Top 5 platforms to build your online store on in 2021

July 7, 2021

Today, every business owner knows that having an online store is simply a must in 2021. Although the world is slowly recovering from Covid-19 and shopping centers are opening their doors again, the benefits of online shopping cannot be surpassed. Evermore people prefer to buy goods from the convenience of their homes. In fact, Statista shares that in 2019 digital shoppers accounted for 1.92 billion, while in 2021 this number has grown to 2.14 billion people around the globe. Furthermore, according to Business Insider, eCommerce sales will generate $3.914 trillion this year. Additionally, eCommerce sales worldwide are forecasted to more than double, surpassing $6.5 trillion in 2023, as shares. Given this data, it is fair to say that creating an online store can significantly boost your sales and set you on a bright path to further growth.

We already shared the essentials for creating a successful online store with you: from setting your CRM system to creating a great UX design and Information architecture, you can learn about all of the insider tips and tricks from our article on the topic. That being said, today we’re here to share with you some of the best platforms to build your online store on in 2021: Cloudcart, Shopify, Wix, Big Commerce, and Squarespace! So grab a cup of coffee, get comfy and let’s get started.


We’re kickstarting our list with Cloudcart because it’s the perfect eCommerce platform for start-ups and small businesses. It is the only platform out of all five that allows you to create your online store and start offering your products in the digital for free. That’s one of the strongest benefits of this service – you only have to start paying once you accumulate a revenue of 1000 of your store’s currency. Not all features of the platform are included in the free version, but you still get a decent amount of tools that can help you create your online shop on your own. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly, so you don’t need developers’ help to create your online store. For free you get 1GB of disk space, one admin account, and hosting.

There are two available paid plans – the “Business” plan (it will cost you €20,00 per month) and the “Enterprise” plan (you’ll have to contact Cloudcart’s team for the pricing plan). With the Business plan, you get free hosting, 10GB of disk space, 5 admin accounts, and access to the full specter of features the platform offers, including all types of discounts, all types of store reports, all payment methods, all marketing tools, and customer support via chat, email, and phone. If you opt-in for the Enterprise plan, your store’s potential is limitless. Literary, you can have as many admins as you like and store as much data as you wish. Additionally, Cloudcart will assign a personal assistant to all merchants who choose the Enterprise plan.

The platform has more than 25 creative templates and a page builder, which does not require any programming skills. Some of the marketing tools that you’ll be able to use include automated abandoned cart emails, full integration with Google Analytics and other Google products, automated tools for optimized upselling and cross-selling, and over 50 different criteria used for creating promotions and discounts.

One of the biggest advantages of Cloudcard over Shopify, Wix, Big Commerce, and Squarespace is the fact that it allows you to create your online store and sell products in the digital for free (until you reach the threshold of 1000 in your store’s currency). Furthermore, CloudCart’s “Business” pricing plan is one of the most affordable on our list. That being said, the platform lacks useful features such as online booking tools and has a limited number of templates (just over 25 in comparison to Wix’s template base which consists of more than 500 creatives). According to, Cloudcart’s rating is 4.4 out of 5. Although the platform gets more positive reviews than negative, some users claim that Cloudcart’s interface is different from anything the industry is using at the moment and the platform requires a longer learning curve than its competitors.


Another great platform, which is perfect for both creating a brand new online store or developing and growing your already existing shop is Shopify. Although it doesn’t come with a free plan unlike Cloudcart, with Shopify you get a 14-day trial out of charge. Shopify offers great eCommerce optimization opportunities. It is a trusted service provider used by more than 1,700,000 business owners operating in over 175 countries worldwide. Furthermore, businesses have generated close to $200 billion in sales using Shopify.

Amongst the most well-known brands that use this platform are Knix, Heinz, and Staples. If you want to follow in their footsteps, you need to know that Shopify has three available payment plans to choose from. Those are the “Basic Shopify” ($29 per month), the “Shopify” ($79 per month), and the “Advanced Shopify” ($299 per month). The Basic Shopify plan is best suited for new businesses or business owners who create their online store for the first time. On the other hand, the “Shopify” and “Advanced Shopify” plans are more suitable for growing your business if you have one (Shopify) or more than two (Advanced Shopify) retail stores. The prices of Shopify’s paid plans are quite similar to those of Big Commerce’s plans, however, with Shopify you get access to more (and more affordable) templates. Additionally, there are far more third-party apps that you can integrate with your online store available for Shopify than for BigCommerce.

All Shopify payment plans allow you to create an online store, sell on online marketplaces and social media, accept in-person payments, and access customer support 24/7. Additionally, no matter which plan you choose, you’ll be able to print shipping labels for orders and get competitive shipping rates from DHL Express, UPS, or USPS. Some of the marketing features of Shopify include email marketing with ready-made designs from Shopify Email, Google smart shopping ad campaigns and Facebook ad campaigns managed through Shopify, a built-in blog feature, and SEO tools such as keyword trackers. Of course, if you want to have full access to all features of the platform it’s best if you choose one of the pricier payment plans.

Shopify is user-friendly and you don’t need to have any specific developer skills to set up your store. One of the strongest benefits of this platform is the fact that abandoned cart automated emails are available on all paid plans. Furthermore, with Shopify, as well as with Big Commerce, you can sell your products in a variety of currencies, which is not the case with Squarespace, Wix, and Cloudcart. Although Squarespace, Wix, and Big Commerce offer third-party app integrations, Shopify’s array of available third-party applications is huge and the richest out of the four. The platform has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, according to Capterra. Some of the users’ complaints are connected with the fact that Shopify sometimes freezes and it’s hard for business owners to sign in. Additionally, users claim that it is not very easy to terminate their paid subscriptions with Shopify.


Wix is amongst the best eCommerce platforms out there. If you are looking to build an online store that has both intuitive editing tools and rich eCommerce functionalities, this is the right builder for you. More than 180 million people around the globe have created their websites with the help of Wix. The platform is unique because it allows you to decide how you want to build your website. The first option you have is to use Wix’s innovative ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), which requires you to answer a few questions and creates a professional website for you in a matter of minutes. Otherwise, you could start from scratch or browse through the platform’s 500 customizable templates and mix and match until you are happy with the result.

Just like Cloudcart that includes free hosting with its plans, Wix offers free reliable web hosting for a period of one year, as well as a free 14-day trial period. If you want to be able to sell products through your website, however, you need to choose one of the available paid plans – the “Business Basic” (€ 17 per month), the “Business Unlimited” (€ 25 per month), or the “Business VIP” (€ 35 per month). Each of those plans allows you to create your online store with a custom domain, upload and showcase an unlimited number of products with categorizing and filter options, sell your products on social media, accept secure online payments, start selling subscriptions and collect recurring payments, create customer accounts, and send automated abandoned cart emails. Furthermore, you will be able to access customer service 24/7 no matter which plan you decide to subscribe to. As with the other online store builders, the pricier plans include more features and have higher priority customer service.

A drawback that we must mention is the fact that, unlike Squarespace, Cloudcart, Big Commerce, and Shopify, Wix’s templates are not responsive. This means that the desktop version of your website may look different when loaded on a mobile device. That being said, Wix has incorporated special gridlines in their Web Editor, but you need to make sure to place all of your site’s content inside the vertical gridlines to make it look good on all different devices. Creating your online store with Wix couldn’t be easier. The platform has a huge array of templates, more than Squarespace, Big Commerce, Cloudcart, and Shopify. When it comes to user opinion, Wix has a rating of 4.4 out of 5. Business owners complain that there aren’t enough third-party apps available for the platform. Additionally, some users say that Wix’s customer service could be improved because now the resolution of problems takes longer than it should.

Big Commerce

The next eCommerce platform that we wanted to show you is BigCommerce. The company was established in 2009 and since then it has enabled more than 60 000 merchants across 150 countries to offer their products online. BigCommerce offers solutions to businesses of all sizes. Some of the strongest benefits of this platform are the conversion rate optimization tools and features, which can help you improve the checkout process by offering built-in coupons and discounts to your clients. When it comes to building and customizing your online store, BigCommerce offers a wide range of possibilities. You not only have the chance to choose a theme you like and drag and drop elements to create the vision of your store, but if you have the appropriate skills you can also use any of the built-in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript editor options.

As with some of the other platforms on our list, BigCommerce also comes with a free trial, however, unlike Shopify and Wix with which you only have 14 days of free usage, BigCommerce lets you use the platform for 15 days before you have to pay. The paid plans that you can choose from are the “Standard” ($29.95 per month), the “Plus” ($79.95 per month), the “Pro” ($299.95 per month), and the “Enterprise” (you need to contact BigCommerce directly to get a quote). No matter which plan you choose, you will be able to create unlimited staff accounts and a customized, responsive online store, as well as use the platform’s professional reporting tools. Additionally, with all BigCommerce plans, you can offer your products on eBay, Amazon, and Instagram. You also get access to a platform, on which your customers can add product ratings and reviews. The pricier plans include some additional benefits, such as automated abandoned cart emails, customer segmentation, faceted search, and integrated customer reviews.

One of the best things about Big Commerce is the fact that third-party real-time shipping calculations are available on all payment plans, whereas with Squarespace and Shopify this feature is only available for premium paid plans. Additionally, unlike with the other website-builders on our list, Big Commerce allows you to have an unlimited number of admin accounts, no matter which plan you settle on. Surprisingly, Big Commerce’s user rating is quite low at 2.2 out of 5. Business owners complain that the platform lacks useful features, saying that they cannot customize the footer section of their online stores. Additionally, some users claim that the customer service representatives are not adequately responding to questions and fail to resolve problems.


Last but not least, Squarespace can also be an excellent choice for an online shop-building platform. Millions of business owners all over the world have used Squarespace to create their websites since the company’s establishment in 2003. One of the strongest benefits of this platform is the amazing template inventory that the platform offers. Although Wix offers significantly more templates (500) they are not fully responsive, whereas with Squarespace you can choose from over 100 highly creative templates, which work just as well both on mobile and desktop devices. Additionally, you can further customize your online store through the platform’s design menu. The platform is easy to use, so you don’t need to have any specific skills to create your online store.

All new users are entitled to a 14-day free trial period, however, similarly to Wix you can only start selling once you sign up for one of the paid plans offered by Squarespace. Your options include the “Business” plan ($18 per month + 3% transaction fee for online store purchases), the “Basic Commerce” ($26 per month), and the “Advanced Commerce” ($40 per month). No matter which plan you choose, you’ll get one year of free hosting ($20 per year after that period) and a free professional email from Google for a period of one year.

Some of the key features of Squarespace include fully integrated eCommerce functionalities such as inventory, order, and product management, as well as a customizable domain name, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SEO tools, 24/7 customer support, advanced website analytics functionalities, integration of promotional pop-ups and banners, and more.

Probably the strongest benefit of Squarespace is its user interface. It is extremely intuitive and business owners can create their online stores with ease. Additionally, we can argue that Squarespace’s templates look better than those offered by BigCommerce, Shopify, and Wix. Furthermore, although Shopify’s SEO functionalities are better than Squarespace’s, the latter offers a more advanced email marketing tool than Shopify. When it comes to user opinion, Squarespace gets a rating of 4.6 out of 5, with most of the company’s reviews being positive. That being said, users are concerned with the lack of ownership over the work they put into their online stores. Additionally, some business owners claim that sometimes the system takes longer to respond, which can be annoying.

All of the platforms on our list can help you grow your business in the digital, boost your sales volume and improve conversion rates. However, there’s one little detail that may turn out to be the stone that rocks the boat – yes, those online store-builders can be extremely helpful, but to see positive outcomes as a result of their use you have to create and follow a comprehensive strategy for your brand’s online presence. No matter how beautiful your online store is, its main purpose should remain focused on its functionality, effectiveness, and usefulness. Therefore, if you have limited knowledge of UX’s key principles and are not sure how to structure the content and navigation of your store to maximize its performance, it may be best to outsource this task.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help with any marketing activity: from shaping the identity of your brand and creating your online store, to executing creative omnichannel campaigns. As a digital marketing agency, Interval always strives to provide seamless experiences to you and your clients.

You May Also Like…