Mar 22 2020

#Best #online #shop #platform-Best online shop platform

Best online shop platform

21 Top Ecommerce Platforms For UK Businesses: 2020 Comparison

Wondering which Ecommerce platform is best for your UK business? Below we look at and compare 21 of the top platforms (based on serahc volume) on the market to help you find the right one.

First we’ll take a look at prices and payment processing options, then we’ll look at each platform in more detail, highlighting the pro and cons of each one.

Ecommerce Platform Prices

The table below gives a brief overview of the price ranges of the most popular platforms. We’ve listed prices in the currency listed on the company’s website, which is why roughly half of them are priced in dollars rather than pounds.

Platform Cheapest Plan Most Expensive Plan* Free Trial?
$9 / month $299 / month 14 Days
£32.49 (+VAT) / month £541.66 (+VAT) / month 28 Days
$29.95 / month $299.95 / month 15 Days
Free $29.99 / month Free Plan
Free $3,417/month 30 Days
Free Free NA
Free Free NA
£39 / month £39 / month 14 Days
Free £99/month (+VAT) Free Plan
£0.15 item listing fee £0.15 item listing fee Setup is Free
£24.95 (+VAT) / month £69.95 (+VAT) / month 14 Days
$15 / month $135 / month 14 Days
Free $5,995 (lifetime license) Free Plan
£10.10 / month £15.57 / month Free Plan (ad supported)

£13 / month £37 / month 14 Days $29 / month $229 / month 15 Days $44.95 / month $199.95 / month 14 Days $19 / month $600 / month 15 days £14.99 (+VAT) / month £49.99 (+VAT) / month None £24.99 (+VAT) / month £59.99 (+VAT) / month 14 Days £9.99 (+VAT) /month £49.99 (+VAT) / month None

Please Note: The prices listed above were believed to be accurate at the time of writing (Dec 2017) However they are subject to change at any time. Moreover, prices were taken directly from each company’s website so may or may not include VAT and may or may not be based on annual billing.

Ecommerce Payment Processing Options & Rates

While monthly Ecommerce platform costs are important, you’re actually likely to spend more on credit and debit card processing fees once your store becomes even modestly successful.

This is also where the differences between platforms becomes a bit more complicated. Broadly speaking you’ll have two options: either go with a platform with integrated payment processing or go with one that uses an external payment processor (e.g. payment gateway, Paypal, Stripe, etc.)

The big advantage to using an integrated payment solution is that it makes set-up far easier, especially if you’re not technically savvy. It also means you only have to deal with one company for your entire Ecommerce experience. This allows you to focus on building your store rather than spending fiddling with payment settings. Shopify and EKM are the two most popular platforms with fully integrated payments.

The downside, is that most integrated payment solutions are not the cheapest option on the market. For example, Basic Shopify charges are 2.2% + 20p for card payments. This is lower than Paypal’s at 3.4% + 20p, but not as low as alternatives such as Stripe 1.4% + 20p (UK cards; international cards 2.9% + 20p).

However, by comparing merchant accounts and payment gateways on sites like ours (see form above) you may be able to find solutions that charge Shopify Pros:

  • 14-day free trial (with no credit card required)
  • Large range of apps and themes
  • Integrated payments makes accepting credit cards easy
  • Unlimited products on all plans
  • Pricing is clearly displayed

Shopify Cons:

  • Fees can add-up (e.g. monthly, payment processing, apps, theme, etc.)
  • Blogging platform not as advanced as WordPress
  • Can be difficult to migrate to a different platform down the road

Final Verdict: If you want an easy to set-up, all-in-one eCommerce solution, Shopify is worth trying since there is no upfront cost and no risk.

2. EKM

EKM Description: EKM was founded in 2002 and was the first cloud based eCommerce platform in the UK. On the surface EKM is quite similar to Shopify, but since they’re 100% UK based, they tend to be a bit more attuned to UK business needs.

They offer an all in one Ecommerce platform that includes everything you need to sell online, from your own domain name to the ability to take payments. They have over 150 themes, so your shop will look unique. Plus all Ecommerce features come standard with all plans, which means you don’t have to pay for expensive add-on apps.

They claim to power over 30,000+ Shops which have collectively generated £5 billion in sales worldwide. They also have a very impressive 9.4 out 10 on Trustpilot based on over 1,500 customer reviews.

Plans start from £32.49+VAT per month with no contract, and you can even try it free for 28 days through our special offer link. (Normally you only get 14 days free)

EKM Features:

  • All features included on all plans
  • 3 Month Account Manager to help you get your shop up and running
  • Free Domain & SSL
  • Unlimited products
  • UK Based Support
  • Payments included
  • Hosting included in price of all plans
  • No transaction fees
  • Ability to add your own WordPress blog to your site
  • Free live chat feature
  • Free 033 number
  • 28 day free trial

EKM Pros:

  • Upfront pricing that really includes everything (no hidden charges or add-on costs) starting from £32.49+VAT per month.
  • Great Trustiplot reviews (9.4 out of 10 based on over 1,500 reviews)
  • Powerful range of features included as standard
  • Free domain name, SSL certificate and payment processing included
  • Free account manager to help you set-up and market your shop.
  • 28 day free trial

EKM Cons:

  • Transaction fees for payment processing are not the cheapest (1.99%-2.49%), but you can use your own payment gateway if you want.
  • Prices for all plans are not the cheapest on the market, but they do include all features, so may work to be cheaper in the long run.
  • Since they are a UK company, they charge VAT on all plans
  • A few customers have complained about support issues, but EKM seem to be quick to follow up and try and resolve problems.
  • Plan pricing is based on how much you sell, so if you sell more you do pay more

Final Verdict: EKM is probably the best Shopify alternative for UK businesses, and in many if not most cases should probably be their first choice. Considering you can try it free, it’s definitely worth a look.

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce Description: BigCommerce offers three solutions for businesses looking to build on online shop. For small businesses, their standard solution offers: “A sophisticated platform for increasing sales, streamlining your business and expanding to new channels.”

Larger businesses can opt for their Enterprise solution which offers an “ecommerce platform with superior reliability and advanced tools for running your whole business.” Finally, unlike the other platforms listed they also offer bespoke solution for B2B businesses and wholesalers.

Store Design is BigCommerce’s new Visual Merchandising Tool. This release adds capabilities for customising the theme’s look and feel which were previously handled as part of Theme Editor. This release lays the foundation for building the next iteration of visual merchandising capabilities (Widgets, Dynamic Widgets, CMS Promos, etc).

  • Efficiency: Merchant experience via centralized and streamlined theme management and capabilities.
  • Performance: Improved performance with changing settings and live previewing.
  • Cross-Browser Support: Developed and tested the functionality to ensure support across major browsers including IE, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, iPad (iOS), etc.

All solutions are fully hosted, all-in-one solutions and include integrated payments powered by Paypal (can use other providers). All their plans include Unlimited products, file storage and bandwidth with pricing based on the value of sales processed each year. And like many of the other platforms listed, you can try them free for 30 days (exclusive) before even giving your credit card.

BigCommerce Features:

  • No transaction fees
  • Easy set-up: Offers a launch guide and simple control panel, so users can have their site up and running in as little as nine steps.
  • Unlimited products, file storage and bandwidth
  • Unified channel management: Sell direct on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and Google Shopping.
  • Themes that are built to convert with a focus on great user experience and high conversion rates.
  • Responsive website with single page checkout
  • Free Sitewide HTTPs and Dedicated SSL
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Blog
  • Professional reporting tools
  • Can offer coupons, vouchers, discounts and gift cards

BigCommerce Pros:

  • Unlimited products, file storage and bandwidth even on standard plan
  • No transaction fees
  • Offer a bespoke B2B and wholesale solution
  • Large number of free apps to choose from
  • Feature a variety of positive press reviews on their website
  • 30 day free trial

BigCommerce Cons:

  • Pricing tied to sales volume, not features you need
  • Small selection of free themes, paid themes cost $145-$235
  • Integrated payment fees are quite high (but you can use your own solution)
  • Some paid apps are very expensive (e.g. $1,000+ per month)
  • Poor reviews on Trustpilot

Final Verdict: BigCommerce offer low upfront costs and a full range of features included with their standard account. Moreover, they’re one of the only platforms offering a solution specifically for B2B and whole businesses. However, you do need to watch the prices of some add-ons such as themes, apps and payments.

4. Big Cartel

Big Cartel Description: Big Cartel are one of the most popular Ecommerce platforms in the UK with a particualr focus on artists. They they have: “nearly a million makers, designers, musicians, and other artists using Big Cartel to build a unique online store and run a creative business.”

Their platform allows you to tweak the look of your store with a range of pre-made themes or give your store a completely custom look by tweaking the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript directly.

They claim their site is mobile friendly allowing you to manage your shop from any phone or tablet.

Big Cartel Features:

  • Focus on artists and makers.
  • Ability to easily tweak the design of your site via code
  • Real-time stats
  • SEO (Search engine optimised) site
  • Order and inventory management
  • Promotional tools
  • Mobile-friendly site
  • iPhone and iPad apps to handle in-person sales at craft fairs, concerts, and other live events.
  • Option to use your own domain
  • Can use Stripe, PayPal payments or both.

Big Cartel Pros:

  • Free plan (5 or fewer products)
  • No coding required (but also coder friendly)
  • Use of custom domain
  • Ability to sell digital products and in-person
  • Quick setup

Big Cartel Cons:

  • Pricing based on number of products you’re selling
  • Limited payment options (Currently only stripe or Paypal)
  • Limited number of themes (only 13 currently available)
  • Number of products per store currently limited to 300
  • Limited number of apps compare to Shopify

Final Verdict: While Big Cartel may be easier to set-up than Shopify, it lacks many of their advanced features. However, their free plan is perfect for small artists looking to get started selling online.

5. Magento

Magento Description: Magento is arguably the most powerful of the Ecommerce platforms on our list, but that comes at a cost. Their top-tied plans cost far more than the competitors, but in return allows you near total control over how your site looks and behaves.

Broadly speaking their are really two Magento options. The first is Magento Open Source (formerly Community Edition) which is their free and flexible, open source platform for developers and small businesses. However, it requires specialised Magento web hosting.

The second is Magento Commerce which is their cloud hosted solution and is definitely not free (not including the free 30-day trial).

Neither option will be as easy to set-up as the other solutions on the list, but conversely their are the only solution offering a full enterprise level Ecommerce solution.

Magento Features: (Commerce)

  • Promotions and Pricing
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Site and Content Management
  • Catalog Management
  • Catalog Browsing
  • Product Browsing
  • Checkout and Payments
  • Order Management and Customer Service
  • Customer Accounts & Loyalty
  • Support for Global Sites

Magento Pros:

  • A global ecosystem of 150,000 developers
  • Flexibility to customise and extend your platform
  • Magento Marketplace offers hundreds of extensions and themes.
  • The Magento Solution Partner Program can help you solve almost any issue
  • 300+ highly-trained solution partners

Magento Cons:

  • Not easy to set-up
  • Magento Commerce is by far the most expensive platform on our list
  • Have to use your own payment gateway
  • Open Source will require dedicated web hosting
  • They appear to be losing market share to competitors

Final Verdict: If you need a fully featured, Enterprise level Ecommerce platform, then Magento remains one of the best choices out there. However, most SMEs are probably better off using one of the cheaper platforms on our list.

6. WooCommerce

WooCommerce Description: By market share WooCommerce is now the most popular Ecommerce platform according to built with. 11% of the Top 10,000 Ecommerce websites (with a further 9% using WooCommerce Checkout) are using it.

WooCommerce is free and is built on WordPress. This gives you access to the largest possible range of plugins and themes of any online platform.

The main downside to the platform compared to Shopify or EKM is that it requires a bit more technical knowledge to set-up. You’ll need to find your own WooComerce hosting and payment gateway in addition to finding a website theme and adding custom plugins.

You also won’t have access to dedicated customer support as you would with a platform such as Shopify or EKM, which means if you have problems with your store you may be on your own.

WooCommerce Features:

  • Built on WordPress which runs 26% of the web.
  • Seamlessly integrates commerce with content.
  • Only add the options you want.
  • Use it to sell anything (physical products and digital downloads to subscriptions, content and even appointments)
  • Add unlimited products and users
  • Take unlimited orders
  • More than 400 official extensions
  • Edit any part of your site
  • Built-in blogging
  • Embed products, checkout and more on any page

WooCommerce Pros:

  • Cheapest option out of the box. Although does still require WooComerce hosting (from £2.75/mo).
  • Largest number of themes to choose from
  • Biggest range of plugins to choose from
  • No limits on what and how much you can sell
  • Ability to customise almost any part of your store and site

WooCommerce Cons:

  • Set-up is not as quick as Shopify or EKM
  • Requires more technical knowledge to set-up than some other platforms.
  • Have to use a third-party payment gateway
  • Many extensions still cost money
  • No support if you have issues with your site.

Final Verdict: If you know how to built a site in WordPress and are comfortable troubleshooting your own technical issues, WooCommerce offers you the greatest degree of flexibility and customisation at the lowest price of any of the platforms here.

7. PrestaShop

PrestaShop Description: PrestaShop is an open source ecommerce software platform that claims to have more than more than one million users. Similar to WooCommerce there is no cost to use the basic version of software. However, that comes with the trade-off of having to do more of the setup yourself, compared to Shopify or EKM.

At a minimum, you’ll need to sort out web hosting and acquiring your own payment gateway.

Both 1&1 and Sitegound have hosting packages specifically designed for PrestaShop to make this process slightly easier. (Note 1&1 is their preferred solution).

There are also other premium add-ons that extend the functionality of your PrestaShop (e.g. Amazon shopping cart, abandoned cart reminders, popups, etc.) but most of these are not free. Finally, they have premium experts and training modules to help you build almost any aspect of your online shop, but again these are not free.

PrestaShop Features:

  • Quickly create products to sell online
  • Choose which message to display for out-of-stock items
  • Track the inventory of each product
  • Configure the shipping methods
  • Add a product search box in your 404 error pages
  • Configure the one page checkout
  • Allow your customers to quickly create an account
  • Configure taxes depending on the locations
  • Configure coupons
  • Connect your store to social networks

PrestaShop Pros:

  • Cheap to get started, although you’ll still need PrestaShop hosting (from £0.99 a month).
  • 600 features with 1000+ modules and themes available
  • Premium online training available
  • Quickly build a custom template with the Starter Theme
  • Translated in 25+ languages

PrestaShop Cons:

  • Requires more technical knowledge to set-up than competitors such as Shopify and EKM
  • Premium training can be quite expensive
  • Many add-ons cost £100+
  • Need to find your own payment gateway solution
  • Has quite poor reviews on Trustpilot

Final Verdict: If you’re looking for a cheap, but powerful Ecommerce platform, then PrestaShop is definitely an option to consider. Just be aware that additional support and many add-ons are not free when comparing the price with other solutions.

8. Lightspeed

Lightspeed Description: Lightspeed is best known for their EPOS system, but they now also offer a complete e-commerce solution as well.

This is especially powerful if you’re planning to be an Omnichannel retailer (industry speak for selling on and off-line). Their platform includes everything you’d expect to find in an Ecommerce software solution from SEO friendly pages to marketing tools to custom themes and apps.

They claim to have 50,000+ customers in 100+ countries around the world, who process £12B+ worth of transactions annually. They also claim that the average growth experienced by Lightspeed customers in their first year of use is 20%.

Finally, they offer a free 14-day trial, so you can test it out before committing.

Lightspeed Features:

  • Comes with built-in SEO tools
  • Integrate with and sell directly over Facebook
  • Allow customer product reviews in your online store
  • Run promotions and create custom pricing for single items, groups of items
  • Take advantage of upsell and cross-sell features
  • Display related products to give shoppers more buying options
  • Choose from over 60 theme options
  • HTML and CSS template editor
  • Send customers automated emails to track their packages
  • Accounting, social media, payment services, marketing, invoicing, and reports apps all avaible

Lightspeed Pros:

  • Offer a free 14-day trial.
  • Very easy to use
  • Can help you sell both offline and online.
  • Free onboarding as soon as you sign up and 24/7 support.
  • Very positive customer reviews on Trustpilot

Lightspeed Cons:

  • After 14 days, prices start from £39/month (but does include a lot of features).
  • Do not clearly display prices of all plans
  • Only 60 theme options included
  • Pricing on many apps is variable
  • Limit of 250 products on cheapest plan

Final Verdict: Lightspeed’s core product is their EPOS system rather than their Ecommerce platform. That said, their Ecommerce platform offers all the features you’d expect, along with excellent customer service. Therefore, it’s a great solution if you want to sell both on and offline.

9. Ecwid

Ecwid Description: Ecwid is slightly different from some of the other platforms listed. It can be seamlessly integrated with your existing website, business page on a social network, your blog, marketplaces or mobile app.

All the storefronts are synced and managed from one control panel.

It is a cloud based platform, which means they host it and there’s no installation required. It can added to any website via their widget or via a plugin for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix websites.

Pricing is very competitive, with a Free Forever Plan to Ulimited Plan, which is still just £99/mo (+VAT).

Ecwid Features:

  • No set-up or transaction fees and no credit card is required.
  • Add your store to multiple sites, blogs, and social networks and manage it all from one place.
  • Install in minutes.
  • Responsive design so that your store looks perfect on any device
  • Language Detection
  • Allow customers the option to create a profile or enable checkout without creating a profile for faster transactions.
  • Real-time shipping rates allow customers to see costs based on their location.
  • Offer promotional pricing, discount coupons, volume discounts, and more to help generate more sales.
  • Can customise your store’s design.
  • Choose from several different secure ways to accept payments among over 40 different payment options, including inergrated payments.

Ecwid Pros:

  • Can use your existing website
  • Have a free plan, and other plans are reasonably priced.
  • Ability to sell on your website, mobile phones, social sites and marketplaces simultaneously.
  • ShopApp automatically creates and publishes a native mobile app in the Apple App Store and Google Play just for you.
  • Offer solutions to work with offline POS systems.

Ecwid Cons:

  • Integrated Ecwid Payments fees are quite high (but you can use your own solution instead).
  • Not really a complete standalone Ecommerce solution (e.g. still need a website)
  • Live Chat and Phone Support only for premium plans
  • Included back-end stats are little basic
  • Can’t easily display prices with and without VAT

Final Verdict: If you have an existing website, Ecwid may be the perfect solution for you. With no cost to get started, and a huge range of features you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to start selling online.

10. Etsy Shop / Pattern

Etsy Shop / Pattern Description: Etsy bills itself as the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. Their major focus is selling handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies. So if you sell those types of items, having an Etsy shop may make sense.

Selling on Etsy is somewhere in-between setting up your own Ecommerce site and selling directly on marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. With Etsy you have your own dedicated shop where you can show off your products. But you also get access to their 29 million buyers from around the world.

There are no monthly fees to sell on Etsy, but there are listing fees (£0.15), transaction fees (3.5%) and payment processing fees (4% + 20p).

Their Pattern solution allows you to build a dedicated website that exists outside the Etsy marketplace (although inventory is synced and managed centrally through Shop Manager). With the first 30 days free, and then $15 USD/month, it’s a relatively cheap way to set-up an Ecommerce site.

Etsy Shop Features:

  • Tap into their network 29 million buyers from around the world
  • No monthly fees
  • Automatic deposits
  • Secure transactions
  • They process payments via Etsy Payments
  • Offer a Sell on Etsy App
  • Detailed stats about your shop’s performance
  • E-mail and phone support
  • Join a community of sellers
  • Pattern lets you design a custom website that’s powered by your Etsy shop

Etsy Shop Pros:

  • Direct access to large pool of potential buyers
  • No monthly fees
  • Creating a Pattern site is relatively cheap and easy if you have an Etsy shop
  • Unlimited listings
  • Sell on Etsy App and Shop Manager makes it easy to manage your shop

Etsy Shop Cons:

  • Have to pay £0.15 per listing
  • Payment processing fees are high at 4% + 20p
  • Have to pay an additional 3.5% transaction fee on every item sold
  • Seller Policy means only certain types of goods can be sold on the site
  • Poor reviews on Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs

Final Verdict: If you sell handmade, vintage or craft items then selling on Etsy is an incredibly easy way to tap into their huge pool of buyers. However, given their somewhat high fees, you may also want to consider setting up your own Ecommerce store as well.

11. ShopWired

ShopWired Description: ShopWired, like EKM, is one of the few UK based Ecommerce platforms on our list. They claim to be the “UK’s favourite ecommerce platform for selling successfully online.” based on their positive Trustpilot reviews.

They have all the standard features you’d expect with an Ecommerce platform e.g. 100% responsive, Built in SEO, SSL support, bespoke themes and more. Moreover, the pricing on their top tier is among the lowest on our list (although you will have to pay VAT). So if you’re looking for a UK solution ShopWired could be a good fit.

ShopWired Features:

  • All themes are included in subscription
  • Full content management system (including blogging & built-in SEO)
  • 100% responsive for mobile & tablet commerce
  • Sell on multiple channels (e.g. eBay and Facebook)
  • Allow visitors to view prices in different currencies
  • Unlimited product options
  • Abandoned basket recovery
  • Accept card payments securely through any payment gateway
  • Flexible VAT settings designed for UK businesses
  • Bespoke design service available

ShopWired Pros:

  • Great reviews on Trustpilot
  • Price for most expensive plan is very low compared to other platforms (only £69.95 per month)
  • Most reviews mention excellent customer support

ShopWired Cons:

  • Charge you £89 + VAT per year for SSL
  • Only 19 themes available (although they can be customised)
  • Relatively few apps compared to other platforms (and can’t sell on Amazon yet)

Final Verdict: ShopWired has great online reviews, with many citing customer support in particular. Moreover, their pricing (especially for their top tier plan) is cheaper than many competitors. However, limited numbers of themes and apps mean they may not be the best solution if you have more advanced Ecommerce requirements.

12. Volusion

Volusion Description: Volusion claims to offer everything you need for your online store and that 180,000 entrepreneurs are currently using their platform.

They offer the most commonly found features on Ecommerce platforms such as free responsive themes, inventory & order management, reporting tools and more. With plans starting at $15 per month, they are one of the cheaper hosted solutions on the market.

Volusion Features:

  • Built-In SEO Tools (including search friendly URLs, sitemaps and ability to edit robots.txt)
  • Access to the CSS for custom editing
  • Easily add product categories
  • Paypal + Stripe payment processing
  • Unlimited product options
  • Auto calculate shipping and tax rates
  • Simple social management
  • At-a-glance reporting tools
  • Create discounts and send newsletters
  • Free 14 day trial

Volusion Pros:

  • Very positive reviews on Trustpilot (8.5 out of 10)
  • Phone support on most plans (except Mini)
  • Plans are all relatively cheap, with no transaction fees

Volusion Cons:

  • Only 11 free themes available
  • Volusion Payments is unavailable to merchants outside of the United States
  • All plans have bandwidth caps, unlike many competitors who offer unlimited bandwidth

Final Verdict: Volusion’s target market is the United States, which means it might not be right for UK businesses who need integrated payments. However, they offer some of the most powerful SEO tools on the market. And their very low priced entry-level plan with a free trial means they’re worth a look.

13. X-Cart

X-Cart Description: X-Cart claims to be the #1 open source Ecommerce platform for high‑performing online stores. Unlike all the other paid solutions here, they charge a one-time license fee for their software, not a recurring monthly payment (unless you go with their hosted solution).

Moreover, their basic is version is completely free so you can try it to decide if it’s the solution for you.

However, the flip side is that it requires you to host the software with a hosting company. So X-cart is a good choice if you have the skills to install it, and don’t want to pay an ongoing monthly.

X-Cart Features:

  • Awesome Design Templates
  • Open source means full control over everything for you.
  • X‑Cart is the only PCI DSS compliant software you can run on your own server.
  • Real‑Time Smart Search
  • “Clunk-Free” WordPress Integration
  • Ready for international sales
  • Export/Import Inventory Data
  • Bulk Product Editing
  • Effective SEO Tools
  • Auctions, coupons and discounts

X-Cart Pros:

  • All you pay is a one-time licensing fee! No fee for transactions, no large monthly fees, no sneaky add-on fees.
  • Allows far more control than most other solutions.
  • Can use the free version for as long as you’d like

X-Cart Cons:

  • Requires you to find and mange your own web hosting.
  • Currently only 55 themes, although each of these can be customised
  • Full support packages cost extra ($199 – $299 a month)

Final Verdict: X-Cart is definitely worth a look for businesses who want to host their ecommerce website themselves, and don’t want to pay a monthly fee. Plus, you can try for as long as you like on their free version.

14. Wix Ecommerce (Stores)

Wix Ecommerce Description: WixStores is the Ecommerce offering from leading free website builder Wix. As you would expect it’s really simple to get started with them and they offer hundreds of templates to choose from.

Better yet, you can get started for free with their ad supported version, if you don’t have a lot of money for upfront investment. Below we look at their features.

Wix Ecommerce Features:

  • 100s of stunning templates
  • Drag n’ drop online store builder
  • Mobile optimised eCommerce website
  • Secure checkout
  • Multiple payment solutions
  • Beautiful product galleries
  • Professional store manager
  • Global tax and shipping
  • Coupons and discounts
  • 24/7 support

Wix Pros:

  • Great selection of themes to choose from.
  • Wix does not take commission from your sales
  • Multiple payment options to choose from
  • Large range of apps
  • Can get started for free.

Wix Cons:

  • Don’t focus on SEO in their marketing for Ecommerce stores
  • No way to export data if you want to move to another platform
  • Difficult to add custom functions if they aren’t provided by an existing app

Final Verdict: Wix is a an online website builder first, and an ecommerce platform second. This means setting up a beautiful looking online shop is very easy, but you may run into difficulty if you want to implement advanced functions and/or move platforms in the future.

15. Squarespace Ecommerce

Squarespace Ecommerce Description: Squarespace is a cloud hosted website builder. And, similar to Wix, it is one of the most popular options for building any type of website online. They also offer an Ecommerce platform allowing you to set-up an online store, quickly and easily.

However, unlike Wix they do not offer a free plan (although they do offer a free trial). They also offer fewer payment options (Stripe and/or Paypal only for now). However, they do offer pretty much all the features you’re likely to want in an Ecommerce platform.

Squarespace Ecommerce Features:

  • Sell unlimited products
  • No transaction fees on online store plans
  • Mobile optimised website and checkout
  • SSL Secuirty
  • Free domain with annual plans
  • 24/7 support
  • Integrated Xero accounting
  • Label printing via Shipstation
  • Range of metrics
  • Customer accounts

Squarespace Pros:

Squarespace Cons:

  • Charge transaction fee of 3% on sales on their Business plan.
  • Limited range of payment options
  • No 3rd party app store, so add-ons are limited

Final Verdict: Squarespace is a great tool for creating wonderful looking websites that work. However, lack of payment options and 3rd party apps, means it’s best if you don’t need/want to customise each aspect of your store.

16. 3dcart

3dcart Description: 3dcart is an all-in-one Ecommerce software solution. The name comes from their view of the three dimensions of Ecommerce: Store Owners, Search Engines, and Shoppers.

3dcart provides a complete set of tools to equip you for building, marketing, and selling from your website. Additional apps are used for customisation and extra features, not as essential building blocks.

They offer a range of solutions from shopping cart software to B2B & Enterprise Ecommerce to simple Buy buttons. No matter what your needs they likely have a solution for you.

3dcart Features:

  • No transaction fees
  • Unlimited Orders
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • PCI Certified hosting with SSL technology
  • Full FTP access
  • Sync your products for sale on eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping, Facebook and more
  • A robust selection of apps
  • Range of free and paid themes
  • No contracts. No hidden caveats. No surprise fees

3dcart Pros:

  • Powerful solution that offers complete control over your store including full FTP access
  • Includes a huge range of features, even on their basic plan
  • Also offer a POS solution if you want to sell offline
  • Offer a 15 day free trial

3dcart Cons:

  • Not easy to set-up for complete novices
  • Free themes look and feel a little dated
  • Relatively small number of extra apps available

Final Verdict: 3dcart may not be the best known solution in the UK, but it offers a large range of features that make it worth a look, especially if you want to get under the hood of your website.

17. Pinnacle Cart

Pinnacle Cart Description: Pinnacle Cart allows you to host your store with them or on your own hosting company. Both options allow you to syndicate your products to the largest marketplaces such as Amazon, Google Shopping and Facebook.

With a powerful range of features, they are worth looking no matter how you want to host your site. All of the following are availbe even on their most basic plan.

Pinnacle Cart Features:

  • No Transaction Fees
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited Administrative Accounts
  • One-Page Checkout
  • Real-time Shipping w/Quotes
  • Over 30 Payment Methods
  • Reviews and Ratings
  • Cart Abandonment Remarketing
  • Custom Pages and Questions
  • Predictive Search

Pinnacle Cart Pros:

  • One of the few platforms that allows you to host your store on your own web servers or host with them
  • Offer good range of themes
  • Offer an array of add-on business services, including design, development, marketing, and more

Pinnacle Cart Cons:

  • Blog only available on request (extra $4.95/month)
  • Recurring billing and Product Filtering cost extra on their two most basic plans
  • Basic plan offers very limited bandwidth and diskspace

Final Verdict: Pinnacle Cart is an ideal solution if you’re looking to host your online store yourself and/or you are looking to take advantage of their high-end features. However, if you’re only looking for a basic online store, you should probably consider an alternative based on the combination of price and features.

18. CoreCommrce

CoreCommrce Description: CoreCommrce offers a few ways to set-up your online store. If you’re starting from scratch you can use their platform to build your entire site. However, if you already have an existing website then they allow you to sell via a subdomain and/or via hosted payments page.

They have a large range of pricing plans (based on sales volume), so you only pay for what you need. No matter which options you choose you’ll have to the following features.

CoreCommrce Features:

  • Free responsive web themes
  • Unlimited file storage and bandwidth with all plans (except personal)
  • Marketplace Integrations (Amazon‚ eBay‚ Facebook‚ Google etc.)
  • Multi-lingual & multi-currency
  • Shipping: real-time quotes‚ label printing‚ tracking (all global)
  • Coupons‚ discounts‚ product bundling
  • Gift certificates‚ wish list‚ gift registry‚ reward points
  • Built-in SEO‚ CRM
  • Built-in Blog
  • Product Reviews and Customer Ratings

CoreCommrce Pros:

  • Team will help you migrate platforms
  • They offer a variety of features to help you sell globally
  • Free onboarding session with an onboarding coach when you sign-up

CoreCommrce Cons:

  • Personal plan only allows 3 products
  • Core Payments Processing fees are quite high
  • Extra fess to use own gateway, hosted payment pages and recurring billing functionality

Final Verdict: CoreCommrce is a platform to consider if you’re planning on selling globally and/or need the help of an expert to get-up and running.

19. 123 Reg Ecommerce

123 Reg Ecommerce Description: 123 Reg is one of the few UK companies on this list and are best known as a domain registrar.

However, they also offer you the ability to build your own Ecommerce website using their website builder and/or host some of the other solutions above.

123 Reg Ecommerce Features:

  • Complete control over the look and feel of your website.
  • Hosting & email is included
  • Sell digital products
  • Responsive design
  • Sell on Facebook
  • Website personalisation for each visitor
  • Ecommerce tools are integrated with 30+ secure, trusted payment providers
  • Shipping integration
  • Manage product options and stock control
  • Create your own promotions

123 Reg Pros:

  • No coding knowledge required to get started
  • Includes free hosting, email and domain name
  • Cancel within 30 days of purchase with a full money back guarantee

123 Reg Cons:

  • No free trial offered
  • Minimum contract period is 12 months.
  • Basic plan is extremely limited (10 products max)

Final Verdict: Since 123 Reg are a UK based company, their Ecommerce solution is designed for UK businesses and might be right if you only need limited Ecommerce features.

20. Bluepark

Bluepark Description: Bluepark is a UK based company specialising in Ecommerce software that has delivered quality software and service to over 2,000 businesses since 2004. Here are just a few of the features their platform offers.

Bluepark Features:

  • Unlimited bandwith
  • 30 free themes to choose from
  • Full HTTPs supported (SSL certificate sold separately)
  • Google Shopping and other feeds supported
  • SEO friendly URLs (keywords and .html pages)
  • Customisable page titles, descriptions and meta tags
  • Multi-language and multi-currency, auto-detection
  • Comprehensive inventory management
  • On-site or off-site card payment processing
  • Import and export product data via CSV

Bluepark Pros:

  • Amazing Trustpliot reviews (9.7 out 10)
  • A large range of features to build your store
  • UK (Witney, Oxfordshire) based company, with UK based technical support

Bluepark Cons:

  • Template designs are basic (but functional)
  • SSL certificates not included as standrad
  • Multi channel selling requires multiple sites

Final Verdict: Bluepark gets amazing reviews on Trustpilot and offers many features specifically aimed at UK businesses. Therefore it’s worth a look if you don’t mind investing a little bit more time and effort getting your site up and running.

21. 1&1 eShop

1&1 eShop Description: 1&1 are one of the better known domain registration and hosting companies in the UK. And like 123 Reg they also offer an Ecommerce solution called 1&1 eShop.

1&1 eShop Features:

  • Unlimited items
  • SSL Certificate included
  • 10 payment methods (expect basic plan which offers 3)
  • Professional design templates
  • Can easily connect your products to Amazon, eBay, and other online marketplaces
  • Can also connect to price comparison portals
  • Offer vouchers to your customers.
  • Can use Google Analytics
  • Automated email notifications
  • Automatically updated inventory

1&1 eShop Pros:

  • One of the few solutions that intergrates with price comparison sites
  • 1&1 has generally positive reviews when it comes to customer service
  • Integrated shipping solution

1&1 eShop Cons:

  • No free trial
  • Plans are offered on a 12 month contract basis
  • Basic plan has very limited features

Final Verdict: No free trial and a 12 month contract means 1&1 eShop is not as cheap to get started with as the competitors, but their solution is targeted to UK businesses so still worth considering.


So which Ecommerce platform is best? To be honest all of the options above are pretty good and can help you start selling online. Which one is best, will depend on what your requirements are.

For a fully hosted, all-in-one solution with built-in payments, Shopify and EKM are both great choices.

Both WooCommerce and Magento remain the market leaders for self-hosted solutions, although X-Cart and Pinnacle Cart are also worth a look.

If you want to sell both offline as well as online then Shopify and Lightspeed are probably the top choices.

If you just want to add Ecommerce functionality to an existing website you should look at Ecwid.

Want the maximum ability to customise your website? Then have a look at 3dcart or LemonStand.

Finally, if you want to use a top rated UK based company, you should consider EKM, ShopWired and/or Bluepark.

The rankings above are primarily based on UK search popularity, not installed uses. And were believed to be accurate at the time of publication (January 2019) Moreover, we have affiliate and/or partner agreements with Shopify, EKM, Lightspeed, Ecwid, Big Commerce, Volusion, X-Cart, Wix, 3dcart, LemonStand, Pinnacle Cart, 123 Reg, and 1&1. This means they pay us a commission if you buy their services through one of our links. This does not affect the price you pay, but we feel you should know.

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Please note: Merchant Machine is an information and comparison website only.
We do not provide merchant services nor can we recommend which solution is right for you and your business.
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Best online shop platform

Best online shop platform

Best online shop platform

Wondering which Ecommerce platform is best for your UK business? Below we look at and compare 21 of the top platforms on the market to help you find the right one.
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