. Consumer-to-Business (C2B) - Individuals selling their products or services to businesses.
4. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) - Individuals selling their goods or services to one another.
What are eCommerce website builders?
An eCommerce (Electronic Commerce) website builder, like other do-it-yourself website builders, is a digital tool enabling you to construct a website without manual coding. The difference is, as an eCommerce website, you’re also able to display and sell your products or services online for other businesses or consumers to purchase.
OUR ECOMMERCE WEBSITES REVIEW SUMMED UP
Shopify eCommerce Website
3dcart eCommerce Website
For Flexible Pricing Plans
Volusion eCommerce Website
BigCommerce eCommerce Website
Reliability and Uptime Guarantee
X-Cart eCommerce Website
For Customizability & Flexibility