There are many different options when it comes to setting up e-commerce. Ultimately, the choice comes down to how complex your e-commerce needs are, how comfortable you are with the back end set-up and the set-up/transaction fees charged by each of them.

Here’s a quick break-down of some of the e-commerce services:


Shopify is an incredible, easy to use tool for e-commerce websites that also has functionality if you have a store or also sell in-person. It is essentially a tool to build an e-commerce site that is fully customizable – it’s easy to use for those who don’t know much about technology, and also can be highly customized if you know how to do that or hire a professional to help you. It does not operate as a retailer – it is merely the host for your store, so you will be required to drive customers to the site yourself. It does have simple integrations into sites like FaceBook, Instagram and Pinterest where customers can easily link to your shop for purchases made easy. It also integrates well into major shipping providers (eg Canada Post) and provides competitive rates for those. There are monthly fees as well as credit card fees that are transparent and easily understood.


Etsy is an online marketplace that is easy to use and is turnkey on the back end. It works best for individuals selling handmade and vintage items, with the advantage being that the platform itself does the advertising for you and customers come there specifically looking for exciting new things. One of the disadvantages can be the popularity of the site and understanding how to get your products seen within the search engine. It can be difficult to get to the top of the search pages without spending money on ads and sponsored spots. Etsy takes a percentage of each sale to cover the costs of hosting your store.

In-platform eCommerce options

Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, GoDaddy, and Wix all have plugins and add-ons to facilitate e-commerce. You may find that these systems are sufficient for a smaller online store or for service-based industries.

  • Squarespace
  • Woo Commerce – probably the biggest in-platform option
  • BigCommerce – designed for high-volume businesses, BigCommerce is a turnkey system with a lot of features included

Comparing Fees

Once you find a platform that works for you, there are other things to consider with an eCommerce store. Big Commerce has a good article that goes into detail about calculating the costs that go into setting up an eCommerce store.

Monthly Fees*

Transaction Fees*

Shopify $29 – $299 2.15-3% + $0.30 per transaction
Etsy $0.25 per item in your shop (but there are often deals to get free “Listing Credits”)
No monthly fee
5% transacton fee (5% of price, including delivery & wrapping) + 3 – 4% + $0.25 per transaction
Wix $23 (for Business Plan site) 2.9% +$0.30 per transaction
Woo Commerce $110 to $1500+ to set up
No monthly fee
2.9% +$0.30 per transaction
+1% for non-US credit cards
BigCommerce $29.95 – $299.95 No additional transaction fees
*fees as of Jan 6, 2021