The 8 Best Ecommerce Platforms for UK Businesses

The Best Ecommerce Platforms for UK Businesses

There are lots of ecommerce platforms to choose from but which ones are best for UK Businesses?

That is the question I have answered in this post as I have spent a lot of time reviewing ecommerce platforms for this website and below are the platforms that I think are the best choices.

They aren’t in any particular order as there isn’t an overall best, just a selection of really good platforms that are perfect for building an ecommerce store.

Disclosure – this list contain affiliates links and this means that if you sign up to any of the platforms, I do receive a small commission but this in no way impacts the choices of platform for this list.

Option 1: ShopWired

ShopWired Homepage

The first choice on this list is ShopWired, one of the newer platforms having being established in 2013. However, they have been very successful in that short period of time and now power over 8500 ecommerce stores. They also boast the likes of Wowcher and EDF Energy amongst their customers.

ShopWired have built their platform and pricing plans to accommodate business of all sizes, from ones that are just starting out to multi million pound commercial enterprises. To find out more about ShopWired’s pricing and packages, click the link below to my full review. Some of the benefits you get with ShopWired are:

Hosting

  • Hosted on Amazon Web Servers
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • 99.95% Uptime
  • 1.44 Second Average Load Time

Marketing

  • Blog
  • Set Individual Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s
  • Voucher Codes
  • Sales & Promo Stickers

Ecommerce

  • Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Stripe, Klarna, Worldpay and SagePay
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Digital Downloads
  • Subscriptions

Themes

  • 19 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
  • 5 Paid Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Theme Customisation
  • Access to HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Bespoke Design Service

As ShopWired are based in the UK, you also get access to their brilliant UK Support team, who are their to help you keep you ecommerce store up and running. I have written a full review of the ShopWired platform, which is linked below, along with a link to their 14 day free trial.

Option 2: EKM

EKM Homepage

The second choice on my list is the UK’s biggest ecommerce platform. Formerly known as EKMPowershop, they have helped over 80,000 businesses start selling online since they were established in 2002.

What really helps EKM stand out from the crowd is the quality of their support, not only in helping you get your ecommerce store up and running but also helping out with general business related things.

This is evident by the fact that you get your own dedicated account manager once you move above their basic plan. You only get this with enterprise level packages with other platforms.

Hosting

  • Ecommerce Grade Servers
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • 1.3 Second Average Load Time

Marketing

  • WordPress Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s
  • Facebook Messenger for Live Chat
  • Social Plugins

Ecommerce

  • Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Stripe, Klarna, Worldpay and SagePay
  • Abandoned Cart Statistics
  • Discount Manager & Loyalty Points
  • Customer Reviews

Themes

  • 69 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Live Customiser
  • Input Custom CSS & HTML
  • Bespoke Design Service

With every single EKM plan, you also get their Evolution Mode. This is EKM’s development feature, that ensures that your online shop is always performing at its best. Evolution mode includes everything from server updates, general performance improvements and updates to apps and plugins.

Option 3: Shopify

Shopify Review

I can’t make a list of the best ecommerce platforms and not include the biggest in the world can I?

Shopify is undoubtedly the king of hosted ecommerce platforms and as you can see in the image above, they power over 1 million ecommerce store. That is more than every hosted platform on this list combined!

While the Shopify platform is a brilliant ecommerce platform, much of their success has been down to how easy it is to set up a dropshipping business with them. The Shopify App store contains many integrations with some of the world’s biggest dropshipping platforms.

However, they are the choice of many traditional ecommerce stores as the platform is easy to use and creating good looking online shops can be easily done, even by a complete beginner. Here is a snapshot of what you get with the Shopify:

Hosting

  • High Performance Servers
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • 2.18 Second Average Load Time

Marketing

  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s
  • Sell on Facebook
  • Product Reviews

Ecommerce

  • Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Klarna, Worldpay and SagePay
  • Shopify Payments powered by Stripe
  • Discount Codes
  • Digital Products

Themes

  • 8 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Shopify Theme Store
  • Live Customiser
  • Stock Image Library
  • Third-party themes available

You also get access to the Shopify App store, which offers over 1000 apps that you can use add a variety of functionality to your store. You can choose from apps that are built in house by the Shopify team or opt for ones from third-party developers.

Option 4: Create.net

create.net homepage

Create.net is a UK based platform that offers some really good ecommerce features. The platform was established in 2001 and has enabled over 30,000 people to start a website.

It is a really good option for a small ecommerce website and boutique businesses. The platform has been designed to be easy to use to allow people with very little to no web building experience to build a professional looking website.

The platform is highly rated by its customers and having your own dedicated account manager, no matter which package you choose. This adds a personal touch that you don’t get with some other platforms.

In terms of ecommerce, it may lack a few features that would be required by large ecommerce platforms and that is why I think it is a good option on smaller businesses. Unfortunately, I cannot list much information on the hosting as they don’t provide much on it but the sites I tested loaded in a average 0.82 seconds, which is very impressive.

Ecommerce

  • Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay and SagePay
  • Create Sales
  • Discount Coupons
  • Ebay, Amazon and Google Tools

Themes

  • 35 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Drag and Drop Page Builder
  • Bespoke Theme Design
  • Web Designer’s Kit
  • Image Optimisation

Marketing

  • Blog
  • Social Share Widgets
  • Related Products
  • Custom Meta Data
  • Related Products

Option 5: Bluepark

Bluepark Review

The smallest platform in terms of numbers on this list as they power just over 2000 ecommerce stores but their platform does pack a punch.

Launched in 2004, Bluepark quickly became a favourite amongst the UK ecommerce community and is a very popular choice and highly recommended on business forums.

Bluepark take a slightly different approach to many of their competition. They haven’t gone with the app model to add functionality, instead they give you everything already installed, depending on your package obviously. This means that the platform is ready to go, straight out of the box.

In autumn 2019, Bluepark updated their admin dashboard from their old, rather complicated set up to a new, more user friendly one and it has definitely been a good change! So what are some of the things you get with Bluepark?

You also get access to Bluepark’s support team, who offer excellent advice and help on keeping your website performing as it should.

Hosting

  • High Performance Servers
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • 99.99% Uptime
  • Daily Back-ups
  • 0.76 Second Average Load Time

Marketing

  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s
  • Build your own Affiliate Network
  • Built in Email Newsletter

Ecommerce

  • Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay and SagePay
  • Create Categories and Brands
  • Discount Coupons and Gift Vouchers
  • Abandoned Cart Emails

Themes

  • 42 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Block Based Customiser
  • Bespoke Theme Design
  • Add Custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript

Option 6: Ecwid

Ecwid Homepage

Ecwid is probably the most unique and versatile ecommerce platform on the market, simply because it allows you to do so many things.

In its basic form, it operates the same way as a traditional ecommerce platform by allowing you to build a website using their secure hosting environment.

But where Ecwid really stands out from the crowd is their integration into other platforms. With Ecwid, you can add ecommerce functionality to any website, no matter the platform that the site is built on.

The main one of these is WordPress and it allows you to have all the benefits of a fully hosted ecommerce website, within the WordPress framework and it can all be managed within your WordPress dashboard. This is great if you have an existing blog or business website and want to start selling through it.

They also offer great integration with other website builders such as Wix and Squarespace but you don’t even need a website! The platform allows you to sell via your Facebook page and Instagram accounts, making it a great option for online influencers.

Hosting

  • Hosted on Amazon Web Services
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Cloudfront CDN
  • Secure Checkout
  • Unlimited Bandwidth

Marketing

  • Social Selling via Facebook and Instagram
  • Sell on Multiple Sites from One Dashboard
  • Facebook Pixel
  • Custom Meta Data

Ecommerce

  • Multiple Payment Gatways inc PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay and Apple Pay
  • Schedule Order Pick-Up from Physical Stores
  • Discount Coupons
  • Gift Cards

Themes

  • 79 Free Mobile Responsive Themes
  • Customise Fonts and Colours
  • Layout Options for All Pages

Option 7: Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce Homepage

Since their formation in 2009, Bigcommerce has gone on to become one of the biggest names in the industry and is only bested by Shopify when it comes to the number of paying users. A viable alternative to Shopify, especially for new users as it is very easy to use and offers a great user experience.

The platform is also very feature rich from both its core offering which includes things such as single page checkout, Ebay and Amazon integration and social selling via Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and also from their app marketplace that is packed with over 700 apps from third-party developers.

You are also spoilt for choice when it comes to theme selection with over 150 to choose from. Not only do you get a lot of offerings from the platform but it is all backed up by 24/7 support from the Bigcommerce team.

Option 8: WooCommerce

Woocommerce Homepage

Arguably the most popular ecommerce platform in the world, powering an estimated nearly 3 million ecommerce websites. This is not surprising as it is the main ecommerce plugin for the hugely popular WordPress CMS.

In its standard form, WooCommerce is a very simple and basic plugin but due to the vast amount of both free and paid plugins available in the WordPress ecosystem. You can easily create ecommerce sites, b2b websites, booking sites and membership and subscription sites. The list is pretty much endless!

With WooCommerce you also have a huge selection of themes, both paid and free that you can choose from. This makes customising your website to fit your business really easy and many themes also have many customisation options within them as well.

One of the reasons why the WordPress + WooCommerce system is so popular is that it isn’t a massive learning curve, like some other self-hosted ecommerce platforms. Yes, it does take more time to learn than the fully hosted platforms mentioned above but it is still relatively easy.

Conclusion

There are many different options out there for ecommerce platforms but for me many just aren’t a good enough option for UK Businesses and that is why I created this list.

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.

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