The Best Ecommerce Platforms and Shopping Cart Software of 2019
January 2, 2019
Ecommerce Platform and Shopping Cart Software Comparisons
E-commerce has become a viable avenue for sales. While it may seem easy to just start selling a product online, a third-party solution is usually required to get your site and products up and running. Finding the right solution can be confusing, with companies offering a long list of features and complicated terminology. We researched and reviewed dozens of e-commerce software solutions to find the best ones for small businesses. Here is a roundup of our best picks and how we chose them.
Editor's note: Looking for ecommerce or shopping cart software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
Best E-Commerce Software 2019
To help you find the right e-commerce software, we researched and analyzed dozens of options. Here is a roundup of our 2019 best picks for e-commerce software and explanations of how we chose them.
Best E-Commerce Software for Small Business: Shopify
Shopify has everything you need to launch, run and manage a successful e-commerce business. In addition to providing you with an online storefront and payment processing capabilities, the software includes a web host, website builder, inventory management, back-end functionality, marketing tools, customer relationship management (CRM) and more. It's also super easy to use and requires zero tech skills, so you can get your online store up and running instantly. Read our full review of Shopify.
Best Enterprise E-Commerce Software: Magento
If you need a completely customizable online store for a midsize or large operation, Magento is the most powerful and flexible solution. As open-source e-commerce software, Magento lets you tailor any aspect of your e-commerce website, giving you an online store that looks, feels and works exactly the way you want it to. It's also a great option if you own or plan to run more than one online store, as you can manage them all from one Magento dashboard. Read our full review of Magento.
Best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin: WooCommerce
Turn your WordPress-powered website or blog into an e-commerce business or launch a stand-alone online store on the WordPress platform – for free. The WooCommerce shopping cart plugin lets you build a free WordPress-based online store quickly and easily. As popular shopping cart software used by hundreds of thousands of online businesses and brands, WooCommerce also gives you limitless capabilities and endless customization options from the vast collection of themes, extensions and plugins available throughout the web. Read our full review of WooCommerce.
Best E-Commerce Software for Digital Downloads: Selz
Not all e-commerce businesses deal with physical products and services. Selz lets you sell e-books, software, video stream subscriptions, music, PDF files and other digital downloads, and it even takes care of distribution. You simply build your storefront, and the software automatically processes orders, accepts payments and sends download links, letting you run your digital e-commerce business. Read our full review of Selz.
What to Expect in 2019
The e-commerce landscape is constantly changing. As more businesses look to sell their products online, it’s important to be at the forefront of trends and changes in the market. If you aren’t already selling your products online, it’s important to find a provider who can help you get started. If you already have an e-commerce offering, keep these trends in mind during 2019:
Amazon’s effect on retail: The e-commerce field will continue to heat up in 2019, as more businesses shift toward online sales. This can include not only small businesses, but enterprise companies as well. Big businesses like Walmart and Target are already looking to increase their e-commerce presence in 2019, which means more competition for SMBs.
Social media becomes a marketplace: 2018 saw the rise of social media marketing and the effectiveness of personalizing your message to customers via social media. As this field continues to expand, it’s likely that customers will at some point be able to buy products directly from social media sites.
To find the best e-commerce software for small businesses, we researched a wide range of e-commerce software and shopping cards from many sources, and then tested them out ourselves.
Locating the Best Services
First, we decided to go straight to the source: We asked small e-commerce business owners which software they use, what they love and hate about it, and what they think makes the "perfect" e-commerce software. They also shared their thoughts on the most popular e-commerce solutions available, how they compare, and why they chose one solution over others.
Choosing the Best Services
Next, we researched the top e-commerce software that frequently appeared on various sources around the web, such as reputable review websites, top lists and business websites. We also studied user reviews to see what people really thought about these e-commerce platforms after using the products themselves.
Researching Each Service
We also wanted to see how easy or difficult it was to use the most popular e-commerce software, so we tried the programs ourselves. We signed up for our own business accounts whenever we could, and we tried out any available demos, watched tutorial videos, and checked out knowledge bases, user forums and other resources available to customers.
Analyzing Each Service
In total, we ended up with nearly 40 e-commerce software programs and plugins, and less than a quarter of them made it to our short list. Our top picks include Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Selz, Volusion, BigCommerce, Shoppable, Squarespace, GoDaddy Online Store, Easy Digital Downloads, Ecwid, X-Cart and PayPal. (See the full list of e-commerce software and shopping carts and their websites below.)
Here is a full list of e-commerce software and shopping cart vendors, and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.
1ShoppingCart – Sell everything from products and services to digital goods. This shopping cart and e-commerce software focuses on selling, promoting and growing your business, providing you with all the tools you need to be successful with your e-commerce startup. 1shoppingcart.com
3dcart – Use this online store builder and shopping cart software to easily launch an e-commerce website or an online store on your existing website. It requires no coding or web programming skills – simply choose a template, add your logo, upload product images, and add descriptions and pricing, and you're good to go. 3dcart.com
Ashop Commerce – Get your online store up and running without all the fuss. Ashop Commerce provides fast and simple setup, so you can start selling right away. It also focuses on helping you increase sales and grow your business by providing robust tools to measure your store's performance and further improve your website. ashopcommerce.com
Avactis – Avactis is a full-featured PHP shopping cart that includes cloud-based hosting options and mobile commerce. In addition to getting an online store, you can build a custom mobile app so your customers can shop wherever they are. Avactis online stores are also customizable with a wide selection of themes and extensions. avactis.com
Big Cartel – Designed specifically for artists, the Big Cartel shopping cart software lets fashion designers, bands, record labels, jewelry makers, crafters and other creative professionals launch an independent online store on their own websites. The service features both free and paid packages using a monthly subscription, so it doesn't take a cut of your sales. bigcartel.com
BigCommerce – One of our runners-up, BigCommerce lets small businesses with big visions create scalable, powerful online stores for all types of products. As full-featured e-commerce software, BigCommerce provides you with a website and domain name, secure shopping cart and product catalog, payment gateways, email accounts, marketing tools, mobile optimization, and much more. bigcommerce.com
Claim the Web – More than an e-commerce platform, Claim the Web provides expert consulting and evaluation services to make sure your online store is optimized for success. It also features conversion-based website designs and custom functions to help you increase sales and simplify your operations. claimtheweb.com
CoreCommerce – Affordability and ease of use are key for any small business. CoreCommerce provides an all-in-one hosted shopping cart that offers no transaction fees, simple setup, plenty of customization options and fast customer service. Additional features include responsive themes for mobile access, social capabilities, search engine optimization (SEO) and many more tools to help your e-commerce business grow. corecommerce.com
CS-Cart – Offering a more advanced e-commerce solution, CS-Cart is feature-rich shopping cart software for businesses of all sizes. In addition to a website, shopping cart and payment processing, it offers a built-in content management system (CMS), advanced SEO tools and customizable PHP/MySQL-based templates to fit your vision for your online store. cs-cart.com
Easy Digital Downloads – If you wish to sell digital goods and are a fan of the WordPress platform, Easy Digital Downloads is for you. This shopping cart plugin lets you easily sell digital downloads on your WordPress website or blog and comes complete with a shopping cart, payment gateways, customizable themes, detailed reporting and more. The best part? It's completely free. easydigitaldownloads.com
Ecwid – Loved by many of the small business owners we spoke to, Ecwid lets you add an online store to your existing website in as little as five minutes. For even more selling opportunities, Ecwid online stores also work on mobile devices and can be added everywhere, like social media (including Facebook and Tumblr) and marketplaces such as Google Shopping, Yahoo, and Shopping.com. ecwid.com
fortune3 – An all-in-one solution, fortune3 is robust shopping cart software that includes everything you need for your e-commerce business. On the e-commerce side, it offers a website builder, shopping cart, payment processing, mobile commerce, social commerce and marketing tools. On the business side, fortune3 helps you better run your store with order fulfilment, inventory management and shipping tools. fortune3.com
GoDaddy Online Store – Like its registration service, the GoDaddy Online Store software is all about simplicity and ease of use. This DIY website and online store builder gives you professionally designed themes and built-in payment processing, so you don't have to worry about the tech side of owning an e-commerce business. It's also backed by GoDaddy's award-winning 24/7 customer support. godaddy.com/ecommerce/online-store.aspx
Jigoshop – This is a free WordPress plugin to turn your blog into a storefront, complete with shopping cart and order processing. There are dozens of free and paid themes and extensions to further customize your e-shop. As with other plugins, you run the back end from your WordPress dashboard. This plugin accepts PayPal payments by default, but it needs an extension in order to accept other payments, including credit cards. jigoshop.com
King Cart – King Cart offers two types of shopping carts: a completely customizable e-cart system and e-commerce software that lets you get started instantly. It's also a super affordable solution for small businesses, as there are no application or setup fees, gateway fees, bank fees, statement fees, monthly minimums, cancellation fees, or long-term commitments. king-cart.com
LemonStand – If your online store is outgrowing e-commerce software that's built for startups, check out LemonStand. Tailor-made for growing businesses, LemonStand is a cloud-based e-commerce platform for online stores that make more than six figures per year in sales. The software also aims to help you sell quickly and simply, so you can sell more while focusing on managing your growing business. lemonstand.com
*Magento – Get a completely customizable online store that works for your business. This open-source e-commerce software can be used as is out of the box, or you can change everything from how your online store looks to how it functions in a way that best works for your brand and operations. Some technical skills may be necessary. Read our full review here. magento.com
Modular Merchant – From shipped products to digital goods and subscription services, Modular Merchant makes it easy to sell shippable items, downloads and services with recurring billing. It's also an affordable e-commerce solution that includes free shopping cart templates and free customer support. modularmerchant.com
OpenCart – OpenCart is a free, open-source e-commerce platform that provides you with all the basic tools to build and run an online store. For more advanced designs and functions, you can add on hundreds of free and paid themes and extensions. Since it's open source, if you're code-savvy, you can further customize your experience. opencart.com
osCommerce – A runner-up to our top picks for the best e-commerce software, osCommerce lets you build a secure, self-hosted online store for free. One of the most widely customizable e-commerce software products, osCommerce is an open-source solution that also offers more than 7,000 free add-ons, so you get total control over how your online store looks and works. The company has been around for 14 years, making it one of the most reputable e-commerce solutions for small businesses. oscommerce.com
PayPal – You can simplify your e-commerce business by using your PayPal account. If you already have a website, PayPal's shopping cart solution lets you add buy buttons, product images and complete shopping carts. The company has also partnered with Yahoo Stores to provide a comprehensive e-commerce solution for your business. paypal.com/webapps/mpp/shopping-cart
Pinnacle Cart – Is your business focused on growth? Even if you're just starting out, it never hurts to plan ahead. What makes the Pinnacle Cart e-commerce software stand out is that it focuses on scalability, so it grows as your business grows. This takes away the hassle of having to switch e-commerce software once your business expands, and makes it easy to stay on your growth trajectory. pinnaclecart.com
PrestaShop – Create a free online store quickly and easily. Just download the software or use the cloud version, upload your product catalog, add your desired features, and start selling immediately. This open-source software is backed by a community of more than 700,000 users, and it offers training opportunities and expert support, so you're sure to find help when you need it. prestashop.com
ProductCart – Established in 2002, ProductCart offers designer-friendly shopping cart software that's completely customizable to fit your business's needs. There are no design limitations, and you can change everything using HTML5 or CSS3 web languages. It also includes responsive design for mobile devices and different browsers, allowing you to optimize your store for all types of customers. productcart.com
*Selz – You can sell e-books, software, video streams, music, PDF files and other digital products with our top pick for the best e-commerce software for digital downloads. Just set up your storefront, and Selz automates everything from order processing to download distribution, so you can focus on growing your business. Read our full review here. selz.com
*Shopify – Our top pick for the best e-commerce software for business is Shopify, which lets you create an online store quickly and easily. The full-featured e-commerce software includes an online storefront, payment processing, web hosting, a website builder, marketing and analytics tools, third-party integration, and more. Read our full review here. shopify.com
Shoppable – Want to monetize your blog or website? Shoppable connects you with retailers so you can sell their products on your self-hosted website. Included in the service is a multi-retailer checkout system, so you only need to install one shopping cart that lets customers purchase from multiple retailers featured in your store. shoppable.com
Shopping Cart Elite – If you need sophisticated e-commerce software, check out Shopping Cart Elite. In addition to an online storefront, website builder and merchant tools, Shopping Cart Elite offers a wide range of advanced back-end capabilities, such as ERP and CRM integration, warehousing solutions, shipping tools, B2B opportunities, and automation to take the leg work out of running your e-commerce business. shoppingcartelite.com
ShopSite – Need an online store fast? ShopSite lets you launch your e-commerce website in just 15 minutes. Your store can be hosted anywhere and includes a shopping cart, payment gateway and mobile commerce functionality. ShopSite also lets you sell anywhere on the web with a Facebook store and the ability to add order buttons on emails, newsletters, blog posts, affiliate websites and more. shopsite.com
SIDE-Commerce – SIDE-Commerce offers an affordable, all-in-one B2C and B2B e-commerce solution without the headache of complicated infrastructures. The platform comes with such features as responsive web design, a secure shopping cart, robust analytics and a native CMS. Marketing tools include discount and coupon codes, social commerce, trigger- and event-based emails, and abandoned-cart recovery. SIDE-Commerce also integrates with leading marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon, as well as popular payment gateways, ad networks, affiliate programs and other services to help you meet your business goals. sidecommerce.com
Spree – Save time while fulfilling orders. Spree e-commerce software goes beyond letting you sell online. What makes it stand out is that it can automate your order fulfillment process. Just connect your storefront to Spree's Wombat service, integrate solutions you already use, and watch your business grow. Spree is also completely scalable, allowing you to add more suppliers, shippers and other vendors as your business expands. spreecommerce.com
Squarespace – Squarespace is a popular website builder for e-commerce businesses. Its e-commerce platform offers the same features as regular Squarespace websites, such as web hosting, professional and customizable templates, domain names, social sharing, SEO, analytics, and 24/7 support. Moreover, Squarespace online stores include inventory management, order processing, marketing tools and PCI-compliant payment processing. squarespace.com/tour/ecommerce-website
Volusion – A close runner-up to our pick for the best shopping cart software for small businesses, Volusion offers an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution that lets any business quickly sell online. Whether you're just starting out or you have a growing business, Volusion offers beautiful website designs and shopping cart themes that require no coding or tech skills to get started. Plans also include hosting, merchant tools and order management capabilities, so you have everything you need to grow your e-commerce business in one place. volusion.com
*WooCommerce – Build your e-commerce business on WordPress, or add an online store to your existing self-hosted WordPress website or blog. WooCommerce provides you with a shopping cart, payment processing, back-end integration, online store management tools and more. Like WordPress, WooCommerce can be customized with different themes, extensions and plugins, giving you limitless options for your online store. Read our full review here. woocommerce.com
X-Cart – X-Cart is all about making e-commerce as easy to use, maintain and modify as possible. With this open-source, full-featured e-commerce solution, you can choose from a vast collection of design templates, and then customize it to fit your business's needs. Unlike other e-commerce software products, X-Cart doesn't require any setup, monthly or add-on fees – you just pay a one-time licensing fee, and the software is yours to use as you please. x-cart.com
If you’d like your company to be added to this list and possibly considered as a best pick for our next round of reviews, please email your request to: email@example.com.
Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.
Editor's note: Looking for ecommerce or shopping cart software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.