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While brick-and-mortar retail continues to recover from the losses of 2020, ecommerce has thrived in a world where online shopping provides consumers the easiest way to find and purchase what they want and need. The 2021 holiday season proved that ecommerce would keep growing even as physical retail returns, with online sales eclipsing last year’s mark by 11.5%, up a staggering 61% from 2019. Ecommerce sales now account for roughly 20% of all retail business.
With this evolution comes a need for intuitive, cost-effective ecommerce platforms. The top ecommerce platforms in 2022 will provide brands and sellers with robust tools for processing transactions, shipping products, managing inventory, and building a strong marketing presence on the web.
To set up a successful ecommerce storefront and grow your brand, you’ll need a few essential elements in whatever ecommerce software you choose. Here are some primary factors to review for each platform:
Ease of use: Many ecommerce sellers arrive on the scene without advanced programming or coding knowledge. Don’t worry — picking the right ecommerce platform means you won’t have to deal with much of the technical processes that make up a website. The best platforms use drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG functionality, and simple backend interfaces to make it easy for you to get your shop up and running.
Performance: In today’s ecommerce landscape, online shoppers have developed high expectations of their favorite brands. It’s important that your ecommerce software demonstrates fast loading speeds and keeps customers moving through the experience smoothly. Likewise, your platform should have strong standards for SEO performance and the ability to get your website, content, and product pages listed and ranked on search engines like Google.
Features: When selecting an ecommerce tool for your brand, make sure to check for all the functionality and features for your specific needs. Important marketing components such as cross-channel attribution, data visualization and tracking, retargeting, and audience customization will be baseline features for success as an ecommerce seller.
Integrations: Even the most robust ecommerce platform won’t be able to do everything for your ecommerce business. That’s why it’s important to vet your options for available integrations with other digital tools, such as your CRM software, social media platforms, ad networks, and others.
Pricing: Of course, many ecommerce sellers start as small shops, and if you’re working with a limited budget and resources, pricing for your ecommerce software will be critical. Most platforms offer some kind of free or entry-level pricing for smaller shops, scaling up pricing with more functionality and features and the ability to market to larger audience groups.
Shopify is one of the largest and most widely used ecommerce platforms on the web, popular for its wide range of features, affordable pricing, easy-to-navigate interface, and robust integrations. Primarily designed for small- to medium-sized ecommerce sellers, Shopify features a wide range of built-in apps and plugins that are easy to add to your website to improve both the customer experience and the backend navigation.
Best for: Starting a small business and growing brand loyalty with a strong initial return on investment.
Easy to set up and start selling fast, even without technical expertise
Effective and simple retargeting tools such as post-purchase ad serving and cart abandonment reminders
Highly intuitive, smooth checkout process for customers
Huge library of apps to enhance the shopping experience and improve marketing capabilities
WooCommerce offers an open-source ecommerce solution for users who prefer to host their storefront and website on WordPress. It’s a robust plugin for WordPress that enables you to build a checkout process, list inventory, and manage orders through the same interface you’ve been using for your website and content management. With a wide range of extensions available to enhance functionality, it’s a popular solution for people already familiar with WordPress who want to transition into online selling. It’s also largely cost-free.
Best for: Users familiar with WordPress wanting to add ecommerce selling to an existing website.
Initial Download: Free
Extensions and themes may have associated costs
Easy download and installation for WordPress users
Manage all ecommerce functions through your WP site
Take advantage of excellent SEO tools on WordPress
One of the top ecommerce platforms on the web and beloved for its scalability, BigCommerce does precisely what its name implies: It helps manage huge inventories and process large numbers of transactions among a substantial audience. The ability to manage a business at scale has made BigCommerce a popular ecommerce tool for physical retail stores that want to expand into online transactions.
It’s flexible and easy to use without much technical skill, but if you have a developer or some coding knowledge yourself, it will be easy to customize to your needs. BigCommerce also boasts a strong support network of developers and ecommerce experts to help you keep growing your business and overcome technical challenges.
Best for: Major ecommerce brands with more extensive inventories, brick-and-mortar stores adding online selling, and sellers taking the next step in their growth.
Enterprise: Custom pricing
List and sell products on major ecommerce storefronts like Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, and Google Shopping (multi-channel selling)
No transaction fees for the seller; great if you process lots of transactions
Fully customizable audiences, user groups, and segmentation
Great abandoned cart functionality to keep users engaged
If you’re going for simplicity in both your product catalog and your storefront, Wix is a top ecommerce platform that offers an intuitive setup without the need for technical skill. Its design functionality is easy to use and navigate, making it a breeze to set up a great-looking website and customer experience. Wix is primarily aimed at brands or sellers offering just a small selection of products and not intending to grow the product line past a couple of dozen items. Wix also provides dropshipping and print-on-demand features to help smaller businesses accomplish their goals.
Best for: Limited brands or product catalogs that won’t grow into the hundreds of items and users who need easy setup and design capabilities
Ecommerce plan: $16.17/month
Beautiful page designs and a wide range of free, great-looking themes
No technical or coding knowledge is required to set up and maintain
Great on-page support while you’re building your website and storefront to help you troubleshoot on the fly
Initially launched as a website building application, Squarespace has evolved into the ecommerce space by replicating its classic drag-and-drop interface in a selling environment. Because it is primarily aimed at small ecommerce brands or solo sellers just getting started, Squarespace’s features are relatively limited in both functionality and scale. Setting up is easy, and once your site is built, you’ll have access to marketing and analytics features with simple functions that will help increase your knowledge and skills. By the time your brand is ready to grow into a larger platform, you’ll be ready, too.
Best for: Small brands, solo sellers, or freelancers offering limited product or service selections.
Basic Commerce: $26/month
Advanced Commerce: $40/month
No transaction fees, helping you save more revenue from each sale
Straightforward website and storefront builder with drag-and-drop navigation
Lets you move content between templates and themes with ease
Low maintenance requirements and no storage limits for media (images/video)
Top ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, offer ecommerce merchants a wide range of features and services to help businesses of all sizes get started in a competitive retail world. Paired with an easy-to-use, feature-rich advertising and marketing platform like AdRoll — which integrates seamlessly with all of the top ecommerce platforms — these tools will make it possible to launch a beautiful website with an intuitive customer experience that keeps shoppers coming back for more.
Originally published on February 22nd, 2022, last updated on March 22nd, 2022.