7+ Best Ecommerce Platforms For Startups (Free & Paid 2022)

Before we dive in and discover the 7 best eCommerce platforms for startups, a brief eye-opener for you.

Selling products and services online have evolved in the last decade. While online shopping has been a trend for years, it exploded in 2020 (during the pandemic). According to Statista, 2 billion+ people purchased goods and services online, and e-retail sales reached an all-time high of $4.2 trillion U.S. dollars.

Brick-and-Mortar businesses are embracing new technologies and starting their online businesses.

The major concern, though, is knowing which eCommerce platforms (there are 1000+ right now) to use. Should you choose one or multiple? Which one is best for startups, small businesses, and ventures that are just getting started?

And will these eCommerce platforms support a startup when it grows to become a successful and established brand?

Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace are three of the most popular eCommerce platforms that will benefit startups and businesses of all sizes.

What differentiates Shopify from Squarespace? This is the ultimate guide to the best eCommerce platforms of 2022 — particularly recommended for startups:

What is an Ecommerce Platform?

An eCommerce platform is the foundation of an online retail enterprise. It unifies the back-end and front-end of the business and allows it to grow.

This structure enables businesses to expand their ecommerce offerings, offer a seamless customer experience, and gain control of their destiny. This technology has evolved into a key component of modern retail operations.

In fact, eCommerce platforms have become so essential to the success of an online business that they have been used by more than one Fortune 500 company.

Different platforms come with different price tags and features. Look for features that will best meet your business goals and objectives.

For example, it should let customers search the site and pay via bank account or credit card.

Another feature is if you want to accept subscription payments. Make sure the platform you choose offers all of these features.

Be sure to check out the different extensions, plugins, and apps that are available for the eCommerce platform you’ve chosen.

Choosing the right platform is crucial in the success of your online retail venture.

An ecommerce platform should be flexible enough to handle the growth of your business in the short and long-term.

While it’s common to suffer a carrying loss at first, the system should also support future growth and profitability.

What are the Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups and Small Businesses?

Here are the top 5 eCommerce platforms to build your online store as a startup and small business owner:

1. Squarespace Commerce 

ecommerce platforms - Squarespace

Squarespace eCommerce tools makes it easy to power and manage your online store from anywhere in the world. It’s suitable for startups and established brands.

As a startup, you can sell subscriptions, sell digital content, or sell in person. Interestingly, the Squarespace Video Studio app lets you create and share captivating videos to tell your brand story, grow your audiences, and boost sales.

If you are planning on opening an ecommerce store on Squarespace, you need to consider Squarespace’s ecommerce templates.

They provide a range of features including a blog, galleries, and a Products page.

Squarespace’s templates are also customizable and can be modified to fit your brand and personal preferences.  

Another feature of Squarespace is its ability to handle multi-dimensional product variants. Unlike other ecommerce builders, you don’t have to use complex inventory management tools.

Squarespace allows you to easily add and edit products and manage inventory. You can also import products from other services such as eBay or Amazon.

The latter can also be used to create coupons and manage stock. However, Squarespace’s inventory management system isn’t as advanced as those of other ecommerce builders.

Besides providing an ecommerce platform for websites, Squarespace also allows you to sell your products in real stores.

Squarespace’s Point of Sale (POS) solution allows you to integrate with a Squarepoint of sale and track real-world sales alongside online sales.

Squarespace POS also helps you synchronize your inventory and customer data across your online and offline store. It also offers credit card readers.

There’s no need to buy expensive software or spend hundreds of dollars on an ecommerce platform when it’s easy to install yourself.

2. Wix eCommerce?

Best AI-Powered eCommerce Platform

Wix eCommerce is an all-inclusive website builder for online stores and eCommerce brands, it’s powered by Artificial Intelligence.

It’s perfect for small businesses, startups, online marketers, and personal websites.

Wix gives you the freedom to create, design, and manage robust web presence exactly the way it’ll suit your business.

There are a variety of reasons why you may want to use Wix eCommerce tools. This is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms for beginners, and a good reason to do so.

Regardless of your reason for creating an eCommerce website, Wix offers a variety of customizable features to help you create a stunning online store.  

To get a better idea of the benefits of this platform, let’s look at an example. Hila Rawet Karni sells custom-crafted Jewelry accessories.

Their homepage shows their latest arrivals, which shows that they care about their customers.

They even have a live chat feature that is integrated with their website using Wix Chat. That’s right, you can chat live with a customer and instantly get a response to your questions!

Wix has advanced its payment methods dramatically in the past couple of years. Wix adds new payment gateways regularly, making the process of connecting to and onboarding easier for you.

Many payment methods are available through Wix, including PayPal and credit card. Whether you sell a physical product or a service, Wix will make managing inventory and orders a breeze. You can also manage your store promotions and collections with Wix, and it’s all built in.

In addition to offering a wide range of functionality, Wix eCommerce also offers a simple process for building an online store.

There are two editors, a traditional editor and an automated Wix ADI editor, to help you build a site in a matter of minutes.

The ADI editor will ask you to define the website and indicate which functionalities you want your online store to have. If you already have a website, you can import the content of your existing website to Wix.

3. Shopify

Shopify is a powerful online store builder that lets you sell a variety of products and create an online presence. It’s perfect for all businesses, including startups and established enterprises.

Shopify is cloud-based and hosted, so it’s accessible from any computer, tablet, or mobile device. Unlike many software packages, Shopify’s software doesn’t require you to install any software or maintain a web server.

The best part is that it can be customized to look exactly how you want. It’s easy to set up a Shopify store in 15 minutes or less.

You can choose from a variety of plans. All plans come with the tools and templates you need to get started selling immediately.

They include a best-converting checkout, integrated payment processing, SEO, marketing, and development tools.

Some plans are better than others, but there’s no need to choose one just yet. Shopify’s plans will meet all of your needs for your online store. There’s no need to start from scratch if you’re looking for an advanced design.

If you want more options for marketing, Shopify’s app store features are unbeatable. Shopify merchants have access to more than nine thousand applications.

You can create a mobile, responsive theme or use a social-selling app.

Whatever your needs, Shopify offers a customizable app. If you’re not a developer, you can even start a new business. With Shopify, there are more options than ever.

4. Square Online

Store Online is an easy-to-use eCommerce platform that lets you sell products online, with a free online store. Turn your ideas and passion into a profitable eCommerce business with Square Online tools.

There’s no monthly fee ($0). The processing rate per sale is 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

You can set up an account and store for free on Square’s website, and you’ll pay only a one-time fee to use the Square app.

Square has three different subscription plans, including one that has unlimited storage and a free 500 MB of space.

If you need more space or want to add a custom domain, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription. In addition to Square, you can also use a third-party website builder like Squarespace.

Once you’ve got your store up and running, Square Online will give you an opportunity to add and edit items, add variants, and manage your inventory.

You can even set up SEO settings and advertise basic coupon codes. You can also disable individual item visibility.

The platform also has a small list of bugs, but once these are fixed, Square Online will be highly useful for merchants.

Then again, if you don’t like bugs, it’s important to be patient.

Square’s online checkout page is easy to set up. Once you’ve created your Square account, you’ll be able to use Square Online Checkout on your website.

You’ll need a valid email address and a password, as well as the country in which you’re located. Then, you’ll be able to accept major credit cards, as well as Google Pay. It’s that easy.

5. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is one of the leading eCommerce platforms on the market today — ideal for large businesses, but startups can benefit a lot from it as well.

Its free trial offers 15 days of unlimited access to its platform and lets you try the service for free.

You can also upgrade your plan if you’re not satisfied with the free version.

While BigCommerce is growing rapidly, there have been some complaints about its support. While free support is good, the platform struggles to keep up with the needs of the beginner market.

While BigCommerce isn’t quite as fast as its competition, it is still blazingly fast. BigCommerce offers a host of features that can help you manage your online store, including payments, deliveries, and overall inventory.

This means that your customers can buy products from your website from any device. Besides ensuring a smooth experience, BigCommerce also offers a dedicated mobile app for Android and iOS.

This mobile app gives you full control of your store, including managing orders, displaying visitor statistics, and monitoring conversion rates.

BigCommerce is a great platform for business owners. With its powerful analytics, customization, and advanced e-commerce capabilities, BigCommerce enables business owners to build an online store and sell products.

Its customer-facing nature makes it a great option for direct-to-consumer businesses.

However, it can be difficult to set up a shop on BigCommerce, and if you’re not confident with your own knowledge of technology, you can always hire a developer to help you out.

Ecommerce platforms for startups – Summary

Startups and entrepreneurs can leverage online store builders such as Squarespace and Shopify to expand their product reach, launch new products and services, and sell to a large audience easily.

Ecommerce platforms are evolving and getting better. Some of them now uses AI to automatically design your online stores and product pages. A good example is Wix!

Not ready to invest in a paid eCommerce platform yet? Start with a 14-day free trial via Shopify to test all the basic & advanced features before upgrading.