Best Ecommerce Services to Sell Products on the Internet
Are you ready to start your own Ecommerce website? Whether you have product(s) that are selling well offline or trying to bypass expensive selling services like eBay, you will need the best Ecommerce solution to give you the best chance at success online.
There’s actually quite a few choices available with most of the services having similar features which can make it quite daunting to choose the right Ecommerce service for your needs.
In this comparison, we will be looking at the first two cheapest plans that each service offers so that you can scroll through to see which has the features you are looking for without having to visit each Ecommerce service separately and do the comparisons yourself.
Below each Ecommerce service heading we will go into further detail about the plans we are comparing to help you fully understand the service you are interested in. We are comparing the best Ecommerce service solutions so please keep in mind that the service listed first is not necessarily the best solution for your needs, please look at them all objectively before making your decision.
Shopify - Diamond Award Winner in Ecommerce
$14/mo 25 Products
The most popular Ecommerce system that exists.
- No setup fee, 14 day free trial and no credit card required to try.
- Out of the top 3, Shopify has the cheapest starter plan.
- Use their payment gateway for no transaction fees otherwise as high as 2%.
- 175,000+ active stores. Started in 2006. 500 employees.
- Your site & domain hosted by Shopify. No bandwidth fees.
- iPad and iPhone POS (swiping) offline sales support.
Shopify offers the cheapest barrier to entry with a fee of just $14/mo that allows 1GB of file storage (plenty), 25 products to be sold and no chance for being charged “overage fees” because they allow unlimited bandwidth (website views). This plan also includes chat and email technical support if you need assistance with your website.
Transaction Fees: If you do not have your own payment gateway, then choose the Shopify payment gateway (Shopify Payments) and you will have no transaction fees. Otherwise, you will pay a 2% transaction fee for Starter or Basic and 1% transaction fee for the $79/mo Professional plan.
Credit Card Transaction Fees: For both the Starter and Basic, you will pay 2.9% + 30¢ for online credit card payments. If you take advantage of their offline POS card swiping feature, you’ll pay 2.7% + 0¢ per authorized transaction.
Integrated Payment Gateways: We count 40 integrated payment gateways in the United States that does not include multiple company gateway versions. There’s plenty of other integrated payment gateways for other countries available including 25 in Australia and 30 in United Kingdom. Chances are, if your payment gateway of choice is even remotely popular, Shopify probably has them integrated and ready for use.
Bandwidth Fees: Shopify offers 1GB of file storage with no bandwidth or overage fees.
Should I get the Shopify Starter or Shopify Basic? If you have 25 or less products to sell online, then we recommend starting with the Starter. Otherwise, to offer unlimited products, the Shopify Basic plan is the right choice. Basic also allows advanced HTML/CSS editing which most will not need.
So what does the $79/mo professional plan offer that is not in the basic plan? We only recommend the $79/mo and higher plans for those that are doing higher volume. It offers a lower 2.6% online finance charge, ability to accept/offer gift cards, enables professional reports and offers abandoned cart recovery.
How will my site look? Shopify currently offers 100 premium and free Ecommerce templates to choose from. You won’t have to worry about knowing HTML/CSS because they offer a theme customizer that allows you to adjust the logo, fonts, colors and more. Each theme allows you to customize the homepage layout, add banners, slideshow presentations and more. If you are an advanced user, you can adjust the HTML and CSS with the Basic plan or higher. Your code will be converted to their Liquid template engine which will ensure mobile responsiveness and a beautiful design.
Want a premium theme? One large negative is the amount Shopify is asking for their themes. We saw fees ranging from $120-180. If you can’t afford that, they still offer many free themes that look great to start with. Upgrade to a premium theme later as a business reinvestment purchase once you are profitable.
The biggest drawback of Shopify is customizability. If you feel that your site will need heavy customizing, Shopify will probably be a big frustration down the road to get everything working the way you want. If this sounds like you, then we’d recommend BigCommerce (featured Ecommerce solution below) which is much more customize-friendly for developers.
BigCommerce - Platinum Award
$79.95/mo w/no fees
The most feature-packed Ecommerce solution.
- No setup fee. 15-day free trial. No credit card required to try BigCommerce.
- Highest cost starter plan but includes the most features and benefits.
- 1.5% transaction fee on Standard or no fees on the Plus $79.95/mo plan.
- Used by 95,000+ active stores. Started in 2009. 370 employees.
- Your site hosted by BigCommerce. Unlimited products, bandwidth & storage.
- POS system not included. 3rd party systems available.
BigCommerce is one of our favorite Ecommerce solutions because it offers a massive feature set and doesn’t nickle and dime like other solutions. With BigCommerce, you will be able to list unlimited products and you will have unlimited bandwidth and disk space which allows your shopping cart to grow without worry of increasing costs down the road. Let’s dive into the comparison of features.
Transaction Fees: On the Standard plan, you will pay a 1.5% transaction fee on all purchases. If you upgrade to the Plus plan later, there will be no transaction fees.
Credit Card Transaction Fees: BigCommerce does not offer a payment gateway solution. You will need to integrate with another provider like Stripe, PayPal or Square. Those fees will vary depending on the gateway you choose.
Integrated Payment Gateways: BigCommerce supports 36 payment gateways not including multiple variants from the same provider.
Bandwidth Fees: No overage fees at all! You get unlimited bandwidth even on the smallest Standard plan.
Should I get BigCommerce Basic or BigCommerce Plus? We strongly recommend starting with the Standard $29.95/mo plan. This will provide you with unlimited products, powerful reporting tools and a small transaction fee. As you grow and become profitable, we then recommend upgrading to the Plus plan so that you can take advantage of no fees, shopping cart abandon recovery, sales tools, customer segmentation features and enable checkout on your domain name. All great features but definitely not necessary for a new Ecommerce website.
How will my site look? BigCommerce offers free and premium themes to choose from, however, they offer one of the more intuitive theme selection pages we’ve seen. You can filter by free or premium and you can filter by responsive layout, style editor enabled and more. For premium themes, the fees range from $120-$250 with some really impressive designs available. If you have a niche product offering, you can select by theme industry to find niche themes that would be a good fit for your store.
BigCommerce includes a large amount of design options with their themes. You can use a style editor, carousel builder and even modify the HTML/CSS directly to get the right layout you are looking for. BigCommerce allows full flexibility that make it easy for any hired developer to customize down the road.
Need to expand features? You’ll enjoy the BigCommerce app store that offers 200 free and premium apps to choose from. They will help with integrations, shipping services, comparisons and split testing tools. If you need an enhancement, the app store likely has what you are looking for.
$15/mo 100 Prod
$35/mo 1,000 Prod
Once the industry leader, they still pack a punch.
- No setup fee, 14 day free trial and no credit card required to try.
- 2nd cheapest barrier to entry but allows 100 products.
- Volusion Payments has a 2.15% transaction fee. Bring your own processor for no transaction fee.
- Used by 40,000+ stores. Says "15+ years" in service. 450 employees.
- Your site & domain is hosted by Volusion. Varied bandwidth fees.
- POS swiping supported but you must buy your own compatible device.
The Mini Plan: This plan includes almost everything you’ll need to start your first Ecommerce website. You’ll get the ability to add 100 products, many responsive templates, social media tools and a mobile app to access your site reports.
The Plus Plan: This plan increases the total products to 1,000 and adds the ability to build reports about cart abandonment to help you recover lost sales. You’ll also get access to a ratings and reviews system, newsletters and more.
Further plans range from $75/mo to $135/mo that will add enhanced features like eBay & Amazon integration, CRM, API access, Deal of the Day, customer loyalty and more.
Transaction Fees: One of the biggest benefits of using Volusion is the fact that they do not charge transaction fees if you bring your own payment processor. If you do not have your own payment processor, you can go with Volusion Payments which has a 2.15% fee per transaction and an undisclosed “low monthly fee” which isn’t provided anywhere on their site (must call).
Integrated Payment Gateways: We count 34 integrated payment gateways that does not include multiple company gateway versions.
Bandwidth Fees: Volusion offers unlimited storage on all plans, however, the Mini $15/mo plan only allows 1GB of bandwidth. If you go over 1GB, you will be charged $7 per gigabyte. The Plus $35/mo plan includes 3GB of bandwidth. Bottom line, if you use Volusion and your site explodes in popularity, Volusion will start charging you fees and force you to higher plans, even if you don’t need the higher plan features.
How will my site look? Volusion states that they offer “300+ beautiful ecommerce templates,” however, when you browse their selection, it only displays 116 theme options at the time of this review. They offer plenty of great looking free themes to choose from. Many of the free themes are basic and extremely niche, they are all responsive across multiple devices and screen sizes.
Premium Themes: If you thought other eCommerce systems charged a lot for premium themes, you’ll be shocked to see fees ranging from $50-$850 per theme. That’s right, $850 to use a theme that is pre-designed and used by others. At that price, you might as well hire a designer and have your own custom theme built. Of course, if you want to pay Volusion to build you a custom theme, they want $3,500-$6,000 to build you a responsive homepage and template design.
Advanced Users: Advanced designers will be able to customize a template with HTML/CSS. You can duplicate an existing theme and make changes as needed.
$9.95/mo 20 Prod
$24.95/mo 50 Products
$39.95/mo 250 Products
The cheapest Ecommerce solution.
- No setup fee on entry plans. 30-day free trial. No credit card required.
- Cheapest Ecommerce solution on this best eCommerce comparison.
- No transaction fees with Fortune3 credit card processing. Otherwise, 1% fee.
- 12 years of experience with 200,000+ live stores.
- Your site is hosted by Fortune3. No overage fees. Limited by # of products.
- POS system not available.
For the budget minded, you can’t pass up Fortune3 as a contender for your Ecommerce website. They offer all of the features you’d expect with the only limitation being the amount of products that you can add to the store by plan, with the smallest plan allowing 20 products.
Transaction Fees: If you use Fortune3 credit card processing, there are no transaction fees. If you use your own payment gateway, expect to pay a 1% transaction fee per checkout.
Credit Card Processing Fees: If you decide to use Fortune3 for credit card processing, the fees are 2.09% with a 30¢ charge per transaction. You will also be required to pay a $24.99 monthly fee to access the service.
Integrated Payment Gateways: Fortune3 is integrated with over 50 payment processors.
Bandwidth Fees: There are no bandwidth or overage fees with Fortune3. Unlimited space and bandwidth is included on all plans.
How will my site look on Fortune3? Fortune3 includes an online store builder that allows you to edit your pages with an HTML editor without requiring HTML or CSS knowledge. The free templates that they provide are extremely basic and not at all what you’d want for your store in 2016+. Reviewing their Ecommerce Template sales pages, we discovered several 404 error pages to figure out how much they charge for custom designs.
The price of Fortune3 may be attractive but it may come at a cost of having a polished looking website without paying for custom designing and putting forward a lot of effort to get a site that will make sales.
The above are our recommended Ecommerce solutions that we consider the best of the best. Below, you will find the remaining Ecommerce services and solutions that we’ve reviewed for your consideration.
- 3D Cart Review – Used to be a self-hosted shopping cart, they have since upgraded to version 7 which is a hosted eCommerce solution similar to Shopify and BigCommerce. 15 day trial, no setup fees, no transaction fees and used by 23,000+ live stores.
- CoreCommerce Review – Offers a 15 day trial with no credit card required. Afterwards, the smallest plan is $39.99/mo which allows 150 products, 2GB bandwidth and 1GB storage. The next upgrade is $89.99/mo which still limits bandwidth to 4GB and storage to 5GB. If you get popular with CoreCommerce, expect overage fees until you hit the $139.99 unlimited plan.
- AShop Commerce Review – Offers a 14 day trial with no CC requirement. Starts at $25/mo with 500 products allowed, 1GB storage and unlimited bandwidth (no overages). No transaction fees, no contract and free upgrade / downgrades.
- PinnacleCart Review – Try them free for 14 days without CC information. Used by over 35,000 stores, their plans start at $29.95/mo for 1GB storage and 2GB traffic with free setup. The next plan is $59.95/mo for 3GB stoage and 8GB bandwidth which should be suitable for most websites.
- SunShop Review -This is a downloadable shopping cart system that is integrated into your own website hosting service. Pay a one time fee of $199.99 and you will get full access to the PHP Ecommerce shopping cart system. Integrated with 60+ payment systems, offers a rewards system, digital product download system and more. Free 1 year ecommerce hosting is included but isn’t required to be used.
- CS Cart Review – CS Cart is another self-hosted shopping cart system that offers a one-time purchase licensing agreement so you can host your own store without monthly fees (other than your web or VPS hosting). One time fee is $199.99 with 1 year of support and upgrades or pay $499.99 to own it for life with lifetime upgrades. If you want, you can opt to pay monthly $19.99 or $29.99 per month depending on the support level you want.
- CubeCart Review – A totally free downloadable open source shopping cart solution. You will find this system available with most web hosting companies including InMotion Hosting. Use their auto-installer to install CubeCart after purchasing your first website hosting and you are on your way to having your own store, up and running for free. You can also extend your shopping cart with over 50 free extensions including PayPal integration.
- X-Cart Review – Has 33,000+ websites using their website and has been in business since 2001. This is a downloaded PHP eCommerce system that integrates with over 75 payment processors. Try their software with a limited free version and upgrade to a more powerful version later for $495 including lifetime access. One of our favorite self-hosted eCommerce solutions.
- Network Solutions Ecommerce Review – Offers no free trial. Intro level is $29.95/mo that allows 25 products to be listed. No transaction fees. Online demo is available before purchasing.
- 1ShoppingCart Review – A 30-day trial to try their Ecommerce system is available but it requires your credit card information. After your first month, the smallest plan is $59/mo which allows 500 products and offers 2GB file storage with unlimited bandwidth. This plan has a 1.25% transaction fee. Upgrade to the Oremium plan for $99/mo for access to list unlimited products, 5GB storage and a 1% transaction fee.