7 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups in 2024

Updated Jun 21, 2023.

Wondering which ecommerce platform for a startup you should choose?

Squarespace icon

Squarespace

Squarespace provides an easy-to-use platform and guides you in the process of building and growing your online business.
Shopify icon

Shopify

Shopify enables you to build your online store quickly while providing an easy path to scale and sell internationally.
Wix icon

Wix

Wix gives startups the tools they need to design their ecommerce stores in a way that enhances customer experience.
BigCommerce icon

BigCommerce

BigCommerce has enterprise-specific features that ensure your store can handle large transactions without breaking.
Ecwid icon

Ecwid

Ecwid helps small businesses venture into ecommerce by adding ecommerce functionality to their existing website.

Our work is supported by affiliate commissions.

In its simplest form, an ecommerce platform enables you to stock and sell products online.

However, to grow your ecommerce startup, you’ll also need marketing tools, omnichannel selling, and customer management features like those found in the best CRM software.

The ecommerce industry has been growing steadily over the years. Online sales are expected to continue rising and take a larger piece of the retail pie.

By 2026, it’s estimated that world retail ecommerce sales will exceed $8.1 trillion, and the overall ecommerce share of retail sales will hit 24%.

As more startups get into the ecommerce space, more ecommerce solutions are emerging. And as these tools compete for a share of the growing market, choosing the right platform for your startup becomes a challenge.

To help you out, we researched popular ecommerce software to determine which ones are the best for startups.

What Have We Looked at During Reviewing Ecommerce Platforms for Startups?

In reviewing the best ecommerce platforms for startups, we considered the basics as well as the advanced features necessary for startup growth.

Here’s what we looked at:

1. Ease of Use

A great ecommerce solution is easy to use and provides simple customization options for your ecommerce website. Also, inventory management and order tracking should not require much training, and the user interface should enable you to quickly find what you need.

2. Ecommerce Essentials

When getting started, especially for small business owners, basic ecommerce features are the most important things to look at.

Here, we checked whether the ecommerce software provides multiple payment options, the ability to sell on social media platforms, and customizable templates optimized for mobile.

3. Scalability

Scaling your ecommerce startup requires advanced features, which ecommerce platforms usually provide in their higher-tier plans.

Some of the features we considered for growing ecommerce businesses include international shipping, creating and managing regional storefronts, and the ability to sell on global marketplaces.

4. Pricing

Pricing is a major factor to consider in ecommerce because every startup has its budget.

To determine which solutions to recommend, we considered affordability, price transparency (hidden fees), and custom pricing for ecommerce startups that outgrow the pre-defined plans.

5. Integrations

We looked at what integrations are available on these ecommerce platforms.

Some platforms have built-in integrations with popular apps, while others have an app store from where you can add third-party apps to your ecommerce website.

6. Customer support

Another feature we considered necessary for ecommerce businesses is the available customer support channels. This is important because, at some point, you’ll likely need help with something.

What are the Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups in 2023?

In our search for the best ecommerce platforms for startups, we narrowed down the list to the below seven SaaS solutions.

  • Squarespace – design a beautiful online store and create and schedule social media posts with various templates.
  • Shopify – start your ecommerce journey with a platform that makes it easy for your startup to grow.
  • Wix – get creative and build your ecommerce store and mobile app without any coding skills.
  • BigCommerce – start big or grow gradually using a platform that gives you maximum flexibility when scaling.
  • Ecwid – extend your existing website by adding ecommerce functionality from a tool that doesn’t charge you any transaction fees.
  • Square Online – sell through your ecommerce website and maximize profits by avoiding third-party marketplace commissions.
  • WooCommerce – build your ecommerce store on the trusted WordPress platform and get unlimited customization options.

1. Squarespace

Best Overall Ecommerce Platform for Entrepreneurs New to Selling Online

Pros
  • Free online logo design tool.
  • Free hosting.
  • 24/7 personalized customer support.
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a free version.
  • Limited store customization options.
Squarespace icon
Squarespace
4.6
Editor’s Take

Squarespace holds your hand to help you build an ecommerce store that will bring in sales. This ecommerce platform provides you with an SEO checklist, an app for creating reels, and syncs your store with social media channels for selling. And with their site translation feature, you avoid the language barrier that often comes with expanding into new markets.

Best For
Best overall
Price
$16 – $49 per month
Annual Discount
24% – 30%

Squarespace includes beautifully designed templates to help you create a professional-looking online store that’s optimized for desktop and mobile. You can also embed product videos in your ecommerce store to increase your conversion rates.

If you’re working with a team, you can assign roles and use permissions to control access to different parts of your admin panel.

Key Features

Marketing

Squarespace does a lot to help you market your ecommerce store. For instance, using the “Unfold” app, you can edit images, create reels, and schedule social media posts. You can also engage your prospects and customers through email campaigns, which is an affordable add-on, by sending them emails that include existing products and links to blog articles.

Built-in SEO features

Squarespace takes care of your site’s core search engine optimization. It automatically creates your store’s sitemap and robots.txt file, converts image descriptions to alt tags, and generates meta tags for your pages. Also, you can update your Google Business Profile details and track the traffic of your ecommerce store through the Google Search Console integration.

Store and inventory management

You can manage your inventory using categories and sub-categories and tag products for easy sorting. Additionally, you can give discounts on products, add “Limited Availability” labels to products, and track stock levels. To give customers more convenience (and increase your sales), you can set up “buy now, pay later” options, and enable customers to track their orders.

Analytics

The Squarespace ecommerce platform collects and analyzes your store’s data to give you insights that help you optimize your campaigns. With analytics, you can identify the keywords driving traffic to your store, view trend charts, and know the geo of your site visitors. When you combine these with data on sales and abandoned carts, you can adjust your marketing activities accordingly and increase sales.

Custom domain and hosting

Whereas most domain registrars hike domain renewal fees after the first year, Squarespace prices remain the same. And to maximize your sales opportunities, Squarespace gives you unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, and email hosting through Google Workspace. In addition, your store gets free WHOIS privacy to protect you and your store from spam and identity theft.

Pricing

Although the Business plan has ecommerce functionality, we recommend the Advanced Commerce plan for its advanced ecommerce analytics and zero transaction fees.

2. Shopify

Best Ecommerce Platform for Startups New to Ecommerce but Looking to Scale Quickly

Pros
  • 24/7 customer support is available via email, chat, and phone.
  • 100+ online payment gateways.
  • Native email marketing app.
Cons
  • Very few free themes.
  • The free trial lasts only 3 days.
Shopify icon
Shopify
4.4
Editor’s Take

When you see how easy it is to design your store and connect third-party sales channels, you’ll understand why Shopify is so popular. It lets you preview a live version of your ecommerce store before you publish it. And with its built-in email marketing app, Shopify gives you a marketing boost with 10,000 free emails every month.

Best For
Ecommerce beginners
Price
$29 – $299 per month
Annual Discount
25%

Shopify lets you design your store the way you want, add the apps you need, and live-test it through a sub-domain.

When you finally launch, you will benefit from Shopify’s vast network of business partners to quickly scale and start selling internationally. You can then segment customers based on their location and run targeted marketing campaigns to boost sales.

Key Features

Omnichannel selling

Shopify enables you to sell on different platforms while managing back-office activities from your dashboard. You can list your products on Google’s platforms, Facebook and Instagram, and allow customers to check out without visiting your store. And with the auto-sync feature, product updates on your store automatically reflect on all your sales channels.

Scalability

Shopify has a vast logistics network that makes cross-border shipping cost-effective. With their “Markets” solution, you get localized storefronts, smooth checkout, and 130+ currencies. Your ecommerce store is SEO-optimized to ensure it appears in local search results, while third-party apps help you distribute localized product feeds.

Customer segments

Shopify lets you create customer segments that help you understand your customers and engage them effectively. Using customer data, you can create segments based on what customers buy, how often they buy, their geographical location, and other custom data fields. And the best part is that these customer segments automatically update to reflect changes in customer information.

Store management

Shopify provides an easy platform for managing your store and running a profitable ecommerce startup. You can add products and create categories, add any of the 100+ payment gateways, and enjoy global reach through Shopify’s CDN. Using the mobile app, you can analyze sales and customer data to make the necessary business decisions.

Email marketing

For email marketing campaigns, Shopify’s email templates save you time by automatically pulling product information from your store. And with 10,000 free emails every month, there’s no shortage of opportunities to make a sale. You can also add checkout buttons to your emails so that subscribers can make purchases directly from them.

Pricing

Read more Shopify pricing and be inspired by successful Shopify stores

Shopify’s Basic plan is good enough to get you started. But if you want to sell internationally and get the lowest credit card rates and transaction fees, then choose the Advanced plan.

3. Wix

Best Ecommerce Platform for Website Design Enthusiasts

Pros
  • Very user-friendly ecommerce platform.
  • Offers unlimited bandwidth.
  • Includes a built-in CRM.
Cons
  • Wix templates are not fully customizable.
  • Doesn’t include a free plan for ecommerce.
Wix icon
Wix
4.2
Editor’s Take

One of the best things about building your store with Wix is that you can import your product data from a CSV file. This saves a lot of time and enables you to start selling faster. And by providing an app builder, Wix makes it possible to build a mobile app for your store without any coding skills.

Best For
Design enthusiasts
Price
$17 – $35 per month
Annual Discount
Not available

Wix is a beginner-friendly ecommerce platform with hundreds of professionally-designed templates. Together with third-party apps, Wix enables you to sell anything from physical products to consulting services.

One notable feature of Wix is the built-in CRM. With insights from your site’s analytics, the CRM enables you to engage customers and build relationships that drive business growth.

Key Features

Store and inventory management

Wix enables you to manage your online business from any device and sell on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and eBay. You can import data from CSV files, connect your ecommerce store to your ERP system, and create custom shipping rates. When expanding to a global market, you’ll be able to translate your store into 90+ languages and sell to international customers in their local currencies.

Marketing

Start using coupons and discounts to promote your ecommerce website on social media sites and automate your email campaigns. You can also create and track Facebook and Instagram ads from your Wix dashboard. To build trust with your customers, you can add product reviews on your site and run a customer loyalty program.

Customer relationship management

Instead of integrating with a third-party CRM, Wix has built this functionality right into your online store. You can capture leads using custom forms, create mailing lists, send price quotes, and use automation to improve your lead-nurturing workflows.

Mobile app builder

Wix is the best ecommerce platform for startups wanting to build their own mobile app. Using the Wix app builder, you can customize everything from the app layout to the user experience. To meet your specific business needs, you’ll decide which ecommerce functionality to add and get real-time sync between the app and your online store. Note, however, that this feature requires a separate subscription that costs between $109 to $259 per month.

Reports and insights

Using insights from your store’s data, you’ll be able to see how shoppers interact with your site and understand your customers’ purchasing patterns. Wix comes with some customizable ready-made reports while allowing you to create your own. You can view reports on mobile and export or share them with stakeholders.

Pricing

The Business VIP plan gives you the highest possibilities, with unlimited products for dropshipping businesses.

4. BigCommerce

Best Ecommerce Platform for Startups Looking for Advanced features and Flexible Scaling

Pros
  • Real-time shipping quotes.
  • Unlimited file storage and bandwidth.
  • Custom onboarding and migration services.
Cons
  • Has few free themes to choose from.
  • Abandoned cart recovery and customer segmentation are only available in higher-tier plans.
  • Annual sales limit on all plans.
BigCommerce icon
BigCommerce
4.1
Editor’s Take

BigCommerce targets the big players in the ecommerce business and is an attractive platform for startups aiming to transact huge volumes. Given its headless commerce option, you can customize customer experiences, even for B2B audiences, without affecting your backend operations. And you can expand your revenue stream by reselling Bigcommerce’s commerce solution as an add-on.

Best For
Flexible scaling
Price
$29.95 – $299.95 per month
Annual Discount
10%

BigCommerce is your go-to ecommerce platform if you’ve outgrown your current one, or you’re looking for flexibility during scaling. You can sell in 150+ global commerce channels, create region-specific storefronts with local currencies, and even engage local business partners.

With the ability to add ecommerce services to your apps, you can boost your revenues without incurring any development costs.

Key Features

B2B ecommerce

BigCommerce makes it easy to run a B2B ecommerce site. You can let customers create multiple accounts, assign team members different roles and permissions, and pay invoices online through multiple payment options. Moreover, your sales reps can shop on behalf of your customers and give them additional discounts, leading to increased customer loyalty.

Commerce-as-a-Service

This is a unique feature that other ecommerce platforms don’t offer. In addition to running your ecommerce site, BigCommerce lets you sell custom versions of its ecommerce solution. You can create a full suite of business tools with ecommerce powered by BigCommerce, or simply add ecommerce functionality to your mobile app. If you’re looking for additional income streams, then BigCommerce is the right ecommerce platform to work with.

Powerful omnichannel selling

BigCommerce has both native integrations and specialized third-party apps for omnichannel sales. Combined, these allow you to sell in 150+ commerce channels globally. Your product catalog will be optimized for each channel to boost performance and synced with your inventory to avoid overselling.

Scaling to international markets

Give your ecommerce startup a global footprint by creating multiple storefronts for new markets and localizing product content and pricing. You can customize checkout pages, add 100+ currencies, automate taxes, and deliver goods using local carriers. To understand your startup’s performance, BigCommerce gives you insights into each storefront’s performance while providing you with region-specific growth tools.

Headless commerce

BigCommerce is your ideal ecommerce platform if you want to future-proof your startup expansion by using headless commerce. With headless commerce, store owners can focus on creating customer experiences optimized to increase sales without being restricted by a rigid backend.

Pricing

BigCommerce gives you unlimited products on all its plans. However, for customer segmentation and Google customer reviews, you’ll have to get the Pro or Enterprise plans.

5. Ecwid

Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses

Pros
  • Offers a free version.
  • Doesn’t charge setup or transaction fees.
  • 50+ payment gateways.
Cons
  • You can only sell five products on the free plan.
  • Unlimited products only from the highest plan.
  • Abandoned cart recovery is only available in Business and Unlimited plans.
Ecwid icon
Ecwid
4.0
Editor’s Take

If you have an existing website and want to get into ecommerce, then try Ecwid. This widget is available in the app stores of all major CMSs, including WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. Although it lacks some advanced ecommerce features, it allows you to sell up to 5 products for free.

Best For
Small startups
Price
$0 – $82.50 per month
Annual Discount
25%

Ecwid is an ecommerce widget that can be easily added to an existing website to create a functional ecommerce store. And with its free plan, you can start selling up to 5 products.

If you are transitioning from a physical store, Ecwid helps you manage your online business by creating staff accounts that can be assigned to remote workers.

Key Features

Omnichannel selling

Getting started with omnichannel selling is easier on Ecwid than on other ecommerce platforms. From your Ecwid account, you can add products to Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, and other platforms and receive payments through major payment gateways.

Build your store’s mobile app

With customers increasingly shopping via mobile, you can reach them more conveniently by building your store’s mobile app. Using ShopApp®, startups can build high-performance native apps without requiring a dedicated developer team. The apps will sync to their online stores for product availability, price changes, and other store updates.

Internet marketing and SEO tools

Ecwid gives small businesses a headstart in marketing by taking care of their sites’ technical SEO. For marketing campaigns, Ecwid helps you by automating your Google Shopping Ads and Facebook re-targeting campaigns. Moreover, with the Mailchimp integration, you can send automated emails and include discount coupons to encourage purchases.

Move your local store online

f you’re running a brick-and-mortar store and want to get into the ecommerce environment, Ecwid has you covered. Its secure ecommerce platform helps you rank in local searches, sell via mobile, and hire remote workers. You can set up staff accounts for remote workers and deliver goods through a local delivery service.

Store and inventory management

Ecwid lets you easily manage all your ecommerce operations from any device. From a single dashboard, you get access to inventory management, order tracking, and the ability to choose from 50+ payment options. You can customize shipping rates based on the customer’s location and get updates through notifications in the mobile app.

Pricing

Ecwid - Pricing Plan

Ecwid is a great ecommerce platform for selling digital products. Whether you’re selling ebooks, music, or video, you can upload products that are up to 25GB in size.

6. Square Online

Best Ecommerce Platform for Startups Looking for Efficient Customer Communications

Square Online - The online store that’s made to order

Square Online helps you collect and analyze data to understand your customers better and engage them more efficiently.

This ecommerce SaaS solution lets you plan your online sales and centralize all your customer interactions.

Key Features

Website builder

You can create your ecommerce site quickly with powerful but easy-to-use tools. You can customize image shapes and fonts and use the Square Photo Studio app to replace backgrounds in your product photos. Your site adapts to mobiles, which makes it easy for customers to shop through their smartphones or tablets.

Sales and promotions

With Square Online, you can highlight specific products, such as top sellers, to reduce your stock levels and drive more sales. You can even plan online sales on your ecommerce sites and set a date for those sales to start running.

Marketing

Spread the word about your online business, new products, and sales to prospects and customers using text and email campaigns. You can automate all your campaigns and design them to target customer segments you’ve created from your sales data. And with real-time reports on the campaigns’ performance, you’ll identify what you should change to generate more revenue.

All-in-one messaging hub

Square Online is the best ecommerce platform for startups looking for streamlined customer communications. With Square Messages, you avoid the hassle of constantly checking your email for notifications. Handle all your customer interactions from one place. And if you have Square Assistant turned on, this AI assistant will respond to customer queries in real time and update your appointment calendar.

Free built-in CRM

Square Online gives store owners a free CRM to help them understand their customers’ needs, engage them better, and sell to them more. Known as Customer Directory, this CRM enriches customer data with every transaction, tracks all purchases, and lets you create customer segments for marketing purposes.

Pros

  • You can start with a free plan.
  • Includes a free CRM.
  • You can create customer loyalty programs.

Cons

  • Email marketing is a paid add-on.
  • The blogging feature is very limited.

Pricing

Square Online - Pricing Plan

Whatever plan you choose, by default, Square Online checks your transactions for fraud prevention and provides dispute management services.

7. WooCommerce

Best Ecommerce Business Platform for Startups Using a WordPress Website

WooCommerce - Build exactly the eCommerce website you want

WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce platform by market share.

Built for WordPress, a popular content management system, WooCommerce is loved by designers and developers and ecommerce startups that need custom solutions.

With WooCommerce, you can start for free, sell physical and digital products, and manage multiple ecommerce stores from the same dashboard. If you want more features, you can purchase different add-ons.

Key Features

Website builder

WooCommerce uses a drag-and-drop website builder that utilizes blocks and patterns to build ecommerce websites. These give you the ability to make page-specific or site-wide customizations on everything from store layouts to fonts. To further personalize your ecommerce website, you can customize menus, cart, and checkout pages and add content blocks that highlight bestsellers or new products.

Marketing

WooCommerce encourages you to do content marketing using your existing WordPress website. For blogging, you can add SEO tools, tweak settings, and promote both physical and digital products on your blog posts and landing pages. For email marketing, you can integrate with the best email marketing software tools and services and automate your marketing activities to increase efficiency.

Scalability

When scaling your ecommerce startup, you need advanced functionality, flexibility, and dedicated support. With WooCommerce, you get all these plus the ability to choose the specific features you need, thus avoiding unnecessary costs. You can also integrate your store with other business apps and get expert help on optimizing your ecommerce website.

Localized payment options

Boost your conversion rates by giving customers the most convenient payment options. With WooCommerce Payments, you can localize checkout for 18 countries and receive payments in 135+ currencies. Since WooCommerce Payments is a built-in solution, you get paid directly and enjoy priority support through email and chat.

Shipping

Save valuable time and money by using USPS and DHL for shipping and manage everything from your WooCommerce dashboard. You can print your own local and international shipping labels, get discounted shipping rates and alert DHL and USPS to pick up packages for free.

Pros

  • You can build fully customizable ecommerce sites.
  • Has globally-distributed support teams.
  • You can choose from lots of paid and free themes.

Cons

  • Requires an existing WordPress website.
  • May be slow for large stores.

Pricing

Since WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, the only costs you’ll incur are those of the paid add-ons you install. For ecommerce stores transacting high volumes, WooCommerce has a custom enterprise plan.

Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups FAQ

How Much Can My Startup Save By Using One of the Ecommerce Platforms?

How much your startup can save depends on various factors, such as the features you need and your sales volume.

To be specific, with startup ecommerce platforms, you get free hosting, a free domain, and other unlimited features and freebies. They alone can save you a couple of hundred dollars per year. Not to mention the cost of ecommerce site development, which ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

What are the Best Free Ecommerce Platforms for Startups?

Among the most popular ecommerce platforms, WooCommerce is the best free solution that is extensible enough to power growing startups.

If you’re on another platform or starting with a few products, check out Ecwid and Square Online. But if you want more than the basic features, then try Squarespace and Wix.

If the Startup Aims to Scale Rapidly, What Is the Best Ecommerce Platform for It?

Shopify and BigCommerce are the best ecommerce platforms for scaling your startup quickly.

Between these two platforms, Shopify is easier to use and slightly cheaper when getting started. But for ecommerce startups that need maximum flexibility when scaling, BigCommerce is the right choice.

Which Ecommerce Platform Should a Startup Use to Set Up the Store in the Shortest Time?

If you’re setting up a simple online store, Squarespace will make it in the shortest time.

But if your online store will have a large inventory and handle large transactions, then choose Shopify. Although it’s more advanced, it won’t take long to finish building your online business.

What Is the Easiest Ecommerce Platform for Startuppers Without Experience in Both Coding and Ecommerce?

Squarespace is the easiest online platform and comes with professionally-designed templates to help those without design or coding skills.

Since Squarespace handles the technical stuff for you and has a simple user interface, building and managing your online store is pretty straightforward.

Recap: Top 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups in 2023

As more consumers embrace online shopping, the ecommerce industry will continue to grow, and the number of ecommerce solutions will increase.

When choosing the right ecommerce platform, start by identifying your needs, then check which ecommerce solution meets those needs.

Here are the top ecommerce platforms you should consider.

Best Overall

Squarespace

Squarespace provides an easy-to-use platform and guides you in the process of building and growing your online business.
Best for Beginners

Shopify

Shopify enables you to build your online store quickly while providing an easy path to scale and sell internationally.
Best for Designers

Wix

Wix gives startups the tools they need to design their ecommerce stores in a way that enhances customer experience.
Best for Enterprises

BigCommerce

BigCommerce has advanced and enterprise-specific features that ensure your store can handle large transactions without breaking.
Best for SMBs

Ecwid

Ecwid helps small businesses venture into ecommerce by simply adding ecommerce functionality to their existing websites.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.