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Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

The Best Ecommerce Platforms In The UK

A like for like comparison of all of the best ecommerce platforms

Looking for a home for your online business? Our ultimate guide to the available ecommerce platforms in the UK will help you decide.

ShopWired

shopwired screenshot

The best all around ecommerce platform - especially for support

ShopWired is probably the UK’s most popular ecommerce platform and it is certainly the platform that receives the best reviews for functionality, customer service and technical support. On review websites like Trustpilot and G2.com.

If you're a merchant who appreciates a solid technical support team, customer service and overall reliability then ShopWired is the best platform for you to choose from.

ShopWired also offers a very competitive pricing structure in comparison to both the other UK platforms and the North American ones too.

ShopWired caters for businesses of any size, and has a huge following with micro and small businesses. They are often praised for the intense support given to merchants to help them grow and flurish, helping to scale them into 6 or 7 figure turnover businesses very quickly.

ShopWired also boasts a number of big name UK brands who use the platform at scale, processing huge volumes of orders. These brands include Wowcher, EDF Energy, Superdrug and The Spectator Magazine.


Pricing

ShopWired offers 3 standard packages and 3 enterprise packages. The starter package costs £29.95/month, slightly more and is slightly more expensive than Shopify's £24/month package. But ShopWired does not charge transaction fees and you can use a payment gateway like Revolut for 1.0% +20p per transaction (in comparison with Shopify Payments at 2.0% +25p per transaction).

ShopWired has turnover limits on each of its packages, similar to the likes of EKM and BigCommerce, but the turnover limits are much more generous. On ShopWired's starter package the turnover limit is £75,000/year in comparison with EKM's £50,000/year and BigCommerce's $50,000/year.

ShopWired has a wide range of apps and integrations but the vast majority of all apps on ShopWired, unlike other platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, are provided free of charge. Most platforms will charge for at least some of their themes, but on ShopWired all themes are free themes.


Location

ShopWired is a platform designed, developed and supported from the UK. Whilst it does operate internationally (with a large amount of clients both in Europe and North America), its main focus is on UK businesses.

The feature set has been specifically designed for UK SMEs and it has great features for small businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Customer support

ShopWired's support is the best rated of all of the platforms that we'll compare in this article. They are consistently reviewed as excellent and ShopWired's support team are known for going ten extra miles to help their customers as much as they can.

Trustpilot Reviews

ShopWired scores excellently on Trustpilot, scoring an excellent 4.9/5.0 stars. 97% percent of reviews are Excellent and only only 2% percent are Bad.

These reviews make ShopWired the best rated ecommerce platform on Trustpilot.

G2.com Reviews

A similar story can be found on G2.com. For customer satisfaction and popularity, ShopWired is the best rated shopping cart software scoring 4.9/5.0, and easily surpasses the score of similar platforms like Shopify, at 4.3/5.0 or BigCommerce at 4.2/5.0.

Platform features

ShopWired has a great set of platform features and perhaps more native (core platform) features than other providers like Shopify. ShopWired has more functionality built in, whereas platforms like Shopify require installation of external apps.

Integrated sales channels

ShopWired is integrated with most of the major sales channels like Etsy and eBay. It also integrates with third party platforms that connect sales channels together like Channel Grabber and Linnworks.

PROs

  • The best rated ecommerce platform
  • The best rated support team
  • UK platform, UK focus

Shopify

shopify screenshot

Best for apps and integrations

Shopify is possibly the largest SaaS ecommerce platform in the world, boasting over one million ecommerce websites to its platform and perhaps another half a million users of other types (such as users of the 'buy now' button).

With such a large platform comes a large gravity and Shopify's enormous sizes pulls in a huge range of Shopify Experts who build apps, integrations, productivity tools and themes. No other platform on the market competes with Shopify's Expert Ecosystem. That's why we're happily ranking Shopify as the best ecommerce platform for apps and integrations.

Shopify also has a great selection of themes for your ecommerce website, all easily customisable through its section & block drag & drop theme editor.


Pricing

For UK users, Shopify's pricing is competitive. Shopify's starter package, known as Shopify Basic is prices at £24/month (with no VAT). Shopify's so-called 'growth package' is priced at £69/month and Shopify's Advanced package, touted as being suitable for businesses at scale costs £259/month.

We've written a more in-depth guide to Shopify's pricing structure that explains each package in more detail.

Shopify's transaction fees

But the big downside of Shopify's pricing is their transaction fee structure, which is almost unique amongst the major ecommerce platforms. Designed to force merchants onto Shopify's own payments platform, if you don't use Shopify Payments you'll have to pay an additional 2% on each transaction that goes through your store.

So, if you accept payment by PayPal you'll have to pay 3.4% +20p PayPal fees and an additional 2%, a grand total of 5.4% +20p - making Shopify probably the most expensive for processing payments.

Sure, if you use Shopify Payments you don't need to pay that, but Shopify Payments is built on Stripe's payment system but with an extra charge ontop. Most users of Stripe will pay 1.4% +20p per transaction but use it when it's called Shopify Payments and you'll find yourself paying 2% +25p per transaction (for no clear benefit).


Location

Shopify's ecommerce platform grew out of an idea by two Canadian entrepreneurs and the platform has a strong North American/US focus. Many features are geared towards sellers in North America and features that are essential for UK businesses (like proper calculation of VAT) are unavailable.

Customer support

Shopify's support team has a poor track record in supporting Shopify customers beyond the mere basics. Their support team won't provide support for any third party apps, integrations or themes that you install so you'll need to contact each of the support teams individually.

Trustpilot Reviews

Shopify has a poor rating on Trustpilot, having received 572 reviews from customers with 85% of them labelled bad at 1 star. Shopify's Trustpilot score is 1.4/5.0.

G2.com Reviews

In contrast to Trustpilot reviews, Shopify has a much better score on G2.com. G2.com is not a very popular review platform in the UK so it might be fair to say that most of the reviews on G2.com are from international (mostly North America) users.

Platform features

Shopify has a good set of core platform features, but many features are not available or limited. Shopify prefers to push merchants to download, configure and install an app to enable functionality that is available as part of the core platform on other platforms like ShopWired.

Using an app has its own downsides such as needing to get support from a third party or having to pay an additional fee.

Integrated sales channels

Shopify's app ecosytem means it is integrated with every sales channel that you can think of. The basics like eBay, Amazon and Etsy are standard integrations, and many others like Play.com are integrated too.

PROs

  • Huge number of apps
  • Huge number of integrations
  • Good theme customisation system

Cons

  • Poor customer technical support
  • Most expensive transaction charges (for all gateways)
  • US based feature set

BigCommerce

bigcommerce screenshot

Best for big companies and enterprise

BigCommerce started to gear its platform and services towards its enterprise offering a few years ago and now forms its main focus. If you're a large business operating at scale with a need for a reliable platform that is not too expensive, then BigCommerce might be the ideal choice for you.

For smaller and micro sized businesses, like the majority of ecommerce stores within the UK, BigCommerce's offering is perhaps not as strong as those of its rivals like ShopWired, Shopify or Wix.


Pricing

BigCommerce's pricing packages are similar to Shopify's. Their standard package is $29.95/month (which is approximately £24-£25), it's next package is $79.95/month and its pro package is $299.95/month.

Credit card rates

BigCommerce does not charge transaction fees like Shopify, but does advertise credit card rates for each package, provided by its partner Braintree (a PayPal product). Transaction fees range from 2.05% + $0.49 up to 2.59% + $0.49 per transaction - so still much more expensive than using a payment platform like Stripe.


Location

Like Shopify, and all of the best ecommerce platforms in this guide, BigCommerce has a North American focus as that is where most of its customers are located. It suffers from a similar problem to Shopify and lacks key features around VAT and other UK business customs.

Turnover limits

BigCommerce's packages each come with a turnover limit restricting the amount of sales you can make through your website. BigCommerce's limits are quite low in comparison with other platforms that have similar restrictions and the starting $29.95/month package has a limit little over $40,000/year.

Trustpilot Reviews

BigCommerce ranks poorly on Trustpilot with a rating of only 1.8/5.0. They have received 348 reviews in total with 38% of them bad and a further 15% either poor or average.

G2.com Reviews

On G2.com, BigCommerce receives better reviews. Ranking 4 stars, it has some of the best reviews for ecommerce platforms on the review website. You can read G2.com reviews about BigCommerce here.

Platform features

BigCommerce has a good range of platform features, and all of the standard functionality that you'd expect from an ecommerce platform. However, similar to Shopify, because BigCommerce is a North American company and most of its customers are in the US, its focus is geared towards customers outside of the UK.

You'll therefore find the platform lacks features specific to UK businesses - so do not expect VAT functionality to be as comprehensive as it needs to be.

Integrated sales channels

BigCommerce has an array of apps and integrations available through its app store. You'll find that all of the major sales channels like eBay and Amazon are well connected to BigCommerce, and many other sales channels too.

BigCommerce also has a good range of integrations with Dropshipping companies too.

PROs

  • Good range of ecommerce features
  • Good range of apps and integrations
  • Relatively simple theme customisation system

Cons

  • Support is not well regarded and can be slow to resolve issues
  • Platform has a North American focus so some key features missing
  • Turnover limits on each of their packages are comparatively low

Wix

wix screenshot

Good if features aren't important

Wix is a website building platform that provides websites for lots of sectors - not just ecommerce. So it is not a specific ecommerce platform like the other services we are covering in this guide.

Wix has a huge range of website templates that you can use to build your website and a great drag and drop editor. The format of Wix's theme editor makes advanced customisations not possible (like those possible with the likes of ShopWired and Shopify) but is a great tool for those with no experience in building websites before.

Wix is perhaps a platform best suited to very small/micro businesses with only one employee (you) and those turning over around £20,000 per year. It lacks some of the basic ecommerce functionality that all ecommerce specific platforms have such as no low stock alerts, no free analytics or reports, and only a simple solution for abandoned carts.


Pricing

Wix is one of the cheaper platforms, and this is perhaps as a result of the fewer features that it offers. The cheapest ecommerce package is £13/month and the most expensive £22/month. Wix does not charge transaction fees or have turnover limits on any of their packages.


Location

Wix is an Israeli platform, but has offices around the world and provides support from many different countries (although not from the UK).

It has an international focus, so isn't particularly targeting merchants in any particular country.

Customer support

Customer support on Wix is not well regarded. Many customers complain about the lack of any real support.

Wix's customer support team are not based in the UK and are not familiar with UK business's needs.

Trustpilot Reviews

Wix’s Trustpilot reviews are very poor, with a rating of 1.7/5.0. The vast majority of reviews are negative, 68% percent of users rate their experience as Bad and another 7% as Poor. Only 15% of users rate their experience as Excellent.

G2.com Reviews

Wix’s ratings on G2.com are better, with an overall score of 4.2/5.0. Wix's best ratings on G2.com surround the 'ease of use' of the platform (at 8.9/10.0) but this is perhaps not surprising for a simple platform. Wix only scores 7.9/10.0 for support experience.

Platform features

Wix is really only suitable for very low inventory websites, it lacks basic features for stock and inventory management, almost no native reporting or analytics and only few simple tools for order management and discounts and offers. If you're looking for an ecommerce platform with anything more than very basic features, Wix will not be suitable for you.

Integrated sales channels

Wix also lacks basic integrations with the most common sales channel platforms. Whilst you can perform some integration functions (e.g. connect Wix and eBay together) the features for syncing data between channels are basic.

PROs

  • Large selection of themes
  • User friendly interface
  • Can create a website within a few minutes

Cons

  • Lack of basic ecommerce functionality
  • Poor customer service experience
  • Few integrations and useful apps

Squarespace

squarespace screenshot

Best for high quality templates

Squarespace, like Wix, is a website builder that provides websites to all types of businesses. As part of this offering, it also provides an ecommerce solution. Like Wix, Squarespace provides a drag & drop website builder allowing you to preview your website as you build it - in real time.

Squarespace is primarily a website builder, not an online selling platform. To build an ecommerce site with Squarespace you will need to spend a lot of time tweaking your template and setting up your store. Ecommerce functionality is not 'out of the box' and features that lend themselves to selling things like digital products are not easily configured.

There are currently only two payment processors that you can use, either Stripe or PayPal and some online shopping features like selling subscriptions or gift cards are only available on the higher plans.


Pricing

Squarespace offers two ecommerce packages. The first is Basic Commerce and costs £20/month. With this package there's no abandoned basket recovery, you can't sell subscriptions or setup anything other than basic shipping rates, and you can't create discounts.

Advanced Commerce costs £30/month, and adds in the features the basic commerce package misses. For any type of seller the advanced package is going to be essential to use. Squarespace is therefore comparable with the best platforms like ShopWired and Shopify in price.

Squarespace does not charge transaction fees on orders. However, given that the only gateways available are PayPal (3.4% +20p per transaction) and Stripe (1.4% +20p per transaction), it is perhaps more expensive to sell on Squarespace than other platforms like ShopWired where payment gateways such as Revolut allow you to sell at 1% +20p per transaction.


Location

Squarespace is yet another North American platform, so if you're keen to work with a company in the UK - don't choose Squarespace.

Customer support

Unfortunately, as is typical with the North American platforms, customer support on Squarespace is poor. Many users complain of slow response times, technical issues not addressed, and waiting sometimes weeks for simple questions to be answered. Perhaps Squarespace has grown too big and is struggling to keep up with customer demand.

Trustpilot Reviews

Squarespace has terrible reviews on Trustpilot, scoring just 1.6/5.0 stars with a whopping 75% of their reviews on the platform being either Poor or Bad.

G2.com Reviews

As is typical, Squarespace fairs better on G2.com with a star rating of 4.4/5.0 stars (towards the higher end). However, these reviews are not specifically for its ecommerce solution and just around its website builder in general and so should not be relied upon for a rating of its ecommerce offering.

Platform features

Ecommerce functionality on Squarespace is thin on the ground. Some features that users might consider basic are not available and other features are complicated to setup. Squarespace is definitely more of a website builder than an ecommerce platform, and not really a platform to use if you have anything over 100 products.

Integrated sales channels

Squarespace has no native integrations with sales channels like eBay or Etsy - this is not their focus. If you want to sell on both platforms you'll need to do so independently and track inventory manually to ensure that you don't oversell a product.

PROs

  • Great selection of high-end themes
  • No transaction fees or turnover limits
  • Easy to use website builder

Cons

  • Not focused on ecommerce
  • Not multi-channel integrations
  • No advanced theme customisation ability

Big Cartel

big cartel screenshot

Best for artists, creatives and crafters

Big Cartel is an ecommerce platform specifically designed to cater for makers, artists and crafters. It's target merchant market heavily overlaps with that of Etsy.

Big Cartel has a range of customisable templates so that you can change the look and feel of your website, but places restrictive limits where it needn't do so (for example a limit of 5 images per product). Payment gateway choice is very limited in comparison with platforms like ShopWired and Shopify and Big Cartel is definitely not a platform suitable for businesses who want to, or already are operating at, scale.

Big Cartel is however a popular platform with a large following in both the UK and America. It serves around 6,000 or so merchants in the UK so is certainly a more popular platform than something like EKM.


Pricing

Big Cartel is inexpensive and they even have a free plan (although its only suitable for merchants selling 5 or less products). Big Cartel has a $9.99/month plan for selling up to 50 products and $19.99/month for selling up to 500 products.

Big Cartel has quite big feature limits such as only being able to upload five images per product and you can't remove these by paying more money. Their free package is probably only suitable for a tiny slither of merchants, so the feature limits on that package probably don't matter much.

Big Cartel does not charge transaction fees but integrations with payment gateways are limited which can cause transaction costs to be higher (if there is less choice).


Trustpilot Reviews

Big Cartel has not receive many reviews on Trustpilot, but the reviews they have received are very bad. Big Cartel's review score is a poor 2.6/5.0 from 48 reviews. 75% of reviews Big Cartel receive are either bad or poor.

G2.com Reviews

Big Cartel has received only a handful of reviews on G2.com, just 24 in total.

Overall, the reviews on G2.com of Big Cartel are positive and Big Cartel's review score is 4.3/5.0 stars.

PROs

  • Free package available
  • Easy to get online quickly
  • Great platform for artists

Cons

  • Low customisation options
  • Lacks quality and in-depth features
  • Low product limits

EKM

ekm screenshot

Great for UK SMEs

EKM is one of the most well established platforms in the UK, having launched in 2002 (making it perhaps the oldest of the platforms in this guide). Its website boasts that it has helped 80,000 businesses since its launch.

Originally known as EKM Powershop, EKM has fallen in popularity over recent years and we estimate it has probably only around 5,000 - 6,000 users in 2022, with well over 90% being located in the UK. A large part of its customer base has been lost to its North American rivals, and websites such as Builtwith.com report it having lost nearly 1,000 customers to Shopify in recent years.

Having said that, EKM is probably still one of the biggest UK based ecommerce platforms mostly servicing the small and micro business sectors, but with a good helping of larger UK brands as well.


Pricing

EKM is on the pricer side of the platforms in this guide, with its starter package around £10 per month more expensive than Shopify's at £34.99/month (plus VAT). It's also perhaps one of the more stingy platforms too in terms of features available on the EKM Basic package, only allowing up to £50,000/year turnover and only allowing 1 staff account.

EKM's more expensive packages are more generous however, and its £69.99/month package allows for up to 5 staff accounts, £150,000/year in sales and includes what they call Product urgency features and the ability to sell Gift cards.

But, it's probably worth noting that on platforms like ShopWired and Shopify, these are standard features across all packages.


Location

Like ShopWired, EKM is a UK platform with a UK focussed functionality suite and UK based support team - making it a good choice for a UK business who would prefer to use a UK supplier.

Customer support

EKM has a great reputation for providing first class customer to support to all of its merchants.

Trustpilot Reviews

EKM has great reviews on Trustpilot and whilst the review scores are not as good as ShopWired's, they are still praised for the level of support, service and overall quality of their platform by their customers. 89% of their customers rate them as Excellent, 6% great and about 5% Bad to Average.

G2.com Reviews

EKM have no reviews on G2.com which is perhaps a little surprising given that G2.com is a platform specifically used for rating business software like ecommerce platforms.

Platform features

EKM's platform was built and designed in 2002, around 20 years ago. It's therefore unsurprising that many of their users find the platform a little buggy and the user interface a little dated.

In a recent update, EKM have attempted to mirror Shopify's drag and drop functionality for theme editing, but it is (as of May 2022) only available for one EKM theme.

Integrated sales channels

Unfortunately EKM does not offer the same level of apps and integrations that the other platforms in this article do, and it could be said that they have a lot of catching up to do. Integrations with platforms like Etsy and Amazon are lacking, and users often complain about the functionality offered by its eBay integration. We can perhaps conclude that users of EKM are not merchants who sell much on other sales channels.

PROs

  • UK based platform and support team
  • Well rated technical support
  • Established since 2002

Cons

  • Outdate user interface
  • A poor range of apps and integrations
  • Not well integrated with other sales channels

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