These days, it’s not enough for a business to have a website—you need to have a strong internet presence to engage customers. An online business needs to have a store that helps draw your audience in and convert traffic to sales.
Before you start an online store, you need to determine how you’re going to create it. Using the best online store builders ensures that you can list products and services so customers can purchase them with little effort on your part.
The top store builders allow you to create a storefront and update as you need. Otherwise, the platform does the work for you. Check out the above list of the best online store builders in 2022.
How We Ranked Online Store Builders
To get started, we researched online store builders and found the highest rated. We read user reviews to compare specific points, like the ease of setup, price points, and customer support. After narrowing the list, we ran the product through our demos to determine usability.
After undergoing extensive research and testing, we scored and ranked the products you see above. Therefore, you know you’re getting the best of the best online store builders.
The list we compiled has a variety of online store builders, so you’re sure to find one that suits your business. There’s a lot to consider regarding what you want the platform to offer. Some companies only need the ability to process payments for services online. Others want to create product listings for items they’ll ship from a warehouse.
The best online store builder can help you with dropshipping, too. You’ll learn more about the types of shops an online store builder can help you create later. You’ll also learn about some features that online store builders offer. As this business grows, it’s essential to also know what trends to expect in the near future.
Finding the best online shop platform means the product is easy for you, your design team, and your employees to use. But it’s also user-friendly, so your customers don’t struggle to complete a purchase.
The best online store builder will grow along with your business. One of the criteria we looked for was the ability to continue using the same platform. You don’t want to choose an easy online store builder to learn the ropes, only to find it maxes out at a certain amount of items or sales. When you invest in an online store builder, you want to commit for the long haul.
While our list gives you a starting point to find the best online store builder out of over 100 competitors, there’s always more to learn. The following sections will provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge relevant to online store builders. This information will ensure you make the right choice of online store builder to meet your business’s needs.
Best Online Store Builder Overview
When you’re learning how to build an online store, you want to understand all of your options. There’s nothing worse than getting started with one platform before realizing it doesn’t meet your needs. You’ve wasted time and effort creating a store that you can’t use.
Our above list helps you develop a general understanding of the best online store builders available. But there are certain things to look for before committing to one product. Consider needs such as:
- If you need a website and a store, or if the store can be your central portal
- How easily customers can browse your online store
- What type of marketing automation you might need to tie in
- How you can direct traffic to your online store
- If you need to follow up with customers if they leave items in their carts
- How to touch base with customers to document their satisfaction
Of course, these points may encompass the bulk of your business operations, but the best online store builder can help you manage it all. New developments, updates, and plugins are constantly released that elevate your store into an engaging customer experience.
What Is the Best Online Store Builder
It’s difficult to determine the best online store builder when there are so many types of eCommerce. An artist needs different features than someone who dropships. Companies that sell products to other businesses want things that people who sell to customers won’t use.
The ideal approach to finding the best online store builder for your business is to take advantage of free trials. Choose your top three or four online store builders from the list above. Sign up for the complimentary trials and add a few products and services to the online store.
Take time to play around with the back end of the store. Take notes about the process to list items. Import as many product listings as the free trial allows. Then update the listings, photos, or prices. See how easy it is to manage all of this because it will impact how much work you or your employees will do to maintain the shop.
You can also use this time to see what the store looks like to consumers. See if it fits your brand aesthetic and ensure it’s easy to use. You don’t want to spend time and effort creating an online store only to realize customers are too frustrated by a particular element to complete their purchase.
Using the entire free trial period should help you discover which online store builder works for your business. If you can only narrow it down to two choices, then look at pricing. Choose what’s more affordable or which option has fewer transaction fees.
If pricing is also even, look up reviews and see if there are any special features for subscribers. Maybe there’s no limit to how many listings you can have with one option but not the other. Or perhaps one offers add-on marketing automation for a discount if you’re already a customer.
These little perks can make a big difference not only in how your online shop runs but also in how much you’re getting for your money.
What Does an Online Store Builder Do?
Knowing how to build a webshop is a bonus, but it’s unnecessary. The best online store builder will do all of that work for you. You’ll input product information, photos, and pricing. The online store builder does everything in the backend.
The software shows customers related items they might like to buy, helps them compile a shopping cart and ensures they complete purchases. When all of this is automated, you know your online store is working for you while you focus on other aspects of the business.
The best online store builder will suit your type of business. Artists prefer Squarespace for how it allows their custom work to shine. The store information takes a backseat to the visuals. However, artists that sell prints in bulk might choose Shopify since it can handle a large sales volume.
People who want to dropship prefer sites like Aliexpress and SaleHoo. These platforms eliminate stress related to outside vendors and shipping costs. You can sit back and make a profit without the hassle of dealing directly with the inner workings.
An online store builder will help you get your business started and grow with you. You can add more items or services to your existing shop as you find more items or services to sell. The online store builder is robust enough to handle the influx of products, along with the traffic they bring.
Many people think it’s a waste to buy premium services when just starting a business. However, the best online store builder will handle a lot of transactions. You want a platform with a solid reputation so you know your business is always online.
What Does an Online Store Builder Mean?
An online store builder means you don’t have to do work like coding and payment integration yourself. Even experienced coders prefer using an online store builder because it cuts down on required work.
As you’ll see in the main features of an online store builder, the ease of setup is key. Choose a template that suits your brand aesthetic. Input your store items, either one by one or with a bulk uploader.
Tutorials will help you learn how to use the online store builder if you have trouble. The software might also offer shortcuts as you prepare your store for customers. As you’ll learn next, this aspect factors into both the ease of setup and customer service.
Main Features of an Online Store Builder
When you’re figuring out how to build a web store, you want to focus on the main features. These are just what you need to make your job easier, but what’s crucial to keeping your online store up and running.
- Easy Setup: Almost every online store builder you look for is relatively easy to set up. These days, they have to be. Business owners don’t want to spend days and weeks learning to code their own sites and stores when they can select a template and drag and drop the relevant elements into place.
Once you pick the best online store builder from this list or your research and free trial experience, you’re ready to commit to a plan. Pick one that suits your budget. Then populate your store with product listings.
After setting up shop, you’re ready to preview your store, run a test order, and open it for your customers. When you find the best online store builder, this process will all be a breeze.
- Price Points: The best online store builders have different plans at different prices. You might have a set budget that you can’t break, but it’s essential to first look at what each service offers. It’s not worth paying a certain amount for a store that doesn’t increase your profits. You might balk at paying more upfront, but once the sales roll in, you’ll be glad you stepped up your game.
- Varied Payment Plans: Another critical factor to consider is what each plan offers. Some online store builders have basic plans for the same price as another platform’s business account. Others provide free programs that offer decent service for fledgling businesses. As previously mentioned, taking advantage of a platform’s free trial shows you what services they offer paying customers.
If budget is a big concern for your business, keep an eye out for deals. Many companies offer a free month if you sign up during certain times of the year. You can also get a month or two free if you pay for an entire year upfront. It’s a big chunk of change to spend all at once, but it pays off.
People starting an online store for the first time are often unsure about what they need and what plan they should choose. Once you find a provider that seems like the right fit for your business, check out its plans. Read customer reviews, and contact their service representatives with questions.
It might seem counterintuitive to pay more for something you’re not familiar with, but that’s the truth when it comes to online store builders. It’s better to buy something that’s a more premium plan and grow to accommodate that instead of buying something that can’t handle your customer base.
- Customer Service: The best online store builder will have stellar customer service. They’ll answer your calls and address your questions and concerns without trying to upsell other products to you. These employees are pros and know what their service can do for others.
The right customer service reps can help you connect your existing domain name to your new online store. They can help you find a suitable template for your brand. Better yet, they can help you anytime you come across a problem you can’t troubleshoot on your own.
You already have your own business with employees helping you reach your goals. Think of the customer service department of the best online store builder as a continuation of your business. They’re working with you to ensure your store runs smoothly to maximize your profits.
Benefits of Using an Online Store Builder
The best eCommerce website builder will give you more benefits than you realize. The platform will either create a freestanding store for you or integrate a shop into your existing website.
Creating or Linking Domain Names
When you sign up for an online store builder, you can buy a new domain name for your store. Once the purchase goes through, your store template links automatically to that web address.
If you already have a website for your business, you can easily integrate any online store builder into your existing site. It will take a few extra steps, but never let that issue prevent you from starting an online shop.
When you have your package and domain name, you’re ready to choose an eCommerce template. Most sites have various options, from solid colors to attractive patterns. You’re sure to find something to suit your brand identity. If there’s no ready-made template, you can find a freelance designer experienced with your online store platform to customize something.
Forms of Payment
Some online store builders will only accept certain forms of payment, but pretty much anyone will accept all major credit cards and Paypal. They might even have other options, like transferring money from a bank account or using Venmo.
Read the fine print to see if there are additional fees depending on payment methods. The best online store builders accept various payments without transaction fees. If there are fees involved with payment processing, find out upfront. You can change your prices accordingly so you don’t have to lose profit.
Shipping settings also factor into the best online store builder if you sell physical products. The online store will process payments and get the customer’s shipping information. Plus, some will even configure packing labels, though this is usually an additional fee.
On the subject of label fees, you also need to figure out shipping prices. Some stores add this charge to the cost of the products to promote free shipping. That perceived discount can go a long way towards making a sale.
If you don’t plan on covering some of the shipping yourself, either out-of-pocket or through the item prices, you need to set the fee, so the shop adds it during the checkout process. Calculating shipping will require some research on your part. You need to know how to package the item and what the post office would charge for that size and weight.
With services, you don’t have to configure shipping. Digital products are another easy sell because the best online store builders will send follow-up emails for this type of sale.
People using online stores as dropshipping businesses also don’t need to worry about shipping settings. That’s all set up by the provider when you establish your storefront.
Which Companies Should Buy Online Store Builders
Specific platforms are the best online store builder across the board. The answers vary depending on what type of company you have.
Small online stores will benefit from simple builders like Wix or Shopify. These platforms have experience working with businesses that don’t get much traffic. They don’t charge as much as larger platforms, but they still give you all the support you need to run an online store.
The best online store builders classify large stores as those with more than ten products making more than $1,000 a month. BigCommerce and Squarespace are ideal for companies of this size. Even though you’re doing more business than small stores, you don’t have to put in more work with these premium online store builders.
What Does an Online Store Builder Cost?
There are various price ranges for an online store builder, depending on the plan you need. It’s better to pay more for a plan that can handle your traffic, but that doesn’t mean you need to blow your budget. You can find decent plans starting at $20, but large businesses might pay as much as $299 for premium services.
Trends in Online Store Builders
Making the most of your online store means staying on top of trends. The biggest trends include marketing automation and dropshipping.
Marketing automation is a way for businesses to target customers with emails, social media ads, and more. When a company is visible across platforms, the customer is more likely to complete a purchase.
This trend allows business owners to sit back while letting their online store builder work for them to close a deal. The automation follows customers through their online lives to get more information and better suit their needs.
Many people wonder about dropshipping because they want to use it to grow their eCommerce business. Dropshipping means you have a storefront that sells products, but you don’t have the items yourself.
Running a business in this manner cuts down on warehouse and storage costs. It also cuts unnecessary shipping because you don’t have to ship the items to your business before sending them to the customer.
Which Is the Best Online Store Builder?
There’s no clear answer to the best online store builder. Choosing several from this list to try will give you a good idea of what works for your business.
How to Choose the Right Online Store Builder
Before committing to a platform that isn’t right for you, screen the selections from this list. Pick some that fit your needs and take advantage of the free trials. Read the fine print that tells you precisely what you’ll get, including things like transaction fees, templates, and site updates. The most minor features can make a big difference in your profits.
Opening an online store doesn’t have to be a source of stress. Using the best online store builder means expanding your business won’t take much effort on your behalf.
Start by taking your pick from one of the fantastic options listed above. Once you create your account and import your products, the best online store builder will do the rest for you.