10 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Startups in 2021

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Yes, there are a lot of these to be made when starting your online businesses. One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is which eCommerce platform you want to use. But with so many vying for your business, how do you determine which is the best eCommerce platform for startups?

What Is an Ecommerce Platform?

First, think of your eCommerce platform as your online store’s front window. Since people are known to window shop, you want to have a platform that entices them to spend more and creates a great customer experience (CX).

But behind the scenes, eCommerce hosting platforms are also software applications that enable online retailers to manage their website, marketing, sales, and operations. They integrate with other business tools, allowing retailers to centralize their operations into one hub. 

An ideal eCommerce platform is made to support long-term company growth, help customers find the products they want, provide employees with the tools they need for marketing, and offer support pre- and post-installation.

Do you need a platform for eCommerce? Yes! Whether you’re expanding into online sales from a brick-and-mortar store or starting a brand spanking new eCommerce business, you’ll need an eCommerce platform (unless you’ve got millions to build your own, the kind of cash most startups don’t just have lying around).

What Makes a Great Ecommerce Platform for Startups?

Ecommerce was once just about recreating the in-store experience, but today customers expect more: personalized shopping experiences featuring rich media and video on any device at any time. And with consumers becoming increasingly impatient, high performance issues and no downtime are playing a big role in brand perception and customer loyalty. 

Thankfully, there are a wealth of eCommerce platforms for startups to choose from that can make their small business look like a big player. You simply need to find the one that offers the best options for your eCommerce business.

Somethings to think about when making your decision:

  • Ease of use (you probably don’t have an IT expert on hand)
  • Good SEO resources (again with the IT expert…)
  • Inventory tracking (if you’re paying for a platform, why should you be tracking inventory by hand?)
  • Shipping and fulfillment management (this is particularly important is you’re dropshipping)
  • Scalability (you need a platform that can grow with you)
  • Security (PCI and GDPR compliance are a necessity)

10 Best Ecommerce Platforms for 2021

Here’s a look at the 10 best eCommerce platforms for 2021. While some of these are also used by large eCommerce companies, all have something to offer the startup Ecommerce business. 

1. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a favorite of small businesses and large enterprises alike. The interface enables you to easily customize your online shop using a variety of templates in order to market and sell your products. 

If you do happen to be a little tech-savvy, you can even tweak the HTML and CSS for further customization. Besides offering an easy-to-use interface, BigCommerce provides a highly intuitive dashboard for managing products, orders, and returns. 

2. Ecwid

Ecwid has a user-friendly dashboard (and we love how during onboarding it tells you how far into completing your store setup you are). You can begin selling with 10 products, and adding new products is easy (and unlimited). 

Ecwid allows you to sell on any device, across multiple sites, blogs, and social networks, and features a customer address book, smart shipping calculator, and inventory tracking.

3. Limelight

As the priciest platform on our list, Limelight provides excellent performance, reliability, and security to deliver great online experiences to customers. It’s also highly scalable, with the knowledge that customer demand often fluctuates greatly throughout the year (the holiday rush, for example, or the release of a hot new item). 

Because Limelight operates on one of the world’s largest private networks, content bypasses the congested public internet resulting in faster delivery of content and shopping carts. Of course, it’s hefty price tag may be too rich for many startups’ tastes.

4. Shopify

Shopify is arguably the most popular eCommerce platform and offers a wealth of features that also happen to be very easy to use (can’t find a feature you’re looking for right on your dashboard? The Shopify app store is bound to have something to supplement your store’s needs). 

Shopify is also for those who are serious about selling. Dropshipping retailers (eCommerce businesses that sell products without carrying inventory, instead shipping directly from a supplier) love it, as do companies that rely on Facebook Ads or Instagram marketing due to ease of integration with social networks.

5. Square Online

Square, the popular handheld point-of-sale system, created Square Online as an eCommerce offering made especially for physical store owners who want to go virtual. Because the company knows traditional retailers may not be too familiar with eCommerce, they made it extremely easy to set up and get started selling, from an Instagram account to a full eCommerce website.

A couple of other features that set it apart is online food ordering for restaurant websites, online bookings through Square appointments, and its ability to accept donations for nonprofit websites.

6. Squarespace

Squarespace is a website builder tool that is aimed mainly at small business owners selling limited amounts of product. It allows you to create a professional site without any coding necessary; in fact, tinkering too much is discouraged on this platform. With Squarespace, you’re encouraged to pick a template, add some content, and go. 

Selling internationally on Squarespace is probably the biggest challenge; GDPR compliance is lacking – meaning you’ll need to invest in a third-party tool to be fully compliant, and there’s no multi-currency selling functionality.

7. 3dcart

This fast growing platform was recently acquired by Shift4 Payments, a leading provider of integrated payment processing solutions. Now, as part of the Shift4 family, 3dcart provides an omnichannel experience, with superior SEO features, 50 free themes, and more than 100 payment processors. It’s a great platform for startups and small businesses since all plans come with domain registration, no transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth, a Facebook store, a built-in blog, API access, and 24/7 tech support.

3dcart displays all of your order’s shipping carriers and rates on your checkout page at once, providing complete transparency, and rates are loaded automatically when a buyer checks out with their credit card or PayPal.

8. UltraCart

UltraCart is a full-featured site builder enabling eCommerce retailers to integrate online shopping features into their website or blog in two ways: as a simple button or a full-fledged shopping cart and checkout process. The StoreFront feature gives online businesses complete control over available features, style and design, and domain name. 

On the back-end, UltraCart does everything an eCommerce platform needs to do: managing orders and shipping process, running sales, inventory, and customer reports, accounting, fulfillment through third-party logistics partners, and even affiliate marketing.

9. Wix

More than half a million online stores trust fast-growing website builder Wix making it a solid choice for eCommerce startups. The platform boasts hundreds of designer-made templates, promotions, and gift cards, beautiful product galleries, and easy order management and shipping. 

Your online store will also be automatically optimized for mobile (both iPhone and Android). The mobile experience can also be easily customized with their online store builder too—and you don’t need to be an IT expert to do it.

10. WooCommerce

Unlike the other eCommerce platforms listed here, WooCommerce is actually a plugin for WordPress, the most popular content management system (CMS). For users of WordPress, WooCommerce is a great option since it’s so simple to add to your dashboard. After the successful installation of WooCommerce, you’ll have access to shopping functionality, product management, and payments and checkout functions on your website. 

Despite what some naysayers may think about plugins, this one easily handles the essentials, including inventory management, shipping costs, tax calculations, payment options, and more. 

Pricing and Service Comparison

We thought we’d do some more homework for you. This comparison chart shows the differences in pricing, support, and peer reviews from G2.



Price Plans

Phone/Chat Support

Chat Support

Peer Reviews


$29.95 - $299.95 per month





Free - $99 per month





$1,000 per month (billed annually; free trial available)





Free - $99 per month





$29 - $299 per month




Square Online

Free + transaction fees up to $72 + transaction fees per month  





$12 - $40 per month





$29 - $299 per month





49.95 - 229.95 per month





$23 - $500 per month





Free with WordPress





Integrate Your Ecommerce Platform with The Fulfillment Lab

Need fulfillment? The Fulfillment Center is here for you! After you’ve selected an eCommerce platform, you can easily integrate it with our innovative Global Fulfillment Software (GFS™). Integration takes just minutes—faster than anyone else offering fulfillment solutions. We work with all these e-commerce platforms and more, such as Magento and Konnective for enterprise level companies.

Our software also lets you quickly and easily add fulfillment center locations, customizations, and on-demand products. It's the all-in-one tool you need to take your eCommerce business to the next level.

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