Best eCommerce Software (June 2019): 5 Great Options for Your Online Store

best ecommerce software
Most users struggle when trying to pick the best ecommerce software. There's just so much stuff out there. There are different requirements to compare, different price points, features, abilities, designs, and so on.

We want to help you find your way around all that noise and point you towards the top ecommerce software in the market so that you can make an educated decision when building an online store.

Some of the ecommerce software featured here is going to be free, some premium, but you'll surely find a tool that fits your individual needs perfectly!

Don't have time to read? Just want our no.1 recommendation? Consider the following:

๐Ÿ Our pick:
Shopify
We've spent countless weeks rigorously testing out the top solutions, and we've concluded that Shopify is the best ecommerce software in the market at the time of writing. This is due to Shopify's impressive set of ecommerce templates, along with its simple page builder, large app store and the incredible support you get for a reasonable monthly fee. Besides, you're not required to self-host your store, taking much of the load off your shoulders. Most importantly, you have things like security, speed, performance, and every other hosting-related issue taken care of.

Overall rating: 10/10

๐Ÿ’ฐ Budget solution:
WooCommerce
This prize goes to WordPress + WooCommerce. WordPress is a stand-alone web software. It's open source and free. However, to use it to run an actual ecommerce store, you do need to buy a web hosting setup and domain name. Those two will cost you around $6-$10 a month.

Also, this is only going to remain a budget solution if you don't plan on extending your store with custom features, which will cost you additionally. So please keep that in mind.

Apart from that, WordPress is incredibly extensible, beautiful, and versatile enough to be able to run any type of online store.

Overall rating: 8/10

“What is ecommerce software, anyway?” ๐Ÿค”

To say it simply, ecommerce software is the operating system (OS) of your online store.

Just like your smartphone has its OS – most likely iOS or Android – your online store needs an OS as well. This OS works behind the scenes and makes it possible for customers to buy from you, and for you to manage incoming orders, process them, and communicate with customers effectively – helping you generate more sales.

Possibly the best thing with the top-of-the-line ecommerce software is that it doesn't require any expert knowledge to be used.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shortcut: Click here to jump straight to the comparison.

Why listen to us

Here at ecommerce-platforms.com, we live and breath ecommerce – not an exaggeration (okay, maybe just a slight one). Nevertheless, we've been experimenting with different ecommerce platforms for years now, and we're on a constant search for what's best out there.

Personally, as a web designer and site builder, I've spent hours upon hours building and then managing ecommerce stores for my clients – making sure that all of them have the tools needed to run an effective business venture online.

Every time a new platform comes around, I'm the first to get my hands on it. Reviewing them here on the site is only one aspect of the job. It all begins with understanding what a given platform is meant to do and what type of user it aims to help.

During this research, I run through the software as if I were to use it for my own store. This method of trying to see a platform through the customer's eyes gives a better overview of the strong and weak points of each platform.

For this article, I tested 20 different ecommerce software solutions. Some of them were meant for niche stores, while others were designed to support gigantic enterprises. With everything in between covered as well. To compile this final list, I narrowed it down to just a handful of the absolute best solutions available based on a number of criteria.

What to look for in ecommerce software

Not all ecommerce software is created equal. While all of them will claim that they are “all you'll ever need,” sometimes that's just not the case. There are tons of different features available, and some of the more specific stuff comes at different price points.

Though, universally, here are the things to expect from your perfect ecommerce software:

Unlimited products in the store
Ideally, you want to be able to have an infinite number of products in your store.
Unlimited sales and customers
This is a must-have. Your ecommerce software must be able to handle whatever number of sales coming in.
Unlimited volume of traffic
Once you have your online store set up, you want it to be able to handle any volume of traffic coming through the doors.

You also want your store to load fast no matter how many people try to access it. Amazon's data says that every second of page load slowdown costs them $1.6 billion in sales each year.

Possibility to sell physical and/or digital products
Above all else, your ecommerce software of choice needs to be able to sell the specific type of product that you're planning to sell. Sounds obvious, right? But you really don't want to set yourself up for a bad surprise – that's why it's crucial to make sure that whatever you want to sell, the software you choose will be able to handle.

Two of the most common scenarios are physical goods and digital products (downloads, ebooks, apps).

But that's not all; some ecommerce software will also allow you to sell services, subscriptions/memberships, and even let you set up a dropshipping business.

Multiple payment gateways
Your customers will want to pay via different channels. Some will use credit cards, others with prefer PayPal or Stripe. Plus, if you're launching an international store then a whole other set of payment methods come into play. Make sure that the ecommerce software you choose is ready to serve your target market.
Level 1 PCI compliance
If you want to accept credit card payments, you must use a platform that's compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

PCI compliance doesn't necessarily apply to the ecommerce software itself but rather to the complete, operational ecommerce store built with this software. Meaning, if you end up using WordPress as your software of choice then it's up to you to pick a web host that's PCI-compliant (we'll cover this later on).

Reports and analytics data
As a business owner, you want to track the results you're getting from your store; sales, visits, abandoned carts, and so on. Your ecommerce software should provide you with those.
Side features like discounts, coupons, gift cards
Promotions and sales are the bread and butter of many an online store. Your ecommerce software must allow you to issue custom coupons, set discounts, run limited time sales, and so on.
Big number of beautiful out-the-box site designs available
This is one of the biggest things you want to look for in ecommerce software. Not only does a robust set of templates assist complete beginners, but it gives advanced users a place to start with their customizations, too.

I enjoy seeing hundreds of templates and themes, and it's nice to have a filter for narrowing down the templates into categories and industries. The templates need to look modern and have all of the basic elements like responsiveness, social media buttons and good overall optimization for performance.

Ease of use
Ideally, you want ecommerce software that doesn't require a professional to understand.

Some ecommerce software has drag-and-drop builders integrated, which makes constructing your final online store easier than if you were to do it in raw HTML. But even if there's no such builder, you want to pick software that is intuitive, easy to manage, and basic enough for even the most beginner of users.

Drag-and-drop elements are wonderful to see, but the main point to consider is whether or not you have access to the primary editing tools. We're talking editors for colors, fonts, sizes and more. The website builder should also include preset modules for quickly inserting items like video, images, and tabs.

Extensions
Most of the top ecommerce software will either allow you to install plugins that extend the out-the-box functionality of the software, or offer you entire app stores where you can pick extras for a fee.

You'll want plenty of built-in features, but it's always important to have that app store to browse through and find more advanced features. For example, you might desire a recurring payment system for your site. Or you may be looking for an accounting app to integrate with QuickBooks.

Quality customer support
The value of good customer support cannot be overstated. Quite simply, if things go out of line or you're experiencing any type of problems with your ecommerce software, you want to be able to contact someone who can help you figure it out.

Customer support ranges from simple online community support, to email technicians, to even custom concierge services. I put lots of weight on the quality of support, because you're going to have to complete some research and call up the support team at some point with an online store.

You should have access to a full Help Center, where you can search through forums, articles, guides and tutorials. I enjoy seeing support that's available 24/7 throughout the year, along with people who actually know what they're talking about. Finally, you'll want everything from phone support to email support and live chat to online documentation.

Integrations with social media and other sales channels
Social media is one of those things that should be built into every ecommerce software.

At the very least, it's nice to have social media buttons that link to places like Facebook and Twitter. Social sharing buttons are useful as well. This involves sharing buttons on blog posts and product pages, boosting your marketing efforts and getting people to share your content for you. Finally, other sales outlets expand the amount of business you do elsewhere.

Top-of-the-line ecommerce software has integrations with places like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. In addition, many social media websites have business pages you can sync with. Some of these include Facebook Stores, Pinterest Buyable Pins and Facebook Messenger support.

Mobile commerce ready
Although I have come to expect this from all website software, you'll want to keep an eye on platforms that still have non-responsive templates.

Here's the short story: If your customers can't find their way through a clean user interface on a mobile phone or tablet, they will simply leave. You need to change your ecommerce software in such a case.

It's reported that more people use their mobile phones to access the web these days than their desktop or laptop computers.

The shortlist: 5 of the very best ecommerce software compared

Here's the final line-up we've picked – based on testing ~20 different ecommerce software tools:

  1. Shopify
  2. BigCommerce
  3. WooCommerce
  4. Easy Digital Downloads
  5. Volusion

Here's a quick comparison table to give you an overview of what's up:

ShopifyBigCommerceWooCommerceEasy Digital DownloadsVolusion
Price from$9 / month$29.95 / month$6-$10 / month$6-$10 / month$15 / month
What it isSignup-based online systemSignup-based online systemSelf-hosted ecommerce softwareSelf-hosted ecommerce softwareSignup-based online system
SellPhysical products, digital, services, dropshipPhysical products, digitalPhysical products, digital, services, dropshipDigital productsPhysical products, digital
Features9/108/108/106/108/10
Ease of use9/107/105/105/108/10
Designs9/109/107/107/105/10
Onto the individual tools:

1. Shopify

Shopify

  • Price: from $9 / month
  • What it is: signup-based online system
  • Sell: physical products, digital, services, dropship
  • Features: 9/10
  • Ease of use: 9/10
  • Designs: 9/10

Shopify is probably the most well-known ecommerce software of them all. Users love it for its ease of use and the overall set of features it delivers.

Shopify is quite excellent no matter what you want to sell – be it physical products, digital products, services, even drop-shipped products, Shopify can handle them all.

Shopify also does a good job in terms of staying in the middle and being friendly both toward beginners and more advanced enterprise users, which makes it perfect if you're planning to scale up your ecommerce efforts over time.

Design-wise, Shopify offers various templates to choose from, many of which are catered directly to niche industries. For instance, a quick search in the Shopify theme store reveals several themes for jewelry stores, clothing, furniture, and even wineries.

Shopify also has very reasonable pricing. There are five distinct pricing plans/tiers based on the scope of features that your store needs:

  • Getting started with a basic setup is very cheap – only $9 a month. It gives you the tools needed to insert Shopify Buy buttons on any existing websites. You can also sell your products in places like Facebook and Facebook Messenger.
  • The Basic plan goes for $29 a month. This is probably the one that most people will choose. It allows for unlimited products and a full ecommerce store with all the essential features (and access to the app store).
  • For $79 a month, you get to set up more staff accounts and use things like gift cards and professional reports. Plus, there are also a bit smaller credit card fees.
  • Advanced Shopify goes for $299 a month. It is meant for bigger-volume sellers on the rise.
  • Lastly, there's Shopify Plus – a plan providing enterprise-grade solutions for high volume merchants

Some notable features you get with Shopify:

  • Everything unlimited: orders, products, file storage, bandwidth
  • 24/7 support
  • Level-1 PCI compliance
  • Ready for mobile commerce
  • Point of sale equipment
  • Mobile app
  • Free SSL certificate for your store
  • You can process credit card payments
  • Let Shopify figure out shipping rates and taxes automatically
  • Build your online store website with drag-and-drop
  • Blogging module included
  • Works with multiple languages
  • Set up customer profiles
  • Your customers can have their accounts
  • Optimized for the search engines
  • Built-in social media integration
  • Inventory management
  • Set up product variations
  • Reporting module

See Shopify in action:

Main dashboardNew productThemes directory
shopify dashboard
shopify add product
shopify themes

Some examples of existing ecommerce stores built on Shopify:

Neighborly
Fils Unique
Variety Hour

Why use Shopify?

Shopify is a perfect choice no matter if you're just getting started with ecommerce or have bigger plans.

The main strength of Shopify's is that setting up your store takes mere minutes. All you need to do is just sign up at Shopify.com, fill out a couple of forms, pick your store design, and you're good to go.

๐Ÿ‘‰ To learn more about Shopify and its strengths, check out our in-depth Shopify review.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Click here to get started with Shopify.

2. BigCommerce

Bigcommerce

  • Price: from $29.95 / month
  • What it is: signup-based online system
  • Sell: physical products, digital
  • Features: 8/10
  • Ease of use: 7/10
  • Designs: 9/10

BigCommerce is another very popular solution among ecommerce software. It offers much of what you'd expect from a quality ecommerce platform and does so in an easy-to-use package.

The way you begin your adventure with Bigcommerce is very similar to getting started with Shopify. All you need to do is sign up at Bigcommerce.com, go through the setup wizard (where you get to indicate what you want to sell and how you want your store to look), and you'll have your store running in no time.

BigCommerce lets you sell any type of product, and even configure quite a lot of different parameters that describe those products.

There's a lot to choose from in regards to themes and store designs as well – particularly if you'd like to save some money and use a free design – those are really nice-looking! Many consider Bigcommerce's templates to be the best in the industry. They look modern and professionally designed.

The overall pricing is similar to Shopify's, but you don't get any $9 a month plan. The majority of the features are already built-in. For example, the marketing tools are far more advanced with BigCommerce.

Here are some of the features you get with BigCommerce:

  • Unlimited products, orders, file storage, and bandwidth
  • 24/7 support via live chat
  • Level 1 PCI compliance and multi-layered security and DDOS protection
  • SSL certificate included
  • Point of sale equipment
  • Visual builder for your online store website
  • Migration tools for bringing in your store data from another system
  • Handle payments from PayPal / Braintree, Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Payments and others
  • Inventory management
  • Optimized for the search engines
  • Tools to sell on Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, and Amazon
  • Developer API
  • Integrations with product comparison sites
  • Email marketing module

See BigCommerce in action:

Main dashboardNew productThemes directory
bigcommerce dashboard
bigcommerce add product
bigcommerce themes

Some examples of existing ecommerce stores built on BigCommerce:

Physiq Apparel
Rusty Surfboards
Young Tribe

Why use BigCommerce?

A good way to summarize what BigCommerce is would be to say that it's simply the no.1 Shopify alternative. In other words, if you don't like Shopify for whatever reason, you should try out BigCommerce.

The feature sets of both platforms are similar, and getting started with each is similar as well. Even though the differences are small, each platform will inevitably resonate better with a certain type of user.

๐Ÿ‘‰ To learn more about Bigcommerce, check out our in-depth BigCommerce review.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Click here to get started with BigCommerce.

3. WordPress + WooCommerce

WooCommerce

  • Price: from $6-$10 / month
  • What it is: self-hosted ecommerce software
  • Sell: physical products, digital, services, dropship
  • Features: 8/10
  • Ease of use: 5/10
  • Designs: 7/10

This entry is our first case of dealing with self-hosted ecommerce software. What's different about it compared to Shopify or BigCommerce is that instead of signing up for a user account, what you get is a raw software package called WordPress, which you need to install on a web server by yourself.

In other words, to get started with WordPress, you have to buy a web hosting plan, and then set things up somewhat by hand. I'm saying “somewhat” since most web hosts have easy installer scripts that make your life easier. For example, if you use a company like SiteGround, you'll get a working instance of WordPress right from the get-go.

Now, about the other part – WooCommerce.

Under the hood, WooCommerce is a plugin that you install in WordPress to enable ecommerce features and turn your website into a fully-fledged online store.

The strong point of WooCommerce's is that it's really versatile and allows you to sell anything you wish. You also get full freedom when it comes to how you want to configure your store and what you want to add to it (extra features). This isn't something you get with either Shopify or BigCommerce.

At the same time, setting up WooCommerce is a bit more manual in nature, so you need to be aware of that.

Also, for things like dropshipping or some advanced payment processing, discounts, gift cards and etc., you generally need extra plugins (add-ons). While they can be installed quite easily, it is another step that you need to take care of on top of the standard setup.

Price-wise, both the WordPress platform and WooCommerce are free and open source. You can download them with no strings attached. However, what you do need to pay for, as I said earlier, is web hosting. Without that element, you can't have a working online store on WordPress. Usually, this will set you back around $5-$20 a month. For instance, using a host we recommend – SiteGround – you'll pay $3.95 / month.

WordPress offers a huge abundance of themes (design packages) to choose from. There are literally thousands of them on the web, both free and paid. The only difficulty is finding the right one. You can also either build your own theme or hire someone to do it.

Here are some of the features you get with WooCommerce:

  • Everything unlimited: orders, products, file storage, bandwidth
  • Support only from your web host, which may or may not be helpful (it is with SiteGround)
  • Optimized for mobile
  • SSL certificate via your host
  • Accept PayPal by default, and you can also install extensions to process credit cards
  • Shipping and taxes handled by extensions
  • Good drag-and-drop builder for site content
  • A top-of-the-line blogging platform included
  • Works with multiple languages
  • Set up customer profiles and accounts
  • Optimized for the search engines
  • Social media integration via extensions
  • Inventory management
  • Product variations
  • PCI compliance depending on your host

See WooCommerce in action:

Main dashboardNew productThemes directory
WooCommerce dashboard
WooCommerce add product
WooCommerce themes

Some examples of existing ecommerce stores built on WooCommerce:

JACQUEMUS
RUIK
Ork Posters

Why use WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is your ultimate DIY solution. It lets you sell anything imaginable – physical products, digital goods, services, drop ship, you name it.

The only difficulty with WooCommerce is that it's you who has to handle the initial setup and then the ongoing maintenance. If you don't feel intimidated by that – but rather excited – you're going to love it.

๐Ÿ‘‰ To learn more about WooCommerce, check out our in-depth WooCommerce review.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Click here to get started with WordPress and WooCommerce by signing up with SiteGround.

4. WordPress + Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads

  • Price: from $6-$10 / month
  • What it is: self-hosted ecommerce software
  • Sell: digital products
  • Features: 6/10
  • Ease of use: 5/10
  • Designs: 7/10

WordPress + Easy Digital Downloads is our other self-hosted ecommerce software on this list. As you can see, the core element of the setup is the same – that's WordPress. But here, the ecommerce portion of the job is done by a plugin called Easy Digital Downloads.

Setting aside all that is cool about Easy Digital Downloads, the one downside is that it's only meant to sell digital products – downloadable goods. While such feature set can be considered a bit limited, for some online stores this might be all they need. And Easy Digital Downloads is really good at its job!

Easy Digital Downloads lets you sell software, documents, photos, ebooks, songs, graphics, and any other type of media file. Then, it also handles the part where you make that product available for the customer to download directly from your site.

The same hosting requirements exist here as well – similarly to how it works with WooCommerce. Meaning, you need to buy a web hosting account separately, which will set you back $6-$10 a month. Again, we recommend SiteGround.

The story is also the same when it comes to designs – as in, you can choose from thousands of ready-made themes from around the web.

Here are some of the features you get with Easy Digital Downloads:

  • Everything unlimited: orders, products, file storage, bandwidth
  • Lets you sell all types of digital products
  • Support only from your web host
  • Optimized for mobile
  • SSL certificate via your host
  • Accept PayPal and Amazon Payments by default, and you can also install extensions for processing credit cards
  • Good drag-and-drop builder for site content
  • A top-of-the-line blogging platform included
  • Works with multiple languages
  • Set up customer profiles and accounts
  • Optimized for the search engines
  • Social media integration via extensions
  • PCI compliance depending on your host

See Easy Digital Downloads in action:

Main dashboardNew productThemes directory
EDD dashboard
EDD add product
EDD themes

Some examples of existing ecommerce stores built on Easy Digital Downloads:

IconDock

Why use Easy Digital Downloads?

Easy Digital Downloads is your choice if you know that you're only going to be selling digital products and you also enjoy the prospect of having full control over your online store.

At the same time, you can't be intimidated by the need to set up the bulk of everything on your own.

๐Ÿ‘‰ To learn more about EDD, check out our in-depth Easy Digital Downloads review.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Click here to get started with WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads by signing up with SiteGround.

5. Volusion

volusion

  • Price: from $15 / month
  • What it is: signup-based online system
  • Sell: physical products, digital
  • Features: 8/10
  • Ease of use: 8/10
  • Designs: 5/10

Volusion is another signup-based ecommerce software platform – meaning that in order to get started, you only need to register for a new account and then you can start working with your store right away.

Volusion is basically another direct alternative to Shopify and Bigcommerce. The main idea in which Volusion works is very similar, but it just does some of its things a tad bit differently.

It has a pretty nicely structured dashboard, making it easy to find all of the most important areas and actions you might want to perform – like manage your products.

However, Volusion isn't that strong in the design department. There's only a handful of themes available and just 10 of them free. There's certainly not as much variety compared to Shopify or Bigcommerce.

That being said, Volusion can be a cheaper solution in some cases, with the most affordable plan at $15 a month. This one allows you to have up to 100 products, which should be enough if you're just getting started with a fresh new store.

Here are some of the features you get with Volusion:

  • Lets you sell between 100 and unlimited products (based on your pricing tier)
  • Handle unlimited orders and file storage
  • Monthly bandwidth in the range of 1GB to 35GB
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat and phone
  • Dedicated account manager for higher pricing tiers
  • Build your online store website with a visual builder
  • Point of sale equipment
  • Tools for importing and exporting products
  • Option to accept credit cards, Stripe, PayPal, and Amazon payments
  • Product reviews and ratings
  • Integrated newsletters
  • Optimized for the search engines, plus good SEO tools
  • Social media integrations
  • Integrations for eBay and Amazon
  • Supports phone orders
  • Store reports (including reports of abandoned carts)
  • Developer API

See Volusion in action:

Main dashboardNew productThemes directory
volusion dashboard
volusion add product
volusion themes

Some examples of existing ecommerce stores built on Volusion:

Bluefly
Rivendell Bicycle Works
Redington

Why use Volusion?

You'll probably enjoy Volusion if you find their $15 a month plan okay for your needs, hence allowing you to save money vs Shopify or Bigcommerce.

Keep in mind, though, that you don't get as much freedom as you get with the two WordPress solutions.

At the end of the day, consider Volusion if for some reason you like neither Shopify nor Bigcommerce.

๐Ÿ‘‰ To learn more about Volusion, check out our in-depth Volusion review.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Click here to get started with Volusion.

Which is best

So there you have it! These have been the top ecommerce software platforms in the market. While you really can't go wrong with either of them, some will be better suited based on the specific online store that you want to launch and your requirements:

  • If you're just getting started and want to set up a store as soon as possible, use Shopify. If you don't end up loving Shopify, try out Bigcommerce or Volusion as an alternative.
  • If you'd like to have more control over your store and be able to self-host it on a web server of your choosing, go for one of the WordPress solutions: for digital products, use Easy Digital Downloads; for everything else, use WooCommerce. No matter which path you take, you can set your site up with SiteGround hassle free.

If you're still not quite sure what to do, check out Shopify first. You'll probably end up loving it. They have a 14-day free trial to test the waters, and the app/template store is too good to pass up.

Lastly, if you have any questions and would like me to help you set up your store based on the ecommerce software described in this guide, hit me up here. I'll be happy to help and recommend you the right people to work with!

ecommerce software Rating: 5.0 - Review by

Karol K

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a WordPress figure-outer, blogger, and published author of "WordPress Complete". His work has been featured all over the web on sites like: Ahrefs.com, Smashing Magazine, Adobe.com, and others.