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The Best E-Commerce Website Builders for New Business Owners

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

There were between two and three million e-commerce stores globally as of March 2020. And that number is growing rapidly.

While many e-commerce companies are established powerhouses, many are smaller brands that are still new to the whole concept and just getting their feet wet. And that’s who I want to address in this post. 

If you’re a new e-commerce brand, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the best e-commerce website builder. With so many different options available, this isn’t always an easy choice. 

So my goal here is to simplify things for you. Here are my picks for the top platforms that are perfectly suited for brand new business owners.

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1. Square

When most people think of Square, they think of the mobile payment card reader that’s attached to a tablet or smartphone. That’s what really put Square on the map. 

But they also have a great e-commerce website builder that makes the setup process fast and easy. 

It’s perfect for brands that want a professional looking store with strong visual aesthetics but aren’t necessarily skilled at programming and design.

In Square’s own words, “With the help of our site builder, you don’t need to know how to code. And your site will work well on any device.”

And this is huge considering nearly half of all US e-commerce sales (49.2 percent) will come from mobile devices in 2020.

Here are some particular things that I like about Square:

  • Their tools are simple and intuitive, which make for a very minimal learning curve;
  • They offer built-in SEO tools to help increase your store’s search engine visibility; and
  • It offers Instagram integration.

What I really love about Square, though, is that they handle all aspects of payment processing. With it, you can accept all major credit cards, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Square gift cards. 

This way your shoppers have plenty of choices, increasing their chances of making a purchase. 

In terms of cost, it’s free with no set up fee or monthly charge. You simply pay 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction.

An example of an e-commerce brand that uses Square is White Gardenia Co. who sells handcrafted home goods.

Another is Poor George—a lifestyle boutique.

As you can see, they both have a crisp, clean feel to them, and their navigation is very intuitive.

2. Squarespace

Launched in 2004, Squarespace has earned a reputation as being one of the top website builders. 

As of mid 2019,1.8 million websites were powered by Squarespace. 

And in recent years, it’s become an increasingly popular option for e-commerce owners, especially those just starting out. 

Getting set up is super easy because Squarespace helps you choose the perfect template based on what you sell. They start by asking what your site is about.

Then they ask what your top goals are.

Finally, they ask where you’re at in the process.

Then, you can browse through their list of templates to find one that’s right for you. 

Here are just a few examples.

You start with a design, and then you can tweak it to make it your own.

Here are some specific features that Squarespace offers:

  • Rich product display, including videos and image zoom;
  • Automatic inventory management;
  • Sell unlimited products; and
  • Powerful shipping calculator features.

I also like that they offer an integrated payment system, which makes the checkout process a breeze for your customers.

You can even customize your checkout by adding customer surveys, which is very cool. That way you get continual feedback on what you’re doing right, along with potential improvements you can make. 

And when it comes to handling taxes, Squarespace simplifies that as well so you don’t have to worry about compliance.

When it comes to customer support, this is rock solid as well. You can get in touch with professionals that are available 24/7 and have access to a comprehensive help center, as well as webinars.

Here are some of the webinars they’re currently offering.

This can give you a big advantage when you’re just starting out with e-commerce and reduce the learning curve. On top of that, Squarespace also offers email marketing services, which you can use to grow your list and generate qualified leads. 

Just like with their e-commerce website builder, you can choose from a variety of themes that mesh with your brand identity, and they can be easily customized.

There are two Squarespace pricing options. “Basic Commerce” costs $30 per month when paid monthly and $26 per month when paid annually. “Advanced Commerce” costs $46 per month when paid monthly and $40 per month when paid annually. 

An example of a brand that uses Squarespace is Cedar Cold Frames who sells mini greenhouses for gardening.

They’ve used Squarespace to create a user-friendly site with plenty of images to showcase their products.

3. Wix

I talked about Wix in another post about creating a professional online store.

But I’m including it on this list because it’s so easy to use and ideal for beginners. 

Absolutely no technical skills are needed, and Wix has a simple seven-step process for getting set up. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Log in to your account or sign up.
  2. Choose from 500+ professional online store templates.
  3. Customize your online store’s design.
  4. Add products to your store.
  5. Connect a payment provider and set up shipping.
  6. Choose a custom domain.
  7. Publish your e-commerce website and start selling. 

Here are some things I love about Wix. First, they have some really amazing templates that can fit any business, regardless of what you’re selling.

Their template archive allows you to search by industry, such as fashion and clothing, jewelry and accessories, arts and crafts, and so on.

Here are just a few of the templates that are available for fashion and clothing.

Next, Wix makes it easy to customize your storefront and shopping cart. Use it to create galleries and collections, feature related products based on a shopper’s behavior or allow them to create their own wishlist. 

As for cart options, shoppers can use quick add to instantly move items to their cart, as well as a mini-cart.

Setting up shipping is also really simple, where you can create custom shipping rules and choose between major carriers like FedEx and USPS.

Another awesome feature is that Wix allows you to sell on Facebook and Instagram. Social commerce has gained a lot of momentum as of late, and nearly a third (30 percent) of consumers say they would make a purchase directly through social networks. 

That’s why you see so many brands integrating their Facebook and Instagram feeds directly into their e-commerce store. Following this trend can help you tap into a larger customer base and streamline communication. 

Finally, accepting payments is really straightforward with Wix. They offer a highly secure online checkout process, where you can choose from dozens of payment methods like credit/debit cards, PayPal and Wix Payments. 

You can even accept payments in more than 40 currencies, which is helpful if you plan on selling in international markets.  Pricing varies, and there are four options to choose from for e-commerce.

Basic packages start at $23 a month, and more advanced packages go all the way up to $500.

One notable brand that uses Wix is Fanstereo who sells high-quality aluminum headphones.

Another is women’s wear company Sasha Nassar.

Both look great and showcase what new business owners can do with Wix.

4. Jimdo

If you’re a European-based business or plan on selling to customers located in the European Union, you’re probably familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

This is a law that governs the way businesses handle data protection and privacy and is having a heavy impact on how modern e-commerce brands handle customer information. 

And being compliant is essential because failing to do so can result in some stiff penalties. 

If GDPR compliance is necessary for your e-commerce brand, all-in-one business solution and website builder Jimdo is something you’ll be interested in because it fulfills e-commerce regulations for EU countries.

In fact, that’s Jimdo’s main selling point. It’s designed to keep brands GDPR compliant and has features like the Legal Text Generator to do so.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It has a ton of other great features that make it one of the best e-commerce website builders for beginners.

Jimdo calls itself, “The easiest professional online shop in the world” and makes it simple to create a stunning e-commerce store that’s fully optimized for mobile. This makes it ideal for stores with under 100 products.

While it’s not always viable for large sites with huge product inventories, this is more than sufficient for most smaller ones. They offer automatic SEO, allowing you to optimize your store for search engines to pull in a higher volume of targeted organic traffic. 

Jimdo also integrates robust analytics so you always know how many visitors are coming to your store and can get ideas on how to bring in even more.

They have flexible discount options where you can create customized discount codes to capture the interest of more customers and motivate them to buy.

You decide how long discounts last, how much customers get off, the minimum amount they can spend, and more. They also assist with order management and send out automatic confirmation emails.

Pricing is straightforward where you can choose between two plans for e-commerce stores—“Business” or “VIP.” Business is only $19 per month, while VIP is $39.

Also note that Jimdo doesn’t charge any commissions or fees. There’s just the flat payment. So this can help boost your overall revenue if you move a lot of products and may be preferable to a commission-based model. 

If you’re looking for an example of a brand that uses Jimdo, one is Curio Styles who sells unique rings with interchangeable parts.

5. Big Cartel

Let me start off by saying that Big Cartel is mainly intended for very small e-commerce brands that plan on staying that way. So if you’re looking to quickly scale up and continually expand, it’s probably not the best e-commerce website builder for you.

That said, it’s definitely something to consider if you’re a small brand and you’re looking for a no frills platform that’s dirt cheap. Created specifically for “artists and makers,” it’s “perfect for clothing designers, jewelry makers and other artists.”

A good example is Uno + Ichi, a brand that sells handmade ceramicware. They’ve used Big Cartel to create a simple yet beautiful e-commerce store for selling their unique products.

And getting started is easy. Just take one of Big Cartel’s free themes and customize it however you’d like.

Or if you have any coding/design skills, you can create it from scratch for an even deeper level of personalization.

This platform gives you everything you need to take orders, add new products, run promotions and manage your store.

Here are some noteworthy features:

  • Inventory tracking;
  • Sales tax autopilot;
  • Integrated discounts and promotions; and
  • Real-time stats to monitor traffic and shopper behavior.

As for pricing, there are four options to choose from.

The free plan lets you sell up to five products for free, which is pretty awesome, while the others range between $9.99 per month and $29.99 per month. So as you can see, it’s super affordable. 

While you don’t have the options and functionality of other larger e-commerce website builders, Big Cartel is definitely viable for certain brands.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want More Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?

Get access to our free CRO toolkit and skyrocket your organic traffic, on-page conversion rate and more (includes resources not found in the blog post).

Conclusion

It’s never been easier to break into e-commerce. Even if you’re brand new to the concept, you can get a professional online store up and running in no time.

There are a wide array of platforms available, but in my opinion, these are the best e-commerce website builders and are perfect for beginners. 

It’s just a matter of choosing the one with the specific features you’re looking for and that best fits your budget. 

Which one of these e-commerce website builders are you leaning toward?

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