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An Overview Of E-Commerce Platforms

Did you know that bandwidth overage charges are (still) a problem and most users prefer not to rely on a developer? Well, I talked to 917 (real-life) users and created a guide to help others find the e-commerce software that suits them best.

I completed this guide by searching for websites built with e-commerce software (you can verify by looking at the source code — certain code strings are unique to the software). Once I found a website, I (or one of my virtual assistants) would email the owner and ask if they’d recommend a particular software. Typically, they’d reply and I’d record their response in a spreadsheet (and personally thank them). Occasionally, I would even go on the phone to speak with them directly (although I quickly found out that this took too much time).

Here’s what I discovered.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Customer Satisfaction Link

I calculated customer satisfaction by finding the percentage of active users who recommend the software:

E-commerce software Recommendation %
Shopify 98%
Squarespace 94%
Big Cartel 91%
WooCommerce 90%
OpenCart 88%
Jumpseller 86%
GoDaddy 83%
CoreCommerce 80%
BigCommerce 79%
Ubercart 78%
Wix 76%
Magento 74%
Weebly 74%
3dcart 72%
PrestaShop 70%
Goodsie 65%
Spark Pay 65%
Volusion 51%


Shopify is the pretty clear winner, with Squarespace close behind — but both companies are actually complementary. Shopify is a complete, robust solution that works for both small and large stores, while Squarespace is a simple, approachable platform that works well for stores just starting out. (Worth noting: I’ve done similar surveys for portfolio builders5 and landing-page builders6, and Shopify is the only company I’ve seen score higher than 95% in customer satisfaction.)

But looking only at customer satisfaction is not enough. After all, e-commerce platforms have different strengths. So, I also asked users what they like and dislike about their software and found some important insights about each company.

Shopify (98%) Link

What Users Like Link

App store and features

“The best thing is that you don’t need a developer to add features… there’s a ton of apps available.” | “Their partner ecosystem is best.” | “Shopify has any feature under the sun — if you think you need it, someone already created an app.” | “Access to Shopify Apps is great.” | “There’s heaps of third-party apps you can integrate easily that I believe are essential to growing a business.” | “So many third-party apps, templates that other platforms aren’t popular enough to have.” | “There are many apps that can help with customization issues.” | “There are a ton of great third-party apps for extended functionality.”

Ease of use

“Easy to set up without having specific skills.” | “Intuitive user interface.” | “Simple to use.” | “It is very easy to start selling online.” | “Easy UI, pretty intuitive.” | “The interface is excellent for managing e-commerce.” | “It’s really clean and easy to manage.” | “Shopify provides a very straightforward way to add products, edit options and to apply different themes.” | “More than anything, very simple.” | “It’s simple and intuitive.” | “Very user-friendly.” | “Super user-friendly for non-computer guys like myself.” | “The back end is exceptional.”

Users love Shopify’s App Store. (View large version8)

Squarespace (94%) Link

What Users Like Link

Ease of use

“It’s very easy to use.” | “The e-commerce is so easy to use.” | “It’s easy to configure, simple to add, delete and modify our inventory, and most importantly it allows us to easily keep track of our ins and outs with helpful metrics and sales graphs.” | “It’s very easy to set up.” | “The user interface is easy to use.” | “Commerce is really nice and easy to set up.” | “Love the interface, very easy to work with.” | “I find it easy to use.” | “It was pretty easy to set up and has been a snap to maintain.” | “It’s all pretty smooth and easy.” | “It’s super-easy.” | “I’ve tried Drupal, WordPress… the interface and creative ability of Squarespace is much superior.”


“Has some great templates for a good-looking website.” | “Squarespace is an easy way to get a great looking site.” | “The sites are beautiful.” | “The templates and editing features on the blog and site are super-easy.” | “The thing I like most are the beautiful and easy templates.”

What Users Don’t Like Link


“The only thing I would say they need to improve is allowing more than one currency on the e-commerce site, which currently is not available.” | “It works pretty good for basic sales of items.” | “There are some limitations in terms of customizing, but they are minor.” | “If you are using it as is and just need the limited feature set that it comes with, it’s a great option.” | “Overall, it’s great for putting a few simple products up, but if you need anything beyond their default cart options, get a proper Squarespace developer or someone to set up a Shopify site for you.” | “It is really a great place to start, but unfortunately a place that is easily transitioned out of once the business begins to grow.”


“My partners have had some concerns with the shipping aspect, though.” | “Yes, I would recommend it, but Squarespace needs to have calculated shipping for all the plans.” | “The shipping is still something I wish was a little easier.” | “The only thing I would say is that, for me, the shipping options are more limited than I would like.” | “There are some features I wish were better implemented in the base package (like shipping integration for international orders), but I’d recommend it.”

Users love Squarespace’s sleek and simple themes. (View large version10)

Big Cartel (91%) Link

What Users Like Link

Good for new stores

“I would recommend Big Cartel for smaller shops.” | “I would recommend it, especially startup users.” | “It’s a great place to start out!” | “We’d recommend it for similar businesses, especially those just getting started.” | “It is a great platform for something really simple and was very easy to set up.” | “Big Cartel is great for beginning stages of a store. We’re actually entertaining moving to a new platform right now.” | “It’s quite good for a small company or startup, for sure.” | “I’m finding that in the early stages of the business, it’s extremely handy for stock listing and very straightforward to use.”

Ease of use

“It’s very easy to use.” | “It’s very easy to use, navigate and customize the shopfront.” | “I am particularly fond of the back end and the admin tools. They make maintaining and shipping products a breeze.” | “It’s super-simple and really user-friendly.” | “I’m not savvy, so it works well for my skill level.” | “Easy to set up… and easy to control and set inventory.” | “They make it so easy to have a beautiful website.” | “For just a few items, Big Cartel totally gets the job done and is user-friendly.”


“I only have to pay $9.99 a month for Big Cartel. That’s a huge perk for me.” | “Low price point and easy to use.” | “The rates are the lowest considering all the things you’re able to do.” | “I have found the cost is a lot better than my Etsy store.” | “You get a great platform for a great price.” | “Compared to Etsy, the fees are ridiculously cheap!” | “One fee a month, no item fees per listing… There is an option to open a store for free with five listings. This is an amazing feature.” | “Their prices are also very reasonable.”

What Users Don’t Like Link


“Lacking in features.” | “It is limited in terms of themes… You always know when you’re on a Big Cartel site.” | “It does most of what I expect of it, but also has limitations.” | “The one problem I have is that the only options for receiving payments are PayPal and Stripe.” | “If you want more of an interactive site with blogs and videos and whatnot, I think there are better options out there.” | “We are currently moving over to Shopify because we have maxed out Big Cartel’s limited 300-item store capacity. That is the only downside of Big Cartel.” | “You are limited by what Big Cartel allows you to do. For example, there are certain promotions that I would like to do, but currently Big Cartel has no way of allowing it.”

Big Cartel11
Big Cartel is simple, which makes it easy to use and perfect for stores just starting out. (View large version12)

WooCommerce (90%) Link

What Users Like Link


“Many useful plugins for it.” | “So many features.” | “There are plenty of add-ons with it to customize shop as we need.” | “Fully customizable.” | “The plugin architecture is great.” | “It also has a lot of plugins.” | “It’s very good if you are looking for something that can do anything… there are extensions available, and coders who can write plugins.” | “I’m a fan of the plugins because it allows for a lot of customization.”


“The ecosystem is well supported.” | “Great support with a whole online community dedicated to it.” | “I’m always able to find the answer to any question I have, either through the official WooCommerce knowledge base or in the community forums.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Developer may be required

“Custom modifications do require somewhat advanced developer knowledge.” | “WooCommerce does require knowledge in website building… At one point, it became extremely slow, and I couldn’t figure out where the problem was.” | “What should be native often requires plugins or coding.” | “Very customizable with some code editing.” | “WooCommerce definitely requires a solid knowledge of the inner workings.” | “There definitely is a learning curve, but it is not too hard to master.” | “It had to be highly customized for us by our website developers.”

WooCommerce users love the huge selection of extensions they can add to their stores. (View large version14)

OpenCart (88%) Link

What Users Like Link


“There are plenty of extensions (free and for purchase).” | “Tons of extensions to make it really awesome.” | “OpenCart extensions… have been very valuable and reliable.” | “Customization does need IT capabilities, though.” | “The software is only as good as its implementers.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Often requires a developer

“It took some PHP programming to get it completely as we wish, but now it works fine and suits my goals well.” | “If you do not have someone capable of working behind the scenes, it would be difficult to manage.” | “I’d recommend it if and only if you have at least some knowledge web programming (PHP, JavaScript, XML, MySQL, etc.).” | “Not recommended for anyone without some web programming knowledge.” | “With the right technical staff, yes I would.” | “If you would be a serious user, I can recommend OpenCart, but also I would recommend hiring a developer to make all custom improvements.” | “Yes, I would recommend it as a good platform with cheap extensions.” | “There is also a large amount of high-quality extensions.” | “Tons of plugins, both free to paid.”

Extensions can create bugs

“When you modify it, it does amazing things but is super-finicky.” | “Buying and installing extensions is a bad idea… It’s not a plug-and-play procedure.” | “As we grew bigger, there have been headaches, mostly to do with third-party extensions clashing with each other.”

OpenCart offers a large marketplace of extensions, which users love. (View large version16)

Jumpseller (86%) Link

What Users Like Link

Customer support

“The Jumpseller team is also very helpful… They’ll walk you through the process of making website [changes], so you can really understand.” | “Technical support is great, always helpful and fast.” | “The best thing is its excellent service, very fast and efficient.” | “Support has worked well so far. When we’ve submitted a query, we’ve gotten quick feedback.” | “Fast and good email support.” | “The customer service is very responsive and helpful.” | “The email response time is super-fast. If I have one question or doubt regarding anything, from design to DNS configuration, they’ll reply in less than 15 minutes!”

Using it for Chilean and international stores

“Our store is based in Chile, and another feature we appreciated is that it had full integration with local payment systems.” | “Has local credit-card options (in our country).” | “Recently, they integrated the price list of one of the shipping companies most used in our country.” | “The good thing is the translation tool.” | “I can tell you that we have selected Jumpseller because we are selling in Chile, and the store was very well integrated with the most popular payment methods, couriers, etc.”

Users recommend Jumpseller for managing languages and international stores. (View large version18)

GoDaddy (83%) Link

What Users Like Link

Ease of use

“It is easy to set up.” | “Easy to maintain.” | “Fairly user-friendly.” | “They really made everything so simple to make extremely intuitive changes quickly.” | “It’s easy to work with.” | “I would recommend it for a new user because of the ease of use in building a store.” | “Easy to use and have had no issues.”

What Users Don’t Like Link


“There are design limitations, though.” | “It is lacking in several business customization respects.” | “I wish there was a little more customization allowed.” | “There are some design limitations unless you know HTML.” | “Product is good but has many limitations.” | “I like it, but it does have limitations.” | “It has some limitations, but I have been able to work around them.” | “It does have its limitations on customizing, though.”

Credit-card processor options

“It would be better if it allowed shoppers to use a credit card to place an order, even if we don’t use their approved credit-card processor.” | “We were happy with them for years, and then out of the blue, the payment processors affiliated with GoDaddy dropped us.” | “We will be switching all of our stores from GoDaddy in the near future because it does not allow you to use the merchant service of your choice. You are forced to use Stripe.”

Users found GoDaddy easy to use, though limited. (View large version20)

CoreCommerce (80%) Link

What Users Like Link


“Tech support has always been responsive and friendly.” | “Good customer support.” | “I have been able to live chat or call with questions without issue.” | “The support is excellent.” | “Very quick responses to any of our requests.” | “Their support is very good.” | “Their customer service is absolutely the very best.” | “You can always call them 24/7 if you need any kind of support, and it doesn’t cost any extra money.” | “Their tech support is awesome.” | “Tech support has always been responsive and friendly.” | “CoreCommerce’s service is good. It has a mom and pop feel to it.”


“Price for the features and benefits given is exceptional, and no one we’ve spoken with can come close to the value.” | “It is a very cost-effective solution.” | “It is also very affordable.” | “I have yet to find another platform that offers the same value as CoreCommerce (at least for our particular business).” | “Prices are good.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Feels outdated

“Technologies are old, and they are very slow to update it.” | “It feels like the year 2003.” | “Outdated and uninspiring admin panel.” | “They’ve been a bit behind the times with integrations (still no Bitcoin, for example).” | “They are using an antiquated system, which doesn’t bode well for tie-in structures for the future.”

Difficult to use

“I do find the GUI to be somewhat frustrating and unintuitive.” | “It is annoying when you [have] to update each thing in multiple areas.” | “It is not intuitive or user-friendly.” | “The product was flaky. Flexible but badly designed in lots of areas.” | “Control panel sucks.”

Users found CoreCommerce difficult to use. (View large version22)

BigCommerce (79%) Link

What Users Like Link

Customer support

“I emailed the president [of BigCommerce] at 1:00 am requesting help… Within 10 minutes, [he] was on it with compassion and ready to help. They have bent over backward for me.” | “They provide excellent customer support.” | “If nothing else, they seem to have great customer service.” | “More than anything, we care about customer service, and BigCommerce provides excellent customer service.” | “Technical support has been great.” | “Great support.” | “Their tech support is 24/7 and is very responsive to our questions.” | “Customer service… is very helpful.”

What Users Don’t Like Link


“Their pricing structure is punitive for successful businesses… This is surely a recurring theme if you’ve reached out to many B2C website users who have grown their site.” | “A bit pricey when your sales hit over $300,000 a year.” | “[Recently,] my monthly payments increased from $25 to $250 due to my business exceeding the annual sales of their intermediate plan.” | “Because of our sales volume, BigCommerce frequently increases our monthly fees based on increasing sales. This has become very expensive.” | “A bit pricey.” | “We feel it is overpriced these days.” | “Their pricing structure makes no sense, but I’ve been with them for seven years.” | “I would recommend BigCommerce. Pricing is a bit high, though.” | “I personally think the pricing is a little steep.”

Managing products in BigCommerce (View large version24)

Ubercart (78%) Link

What Users Don’t Like Link

Not for non-developers

“Not as friendly for a non-developer or an individual who just wants to set up shop on their own and doesn’t have a technical background.” | “Ubercart works well as long as you have an experienced programmer.” | “Please note that it would require a developer who knows Drupal, because many aspects needed customization.” | “[I would recommend it ] if you’re comfortable with Drupal.”

Difficult to use

“Ubercart is OK, but it is hard to customize.” | “The learning curve is quite steep.” | “It can be a bit tricky to get your store looking just the way you want.” | “Ubercart isn’t the easiest to set up or work with.” | “The only disadvantage of Ubercart is the complex configuration of the store system.” | “It’s not as plug-and-play as Shopify.”

Users found that Ubercart works best if you have a developer on your team. (View large version26)

Wix (78%) Link

What Users Like Link

Ease of use

“The e-commerce site is beyond simple to use.” | “I would recommend it on one level: It’s easy to use. I can do all the building and updating myself, and so that’s good.” | “Easy to use.” | “Easy to build and maintain.” | “It is user-friendly, easy to set up and modify.” | “It’s super-easy to use, and it seems like everyone who’s ordered from me has also done so with ease.” | “If you want a simple storefront, it’s pretty straightforward, easy and cheap.” | “It is easy to set up.” | “It’s easy to use and user-friendly.” | “It was pretty intuitive to set up.”

What Users Don’t Like Link


“It is basic.” | “There are some limitations with shipping and accounting (sending to QuickBooks, etc.).” | “A little limited in some options.” | “I have not been able to make it work in the way I need.” | “I cannot update the inventory amount.” | “We had so many different options, which the configuration of the store and products did not allow us to do.” | “We also wanted to be able to get customers reviews and could not do it.” | “My main complaint is the lack of customization options — for example, not being able to display a price per pound.” | “If you want a variety of options and a wide range of modifications, it is not ideal.”

Users found Wix easy to use but limited. (View large version28)

Magento (74%) Link

What Users Like Link

Highly customizable

“We have complete control over our Magento store and have customized it extensively to meet our needs. That’s what I like most about it.” | “The amount of customizations and extensions available are endless.” | “It has an unparalleled level of customization and freedom.” | “It has a lot of great customization features.” | “It’s pretty powerful.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Difficult to use

“Probably the steepest learning curve.” | “It’s very expensive to get changes made.” | “Magento is overkill for what I need to do on my site.” | “User interface is not as easy as it could be.” | “It can be a real pain sometimes.” | “Complicated to set up.” | “It’s got a steep learning curve.” | “Magento has a huge learning curve.” | “It breaks for no reasons, and it breaks if you add anything to the site.” | “Always something going wrong for no apparent reason.”

Often requires professional help

“You will need a good PHP programmer if you intend to add anything to it beyond the default installation.” | “If one wants to really change Magento, one needs an expert.” | “Needs a good specialist to partner with to get the best out of it.” | “I would recommend it as long as you have a true Magento-certified developer to hold your hand the entire way and to create your site and work with you.” | “Magento is good if you’re a web developer and have coding skills.”

Users found Magento difficult to use. (View large version30)

Weebly (74%) Link

What Users Like Link

Ease of use

“It is very easy to use.” | “It was easy to use without web design experience.” | “It is basic and easy to use.” | “I have enjoyed the ease of Weebly and what you can accomplish with the tools.” | “It is extremely easy for me to use.” | “I’d recommend it because it is so easy to set up and track inventory.” | “This is one of the easiest [e-commerce platforms] I have used.” | “I do like the online store with Weebly because of the ease of use.” | “Weebly is really easy to use.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Third-party hosts

“[Weebly] is offered through MacHighway, which I use for my hosting, so there were some glitches in the beginning that probably wouldn’t have been there if I’d gone straight through Weebly.” | “Just make sure you buy the Weebly subscription directly through and not through a reseller, because I lost a whole website that way.” | “I would recommend it but only through the Weebly host.” | “The B.S. part is that since day one, iPower (a third-party Weebly host) claimed I was getting an ultra-premium package but was only paying for basic. I would go to edit a product and nothing worked. I’d call customer support and they’d tell me I need to upgrade. This has happened to me twice in three years with them. I’m hoping they get stuck with a class-action suit for fraud.” | “iPage is my host for Weebly. Because of this, I don’t have access to all of the features Weebly offers.” | “… Full access to all of the Weebly features would sort that at once, but iPage (maybe I should change) wants to lock me in for three years and pay the full amount up front!”

Limited features

“If you want a more customizable tool, then this might not work for you.” | “Weebly is missing some of the critcal things that we want from an online store.” | “I am hoping that they have, or will come up with, an automatic shipping calculation.” | “The only hiccup is when I need to change my prices. I have a lot of inventory, and I have found that the easiest way (relatively speaking) to do this is to change each one individually.” | “You can’t do everything design-wise on it.” | “It was perfect for me at first, but I have grown out of it very quickly [because of limited features].” | “The Weebly platform is not scalable. There is no element to customize your cart.” | “The shipping is a problem because it can’t be adjusted for lighter, heavier or multiple items.”

Users found Weebly easy to use but limited. (View large version32)

3dcart (72%) Link

What Users Don’t Like Link

Bandwidth overage charges

“If you read the forums, one problem that continually arises, and one that I have, is bandwidth. It seems that I’m always going over my bandwidth, even though I have relatively few products and dump files regularly.” | “3dcart charges for bandwidth, so serving lots of digital products from your server might not be a great idea depending on your budget.” | “They charge you for data, and it adds up.” | “It tends to use a lot of bandwidth. My store doesn’t have a huge amount of traffic (yet!), but I still go over my plan just about every month.”

Customer support

“Their comments are snarky, and their help is judgemental in that they always place blame on the customer, and it can take up to a week for them to solve a problem.” | “”Customer support has a laissez-faire attitude.” | “I have to really keep on them when I open a ticket, or I may not get a response for days.” | “I would say the biggest con has been customer service.” | “I would characterize them as almost disrespectful.” | “Their lack of support [was surprising].” | “The tech support also cannot help with even the most basic HTML questions.” | “Technical support online isn’t the best.” | “The help line is not very helpful. If there is a problem, such as the system stops taking orders or accepting credit cards, they assume it’s a problem on your end.” | “Their live support sucks.”

Difficult to use

“I feel the product is terribly cumbersome.” | “The admin interface makes it very difficult to find what settings I’m looking for.” | “It is awkward and not very user-friendly.” | “My website is with 3dcart, but it is overwhelming.” | “It is a little quirky in the back end.” | “I personally find it difficult to make even simple changes to.” | “Some of it is not very intuitive, so you have to keep clicking around until you remember where everything is.”

Users found 3dcart difficult to use and were frustrated with the bandwidth overage charges. (View large version34)

PrestaShop (70%) Link

What Users Like Link


“It has quite a lot of modules.” | “It has loads of modules” | “Lots of additional modules and functionalities to add.” | “A lot of modules.” | “They have a lot of free and already installed modules.” | “There are a lot of free modules.” | “Large offer of modules.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Difficult to use

“You need to be quite a good geek to understand everything.” | “We’ve encountered and still are encountering lots of problems with PrestaShop.” | “PrestaShop isn’t as user-friendly as others are nowadays.” | “The admin panel is not user-friendly.” | “I don’t recommend it for a beginner or if you don’t have much technical skill.”


“I hate it… It’s buggy and impossible to upgrade easily to newer versions.” | “It’s kind of an unstable, slow system for me, but I think in the near future it will be more stable and fast.” | “We have lots of problems with PrestaShop.” | “No, I would not recommend it. Buggy as hell.” | “No, I would not recommend it. Too heavy and too slow.” | “The back-end pages sometimes take an age to load — even for simple stuff.”

Users found PrestaShop buggy at times. (View large version36)

Goodsie (65%) Link

What Users Like Link

Good for beginners

“Quick and easy. I think its simplicity best suits the light or new user.” | “Great for people with no knowledge [of how to build a store].” | “For someone with zero experience building a website, I found their product to be so easy to navigate.” | “I highly recommend it for beginners.”

What Users Don’t Like Link


“Way too expensive.” | “There are cheaper options out there that do the same thing.” | “I liked Goodsie when I started with them five or six years ago, but their prices keep going up.” | “Prices were hiked above what they should be, so I am about to change.” | “The price went from $15 to $30 per month not too long ago.”

Users suggest Goodsie’s simplicity makes it good for beginners, although it is expensive. (View large version38)

Spark Pay (65%) Link

What Users Like Link

Customer support is prompt

“Whenever we’ve needed support, their help systems are very responsive.” | “Spark Pay’s technical support is excellent.” | “Very responsive for help.” | “They have been responsive to any needs I’ve had.” | “I find their customer service to be quite responsive.” | “Tech support is very responsive via phone or email.” | “They have been very responsive to helping out with general website questions and problems.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Bandwidth overage charges

“The main thing I don’t like are the extra bandwidth charges.” | “Nailed with huge bandwidth charges.” | “They are little hidden fees for going over your bandwidth account file storage and product count if you don’t keep an eye on them.”

Difficult to use

“Spark Pay is not simple!” | “They have a ton of features built in — most of them are half-baked and don’t function 100%, which has led to frustration.” | “[Needs to] reduce the bloat in their software.” | “Unless you have a designer and/or developer on staff, or at the very least a very computer-savvy non-techie, it’s virtually impossible to understand Spark Pay.” | “Their web editor is clumsy.” | “Their platform is buggy.” | “It is crazy complicated to make even some of the most mundane changes.” | “Their system bogs down so much that only the most minor of changes are doable.” | “Clunky UI, way too much complexity. Just a nightmare to deal with.”

While prompt, customer support can be disappointing

“There service desk really isn’t one. They have no formal (or competent) escalation process.” | “They are not nearly as responsive to fixing significant issues as they should be.” | “I feel like the platform has a lot of tools to offer, but few resources to teach you how to use them.” | “Technical support is rather lacking. When you do finally get someone to answer the tickets, they do a very minimal amount of work and effort to correct the problem.”

Spark Pay39
Users found Spark Pay difficult to use and were frustrated by bandwidth overage charges. (View large version40)

Volusion (51%) Link

What Users Like Link

Customer support

“Their technical support department people are top-notch… I’m extremely impressed with them.” | “The [support] team at Volusion is knowledgeable, and that is highly important.” | “Their customer support is excellent.” | “Their support is superb.” | “Support is second to none.” | “There technical support team is also very good in helping to fix any issues that we might have had.”

What Users Don’t Like Link

Bandwidth limitations

“The one thing I can’t stand is the amount of bandwidth they provide you with. [It] will easily be gone in a week if you have a lot of visitors.” | “They don’t have adequate bandwidth plans, and their billing for bandwidth overages is highly irritating.” | “Site traffic is pricey.” | “I originally used very large images for my products and received some rather stiff hosting fines for going over the stupidly low bandwidth level.” | “The way they charge for bandwidth caused us to have obscene overage charged for months.”


“It is particularly expensive, and the costs weren’t clear [when we started].” | “Once the site is built, they nickel and dime you for every little thing imaginable.” | “I also used the Volusion SEO team and that was a joke. $1600 a month!” | “Not the least expensive around.” | “I would caution new users to be aware of hidden costs. Email addresses are extra. An SSL certificate is extra. A service to check the reliability of each credit card is extra. SEO and design services are phenomenally expensive.” | “Going by the prices they charge for SEO packages, they’re aiming at companies far larger than mine.” | “If you want anything besides barebone offerings, everything else is available… for a price.” | “I just wish it was a little cheaper.” | “Volusion keeps [the initial setup and customization] complicated, hoping that you will pay them to do it for you.”

Difficult to use

“The back end is not user-friendly.” | “The UX is confusing and bloated, but I’m used to it.” | “There is a learning curve, so it takes a while to get going. And if you want customization, be prepared to learn it yourself or pay some hefty fees.” | “It’s not straightforward and is prone to errors.” | “If you change a font size within the text, you then lose all other formatting — nothing major, but annoying and time-consuming.” | “It’s quite clunky to manage content and design.” | “There are random glitches throughout the site that have probably cost me thousands in abandoned carts.” | “One thing that is hard for me is manipulating website elements. GoDaddy was easier for me.”

Users found Volusion difficult to use and expensive. (View large version42)

Conclusion Link

It’s worth noting that this is not a list of all e-commerce software currently available in the world. Instead, I’ve only included software for which I was able to talk to a minimum of 30 users (and I was not able to find 30 users for several companies).

But this is a fairly comprehensive list of the most popular e-commerce platforms. Furthermore, these are the thoughts of real, verified users. I hope it’s helpful in your search for the right e-commerce software!

This article is based off of the e-commerce software guide originally published here43.

(vf, al, il)

Footnotes Link

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Steve Benjamins is a designer and developer who writes software buyer guides for Wise Buyer and reviews website builders for Site Builder Report. In his evenings he makes music which you can listen to here.

  1. 1

    So there is absolutely nothing the users don’t like about Shopify..? ;)

    • 2

      Steve Benjamins

      April 6, 2017 1:46 pm

      The key thing is, there is nothing that users consistently didn’t like about Shopify. I only added a Like or Dislike if I heard the same complaint from several users :)

      • 3

        Joshie Fishbein

        April 6, 2017 4:35 pm

        What are “users” in your mind? Are only the shop “owners” that you contacted included in your survey?

        And do you feel this demographic is an accurate representation of general user-ship?

    • 4

      Tancredi Leone

      May 3, 2017 8:17 am

      There is just one big problem with shopify according to my experience that surprisingly is not mentioned at all in your review, if you are not based in the US, Australia or UK, access to all those nice feats you have described is deprived to 10% making it sort of useless or certainly no better than other platforms.

      If you are looking to get started or just get the most out of your store, we can help you with ad hoc professional e-commerce design consulting for any vertical and budget find out more at

  2. 5

    It’s a nice article, surely helpful, but definitely NOT a “ultimate guide”.

    • 6

      I agree with your point. It’s an informative piece and good to get an impression of what people think, but I’d retitle it to make it clear it’s an overview of opinions about e-commerce platforms, rather than a comprehensive guide. :)

  3. 7

    Hybris? SAP
    Oracle solutions? IBM? no?

    • 8

      Steve Benjamins

      April 6, 2017 1:48 pm

      Is the a specific company you’d like to see listed? (It’d be helpful to know so that I can include in an update to the guide.)

      • 9

        Be interested in seeing LemonStand in here, as we’re considering them right now.

  4. 10

    Fred Carlsen

    April 6, 2017 3:01 pm

    Would be great if you could include Craft Commerce and Snipcart. Both are great solutions.

  5. 12

    Daniel Moll

    April 7, 2017 3:21 am

    Don’t forget moltin! :)

  6. 13

    For Drupal there’s also Drupal Commerce, which I find a better option than Ubercart.

  7. 14

    kanawut chunchom

    April 7, 2017 2:39 pm

    It’s a nice article. I like the point that you listed more than 5 platform for user to get more understanding of each.

  8. 15

    Pierre Balian

    April 7, 2017 6:05 pm

    I’ve never ran into a ecommerce platform that wasn’t a flaming pile of shit. Magento will make anybody want to kill puppies. Woocommerce would be decent-ish except for the fact that customizing things requires hooks instead of just overriding some php files. I’ve heard good things about spree commerce but havent had a chance to use it. Documentation and community seems lacking. Shopify and squarespace are garbage for end-users not developers.

    • 16

      2 part-er here:
      First, Pierre your comment regarding Magento left me laughing, truly lol, at work.

      2nd: I was coming to ask Steve if he could make any general comment about the differences expected in Magento 2, since they have (supposedly) made changes to address some of the issues that came up in the comment.

      We are looking at moving to M2 or another platform, obviously frustrating after such a big investment, especially in our sector. In addition we have integrated our accounting (Dynamics) to work with Magento and this was an incredibly taxing process so we will have to navigate this again. Thanks!

  9. 17

    How come Etsy is not on the list?

  10. 18

    What about Spree? I’d like to hear some feedback on Spree.

  11. 19

    Great work on how detailed this is. Can you do one for support/ticket systems? Like osticket etc…


  12. 20

    I don’t know which businesses you targeted, but you’re missing out the two major actors for big retailers: salesforce commerce cloud (ex-demandware) and hybris.
    I work in an e-commerce integration shop and we sell salesforce commerce cloud partnerships, which are a big hit.
    (I don’t know if all the clients go public with the technology they use, so I’ll list only a few which I know have been mentioned in press releases about it: Adidas group, Quicksilver group, L’Oréal group.)
    Those are very high-end solutions with big price tags though, so I’m not sure you’d be able to easily interview customers.

  13. 21

    Great summary here. One thing I might consider adding: supported languages. Not just admin interface, but whether a shop is capable of supporting multiple languages on the frontend.

    We run a shop on Prestashop that’s localized in both English and in Japanese. Although other eCommerce platforms do support other languages, I’ve found that they can be somewhat tedious to manage. Prestashop actually makes this quite straightforward and easy.

  14. 22

    I would also recommend checking out Reaction Commerce , as an Open Source Javascript-based alternative to the above. I’ve been using it for a few months now and absolutely love it!

  15. 23

    Sandy Perkins

    April 25, 2017 3:06 pm

    Woocommerce is basically nickel and dime software. Many plugins require a fee each year. Everything decent requires a plugin or coding. It’s a mess. I have one site that has 10 plugins just for WooCommerce and another 5 or 10 plugins for WP. I do not recomment WooCommerce at all.

  16. 24

    Your table (product names and % recommend) desperately needs a third column: number of respondents. Otherwise, very nice job.

  17. 25

    Vadym Voronovskyi

    May 17, 2017 8:28 pm

    ” It was always a serious issue to find the best software or CMS for your future E-commerce platform to meet your own requirements and to satisfy the customer needs. In such a situation we need to feel as customers and try to answer some important questions. I want to visit the website , look through the products and make a purchase. So CMS platform must make this process easier for me to perform.
    As it was mentioned in ( the right one CMS or software must manage the content. So we need to look at all solutions and choose the right one for our business. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. And we must find the happy mean for us.
    Cause’ when we make our E-Commerce site we mustn’t forget about creative content because it’s the main part of the marketing campaign for any business. “


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