The success of your Ecommerce website or digital storefront can be heavily determined by the quality of your Ecommerce platform and website builder.
In fact, it’s no stretch to say that a bad Ecommerce platform can significantly hamper your sales and tank your business.
This is especially true these days since customers don’t have the patience to wait around for slow load times or clunky interfaces.
Best Ecommerce Website Builder (UK) in 2021
In order to make sure you have the best eCommerce platform for your business, we gathered the best Ecommerce website builders in the UK for your consideration.
Check each of these out if you aren’t already using them and consider making the switch – we think these platforms have the potential to dramatically improve your business, sales, and SEO results.
Absolute Best eCom Platform in the UK
Shopify had a somewhat unexpected beginning in 2004 when a group of snowboarding enthusiasts pooled their money to create what is now the most popular Ecommerce platform on the entire market.
Over 1 million businesses have used it to supercharge their online businesses, so it’s no surprise that there’s a lot to like here for every business regardless of size.
When reviewing Shopify, we found out that it features a ton of site-building features and reasonable prices depending on how much scalability you want. To make things even better, a 14-day free trial is included if you want to try things out before putting down cash.
There are plenty of website building features you can enjoy, including unlimited product listings (for some of the higher-priced plans), custom domains, inventory tracking, and a ton of personalization tools.
As you purchase the higher tiers of service, you'll even be able to marshal AI tools to provide personable greetings and shopping recommendations for your most valued and common customers.
It’s also pretty easy to set up a unique website since there are over 70 different templates and themes available for all users.
Pricing and Value
Shopify is fairly well priced, ranging from $29 per month to $299 per month for much larger businesses with many digital transactions occurring every day.
Again, the free trial has a lot of value here, but we think that Shopify is easily the best cheap Ecommerce platform in the UK and beyond, bar none, and the best Ecommerce platform overall, as well.
King of Website Builders - Also Great for eCom
Wix is perhaps the most innovative Ecommerce platform in the UK right now, as it relies on Cloud-based storage instead of hard server-based storage.
This Ecommerce website builder will let users make online stores through intuitive drag-and-drop tools, and it has tons of templates and designs. It's one of the best Ecommerce website builders in the UK for beginners, by far. And for those in need for a refresher course on what is Ecommerce, check out our guide!
The included Ecommerce functions are robust enough for small businesses, and you can thankfully add several plug-ins to extend these features for more value.
Wix has a lot of features despite its affordable asking price, including a spread of site-building functions like the ability to display digital products or make a page dedicated to product image galleries. Tons of shipping options and discount codes are also available, plus a detailed inventory management system.
We also like the abandoned car recovery tool: a user-friendly feature that many customers will probably appreciate. The Ecommerce platform is designed for mobile-optimized shopping, as well, and multiple payment options are available in case your business has international traffic.
Pricing and Value
Wix is very affordably priced, with costs ranging from $17 per month up to $500 per month for enterprise-level businesses. But most folks want to spend more than $30 per month on average. You get a lot of small-scale business tools that, while effective, aren’t especially good for scaling up as business increases.
The overall result, of course, is that larger businesses will probably move on from Wix once they reach a tipping point in sales and scale. Still, there’s nothing necessarily wrong about having an affordable and user-friendly Ecommerce platform available for small businesses.
Runner-Up - Second Only to Shopify
WooCommerce is easily one of the best free Ecommerce platforms in the UK. It's an open-source plug-in designed for WordPress websites, so it’s also a great choice for WordPress users (which is almost everyone on the Internet, honestly). At the time of this writing, it runs for over 30% of all digital stores on the web.
It’s ideal for small businesses that need a free tool to help them boost their sales and grow rapidly. There are additional extensions and add-ons available, some of which are paid, but you get most of what WooCommerce offers without spending anything, which is excellent.
They offer plenty of excellent features that are pretty easy to integrate into your existing WordPress website, including mobile-optimized shopping (a big deal since a majority of online traffic now comes from mobile devices), support for geolocation services, and tons of catalog-management tools.
In other words, it offers everything that a new business needs to keep track of its inventory and service its customers.
Other tools like special coupons and discounts are excellent for businesses struggling to bring in new buyers. Product review functionality is included by default as well, plus some shipping options and calculators. The SEO tools ensure that this is one of the best Ecommerce platforms for SEO, too.
Pricing and Value
Again, WooCommerce is totally free, and we’re honestly impressed by everything you get from the base product. Adding it to your WordPress website is super easy.
The biggest downside is that they don’t offer phone or email support, so any technical hurdles you encounter will largely have to be handled yourself or otherwise resolved after filing a ticket that may result in a slow response. It’s the best free Ecommerce platform around.
Premium Option for High Budgets
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 by a pair of Australian entrepreneurs, though now the company calls Texas it’s home.
It’s an Ecommerce platform primarily designed for larger companies or, at the very least, companies with significant investment income they can use to make a sprawling and bustling online retail platform suitable for hundreds or thousands of transactions per day.
It comes with a ton of features that are nonetheless gated behind relatively high pricing points. Furthermore, BigCommerce gates the sales you can make every year, so if you are unexpectedly successful, you’ll end up having to pay more for a higher plan.
There are plenty of features that are worth your time and money, including custom domains, support for sales through multiple currencies, ratings and review systems, and even digital gift cards. The platform does come with 12 free themes, though you’ll need to pay to access the additional 160+ other things that can really make your site stand out.
Thankfully, BigCommerce is great for larger companies since it can integrate easily with shipping and point-of-sale software. Thus, it's a particularly good choice for companies that already have established brick-and-mortar locations.
Pricing and Value
Prices range from $29.95 per month, with an annual sales cap of $50,000, all the way up to BigCommerce Enterprise, which offers pricing upon request. BigCommerce Pro can be purchased for $299.95 per month with a $400,000 annual sales cap.
Ultimately, it’s a better Ecommerce platform for larger organizations and isn’t the best Ecommerce platform in the UK for smaller businesses.
Affordable & Dependable but Clunky
3DCart was originally released in 2001, so it’s one of the oldest Ecommerce platforms in the UK still in operation. Since then, it’s expanded to serve over 22,000 online businesses, with high name clients like PCMag. More importantly, they’re well-known for their unlimited storage and lack of transaction fees.
In addition to their website building features, 3DCart offers a 15-day free trial and support for multichannel selling, plus POS tools. Thus, it straddles the line between a purely digital platform and one suitable for businesses with brick-and-mortar stores as well.
3DCart has plenty of templates for those who pick up even its most basic subscription package. The templates they do have are admittedly a bit old school and can feel outdated, especially for mobile users. It’s also not one of the best Ecommerce website builders in the UK, lacking the drag-and-drop functionality that most other tools offer these days.
They do, on the other hand, offer some of the best-advanced shipping solutions around. They also include integrations with third-party systems and tools, plus have a spread of excellent business management tools, like email functions, inventory management, and so on.
Related Read: Best Email Host UK
Pricing and Value
The biggest downside is definitely the pricing scheme, which is like BigCommerce’s in that 3DCart restricts your sales up to a certain amount before requiring you to move up the pricing ladder. Their cheapest package is, fortunately, only $19 per month with a $50,000 cap.
All in all, it’s a decent ecommerce platform but, in the end, there are just better options for both businesses looking for the best ecommerce website builders in the UK for free, and larger businesses trying to find excellent paid tool collections.
Great for SEO beginners but Expensive
EKM - it’s one of those Ecommerce platforms that looks pretty similar to the competition but has a few standout features that make it notable.
For instance, it offers so-called dedicated account managers – these are EKM employees that work with every customer regardless of the plan you choose that can provide personalized technical assistance and guidance to maximize your profits.
This is just a taste of what EKM offers, and they’re ideally suited for smaller or midsized businesses that earn less than $1 million per year. Entrepreneurs who will make full use of the personalized advice will get the most bang for their buck here. Plus, the SEO tools guarantee that this is one of the best ecommerce platforms for SEO.
As mentioned, there are a few standout features that make EKM worth your while aside from the standard stuff like a user-friendly website builder and nearly 200 templates for your website.
Another of the more notable features are regular site reviews by those aforementioned professionals. Again, these can help you really improve your site over time rather than taking shots in the dark.
You also get extra goodies like a free SSL certificate (something that's crucial for website security in this day and age), unlimited bandwidth and storage, and unlimited product listing. The 28-day free trial is the icing on the cake.
Pricing and Value
EKM does charge transaction fees, which can range from 1.99% to 2.49%. But they also offer good SEO tools, which can maximize your profits in conjunction with the advice mentioned above. Prices for all of this assistance start at $29.99 per month, however, so some really budget-strapped businesses might want to look elsewhere.
Ultimately, though, there’s a lot to like for those who will make use of all that EKM offers.
Cheap eCom Platform - Weaker than Alternatives
CoreCommerce began in 2008 and is a subscription-based and web-hosted platform. It has a lot of impressive features and a particularly good customer support team, but it’s ultimately an in-depth tool that is best suited for those who have the time or money to spend learning about all of its bells and whistles.
More important is the admin panel you get to manage the features, themes, and every other aspect of your Ecommerce platform. This panel will eventually make running your site pretty easy, even if you have to put in significant time and effort to learn the ropes.
CoreCommerce does come with plenty of robust features, like international selling capability, unlimited product images (though you are limited in terms of bandwidth and storage), and even custom fields.
Additional and advanced tools, like the ability to hide prices or to allow or disallow customer comments and reviews, plus detailed social media sharing tools, are available as well.
It’s one of the most in-depth tools in terms of customer browsing flexibility and product management as well. It’s no stretch to say that there’s almost always a new tool on CoreCommerce that you haven’t discovered as you dig deeper into its functions.
Pricing and Value
CoreCommerce has reasonable pricing points, starting at $19 per month. They do have a profit cap – you can only earn under $24,000 annually for this plan before you are automatically bumped up.
Most will also probably want to go to higher plans so they aren't capped with storage and bandwidth. Most other Ecommerce platforms don't cap you this way. Later pricing tiers can run up to $600 per month for enterprise-level businesses.
All in all, CoreCommerce is an excellent platform held back by its somewhat dictatorial pricing scheme and storage and bandwidth caps. We'd only recommend considering it if you're a larger business and have the cash for one of the higher-priced plans.
How to Choose an Ecommerce Platform 💡
Choosing an Ecommerce platform that’s perfect for your business can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. So let’s break each of those major factors down.
Pricing, Value, and Additional Fees
Naturally, how much an Ecommerce platform costs can significantly impact whether it’s a fit for your business. But with Ecommerce platforms, pricing isn’t as straightforward as you might think. You have to consider:
- The initial price or monthly subscription fee for the platform
- Additional transaction fees that may apply
- Additional fees for necessary plug-ins/add-ons
The second category is the most interesting and is what most people forget to consider. The majority of Ecommerce platforms incur additional transaction fees for using their digital shopping centers. These are very similar to the credit card fees that brick-and-mortar vendors have to deal with, and usually hover between 1% and 4%.
Lower fees are obviously better, and free Ecommerce platforms often advertise no sales fees as a bonus point.
Features & Integrations
Be sure to look at all the features available for a given Ecommerce platform before choosing it for your business.
We’ve tried to highlight some of the features in the top Ecommerce platforms above, but even we can’t describe everything they can offer.
Website building aspects should be a top priority.
The best website builders in the UK will let you make a top-tier ecommerce site from scratch, meaning you don’t have to spend money on another tool or subscription.
Ecommerce platforms that offer more features, like CoreCommerce, are often better for larger businesses with experienced customer management and digital marketing teams.
For smaller businesses, making real use out of all those tools can be time-consuming and, ultimately, not worthwhile.
Integrations are also super important, particularly with WordPress or other popular sites and plug-ins.
WooCommerce is particularly notable for this since they offer easy integration with WordPress and many of its third-party plug-ins. You might need this easy integration if you want to use analytics or other tools to make the most of your online business.
The best Ecommerce platforms for SEO can also supercharge your business by improving your marketing campaigns and drawing new customers right to your digital door.
Security & Customer Support
Most of the best ecommerce platforms in the UK will have security tools built into their platforms.
However, keep a lookout for platforms that offer extra security, like SSL certification. SSL certification may even be necessary if you want your website to adhere to the GDPR and other international customer security regulations.
Don't forget customer support, too.
Some ecommerce platforms offer a variety of customer support channels, including live chat, phone calls, and email messaging. All of these can combine to make it easy to get technical support whenever you need it. Others may be more difficult to reach, which is a mild downside.
Payment Processing Options
Payment processing options are important depending on where your primary customer base resides. If most of your customers are in the UK, you want to necessarily need multiple payment processing options or international functionality.
But the more payment processing options you have (i.e. credit and debit cards, PayPal, bank wiring, etc.), the more money you can theoretically make since people won’t be turned off by forced to pay with a tool they may or may not have access to.
Businesses that have a lot of international customers absolutely need as many payment processing options as they can get to facilitate their wider customer bases.
Best Ecommerce Platform UK: FAQ ❓
Which Ecommerce Platform is Best for Small Business?
In our eyes, Wix is the best ecommerce platform for small businesses. That's because they're very affordable upfront, but they're also optimized for mobile shoppers and have a ton of tools and design aspects that make things easier for you and your customers.
When you're trying to secure long-term customers to grow consistently, nothing is more important than making a good impression, and Wix can help you do just that.
What is the Cheapest Ecommerce Platform?
While Wix is cheaper, Shopify is arguably the best cheap ecommerce platform in the UK in terms of raw value. Again, Shopify is a little more expensive, but it offers better scalability and extra analytics tools.
You can use the extra functions offered by Shopify to grow your website as your business does. By the time you can afford to go for a pricier ecommerce platform, you can just upgrade with Shopify, which is way easier than switching platforms.
What is the Best Free Ecommerce Website Builder?
WooCommerce is the best free ecommerce platform in the UK by far.
Their excellent catalog and inventory management tools, plus its easy integration with WordPress and plenty of extra plug-ins and add-ons, makes it the natural choice for budget-minded businesses looking for something that combines well with their already existing WordPress sites.
Final Words 🏁
Ultimately, these ecommerce platforms represent the best of the best in terms of your choices if you run a business in the UK.
We particularly like the top three – Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce – but any and all of them could be a great choice depending on your budget level and the size of your business right now. Best of all, many of them have free trials, so give these platforms a shot and let us know what you think!