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How to launch an online store: Top 10 eCommerce platforms of 2021

There are many eCommerce platforms available on the market - some are DIY-style, and for some you need to hire professional developers. In any case, the platform needs to be reliable, fast and customer-friendly. It is also likely that you will need professional help at some point.

Here is what a platform should include to enable you to launch a new web store:

  • Scalable and reliable web hosting that provides site visitors with the maximum speed of request handling and enables your site to work 24/7/365
  • Software for processing online payments that will minimize your transaction costs
  • Point of Sale (POS) tools if you have to continue with offline payments
  • eCommerce platform should meet the specific requirements of your business

How to Choose a Right eCommerce Platform?

Making a choice is always difficult, but here are some tips to help you through the process. 

  • Make sure storage can be scaled with few clicks
  • Payment and shopping carts should look user-friendly
  • Technical support matters a lot if you choose a DIY option
  • Integration with social media is very important
  • Make sure you have received  an SSL certificate before you launch the site
  • Keep an eye on the type of platforms your competitors use

Need Help with Launching Your eCommerce Website?

If you need help to choose the right eCommerce platform or to launch your online store quickly and successfully, just drop us a message!

Here is the list of the most popular eCommerce platforms:


Good for small businesses, requires entry-level tech skills

Since its launch in 2006, Shopify remains to be one of the most popular eCommerce programs. The company claims that it takes only a few minutes to set up a small web store from scratch even if you are not an expert. In reality, it may be true only if you are already pretty well versed in programming and design. If you’re not, it may take you up to a few months to do it yourself.

On this platform, you can create a unique style for your brand using off-the-shelf templates that you can find at the Shopify marketplace.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Product Reviews - for adding customers’ feedback
  • Shopify Payments - for transaction processing
  • Kit - for marketing and advertising
  • Live Chat - for communicating with customers

Shopify also offers tools for enhanced security, hosting services, and access to analytics to see what customers do on your web site and how they make purchases.


  • Great variety of sales features
  • User-friendly
  • Availability of multi-channel sales (you can sell across Amazon, eBay, social media and different messengers)
  • Good app store


  • Up to 2% transaction fee if using external payment processing
  • No built-in support for foreign currencies
  • Advanced features such as gift cards available only with higher-tier plans

Popular Shopify Stores - Cosmetics - Clothing - Clothing - Clothing - Clothing - Clothing


Shopify offers five pricing plans for businesses:

  • Trial period: 14 days free (currently extended to 90 days due to the impact of Covid-19)
  • Lite: $9/month (for selling on Facebook)
  • Basic Shopify: $29/month
  • Shopify: $79/month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month
  • Shopify Plus: pricing varies depending on the requirements


Good for big businesses, requires high-level tech skills

Magento is an open-source platform owned by Adobe. It offers a rich variety of tools, themes, and additional features. This program is not the best option for small companies though, as you may spend too much time configuring the site. However, if your store is big, with hundreds or thousands of items for sale, Magento could be a powerful solution to provide your customers with a great shopping experience.

To get the most out of the Magento platform, you need to have basic programming skills. If you don’t have them, you should hire a developer to set up and launch a new store.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Adaplo - for marketing and advertising
  • Amasty A/B Testing - for improving the functionality of each page
  • AddThis Social Media Sharing - for adding sidebar buttons


  • Flexible, since its an open-source platform
  • Abundance of features
  • Large user community


  • Pricing
  • Time-consuming with slow loading times
  • No technical support
  • No free themes

Popular Magento stores - Clothing - Clothing - Beer and Spirits - Food Supplements - Clothing


  • Open-source: Free
  • Enterprise: $22,000 and up/year


Good for small businesses, requires medium-level tech skills

PrestaShop is a completely free eCommerce program based on PHP, but it charges customers for technical support. It allows you to launch a small web store with a few pages and scale it up to as many pages as you need. You just need to provide your email address to start using the platform, but you need to be comfortable with PHP-based software. Keep in mind that you will still need to pay for hosting services, SSL certificate, use of third-party apps and work of developers if you hire any.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Abandoned Cart Reminder - for personalized notifications 
  • reCaptcha Anti Spam - for enhanced security with Google reCaptcha
  • Top Banner - for promoting special offers or goods


  • Big support community
  • High-end functionality
  • Variety of languages and currencies


  • Need to have programming skills
  • Add-ons, technical support costs
  • Complicated upgrade process

Popular PrestaShop stores - Chocolate - Car Parts - Food and Beverages


  • Free
  • Paid support


Good for businesses of any size, requires high-level tech skills

Bigcommerce is a powerful eCommerce program thanks to its reliable support and user guides. For example, you can have a chat or live talk with experts and get information about Google Analytics. Bigcommerce offers ready-to-use templates for creating a new web site and enables your site’s integration with Link & Shopping in Instagram and Amazon.

Bigcommerce offers a variety of payment gateways and customization of the shipping address, automated order processing, and other useful features. However, a great variety of features can make the store launch process too long and it is very likely you will need to hire developers to help you.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Shogun Page Builder - for ad/marketing campaigns and product pages
  • Facebook Ads - for marketing and advertising
  • Lucky Orange - for tracking users’ behavior


  • End-to-end solution
  • No transaction fees
  • Variety of languages and currencies


  • Themes cost
  • Annual Sales Threshold (if you exceed sales for your plan’s volume limitation, you will need to upgrade - and pay more)
  • Pricing

Popular Bigcommerce stores - Entertainment - Labeling - Clothing - Cosmetics - Clothing


  • Standard plan: $29.95/month
  • Plus plan: $79.95/month
  • Pro plan: $299.95/month


Good for small businesses, requires entry to medium-level tech skills

Volusion is an end-to-end eCommerce platform that offers a pack of customizable templates to build your own design for your online store. This program does not require any specific tech skills, but you may spend a good chunk of time setting up both Volusion and third-party apps.

The POS integration feature will fit businesses that operate in the offline world. This platform offers marketing and advertising tools and sophisticated management tools for every component of the store.


  • Wide range of site management tools
  • Plentiful help resources
  • Free 14-day trial
  • No transactions fees


  • A small amount of templates
  • Not SEO-optimized (you have to pay for additional SEO services provided by Volusion)
  • No blogging feature

Popular Volusion stores - Cheese - Clothing - Equipment - Equipment - Switches


  • Personal: $29/month
  • Pro: $79/month
  • Business: $299/month


Good for small and mid-sized businesses, requires entry to medium-level tech skills

The main features of this platform are transparency and simplicity. You will have access to all software features regardless of the pricing plan you choose. The cost of the product depends on the amount of storage, emails, bandwidth, and other specs.

CoreCommerce offers a 15-day trial period to check its functionality. Product pages can be fully customized and you can also add blog pages. This platform provides hosting services and guarantees that your store will run smoothly 99.9% of the time.


  • All features available across all plans
  • Secure hosting with 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • Prides itself on transparency


  • Pricing
  • Limited storage space

Popular CoreCommerce stores - Clothing - Food Supplements - Dinnerware - Books


  • Personal: $29/month
  • Pro: $79/month
  • Business: $229/month


Good for small and mid-sized businesses, requires advanced tech skills 

3dcart eCommerce software has a long history, starting in 1997. With 3dCart, you can create a unique web store with customized tools and themes. This platform is integrated with social media - for example, it enables you to sell items via Facebook.

The built-in drag and drop site editor is relatively easy and intuitive. 3dcart provides you with an SSL certificate and offers 24/7 support service.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Ecomdash - for syncing your inventory and products
  • Inspectlect - for analyzing customer’s behavior
  • Get Response - for email marketing campaigns


  • 160+ payment options
  • Easy theme upgrade
  • SEO-optimized


  • Poor mobile performance
  • Pricing
  • Admin panel interface not user-friendly for everyone

Popular 3dcart stores - Aircrafts - Kitchen Furniture - Cosmetics - Cigars


  • StartUp Store: $11.40/month
  • Basic Store: $17.40/month
  • Plus Store: $47.40/month
  • Pro Store: $137.40/month


Good for small businesses, requires entry-level tech skills

Squarespace is a good choice for those who don’t have high-level coding skills. This eCommerce platform is an end-to-end solution that provides a drag and drop site editor with a variety of simple design templates.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Shipbob Ecommerce Fulfillment - for simplified shipping
  • Outfy Social Media Marketing - for automated postings
  • TradeGecko - for automated order and inventory synchronization


  • 70+ customizable themes
  • Drag and drop editor
  • Mobile friendly


  • Dropshipping not available
  • No built-in apps
  • No technical support

Popular Squarespace stores - Recipes - Batteries - Food Delivery - Grocery


  • Personal: $12/month
  • Business: $18/month
  • Basic Commerce: $26/month
  • Advanced Commerce: $40/month


Good for small businesses, requires medium to high-level tech skills

OpenCart is an open-source, PHP-based eCommerce platform. You will need to possess some coding skills to successfully launch a new web store using this platform. OpenCart has a variety of add-ons that you can install and use on your site. Although the program is free, keep in mind that you will need to pay for hosting service, security certificates and so on.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • SEO Pack Pro - for generating meta tags (snippets of text that describe page content, people see them when googling something) and improved ranking
  • NitroPack - for increasing page speed load
  • iBlog - for publishing articles


  • Variety of available languages
  • User-friendly admin panel
  • Large number of extensions


  • Limited customer support
  • Add-ons, plugins, and extensions not always compatible with each other
  • Difficult to upgrade

Popular OpenCart stores - Clothing - Cakes - Posters - Cosmetics


  • Free


Good for small and mid-sized businesses, requires entry-level tech skills

Wix is a powerful end-to-end solution that offers user-friendly tools for creating and launching a new website. Programming skills are not required to get your online store up and running. Wix is often considered to be a very simple website builder although it offers eCommerce solutions for businesses as well. The major drawback is a lack of customized templates and themes.

If you choose Wix, keep in mind that you can not change the template once the website goes live. In other words, it is complicated to change or upgrade the appearance of the site, and you should carefully check every product page before you launch the store.

Useful add-on extensions:

  • Email marketing - you can manage up to three campaigns. If you need more, you will need third-party apps.
  • Wix Stores - it might be a good option for small businesses. You don’t have to subscribe to a business plan to sell goods with this app.
  • Site Booster - it helps pages look good for the search engines.


  • User-friendly admin panel
  • Drag-and-drop store builder
  • Variety of features


  • No template change possible 
  • Lack of storage space
  • Poor customization options

Popular Wix stores - Watches - Clothing


  • Business Basic: $23/month
  • Business Unlimited: $27/month
  • Business VIP: $49/month

Need Help with Launching Your eCommerce Website?

We will be delighted to share our expertise in launching web stores based on eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, PrestaShop and others. We will assist you at any stage of site development - from selecting an eCommerce platform to improving the overall site performance.

Tell us briefly about your business and our engineers will get back to you right away.

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