How to choose the best e-commerce platform for your small business — E-commerce platform comparison 2022

We compare 12 websites including Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento to help you choose the best e-commerce platform for your small business.

How to choose the best e-commerce platform for your small business — E-commerce platform comparison 2022

Choosing the right e-commerce platform can be confusing. From Shopify to WooCommerce, there are countless options on the market, with all sorts of technical features that can leave you overwhelmed.

You need to research and carefully consider your options to avoid costly mistakes. Choosing the wrong e-commerce platform for a small business can create hours of frustration, a bad customer experience, and time wasted switching from one platform to another.

But how do you evaluate which one is best for your small business?
Well, we’re here to help.


In this article, we’ll explain exactly what an e-commerce platform does, and the 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing a platform for your online store.

Next, we provide an easy-to-understand comparison of the 12 most popular platforms. To make things even easier, we offer quick recommendations at the end of this article, based on what your business currently needs!


What is an e-commerce platform?

An e-commerce platform helps you list your products, make sales and fulfill customers’ orders.

Think of the e-commerce platform as your retail merchandiser, branding expert, front-of-house coordinator, and cashier — all in one.

Some e-commerce platforms are easy to set up and require no technical expertise, like a basic form to collect your sales orders.

There are also more powerful e-commerce platforms that give you complete control over your entire business, from marketing to accounting, inventory management, payment processing and sales. These online store platforms are more powerful but often are harder to learn and set up. You also may not need all the features they offer.


E-commerce platforms vs. Online marketplaces

Now you might be thinking, why not skip the hassle and sell online without an e-commerce platform? In fact, social marketplaces like Shopee, Lazada, and Facebook Shops make it possible to sell online without leaving the app.

However,  you’ll be building your business on rented land, and are vulnerable to any changes that these platforms make.

If you really want to grow your e-commerce business, we recommend having an online store powered by an e-commerce platform. Like purchasing a physical unit for a brick and mortar store, your e-commerce platform is a digital space that belongs to you.


5 questions to ask yourself when choosing your e-commerce platform

Choosing the right e-commerce platform depends on your unique business needs. For example, a small home-based business selling milk tea around the neighbourhood needs different things than a sunglasses business with multiple product lines in numerous countries.

We’ve narrowed specific business needs into five questions to ask yourself:

Question 1: Do I intend to scale my business?

If you’re planning to grow your business into multiple markets, this will also influence your decision on an e-commerce platform. You’ll need more robust inventory management capabilities, the ability to list unlimited products, and complete control over your branding.

Can your chosen e-commerce platform of choice easily accommodate seasonal fluctuations in order volume during sale periods? Or what if your audience triples in six months thanks to a fantastic marketing campaign or press coverage?

Think about this carefully before you commit to an e-commerce site. While you can eventually switch platforms, your current platform may be unable to handle traffic spikes in the meantime. This can cause website lags and lost sales.

Question 2: How much am I willing to pay for my e-commerce platform?

E-commerce platforms vary in cost —ranging from always-free solutions to paid solutions with free options, to software costing hundreds of dollars per month.

As a guide, research from Shopify shows most small business owners spend up to S$54,000 for their e-commerce store in their first year, with 9% allocated to paying for an e-commerce platform subscription.

Image source: Shopify

Fees may also include:

Website hosting costs Every online store needs website hosting and a domain name. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, Prestashop, WooCommerce include domain installation, management and hosting in their monthly subscription.

Payment processing fees — Payment processors manage payments from your customer’s credit cards, digital wallets and so on. These take a portion of your overall sales as payment processing fees.

Branding and design costs — Does your e-commerce platform allow you to manage your shop’s appearance? Shoppers buy from brands they trust and feel comfortable with. Some e-commerce platforms offer free and customisable paid themes to help you find the right look for your store.

Question 3: Is the e-commerce platform easy to use?

How technically savvy are you as a business owner? Are you comfortable manipulating website code and using website editing tools? Or do you prefer an easy template to get your online store operating with minimal effort?

Some platforms offer themes that you can customise with minimal technical effort, bringing your brand to life in minutes. Other platforms require technical expertise, but also offer you tons of creative freedom.

Question 4: Does the e-commerce platform integrate with my point-of-sale operations?

If you run a brick-and-mortar store alongside your e-commerce operations, consider an integrated point-of-sale system (POS). It’s a system that handles both online and offline orders and transactions.

Can your e-commerce platform integrate smoothly with a strong POS system? Doing so saves you significant time and effort — you get one holistic view of all your sales transactions across your online and offline channels.

Question 5: Can the platform accept multiple local and international payment methods?

Ensuring your e-commerce platform can accept local payment methods gives your customer more flexibility to pay in the way they prefer, improving sales conversions and the overall customer experience. This is also crucial if you plan to do business across multiple countries and markets.

Even if you intend to sell only within the local market, supporting multiple payment methods allows you to reach more potential customers. For example, if your platform supports PayNow, people without a credit card will also be able to buy from your store!

1) Shopify

One of the world’s best-known e-commerce platforms (with about 20% market share), Shopify enables people with minimal technical expertise to launch an e-commerce store. They provide all software and hosting services. They also have their mobile apps, allowing you to manage your store on the go.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes

Does it scale with my business? Suitable for beginners to enterprise, global brands

Cost: Comes with a 14-day free trial, after which a paid plan starts from US$29 per month

Easy to use?: You can set up your fully-functional store on your own with Shopify’s templates, but be prepared to ask a developer for help to set up payment methods or other back-end tasks if you’re not technically savvy.

POS payment integrations: Yes

HitPay integrates with Shopify. See the guide here.

2) WooCommerce

An open-source e-commerce platform built on WordPress, WooCommerce is incredibly customisable and gives you complete control over how your site looks. However, it isn’t the most beginner-friendly.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes. There are many extensions available for a range of payment gateways for WooCommerce

Does it scale with my business?: Yes. WooCommerce is suitable for small to larger stores.

Cost: The software is free to download, but you’ll need a hosted WordPress site that can use plugins. That means you’ll have to pay for a domain name and hosting requirements separately.

Easy to use?: No

POS payment integrations: Yes

HitPay integrates with WooCommerce. See the guide here.

3) Magento (also known as Adobe Commerce)

Adobe Commerce is designed for multi-national, global e-commerce brands. You’ll be able to sell products across multiple channels like marketplaces and social media sites.

Note: Magento also has a self-hosted version that is free to download but requires you to know how to host and customise the solution for your e-commerce store.

HitPay integrates with stores running on Magento 1 and 2. See the guide here.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes

Does it scale with my business?: Suitable for established companies expecting to double online growth in the future.

Cost: Starts from US$20k onwards  

Easy to use?: Requires extensive technical support

POS payment integrations: No

4) Wix

Wix brings ease of use with a range of e-commerce tools from store management, mobile apps, payment solutions integrating over 50 payment gateways and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) support.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes. See full list of payment providers supported

Does it scale with my business? Suitable for small-medium sized businesses

Cost: Free plan available. Plans with online payment features start from US $17/month

Easy to use?: Yes

POS payment integrations: No

HitPay integrates with Wix. See the guide here

5) Easystore

Malaysia-based Easystore features an affordable plan for an online store with a wide range of features. Great for entrepreneurs with limited budgets.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes, multiple regional ASEAN and global payment methods supported

Does it scale with my business?: Suitable for small, medium and enterprise businesses

Cost: 0 - S$700/month. Forever-free and enterprise plans are available

Easy to use?: Easystore is beginner-friendly. They provide multiple plug-and-play themes allowing you to get set up quickly. For more technically-savvy users, you have the flexibility to customise your theme and edit the HTML and CSS of your site.

POS payment integrations: Yes

HitPay integrates with Easystore. See the guide here.

6) Ecwid

Ecwid (short for ECommerce WIDget) is an easy way for anyone to create a simple online store and start selling digital products or physical products online or in-person.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes. See the complete list here.

Does it scale with my business?: Suitable for small to medium-sized businesses

Cost: US$0 to $99 per month. Forever free plan available, allowing you to sell up to 10 products

Easy to use?: Yes. Use Ecwid Instant Site to create a free website with built-in e-commerce features, or embed Ecwid to add an online store to an existing website or social media profile for enhanced social selling.

POS payment integrations: No

HitPay integrates with Ecwid. See the guide here.

7) Typeform

The more powerful, sleeker-looking version of Google Form, Typeform, features more integrations with payment processing tools like Stripe and Klaviyo and is best suited for smaller businesses to collect customer information or order data.

Availability of local and international payment methods: No

Does it scale with my business? No

Cost: From US$25 per month

Easy to use?: Yes

POS payment integrations: No

8) Google Form

Google Form is an easy-to-use tool with basic features to collect data without adding complex forms or widgets to your website. Suitable as a starting solution for local businesses

Availability of local and international payment methods: No

Does it scale with my business?: No. Suitable for businesses just starting.

Cost: Free

Easy to use?: Yes

POS payment integrations: No

9) Weebly

Weebly’s e-commerce site builder features drag-and-drop functionality and is best suited for businesses who can afford the higher-priced advanced features.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Local payment methods are not available. Integrates with payment gateways Stripe, PayPal and Square

Does it scale with my business?: Suitable for small-to-medium-sized businesses

Cost: Starts from US$12/month

Easy to use?: Drag-and-drop website builder with limited customisation. Mobile apps are also available

Online/offline POS payment integrations: No

10) HitPay Online Store

For an all-in-one platform that you can set up in 20 minutes, choose HitPay. Your HitPay account comes with a free online selling platform. All you need is to upload products, and we instantly create an online store page for you. Best of all, your store links perfectly with your payment process — this helps to sync your inventory every time you make a sale!

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes

Does it scale with my business?: HitPay’s e-commerce solutions are best suited for small to medium-sized businesses

Cost: Free to set up, no monthly fees and affordable transaction fees. You only pay 0.65% + S$0.30 per transaction when you make a sale

Easy to use?: Yes

Online/offline POS payment integrations: Yes

11) OpenCart

OpenCart is an open-source (software that’s developed openly in public) e-commerce platform. It’s free to download, but users will need to know the PHP programming language to use the platform to its full extent.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes

Does it scale with my business? Good for small-to-medium-sized businesses

Cost: Free to download, with paid add-ons

Easy to use?: No. OpenCart is built in PHP, so you should know the programming language or engage a web developer to be comfortable setting up and maintaining a store on your own

Online/offline POS payment integrations: No

HitPay integrates with OpenCart. See the guide here.

12) PrestaShop

Popular with e-commerce owners in Europe and Latin America, PrestaShop is another open-source platform, meaning users can download and customise it to their needs if they have the technical knowledge.

Availability of local and international payment methods: Yes

Does it scale with my business? Suitable for small-to-medium-sized businesses

Cost: Free, but maintenance fees and other add-on expenses can drive up the price significantly. Hosting costs range from US$4 – 14 per month, hiring a web developer to manage the technical components can cost up to US$50 – 90 per hour.

Easy to use?: You will need technical knowledge to manage this platform, or you can find a web developer to help you with the setup and integrations.

Online/offline POS payment integrations: No

HitPay integrates with Prestashop. See the guide here.

Our quick recommendations: The best e-commerce platform for your business

  • If you’re a non-technical person and want to get something online as quickly as possible: Ecwid, Google Form, Typeform, HitPay
  • If you’re on a budget: HitPay, EasyStore
  • If you have money to spend, and you want something that scales with your business: Shopify, Weebly
  • If you don’t mind delving into the technical aspects or have developer support: WooCommerce, OpenCart, PrestaShop
  • If you’re an established store: Adobe Commerce

Receive payments on your e-commerce platform in just 20 minutes

No matter which e-commerce platform you choose, you’ll need a reliable payments system. HitPay’s payment solutions are great even if you’re not tech-savvy, as there’s zero coding required!

Display for payment options can be configured based on your e-commerce theme.

Plus, our e-commerce plugins are pay-per-transaction — no setup or subscription fees.

Click here to find out more about HitPay’s POS and e-commerce payment solutions.


About HitPay


HitPay is a one-stop commerce platform that aims to empower SMEs with no code, full-stack payment gateway solutions. Over 7,000 merchants have grown with HitPay's products, helping them receive in-person and online contactless payments with ease.

Join our growing merchant community today!