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Domains & Hosting

Choosing the right eCommerce platform

Start earning online with social selling or launch your own online store — the choice is yours.
Icon: Instagram Shopping

Social Buy Button

Easily sell on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.
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shopping bag

Store plugin

Add an online store to your existing website. Works with WordPress, WIX, or any CMS.
Learn more
Icon: Online store

Online Store

Build a scalable eCommerce website fast without any coding or design skills.
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Icon: Online marketing

Online Store Expert

A fully-fledged online store solution with advanced features like personalization.
Learn more

Create your online store the way you want

Social Buy Button

Sell on social media

Turn your followers into customers with the Social Buy Button. Social media users can check out directly without leaving their platform.

The tool is designed for mobile, so you can manage everything from your smartphone.

See product
instagram shopping
Store plugin

Add a button and sell on social media

Got a website or a blog? Add your own store with ConnectaStore. It's easy! Just copy and paste an HTML snippet or add a plugin to your site or blog.

You'll keep your current content, domain name and Google ranking.

See product
shop integration
MyWebsite Now Online Store

Build an eCommerce website, fast

Quickly and easily sell on your own website with our fastest online store builder. Have everything ready, including tax and shipping settings, with helpful presets.

Sell on Facebook, Instagram, and accept contactless payments locally — it's all possible. Everything's updated in real time.

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website + shop
MyWebsite Online Store Expert

Take eCommerce to the next level

Sell around the globe, B2B, on Amazon and Google Shopping. Add up to a million products and offer real-time shipment tracking.

Online Store Expert is perfect for businesses with more complex demands and customization needs.

See product
shop expert

Compare IONOS eCommerce solutions

Social Buy ButtonOnline StoreStore pluginOnline Store Expert
Sell on your own website
Number of products Sell and manage this many products, including variations like size. Manage stock levels, and filter by product categories and attributes. 10

500

(expandable)

5,000

(expandable)

1 million
Sell digital products For example PDFs, images, videos and more.

(1 GB per file)

(10 GB per file)

Import product data Import existing product information via CSV or xCart.
Website builder included Build a website that's customized to your online selling needs.
Flexible payment methods Offer your customers the most popular payment options: PayPal, credit card, direct debit, prepayment, and many more (Stripe, Square, Afterpay, etc.).

(around 20 options)

(around 20 options)

(around 70 options)

(around 70 options)

Flexible shipping and pickup options Create customized or flat rates, or use standard carrier rates. Offer customers delivery or in-store pickup.

(standard shipping only

(standard shipping, expandable)

Sell on Facebook Synchronize your product catalog with Facebook and sell directly to customers.
Sell on Instagram Synchronize your product catalog with Instagram and tag photos with products to sell directly to customers.
Sell on Google Shopping Synchronize your product calalog with Google and sell directly to customers.

(expandable)

(expandable)

Marketing tools Create discount codes and promo prices. Market your business and sell directly on Facebook and Google.

(expandable)

Professional store management Manage orders and edit the HTML of your emails and invoice templates.
Mobile app Conveniently manage products and orders with the app for android and iOS. Your team can also use the app to process orders.
PriceStarting at $3/month Starting at $1/month Starting at $0/month Starting at $35/month
Learn moreLearn moreLearn moreLearn more

Still undecided? Here's our comparison of the top 5 eCommerce platforms in 2021:

eCommerce platformAdvantages/disadvantagesSuitable for...
Magento

+ Stable, reliable and scalable

+ Customizable and flexible

+ Tons of features

+ Large community

- Requires intense resources

- Skilled IT team needed within the e-commerce team

Larger businesses and agencies


Recommended platform:

Dedicated Server

WooCommerce

+ Largest community worldwide

+ Easily customizable

+ Simple to install

+ Large number of plug-ins

- Dependent on WordPress

- Frequency of updates

Mid-sized businesses and agencies


Recommended platform:

Managed WordPress

Zen Cart

+ Lots of built-in features

+ Requires basic programming skills

+ Hundreds of free payment modules

+ Freedom to modify the source code

- Outdated layouts

- Difficult to upgrade

Mid-sized businesses and agencies


Recommended platform:

Web Hosting

osCommerce

+ Large number of free plug-ins

+ Great support

+ Renowned community and forum

+ 200+ connected payment providers

- Difficult to customize

- Old technology

Mid-sized businesses and agencies


Recommended platform:

Web Hosting

Open Cart

+ 13,000+ themes and modules

+ Free community and premium support

+ Intuitive admin area

+ Multi-store functionality

- Expensive, necessary plug-ins

- When updated, some features show errors or do not work

Mid-sized businesses and agencies


Recommended platform:

Web Hosting

eCommerce checklist: Make your store successful

01

Get organized: Think of a story!

  • What do you want to achieve with your online store?
  • Will you sell online only or will you also go the brick-and-mortar route? Do you have a website already and want to add a store?
  • How are you planning to get visitors to your website?
  • Is there a smart way to create synergies between online and offline prospects of your business?
  • Do you have someone to help you set up your eCommerce platform? Do you have programming skills?
  • What is your value proposition? What problem are you solving for your customers?
  • Do you have sales staff that use the online store to present your products?
  • Do you explain the details of your products correctly?

02

Design and structure your store

  • Will you have a few key products or a wide range of items?
  • How are you going to display these product pages to users of your website?
  • How is your navigation structured?
  • How can you make sure you have stunning images of your products?
  • Think about easing the checkout process for your visitors.
  • Think mobile first, meaning: responsiveness of your store interface.
  • Do you want to sell your products in one country or more? Do you offer multiple currencies?
  • How do you want to interact with your customers? Via chat, phone or email?

03

Administration

  • Keep in mind that you'll need process emails for order confirmations, payment, shipping, etc.
  • Set up payment methods: Offer your customers their preferred payment method, depending on your industry - credit cards, cash on delivery, PayPal, etc.
  • Think about how you want to deliver the items. You can choose your own carrier or use one that's integrated in the ready-made shop solution. Offer your customers different shipping rates. A flat rate, for example $5 for any purchase, or free shipping starting with a certain amount spent. You can even adjust your shipments depending on volume or weight. Use this feature only if selling high volumes of goods. Otherwise just decide which flat rate is best for your business.
  • Track your sales with Google analytics, improve your conversion.
  • Do you need a store system that includes inventory management?

04

Secure a domain and go live

  • Choose a domain name that fits your business.
  • If your country specific domain is not available, think about having a domain that fits your industry such as .restaurant. This can increase your chances of finding an available domain and demonstrates which industry you belong to.

05

Marketing and multi-channels

  • Look for ways to involve customers: email marketing, coupons, discounts, start customer loyalty programs.
  • Do you want to sell on Amazon or eBay? How can you differentiate your products? Pricing, naming, product descriptions?
  • Bring more traffic to your shop by placing your products on multiple comparison portals or deal websites.

06

Stay up to date and relevant

  • Your shop is alive. Add fresh content. Give people good reasons to frequently visit your site.
  • Always give your customers more: embed YouTube videos, social media sharing opportunities.
  • Get feedback from your customers and use it to improve your products and your online store.

Free support and how-tos

Questions about building your online store? Ask your personal consultant.

One contact for all your questions

Individual support

Your personal consultant is there for you from the start. They'll help you get the most out of your online store.

Product guides and videos

In the IONOS Help Center you'll find information on lots of website topics. Start with website basics like design and SEO, or deepen your knowledge of analytics, eCommerce and marketing.
Woman getting help from personal consultant

Creating an online store

FAQ – Frequently asked questions

The length of time it takes to create an online store depends on a number of factors and can vary based on the size of the shop, the tech used, the budget available and the creator's IT skill level.

You can find a number of resources in the Digital Guide that will help speed up the process of starting an online store, offering both technical and theoretical advice on dealing with the different stages of creating your shop.

Creating an online store allows you to reach a new customer base and to therefore increase sales by tapping into a new market. An online store is always available and allows users to make purchases 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By freeing you from the boundaries of physical distance, an online shop gives you wider reach to prospective customers.

Generally speaking, creating an online store can significantly increase your business turnover and can even save you money by allowing you to identify and meet the specific needs of your customers. In this way, you'll have more relevance to your audience and can adapt more easily to their buying habits.

It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between the free, open-source online store platforms, and paid eCommerce solutions. If the outcome is the same, why are some systems free while others must be paid for? The explanation is simple: Since not all online shops have the same needs, the difference in use between the two systems permits different things.

The service that an open-source online store offers is generally intended for professional developers and those familiar with programming language. This is because they enable the utmost customization possible and therefore respond extremely well to custom projects, particularly if there are specific needs in a particular area.

Paid online store platforms are a better idea for anyone starting out in online sales, whether that's to bring an online presence to their business's storefront or launching primarily as an online retailer. They provide everything you need to create an online store independently and with no understanding of IT necessary, meaning anyone can take advantage of the opportunities that the web offers.

An eCommerce platform is a software technology solution that enables you to build an online store and run a business online. eCommerce software provides you with tools that facilitate inventory management, help you to calculate taxes, and make it easier to add or remove products in your store. eCommerce platforms can be very beneficial for those without technical backgrounds since the software takes care of a lot of the operation.

  • Wide range of design possibilities
  • Top-notch site security
  • Easy to create pages and content
  • Ability to grow as your store expands
  • Expand capabilities with third party plugins
  • Online support
  • Multi-channel functionality

eCcommerce software enables you to have everything you need to run your store in one place. If there are tasks that the platform cannot undertake, it's possible to link other channels (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) to the platform so you don't have to switch between different services all the time. Choosing the right eCommerce platform is crucial for your business. The general rule of thumb is that the more flexible the software is, the less simplistic is will be.

It's difficult to know which eCommerce platform to choose when they are so many on offer. Six of the best eCommerce platforms are Magento, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, osCommerce, b2evolution and the IONOS eCommerce Website Builder. Our hosted eCommerce platform makes the best of the six and here are the reasons why:

  • Magento is a flexible and scalable open-source platform, suitable for small and medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises. Its vast array of features and large support community tesitfies to its popularity.
  • WooCommerce is also suitable for the same-sized businesses as Magento and also boasts a large community on hand to help other users as well as to make improvements to the source code. Unique store designs are possible with this platform as well as the option to set up different accounts to give users different rights.
  • Another simple to use, easy to install solution is PrestaShop. Its flexible nature and ability to work without the fastest internet connection are definite plus points, as well as the fact that multiple currencies and languages are integrated in order to be as appealing as possible to store owners and customers.
  • osCommerce has a huge active community and support forum and with over 8,000 free integrations at your disposal, you can design your store to your exact liking. The open source solution is especially a good choice for those just starting out.
  • Another eCommerce platform that is easy to get to grips with is b2evolution. Uploading and editing web content is simple and the platform also boasts top security, making transactions secure and keeping hackers at bay. It's also possible to run multiple blogs on one platform if you wish.
  • The IONOS MyWebsite Online Store package is simple to set up for users with little tech-experience. It is affordable, and provides store owners with lots of embeddable features, as well as great scalability if their online store grows.

This e-commerce platform comparison can put things into perspective and help you decide on the best e-commerce platform for you and your store.

E-commerce platforms are usually based on a common programming language such as Java or PHP, with Java being used most frequently due to its object- and standards-based nature. To get the platform online, you either host it yourself or have it hosted for you in the cloud.

A third possibility is mixed hosting where you get the best of both worlds. IONOS hosts six of the best e-commerce platforms, which makes it a lot easier for you to get started with half the work already being done.

IONOS offers several hosting packages so there's something for you whether you're a freelancer or a large company setting up their online store. Installation requires a few simple clicks in the IONOS App Center and then you can begin designing your store. Magento, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, osCommerce, b2evolution and the IONOS eCommerce Website Builder provide you with numerous ways to individualize your storefront to help you stand out from your competition.

Visit the Help Center if you have any more questions on how eCommerce platforms work.