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Best ecommerce website builders in 2021

MacBook and iMac on desk in home office
(Image credit: Unsplash)

For those new to creating websites, the best website builders provide tools and services that can help you build one even if you never have before. The best ecommerce website builders provide stores and tools with which to sell products or services, and are easy to use, especially if you’ve never built a website before.

Many of the best website builders on the market include ecommerce capabilities, meaning you can get set up and start receiving payments online in no time. These services often make the lists of the best small business website builders too, offering the best possible solution to your business's online needs.

With such an array of options to choose from, it can be confusing: that’s where we come in. Our rundown of the best ecommerce website builders takes you through five top options, discussing each in detail so you can determine which works for you.

The 3 best ecommerce website builders available

1. Wix - top for ecommerce, customization and flexibility
For ecommerce, Wix is our top choice, three online store plans boasting advanced tools, a huge library of visually-appealing templates, an exceptional editor with high levels of customization, and comprehensive support. You get the full builder included with the free package, a 14-day money-back guarantee comes with every plan, and upgrades provide an ad-free experience plus extra tools.
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2. Shopify - a feature-rich, clutter-free store builder
Empowering over 1 million merchants across 175 different countries, Shopify helps businesses create an online store in minutes, offering an extensive range of third-party apps via a clean interface. It comes with a built-in shopping cart and checkout manager, and offers excellent tools for marketing and security.
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3. BigCommerce: the premium online store builder
BigCommerce has a drag-and-drop builder backed by advanced ecommerce site-building tools, including payment gateway options, app integrations and plug-ins, SEO analytics and adaptive themes. Its clean and simple editor and top-level ecommerce resources mean it's one of the leading options.
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Which are the best ecommerce website builders?

The best ecommerce website builders for you and your business will depend largely on your needs and preferences. However, Wix should be the first choice for most small businesses looking to launch an online store. An array of marketing and search engine optimization tools, its easy to use drag-and-drop interface and hundreds of templates place it top. 

If you’ve got ambitious plans for growth, Shopify may be a better fit. While more expensive, with higher monthly rates and commissions charged per transaction, it's the ultimate ecommerce content management system, with millions of businesses worldwide utilizing its market-leading service.

BigCommerce helps larger businesses maximize sales by tapping into social media, while creative professionals looking to maximize income with an online store should look into Squarespace. Finally, Weebly is the only builder that offers a free ecommerce plan, and is backed up by the might of Square Online.

The best ecommerce website builders, compared
Website builderLowest-priced ecommerce planFree plan (ecommerce)?Free domain?Unlimited storage?Unlimited products?
Wix$18 a month (Business Basic)NoYesYesYes
Shopify$29 a month (Basic)NoNoYesYes
BigCommerce$29.95 a month (BigCommerce Standard)NoNoYesYes
Squarespace$18 a month (Business)NoYesYesYes
Weebly$16 a month (Professional)YesYesYesYes

The best ecommerce website builders available right now

Wix logo

Wix is probably the most well-known website builder on the market  (Image credit: Wix)

1. Wix

Best overall choice with a long list of features

Free plan: No | Free domain: Yes | Unlimited storage: Yes | Unlimited products: Yes

Long list of features
Powerful drag-and-drop editor
Great selection of templates and add-ons
Customized reports only available on most expensive plan
Can’t change template after site is live

Wix is probably the most well-known website builder around, and with good reason. It’s packed with features and caters to both beginners and more experienced web designers alike. 

Its drag-and-drop editor is one of the best on the market, although some may find it takes a little getting used to. There is also a more user-friendly tool called Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), which will build your website for you based on your answers to a few simple questions.

If you decide to use the editor, there are more than 500 ready-made templates from which you can choose. And more experienced users can start from scratch without using a template, should they want to. All your designs are automatically optimized for display on any device, including mobiles and tablets, so you only need to create one version of your site.

When it comes to ecommerce, Wix has thought of nearly everything. All plans support unlimited products and have neat features like abandoned cart recovery, as well as the ability to offer bookings, reservations, and ticket sales. You can also stream music and video on your site. 

Higher-tier plans include support for subscriptions, multiple currencies, advanced shipping methods, dropshipping, product reviews, and loyalty programs. Wix’s Business & eCommerce plans range in price from $18 a month for the Basic plan up to $38 a month for the VIP plan.

Wix also has an extensive app market where you can find add-ons that boost the functionality of your site, like integration with accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks, and the ability to add eBay or Etsy stores to your Wix website.

Find out more about Wix and why we rate it top across the board in our comprehensive Wix review; and if you choose Wix for your ecommerce site, check out our guide on how to build a website on Wix.

Shopify logo

Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce website builder (Image credit: Shopify)

2. Shopify

Best ecommerce website builder for advanced features

Free plan: No | Free domain: No | Unlimited storage: Yes | Unlimited products: Yes

Advanced ecommerce features
Excellent customer support
Good selection of templates
Additional transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify’s payment gateway
No free plan

Whereas Wix is probably the best-known all-round website builder, Shopify tops the list of website builders dedicated to ecommerce. Shopify’s primary purpose is online selling, and because of this, it offers a host of advanced ecommerce features that go over and above those provided by general website builders.

Ecommerce is a complicated business. Shopify understands this, and the fact that newcomers to online selling might need additional help to get started. It’s this understanding that has led it to develop a reputation for having some of the best customer support in the business. Help is available 24/7, and there are also Shopify-approved designers, developers, and marketers you can work with to get your project off the ground.

Shopify comes with a large selection of professionally designed themes and a drag-and-drop web builder. Changes can be made to the look and feel of your site with various settings accessible from your account dashboard, or you can edit the template code directly for even more fine-grained design control.

What sets Shopify apart from other website builders is its selection of advanced ecommerce features, like fraud analysis for payments, point of sale (POS) functionality, the ability to sell in multiple currencies and languages on all plans, and international domains and pricing.

There are also enterprise-grade solutions for those planning on selling in high volume, while at the other end of the scale, there is a Lite plan for those who have an existing website and simply want to be able to accept credit card payments. Prices start at $9 a month for the Lite plan, and go up to $299 a month for the Advanced plan.

To learn more about Shopify and its services, read our full Shopify review; and should you choose to go with it for your site, make sure to read our step-by-step guide covering how to build a website with Shopify.

BigCommerce's logo

BigCommerce is one of the best options for scalability (Image credit: BigCommerce)

3. BigCommerce

Best for businesses with rapid growth in mind

Free plan: No | Free domain: No | Unlimited storage: Yes | Unlimited products: Yes

No transaction fees
POS included on all plans
Connect your store to eBay, Amazon, and Facebook/Instagram for commerce
Limits on sales per plan
Limited free templates

BigCommerce is another service dedicated to ecommerce, and is particularly suited to start-ups that plan on rapid growth. It only has a small selection of free templates, but there are more than 150 high-quality paid ones ranging in price from $150 to $300.

BigCommerce is an open SaaS platform, which means it offers greater flexibility in terms of customizing your site. This is particularly suited to businesses that want their own web development teams to focus on the look and feel of the site, while leaving all the heavy ecommerce lifting to the BigCommerce platform. 

That said, BigCommerce also has a network of professional designers and developers who can help build your site if you lack the skills or support. BigCommerce also boasts some of the most comprehensive and flexible product and inventory management features of any shopping cart solution. 

It also has other tools aimed at boosting conversions and retaining customers after the first purchase, like single-page checkout, a choice of more than 40 payment gateways, a customer review system, and returns functionality. And if there’s something you need that doesn’t exist in BigCommerce natively, you can probably find it in one of the 1,000 third-party app integrations available. 

BigCommerce plans range in price from $29.95 a month for the Standard plan, up to $269.96 a month for the Pro plan (paid annually). To find out more about this website builder, take a look at our comprehensive BigCommerce review.

Squarespace logo

Squarespace has an excellent template library (Image credit: Squarespace)

4. Squarespace

Best choice of templates

Free plan: No | Free domain: Yes | Unlimited storage: Yes | Unlimited products: Yes

Well-designed templates
Good selection of ecommerce features
No transaction fees on higher-tier plans
Unintuitive and confusing editor
Small choice of extensions (add-ons)

Squarespace is well known for its selection of high-quality templates. And while its library may not be as large as that of some competitors, every template is beautifully designed and built to modern standards. 

What’s more, if you need to make slight tweaks to the design of your chosen template, and you know how to code—or know someone who does—you have complete customization control by being able to edit CSS and JavaScript. However, while the quality of templates is great, Squarespace’s editor isn’t the best we’ve used. It’s a bit confusing to get used to.

On the plus side, although Squarespace isn’t a dedicated ecommerce platform like Shopify, it boasts an impressive set of features aimed at selling online. Of its various pricing plans, its Business plan allows you to sell unlimited products and gift cards, as well as offering the ability to accept donations. 

The Squarespace Basic and Advanced Commerce plans are where the best ecommerce features are to be found, including fee-free transactions, POS options for US-based merchants, customer accounts, related products and waitlists, low stock labels, and bulk spreadsheet editing. 

The Advanced Commerce plan also includes abandoned cart recovery, subscriptions, advanced shipping options and discounts, and the ability to integrate with third-party services. Squarespace’s pricing for their ecommerce plans ranges from $18 a month for the Business plan up to $40 a month for the Advanced Commerce plan.

Find out more about the website builder in our full Squarespace review, and see how it compared to two other builders in this list in our comparison pitting Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly.

Weebly logo

Weebly comes with a free plan (Image credit: Weebly)

5. Weebly

Best ecommerce website builder for small stores

Free plan: Yes | Free domain: Yes | Unlimited storage: Yes | Unlimited products: Yes

Free plan allowing for ecommerce sales
Easy to use
Ads and no free/custom domain on free plan
Limited ecommerce features 

Like Wix, Weebly is one of the most popular website builders available. It can be used to build almost any type of site, and has ecommerce functionality provided by Square Online (not to be confused with Squarespace). 

Unlike the other providers we’ve looked at so far, Weebly comes with a free plan that also includes the ability to sell online. The free plan has its limitations, though. Storage is capped at 500MB, and you don’t get a free domain or the ability to connect a custom domain. In the store, you won’t be able to sell digital goods. And the free sites also come with ads for Square, although they are quite unobtrusive.

Weebly has an excellent library of templates, and you can enhance your site’s functionality with a choice of several hundred add-on apps, many of which are free. Social media streams, forms, animations, and counters are just some of the options available.

Getting your store set up with Weebly is relatively quick and painless, particularly if you’re coming from Etsy, Shopify, or Square, as you can import product catalogs from those providers or upload a generic CSV.

Weebly also has several other good ecommerce features like flexible shipping tools, versatile tax management, and highly configurable product options. However, the Performance Plan, Weebly’s top-of-the-range offering, doesn’t have as many premium ecommerce features as some of the competition at the same price point.

This is why we’d recommend Weebly for smaller stores that are likely to stay small, and don’t necessarily need all the frills that some of the dedicated ecommerce platforms offer. Weebly’s plans range in price from $9 a month for the Personal plan up to $29 a month for the Performance plan. 

Read our detailed Weebly review to learn more about the website builder and its features.

Choosing from the best ecommerce website builders

When choosing from one of the best website builders with ecommerce capabilities, the most important factor is scale. The best option for your business depends largely on its current situation and its potential for growth. 

For businesses just starting out in ecommerce, Wix and Squarespace offer some of the best plans. Weebly is ideal too, if you want to test the waters before you jump in. As for bigger online stores and retail enterprises, Shopify and BigCommerce are your best choices.

Ahead of making your choice, our ecommerce site builder comparison pitting Wix vs Shopify, and comparisons of builders including Wix vs Squarespace and Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly, are worth a read to help you decide.

In summation, it is best to weigh the pros and cons of each provider and decide for yourself which features are the most important. Abandoned cart recovery, shipping calculation, and inventory management are all worth looking into if you're serious about your online business. 

You'll also want to invest in a website builder that offers a choice of payment platforms. Finally, the functionality of the drag-and-drop builder and the quality of the interface will no doubt play a pivotal role: read our guide on how to build an ecommerce website before you start with your chosen provider.

John Faulds

John is a freelance writer and web developer who has been working digitally for 30 years. His experience is in journalism, print design and web development and he has worked in Australia and the UK. His work has been published in Future publications like TechRadar, Tom's Guide, and ITProPortal.