E-Commerce For Small Businesses: 2015 Edition

One of the most direct ways to get your product in front of customers (and skip over working with a retailer) is through e-commerce. Through online sales on your own website, you have complete control over the customer journey, and you get to show your product in the best possible light. Given the wide variety of hosted and self-hosted options out there for e-commerce platforms, making and maintaining a high quality site is easier than ever. Here are a few of our favorite platforms:



Key Features:

  • » Highly customizable
  • » Detailed customer profiles
  • » Over 70 payment gateways
  • » Responsive design
  • » Great marketing & SEO
  • » Pinterest integration


Shopify is widely recognized as the easiest, most straightforward platform out there to deliver your product. It’s simple to set up, and the themes available help you avoid cookie cutter formats. It’s like tumblr for e-commerce, and their customer service team is great. Plus, since the site is hosted by Shopify, any updates in responsiveness or improved functionality to the platform as a whole are automatically applied to your site.


  • » 14-day free trial
  • » Plans range from $29-$179 per month



Key Features:

  • » Beautiful, modern templates
  • » Responsive
  • » Syncs to social platforms
  • » Customer analytics
  • » Integrated domain purchases
  • » Offers image SEO
  • » Great customer service


Squarespace has invested heavily to bulk up their e-commerce efforts, with great results. If you are driven by minimal and simple aesthetics, Squarespace has much to offer.


  • » 14-day free trial
  • » Plans start at $26 per month
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Key Features:

  • » Direct integration with WordPress
  • » Easy to format
  • » Multiple payment plugins to choose from
  • » FREE!


Is your site already on WordPress? If so, WooCommerce is without a doubt your best option. This free platform offers simple, automated e-commerce options that are widely customizable, especially considering the immense number of available plugins for WordPress.


  • » FREE (but note that WordPress plans run from $0-$299 per year)



Key Features:

  • » The most customizable features
  • » Blank canvas or limited templates
  • » Unlimited product design
  • » Good customer retention and loyalty options
  • » Built-in SEO


Magento is geared towards enterprise and larger businesses, but that’s not to say a small business can’t benefit from this e-commerce giant. You will need a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS to fully customize this platform, but once you have that, options are endless. It is self-hosted, which means you control and own your data. If you have the budget for a few design layouts and want a completely unique experience, Magento is a great bet.


  • » Community plans start at $89 per month



Key Features:

  • » Packaged tools that make setup a breeze
  • » Auto-integration with major social platforms
  • » App “store” to further customize experience and optimize integrations


BigCommerce is a great out of the box solution to get a site up and running in very little time. The tools available with even the most basic plan are easy to use and fully responsive.


  • » Plans start at $29 per month


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Note that this post is an updated version of a post published on August 5, 2013. Since the landscape for e-commerce platforms has changed so much, we decided to create a new e-commerce guide!

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  • Emmaly Knecht

    I tried to use shopify but you have to know code in order to really make your site stand out. I love Squarespace, and their ecommerce section has improved. If you want a great site that is easy and user friendly, i recommend Squarespace.

    • Mansi Kothari

      thanks for your input! i’m a big fan of squarespace as well

  • Jim Trujillo

    Thanks a lot for such a great article here! It will be very useful for me. I’ve recently created an eCommerce website with the help of BigCommerce, and it works great for me. Now we need to establish e-mail marketing for it. I want to use some templates from http://www.templatemonster.com/newsletter-email-templates.php website. What do you think of it?

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Jim, so glad you found the article useful! Congrats on starting your store. I’m a big fan of Klaviyo (www.klaviyo.com) for email templates, or the native MailChimp offerings. I’ve never used Template Monster, but looks promising. Best of luck!