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Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

Elizabeth Sullivan-Hasson
December 20, 2019

Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

  • This post walks through the 5 top ecommerce solutions for small businesses, based on third-party reviews collected on TrustRadius. 
  • The top 5 products included in this post are WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix. 
  • Information such as common use cases, reviewer demographics, and favorite reviewer features are highlighted for each product. 

Figuring out what type of ecommerce software will fit your business best can feel like an uphill battle, given how many options are available. This is especially true if you’re just starting your own online businesses, or if your business is a small ecommerce operation with tight budget constraints. 

Based on reviews collected by TrustRadius, we’ve come up with a recommendation for the top 5 ecommerce products for small businesses. 

The products below are a mix of different types of ecommerce software. The three types of software in this article include solutions designed specifically for ecommerce businesses (e.g. Shopify and BigCommerce), content management system (CMS) products (e.g. Wix and Squarespace) that have strong web design capabilities, and ecommerce plugins (e.g. WooCommerce).  

Even though CMS products are not specifically designed for the ecommerce industry, this type of software is often used to build and maintain ecommerce websites. The two CMS products included in the list below are some of the most popular content management products used by online sellers. 

Inclusion criteria

Even though there are 183 ecommerce products listed on TrustRadius, not all of them are a great fit for small businesses. Some platforms are specifically designed for enterprise-level companies and may be over budget. Other products might be marketed towards smaller businesses, but don’t have validation from third-party reviews that they’re the best options available. 

Here are the 3 criteria products must have met in order to qualify as one of the top 5 ecommerce solutions for small businesses: 

  1. Products must be featured on the Ecommerce Platforms TrustMap for Small Businesses (1-50 employees) 
  2. Products must have a TRScore of 7.5/10 or higher
  3. Products must be ‘customer verified’ (indicating the product has at least 10 reviews published within the past year)

As of December 2019, here are all the products that are represented on the Ecommerce Platforms TrustMap for Small Businesses: 

Even though all these products are featured on the TrustMap, not all of them meet the other two criteria. Here’s the list of products, in order of their TRScore, that meet all three requirements:

  1. WooCommerce
  2. BigCommerce
  3. Shopify 
  4. Squarespace 
  5. Wix

Top 5 Ecommerce Products for Small Businesses 

#1 WooCommerce 

WooCommerce is a popular open-source ecommerce plugin for WordPress that’s managed through GitHub. As an open-source software, developers can contribute code that expands the platform’s functionality for all users. For example, WooCommerce currently has over 400 official integrations with various third-party software (e.g. payment gateways, shipping software, marketing platforms). 

WooCommerce Reviewer Company Size Distribution

Users can customize their WordPress-powered online store using WooCommerce features like unique themes and web page layout design tools. Product categories, tags, and attributes also make it easier for shoppers to find the specific products they’re looking for. WooCommerce reviewers love how simple it is to integrate the plugin with WordPress, how user-friendly it is, and the wide range of other plugins and integrations available. 

“Currently, I am at a Start-Up Website Marketing company. We offer numerous different services to help Small Businesses achieve success. I currently use WooCommerce to sell full E-Commerce stores, as well as different marketing packages for Small Businesses. I am currently the only person working for my company. WooCommerce makes it possible for a small business such as myself to sell products and services.” 

Dan H. | Owner / Operator | Marketing and Advertising Company (1-10 employees) 

#2 BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a cloud-based ecommerce platform designed for multiple types of online businesses, including B2B, B2C, wholesalers, international sellers, and multi-channel online stores. It offers users core ecommerce capabilities like a customizable online storefront, product catalog, shopping cart, and secure checkout with multiple payment options (e.g. PayPal, Square, Apple Pay, Stripe, Amazon Pay, etc). 

BigCommerce Reviewer Company Size Distribution

In addition to these features, BigCommerce also includes onsite conversion rate boosting tools (e.g. SEO, coupons, discounts), shipping capability, and cross-channel selling options (e.g. social channels, and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, etc). BigCommerce provides access to APIs that can help users deeply customize store merchandise and checkout. Businesses can also integrate third-party data from ERP, or CRM systems using the APIs. BigCommerce reviewers appreciate how easy it is to input product information, the ease of placing shipping orders, and flexibility to customize both the frontend and backend of their ecommerce website. 

“I use BigCommerce for our online store where we sell mainly CDs and film posters, as well as other entertainment memorabilia. I am the only user who does everything from design to shipping (it’s a small company). I love how easy it is to put in new products, sort them, get paid, and ship them. BigCommerce is the easiest online store program I have ever used.”

R. Robin E. | President/ CEO | Entertainment Company (1-10 employees)

#3 Shopify 

Shopify is a cloud-based ecommerce platform well-suited for individuals who want to start an online business or company that uses different selling channels (e.g. ecommerce website, online marketplaces, physical storefront, social channels, etc). Notably, Shopify has a ‘buy button’ that allows individuals to turn their existing blog, or website, into an online store by making the items available to be purchased. Users also have access to core ecommerce features such as an online storefront with over 70 available themes, unlimited product catalog, shopping cart, and secure checkout that accepts multiple payment types (e.g. visa credit/debit, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc). 

Shopify Reviewer Company Size Distribution

Shopify also has advanced features, including abandoned cart recovery, SEO and marketing tools, and inventory management. Shopify Reviewers on TrustRadius appreciate how easy it is to use the platform for individuals with little to no coding experience, the wide range of website themes available, and how scalable the platform is. 

“We currently use Shopify as the platform for our official skincare e-commerce website. We have found it to be the best platform we have discovered thus far, especially if you are someone who is not very good at developing a website from scratch… Shopify offers limitless themes, some are free and others are available at a decent cost.” 

Kathy P. | CEO | Consumer Goods Company (1-10 employees) 

#4 Squarespace

Squarespace is a CMS platform that allows users to build their own websites, create and publish content, and optimize their website with SEO & marketing tools. Common types of sites built with Squarespace include ecommerce stores, corporate websites, blogs, and web portfolios (e.g. photography, music, media, art). 

Squarespace Reviewer Company Size Distribution

For users that want to set up an online store, Squarespace offers a range of core ecommerce features and additional capabilities. These include customizable website templates, unlimited product catalog, shopping cart, inventory management capabilities, secure checkout and abandoned cart recovery, and an automatic shipping cost calculator. Squarespace reviewers on TrustRadius value the beautifully designed site elements to choose from, the ease of editing templates, and overall ease of use for users that don’t have extensive coding experience. 

“Squarespace provides solutions for our clients in the areas of blogging, eCommerce, gorgeous user experience, modern look, third party integrations, appointment booking and many other features…eCommerce: Squarespace provides a thorough and comprehensive solution for eCommerce. There are analytics, inventory tracking, variants, shipping, third party integration, easy to build and use options for users to build a secure store.”

Verified User | C-Level Executive in Marketing | Design Company Company (1-10 employees)

#5 Wix

Wix is a free, cloud-based content management system and website builder. Users can build a range of different types of websites using Wix, including ecommerce sites, blogs, company websites, creative portfolios (music, photography, art), restaurant websites, and event websites. The Wix free plan offers these features for ecommerce businesses: customizable online storefront, order tracking and inventory management, product catalog, multiple payment options (e.g. credit/debit cards, PayPal, and offline payment), and ability to set up specific tax and shipping rules based on destination. 

Wix Reviewer Company Size Distribution

The paid Wix plans offer users additional ecommerce functionality, such as the ability to remove Wix ads, integrated Google Analytics, a free domain for a year, and access to Wix’s professional brand logo creator. Reviewers on TrustRadius appreciate how affordable Wix is for small businesses and how easy and simple it is to set up an online store for the first time using Wix. 

“Wix does a great job helping us sell our products online without over complicating it. Setting up an online store isn’t always an easy thing to do, and can be very frustrating… Very easy to use, set up and maintain. Great for beginners… Pricing is very reasonable. Great for small businesses.” 

Kirsten R.| Internet Marketing Coordinator | Retail Company (11-50 employees)

Additional Product Research Resources

Wondering where you can find more resources to help with your product research? 

Check out our ecommerce platforms category page for a quick rundown on what exactly ecommerce software is and the main capabilities included. You can also find a list of ecommerce products with individually vetted, third-party reviews here. 

Talking directly with the vendor can be a great source of information too. But before doing so, make sure you have a good sense of the key features your ecommerce software will need to have so you can confirm these with the vendor. 

About the Author

Elizabeth Sullivan-Hasson
Elizabeth is a Research Analyst at TrustRadius where she focuses on tracing the evolution of business software and finding new ways to synthesize and visualize reviewer data. Elizabeth has a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MSc in International Development from the London School of Economics. When she’s not in the office, Elizabeth enjoys exploring new cities, hiking, trying out new recipes, and diving into sci-fi novels.

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