How to Build an Online Store 2018 | Start Selling Online Today

Online store Everything you need to start an online store and sell online Selling online with your own ecommerce website has never been easier, faster, or more scalable.

Hi Sharon, Thanks for your comment. Your navigation bar should be easy to maneuver. I loved this comparison chart. Thanks for your comment Isabella.

With freewebstore you will have all the tools needed to run an online business. Our simple yet powerful eCommerce solution allows users of all abilities to operate a successful online store - for free.
Now that you have your online store ready, you probably want to get started with adding other usual elements on your website such as a contact form, about page, and more. To further customize WordPress and add features like contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc, you need to .
Promote your business, showcase your art, set up an online shop or just test out new ideas. The Wix website builder has everything you need to create a fully personalized, high-quality free website.
Online store Everything you need to start an online store and sell online Selling online with your own ecommerce website has never been easier, faster, or more scalable.
Establish your brand online with a custom domain name and online store. With instant access to hundreds of the best looking themes, and complete control over the look and feel, you finally have a gorgeous store of your own that reflects the personality of your business.
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Accept appointments and payments.

If you’re learning how to build an online store nowadays, your site needs to work perfectly no matter what device your customer is using. This is one of the biggest benefits of using an online store builder.

This is very helpful for someone just starting out. Can you tell me which of these e-commerce sites are responsive? All of the online store builders above are mobile responsive, except for Wix. Wix has its own mobile editor and there are pros and cons to this. We have a discussion about that here.

Great info Jeremy, thanks so much! I have been tasked with adding a small online store to the existing website of our private university. Any thoughts on ways to accomplish this? The simplest platforms to use for this will be Wix, Squarespace or Weebly.

But you should also consider Shopify as even though they are more comprehensive, they also work great for smaller stores such as yours! Any thoughts on who has both abilities? They might have a fulfillment app there. Do mean creating some sort of marketplace where people can buy and sell from each other, like eBay? Great article and very useful advice! Thank you so much for writing this! Do you have something like this or the same info that I could look at for the following:.

At the mean time, we have a discussion that compares Shopify and Volusion here. Which Store Builder has the ability to create an online store front for customer sales, as well as a Distributor log in area where Distributors can view wholesale prices and purchase their stock?

Shopify does offer some options to set up wholesale capability. Take a look at them here. Which website hosting is best for my business? The majority of them integrate well with Google Business Apps, which uses the same interface as Gmail, but with your custom email address. If you want a website builder to provide you the ability to set up your own custom email addresses as part of their monthly package, take a look at Jimdo.

They do have ecommerce tools, but are not as comprehensive as advanced ecommerce providers such as Shopify or BigCommerce. However they just restructured their pricing plan and have priced me out. Any suggestions as to which others have that option at a decent price? Shopify is another great ecommerce website builder. Specifically, take a look at the pricing discussion. You might find it insightful!

Thank you very much Jeremy for this research.. Take a look at our discussion about Etsy and building your own ecommerce store here. I have one more question please.. Take a look at our cost guides here and here. I really find all your answers here very helpful especially for starters like me. I wanted to consult you as I am planning to start an online shop. Honestly I have no idea on what and how I should start my business I guess because I have no so much capital and I am not techie-savy.

I wanted to have a bid option for my buyers, do you know if Weebly or Wix have this feature? If not, can you recommend other e-commerce online store builders please? Thank you in advance for your answer and for any help you can extend to me. That sounds like something that might require you to hire a custom developer to specifically build that for you. Jeremy, I tried your Recommendation Quiz, but I wanted to click too many options!

An E-Commerce store; I make jewelry, paintings, and sculptures, so I need to be able to make Tabs or segregate it somehow.

I need to be able to take payment somehow, probably Paypal? I want to be able to blog. Is there some way to connect a blog to my Facebook pages I have 3 — my personal page, my creative page for my art, and our business page for our bison farming and oilpatch business.

I want to be able to include information about myself, my creative endeavours, and the small business that my husband and I have. I want to be able to produce a good looking, easy to navigate site.

But I need to keep my expenses down, so I need to do it myself. However, bigger errors such as accidentally deleting a webpage or your entire website, you can just email them to undo that mistake. Generally speaking, both website builders are good starter platforms for ecommerce sites. If you need much more flexibility and tools, then consider having a look at Shopify or Bigcommerce.

But at the end of the day, do test out a few different platforms before deciding. But you can just do it again: All of my sites but one, including my portfolio site as well as my own art site are made with Weebly. Sometimes I need to try different themes as I flesh out a site and Weebly can do that. Weebly is very easy to use and their support is top notch. Their eCommerce solutions are easy as well.

Weebly is perfect for do-it-yourselfers! This is a great way to get started without paying anything and there is no time limit. However, when it comes time to actually sell your work, I believe you have to commit to a plan, but then Weebly is no longer in your url. Oh, yes, and you can buy your domain name and host all with Weebly. Please avoid GoDaddy and WordPress. I just love all things Weebly and try to encourage people as best I can because I love Weebly and want everyone to have a website!

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us. For instance, with Wix, you can create parallax 1-pager designs with ease, add various distinct sections to your pages, add background videos, etc. You can see some of them here.

So Wix is a much more well-rounded solution for business owners and those who want an easy non-code way of keeping up with the latest design trends. I always thought of Weebly as a minimalistic website builder. They give you all the tools to build a good, standard website. But if you want to move beyond that and have more tools, Wix is a much stronger candidate.

I am brand new to e-commerce and have learned a lot from your website. One question that I cannot seem to find the answer to is regarding Instagram integration. Also, scalablility is my biggest concern. My biggest fear is my website crashing upon receiving 10s of millions of visitors in my first day. This would obviously be a huge issue.

Last but not least, I need a way to integrate affiliates, lots and lots of affiliates think thousands. By biggest needs are the affiliate program and being able to be scalable, with Instagram integration being the least concern. This specific plan is geared towards major scalability and flexibility.

They also have a lot of Apps in their App Market that can help you manage your affiliate program. I have been trying to create an ecommerce platform using shopify for the past couple of days. I have specific needs for customization options on certain products but do not see how to add them if it is even possible. They can certainly help you do a lot of the heavy lifting, make customizations and also advise you various relevant topics. Take a look at our discussion post here.

Hi can you have a Facebook store with wix or is it only a standalone store? Also I searched and searched their site for an email but any questions are directed to the general questions site — is this the only support they offer? Yes you can do that. So you can definitely use any one of the builders above to do that. Once you get notified of a sale, perhaps once per day, email your supplier with the details and get those products shipped.

Here is a good guide from Shopify on dropshipping. It includes a lot of the basics and tips as well. Sir, Thanks for your helping hand. I have no products to sell my own. I use my website to allow to others to sell their products and i get commission. If so, none of the online store builders above can accomplish that. Take a look at Wix, especially their App Market. Magento is not compared here as it is a self-hosting ecommerce platform.

So a user will have to setup their own hosting and manage all the technical aspects of running an online store pretty much playing the IT manager, as well as business owner, unless you hire a developer to help. Magento is a really good online store builder, but it is beyond the technical scope for an average person to use. Some couple of years back I had customer effect a fraudulent chargeback through our, then, paypal account. We closed the ecommerce site after PP paid the customer the claimed amount, sued us for the rebated money!

We now want to start another ecommerce site a totally different biz. PayPal is definitely more protective of consumers for sure. People do it in physical purchases as well — go buy something in the shopping center and file a chargeback against the merchant claiming someone copied their card, or something along that line. For us, we faced fraudulent chargebacks maybe once every transactions or so. In any case, to answer your question, other payment processors will also have channels for shoppers to dispute.

Hi Jeremy, Great site, thanks for all the info! This would be ideal, but not essential. A good slide show feature would do the trick, too. Another alternative is to extract certain pages of your book, and just let people download these pages as a PDF format on your webpage.

Thanks for your note. Try clicking on the link again some time? Here is the link for your convenience. I copied link to IE and it worked fine. Looks the problem is with my Chrome browser. Hi Jeremy, excellent article, thanks.

We are considering launching a house-swapping site — individuals list their homes and will look for other listings on the site with which they want to swap for a holiday etc.

Initially each listing will be free but we want to start to charge a small subscription at some point in the process. Which of the website builders would most suit us? Yours, midly confused Saadia.

I think what you in mind, sort of like Airbnb or VRBO, will require you to hire someone to custom build the website for you. Hi Jeremy, Really pleased to find this site! Can I add Shopify or any of the others to my existing site? Should I just give up my original site and start again?

It needs a lot of work anyway. Shopify does offer a widget where you can add to most website builders to add ecommerce features to the website.

So the widget will power the shopping part of your website. Take a look at this discussion where we talked about adding the Shopify widget to Squarespace website builder. Even though you might not be using Squarespace, but the discussion will be helpful in pointing you in the right direction. Hi Jeremy I love your site! I am barely getting any traffic to my web store. It might be worthwhile for you to approach some of their freelance experts to see if they have any ideas, and they are available to help you make customizations on Shopify to tailor to your specific requirements.

Thank you very much for your advice Jeremy! I am interested in Shopify, but just not sure how difficult it would be to transfer my webstore. But if you want someone to help you set up your store with Shopify, you can check out some of their experts , which can help you get things going.

Your site is fantastic and I have been studying the comparison of the website builders for a while. I have a merchant account set up with Quickbooks Intuit. Do any of these website builders accept this type of payment service or do I have to use theirs? I ask this because I have a really good rate with Intuit. I will be selling maybe a max of 25 products but each product can have a size option of maybe 12 choices.

Will any of these site builders be a problem for needing a long list of size choices when the customer selects the product? Take a look at Shopify or Bigcommerce.

Both have Apps where you can integrate Quickbooks with ecommerce sites built with either one of the platforms. First of all what a great comparison! Could you please confirm whether my understanding is correct? I have a small physical store and quite an active Facebook Store. I am looking to build an online store but I am having a bit of trouble deciding as I am quite new to all this.

I have over 1, products and the customer is my number one priority, so my question really is which of the e-commerce online store builder best allows me to track inventory, customer orders, customer details and tools to interact with my customer e.

I think you should have a look at Shopify, as they can integrate with your Facebook store. So from that perspective, it sounds like something that may be helpful to you. We have a more in-depth discussion about Shopify here. Is there any reason why? My shopping cart needs to be able for the customer to choose multiple options when making a purchase like R or L; color; size; with or without; etc. But overall, I heard that Ecwid works quite well. The only thing you may want to think about is that using a website builder such as Wix then adding Ecwid to it, is integrating two different platforms.

To be honest with you Bigcommerce is not worth it at all. I have been with them since the Interspire days and I have endless troubles! If you want to sell chickens in Zimbabwe or a kangaroo in Aussie land then you go for Bigcommerce. Bigcommerce templates always gives problems. Last year I bought the Darkroom Template and I have had endless problems and on the end of the day Bigcommerce refunded me on the template as they could also not sort out the problems.

Looking at their product options it is a nightmare if you want to sit for ours and battle then go for Bigcommerce. Like said if you are selling chickens in Zimbabwe and you have only a male and female and two colours the product option set will work for you! Bigcommerce support is not in existence. Payment Gateways also a nightmare.

So think twice if you want to go with Bigcommerce as this system is limited when you want to do certain things. I have experienced great service so far with Shopify with one of my shops. Not in the same league at all. So this piece of feedback is helpful. Shopify has a lot more independent developers working to build themes and apps for them, than Bigcommerce. We do have a good comparison table benchmarking Shopify and Bigcommerce here.

Hopefully others will find it helpful as well! Take a look at Bigcommerce. Which of the ecommerce websites is best used for selling information products only ebooks, coaching, memberships, etc…? All of them allow you to have the ability to sell information products digital based products. So it really comes down to which one you prefer using, and has other tools that meet your needs.

Shopify and Bigcommerce are pretty advanced ecommerce store builders, so if you need a lot more advanced features you might be able to find them there. But if you are just thinking of building a pretty basic site that sells digital products, then Wix, Weebly or Squarespace can do the job just fine. Shopify also has some apps in their app store that will also help you integrate them as well.

Your information are really great and really helpful for narrowing down my choice into weebly and shopify.!! I am planning to sell phone case and some sort of digital items for both Hong knog and international market , i would like to ask for your professional opinion and suggestion: Actually, I had tried the business plan in weekly for a month but they charged me for 8 month because of auto renew without notifying me: So do u think I should invest on shopify which sound pretty strong on payment processor?

Does it include the direct processing by visa or master card? Also, I just worry about if shopify is as user friendly as weebly, the drag and drop box? Thank you very much! As for your question, even with PayPal, you can process Visa and Mastercard credit cards. PayPal offers that option, so even if your customers are not using PayPal, they can pay with their credit cards. In general, Shopify is a much more powerful and advanced ecommerce website builder, when compared to Weebly.

Of course, one thing for you to consider is if you want to invest the time to build your online store again over at Shopify. Dont waste your time with weebly! Its a complete nightmare and theres absolutly no support on building it, no phone numbers, nothing. Easy to use, but i was beyond unhappy when i started building my shopping cart! No options for cart, like color or size options, only until you waste your time logging in descriptions, only to retype it all again in paypal to get paypal code.

Then cut and paste code, waste of time! If you need more options for your cart page, have a look at Shopify, Bigcommerce and even Wix. Those will give you more design flexibility.

Shopify and BigCommerce are really big name in ecommerce industry. I like to work with shopify because of its more advance features. Thanks for your comment Isabella. Both Shopify and Bigcommerce are indeed leaders in this space. I think Shopify has the edge at the time of this comment anyway. But both are extremely capable ecommerce builders. I have researched and more confused than ever. I want a store selling vintage, graphics, and handmade. I have squarespace as a trial but I am so confused.

I have some experience. Shopify and e-commerce too expensive. Other website builders to consider are Wix and Weebly. I think both are really easy to use easier than Squarespace in general. So give them a try if you want to test a couple more ecommerce builders out here! Both are free to sign up to. I read through your review and I think I have narrowed it down to either Big Commerce or Shopify but I think I read somewhere that Shopify stores appear very slow for the customers.

I contacted them before I read this and the support was great and very informative and I was set on using them until I went on a Shopify store and yes it was very slow indeed. I am based in Spain and will be selling my products all over Europe and there are obviously different tax rates for different countries but I think both of the above can handle that without a problem. Any info regarding this? I would also like my site to be available in at least Spanish and English but might want to add more languages later.

Can either of the above handle spanish and english? I am currently trying the Big Commerce for the 15 day free trial period but I find it a bit difficult and not so straight forward and maybe a bit too advanced for me for now. Does any one else have similar experiences? That is the best way to see which ecommerce platform is better suited for your unique needs! So take a look at Sentry Login which is a membership widget, and I believe it is compatible with Squarespace and Weebly as well.

So that might be helpful to you. I think PayPal has different buttons that you can get. Hi Jeremy, I across your site here and am really glad.. I am a designer and I would like o sell my product online.

I would like to have easy ,convinion online shop, some random visitors coming to my web and some help with exposure. I m loooking at shopify, bigcommerce and volusion. Not sure if I understand amazon and ebay integration? Did shopify offer something similar? Not sure if I explain clear enough.? All your reviews and comparison tables are so useful and easy to understand!

Thanks so much for all this! I am looking to setup a Fashion Studio based in Shanghai, China. There are three things that I really want for the e-commerce site:. For the customer to change the currency displayed on the page. Therefore the builder to have some sort of functionality that converts currencies.

The E-Commerce site to be linked to a Chinese Bank account ie Squarespace would not be possible, unless I use the external Ecwid app, right? To be able to do some minor coding modifications. Does Squarespace have this functionality? I was thinking Shopify, but it seems like they are more complex than I need and they are quite expensive. I would have suggested Shopify as they allow you to customize your site, and there are Shopify Experts readily available if you want to take customization to the next level.

They also integrate with over 70 payment processors. Squarespace does allow you to make some customization edits in CSS. Unless you sign up to use their developers platform. As your business grow, you can then justify investing a bit more to migrate to a higher plan. They also offer a 14 day trial so you can play around with their platform before deciding whether they are right for you or not.

Thank you SO much for all of this awesome information. I am interested in using Megaphone and Weebly. As I am not a website guru, I am still a little confused as to whether or not I can actually integrate a Megaphone page onto my website so it looks like just another page.

I would like the marketing aspects of Megaphone, and I want to use Stripe — so I want the sales trx to through Weebly. I am also interested in using KajabiNext. Do you know of any other viable alternatives to them? I do not believe that they integrate to my own website in any fashion other than I will link to it — so I am looking for options before I build anything.

I am very grateful I found your website — and will be sharing this info. I also appreciate your level of customer care. I think Megaphone also host the marketing pages that you create for you, so perhaps you can just use that option. You can always link from your marketing landing pages to your Weebly site.

I am a member of Perth Playback Theatre — Playback Theatre is a form of improvisational theatre where moments, experiences and stories from audience members are played back live to the gathering. We often do performances for community groups. We also host workshops. Our website is shocking!!! My gut feel is that you should pick the website builder that you enjoy working with the most, and one that is suitable for your needs.

Wix is pretty easy to use, but I think that Weebly is a bit easier. Plus, as you pointed out, Weebly allows you to change templates. As for ticket sales, both Wix and Weebly allow you to sell digital or physical tickets. I think from a functionality perspective, both are almost the same when it comes to setting up something simple to sell directly to your visitors. What you can also consider doing, is sign up for free accounts with both builders, and just invest a few hours to test them out.

This will give you a good handle on which one you prefer to work with! Great information, thank you. I am looking for a solution for a new client that needs to sell retail as well as easily extport data to their resellers. Your best bet is probably Shopify or Bigcommerce. Both are advanced online store builders and they will have export functions for you to extract data.

I tried Bonanza and the store looked impressive but pretty much no support whatsoever and very pricey. Then I tried WIX, one of the worst supports. You need to make an appointment for phone support and if you miss the call, you have to make another appointment. I dabbled with sitey. So, I have no opinion of them.

I find shopify have the very best support for people like me who knows nothing about building a site. Thanks for your feedback. As for Wix, it can be frustrating if you missed your phone appointment. I guess the tip here is to make sure one sits by the phone when the scheduled call is approaching!

Which builder has Chinese characters available? Can the products in the store be searched by Chinese character? I would assume that larger ecommerce builders such as Shopify or Bigcommerce should be able to address this, since they integrate with over 70 payment processors. Perhaps you can email their support team to confirm? Alternatively, I know that Jimdo has an office in Shanghai and that you can definitely create a Chinese website with them.

Jeremy, I have built a Wix site to sell 1 product. The problem is the payment system seems cumbersome. My customers have to go through PayPal and have a PayPal account. I want them to be able to pay on the website or on PayPal without having to log into their own PayPal account.

It looks like there may be apps that I can install through Wix, but that seems redundant. Hello again I wish ask one more question I was about to get for now starter plan in shopify, but I saw some reviews that they got some problems with payments if shop is localized in Philippines, I was try ask more but so far no good answer from them, My question is do shopify is good choice for shop based only for Philippinos?

Shopify offers 70 or so payment processors so I would imagine that at least one of them will work well in the Philippines. At least PayPal is an option that I know will work with merchants based in the Philippines. If you have specific questions about some payment processors, perhaps try reaching out to their support team to see if they have any more insights why certain payment processors might not work?

Starting a small brand and am trying to determine which would be the best site builder you think… 1. Some say you can keep up to 20 products.. Mobile app would be nice but not necessarily needed. Payment and shipping tools would be a plus but not quite sure which would be my best option, and I would like to have features such as promotional codes and the ability for users to have accounts to save their information for future orders.

Hello Want make online shop for my small business near 50 products based in Philippines all I need is 1. With I will be able easy update from mobile phone like add products or delete them 3.

Have desktop view on mobile phone 4. Customers can pay from pay pal. The online store builder that best matches your needs would be Weebly as you can edit their templates, they have an app that allows you to edit your site but with an iPad though , you can switch to desktop view, is integrated with PayPal. Another alternative is to sign up with a lower plan such as their Starter , and use Ecwid which is an independent ecommerce widget in your Weebly website.

I have been pouring over your reviews for website builders and they seem very objective and informative. I currently have a website that was built by my husband and designed by me. It did not come from a template and I was able to incorporate some design motifs which a template would not permit.

My husband does not do mobile specific or e-commerce, two areas we need to grow, so NOW I must do a website builder in order to do all we need to do in the future.

Knowing I am a control freak, our specialty is designing jewelry and I need the above criteria, is there a website builder which would allow me to drag and drop original artwork as backgrounds on a template?

Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated! I think your best best is to check out Shopify and Bigcommerce. But if you check out some of their descriptions you should be able to find out after digging around. Further, Shopify has experts who can help you out a great deal in getting things set up if you want to hire someone. Lastly, Shopify and Bigcommerce are compatible with a lot of different payment processors.

Very helpful for trying to compare the different options available. They will want to accept donations with PayPal as their fiscal agent. Is one of these sites better than the other for this type of integration?

Thanks for your additional! I think PayPal will work just fine with all the website builders you listed. Squarespace has visually rich templates and they are all mobile responsive.

So pros and cons! I appreciate all your help and your quick response. Good weekend to you…. Thank you for the huge work you have done here, it is really very helpful! But I would very thankful for the personal suggestion. I want to build e-commerce store for jewelry we produce. For a while I do not need very advanced tools, except very clear and fully automatised payment and shipping tools.

You should check out Shopify and Bigcommerce, as both are very focused ecommerce store builders and gives you the tools to help you manage a large number of products. They also have automation tools to help you manage payments, invoicing and you can also integrate shipping tools with them! Hi, i read the Top 8 Tools Guide regard free email but i found Outlook. Do you suggest another way to get customized email. Hey there — yes, unfortunately Outlook no longer offers users the ability to create custom domain email addresses for free sad face.

I need to build an ecommerce website myself. I will be selling 1 product mainly in the US. I want it to be relatively easy. It is not clear from your article what the best site is for CC transaction fees; as I feel that will be the determining factor since most of the additional features I will not use. So if you are using PayPal, Stripe or other reputable transaction processors, all their fees are relatively similar very generally speaking. The other platforms do take a very small percentage of each of your sale this is in addition to your credit card fees , but that goes away if you upgrade to their higher plans.

With Wix and Squarespace, there is no web builder transaction fee whatsoever. But you will have to pay a payment processing fee credit card fee each time you make a sale. Hi Jeremy, really enjoyed the article well done and thanks.

I was wondering if you might be able to recommend a provider to begin with as I am a little in the dark with everything. I am selling products online to Ireland only and am based in Ireland. My domain name is registered with an Irish provider as per law.

We are a small business and just need a storefront online with maybe one or two email addresses. Further, hosting is a services provided on a global basis. But you may want to consult a lawyer or someone that is familiar with building sites in Ireland for further clarifications!

Just to be on the safer side, of course. Thank you for your message, makes more sense! Hi Jeremy thanks for all the great information. I tried to find somewhere in the discussions you have with other potential users something in shopify that they will sell digital products.

The product I intend to sell is essentially a PDF, or some type of other digital information document. Or year or so ago when I was previously looking there was only one or two of these website builders that offered to sell a digital product, but according to your chart, now it looks they all do. Based on your comparison chart I was leaning towards shopify before, but if you have a recommendation for a website builder that will sell a digital product, and at the moment I just have one, which would you recommend?

Yes Shopify does allow you to sell digital products such as PDF documents. A lot of other drag and drop website builders all have this function built in as well over the past 1 or 2 years. As for recommendations, it all depends on how comprehensive you want your online store to be. But if you need more advanced tools, Shopify and Bigcommerce cater cater to that they both have App Stores where you can add on even more advanced commerce tools.

So basically, potential customers will come to my site, choose the monthly plan and complete the cart transaction. They do have the ability for you to charge your customers on a recurring subscription basis.

You just need to add an App to your Shopify store website. Your answers have been very informative and quite simple to understand for a computer luddite like myself. As well, I have multiple existing domain names that I would like to use to direct to the one site if that even possible. Could you please advise me as to which builder would work best for me. I think the best platforms for you to consider is Wix, Weebly or Squarespace.

All are very easy to use website builders and also give you the ability to sell products, and to also insert video players. Thanks for that and please continue posting. Currently I want to start only with displaying products and see the response. After a couple of weeks and seeing customer response from website page reporting then I want to start up online store eCommerce. Thanks for your compliments and for recommending our discussions to others! You can pretty much do what you want to do with any of the online store builders discussed above.

Since you are just gauging basic response and analyzing traffic data using tools such as Google Analytics. Since you are in NZ, Shopify and Bigcommerce will have a number of payment gateway options for you to use. Weebly also integrates PayPal into its ecommerce tools, so it should work well for you as well.

Weebly is a more basic online store builder. So if you want to keep things simple, Weebly is a good option. If you want a lot more tools, Shopify and Bigcommerce can be helpful. This is a great comparison chart, but I still need some help please.

My sister and I are staring a homemade candle business and we are looking for an online store were we can sell our candles. We are newbies and I want to make sure we use the best builder for our small online store. We would like to offer a shopping cart and also be able to give discount coupons for first time buyers to drive them to our site.

What would be your recommendations for us? We are just staring out and do not want to break the bank to start out. I think something like Weebly or Squarespace will work well for you. Both are very capable online store builders, gives you all the tools to be able to sell physical products such as candles.

Both will enable your customers to use discount codes, and are both relatively less expensive than larger, full featured online store builders such as Shopify or Bigcommerce.

Obviously, with a lower monthly fee, you get less tools. But Weebly and Squarespace can provide you with the tools to build a good ecommerce store. I just recently put alot of time into setting up my business website thru Micosoft Office Ideally if I could add pages to it for selling product that would be great. My worst fear is that I have to start all over again and recreate the services portion of my website as part of an online store platform.

I think in general you should be able to export your product details into a CSV file looks similar as an Excel spreadsheet and import it into more advanced ecommerce builders such as Shopify or Bigcommerce.

At least this gives you a bit of a head start in inserting your products. I can do all the front-end editing but I am little bit scared about the payment tools- how it works and what should I need for this.

Should I need a regular bank account or anything else. When it comes to payment mode, which one of the above including WIX can be a good option for online jewellery store? I need full support regarding this so that I can track my orders, delivery, etc.

I think the most popular payment transaction service provider is PayPal. I know that Shopify has a free App that you can to your store that allows you to provide real-time carrier cost estimates for Canada Post.

So this actually might work well for you! I currently sell on Etsy, a little on eBay and want to create my own e-commerce store. My main reason for my own store it to have my own brand identity. I am growing and want a good website name and e-commerce store when I go into a brewery to do sales, not a store within a larger e-commerce store. My second biggest reason to create my own site is due to shipping.

I need a e-commerce builder with a Real-time Shipping Calculator. So, I ship with FedEx. For me, less shipping many times converts to more sales. I was wondering which builder you would suggest? So, what e-commerce builder would you suggest. However, as you pointed out, they may not come cheap especially if you want advanced solutions. This then comes down to tweaking your business model. Is your profit margin high enough to absorb higher operational costs?

If not, and yet you want to deliver premium experience such as real time calculations , are your prices high enough to justify such experience? So aside from picking the right platform to help sell your products, the economics of selling each line of product has to make financial sense, leaving you sufficient profit margins to operate the business. My friend advised me to build it myself with Wix as it is quite easy and free but I was concerned with getting the right host that has good security if payments through credit cards and PayPal are being made.

I also wanted a shipping cost option if I received orders from overseas. Thanks for your question. Yes it sounds like Shopify is a bit too advanced for your needs at the moment given that you only have 1 product right now. Weebly is quite easy to use and their ecommerce tools are actually quite decent.

I found your site by accident. My plan is to start out with about 10 designs and work my way up. The look of the website is very important to me. Needs to look professional and very chic. Both have pretty good ecommerce tools. I stumbled upon your site a few days ago. Tons of information here. I plan to start out with maybe about 10 different designs and work my way up.

Shopify usually has some really attractive design templates. We discuss more about their templates here. I stumbled upon your site today. I have been considering a site like virb to showcase my portfolio primarily and other tabs, stockists, contact, about etc.

I was considering using big cartel. I see they arent in this article to compare to. I am not html savy but it would be great to have one site where I can incorporate my portfolio as well as an e commerce site and be able to customize with my own logo etc.

I hate to have to pay for two sites and domain annual fees if i dont have to. I want everything to appear cohesive and clean. User friendly as well while keeping my monthly dues not to high.

I think Squarespace will work well for your needs. Their design templates are gorgeous and are well suited for setting up a portfolio website. Of course, with their drag and drop tools, you can insert your own logo to brand your own website for sure. Their ecommerce tools are fully capable to help you sell your products online.

If you end up subscribing to their plans, you get a free domain as well so that can help you manage your expenses. Best way forward is to sign up for their free trial and play around with it to see if their tools fit your needs! I have been busy reading your comparisons and you give such brilliant advice. I also read the Etsy advice where I have a vintage shop.

That was also useful. I am comfortable with Etsy but you are correct I have been thinking of building a website and the choice is between Yola, weebly, Jimdo and Wix. My understanding is that you think this is not a good idea. Is that right and is it really a turn off for customers? All these are effectively differentiating yourself from the crowded marketplace in Etsy!

Shoppers buy from people they know and like. If others reading this and have an Etsy store, we have a discussion article here about the benefits of setting up your own website in addition to using Etsy. Jeremy, Thank you so very much for all your advice. You are right about Etsy. I have tried to locate an actual website from some favorite Etsy merchants and so far none of those had a website.

It would be nice to have some of them have one. It will give them more flexibility in design. It will help buyers navigate easier. I have decided to use, for my two domains, a self hosted solution and went for WP. On one domain I use WP with the woo commerce plugin and on the other I use the ecwid plugin.

In my opinion Woocommerce is great for mid to big sized shops and ecwid for a small business wanting to sell a few goods. As a complete beginner to WP and self hosting I came fairly far in realising both websites. Additionally one should also carefully select a theme. I think here lies the main key on how successful you are with your page. Getting to know all the technical terms and making up your mind what you need is a very crucial step.

I have a client who is a commercial printer. Which of these commerce options have add-on that are customizable and often best way to build a site for her? I was looking to do a website where customers could put their own product on the site. Like an Ebay or Esty or Threadflip. What would be the best choice for me to go with.

I have to watch my funds as well. It sounds like you need a builder that allows you to build your own marketplace. You can find some good developers for hire on either oDesk or Elance. I am looking for a company to develop my website for online education.

Hi, any suggestion for an easy e-commerce builder for a trial out? As I might need a huge amount of storage for my product in the future. So which, website builder should I go for? I was quite familiar with Wix, do you think it is good to start off with it 1st as shopify and bigcommerce is quite pricey? Next, I know all these e-commerce builder like shopify, bigcommerce, wix, jimdo required you to sign up plan.

If in the near future, i would like to create and host my own e-commerce will I be able to re-use the domain that I used in those website builder? Lastly, do any of this website builder provide a e-commerce function, whereby there is no need a price tag to each product?

As in, consumer could order the product, without placing any price on the items, some sort of pre-order thingy. Remember that Shopify has a 14 day free trial, and Bigcommerce has a 15 day free trial.

So you can test them out before committing to their monthly plans. If you connect our own domain name to any one of the ecommerce online store builders, you still own the domain names as long as you pay the annual registration fee with your domain name registrar. So down the road, if you decide to switch websites, your domain name is portable and can be brought over to a new website if you want to.

But both website builders have independent experts that you can consult with and have them customize the platform for you. We have an article about Shopify experts here. Actually, Wix do have such option and regarding the shopify starter plan. It only provides 1 GB file storage capacity with products. Thus that mean, I can upload too much photos? On a few week basis I will be adding more products into database. So I doubt it will be enough 1 GB. Any other suggestion of which e-commerce builder that is suitable?

Squarespace sounds like a great solution for our needs, but bulk uploading is a key component when making a final decision. Which ones have bulk uploading functionality? Both Shopify and Bigcommerce allow you to bulk import products and images.

Both platforms will also allow you to quickly edit your image sizes as well. I would like to know need an ecommerce site and would appreciate your thoughts on GoDaddys, Volusion and Shopify. I think I read somewhere that they will be integrating those tools into their latest builder soon.

Hi, Thanks for this amazing and informative article that help us a lot to start an online store and boost our business. Thank you for such an informative article. I have been thinking of building my own online store for a while now. My question is, Shopify and these other online store builders are based in the U. It should be fine as these ecommerce builders operate worldwide.

If you can access their website, then you should be able to sign up for an account. The only thing is that you need to ensure that you can find a payment processor that can collect payments for you since you live in UAE , and can be integrated with Shopify. Take a look at this page here. It seems that Shopify can integrate with a few payment processors that works with merchants based in UAE. I have a lot decided for my new store. Problem is tying to get product on my website to sell customers.

I understand it can be a bit scary, but it will be well worth it! You need to connect with vendors and convince them why joining hands with your store makes sense. Then comes the stage of deciding commission. Connect with me on Twitter varunforreal if you have more queries. Hi Jeremy, Thank you for the post. I was wondering what do you think of Big Cartel? I just started to make my own brand of jewellery, I am making them on the side as I am working full time. Thank you in advance for your help!

Have a good night Leslie. For instance, Shopify has well over designs for you to choose from. Thank you for the post. I was searching something like this as I am new to the thought so its very helpful for me. The way you have described opening online store is brilliant and now everything is clear to me.

I have a question in my mind, would these builders provide us an app for android and ios?? Most website builders now offer responsive designs, so your ecommerce store will look good on mobile devices when people are visiting your online store using a mobile web browser. However, if you want a completely separate, dedicated app, then you will have to construct it separately. New to the thought of opening my own online business…. Thank you so much!! I have a question I have already built a website, and am trying to incorporate an online store function for potential customers can order products and services.

Or else their online selling tools such as product pages should match your overall website design. If you are using an external ecommerce widget such as Ecwid , then it will be more challenging to have the widget match your overall design.

We have some online store builders here that you can check out. Do you have any recommendations? Maybe something simpler like Weebly or Wix will get the job done quite easily. I am a beginner and wants to start online store. I want everything free. If an online store builder tells you that you can do everything for free, be careful about that as they have to make money someone to support their platform.

So your profit margins will expand as your business grows. The good thing is that if those tools are not working out for you, you can always cancel them. At least give them a try. Jeremy, I currently sell on ebay and want to start building my own online store front without them. I own my domain name and sell clothing, accessories, toys and antiques.

Over 3, items with average sales of 7k per month over the past 3 years. I read a few of your posts and want to get your opinion on which you think would work for me.

Any guidance would be great. Both are top notch ecommerce store builders, and will give you most of the tools you need to build an independent, successful online store. I think Shopify has a better platform and ecosystem see our comparison between the two here , but BigCommerce offers you a full integration with eBay Marketplace. So in your case, it allows you to sync up your eBay store along with your ecommerce store if you proceed with BigCommerce.

Thank you for writing this article! Question — we drop shop products and have quantity price brackets. Are you aware of any? Even reach out to their support team to see if they offer that specific function. If not, have you considered using Product Variants instead? So instead of the classic variants set up yellow shirt, green shirt, blue shirt , maybe test 10 units, 20 units, 30 units, etc.

So once you get to a certain level such as 50 units , you can lower the per unit price. So in a sense, your customers will have to buy a pre-determined set of units, instead of say 42 units. Does that make sense?

Which of these have you found has the best inventory linkup with tools like PayPal Here or Square? I find that the shop building part is easy, but finding a service that works great online, but also links to a POS has been difficult.

I think Shopify here can really help you. Not only do they enable you to build a very comprehensive ecommerce website, you can also use their POS tools to power offline businesses. The best part is that they will power both your online and offline business, so you only have 1 single system to manage and all the inventory, payment, etc data are all synchronized.

Here is more discussion about their POS system and how it can help you. One can get stuck in the research and development mode and, thus, loose sight of forest as you stare at the trees. The key is to just get started. Testing and building is the best type of research one could do! Thank you for this article it really helped to put things into perspective as far as where to start, which has been the most daunting part this far! I have a question. I already have a massive customer base.

I have a Facebook page with over , members who are all chomping at the bit to buy products from me. They have been asking me to set up an online store for a long time. So I really want to get it right first time. I will not be selling many products at first it will basically be 50 units every month limited editions this will hopefully generate interest and a want for the products by making them limited.

Then because of demand I will in crease the amount later. Which webstore would you recommend for this, the best value for what I need or even a free one which maybe takes a small comission from each sale like EBay for example.

It sounds like you need a very strong platform that can scale up very quickly especially if you have , members. So I would highly suggest you take a look at those ecommerce builders. We also have a discussion here comparing both Shopify and Bigcommerce — just in case you want to know how they compare with each other.

Meet the team behind the expert reviews! What you do need to know is what tools to use and how to use them. How do you add products? What about shipping costs? How will your customers pay? Pick the best ecommerce platform for your online store Build an online store using your chosen ecommerce platform Test and preview your online store Follow our steps and by the end you will have a functioning online store.

Just like some of the biggest brands in America, you can use ecommerce platforms to create your dream online store. Take a look at this example from Shopify-built Gymshark. And Publish Your Online Store. Best Ecommerce Website Builder. Read Our Full Review. Best For Small Businesses. Best Large Business Website Builder.

Shopify, Wix and BigCommerce all let you: Online store builders will: Keep your site up and running: Looking to build a website without an online store? Shopify — best all-round ecommerce store builder.

If you have more than 10 products, and need a platform that will scale with your business, Shopify is a great choice. BigCommerce — best ecommerce platform for large businesses. It has helped thousands of our readers to find the right builder to start their online store: Get Free Personalized Advice.

You can also read our reviews of Shopify, Wix and BigCommerce to find out more: How can you take advantage of a free trial? Follow the links below to sign up for a free trial: When playing around in Shopify, Wix or BigCommerce, ask yourself: Is it easy to choose a template and make custom changes? Are the templates suitable for your business? Is it easy to add products and categorize them? Can you edit the navigation to include sub-menus and new pages? Not sure what the features in our chart mean to you?

Let me explain… Chart Features Explained: Premium Support When you make an online store, the more support you get the better. Abandoned Cart Recovery This is a hugely important feature. Still not sure what plan is right to help you start your online store? Pause for a second. The more products you sell, the more upgrading to an advanced plan could make financial sense. Wondering why this matters? What Features Do You Need?

The more you pay, the more you get. Use our comparison table below to get started: First up, you need to pick a domain name. For example, it would look like this: Avoid brand names — including a brand or product name in your domain can get you into legal trouble. Add a keyword — adding a popular search term to your domain name helps you climb search engine rankings. The higher you rank in Google, the more traffic you get.

If you want to know how to build an online store, thinking about where your customers are coming from is very important. Already Own A Domain Name? Step 5 is to pick and customize a template or theme. Want to see an example of a good ecommerce store theme in action? The excellent templates available from top ecommerce platforms make creating a stylish online store easy What features do you want your store to have? What style of homepage do you want? How do you want customers to move around your store?

Using an ecommerce platform, you can design an online store with a clearly laid out navigation bar. Retailer SWL has done just that with Shopify! Using an online store builder, you have great control over your product pages. The main things you need to add a product are: Name Price Category Weight for physical products File for downloadable products like ebooks. Different builders have different limits on: The number of products you can upload The number of options for each product the same product but in a different size or color.

The number of product variants a combination of two options. For example, a blue T-shirt in size medium. The three key ingredients to uploading great products are: Product descriptions Product images Product categories. Three things to avoid if you want to write good product descriptions: A detailed product description can be the difference between making a sale and not. Product images are crucial to selling your products. Like your description, your image should accurately reflect the product.

So how do you choose the best images for your ecommerce store products? Use high-quality images — never select images that are blurry or too small. Make sure each image is the same size — Use a tool like Paint to resize your images to the same dimension. Take your own photos — Use a good smartphone like an iPhone 8 to take your own photos, if you can. Provide a degree option — make sure customers can view your products from all angles. Add product variation images — make sure shoppers can look at the product in the full range of colors.

The more you can show off your product, the more likely you are to make a sale. Finding the balance between top-quality images and site speed is crucial. Adding Products on Your Store Builder: What About Building Product Categories? Help your customers by collecting related products together in categories. Using a powerful ecommerce platform you can break your products up into collections. This helps your customers browse your store and find the products they want to buy!

This is a key part of grasping how to build an online store. Here are the key things to consider when building your product category page: Featured Products — a good way of leading your customers down your preferred shopping path. Filtering Options — let your customers filter by size, price or brand name. Give Extra Product Information — your customer has navigated to a specific section of your store.

Using an ecommerce platform, you can create stylish pages for your products. But how are customers going to pay you? But first, what the heck is a payment method anyway? The three most popular ways to accept payments on your ecommerce store are: Merchant account and payment gateway — you partner with a bank.

The bank accepts payments for you and channels the money into your business bank account. Payment gateway packages — you use all-in-one software. Top payment gateways for small stores include PayPal. Builders let you partner with hundreds of third-party gateways.

You can accept cards from all over the world. Do your homework first. Payments are secure because of the certificates supplied by your builder. You can see the green padlock circled in the top left corner: Ecommerce platforms take care of your store's security. Customers will feel safe spending their money on your site.

This has two important benefits for your business: Customers will feel safe shopping on your store. They know their data is secure. Google will favor your store with higher rankings.

Different payment methods come with different fees and charges. Below, we cover the boxes you need to tick to set up shipping on your store. It will also show your rates. A key stage of learning how to make an online store is setting up your store's shipping settings. Free shipping — if you can afford it, free shipping is a fantastic selling point.

More and more internet shoppers expect free delivery. This could offset the costs to you of offering free shipping, and top up your average order value. Get your calculator out and check. Flat rate — offer the same shipping rate, no matter the product. Very useful for marketing. But do your homework and make sure you can afford it. You need to figure out how much it costs you on average to ship an order.

This is good practice for any ecommerce store owner. Stores selling lots of similar items Real-time quotes — calculate shipping prices by factors including order size, weight and destination. They may reward you with more sales. Also good for large items that would be expensive to ship for free. You can cover your costs without charging too much. Store or local pickup — invite customers to pick up their order as an additional option.

This is great for offering the personal, face-to-face business experience. Stores selling large items or products with limited shelf life. Or stores with a recognizable local presence. Rate by order price — for example, offer reduced shipping if customers spend a certain amount.

Shipping services By using online store builders you can offer customers different levels of shipping. If a customer wants, they can pay more to have their order delivered faster.

Added a shipping origin address Partnered with a courier Fedex, for example Entered package weights Selected a shipping option free shipping, for example.

Shipping information for each builder: Your settings are like the boxes you need to tick to open your physical store. Providing contact details is a great trust signal.

This includes aspects like product weight or rating. Feel a bit overwhelmed? Ecommerce platforms make it very easy to test and preview your online store before publishing. When previewing and testing your store, here are the key things to check: Does Your Checkout Work?

Next up is making sure your store actually works. Ask friends and family to test your site and get feedback. Would you spend your money at a store full of spelling and grammar mistakes? To get you started, we recommend you use Shopify, Wix or BigCommerce. Start you online store-building journey with one of the free trials listed below: About Jeremy Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it!

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Anjaneya October 3, at 2: Good, you have explained about online store in a clear way. Victoria Grace September 25, at 8: Helloman September 19, at Charlie Carmichael August 15, at 6: Hi Sharon, Thanks for your comment. Helen August 7, at 1: Lucy Carney August 10, at 8: Parth Desai June 27, at Thanks for sharing and glad to see that you shared a really effective article with us.

Scott Ginsberg June 14, at 9: Cool post, thanks for publishing! Deepak June 1, at Fred Isaac June 6, at 2: Thanks for the comment Deepak! GolanManor May 16, at 8: Fred Isaac May 17, at 8: Ben May 15, at 7: Fred Isaac May 16, at 7: Thanks Ben, glad you found the guide useful. Fred Isaac May 2, at 7: Hi Rajvisha, thank you for the comment!

Glad you like our content. Alexandra April 10, at 4: Hi Jeremy Thank you for the wealth of knowledge in your article, its great. Any information will be great. Fred Isaac April 12, at 2: Hi Alexandra, Thank you for the comment, glad you found the article useful! Maggie Tuczapska March 26, at 8: Amazing, and detailed content, thanks! Stargee December 27, at 5: Tom Watts January 3, at 1: Hi Stargee, Thanks for the lovely feedback, it really is good to hear that our content is proving useful to our readers!

Riyaz August 21, at 6: Hey Jeremy, You got a nice list of e-commerce development platforms here. Thanks for the great post! Tom Watts August 29, at 2: Thanks Riyaz, Glad you found the discussion helpful. Carol Taverna Jr August 7, at 5: Nice reminder not to sweat the details, just start! Zsolt July 13, at 3: Amir March 14, at Hi Jeremy, Thank you! I find your articles and blog very helpful!

I have a question: Jeremy March 16, at 5: Dino January 31, at 1: Jeremy February 1, at 9: Hello Dino, The ecommerce builders listed above have built in tax calculation features that you can implement so you charge your customers the appropriate taxes. So the online store builders have the tools available for you. Debbie Hill January 27, at Jeremy January 29, at Hi Debbie, The ecommerce builders listed above could be used to sell only one product.

Surinder January 26, at 8: Jeremy January 27, at 7: Hi Surinder, None of these ecommerce builders have the tools to enable you to build a marketplace.

Mahesh Solanki February 12, at 5: David January 7, at 9: Jeremy January 9, at 1: November 19, at 9: Jeremy November 21, at 9: Aracely Ospina November 16, at Jeremy November 16, at 3: Negin November 1, at 3: Jeremy November 2, at 8: Hello Negin, Yes — Shopify does work well for merchants located in Europe.

Natasha September 24, at Jeremy September 26, at 1: Thanks for your input, Natasha. John October 16, at 1: Christine September 22, at Thank you so much. Jeremy September 23, at 8: Hey Christine, It definitely helps to have an idea before building a website.

Queenie August 24, at Hi Jeremy, I am newbie and interested to open an online store. Jeremy August 26, at 3: Jahne Rosch August 16, at 3: Vinit shah August 12, at Jeremy August 14, at 8: Hey Vinit, Thanks for letting us know. Glad we were able to be helpful to your business! Jeremy, I love it how you find time to answer every comment. Your post is obviously insightful. Jeremy July 20, at 6: I appreciate your comment.

Noura July 19, at 4: Hi Noura, It should be fine as these ecommerce builders operate worldwide. Natalie Lozano July 1, at 4: Jeremy July 4, at 9: Hello Natalie, You need to connect with vendors and convince them why joining hands with your store makes sense.

Leslie Cavin June 12, at Jeremy June 12, at Shelley Clennin June 11, at 8: Glad you found our discussions here helpful. Awais Jan May 25, at Jeremy May 25, at 6: Hi Awais, Unfortunately, you will have to hire a developer to build a separate app for you.

Maria Vazquez May 17, at 8: Jeremy May 18, at 7: Hi Maria, Thanks for your comment and glad our discussions here are helpful! Stephen May 17, at Emma April 28, at Jeremy April 28, at 7: Anjum Bashir April 19, at 1: Jeremy April 20, at Hi Anjum, Thanks for your comment.

Brian Collins April 12, at 8: Jeremy April 13, at 5: Mercy January 27, at Jeremy, thank you for posting this article, it has been a big help! Michael January 3, at 1: Jeremy January 4, at 2: Happy New Year to you too!

Mimi August 7, at 8: Jeremy August 7, at Postaci May 20, at Good view of point. Sunny April 20, at

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