Guide to Store Builders

What's the Best Store Builder?

I talked to 917 store builder users and discovered Shopify is most recommended, bandwidth overage charges are (still) a problem and most users don't want to rely on a developer.

My work is supported by affiliate commissions (more info) | Published Dec 21 2016



Customer Satisfaction


People Like
  • App Store & Features — "The best thing is that you don't need a developer to add features.... there's a ton of apps available", "Their partner eco-system is best", "Shopify has any feature under the sun— if you think you need it, someone already created an app.", "Access to Shopify Apps is great", "there's heaps of third party apps you can integrate easily that I believe are essential to growing a business", "so many third party apps, templates that other platforms aren't popular enough to have", "there are many apps that can help with customization issues.", "there are a ton of great third party apps for extended functionality."

  • Easy to Use— "Easy to setup without having specific skills", "intuitive user interface", "simple to use", "it is very easy to start selling online", "easy UI, pretty intuitive", "the interface is excellent for managing e-commerce.", "it's really clean and easy to manage", "Shopify provides a very straightforward way to add products, edit options, and to apply different themes.", "more than anything, very simple", "Its simple and intuitive”, “very user friendly”, “super user friendly for none computer guys like myself “, “The backend is exceptional.”

Shopify screenshot 1 Shopify screenshot 2 Shopify screenshot 3

People Like
  • Easy to Use — "It's very easy to use.", "The ecommerce is so easy to use.", "It's easy to configure, simple to add, delete and modify our inventory and most importantly it allows us to easily keep track of our ins and outs with helpful metrics and sales graphs.", "It's very easy to set up.", "The user interface is easy to use.", "commerce is really nice and easy to set up", "Love the interface, very easy to work with.", "I find it easy to use.", "It was pretty easy to setup and has been a snap to maintain.", "It's all pretty smooth and easy.", "It's super easy", "I’ve tried drupal, wordpress… The interface and creative ability of SquareSpace is much superior."

  • Templates - "Has some great templates for a good looking website.", "Squarespace is an easy way to get a great looking site.", "The sites are beautiful.", "The templates and editing features on the blog and site are super easy.", "The thing I like most is the beautiful and easy templates"

People Don't Like
  • Limited — "The only thing i would say they need to improve is allowing more than 1 currency on the e commerce site which currently is not available." , "It works pretty good for basic sales of items", "There are some limitations in terms of customizing but they are minor.", "If you are using it as is and just need the limited feature set that it comes with, it’s a great option.", "Overall, it’s great for putting a few simple products up, but if you need anything beyond their default cart options, get a proper Squarespace developer or someone to set up a Shopify site for you. ", "It is really a great place to start but unfortunately a place that is easily transitioned out of once the business begins to grow."

  • Shipping — "My partners has had some concerns with the shipping aspect though.", "Yes I would recommend it but Squarespace needs to have calculated shipping for all the plans.", "the shipping is still something I wish was a little easier", "The only thing I would say is that, for me, the shipping options are more limited than I would like.", "There are some features I wish were better implemented in the base package (like shipping integration for international orders), but I'd recommend it."

Squarespace screenshot 1 Squarespace screenshot 2 Squarespace screenshot 3

People Like
  • Great for Stores Just Starting — "I would recommend Big Cartel for smaller shops.", "I would recommend it, especially start up users.", "It's a great place to start out!", "We’d recommend it for similar businesses, especially those just getting started.", "It is a great platform for something really simple and was very easy to set-up.", "Big Cartel is great for beginning stages of a store, we're actually entertaining moving to a new platform right now.”, “its quite good for a small company or start up for sure.”, “I'm finding that in the early stages of the business it's extremely handy for stock listing and very straight forward to use”

  • Easy to Use — "It's very easy to use.", "It's very easy to use, navigate and customize the shopfront.", "I am particularly fond of the backend and the admin tools, it makes maintaining and shipping products a breeze.", "It's super simple, and really user friendly.", "I'm not savvy so it works well for my skill level.", "Easy to setup and .... easy to control and set inventory.", "They make it so easy to have a beautiful website.", "For just a few items, Big Cartel totally gets the job done and is user friendly. "

  • Price — "I only have to pay $9.99 a month for Big Cartel. That's a huge perk for me.", "Pros: Low price point and easy to use.", "The rates are the lowest considering all the things you're able to do.", "I have found the cost is a lot better than my Etsy store", "You get a great platform for a great price.", "Compared to Etsy the fees are ridiculously cheap!", "One fee a month, no item fees per listing... There is an option to open a store for free with 5 listings. This is an amazing feature.", "Their prices are also very reasonable."

People Don't Like
  • Limited — "Cons: lacking in features.", "It is limited in terms of themes... You always know when you're on a Big Cartel site.", "It does most what I expect of it, but also has limitations.", "The one problem I have is that the only options for receiving payments are Paypal or Stripe.", "If you want more of an interactive site with blogs and videos and what not I think there's better options out there.", "We are currently moving over to Shopify because we have maxed out Big Cartels limited 300 item store capacity. That is the only downside of Big Cartel.”, “You are limited by what Big Cartel allow you to do. For example there are certain promotions that I would like to do but currently Big Cartel have no way of allowing it.”

Big Cartel screenshot 1 Big Cartel screenshot 2 Big Cartel screenshot 3

People Like
  • Plugins & Extensions — "Many useful plugins for it.", "So many features.", "There are plenty of add-ons with it to customize shop as we need.", "Fully customizable", "The plugin architecture is great.", "It also has a lot of plug-ins", "it's very good if you are looking for something that can do anything... there are extensions available, coders who can write plugins.", "I'm a fan of the plugins because it allows for a lot of customization"

  • Ecosystem — "The ecosystem is well supported.", "Great support with a whole online community dedicated to it.", "I'm always able to find the answer to any question I had either through the official WooCommerce knowledge base or in the community forums."

People Don't Like
  • Can require developers — "Custom modifications do require somewhat advanced developer knowledge.", "Woocommerce does require knowledge in website one point it became extremely slow and I couldn’t figure out where the problem was.", "What should be native often requires plugins or coding.", "Very customizable with some code editing.", "WooCommerce definitely requires a solid knowledge of the inner workings.", "There definitely is a learning curve but it is not too hard to master.", "It had to be highly customized for us by our website developers."

WooCommerce screenshot 1 WooCommerce screenshot 2 WooCommerce screenshot 3

People Like
  • Extensions — "There are plenty of extensions (free and for purchase).", "TONS of extensions to make it really awesome.", "Opencart Extensions... have been very valuable and reliable.", "Customisation does need IT capabilities though.", "The software is only as good as it's implementers."

People Don't Like
  • Often Requires a Developer — "It took some php programming to get it completely as we wished, but now it works fine and suits my goals well.", "If you do not have someone capable working behind the scenes, it would be difficult to manage.", "I'd recommend it if and only if you have at least some knowledge web programming (PHP, Javascript, XML, MySQL, etc.).", "Not recommended for anyone without some web programming knowledge.", "With the right technical staff, yes I would.", "If you would be a serious user I can recommend OC but also I would recommend to hire a developer to make all custom improvements.", "Yes i would recommend it is a good platform with cheap extensions.", "There is also a large amount of high quality extensions.", "Tons of plugins from free to paid."

  • Extensions can create bugs — "When you mod it, it does amazing things but is super finicky.", "Buying and installing extensions is a bad idea... it's not a plug and play procedure.", "As we grew bigger there have been headaches mostly to do with 3rd party extensions clashing with each other."

People Like
  • Customer Support — "The Jumpseller team is also very helpful... They'll you through the process of making website [changes] so you can really understand.", "Technical support is great always helpful and fast.", "The best thing it has excellent service, very fast and efficient.", "Support has worked well so far, when we've submitted a query we've got qcuik feedback.", "fast and good email support", "The customer service is very responsive and helpful.", "The email response time is super fast. I have one question/doubt regarding anything from design to dns configure and they replly in less than 15 minutes!"

  • Chilean and International Stores — "Our store is based in Chile, and another feature we appreciated is that it had full integration with local payment systems.", "Has local credit card options (in our country)", "recently they integrated the price list of one of the shipping companies most used in our country", "the good thing is the translation tool", "I can tell you that we have selected Jumpseller because we are selling in Chile and the store was very well integrated with the most popular payment methodes, curier etc."

People Like
  • Easy to Use — "It is easy to setup.", "Easy to maintain", "Fairly user friendly.", "They really made everything so simple to make extremely intuitive changes quickly.", "It's easy to work with", "I would recommend it for a new user because of the ease of use to build a store.", "Easy to use and have had no issues."

People Don't Like
  • Limited — "There are design limitations though.", "It is lacking in several business customization respects.", "I wish there were a little more customization allowed.", "There are some design limitations unless you know HTML.", "Product is good but many limitations.", "I like it but it does have limitations.", "It has some limitations but I have been able to work around them.”, “ It does has its limitations on customizing though.”

  • Credit Card Processor — "It would be better if it allowed shoppers to use a credit card to place an order even if we didn't use their approved credit card processor.", "We were happy with them for years and then out of the blue, the payment processors affiliated with Go Daddy dropped us... ", "We will be switching all of our stores from GoDaddy in the near future is because it will not allow you to use a merchant service of your choice. You are forced to use STRIPE."

GoDaddy  screenshot 1 GoDaddy  screenshot 2 GoDaddy  screenshot 3

People Like
  • Support — "Tech support has always been responsive and friendly.", "Good customer support", "I have been able to live chat or call with questions without issue", "The support is excellent.", "very quick responds to any of our requests", "Their support is very good.", "Their customer service is absolutely the very best.", "you can always call them 24/7 if you need any kind of support and it doesn't cost any extra money", "Their tech support is awesome.", "tech support has always been responsive and friendly.”, “Core Commerce’s service is good. It has a Mom and Pop feel to it.”

  • Price — "Price for the features and benefits given is exceptional and no one we’ve spoken with can come close to the value", "It is a very cost effective solution", "It is also very affordable.", "I have yet to find another platform that offers the same value as Core Commerce (at least for our particular business).”, “Prices are good.”

People Don't Like
  • Outdated — "Technologies is old and they are very slow to update it.", "It feels like year 2003.", "Outdated and uninspiring admin panel.", "They've been a bit behind the times for integrations (still no Bitcoin for example)", "they are using an antiquated system that doesn’t bode well for tie in structures for the futures."

  • Difficult to Use — "I do find the GUI to be somewhat frustrating and un-intuitive.", "It is annoying when you [have] to update each thing in multiple areas.", "It is not intuitive or user friendly", "The product was flaky, flexible but badly designed in lots of areas.", "Control panel sucks"

Core Commerce screenshot 1 Core Commerce screenshot 2 Core Commerce screenshot 3

People Like
  • Customer Support — "I emailed the president [of BigCommerce] at 1am requesting help... within 10 minutes [he] was on it with compassion and ready to help. They have bent over backward for me.", "They provide excellent customer support.", "If nothing else they seem to have great customer service.", "More than anything, we care about customer service and BigCommerce provides excellent customer service.", "Technical support has been great.", "Great support.", "Their tech support is 24/7 and is very responsive to our questions.", "Customer service... is very helpful."

People Don't Like
  • Price — "Their pricing structure is punitive for successful businesses...This is surely a recurring theme if you’ve reached out to many BC website users who have grown their site.", "A bit pricey when your sales hit over 300k a year.", "[Recently] my monthly payments increased from $25 to $250 due to my business exceeding the annual sales of their intermediate plan.", "Because of our sales volume, BigCommerce frequently increases our monthly fees based on increasing sales. This has become very expensive.", "A bit pricey.", "We feel it is overpriced these days.", "Their pricing structure makes no sense bur been with them for 7 years.", "I would recommend BigCommerce. Pricing is a bit high though.", "I personally think the pricing is a little steep."

BigCommerce screenshot 1 BigCommerce screenshot 2 BigCommerce screenshot 3

People Don't Like
  • Not for non-developers — "Not as friendly for a non-developer, or an individual who just wanted to set up shop on their own and didn't have a technical background.", "Ubercart works well as long as you have an experienced programmer.", "Please note that it would require a developer that knows Drupal, as many aspects needed customization.", "[I would recommend it ] if you're comfortable with Drupal."

  • Not always easy to use — "Ubercart is OK, but it is hard to customize.", "The learning curve is quite steep.", "It can be a bit tricky to get your store looking just the way you want", "Ubercart isn't the easiest to setup or work with.", "The only disadvantage of Ubercart is the complex configuration of the store system", "Its not as plug and pray as Shopify."

People Like
  • Easy to Use — "the ecommerce site is beyond simple to use.", "I would recommend it at one level - it's easy to use, I can do all the building and updating myself, and so that's good.", "easy to use", "easy to build and maintain", "it is friendly user, easy to set up and modify.", "It's super easy to use and it seems like everyone who's ordered from me has also done so with ease.", "If you want a simple store front, it's pretty straightforward, easy and cheap. ", "it is easy to set up", "It's easy to use and user friendly.", "it was pretty intuitive to set up on Wix"

People Don't Like
  • Limited — "It is basic", "There are some limitations with shipping and accounting (Sending to Quickbooks etc.)", "a little limited in some options", "I have not been able to make it work in the way I need.", "I cannot update the inventory amount.", "We had so many different options that the configuration of the store/products did not allow us to do.", "We also wanted to be able to get customers reviews and could not do it.", "My main complaint is lack of customization options, for example, not being able to display a price per pound.", "If you want a variety of options and a wide range of modifications, it is not ideal."

Wix screenshot 1 Wix screenshot 2 Wix screenshot 3

People Like
  • Ease of Use — "It is very easy to use", "It was easy to use without web design experience.", "it is basic and easy to use", "I have enjoyed the ease of Weebly and what you can accomplish with the tools.", "It is extremely easy for me to use.", "I'd recommend it because it is so easy to setup and track inventory", "this one of the easiest [ecommerce companies] I have used", "I do like the online store with Weebly because of the ease of use", "Weebly is really easy to us"

People Don't Like
  • Be Wary of 3rd Party Weebly Hosts — "It is offered through MacHighway, who I use for my hosting, so there were some glitches in the beginning that probably wouldn’t have been there if I’d gone straight through Weebly", "Just make sure you buy the Weebly subscription directly through and not through a reslleer, because I lost a whole website that way.", "I would recommend it but only through the Weebly Host.", "The B.S. part is that since day one Ipower (a 3rd party Weebly host) claimed I was getting an ultra premium package but was only paying for basic. I would go to edit a product and nothing worked. Call customer support they tell me I need to up grade. This has happened to me twice in 3 years with them. I'm hoping they get stuck with a class action suit for fraud.", "IPage is my host for Weebly. Because of this, I don’t have access to all the features Weebly offers.", "Full access to all the weebly features would sort that at once, but iPage (maybe I should change) want to lock me in for 3 years and pay the full amount up front!"

  • Limited Features — "If you want a more customizable tool, then this might not work for you.", "Weebly is missing some of the critcal things that we want from an online store.", "I am hoping that they have, or will, come up with an automatic shipping calculation.", "The only hiccup is when I need to change my prices-I have a lot of inventory, and I have found that the easiest (relatively speaking) way to do this is to change each one individually", "you can't do everything design wise on it", "It was perfect for me at first, but I have grown out of it very quickly [because of limited features].", "the Weebly platform is not scalable... there is no element to customize your cart.", "the shipping is a problem because it can't be adjusted for lighter, heavier or multiple items."

Weebly screenshot 1 Weebly screenshot 2 Weebly screenshot 3

People Like
  • Highly Customizable — "We have complete control over our Magento store and have customized it extensively to meet our needs. That's what I like most about it.", "The amount of customizations and extensions available are endless.", "It has unparalleled level of customization and freedom", "It has a lot of great customization features.", "It's pretty powerful."

People Don't Like
  • Difficult to Use — "Probably the steepest learning curve.", "It's very expensive to get changes made.", "Magento is overkill for what I need to do on my site.", "User interface is not as easy as it could be.", "It can be a real pain sometimes.", "Complicated to set up.", "It's got a steep learning curve.", "Magento has a huge learning curve.", "It breaks for no reasons and it breaks if you add anything to the site.", "Always something going wrong for no apparent reason."

  • Often Requires Professional Help — "You will need a good php programmer if you intend to add anything to it beyond the default install.", "If one wants to really change Magento one needs an expert.", "Needs a good specialist to partner with to get the best out of it.", "I would recommend it as long as ... you have a true Magento CERTIFIED developer to hold their hand the entire way and to create their site and work with. ", "Magento is good if you're a web developer and have coding skills."

Magento screenshot 1 Magento screenshot 2 Magento screenshot 3

People Don't Like
  • Bandwidth — "If you read the forums one problem that continually arises, and one that I have, is bandwidth. Seems that I'm always going over my bandwidth even though I have relatively few products and dump files regularly.", "3dcart charges for bandwidth so serving lots of digital products from your server may not be a great idea depending on your budget.", “They charge you for data, and it adds up.”, “it tends to use a lot of bandwidth. My store doesn't have a huge amount of traffic (yet!) but I still go over my plan just about every month.“

  • Customer Support — "Their comments are snarky, their help is judgemental in that they always place blame on the customer and it can take up to a week for them to solve a problem.", ""Customer support has a laissez-faire attitude.", "I have to really keep on them when I open a ticket, or I may not get a response for days.", "I would say the biggest con has been customer service.", "I would characterize them as almost disrespectful.", "Their lack of support [was surprising].”, “The tech support also can not help even with the most basic HTML questions”, “Technical support on line isn’t the best.”, “The help line is not very helpful. If their is a problem such as the system stops taking orders or accepting credit cards they assume it's a problem on your end.”, “Their live support sucks.”

  • Difficult to Use — "I feel the product is... terribly cumbersome.", "The admin interface makes it very difficult to find what settings I'm looking for.", "It is awkward and not very user friendly.", "My website is with 3dcart but it is overwhelming.”, “It is a little quirky in the back end”, “I personally find it difficult to make even simple changes to.“, “Some of it is not very intuitive so you have to keep clicking around until you remember where everything is.”

3dcart screenshot 1 3dcart screenshot 2 3dcart screenshot 3

People Like
  • Modules — "It has quite a lot of additional modules.", "It has loads of modules" , "Lots of additional modules and functionalities to add.", "A lot of modules", "They have a lot of free and already installed modules.", "There are a lot of free modules.", "Large offer of modules."

People Don't Like
  • Difficult to Use — "You need to be a quite good geek to understand everything.", "We encountered and still are encountering lots of problems with Prestashop.", "Prestashop isn't as user friendly as others are nowadays.", "The admin panel is not user friendly.", "I don't recommend it for a beginner or if you don't have many technical skills."

  • Buggy — "I hate it... It's buggy and impossible to upgrade easily to newer versions.", "It's kind of an unstable-slow system for me but I think in the near future it will be more stable and fast.", "We have lots of problems with Prestashop.", "No I will not recommend it, buggy as hell.", "No i would not recommend it, too heavy and too slow.", "The back-end pages sometimes take an age to load - even for simple stuff."

PrestaShop screenshot 1 PrestaShop screenshot 2 PrestaShop screenshot 3

People Like
  • Customer Support is Prompt — "Whenever we've needed support, their help systems are very responsive", "Spark Pay technical support is excellent", "Very responsive for help.", "They have been responsive to any needs I've had", "I find their customer service to be quite responsive.", "tech support is very responsive via phone or email", "They have been very responsive to helping out with general website questions and problems.",

People Don't Like
  • Bandwidth Charges — "The main thing I don't like are the extra bandwidth charges.", "Nailed with HUGE bandwidth charges.", "They are little hidden fees for going over your bandwidth account file storage, and product count if you don't keep an eye on them."

  • Difficult to Use — "Spark Pay is not simple!", "They have a ton of features built in—most of them half baked and don’t function 100%—which has led to frustration. ", "[Needs to] reduce the bloat in their software.", "Unless you have a designer and/or developer on staff – or at very least a very computer savvy non-techie, it's virtually impossible to understand Spark Pay.", "Their web editor is clumsy.", "Their platform is buggy.", "It is crazy complicated to make even some of the most mundane changes", "Their system bogs down so much that only the most minor of changes there are doable.", "Clunky UI, way too much complexity. Just a nightmare to deal with."

  • While Prompt, Customer Support can be Disappointing — "There service desk really isn’t one, they have no formal (or competent) escalation process.", "They are not nearly as responsive to fixing significant issues as they should be.", "I feel like there are a lot of tools that the platform has to offer but there are few resources available to teach you how to use them.", "Technical support is rather lacking. When you do finally get someone to answer the tickets they do a very minimal amount of work and effort to correct the problem."

Spark Pay screenshot 1 Spark Pay screenshot 2 Spark Pay screenshot 3

People Like
  • Good for Beginners — "Quick and easy... I think it's simplicity best suits to the light/new user.", "Great for people with no knowledge [of building a store].", "For someone with zero experience building a website I found their product to be so easy to navigate.", "I highly recommend it for beginners"

People Don't Like
  • Pricing — "Way to expensive.", "There are cheaper options out there that do the same thing.", "I liked Goodsie when I started with them 5 or 6 years ago, but their prices keep going up.", "Prices were hiked above what they should be so I am about to change.", "The price went from $15 to $30 / month not too long ago."

Goodsie screenshot 1 Goodsie screenshot 2 Goodsie screenshot 3

People Like
  • Customer Support — "Their technical support department people are top-notch... I'm extremely impressed with them.", "The [support] team at Volusion is knowledgeable and that is highly important.", "Their customer support is excellent", "Their support is superb", "Support is second to none", "There technical support team is also very good in helping fix any issues that we might have had."

People Don't Like
  • Bandwidth — "The one thing I can't stand is the amount of bandwidth they provide you with. [It] will easily be gone in a week if you have a lot of visitors.", "They don't have adequate bandwidth plans and they bill for bandwidth overages is highly irritating.", "Site traffic is pricey", "I originally used very large images for my products and received some rather stiff hosting fines for going over the stupidly low bandwidth level”, “the way they charge for bandwidth caused us to have obscene overage charged for months”

  • Expensive — "It is particularly expensive and the costs weren't clear [when we started].", "Once the site is built they nickel and dime you every little thing imaginable.", "I also used the Volusion SEO team and that was a joke. $1600 a month!", "Not the least expensive around.", I would caution new users to be aware of hidden costs... email addresses are extra. An SSL certificate is extra. A service to check the reliability of each credit card is extra. SEO and design services are phenomenally expensive.", "Going by the prices they charge for SEO packages they’re aiming at companies far larger than mine.", "If you want anything besides bare-bone offerings, everything else is available… for a price.”, ”I just wish it was a little cheaper.”, “Volusion keeps [the initial setup and customization] complicated hoping that you will pay them to do it for you”

  • Difficult to Use — "The back end is not user friendly.", "The UX is confusing and bloated, but i'm used to it.", "There is a learning curve, so it takes a while to get going and if you want customization be prepared to learn it yourself or pay some hefty fees.", "It's not straightforward and is prone to errors.", "If you change a font size within the text you then lose all other formatting, nothing major but annoying and time consuming.", "It's quite clunky to manage content and design", "There are random glitches throughout the site which have problem cost me thousands in abandoned carts.", "One thing that is hard for me is manipulating website elements. GoDaddy was easier for me."

Volusion screenshot 1 Volusion screenshot 2 Volusion screenshot 3

Categories of Store Builders

While customer satisfaction tells an important story, it's not the whole story. For example, depending on what you're looking for, a certain category of ecommerce software might be most useful:

Category Examples Hosting Who is it for? Cost
Full SaaS Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, Magento Included. Small - large stores. Monthly fee.
Simple SaaS Squarespace, Big Cartel, GoDaddy, Weebly, Wix Included. Small stores. Monthly fee.
Website Builder Squarespace, Weebly, Wix. Included. Small stores. Monthly fee.
Open Source Prestashop, OpenCart, Ubercart, WooCommerce You have to host it. Medium - large stores. Free but often with paid extensions.

So depending on your needs, certain categories may be more appropriate.

For example, is important to you that you are running your own host? You may want to try an Open Source store builder.

Are you just starting out in ecommerce and want a simple platform to try selling a few products? A Basic SaaS company or Website Builder will be a simple, easy place to start.

Note: Open Source scored the lowest in customer satisfaction (if you calculate aggregate customer satisfaction per category).

App Stores are the Future

One thing I repeatedly heard from Shopify users is that they loved the Shopify app store:

"Shopify has any feature under the sun- if you think you need it, someone already created an app."
"there's heaps of third party apps you can integrate easily that I believe are essential to growing a business"
"so many third party apps, templates that other platforms aren't popular enough to have"

Ecommerce is deceptively complex. You may not realize it, but mature online stores need to cover a wide variety of uses: taxes, automatic inventory, email notifications, shipping integrations and much more.

Packing all of these features into the core software will make it bloated and complex quickly. But an app store fixes this problem by allowing for a simple core that can be extended through apps.

Store builders with app stores (Shopify, BigCommerce, OpenCart, WooCommerce) are much better situated for the future than ecommerce software without it.

Beware of Bandwidth Overage Charges

A surprising amount of companies still ding users with bandwidth overage charges (surprising because that shouldn't happen in 2016). Companies such as 3dcart, Spark Pay and Volusion (all on the lower end of the customer satisfaction rating) had users complain about unforeseen bandwidth charges.

So if you're comparing the pricing plans of ecommerce software, be aware that some costs are hidden in fine print.

“The way [Volusion] charges for bandwidth caused us to have obscene overage charged for months”
“[3dcart] tends to use a lot of bandwidth. My store doesn't have a huge amount of traffic (yet!) but I still go over my plan just about every month.“
“[Spark Pay] has little hidden fees for going over your bandwidth account file storage, and product count if you don't keep an eye on them.”

Be Wary of Confusing Interfaces

We've published a number of guides now (portfolio builders, landing page builders, website builders) and the world of ecommerce software seems especially plagued with confusing interfaces.

Many users complained that the ecommerce software was difficult to use. (While the companies that users found easy to use almost always had high a customer satisfaction rating).

So when trying choose ecommerce software, avoid feature and price shopping. Remember to consider confusing and difficult interfaces. You don't want to get stuck with a clumsy, frustrating editor.

Store builders such as Volusion can have confusing interfaces.

An example of a frustrating interface: Volusion's settings page- simply a long list of checkboxes for the user to wade through.

Some Store Builders Will Require a Developer

A common complaint was that some ecommerce software (such as Magento or Woocommerce) required a developer. If you're not a developer be aware of the expertise needed (the company reviews below will help you check).

Don't Be Afraid to Use a Website Builder for Ecommerce

Five years ago, it wouldn't have made sense to include Weebly, Wix and Squarespace in this list. They're all website builders that, at the time, didn't offer serious ecommerce functionality- other than partnering with a 3rd party provider (such as Ecwid) or offering embeddable Paypal buttons.

But that's changed. In the last few years Wix, Weebly and Squarespace have aggressively built out ecommerce solutions integrated with their website builder.

Mostly website builders offer solutions for the low-end of the market- while more sophisticated than their past efforts, their ecommerce solutions tend to be still quite limited- but for users already using a website builder, it might be worth it for them to stick with the website builder for ecommerce.

The Weebly product editor.

The Weebly product editor.

About this Guide

Customer satisfaction is the percentage of users that I surveyed that recommended the product. I talk to a minimum of 30 users / company in order to calculate the customer satisfaction. (If I'm not able to find 30 users, I don't include the company in our guide.)

I'm always trying to find ways to improve these guides so if you have any comments or suggestions please email me.

This guide was published Dec 21 2016.