The 7 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small UK Businesses (2024)

There are a lot of ecommerce platforms out there and this can make choosing the right one for your business a difficult process but we have tried to simplify this as much as possible for you by listing what we feel are the best options for UK businesses.

ShopWired Logo

ShopWired topped our list because it offers:

• A great set of features
• Good theme customisation
• Highly rated UK-based support

Read Review →

Shopify Logo

Shopify came top for dropshipping due to:

• Having a large number of apps
• Easy social media integration
• Good website builder

Read Review →

Squarespace Logo

Squarespace is best for small businesses due to:

• Being very easy-to-use
• Having a great website builder
• Having a good selection of features

Read Review →

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Ecommerce continues to grow in the UK, with sales hitting £129 Billion in 2021 and are expected to continue rising over the next few years, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to be found in the world of online sales.

But an important part of selling online is your website and you want to choose a platform that not only fits your business’s needs but also has the infrastructure and capabilities in place to support your business as it grows.

And that is why we created the list of what we feel are the best options for UK businesses but this isn’t just some thrown-together list as every platform mentioned has been independently tested, reviewed and compared to the competition by looking at:

  • Pricing
  • Features
  • User Reviews
  • Support
  • Hosting & Performance
  • What they are like to use

And as prior to starting EcommerceGold, we had our own ecommerce business (and built multiple websites for it!), we look at it from the perspective of the business owner as we have been there ourselves.

That is why our list differs from most of the ones that you have probably read.

1. ShopWired

Best Overall Ecommerce Platform for UK Businesses

ShopWired is one of the UK’s leading ecommerce platforms and has helped many businesses, whether small or large start selling online and boast big names such as Wowcher, EDF Energy and Superdrug amongst their customers.

They are highly rated by their customers for their easy to use platform, good selection of features and excellent UK-based support team.

Out of the box, ShopWired comes with a good selection of features but it is the selection of over 70 apps that add a range of different features and integrations to your store including:

  • Multichannel selling with Ebay, Etsy and Google
  • Shipping with Shipstation and Royal Mail Click & Go
  • Content Marketing tools such as a Blog and custom SEO tools for all of your site’s pages
  • Dropshipping with DropWired (AliExpress integration), Printful and Prinitfy
  • Email Marketing with MailChimp, Klaviyo and Mailerlite integrations
  • Onsite Marketing tools such as Abandoned Cart Recovery and Reward Points
  • Accounting Software integrations with Sage, Xero and Clearbooks
  • B2B Features of Trade Accounts, Bulk Discounts and Min/Max Order Quantity

Many of these Apps are free to use, with the most expensive costing £10/m but all of the apps are included with the Premium Package.

When it comes to design, ShopWired has a selection of 20, free-to-use mobile responsive themes that are very well designed and now include a live customiser, which allows for more control over design.

ShopWired Pricing

ProAdvancedPremium
Monthly Price£34.95£69.95£129.95
Number of Products750UnlimitedUnlimited
Turnover Limit£75,000£200,000£500,000
Transaction FeeNoneNoneNone
Admin Accounts2515

ShopWired are very competitively priced when compared to both their UK and North American counterparts, especially as their turnover limits are much more generous and they charge no additional transaction fees.

They also offer custom packages for larger businesses (turnover of more than £500,000) and these start from £199.95/m.

As you can see from the table above, ShopWired doesn’t charge any additional transaction fees, so you will only pay the payment gateway fees and talking of payment gateways, ShopWired offer over 40 to choose from including PayPal, Stripe, Revolut, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

ShopWired Pros and Cons

  • Good UK-Based Support
  • Fast Load Times
  • Easy to use Dashboard
  • Good Theme Customisation
  • Well Designed Themes
  • UK Based
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Good Selection of Apps
  • Some Apps require being coded into your site
  • Turnover based pricing
  • Support is not available 7 days a week
ShopWired Logo
4.6/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is ShopWired Best For?

ShopWired is the best option for businesses who want a feature-rich, easy-to-use UK-based platform that is backed up by excellent support.

They are a great option for businesses of all sizes due to the range of plans they offer and the scalability of the platform.

If you want to learn more about ShopWired, then check out our Full Review.

2. Shopify

Best Ecommerce Platform for Dropshipping

As one of the biggest names in the world of ecommerce and powering over 1 million ecommerce stores worldwide, there was no way that Shopify couldn’t be included on this list and it is not just because they are incredibly popular (they are the most searched for ecommerce platform in the UK!) but because the platform is very good.

Out of the box, Shopify offers a very capable platform, with a good selection of features built in but it is the Shopify App store that really takes them to the next level when it comes to features, functionality and integrations as it contains over 3,000 apps across many different categories, including:

  • Multichannel selling with Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and Google
  • Multiple marketing options including SEO, Paid Ads, Email and Direct
  • Design tools to improve pages, navigation and media
  • Dropshipping integrations with numerous companies such as Printful and Oberlo
  • Conversion tools for up and cross-selling, customer feedback and promotions
  • Shipping and Order Fulfilment such as ShipStation and Easyship
  • Offer different product types including Digital, Subscription and Membership
  • Store management including Account Software integrations

Now obviously, this is just a very small summary of the apps that are available with Shopify but there aren’t many requirements that aren’t covered in the app store but many of these apps are paid for if you want access to all of their features but most offer a free trial of plan to help you see if it is going to work for your store.

The selection of features does make Shopify very attractive but the one area where they do stand out from their competition is theme selection and customisation as they offer 83 themes available directly through their own theme store and there are many more available from third-party marketplaces.

But it is the theme customisation that is where they truly shine as even people who have never built a website before will be able to produce a good-looking store using the Shopify customizer (you will still need good quality images though!) as it offers a drag and drop builder for all of your site pages along with a good selection of customisation tools.

Shopify Pricing

BasicStandardAdvanced
Monthly Price£25£65£344
Number of ProductsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Turnover LimitNoneNoneNone
Transaction Fee2%1%0.5%
Admin Accounts2515

Shopify is very competitive on their monthly prices for UK businesses but Shopify does charge a transaction fee on all payments received using third-party payment gateways such as PayPal or Amazon pay and this can make Shopify more expensive, especially if you are going to be having a high volume and value of sales.

These transaction fees can be avoided if you use Shopify Payments, which is their in-house payment gateway, which is powered by Stripe. These transaction fees also don’t apply to offline transactions such as bank transfers.

Shopify Pros and Cons

  • 24/7 Support
  • No Turnover Limits
  • Easy to use Admin Dashboard
  • Very Good Theme Customisation
  • Nice selection of Themes
  • Huge amount of Apps
  • Transaction Fees
  • Focused more on North American markets
  • Support is not highly rated
Shopify Logo
4.4/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is Shopify Best For?

Shopify is great for dropshipping and print-on-demand businesses due to the large number of apps and integrations that help automate the process with your suppliers.

Due to being a global platform, it is also a great option for businesses that are looking to sell internationally.

If you want to learn more about Shopify, then check out our Full Review.

3. Squarespace

Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses

Squarespace homepage

Many small businesses are looking for a feature-rich and easy-to-use yet cost-effective platform to help them start selling online and Squarespace ticks all of these boxes.

What impressed us most with Squarespace is that it performs well in all areas when it comes to selling online and is also one of the easiest platforms to use, which is great if you haven’t built a website before.

It also comes with a great selection of features, including:

  • Sell physical, digital, service and subscription products
  • Create a dedicated member’s areas
  • A good selection of third-party integrations
  • Selection of shipping options including local delivery and in-store pick-up
  • Create discounts and promotions for your store
  • A full website builder with lots of customisation options
  • Built-in email marketing tools to communicate directly with your audience

While Squarespace doesn’t offer the same level of features as some dedicated ecommerce platforms, it still offers more than enough tools to help you start, market and grow your business and many of these are built into the platform, meaning they are available to use from day one.

One of the things that makes Squarespace great for people new to building websites is its website builder as not only is it very easy to use but it offers a great selection of design and customisation options that can easily be applied when using the drag and drop builder.

There are a few drawbacks to Squarespace, with the most notable one being the limited payment gateway options as it only really offers PayPal and Stripe, which is fine for most businesses but some may find this a bit restrictive.

Squarespace Pricing

BusinessBasic CommerceAdvanced Commerce
Monthly Price£24£28£43
Number of ProductsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Turnover LimitNoneNoneNone
Transaction Fee3%NoneNone

The prices listed above are if you pay for your Squarespace subscription monthly but if you choose to pay annually, they do offer a significant discount that makes the monthly cost a lot lower.

The transaction fee that is included with the Business plan combined with fewer features means that for most, the Basic Commerce plan is going to be the one to go for if you are just getting started.

Squarespace Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Learn and Use
  • Very good website builder
  • A good selection of features
  • Can sell many different product types
  • Cost-effective when compared to some platforms
  • Limited Payment Options
  • Lack of sub-categories
  • Can’t change between pre-built templates
Squarespace Logo
4.2/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is Squarespace Best For?

Squarespace is a great option for small businesses looking for an easy-to-use but feature-rich ecommerce platform that won’t break the bank.

The website builder also makes creating a good-looking but functional website very simple, even for people new to building websites.

If you want to learn more, then check out our Full Squarespace Review.

4. SureCart

Best for WordPress Ecommerce

Surecart Homepage

WordPress is the most popular platform for building websites and many like to use it for online stores but for you need a plugin and SureCart is our highest-rated plugin and the one that we would use if we built an online store with WordPress. 

Even though it is relatively new, SureCart has evolved to become arguably the most complete ecommerce plugin for WordPress, mainly due to the way it works because, unlike traditional plugins like WooCommerce, SureCart uses headless ecommerce technology. 

This means that all of the processes, such as the checkout pages are done on SureCart’s secure servers, not directly on your WordPress site, which makes life easier for you as the site owner and more secure for your customers.

SureCart also comes with a very good selection of features, including:

  • Sell physical, digital, service and subscription-based products
  • Auto-calculated Tax and VAT
  • Sell product bundles
  • Easy refunds + customer survey
  • Create discount codes and coupons for your store
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Detailed reports and analytics
  • Built-in affiliate program

And these are all built into one plugin, which reduces the number of plugins you need on your site (which is always a good thing) and it works with every theme and page builder, which provides much more flexibility when it comes to the design of your site. 

We also feel that SureCart is a lot easier to use than something like WooCommerce as everything is built into the one plugin and the design and interface is much more modern. 

Like all plugins, SureCart isn’t perfect and we would like to see more payment gateways added as it is basically limited to PayPal and Stripe. The addition of bulk editors for the inventory and order management would also make it much easier to use for physical products than having to manage them all individually.

SureCart Pricing

SureCart is also very well priced, especially when compared to other WordPress ecommerce plugins and the cost of the additional plugins required to give WooCommerce the same level of features and they offer three plans:

LaunchGrowPremium
Monthly Price$0$29$59
Number of ProductsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Turnover LimitNoneNoneNone
Transaction Fee1.9%NoneNone

These are the prices if you choose to pay monthly, if you choose to pay for your subscription annually you save the equivalent of $10 a month.

SureCart Pros and Cons

  • Free plan
  • Only requires one plugin
  • Good selection of features
  • Secure checkout
  • Works with every theme and page builder
  • Easy-to-use admin dashboard
  • Limited payment gateways
  • Lack of bulk editors for inventory or orders
4.3/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is SureCart Best For?

SureCart is best for businesses who are looking to or are already using WordPress for their site and want a feature-rich ecommerce plugin.

It is also one of the few options that includes a fully secure checkout for WordPress sites but doesn’t impact on site performance.

If you want to learn more, then check out our Full SureCart Review.

5. EKM

Best for UK Only Dropshipping

EKM, formerly known as EKMPowershop, is the largest UK-based ecommerce platform that has helped over 80,000 businesses start selling online since they were established in 2002 and EKM has a strong focus on the UK market.

With a range of features to help you start selling online, EKM is a popular choice for businesses of all sizes, ranging from new online stores to those turning over millions of pounds are year.

Some of these features are available out of the box and others can be added by a simple one-click install, giving you the flexibility to configure your store exactly how you want it and below is a summary of the features that EKM offer:

  • Add a free 03 number and Facebook Messenger to your storefront
  • Onsite SEO tools including custom meta information, blog and customer reviews
  • Increase customer retention with Abandoned Carts tools and Loyalty Points
  • Print on Demand integrations with PitchPrint, Snuggle and Printify
  • Create your own affiliate network with Tapfiliate integration
  • Third-party shipping integrations with ShipStation, Click & Drop and Parcel2Go
  • Integration with Xero and Quickbooks accounting software
  • Integrations with Linnworks and Cloud Commerce Pro for store management

EKM also comes with highly rated customer support (as seen on Trustpilot) and the unique EKM’s Evolution Mode, which looks to improve your website by having a team of ecommerce specialists such as digital marketers and designers look at your site to see what improvements can be made and this is included with every package.

One area that is being improved within EKM is theme customisation, with the introduction of a new live customizer that offers much more in terms of user control and a selection of new themes to complement this.

The main drawback of the EKM platform is the admin dashboard as it doesn’t offer the most optimum workflow and can be a little frustrating to use at times.

EKM Pricing

LiteBasicStandard
Monthly Price£19.99£34.99£69.99
Number of ProductsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Turnover Limit£15,000£50,000£150,000
Transaction Fee2%2%1%
Admin Accounts115

EKM are reasonably priced on a monthly basis but one things we aren’t a fan of is the transaction fee but this only applies if you are using online payment gateways other than EKMPay (their in house payment gateway) and PayPal.

They also offer a larger Advanced plan, which costs £209.99/m and an enterprise-level Pro plan, which is for businesses with turnovers in excess of £1 million and offers some custom features and more dedicated support and this costs £599.99/m.

EKM Pros and Cons

  • Good UK Based Support Team
  • Evolution Mode
  • Large Selection of Free Themes
  • Fast UK Based Hosting
  • Large Selection of Features
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Limited Theme Customisation Options
  • Admin Dashboard Could Be Easier to Use
  • Turnover Based Pricing
ekm ecommerce logo
4.1/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is EKM Best For?

EKM is the best option if you are looking to just dropship to the UK and partner with UK-based suppliers due to the integrations that they offer with Avasam, Syncee and Two Fifteen.

The Evolution team will also work with you to help you grow your online store by offering advice and improvements.

If you want to learn more about EKM, then check out our Full Review.

6. Square Online Store

Best Ecommerce Platform with POS

Square Homepage

While primarily known as a Point of Sale system for small businesses, Square also has a very good platform for creating an online store as it is built on Weebly (which Square acquired in 2018).

Whether you are an existing Square user or looking to build an ecommerce store from scratch, they are definitely worth considering as they offer quite a lot for a relatively low price, which makes them an attractive option for small to medium-sized businesses.

In terms of features, they don’t offer as much as some of the bigger platforms on this list but there is still a good selection, including:

  • Add your store to your socials with Facebook and Instagram integration
  • Full integration with the Square POS, great for physical locations
  • Selection of shipping options including local delivery and in-store pick-up
  • A small selection of apps that offer integrations with third-party platforms
  • Sell physical, digital, service and subscription products
  • Create discounts and promotions for your store
  • Facebook and Google ad options directly in the dashboard
  • Facebook Messenger for live chat on your storefront

The variety of product types is one of the great selling points of the Square Online Store as most platforms don’t include options for memberships or subscriptions with their packages.

There are also some good design options when creating an online store with Square, which makes creating a simple, good-looking website very easy to do and overall the dashboard is very easy to use but they do lack some bulk editors, which might not be ideal for businesses who have a large product inventory.

Square Pricing

FreePerformancePremium
Monthly Price£0£20£64
Number of ProductsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Turnover LimitNoneNoneNone
Transaction FeeNoneNoneNone

Square is one of the lower priced options for a full ecommerce platform and the free plan will be appealing to many budget conscious small businesses but unfortunately, the free plan doesn’t let you use your own domain name and the front end of your site includes Square branding but it is great for testing out Square.

But one of the main drawbacks of the Square Online Store is the lack of payment gateway options as even the Premium Package only includes Square, PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay and while this might be fine for smaller businesses, it may be limiting for larger ones.

Square Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Learn and Use
  • Reasonably Priced
  • Good Theme Customisation
  • Free Plan
  • Can be Used With Square POS
  • Limited Payment Options
  • No Pre-built Themes
  • Limited Bulk Editors
square logo
4.2/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is Square Best For?

Square is the best option for businesses that want a simple, easy-to-use online store to work with their offline store as payments and inventory management can all be managed through one dashboard.

If you want to learn more about Squares Online Store, then check out our Full Review.

7. Bluepark

Bluepark is one of the longest established UK-based ecommerce platforms, having first launched back in 2004 and the platform has become a favourite amongst the UK’s online business community.

Unlike most of the other platforms mentioned in this list, Bluepark doesn’t offer a customisable set of features in the form of apps, instead, all features are built into the platform and you just choose the ones that you want to use but they do offer a good selection of features, including:

  • Let customers compare products side by side with the Comparison tool
  • SEO tools including Custom Meta Data, Blog and Product Reviews
  • Upsell and cross-sell with Related Products and Customers Also Bought
  • Built your own sellers network by creating an Affiliate Program
  • Sell Physical, Digital and Subscription based products
  • Increase conversion rates with Discount Codes and Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Increase customer retention with Loyalty Points, Gift Vouchers and Wish Lists
  • Built-in Email Newsletter to help you stay in touch with your customers

Along with a very good selection of built-in features, Bluepark also offers highly rated UK-based support and a good selection of themes, partnered up with a good theme customizer to help you build a good-looking site.

But Bluepark isn’t the easiest platform to use as they offer many options in many areas, which may be daunting for anyone new to building ecommerce websites and the admin dashboard isn’t the most intuitive to use, instead, Bluepark would be a better option for experienced owners who have a good grasp of the technical side of building and managing an online store.

Bluepark Pricing

RetailBusinessEnterprise
Monthly Price£24.99£39.99£59.99
Number of Products5002,000Unlimited
Turnover LimitNoneNoneNone
Transaction FeeNoneNoneNone
Admin AccountsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

Bluepark is very reasonably priced but there is a but and that is you need to buy an SSL certificate on top of the subscription fee and these can only be purchased directly from Bluepark at £69.99 for 1 year and £119.99 for 2 years. It also has quite limited storage allowances of 500mb, 1gb and 2gb respectively.

In terms of payment gateways, Bluepark offers a good selection for UK-based businesses, including PayPal, Stripe, Klarna and Worldpay and they don’t charge any additional transaction fees.

Bluepark Pros and Cons

  • UK Based Support
  • Reasonably Priced
  • Good Theme Selection & Customisation
  • Lots of Features
  • All Features Built in
  • Steeper Learning Curve
  • Need to Buy an SSL Certificate
  • Workflow Could be Simpler
bluepark logo
4.1/5

EcommerceGold Score

Who Is Bluepark Best For?

Bluepark is a great option for businesses who want a lot of control and customisation options for their online store and have a good level of technical knowledge but don’t want the hassle of a self-hosted ecommerce website.

If you want to learn more about Bluepark, then check out our Full Review.

What to Consider When Choosing an Ecommerce Platform

As I said above, choosing an ecommerce platform can be daunting, so here are some things you should consider before making a choice:

1. Hosted or Self-Hosted

Ecommerce platforms basically fall into 1 of 2 categories and they are Hosted or Self-hosted and there are some pretty big differences between the two:

Hosted

  • Hosted ecommerce platforms include a website builder, web hosting and in most cases support
  • Most hosted platforms are subscription services, meaning you pay a monthly or annual fee for using the platform
  • All technical aspects such as hosting setup, performance, security etc are taken care of for you

Self-Hosted

  • Self-hosted platforms require you to buy your own hosting and then install your chosen software
  • While the software itself may be free to use, you will need to pay for your hosting and possibly an SSL certificate
  • Little to no support and you will either have to manage it yourself or employ the services of a developer

This is just a brief summary but for most people new to ecommerce, I would recommend going for a hosted platform as the start-up and day to day running is much easier and it is for this reason why no self-hosted options appear in this list.

2. Support

Support is an important thing to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform as you may run into issues when setting up or running your store and you want to know that there is someone you can contact who will be able to help.

With support, you also want to consider the contact times for the support teams, where they are based and how easy they are to contact.

3. Features

This one can be quite challenging when just getting started as you don’t know exactly what features you are going to need (this becomes more evident as your business grows) but some things you want to consider:

  • Inventory Management – how easy is it to create and manage your inventory? can you sell different types of products (physical, digital etc)
  • Order Management – how easy is it to manage your orders
  • Marketing Tools – what can you manage directly from the dashboard? can you easily integrate with other marketing tools (Google or Facebook ads etc)
  • Payment Gateways – can you offer a variety of different payment options for your customers?
  • Shipping Methods – does the platform offers different shipping options and/or integrations with third-party shipping companies

This is just a basic list but you want to try and create a list of features you need in order to be able to find the platform that will best suit your business.

4. Theme Customisation and Design

You want your site to look good as it can help to sell your business to potential customers and you want your ecommerce platform to not only have a nice selection of themes but also good customisation, so that you can tailor your site to your business.

Customisation should also be easy to do and there should be options for design elements, such as:

  • Page Layout
  • Site Colours
  • Font Style and Size
  • Header and Footer Options

The more you are able to yourself and the easier it is, the less reliance you will have either on platform support or developers.

5. Price

I left price to the end for a reason as while it is important (we all have budgets to stick to!), you don’t want it to be the driving force for why you choose one platform over another.

Instead, it is best to pick the platform that best works for you and your business, even if the cost is slightly higher as it will be better paying a few pounds extra a month and choose the platform that you like using the most but also offers all of the features and support you need.

Conclusion

So there they are, what I think are the best ecommerce platforms for UK businesses and the options on this list covers ecommerce websites of all sizes, from small boutique to national/multi-national ecommerce retailers.

I personally have used more than one platform on this list to build an ecommerce platform and the ones that I haven’t used are ones that I have tested and reviewed and would happily recommend them to others or use them myself for a future ecommerce project.

If you are considering a couple of the options on this list, I would highly recommend trying them out first and seeing if you like them and if they would be suitable for your business.

Hi, I'm Paul, the Owner and Founder of EcommerceGold.
I ran my own Ecommerce Business for over 7 years and now help others start their own online retail empires!