The 20 best ecommerce platforms for websites in 2020

Updated: August 12, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director

Choosing the best online store platform can be overwhelming, taking into account the number of options that have appeared in recent years. Just like purchasing any product, whether it is a house, a car or a cellphone, each particular business needs to do its research and correctly determine what it is looking for. Remember to consider all the tradeoffs among the available choices. In the past couple years, a few of the best B2B ecommerce platforms on the market have gained popularity among small businesses thanks to their ease of use, usability and availability of a large developer community. With some of these top ecommerce platforms, their on-staff web-developers may provide professional services to the platform’s client; and you are likely to get good support in the long run from a digital commerce platform.

The best ecommerce platform

What is the best B2B ecommerce platform? There are hundreds of options available on the market of ecommerce platforms without a single “best ecommerce platform” to stand out because they all vary in functionality, features, usability and offer many different choices of building a website, accounting for your personal needs, resources and preferences.

Some of the universal features that the best ecommerce platforms would have are:

  1. Availability of listing and displaying products, with the ability of comparison between them
  2. Allowing your buyers to put products into the “Shopping cart”
  3. Allowing your customers to place an order from their cart later
  4. Collecting payments and offering multiple payment options for the orders
  5. Providing the store owner and the customer with information about the order
  6. Allowing the customer to place feedback or a review

And these useful features of the best online store platform do not stop there. Some of the top ecommerce platforms will provide you with certain eccentricities like unique design features, additional security options, marketing tools and so on. With all of that in mind, the best way to go is to choose a digital commerce platform that offers the maximum output for your business and provides you with the most

Questions to ask yourself while choosing the best online store platform for your business

When selecting the right ecommerce platform for you, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Stock size. What is the size of your inventory? Try to find the ecommerce platform where you can create flexible product catalogs to list thousands of product items without losing website performance.
  2. Physical or digital. Do you provide online services or physical products? Think about the shipping costs and the ways your product will be delivered to your customer. There are ecommerce platforms that are specifically tied to physical or digital goods sales.
  3. Payment methods. Not all online store platforms choose third-party payment methods, and you need to consider this as well. PayPal is usually a good option easy to use in making arrangements with the best ecommerce platforms. Stripe is also the “must-have” for the platform in 2018.
  4. Self-hosted or hosted by the online store platform. The option of self-hosting a website is to control the source code of your online store and modify it regularly. Platform-hosted solutions save your time taking care of server management and system administration.

Now let’s move from the topic of questions you ask yourself to the topic of questions you ask your potential ecommerce platform. 

There are quite a lot of different B2B ecommerce platforms, with their own unique capabilities and differences. That is why it is good to cover the “select one” part a bit more thoroughly.

First, the most obvious points of comparison would are the most basic ones, like pricing, third-party application support, overall design and customization capabilities, flexibility, scalability, platform’s popularity and reputation, and so much more. More specific requests are bound to happen for each market, of course.

Moving to the topic of specific questions that you should ask when choosing a platform – any platform provider should be able to incorporate all of the different functions in one platform-sized package. The most important groups of features include:

  • Marketing
  • Customer support
  • Order management
  • Procurement
  • Promotion and pricing controls
  • Easy reporting and analytics
  • Content management system

However, because of your specific business needs or your specific market, you might ask different questions within each category. To simplify the choice, you must submit an RFP (Request for proposal).

An RFP is usually used to approach several different ecommerce platforms with the same exact question and the ability to directly compare their answers afterwards. The fact that you create this request for yourself means you can automatically include and prioritize everything in the exact way your business needs. However, it is not an easy solution. An RFP for ecommerce might include hundreds of questions and creating them can be more difficult than answering them.

On the other hand, the overall method of RFP’s work allows you to at least segregate all of your questions you want to ask into several categories, like:

  • General questions
  • Site’s UI/UX questions
  • Hosting questions
  • Administration questions
  • Questions regarding analytics
  • Checkout questions
  • Promotion questions
  • SEO-related questions
  • Questions about products and catalogs
  • Platform’s customer support questions, and more

Segregating all of your questions into categories might make it easier to determine which of all the listed ecommerce platforms you need and simplify the overall process. Most of these categories are pretty straightforward and each one of them can consist of a lot of questions. As an example, “Site’s UI/UX questions” category would include questions like:

  • Is there an option to install and use custom web forms?
  • Can we make the shopping cart persistent across multiple devices?
  • Is there any kind of mobile-optimized checkout already available?
  • Can you expand the number of features in our themes?
  • Is there a preview option for themes we haven’t bought yet?
  • How much of the customization can be done with the tools available within a standard desktop browser?

Other categories are working like that, too. Creating your own personalized list of questions in regards to your needs when it comes to the subject of your future ecommerce platform might help you a lot with choosing the correct one since you can answer most of those questions without even addressing the company itself.

Considering that choosing a B2B ecommerce platform can be challenging and daunting, in this article, we wanted to review the top ecommerce platforms that will match your needs and provide you with a perfect solution for your business. 

Shopify

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for a website when it comes to balancing the convenience of setting up a website and controlling it. The great advantage of such a category of electronic commerce platforms, including Shopify, is that it gives you as much control as possible without using your own server. It can be pricey for small businesses, but the biggest advantage is outstanding customer support and advanced tools for modifying your website. Shopify handles its mission perfectly and offers you a robust product experience and advanced tools for marketing in ecommerce. A website built on this platform would be fast and secure and would have all the necessary features we have brought up earlier in the article. To meet all the features store owners need, Shopify took an example from Apple and Google and started its own App Store. There is no need to go searching for a developer every time you need a particular feature in your app - Shopify’s App Store offers a much cheaper and faster alternative.

Despite having several fantastic features, like great customer service, advanced tools, and App Store, just like any other on the list of the best B2B ecommerce platforms, Shopify lackscertain important tools. Content marketing is the biggest of them. Content marketing has become a substantial must-have for an ecommerce website. If your buyers are educated about the solutions your product can provide, they are more likely to buy it. Shopify has a blogging software feature as well, but it not comparable to a WordPress blog.

BigCommerce

The good thing about this platform is a wide variety of how-tos, advice, and letters about running a successful store. It does not seem very well-organized, but the information from BigCommerce University will help you set up and promote your website. Like Shopify, it provides a hassle-free setup and security with intuitive features and an all-in-one solution for your website.

An important thing to consider with this platform is pricing. For a smaller online store, it can go very fast. There are a lot of fees; like monthly fees, credit card fees, platform transaction fees and add-on fees that could quickly drain your budget. Another one is customization. While having a great variety of built-in options, it lacks add-ons and themes for your website and good inventory management. Nevertheless, it is still commonly named among the top B2B ecommerce platforms.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, so you can expect to enjoy all the advantages of WordPress while using this platform to build a website. If you want to make your site classy and easy to navigate, Woocommerce is probably the best ecommerce platform for you.

Magento

Magento is a large independent company that is currently on the rise and continues to be an enterprise-level player in the field of the best ecommerce platforms, offering a wide range of business solutions to its customers, including certain big companies as Burger King, Coca-Cola etc. It is elastic and provides excellent support to large corporations, while not forgetting about small businesses either. Given its open source features and the fact that it is highlyscalable, Magento has become very popular within the community. However, it requires a lot of research and programming knowledge in order to use it, which puts it at a certain disadvantage among the top B2B ecommerce platforms.

If you plan to have a serious platform, Magento would be a great choice. However, if you are just looking for a simple and straightforward solution that is easy to integrate on your own, Magento might be a bit of overkill.

Volusion

Volusion is a simple tool for creating websites. Like Shopify and BigCommerce, it is represented in the top ecommerce platforms list and offers some notable features highly appreciated by designers and developers. If you are more dedicated to an ecommerce store’s operational side than to its marketing-led features, you may consider choosing Volusion over BigCommerce. Like Shopify and BigCommerce, Volusion offers a perfect balance between providing everything you need to set up, operate and expand your business and leave room for your personal customization. Also, just like BigCommerce, Volusion offers an extensive knowledge base, where you can get help setting up your own online store. Volusion even takes it a step further with the presence of account specialists – staff, who will assist you build your website directly.

Another area in which Volusion excels is customer support. The team puts a tremendous effort ensuring their clients have the best experience, thus putting a legit fight for that best B2B ecommerce platform title.

However, with these great features and the full range of marketing tools, Volusion, also has some disadvantages. Like its competitors, primarily the pricing. While having no transaction fees and lower credit card fees compared to its competitors, it does charge a lot of add-on fees, which can be expensive for a smaller company. Two other disadvantages include limited responsiveness and design options. In the age where most people surf the web via smartphones and tablets, it has become the best practice to have a responsive design. As for the design options, Volusion has a relatively limited choice of templates, but also makes new templates very expensive to use, which unfortunately does not help with the claim to be the best ecommerce platform on the market.

3dcart

Even though it makes you wonder whether they are going to update the website or not, it still does the trick to provide what you need most of the time. 3dcart offers great tutorials and tools for deciding on anything from your website’s template to defining your shipping options. This platform is well-suited for beginners and makes wizardry of keeping it all simple.

The features are plentiful in this B2B ecommerce platform, and you can find that all of them are built-in, offering you things like blog, newsletter, email, and CRM. If you are an advanced web developer, you may find some great options for you to get in there and customize your website.

While having useful apps and add-ons, 3dcart still lacks variety unlike its competitors Shopify or BigCommerce.

The process of making a website is straightforward and intuitive, offering some tutorials for you along the process. The support is smooth and reliable, but without any interesting features. 3dcart also offers a wide variety of responsive templates and a great set of tools for marketing and inventory.

Gumroad

If your goal is to start a small and simple online store to sell digital goods, this platform will be the best choice for you! Its easy drag-and-drop website creation tool is intuitive to use. Itquickly adds descriptions and images to the product along with shipping rates and price. With its simple features, you can easily verify the digital keys to your products and deliver them in PDF files with customers’ information.

You can also share the link to the product via social networks, so customers can easily purchase it. You can create your personal Gumroad store or have your personal domain created, which is hosted by the platform. Additionally, you can easily brand your products by creating simple colorful themes using the platforms’s root design features. Provide customer support via Gumroad’s e-mail system and ensure that they receive the best service possible. With Gumroad’s free plan, you receive the basic features, while Gumroad itself takes 8,5% +30¢ per sale. When purchasing a Premium account for $10/month you only have to pay 3.5% +30¢ per sale while also receiving a more comprehensive selection of tools to start selling online now.

Storenvy

A wonderful tool to build your customized store in an already existing marketplace. This means that you can launch your web store almost as you were using such grand platforms like Amazon or eBay. The main advantage of such stores is that they have a large customer base that allows you to gain visitors quickly.

The only downside is that they cannot allow you to create the personalized store YOU want. To combine the best of two worlds of ecommerce, Storenvy was founded. It lets you easily launch a unique and customized store inside a Storenvy marketplace with the platform’sessential tools. Facebook store integration and social-style “watch” and ‘’envy” buttons allow you to easily grow your store and attract more people to follow your products. The significantadvantage of the platform is that it is free, allowing you to upload up to 500 product listings, taking only 10% of each sale when your product is posted up front on the Storenvy Marketplace.

Jimdo

If you want to change your product’s appearance or description of your product quickly, this B2B ecommerce platform is suited just for you! Its easy interface allows you to manage your website with a single click. It makes it quick and easy for you to set your site’s design and start selling online.

The addition of products is also that simple. You can just scroll down your store section and click “Store Item”. You can then start adding images, descriptions, price, shipping rates and more while only using a simple toolbar.

Wix

This is currently one of the most advanced websites if you consider all of the features it has thanks to its own App Market. You will be amazed at the very beginning when you will start designing your website. You will be using the platform's Photoshop-style editor. It will allow you to put elements and edit them according to the grid, format text with various fonts and styles to add powerpoint-like animations to any given element.

If you cannot get enough of tools, check out the App Market to find some essential plugins and add-ons and quickly include them on your website with just one click. The Wix pricing starts from $17/month, which delivers the domain name and form builder to your personal ecommerce store.

Squarespace

It is the best B2B ecommerce platform for uniquely arranging your products with beautiful and robust themes. This is the most artful platform out there, delivering you themes and tools that will quickly help you create and personalize your brand. With a large variety of the platform’stools, you can easily open your store by drag-and-dropping products in the order YOU want instead of relying on product filters and categories.

Tap another button and you are editing the product listing, adding a description and uploading an image that can be easily zoomed. With such a flexible and robust platform as Squarespace, you can create an online store for any niche you would like with the right amount of tools needed!

Weebly

Another popular and reliable platform that allows you to build a customized store with drag-and-drop. The rich amount of templates are always making sure that you are doing the right website regarding UI. You can also easily manage your content with unique blogging features that promote your product on the market. Once you add the products to your website, the platform will automatically create a “Store” button in the Navigation tab.

Display all your products and quickly add elements like buttons, images, descriptions andsurveys using a drag-and-drop feature of the website, without any sweat. Prices start from $8/month plus 3% transaction fee per sale for the Starter plan. With the plan, you get the core features that will help build your website and the ability to upload up to 10 products.

Big Cartel

If you want to create a full-featured all in web store, this is just for you. It allows you to post up to 5 products for free, later providing reasonably priced plans for more significant amounts of products. This is the store with both the features of a full-featured, enterprise-built platform and the focus on making success for smaller online stores.

The developers have made a checklist of things to add to your website, making sure that you will not forget about anything before launching your own store. This includes logo, theme, design template, price, shipping, fees and other settings. Most of this stuff you can fill out using Big Cartel itself. The platform is intended for small stores, only allowing you to list up to 300 items maximum. However, it gives you as much freedom as enterprise solutions would. The plans’ pricing starts from free up to $9,99/ month for the Platinum one that includes all features for 25 products.

Send Owl

This is the platform best suited for creating an embedded store. With it, you do not have to build a full store but only add product pages. It offers you an easy way of selling your products without making a “real” ecommerce site. No switching required, you can vary with buttons and design.

If your store is small and doesn’t have many products to put up, try this B2B ecommerce platform and it will quickly pay out all your money as Basic plans start from $9/months and allow you to upload 10 products.

Ecwid

Another useful platform that allows you to embed your personal store into an existin gwebsite, while still providing the maximum freedom of choice. The platform can be seen as a full web store. Add product listings as you do on the other platforms, manage products and set prices.

The benefit also lies in that you won’t have to worry about choosing a theme for your store, as the platform does it naturally for you. Publish the store on Facebook or add the store to your personal website or blog. The store will organize your products in categories, having a search tool to scroll for the options and many more tools - everything you would ever like to see in a full-fledged ecommerce store.

Ejunkie

This particular store builder allows you to embed your online shop into ANY website possible, whether it is a tiny blog or a high-traffic personal website. Despite its rough 90’s look, the platform allows you to utilize the necessary features without breaking any sweat. Add “Add to cart” buttons to your website using JavaScript and the Ejunkie will make sure that your customer proceeds to checkout in a separate window.

To further that more, you can spread your website across your audience by sharing the affiliate codes. The pricing starts from $5/month and with that plan you can upload 10 products with the essential features to launch your selling B2B ecommerce platform.

X-Cart

This is considered to be the platform that is ideally suited for building a self-hosted store and starting selling in-person on eBay. It has multiple ecommerce tools that will help gain more customers and attract them to the point that they will come back for more goods.

Promotions and special deals, incorporated by the platform will assist in increasing your sales, while store connection with social media accounts will help in marketing. Syncing with eBay and PayPal is perfect, allowing for quick checkout and payment, without any sweat. Pricing is a bit different from other stores and includes a one-time $495 purchase of Business edition that lets you upload multiple products, control your social media marketing and more.

PrestaShop

A service that allows you to have an advanced ecommerce store with the ability to have it hosted via the platform itself. It is free, like Wordpress.com, which lets you use both the same tools in the cloud or on your own. Despite the choice, it stays open. Starting with basic features, you can add popovers for customers to see your product options and browse through them quickly.

Also included is the filtered search option and email marketing and detailed analytics about the visiting rates of every page of your store. Another great feature of the platform is that you can run multiple stores at ones by only using one account to manage them. You can also buy additional themes and templates and customer support services to help you get the largest conversion rates possible. Pricing varies according to the add-ons installed on the platform.

Foxycart

The B2B ecommerce platform allows you to code your own product listings and has any tool you want to open a successful online store. You can code anything for the given product, including product name, tax, shipping, weight, description, category, price and more. If you are an advanced coding geek, this would be a whole new world of ecommerce for you.

However, if you do not tolerate coding, this can be perceived as a nightmare. The only thing that Foxycart handles itself is shipping tax calculation and confirmation e-mails. This is the most freedom you can get with an ecommerce platform, while still having the hardest parts taken care of. Prices for plans start at $20/month plus 15 cents per sale with the ability to upload an unlimited amount of products.

OpenCart

The platform that is highly valued for its top-notch security protocols. It is also reliable in providing sufficient data about your website that will help in content marketing and SEO optimization. The platform is open to discussion and has its own forums where people help each other in the laborious process of setting up a web store.

The service is flexible and gives you the right amount of freedom, while still handling all the hard parts of running an online shop. This might be a perfect and inexpensive solution for all your ecommerce needs that can be adapted to any web-hosting.

Digital commerce platform for your business – conclusions

There is no single “best platform for an ecommerce website”. The choice of the best B2B ecommerce platform will always be upon you. None of the ecommerce platforms offer a “one size fits all” solution, and it is up to you to consider different options depending on your solution. To choose the best ecommerce platform, you need to define the solution features and configuration that you need in advance. Test the ecommerce platforms with the necessary features using trial versions, compare support and documentation during the trial period – this will give you a better understanding of the customer service.

Ilse Lauwens
Director Marketing