From creating your website, setting up product pages, and learning how best to sell to your online customer base, there are a lot of moving parts to manage with web stores. We’ve used just about every ecommerce site builder out there. Based on our experiences, Wix is the best option for most online stores. It’s the most beginner-friendly site builder we’ve used and it comes with a free domain for the first year, helpful features for growing your web store sales, and no extra transaction fees.
An ecommerce storefront-builder provides the simplest way to create an online store as it offers ease of use of an ecommerce site but without the need for having your own site since you could be selling your products on ecommerce marketplaces (such as eBay, Amazon, and Etsy). However, this implies you’ll never be the true owner of your storefront, which is never good news. You can go in the opposite direction and opt for an extravagant end-to-end ecommerce solution, but it won’t give you much more power over your online store compared to ecommerce marketplaces.
The only way to break free is to have your own site and find fitting tools to help you turn it into a full-fledged ecommerce store. With an ecommerce website builder, you can turn your existing site into an ecommerce store, or build it from the ground up. Either way, if you choose the right site builder, it will supply you with all the tools you need and let you customize your store to your heart’s content without the need to understand lines of code. They are superb solutions for individuals and small businesses alike, but choosing the right ecommerce site builder can be a challenge, especially for new users. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve made a checklist for an ecommerce site builder you should check out before making your choice.
Of course, every eCommerce website will have different needs. Still, a great website builder should have features like a blogging system, mobile-friendly designs, an array of high-quality royalty-free images, a great shopping cart, and the ability to include third-party marketing tools.
It should also include customizable SEO options. A good website builder should have SEO features to allow easier on-site optimization. You should be able to update your meta elements easily and get a sitemap to the search engines.
2. Easy of use
As an ecommerce site builder is a tool that is typically made with ease of use in mind, it should feel straightforward to use, even for non-tech-savvy users. However, although these site-building tools generally require no coding skills, with different builders you’ll get different levels of simplicity. The first thing you’re likely to notice on a site builder is its user interface (UI), and since you’ll be spending plenty of your time on it, make sure it’s as clear and as simple as it gets.
Some of the common traits that user-friendly site builders share are a drag-and-drop functionality, and an intuitive editor, which won’t only make the site creation and customization simpler but also a lot faster. You should also check out the range of ready-made templates, available themes, and check if there are plenty of resources for site customization in general.
3. Customer Support
This is a pivotal factor to consider when choosing a website builder. You should be able to get in touch with the support staff swiftly should you encounter any issues when building your site and after you’ve established it.
Ensure that there is 24/7 support available because having someone to call and fix your problems at any time is a huge factor. You could lose a lot of traffic and sales with just a few minutes of downtime.
An easy way to see whether the website builder’s customer support is excellent or not is by looking at the user’s review. Compare them and see which has the best reviews.
4. Mastering marketing
Once you finally set up your online store, because of the crowded and strongly competitive environment it can take a while before your store gets to shine and sales surge. This is where ecommerce marketing can come in handy, so be sure to check if the ecommerce site builder you’re considering supports some of the crucial ecommerce marketing tools. If you’re not entirely sure what ecommerce marketing is, let’s go through its critical points.
5. Free Trial
It’s a great advantage if website builders offer a free trial. This is so you can test out how the builder works and what kind of features it brings. This also reduces your need to learn about them because you get free time to explore around the builder. The free trial duration varies, but you usually don’t need more than two days to go through everything in there.
Should a website builder have no free trial, check whether they provide an open plan or money-back guarantee policy. With the policy, you’ll at least have a guarantee that if you’re not satisfied with the website builder and the services, you can request a refund.
6. Themes, templates, and overall customizability
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you’ll probably want your online store to satisfy the aesthetic criteria of even the most nit-picky visitors, at least to some degree. Without falling into the trap of thinking that quantity is more important than quality, we must highlight the importance of having a wide variety of themes to choose from. To bring a sense of originality to your online store (and make it stick out among the competition to boot), you should find a suitable theme, set the color palette, and create a captivating mood.
Ecommerce site builders come in all shapes and sizes, but most of them won’t allow you to go beyond web design and basic customization, so don’t expect to get something like access to the theme’s source code. So, if you wish to customize the code, you’re better off choosing one of the open-source ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce (a plugin for WordPress), Magento, or PrestaShop. One of the biggest benefits of using open source software stems from the commitment of their communities which are bending over backward to create new plugins, extensions, themes, templates, and even offering support to other members of the community.
7. Simple Checkout Process
Over 55% of users leave your website at the cart. This is due to the checkout process being too complicated and lengthy. When choosing a website builder, see whether they provide a simple checkout process or whether you can also customize it.
An excellent checkout page should include an order summary where you only ask for the necessary information to users to make payment. See if the builder has plenty of payment methods included too for quicker checkout.
8. Consider the cost
Before getting the ball rolling, you’ll want to set the budget for your ecommerce store. For a start, consider the total cost involved in the creation of your store such as domain name registration, web hosting services, and (finally) the ecommerce site builder.
Ecommerce-powered site builders can cost anything from $5 to $50 per month, but most popular web hosting providers tend to throw some sort of novice-friendly site builder into the bundle with their hosting solutions (such as HostGator, DreamHost, and SiteGround). This can be a strategy to bring down the cost a bit since you’ll be paying for the hosting solution in any case.
As mentioned in section three, a good site builder should have an SSL certificate included for security in your site, including when users are making payments online where they need to share sensitive information.
Ensure that your website builder is PCI compliant, meaning they follow specific requirements that are needed to ensure that the process, storing, and transmitting of the credit card information is done in a secure environment.
When choosing a platform for your website, you should look for flexibility and customization, even after launching your online store. Your business will expand, so you’ll need a scalable and flexible platform to comply with your increasing requirements.
Also, take a look at the website builder’s hosting plan, should they provide one, which they usually do. I would suggest using a hosting plan that allows for easy scalability, for example, VPS hosting or cloud hosting.
The Top 8 Best Ecommerce Website Builders
Wix eCommerce — Best for getting a store up and running in minutes
Zyro — Best ecommerce site builder for beginners
BigCommerce — Best site builder for multichannel selling
Squarespace — Highest quality website templates
Square Online — Best integration with brick-and-mortar
Shopify — Most customizable ecommerce site builder
Weebly — Most affordable for small businesses
Shift4Shop — Best enterprise-level builder at rock bottom prices