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The Best Ecommerce Platforms and Shopping Cart Software of 2023

Updated Jun 14, 2023
Very Small Businesses
GoDaddy Online Store
Shopping Cart Software
Ecommerce Platform
Shopify – Ecommerce Platforms & Shopping Cart Software

Table of Contents

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If you already have a website and want to add an online store to it, you want shopping cart software. If you want to create an online store website from scratch, though, an ecommerce platform is likely a better fit. Open source programs are great options if you’re a developer or you have one on staff; otherwise, you want hosted ecommerce software because it’s easy to set up and use, and it includes web hosting, a shopping cart and tech support.

Our ecommerce software recommendations include 3dcart, Shopify, Volusion and GoDaddy. In our reviews, you can read more about these companies, which features you should look for, and tips to help you save money as you select the ecommerce software that’s the best fit for your business.

Ecommerce Platform and Shopping Cart Software Comparisons

Ecommerce services allow you to extend your sales online. While this may sound like a simple task, the art of choosing the right e-commerce provider can be very complicated. An abundance of companies offer extensive, complicated features. Companies hide behind confusing lingo, calling themselves shopping cart software instead of ecommerce platforms. The structure of these solutions also vary – some are open source while others are hosted. The first step toward choosing any business service is defining your needs. 

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Volusion: Best Ecommerce Software for Ease of Use

  • Building a website with Volusion is intuitive and straightforward.
  • An SSL certificate and unique email accounts cost extra.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10
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For small businesses that want easy-to-use ecommerce software, Volusion is a good choice. In our testing, it was one of the easiest programs to use to create a website. Adding and editing products, text and images is straightforward, and you can also edit many items directly from the preview. After you sign up, the company offers you a direct point of contact to guide you through the process of setting up your online store, which is a helpful service for businesses creating their first website.

Several free templates are available from Volusion, or you can purchase a premium theme. The software includes a blog and integrates with WordPress. It also integrates with online stores, such as Amazon and eBay, so you can manage your sales and inventory sold through those channels in addition to sales made through your website. You can use Volusion as your credit card processor or choose from more than 35 external payment gateways, including Authorize.Net, Beanstream and PayPal.

Volusion has four plans. Mini costs $15 per month, supports 100 products and includes 1GB of bandwidth. Plus costs $35 per month, supports 1,000 products and includes 3GB of bandwidth. Pro costs $75 per month, supports 10,000 products and includes 10GB of bandwidth. Premium costs $135 per month, supports an unlimited number of products and includes 35GB of bandwidth. If you choose to pay annually rather than monthly, you receive a 10 percent discount. There aren’t any additional transaction fees, but if you exceed your bandwidth, you’re charged an additional $7 per gigabyte above your plan limit.

GoDaddy Online Store: Best Ecommerce Software for Very Small Businesses

GoDaddy Online Store
  • This eCommerce software offers an excellent customer checkout experience.
  • There are only two payment gateway options.
Editor's Rating: 9/10

Very small businesses that want good, basic ecommerce software should consider GoDaddy’s GoCentral Online Store. Although not as advanced as some of its competitors, this user-friendly ecommerce software offers multiple integrations, and your customers will find the checkout process very easy, particularly those using mobile devices.

GoDaddy only offers one ecommerce plan for small businesses that want to create an online store. It costs $29.99 per month, based on annual payment. It comes with unlimited bandwidth and a shared SSL certificate, and it supports up to 1,500 products. You can choose from more than 20 mobile-ready templates, and mix-and-match content blocks allow you to customize your website.

The software includes tools for SEO and email marketing. It can also create a Facebook page that connects to your online store, or, if you already have social media pages, integrations are available.

You won’t have as many payment gateways to choose from when you use GoDaddy for your ecommerce software, but it works with PayPal and Stripe, and allows you to accept Apple Pay. In addition to the transaction fees you pay the payment gateway, you’ll pay a transaction fee to GoDaddy for each sale made through your website. Customer support is available 24/7 via phone, chat and email.

3dcart: Best Shopping Cart Software

  • 3dcart has exceptional customer service that is included with the price of your plan.
  • This software does not offer unlimited bandwidth.
Editor's Rating: 8.7/10
Visit Site

3dcart is the best shopping cart software for small businesses because it has an impressive feature set and all its plans support an unlimited number of products, have unlimited bandwidth and storage, and include a shared SSL certificate at no additional cost. You can use this ecommerce software to add an online store to your existing website or to create a new online store website. 3dcart is easy to use and has excellent customer support that you can reach 24/7.

Four plans are available from 3dcart: It costs $29 per month for the Basic plan, $79 per month for the Plus plan and $229 for the Pro plan. If you’re interested in the Enterprise plan, you can contact the company for a quote. There are no setup or transaction fees, and a discount is available if you choose to pay annually rather than monthly.

This ecommerce software is versatile, offering more than 50 templates and customization tools, including drag-and-drop capabilities that allow you to move elements around to your liking within the template. It has a built-in blog feature and also integrates with WordPress.

3dcart is compatible with more than 100 payment gateways, so you can most likely continue working with your current payment processor. Its checkout process works well on both desktop computers and mobile devices. The site is PCI compliant, and the software includes a built-in POS module.

Shopify - Ecommerce Platforms & Shopping Cart Software: Best Ecommerce Platform

Shopify - Ecommerce Platforms & Shopping Cart Software
  • This platform has unlimited storage and bandwidth.
  • You can’t reach out to customer support via live chat.
Editor's Rating: 8.5/10

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses because all its plans include unlimited bandwidth and storage, support an unlimited number of products, and include 24/7 customer support. It’s also easy to use when you’re creating your website, and the checkout process is intuitive for your customers.

Shopify has three main plans. Basic Shopify costs $29 per month, Shopify costs $79 per month, and Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month. Additionally, it offers Shopify Lite for $9 per month for retailers that want to add a buy button to an existing website or sell on Facebook and Messenger, and Shopify Plus for high-volume merchants that need enterprise-grade ecommerce software.

You can use Shopify Payments for your credit card processing, but this software is also compatible with more than 100 payment gateways such as PayPal, Authorize.Net and Stripe. However, if you use one of these external payment gateways, Shopify charges an additional transaction fee, which costs 0.5 to 2 percent of each sale, depending on your plan.

Shopify offers more than 25 free templates, and additional options are available for purchase. It comes with a built-in blog but also integrates with WordPress, so you can blog on the platform you prefer. One thing that’s unique about Shopify is that you can also use it as your in-store POS system by adding its Retail Package to your plan, making it a great choice for small businesses that have both online and brick-and-mortar stores.


The cost for small business ecommerce software varies widely. Most companies charge a monthly subscription fee for their software. Some plans start as low as $10 per month, while others cost up to $300 per month. Companies typically post their pricing on their websites, along with a list of features, and offer a choice of plans. Setup fees are rare, and most companies provide their services on a month-to-month basis unless you choose an annual subscription. Here are more costs to consider as you evaluate services:

  • Payment gateway fees: Whether you use the payment gateway provided by the ecommerce software company or one from a third-party processor, you must pay for credit card processing. For every sale you make, you’ll pay a transaction fee (usually 2 to 4 percent of the sale), and there may be other fees, such as a monthly fee, monthly minimum and annual PCI compliance fee, depending on the details of your processing service.
  • Additional transaction fees: Some ecommerce software companies charge transaction fees (usually 1 to 3 percent) for each sale made through your site.
  • SSL certificate: Some companies include a shared SSL certificate as part of their services. Others require you to purchase your own, which costs around $100 per year.
  • Domain name: Most ecommerce software companies provide you with a domain name, though some may be subdomains. You may have to pay extra for a unique domain name.
  • Web hosting: If you’re using a shopping cart rather than an ecommerce platform, you’ll need to set up an account with a web host.
  • Premium or custom templates: Although every ecommerce software company offers free templates, most also offer nicer or bespoke designs for an additional charge.

What to Expect in 2023

Ecommerce is a dynamic field where business owners have to constantly be evolving to meet changing trends. Looking into 2019, there are a few things you can do to prepare your business for this ever-demanding landscape. If you aren’t selling your products online, you should look into getting set up to extend your sales digitally. If you already have an online presence, keep these trends in mind:

  • Amazon’s impact on retail: More and more businesses are heading online to sell their products thanks to Amazon’s impact on retail. Expect even more competition in 2019 for online sales from big business and small businesses alike.
  • Social Media Marketplace: Marketing has extended onto social media, with companies offering more personalized advertising and experiential messages. 2019 could see the beginning of customers ordering products directly through social media. This could mean another avenue to not only market, but also sell your products.

Negotiation Tips

Ecommerce software companies are upfront with their pricing and plan details; typically, only large businesses with high-volume sales would qualify for custom rates. However, closely examining the following considerations can help you make sure you’re getting a good deal.

  • Are discounts available? Some companies offer a discount if you pay annually rather than monthly. Discounts may be also offered to nonprofit organizations.
  • Does the plan include unlimited bandwidth? The best plans have unlimited bandwidth and file storage. If the company limits bandwidth, it’s important to make sure you choose a plan that has enough bandwidth to support the traffic on your site so you’re not surprised to see overage charges when you get your bill.
  • Is there a sales cap on your plan? Some companies require you to upgrade to a higher plan once you reach a certain sales volume. For example, 3dcart requires you to upgrade to its Enterprise plan once your rolling 12-month sales volume hits $400,000.
  • Are security tools included? Plans that include an SSL certificate can save you money, since it costs around $100 per year to purchase it separately.
  • Does the plan include a free domain name? Some plans do, though some may be subdomain names rather than unique domain names, and it may cost extra if you want a custom domain name. If this is the case, or the company doesn’t provide a domain name in its plans, you’ll want to add this cost to your calculations.
  • Does the company charge transaction fees? As mentioned above, some ecommerce software providers charge transaction fees on each sale made through the platform. Keep in mind that this is in addition to the transaction fees you pay your payment gateway. For example, GoDaddy charges transaction fees, and Shopify charges them if you use a different company as your payment processor.


Our Methodology

We looked for certain criteria when we reviewed the ecommerce software companies in our review. These included web-hosting tools, shopping cart and ecommerce tools, and back-office features. None of the companies in our review had any say in the results of testing.

Web Hosting Tools

All of the companies we reviewed offered web hosting in conjunction with an online store. We evaluated each platform and created an ease-of-use score based off our testers’ experiences building websites in each service. This score considered the types of editors available, such as HTML or CSS editors, as well as how easy it was to change text and images, add products, customize the templates, and complete other aspects of building and customizing a website. Volusion and Pinnacle Cart earned the highest ease-of-use scores in our comparison.

We made sure that each company in our review offers free templates that you can use when you sign up for an ecommerce plan. The number of templates available in products in our review varies from four to more than 100. Many companies also allow premium templates, which cost extra. CoreCommerce, Ashop and Pinnacle Cart do not offer premium templates but do offer to create custom templates for you for an additional cost.

Most of the ecommerce platforms in our review have different apps that you can install to help you get your store exactly where you need it to be for your business. For example, if you need to offer flash deals or special promotions, there may be a third-party app with which the platform integrates to make this possible on your website. These applications are often free, though they may sometimes cost extra depending on the software you’ve chosen and the app itself.

Cart & Checkout

We tested the cart and checkout process available from each service from the vantage point of the customer. In this score, we considered the number of steps it takes to complete checkout, the availability of guest checkout, the presence of a PayPal option, and the ease of use of shopping and checking out on a mobile device. Most of the products on our lineup earned high scores for this ease-of-use test.

We also considered services that integrate with online stores, like Amazon or eBay, and that can translate your store into languages other than English.

Customer Support

In our review, we also considered the helpfulness of the support available from each company. The support score we created considers the offerings of 24/7 support, live chat, an online support center, being welcomed and contacted by a real person, and other factors.

We looked for services with fraud detection to help protect you and your customers. We also considered a built-in POS system and available email accounts in association with your website when we ranked the services in our review.

State of the Industry

Ecommerce software companies are making it easier for small businesses to create online stores, providing ecommerce platforms that function as one-stop shops, bundling all the technology and services you need. Additionally, the software is becoming more intuitive for non-techy business owners to use. For example, templates with drag-and-drop technology allow you to easily customize the look and feel of your online store, even if you don’t have any design or website development skills. Here are three features to look for as you choose ecommerce software for your small business.

  • Mobile optimization: The best ecommerce software providers offer mobile-compatible templates that work on both mobile and desktop browsers. This is an important feature to look for because consumers now use mobile devices more than desktop computers for searching online, according to a 2015 Google announcement, and you don’t want to lose prospective customers because your site doesn’t work right on their phones.
  • Integrations: Several ecommerce software providers have app stores that make it easy to add features to your online store, such as email marketing or sales tools. They can also be used to connect your online store to the other business programs you use, such as your accounting software and POS system. This can be a particularly important feature if you have a brick-and-mortar store, allowing you to keep accurate inventory and sales data across both your online and physical locations.
  • Social commerce: A report by Deloitte states that 47 percent of millennials and 19 percent of individuals in other age groups say social media influences their purchases. The best ecommerce software companies provide tools to connect your online store with your social media pages. Selling your products directly from your social media pages, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Polyvore, helps you convert interested consumers into buying customers.
Lori Fairbanks
Staff Writer at
Lori Fairbanks is a writer and editor for and Business News Daily who has written about financial services for small businesses for more than seven years. Lori has spent hundreds of hours researching, analyzing and choosing the best options for critical financial-related small business services, including credit card processing services, point-of-sale (POS) systems and employee retirement plans. Lori's publishing experience is extensive, having worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies.
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