Do I need to use an eCommerce website builder?
In this section let us know why and when you should use an eCommerce website builder. If you are just getting started with a business and not an ‘eCommerce giant’, then you can choose eCommerce website builders. If you are a start-up, then you cannot afford to spend a lot of time on building a website from scratch using programming languages, on your own or by hiring an expert to do it for you. This task is both time and money consuming.
But if you are already running an established business online that has already made thousands of customers, you might want to consider the traditional way of creating your website. Because, whenever you want to create a complex website that has every bit as per your needs, you have to choose a programming language based method over website builders to create your website.
Why should you use a specialized eCommerce website builder? Why not use the regular website builders?
In simple words, regular blogs, magazines, or other websites come with different kinds of interfaces and have different requirements. For example, a payment gateway is a must when we talk about an eCommerce website. Not all regular website builders come with support for payment gateways. And the elements that you add in the normal website and an eCommerce website differ in many ways. So, you cannot expect a regular website builder to help you create a sophisticated online store and the same goes for creating a blog or magazine with an eCommerce website. Both types of website builders come with different feature sets and different functionalities.
What should you look for in an eCommerce website builder?
The following are the essentials to look for when you are choosing an eCommerce website builder to create your online store. (In no particular order)
1. Ease of use
One of the main reasons for choosing website builders over the traditional method of manual programming is the ease of use. If any website builder lacks this, then there is no point in choosing this over that. And ease of use becomes your biggest priority when it comes to building an eCommerce website. Because you will be dealing with hundreds or thousands of products when it comes to creating and running an online store. And if the eCommerce website builder you choose does not come with easy to use interface where you create and manage your website, you are not in for a pleasant experience. Therefore, always make sure that the eCommerce website builder comes with an interface that makes the process of creating your website a cakewalk and managing all the products and the user information a task of ease.
2. Inventory management
One of the major differences between an online store and other traditional websites is inventory management. Other regular websites do not come with the requirement of inventory management and it is one of the main aspects of online stores. When you are choosing an eCommerce website builder, you have to do the inventory management using the website builder. Inventory management is necessary to maintain a sync between your inventory and what is displayed on the website. You surely would not want to end up receiving an order for the product that is not present in the inventory. Therefore choose an eCommerce platform that comes with an advanced and easy to manage inventory management system so that you will be free from all the troubles that follow if inventory management is not done properly.
The design of your website is the first thing that connects with the visitors of your website AKA potential customers. Only with an attractive design and interface, you will be able to create a good first impression. In order to be able to make your website so attractive and engaging you will need the option of a variety of templates that you can choose from. Having a large variety of templates to choose from is one of the best things as you can check different templates and go forward with the one that suits your requirements the best. And some website builders provide multiple themes but come with a lot of restrictions where you will be asked to pay extra for premium themes. If you choose such builders, then you will either have to burn a deep hole in your pockets or use the only few free themes that you are offered.
4. Mobile Responsiveness
Compared to corporate and business websites, eCommerce websites are most often are viewed on smartphones. Therefore it is necessary that your website is highly mobile-friendly. Or else it is assured that even if you have created a good impression with an attractive interface, you will not be able to make that impression a last longing one. Therefore, make sure you are able to create responsive and mobile-friendly websites that can make your website ready users of both the larger and smaller screens and enhance their experience of using your website if you want to convert those visitors into your customers.
5. Customer Support
The process of creating an online store is quite different from that of creating other types of websites. And if you choose a perfect eCommerce website builders then the process of creating your website will be a cakewalk. But you never know. At one point or another, you might need some assistance from the customer support team. Therefore, choose a website builder that comes with good customer support and you get different modes of getting in touch with the support team. Some of the platforms offer support over the phone, email, live chat, and over social media too. And since you are looking forward to creating an online store, any issues that persist in your store are not solved, it might make the visitors look away from you and move to some other store. And these issues might need any time of the day. Therefore, look for a store builder that comes with 24/7/365 customer support.
Security is the most important feature that any online store would need. Of course, any website over the internet has to be high on safety but that requirement gets even more prominent in the case of an online store. When we are dealing with an online store, it means dealing with a lot of user information, card information, payments, and more. Therefore, always see to it that you are guaranteed the best security possible for your website. Go forward with an eCommerce website builder only if you are able to add an SSL certificate. SSL certificate not only makes your website safer but also builds a sense of trust in the minds of your customers when they are offered a secure method of payment.
While there are several other aspects that you must consider, these factors are good enough to make you choose a perfect eCommerce website builder for your website. But there are numerous website builders that claim themselves to be the best. But their claim barely makes them qualify as the best eCommerce website builder.
Keeping in mind the aspects that we have mentioned above, we have listed our top recommendations that you can choose from for an unmatched experience of creating and running an online store.
Top eCommerce Website Builders
Shopify is our top recommendation when it comes to the best eCommerce website builder, owing to many factors that it has proved itself in time and again. It is one of the very few complete and comprehensive eCommerce website builders that offer everything you need to create a sophisticated online store. Unlike many other website builders that serve as multipurpose website builders that can be used to create both traditional websites and online stores, Shopify, as the name suggests, is a fully dedicated eCommerce website builder. Being fully dedicated to creating shopping websites, Shopify comes loaded with loads of perks when compared to its rivals.
Pros: 90 days free trial
Add unlimited Products
Ease of use
Transaction fees for payments made using third party gateways
Advanced apps are not free
Free: 90 days free trial available
Choose any plan after the trial period ends
Basic Shopify: Priced at $29/mo.
Add unlimited products
Free SSL certificate
Shopify: Priced at $79/mo.
5 staff accounts
Advanced Shopify: Priced at $299/mo.
Best suited for large stores
15 staff accounts
While digging deep into the history of Shopify, we realized that Shopify was created by an individual from Canada to sell snowboards online in 2006. And now after evolving and going through several updates Shopify poses as a fully grown eCommerce giant and has become the chart-topping eCommerce solution. Shopping has been the platform used behind the creation of more than 800000 online stores.
If you are not someone that is easily carried away by some stats, what if we tell you that Shopify not only lets you create a fully sophisticated online store but also lets you provide support for your customers, along with a lot more feature that make Shopify invincible leader of eCommerce platforms? Yes. Shopify has evolved so much with time that there is no real threat to its reign as the king of eCommerce website builders.
One of the many good things about Shopify is the ease of use that comes with it. Irrespective of if you are a mere beginner or a know-everything kind of pro, everything that involves the creation and management of an online can be done only by a few clicks. So you will never have to worry if you are not so good at coding. To make things easier, you get tons of templates. Shopify has excelled both in terms of the quality and quantity of the templates. All these templates are highly customizable and responsive making your website mobile-friendly. No matter if your online store is just taking baby steps or an established one, you can create websites of any kind of as Shopify is highly scalable. And the ‘quality and Quantity’ are not only limited to templates. There are numerous apps too that make your online store complete. But advanced apps come with a price tag.
Here comes the most important aspect of all. Product and Order management. Shopify has not become the segment leader by being the best in one or two aspects. Priority is given to each and every factor and that is the case with inventory management too. You can easily add the products to your websites and there is an option to import your product list altogether too. You can also mention variants of any product (ex S, M, L, and XL). Everything from adding the title to description can be done without any hassle. And right from the basic plan, you can add unlimited products to your website.
Shopify also comes with support for the sale of digital products like audio, video, software. Shopify comes with the ability to let you sell on social media channels too. You can sell your products on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Coming to the pricing of Shopify, Shopify plans start from $29/mo. This is the basic plan. The next plan in the line-up is priced at $79/mo. And this plan comes with the option of gift cards, which is given a miss in the Basic Shopify plan. And the most advanced Shopify plan that is tailor-made for well-established online stores is priced at $299/mo. To be honest there are numerous aspects of Shopify that make it the best. One of those features is the fact that it comes with a 90-Day free trial, which is really amazing. You can give Shopify for 90 days and then choose a plan that you want to continue with.
Wix is an affordable option over Shopify but unlike Shopify, it is not a fully dedicated eCommerce website builder. But there’s nothing taking away from the fact that Wix is still one of the best ways of creating an online store, only next to Shopify. If you are thinking about how Wix has been able to achieve such status, despite not being a fully dedicated eCommerce website builder, we have got the answer.
Cheaper than Shopify
No processing fees upon using third party payment gateways.
Easy to use drag and simple interface
Premium Plans support single site
Not best suited for large scale online stores
Does not include eCommerce features
Comes with annoying ads
Priced at $23/mo.
Connect your own domain
20GB Storage Space
Priced at $27/mo.
35GB Storage Space
Professional Logo file
Priced at $49/mo.
50GB Storage Space
First Priority VIP support
First of all, Wix is one of the best options available for beginners. If you are a pro looking to create an online store of a large scale, you should not look at anything but Shopify. But it is the simplicity of Wix that makes it beginner-friendly and anyone can get hold of this App in no time. There will be no time wasted in learning the app and delaying the process of creation of your online store. You can start creating your website right from the word go with least or no learning curve.
Wix comes with a drag-and-drop interface where you can just add elements to any page of your website just by dragging and dropping them. And what makes things easier is the live view of all the changes that you make in real-time. This is really a cool feature to have as you will not have to preview the changes altogether, instead see every element you edit when you are making the change.
If there is something that we love about Wix over Shopify, it is the fact that there is absolutely no processing fee or commission to be paid to Wix upon third party payment gateways being used to carry on the payments. Wix comes with 500+ overall templates and you can choose from a wide range of eCommerce templates that are of high quality. And if your website is not targeting the customer of only one region, your website must be present in multiple languages too. With this, you can serve the customers belonging to more regions. Only a few site builders come with this feature. Fortunately, this feature is included in Wix too where you can have different versions of your site based on different languages.
Inventory management and Order Management is also the forte of Wix. Wix makes the inventory management very easy and helps you keep ‘everything behind the scenes’ well organized. Wix supports all type of products, there is absolutely no restriction on the type of product you want to sell. You can sell anything, even tickets, audio, software, video files, and more. Just like how Wix makes the behind the scenes process well organized, it also makes your product page look great and visually appealing.
You can add up to 15 product images. You can add unlimited products to your website or you can import all the products in bulk.
When it comes to security, even the basic plan gets you an SSL certificate on your website, leaving a good impression among your customers and making your website more trusted.
Now let us shift our attention towards how well the Wix plans are priced. When it comes to regular websites, Wix plans are priced starting from $13/mo. But as you are looking to create an eCommerce website, you must go for the eCommerce oriented plans. The Business Basic plan comes at $23/mo. The second plan in the line-up, Business Unlimited is what we recommended as it costs only $4 more than the business Basic plan at $27/mo., but comes with more extras. The Business VIP plan is the costliest plan that comes with lots of advanced features that can make your website reach newer heights. You can connect your own domain if you choose any of these plans. You get a whopping 50GB of storage space if you choose the Business VIP plan.
Weebly is another option you have if you want to create a small or medium scale online store for your business. Just like Wix, Weebly is also not a dedicated eCommerce website builder. Despite being a multi-purpose website builder, Weebly has grown leaps and bounds when compared to many dedicated eCommerce website builders. Weebly is the perfect choice for beginners as it does not include any complex setup or maintenance.
Ease of use
Enhanced security with SSL
Support for a different type of products
Comes with Shipping and Tax calculator
Comes with best in class customer support
No integration with the social media channels
Basic plan misses out on must-have features
Weebly service is platform-locked
Does not include eCommerce features
Free SSL security
Pro: Priced at $12/mo.
Free Domain Name
Business: Priced at $25/mo.
Automatic Tax Calculator
When it comes to creating an online store with Weebly, you get one of the easiest and simplest interfaces. Nowhere will you get lost in technical stuff. You get a drag and drop interface to put together all the elements you need in your online store. You also get responsive themes that can make your website highly optimized for mobile users. The specialized eCommerce themes integrate seamlessly with your entire website and with these themes are guaranteed to make your product page more attractive and user-friendly.
Talking about inventory management, you can add the products very easily and create perfect sync between your website and stockroom gets easier and less messy with the simple and neat look of Weebly. You can also add different product variants with the products. The cart system is also very efficient. Weebly can recognize the type of product a user has purchased and displays the shipping details very accurately as per the type of product. For example, if a digital product is purchased and is delivered to customer’s email instantly, shopping products will be delivered in a certain number of days is really unprofessional and awkward as the product is already delivered. With Weebly, you are free from these kinds of situations.
Users can give ratings to the products that are delivered and along with traditional star-based ratings, Weebly lets the users give video-based reviews. This will really come handy in gaining the trust of potential customers.
One let down about Weebly that the support for PayPal payment is included only in the high-end plan. All the plans below the highest plan only support card payments. Weebly comes with Shipping and Tax calculator too.
When it comes to pricing, Weebly’s eCommerce plans start at $12/mo. and you are offered a Free Domain right from the basic plan. You also get $100 Google ads credit with all the packs namely Pro, Business, and Business Plus. The pro plan is priced at $12, Business plan at $25, and Business Plus at $38/mo. You get Free SSL with all three plans and unlimited storage too. If you want an inventory management option and other advanced features, you are recommended to choose either of the Business and Business Plus plans. You get very few features in the Pro plan where user reviews, Tax and shipping calculator, Coupon codes are given a miss.
When it comes to customer support, all three plans are given equal importance and SEO is also provided with all three plans. You can reach the customer support team via Live chat, email, Forums, or Phone call.
And after testing all three tools, we recommend these three over any other eCommerce website builders and we have chosen these three as our recommendations keeping in mind all the aspects that you must need in an eCommerce website builder. Any online store builder that is excellent in only one of those aspects barely qualifies as a good eCommerce website builder. You must choose an option that excels in most of the aspects mentioned above.
As you now know, Shopify is the most advanced and fully dedicated eCommerce website. Hence it is the most recommended to anyone. But you are just a beginner looking for a simple tool to create an online store of a smaller scale, you can choose either Wix or Weebly. These three builders are offered as complete packages and you will not need any other tool if you choose any of these builders, everything from creating your store to managing can be done with ease and at reasonable prices.