Compare ecommerce website builders
Whether you’re upgrading to a more powerful ecommerce website builder or setting up your ecommerce site for the first time, there are many options for you to choose from that offer a wide range of tools, features, and capabilities. While some ecommerce site builders focus more on UX, others are made more for back-end usability, and still others offer a bit of both.
A simple comparison of all these varying features and capabilities makes it a little easier to figure out which builder is best suited to your needs, based on your industry, brand, audience, SEO strategy, and a range of other factors that can affect your sales and bottom line.
The best ecommerce website builders for 2022
In this ecommerce website builders guide, you’ll learn about:
- Adobe Commerce (Magento)
- How to choose the best ecommerce site builder for your business
- Ecommerce site builder FAQ
- How to start building your ecommerce website
1. Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Magento was the first major open-source platform offering online commerce support and capability, and that industry-leading ecommerce builder is now Adobe Commerce. Serving both B2B and B2C businesses, Commerce is an exceptional choice for those in search of flexibility, style, and ease of use.
Like other popular site builders, Commerce offers drag-and-drop design capabilities — but the difference is that with its sleek UX, the end result is a simple, enjoyable shopping experience.
Popular for: Everyone. The best overall ecommerce site builder, Commerce is simple to use and provides exceptional tools for launching, managing, and even scaling your business online. From micro businesses operating from garages to enterprises managing dozens of brands, Commerce can support it all while looking fabulous.
Design capabilities: Commerce offers a handy drag-and-drop page builder, easy personalization, thousands of free design themes, and dozens of easy-to-use tools to help you manage inventory, sales, and marketing.
B2B or B2C: Catering to B2B and B2C users alike, Commerce allows you to create any kind of ecommerce site you like. If you sell to both consumers and other companies, Commerce can help you do that too.
Reporting: Armed with complete data analysis and business intelligence, you’ll have every insight you need to manage your sales and examine customer journeys so you can see where consumers are coming in — and where they’re leaving. Commerce also comes with advanced monitoring and alerting, so you won’t have to hunt for issues when they occur.
Extensions: Enhancing and extending the performance of Commerce, Magento Marketplace offers countless plugins and add-ons to streamline your site, make products more accessible to viewers, manage your books, handle inventory, and much more.
Commerce brings users everything they need to do business online under one umbrella. Even if you’re just venturing into ecommerce, Adobe Commerce has all the tools you’ll need to access and control every aspect of your site and operate online — such as launching a new product page, accepting and processing payments, and managing customer relationships. This is a powerful, flexible solution for growing companies of any size.
BigCommerce is an open SaaS platform and ecommerce site builder that allows businesses of any size to host, create, and manage their online storefronts while optimizing them for SEO. BigCommerce also offers tools for online marketing and is one of the most secure ecommerce builders today.
Popular for: Companies with large inventory management and sales needs.
Design capabilities: Drag-and-drop page builder, large theme library.
B2B or B2C: Both.
Reporting: Big Commerce has a standard analytics dashboard for its users that offers all the insights they need for their sites and sales.
Extensions: With an extensive app library, BigCommerce presents plenty of options for site management and more.
BigCommerce is a great solution for small to large businesses that are looking to showcase expansive inventories of products that won’t fit or translate well on a site builder with a brochure-type template style.
Shopify has been on the scene since 2006, and is one of the most well-known ecommerce site builders available today because it works well for new websites and those converting to ecommerce. However, while it’s one of the best options for beginners who have never built a site, it can pose limitations for those who are skilled.
Popular for: Micro and small businesses and ecommerce beginners who want to increase their online sales but may not deeply understand SEO, SEM, HTML, or site-building best practices.
Design capabilities: With thousands of new storefront themes to choose from, Shopify has come a long way since its early days as a simple ecommerce site builder “for dummies.” While there are scarcely a dozen free templates to choose from, once you commit you’ll have at your fingertips a huge library of customizable themes, plus other features emphasizing ease of use. The platform offers less flexibility and fewer choices to those who want the greater detail and functionality that come with a more complex builder.
B2B or B2C: Shopify works well for small to medium-sized B2B and B2C businesses alike.
Reporting: It offers various levels of reporting based on the user plan, with insights into sales and site traffic.
Extensions: Shopify comes with a wide range of extensions and the app store is loaded with nearly 1,300 applications, so users can get all the widgets and analytics they care about right away. By removing a lot of the tedium that comes with hand-coded sites and automating most ecommerce processes, you’re free to run your business and increase your profit margin with online sales.
Shopify is certainly easy to use, which helps small companies that can’t afford to hire a web developer meet their commercial needs and scale their online business in 2022. However, this simplicity also makes it less appealing to experienced developers who can code whatever they want. Many of the decisions about appearance, SEO, content input and placement, and navigation are handled by the platform, which can mean a less-robust marketing and SEO scheme, as well as a relatively cookie-cutter appearance on websites created with Shopify.
Known for its great site speed, large library of templates, and low price point, Wix is among the top ecommerce site builders for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Popular for: Small business owners with big ideas who are looking for a plug-and-play option with simple drag-and-drop capability to build websites and apps their customers can find and use easily.
Design capabilities: Drag-and-drop site-building features and the Wix App Market, which gives users an abundance of apps to improve their site offerings.
B2B or B2C: Due to its functionality, Wix is generally best suited for B2C operations.
Reporting: Wix offers several reporting styles, which are prefabricated and made for users to edit to meet their specific needs. With the ability to switch between bar graphs, pie graphs, and other types, Wix allows users to view the data that’s most important to them in whatever form they prefer.
Extensions: Wix comes with a large variety of extensions, apps, widgets, and other resources that make for more robust and user-friendly websites.
The Wix library may be a bit limited compared to some competitors that boast tens of thousands of site-building options. Still, for the average small business owner who has little to no experience building websites and doesn’t need so many options, it’s quite attractive. Wix recently launched its native mobile app builder, which allows almost anyone to create apps easily without coding.
Squarespace is prevalent among small business owners and “solopreneurs” — micro businesses operated by a single person. Nearly 20 years old, Squarespace is a website building tool and content management system offering native hosting with unlimited storage that’s recently evolved to become an ecommerce site builder.
Popular for: Small business owners and solopreneurs who want to create “brochure-style” websites that are glossy, compact, mobile-first, and HTML5-compatible.
Design capabilities: With an easy-to-operate platform, Squarespace isn’t overwhelming for most. It has drag-and-drop functionality for setting up blocks of text, so users can toggle back and forth between images and other content, including graphics. Squarespace allows custom CSS for those who have the Business plan or higher, but many users complain that adding hand-coded blocks tends to render code in the design of the site or break the design entirely.
B2B or B2C: According to Squarespace, anyone with the desire to sell anything to anyone (but not anywhere — more on that later) can use it to build an ecommerce website.
Reporting: While you can review some reporting from your computer, Squarespace urges users to download their app, which you need to manage your site anyway. With access to page views and traffic analytics, you can get a basic sense of how things are going from the app, but if you’re eager to share the data with others — or provide shareholders with in-depth analysis — Squarespace is probably not for you.
Extensions: Unlike other ecommerce site builders, Squarespace offers a very limited library of apps with fewer than 30 options. Recently, however, Squarespace released Video Studio, which lets users shoot from their mobile devices and create glossy, high-end videos using “guided project templates” that give a professional look and feel.
The ideal candidate for Squarespace is a micro or small business owner who showcases just a handful of products and wants to take sales online. Earlier we said Squarespace isn’t for “anywhere” — that’s because it can’t handle multi-currency transactions and thus can’t be used for international sales. If you have thousands of SKUs of inventory, Squarespace probably isn’t for you, but it’s a good fit for small companies selling locally with less inventory.
It’s easy to understand why the majority of reviewers give Square at least four stars once familiar with all the site offers — and how it is offered. Square is highly intuitive and made to be used by anyone. Before it became a site builder, Square was a highly regarded payment processing behemoth. So when you choose Square, it handles everything from brick-and-mortar sales and virtual transactions to site-building, inventory management, and customer relationships.
Popular for: Square is both a payment processor and an ecommerce site builder. The dashboard offers loads of features for a wide variety of ecommerce needs, including support for paid ads, email marketing, inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, and a view into customer journeys.
Design capabilities: Square boasts a modern, glossy look, but it really doesn’t have much flexibility for those who want to change certain parts of templates. It’s easy to add new products into Square, and you can add all kinds of modifiers and personalization to products featured on a site. But you won’t find the endless sea of templates of some other big ecommerce site builders, and you also can’t do your own coding. Still, if the idea is to get your products online so people can see and buy them from anywhere, Square is a great choice.
B2B or B2C: Square can be used for both B2B and B2C operations, though it’s best not to cater to both on the same site.
Reporting: Square offers fairly robust analytics, both for the upkeep of sales and for visibility into traffic and customer journeys. Users can check on everything from customer engagement on a specific product to what the drop-off rates are for every SKU they carry.
Extensions: If you're looking for endless apps and extensions, Square isn’t for you. Even in the way of templates, the Square offering is rather generic — you get a simple, whitewashed background with sparse images of your products or services hanging mid-air. But because Square offers so much in terms of management, marketing, a bit of SEO, and transaction processing, you may find you don’t need loads of apps to run sites on other builders.
Ecommerce site building is the Square second act, and it’s one the company has executed pretty well. But Square is not ideal for micro businesses or even small businesses — it works best if you have a retail offering or a brick-and-mortar store that you've decided to move online.
Volusion remains among the most popular hosted ecommerce site builders in 2022, even after the 2018 launch of Volusion V2, which was postured as an easy-to-use platform for everyone. Though there are some weaknesses, Volusion is simple and comes with good support, providing everything needed to launch, run, and scale business online.
Popular for: One of the early movers in ecommerce site design, Volusion is a soup-to-nuts offering best suited for micro to small businesses.
Design capabilities: Volusion offers terrific ease-of-use features for those who have never built a site, with lots of hand-holding to get you across the design finish line. Beyond that, it’s standard point-and-click with some drag-and-drop functionality.
B2B or B2C: Volusion is likely best for B2C businesses on the smaller side.
Reporting: Analytics with Volusion aren’t great. You’re forced to sign up for Google Tag Manager, which can introduce third-party data trackers. The dashboard is set up haphazardly and the data there is not accurate.
Extensions: There really aren’t any extensions or apps to speak of, and the features that users do have access to are quite limited.
For the price and potential data concerns, Volusion isn’t a great choice, especially as there are lots of free or cheaper alternatives that offer as much or more.
Offering a relatively robust SSL-encrypted shopping cart that accepts all major payment options, Weebly got its start in the mid-aughts, but really began catering to ecommerce users in 2016. Best known for single-click taxes and simplifying customer shipping through its relationship with Shippo, Weebly has its hand in many pots. Most recently it was purchased by Square to integrate into its payment processing for a more complete ecommerce service.
Popular for: Weebly (which is still available as a standalone platform) is a basic site builder best suited for micro and small businesses.
Design capabilities: Weebly features drag and drop, mobile optimization, and responsive design, but it leaves much desired with very few templates and themes. Additionally, you can’t insert PDFs and instead have to upload them to Scribd, which is the only document viewer that works with Weebly.
B2B or B2C: Weebly could be used for either B2B or B2C but is probably better for B2C online retailers.
Reporting: Without much of its own reporting, Weebly allows users to set up Google Analytics through its dashboard to simplify access to site analysis.
Extensions: The Weebly App Center offers hundreds of apps and extensions, but they are entirely third-party and may not be vetted.
In 2022, no one really needs to use Weebly on its own since you can have access to everything Weebly offers and much more now with Square.
How to choose the best ecommerce site builder for your business
Here are some steps you can take to pick the best ecommerce site builder for you:
Determine the budget you have for site building, ensuring that you factor in all associated costs and savings from separate products, including inventory management, sales recording, online marketing and SEO, analytics, email marketing, paid ads, and any design help you potentially would outsource without a simple site builder.
Decide what features you need now, such as analytics for both the site and for your sales and inventory, which are important at any stage of business.
- How many campaigns do you plan to send each month or year? How large is your contact list, and do you anticipate significant growth?
Take advantage of free trials, which can be the best way to familiarize yourself with a site builder and see if it’s right for you.
Choose a site builder that you could still be using in 10 years. Is the one you’re looking at robust enough to scale your business over potentially millions of dollars of growth? If not, what other option have you not looked at, and was it simply because the price was higher? Remember, building and maintaining a high-quality ecommerce site can help you grow your business in a meaningful and lasting way.
There are many ecommerce website options, but once you know their strengths and have identified what’s most important, you can make a choice based on what you value most.
Ecommerce site builder FAQ
What is an ecommerce website?
An ecommerce website is a site that allows visitors to buy products, services, or both using common payment options. It offers or integrates transaction processing right into the platform where your inventory is managed and your reporting can be easily obtained and shared.
What is an ecommerce website builder?
An ecommerce website builder is a SaaS, software, app, or other type of platform that allows users to conceptualize, launch, and maintain an ecommerce website through its own or third-party hosting, and which offers analysis and management of content, inventory, sales, and sometimes marketing efforts.
What’s the best ecommerce website builder?
The best ecommerce website builder is Adobe Commerce, powered by Magento. It boasts a strong portfolio of cloud-based, omnichannel solutions that empower merchants to successfully integrate digital and physical shopping experiences.
Start building your ecommerce website
There are many ecommerce website options, but once you know their strengths and have identified what’s most important, you can make a choice based on what you value most. Is it customization? Is it inventory management? Is it a low price point? Is it built-in SEO and marketing capabilities?
If you haven’t already, start by making a list of the features you want today, as well as those you’ll need five years from now. Think about where your business is now compared to where it will be then. Did you get there because of an outstanding marketing effort, or by making yourself highly visible with SEO, or was it an ecommerce site improvement? Whether you’re after something incredibly customizable or super easy to design and manage, you’ll soon understand which platform is best for you.
If you want to start with a builder you won’t have to upgrade, or if you’re looking for that upgrade now, Adobe Commerce has all the power and flexibility you need — and you can easily try it out for yourself with our free trial sign-up.
Watch the Adobe Commerce overview video.
Take a free product tour to learn more.