8 Best E-Commerce Website Builders for Small Businesses in 2023

E-Commerce Website Builders for Small Businesses

The best e-commerce website builders for you are easy to use and offer the features you need at an affordable price.

An e-commerce website builder can help you open an online store, whether you sell physical products, services, or digital goods. Some of these platforms are robust and can book appointments, take payments, and manage multiple selling channels. Others let you create an e-commerce website in minutes.

The best e-commerce website builders are affordable, scalable, and user-friendly. But the right choice for you will depend on your comfort level with tasks like coding and your business needs. Here are our recommendations for platforms to build an e-commerce store. 

Best e-commerce website builders at a glance

E-commerce website builderPriceBest forNerdWallet’s review
ShopifyStarts at $29 per month.All-in-one e-commerce website building.Shopify review.
Square OnlineFree plan available; paid plans start at $29 per month.Free e-commerce website building for Square POS users.Square Online review.
SquarespacePlans with e-commerce features start at $23 per month.Businesses that want to offer appointment booking or subscriber-only content.Squarespace review.
WixStarts at $27 per month.Highly customizable e-commerce websites.Wix review.
BigCommerceStarts at $29.95 per month.Omnichannel selling.BigCommerce review.
Shift4ShopFree if you process at least $500 per month using Shift4 payments.Businesses that use Shift4 for payment processing or do business-to-business sales.Shift4Shop review.
WooCommerceFree, though you’ll need a WordPress plan that supports it. Those plans start at $25 per month. WooCommerce comes built into WordPress Commerce, which costs a minimum of $45 per month.Businesses already running websites on WordPress.WooCommerce vs. Shopify head-to-head comparison.
Big CartelFree plan available; paid plans start at $9.99 per month.Micro businesses or those that want to offer just a handful of products for a limited time.Big Cartel review.

Shopify: Best all-in-one e-commerce website builders

Shopify says it hosts millions of online stores, making it one of the market leaders for those looking to start an e-commerce business. It can help you set up a storefront quickly, and on top of that, it offers plug-and-play solutions for everything from inventory management to payment processing. 

Who should use Shopify: Businesses that sell physical products, do most of their sales online and value convenient, all-in-one solutions. Read NerdWallet’s review of Shopify.

Where Shopify stands out

An easy e-commerce website builder: Shopify allows you to create your e-commerce store with a drag-and-drop builder, so there’s no coding knowledge required. It offers themes, which are plug-and-play store designs that you can customize as much or as little as you want. You can also pay a Shopify Expert for help.

All-in-one solution: After you’ve built your e-commerce website, Shopify offers additional features like:

  • Web hosting.
  • Shopify Payments, which lets you accept credit and debit card payments in your online store without needing to work with a third-party payment processor. This includes mobile card readers to accept in-person payments. 
  • Inventory management.
  • Shipping, fulfillment, and returns. 
  • Integrations with social media platforms.
  • Email marketing tools. 

Unlimited products: Shopify’s pricing starts at $29 per month when billed annually ($39 when paying month to month) plus credit card transaction fees. But even with that starter plan, you get unlimited product listings. 

Where Shopify falls short

No native way to take appointment bookings: You’ll need to use a third-party app to book online appointments, which may mean Shopify isn’t a great fit for businesses that provide services.

Additional fees if you use a different payment processor: Shopify Payments charges a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for Basic plan users. Alternately using processors like Square or Stripe can add up to a 2% extra fee per transaction for Basic plan users.

Payment processors typically charge 1.5% to 3% plus a small fixed fee per transaction. Using Shopify with a different payment processor could mean you’re paying around 5% of each sale in transaction fees.

WooCommerce: Best e-commerce plug-in for WordPress users

WooCommerce is a plug-in that you can use to add an online shopping cart to your WordPress website. It allows theme selection, checkout customization, abandoned cart emails, coupons, rewards, and more. It’s free but requires a WordPress Business plan ($25/month) for plug-in support.

Who should use WooCommerce: Businesses that already run on WordPress and have a staff web developer who can take advantage of WooCommerce’s many features. Here’s how WooCommerce compares to Shopify.

Where WooCommerce stands out

Variety of payment options: WooCommerce’s cart accepts cards, digital wallets, cash on delivery, bank transfers, and checks.

Omnichannel commerce and advertising: WooCommerce offers plug-ins that can help you list your products on Pinterest, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other platforms. You can also use plug-ins to place ads on Facebook, Google, and TikTok.

Discounted shipping rates: WooCommerce Shipping users can print U.S. Postal Service and DHL shipping labels and qualify for discounts for free.

Where WooCommerce falls short

Significant setup work: You’ll need to build a WordPress website first, then set up your WooCommerce store. Both platforms are highly customizable, which may feel overwhelming for users without web development experience. A platform like Shopify or Square Online, which lets you build a store right away, might be easier for some users. Plug-ins may mean additional fees: Some WooCommerce features are provided by plug-ins. Many of these are free, but some — especially those developed by third parties — may come with additional subscription fees.

BigCommerce: Best for omnichannel e-commerce sales

E-commerce businesses aiming for omnichannel sales should explore BigCommerce. It integrates with various online sales channels, offering unlimited file storage and user accounts across all plans. Each pricing tier comes with a cap on annual sales, though.

Who should use BigCommerce: Businesses that sell primarily on social media platforms and online marketplaces instead of their websites. Read NerdWallet’s review of BigCommerce.

Where BigCommerce stands out

Omnichannel integrations: BigCommerce includes integrations with eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping, Facebook, TikTok, Walmart, Instagram, and more.

Unlimited user accounts and file storage with all plans: BigCommerce offers unlimited user accounts for dashboard access, unlike Wix, enabling unrestricted content publishing on your website.

Discounted credit card processing with Braintree for Plus, Pro, and Enterprise users: If you opt for Braintree as your payment processor, fees begin at 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction for Basic plan users. Rates decrease starting at BigCommerce’s Plus level, potentially dropping below 2.05% plus 49 cents for Enterprise customers.

Where BigCommerce falls short

Maximum annual sales volume: The biggest drawback of BigCommerce is that its plans are limited by annual sales volume. If you exceed the limit for annual sales, you’ll be required to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Very few free themes: BigCommerce offers very few free design themes, and some of the paid options can get expensive — up to $399. Other website builders like Wix and Squarespace offer more themes at more affordable rates.

Read More about the Best e-commerce hosting provider

Squarespace: Best commerce website builders for selling digital services

It is a popular website builder, but its product sales features are limited compared with other options. Squarespace tools enable gated membership sites and prepayments for online bookings, ideal for service or content-based businesses.

Who should use Squarespace: Businesses that primarily want to sell digital or in-person services. Read NerdWallet’s review of Squarespace.

Where Squarespace stands out

Sophisticated online appointment booking: When customers book their time on your Squarespace website, they can see your calendar and reschedule appointments on their own. You can receive notifications about new appointments, send reminder emails, and sync appointments with your existing digital calendar. You can even set up intake forms that clients can fill out before they meet with you.

Exclusive “Member Areas” for paying customers: Squarespace can help you wall off part of your website so only paying customers can access your online courses or premium content.

14-day free trial: You can experiment with Squarespace for up to two weeks before you have to enter your credit card information.

Where Squarespace falls short

No direct integration with other sales channels: Squarespace’s e-commerce website builder doesn’t integrate directly with marketplaces like Amazon or Google. If you sell on those platforms, you’ll either have to find a third-party plug-in to create those integrations or list products manually. Basic product selling features: Squarespace includes the product sales features you’d expect from an e-commerce website builder, including inventory management with low-stock notifications, shipping-label printing, and in-store order pickup. But it stops short of the sophisticated inventory management and shipping tools that e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce offer.

Wix: Most customizable e-commerce website builders

Like Square and Shopify, Wix is a beginner-friendly e-commerce website builder. You won’t need any code to use its drag-and-drop tools. But while Shopify is product-focused, Wix offers a variety of features for different types of businesses, from ticket sellers to dropshippers. 

Who should use Wix: Businesses that want to use their choice of payment processor and want a website that looks custom. Read NerdWallet’s review of Wix.

Where Wix stands out

Easy to build a website that looks custom: Wix offers more than 500 themes for users’ websites. Once you choose one, you can customize it using drag-and-drop tools.

Support for a variety of business models: In addition to creating product listings, you can use Wix apps to sell subscriptions to exclusive content, tickets, and more. Wix offers dropshipping and print-on-demand features and even supports subscription boxes.

Your choice of payment processor: Wix offers its own payment solution, but you don’t have to use it. Instead, you can choose the best credit card processing company for your business and Wix won’t charge any additional fees. 

Where Wix falls short

Third-party integration for multichannel sales: Wix supports sales on marketplaces like Amazon, Instagram, and Facebook. But you’ll need to use apps to support these integrations. App-based integrations can work well, but direct integration is typically a better choice since a third-party app is additional software that you’ll need to understand and troubleshoot if something goes wrong. 

Limited storage: While most of our picks offer unlimited server space for your website’s assets — even on their entry-level plans — Wix is an exception. Its Basic plan includes just 50 GB of storage and five hours of video, which could limit how much you can do before you have to upgrade your plan.

Square Online: Best free e-commerce website builders

Square Online is a simple, user-friendly e-commerce website builder, especially if you already use Square for in-person sales at your business’s brick-and-mortar location. It’s also one of the few free e-commerce website builders. Its customization options and B2B sales features are limited, though, and you’ll have to process payments through Square if you use Square Online.

Who should use Square Online: Brick-and-mortar businesses that want to create an online store. Read NerdWallet’s review of Square Online.

Where Square Online stands out

Integration with Square products: Square Online integrates with Square’s point-of-sale system, which is highly rated by NerdWallet for its simple pricing and many features, including appointment scheduling and loyalty programs. 

Free: Square Online’s free version offers its website builder, POS integration, social media integration, and payments.

You can use your brick-and-mortar location: In addition to shipping products to your customers’ doorsteps, Square Online allows you to offer free in-store pickup or third-party local delivery.

Where Square Online falls short

No option to use a different payment processor on the free plan: Square Online free users have to process payments through Square. Customers paying a monthly fee have the option to accept PayPal.

Limited features for high-volume sellers: Like Shopify, Square Online offers unlimited product listings. But it doesn’t offer Shopify’s more advanced B2B features — for wholesale purchases, for instance — or its sophisticated customer segmentation tools. You’ll also have to pay at least $15 extra per month to use Square’s email marketing features, many of which are included in Shopify’s basic plan.

Shift4Shop: Best e-commerce website builders for B2B businesses

Like Shopify and BigCommerce, Shift4Shop — formerly 3dcart — is an all-in-one e-commerce website builder for businesses. It’s owned by Shift4, a payment processing company, and free for users who process at least $500 per month in sales using that software. But its feature list may be overwhelming for the smallest businesses.

Who should use Shift4Shop: Businesses that do most of their sales online and can fully use the platform’s many advanced features. Read NerdWallet’s review of Shift4Shop.

Where Shift4Shop stands out

B2B features: Shift4Shop is among the best B2B e-commerce platforms, offering sales features like custom pricing for specific customers, wholesale pricing tied to different quantities, and individual price lists for recurring customers. The platform also allows you to accept paper checks, money orders, and other B2B payment methods.

Free for some sellers: Instead of offering tiered pricing, Shift4Shop is free if you process at least $500 per month in payments using Shift4. If you use PayPal, you’ll pay $29 per month.

Pre-orders: Shift4Shop can facilitate pre-orders, which can help you develop the right amount of inventory and generate capital before a product is released. The company says this feature can be used for event tickets and crowdfunding, too.

Where Shift4Shop falls short

More difficult to use than other options: Shift4Shop may not be the right e-commerce website builder for beginners, since the number of features the platform offers may be overwhelming to sellers who are just getting started or who run very small businesses. 

Minimum sales volume required: For Shift4Shop to be free, you’ll need to process at least $500 in transactions every month. If your business is still growing or your sales are inconsistent, you may have to pay a fee after all.

Big Cartel: Best for very limited inventory

If you’re a micro business or only want to sell a few different products at once, Big Cartel may be sufficient for you. On the free plan, you can list up to five products, including different colors and sizes. You’ll be limited to just one image per product, though. If you decide to pursue e-commerce as an ongoing line of business, consider upgrading to a more robust service.

Who should use Big Cartel: Businesses that operate very small e-commerce stores, like artists and solopreneurs offer limited runs of each product. Read NerdWallet’s review of Big Cartel.

Where Big Cartel stands out

Payment processing with Stripe and PayPal: Big Cartel offers built-in payment processing through Stripe and PayPal, both market leaders. Stripe will charge a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents on each transaction, and PayPal takes 3.49% plus 49 cents on each transaction.

Automated sales tax: Big Cartel relies on TaxJar, a third-party app, to calculate sales tax for each of your customers based on their location. You can categorize products in case tax rates vary for certain types of goods. Then, TaxJar pays those taxes to the state or local government so you don’t have to.

Discount codes: You can use Big Cartel to offer discount codes that reduce prices or provide perks like free shipping, and you can limit discount codes to certain items or order amounts.

Where Big Cartel falls short

Limited product images: On Big Cartel’s free plan, you can only list one image per product. Even on paid plans, you’ll be capped at five images per product. You can embed videos on your product pages, but not as images in the listings.

Big Cartel in your domain name: Big Cartel customers get a Big Cartel domain name that looks like “MyStore.bigcartel.com.” If you want to remove “big cartel” from the URL, you’ll have to buy your own domain name from a separate service — either Google Domains, which you can access through your Big Cartel dashboard, or the third-party service of your choice. Many other e-commerce website builders offer a unique URL with your subscription and may cover its registration costs at least for a year.