The 6 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 May 2021

Backed by our own research, we’ve selected and reviewed the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses


Recently, we tested the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses, examining how they've improved or dropped off since we last reviewed them.

We looked at the factors that matter most to small business, such as value for money, SEO (search engine optimisation) functionalities, marketing tools, ease of use, and sales features. We also asked everyday users to try the platforms, too.

The overall winner in our research is Wix. It's user-friendly and offers strong SEO features, along with improved sales tools.

Below, you’ll find our comparison table followed by individual reviews for each platform.


The best ecommerce platforms for small businesses 2021

Ecommerce PlatformBest forPrice plansOverall rating /5
WixBest overall£13 – £22 per month4.7
SquarespaceBest for combining design with sales features£20 – £30 per month

Claim 10% off with code EM10 at checkout

4.6
Square OnlineBest value for money£0 – £54 per month4.5
ShopifyBest for sales-specific features£22 – £219 per month4.1
BigCommerceBest for multi-channel selling£22 – £220 per month4.0
GoDaddyBest for speedy setup£19.99 per month3.9

Wix (4.7/5)

Best overall

Shooting up from 4.3/5 to 4.7/5 in our most recent research, Wix is today's winner. Since our first round of testing , Wix now lets you sell via Instagram and Facebook, and use drop shopping services.

It's also the best ecommerce platform for small businesses looking to appear higher on the search engine results pages, getting you higher visitor traffic and more sales, thanks to its SEO Wizard tool providing step-by-step tutorials and helping you track your site’s SEO success with regular performance updates.

There are 71 ecommerce-specific templates available, with in-built capabilities such as checkout buttons and industry-specific features. It's no wonder Wix scored the highest in our ‘website features‘ category, with 4.6/5.

Syncing your physical inventory with your online store is far easier on other platforms, and you might find the sheer creative freedom Wix offers to be overwhelming at first, however, Wix is our overall winner for a reason – it's powerful, great for SEO, and simple to use.

Read Full Wix Review

Pros:

  • Brilliant SEO features to help your small business grow
  • Lots of creative freedom to help you design the exact storefront you want
  • You can add product videos to help improve the buying experience
  • There's no need to look beyond Wix for ecommerce features to help your small business grow

X Cons:

  • The amount of creative freedom can make it hard to adhere to ecommerce best practices
  • You can’t switch templates after publishing your site
  • Editor page can seem clustered and overwhelming at times

Wix pricing

Wix offers a 14-day free trial period on its premium plans, of which there are three ecommerce-specific options:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Business Basic£13 per month

Accept online payments

Unlimited bandwidth

20GB storage

Free domain for one year

Upload up to 5 hours of video

Site Booster app

Visitor Analytics app

£75 Google Ads voucher

Sales analytics and reports

Business Unlimited£17 per month

35GB storage

Upload up to 10 hours of video

Professional logo

Pro ecommerce features such as automated sales tax calculations

Business VIP£22 per month

50GB storage

Upload unlimited video hours

Priority response on Wix Answers page

First priority VIP support

Wix is our top choice for small businesses looking to get online Try Wix Free

Squarespace (4.6/5)

Best for combining design with sales features

What impressed us most in our second round of testing was Squarespace's improvements on user experience, shooting up from a 3.4/5 to a 4.2/5 ease of use score. It's now the easiest platform to build an online store with.

With its sleek, ready-made templates to help your products stand out, you really don’t need to spend hours making a beautiful Squarespace store.

Squarespace is also great value for money, supporting the sales of physical, digital, and service-based products, and the ability to sell through Instagram on its affordable price plans.

However, it only supports two payment processors (compared to Shopify’s 100+ integrations) – which might restrict your options.

Read Full Squarespace Review

Pros:

  • Excellent sales for features for a ‘non-ecommerce specific’ website builder
  • Best-designed templates of any platform we tested
  • Excellent value for money

X Cons:

  • Limited stock monitoring capabilities
  • Supports just two payment processors (Stripe and PayPal)
  • Could offer more ecommerce-specific templates

Squarespace pricing

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial when you sign up to one of its ecommerce plans.

Plus, you can save 10% on your subscription by using code EM10 at checkout.

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Basic Commerce£20 per month

Point of Sale app to help you sell in-person

Sell on Instagram

Limited availability labels

0% transaction fees

Advanced Commerce£30 per month

Abandoned cart recovery

Sell subscriptions

Advanced shipping features

Squarespace has the design tools to help your business stand out online Try Squarespace Free

Square Online (4.5/5)

Square Online is one of the very best ecommerce platforms for small businesses. It has all the essential features on its free plan including multi-channel selling making it one of the best free ecommerce platforms, too.

The ability to sell for free is a big draw. Instead, you pay 1.9% per transaction, which is relatively high compared to the competition in truth. It's still the best value for money platform we tested, scoring 4.6/5 in that category.

It does only support one payment processor on its cheapest plans (Square POS), while BigCommerce and Shopify support over 100. You’ll also likely find the design options to be quite restrictive. 

Overall, Square Online is a no frills approach to selling online. It covers the basics very well, but doesn't go much further than that.

Pros:

  • The best value for money platform we tested
  • Offers multi-channel selling on its free plan
  • Excellent in-built dashboard providing insights on sales and customer behaviour

X Cons:

  • Lack of prompts or tips to help you get started (unlike Wix)
  • Expensive transaction fees when you don’t use Square’s payment processor
  • Not the most logical of layouts, using some jargon in the backend

Square Online pricing

Square has four price plans to choose from:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll getTransaction fees
Free£0 per monthSell unlimited products

Instagram and Pinterest integration

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Professional£9 per monthUse your own domain name

No Square branding or ads

Free custom domain for one year

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European card

Performance£19 per monthHave customer reviews on your site

Recover lost sales with abandoned cart emails

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European card

Premium£54 per monthSave with lower card transaction fees

1.75% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Square is the best value for money platform for small businesses Try Square Free

Shopify (4.1/5)

Best for sales-specific features

Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce platforms on the market, offering the most amount of sales features of any platform we tested, including access to 1,200+ apps. So, why doesn’t it get full marks?

In truth, Shopify is better suited to larger online stores with more complex inventories – it's a powerful solution that might be overkill or too expensive for most small stores, with price plans starting from £22 per month. It also enforces transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments – two things which may hinder the growth of your small business.

However, Shopify's backend is really easy to navigate, outperforming the other platforms in our customer score category, with 4.8/5. 

Read Full Shopify Review

Pros:

  • Excellent multi-channel integration (sell across all the big social media channels, and Amazon, eBay, Buzzfeed, and more)
  • Offers largest choice of sales-specific features of any platform we tested
  • Despite fewer in-built features, you can choose from 1,200+ apps to enable your store to do almost anything

X Cons:

  • Shopify imposes transaction fees if you don’t use its own payment processor (unlike BigCommerce, which charges zero fees)
  • You’ll need to reformat your whole website if you decide to switch templates
  • Cost of installing apps can quickly add up
  • Design is far less intuitive than on Wix and Squarespace

Shopify pricing

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period, so you can test its sales tools and build your entire online store before spending a penny. If you’re happy with Shopify after that period, you’ll then need to upgrade to one of these price plans:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Basic Shopify£22 per month

Sell an unlimited number of products

24/7 support

2.2% + 20p credit card rates

Sell in 133 currencies

Shopify£56 per month

Gift cards

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Five staff accounts

1.9% + 20p credit card rates

Advanced Shopify£219 per month

Third party calculated shipping rates

15 staff accounts

Sell in five languages

1.6% + 20p credit card rates

Shopify's sales-specific tools are unrivalled by any platform we tested Try Shopify Free

BigCommerce (4.0/5)

Best for multi-channel selling

At no extra cost, BigCommerce allows you to sell your products via Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, and Pinterest. It's also perfect for online clothing stores thanks to its industry-leading inventory management features.

BigCommerce also provides useful SEO prompts when you add products, and imposes zero transaction fees (unlike Shopify).

However, as a small business owner juggling different tasks, you might find BigCommerce time-consuming and tricky to use, especially compared to the user-friendly platforms Wix and Squarespace. We actually rate BigCommerce as one of the top platforms for large companies instead.

Pros:

  • The only platform that allows you to send transactional emails
  • No extra transaction fees, unlike Shopify
  • Superb multi-channel integration with social media platforms and online marketplaces

X Cons:

  • Our research participants said the interface was slightly challenging to navigate
  • The only platform we tested that doesn’t provide a mobile app
  • Relatively restrictive design control, especially compared to Wix or Squarespace
  • Geared towards large online stores

BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial period, after which you’ll need to sign up to one of its three core plans:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Standard£22 per month

Sell an unlimited number of products

Multichannel selling

Coupon creation

Reporting tools

Plus£57 per month

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Customer loyalty programmes

Store credit card payment details

Pro£220 per month

Filter products through size and colour variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google reviews

BigCommerce's multi-channel integrations can help your small business reach new audiences Try BigCommerce Free

GoDaddy (3.9/5)

Best for speedy setup

Running a small business is hard work. You might be struggling for time, or lacking the creative inspiration required to build an online store from scratch – which is where GoDaddy comes in.

It uses an ADI (artificial design intelligence) approach – first asking you a few questions, then generating a new website within minutes, with a new layout and proposed images. Simply put, GoDaddy is easily the best ecommerce platform for small businesses who are extremely tight on time.

That said, GoDaddy’s website features lack the quality to help your website stand out online (in stark contrast to Squarespace), and you won't be able to sell digital products.

Pros:

  • Fastest and easiest-to-use platform we tested thanks to its ADI function
  • Allows you to create up to five backup copies of your website to give you peace of mind when making changes to your site
  • No surprise fees, just the set price plan and the usual credit card processor fees

X Cons:

  • Very limited creative control due to the ADI function creating the site for you
  • Features lack depth and quality compared to every other platform we tested
  • Doesn’t support the sale of digital products

GoDaddy pricing

GoDaddy offers a generous one-month free trial period and one ecommerce-specific price plan:

PlanCost (billed annually) What you’ll get
Ecommerce£19.99 per month

Send up to 25,000 marketing emails per month

Flexible shipping options

Add discounts and promos

24/7 support

GoDaddy can build your ecommerce store for you within a few minutes Try GoDaddy Free

Expert verdict

Building on our extensive period of research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected and reviewed the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses. Having read our review, you’re now ready to choose your platform – great news!

Here’s a quick roundup of our top three…

  1. Wix came out on top thanks to its strong SEO features, improved sales features, and creative freedom.
  2. Squarespace is the better option if you want to build a beautiful online store that outshines the competition, offering industry-leading design tools and templates.
  3. Square Online is the best value for money option, combining ease-of-use with the option of a totally free plan – a killer combo for small businesses.

Of course, we know that not everyone will find their perfect solution in one of these top three platforms. In that case, you should also check out Shopify for its sales-specific tools, BigCommerce for its multi–channel selling, and GoDaddy for its speedy setup features.

Whichever platform you’ve chosen, though, we wish you and your business the best of luck for the future!

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

4Com Review: Is a 4Com Phone System Right for Your Business?

By Dan Barraclough | Published: 1 June 2017

Is 4Com the right business phone provider for your business? Discover its technology to find out


What is 4Com and what does it offer?

4Com is a specialist provider of business telephone solutions. The company was established in 1999, and is now one of the fastest growing telecommunications providers in the UK.

The telephone system provider is a renowned and well-respected business with a great ethos. They’ve also been named in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For five years in a row.

4Com has a broad range of telephone solutions, making it the perfect choice for small and larger businesses alike.

But its flagship product is HiHi2 – a VoIP phone-come-tablet that offers the latest in telephony technology.

HiHi2 system in meeting room

“With HiHi2 you are able to see what’s really being said, by picking up on facial expressions and creating a more personal working relationship.” – 4com


What is HiHi2?

HiHi2 is a portable telephone device that takes business communication to the next level. Featuring the latest processing technology, HD video, and full access to the Google Play store, you could mistake it for a tablet – if it wasn't for the phone handset left of the screen.

4Com call HiHi2 faster, brighter, and bolder than the original HiHi. And it is better, but it doesn't forget what it really is – a business phone. Take a look at some of the top features below or watch the video for a demonstration.

  • Intuitive contact functionality
  • High quality voice calls
  • HD video calls
  • Voicemail, with advanced replay
  • External and internal call forwarding


What are the benefits of investing in HiHi2?

Face to face business meetings

For businesses that operate across multiple offices, a low quality Skype or Hangout video call can hinder collaboration. If you fit all of your collaboration spaces with HiHi2 phones, colleagues can benefit from HD video calls, allowing for uninterrupted, clear conversation.

Take your HiHi2 anywhere

HiHi2 combines the powers of tablet and telephony technology – quite literally. This means you can detach your tablet from the telephone unit and use it independently.  Whether you take it home with you, out on a job, or move it around as you hot desk,  you'll always have your saved contacts and call history to hand.

Your mobile phone can become your HiHi2 extension

With the HiHi2 Connect App, you can use your mobile phone as an extension. Open the app, and you'll have all your contacts and call history in front of you. This means you have multiple options when it comes to keeping in touch with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.

Get your customers involved, too

HiHi2 takes away the need to have multiple communication systems in place at the same time. Instead of using Skype or Hangout to stay in touch with customers, encourage them to download HiHi There.  Every time you set up a meeting using the app, they'll be sent a joining code to use when it's time for the meeting.


VoIP and traditional phone systems

4Com also have a wide selection of excellent VoIP and traditional phone systems to choose from.

Typical features of their products include:

  • Voicemail with email notifications, redirects and welcome messages
  • Call recording that is simple to implement for both training and legal purposes
  • Call reporting to help improve call flow and reduce the number of dropped calls
  • Hold messages to create a lasting impression and take advantage of the marketing opportunity
  • Caller ID so you can see the full history of the person calling and provide a more personal service

This is by no means an exhaustive list – the more hi-spec phones have a whole host of special features you wouldn’t even know exist.

Did You Know?

4Com handle over ten million minutes of calls every month


Why choose 4Com?

There are plenty of business telephone suppliers in the UK, so what makes 4Com stand out? How have they gone from strength to strength since day one?

Let’s take a look at the key benefits working with 4Com can offer:

✓ Easy installation and plenty of support

When telephones form such an integral part of your business, it’s easy to postpone change for fear of disruption. Fortunately, 4Com have installing new systems down to a fine art – it’s really quick and will cause you little disturbance, and no downtime.

4Com have a dedicated UK-based call centre, and all staff have extensive training and telecoms experience – in fact, 4Com engineers have an average length of service of over seven years.

✓ Wealth of telephones experience

4Com’s experience not only means they offer tailored support, it also means they develop unique technologies. Products like the HiHi take into account everything they’ve learned about how businesses use phones during their many years of business.

✓ Great company ethos

It’s clear that 4Com have an excellent culture at their core, and this translates into excellent customer service. Not only are employees motivated and positive, but they also communicate effectively between departments, meaning any issues are resolved as quickly as possible.

The 4Com staff also take on lots of crazy challenges in order to raise money for charity. From a purely business point of view, this might not affect you directly. But partnering with a good company with honest values just feels… well, good, doesn’t it?

✓ Flexibility and scalability

A small business with three employees? Great. A 100-person strong call-centre? No problem.

4Com are serious when they say that their solutions offer real value to businesses of all shapes and sizes. More importantly, they know that businesses need a phone system that will grow as they do. Their systems all fit the bill.


4Com pricing

As you’d expect, tailored solutions come with a tailored price. Fill in this short form to receive a custom quote from 4Com and other leading suppliers.


Expert verdict

4Com aren’t one of the biggest UK telecommunications companies for nothing. They offer systems with state of the art technology at affordable prices. They also have excellent customer service to make every stage of the process a breeze.

Expert Market are proud to work closely with 4Com, and a number of other reputable telephones suppliers. Fill in this short form to receive your tailored quotes.


What other phone systems could you consider?

RingCentralRead our RingCentral review
8×8Read our 8×8 review
GoToConnectRead our GoToConnect review
MitelRead our Mitel review
Lily CommsRead our Lily Comms review
Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Shopify Ecommerce Review 2021: Our Results Revealed

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 16 March 2021

Is Shopify the best ecommerce platform out there? Read on to see how it performed in our research…


shopify logo

Website featuresSales toolsDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer scoreEase of useTotal rating

4.2

4.73.83.83.84.64.0

4.2

The only way to provide a balanced Shopify ecommerce review is to use it first-hand. Luckily, that’s exactly what we did.

To put Shopify through its paces, we created our own Shopify store, and reviewed its sales tools, website features, design functions, help and support, value for money, and ease of use. Each category got a score out of five, in order to provide a clear breakdown of Shopify’s strengths and weaknesses.

We also invited everyday users to try Shopify. This gave us an overall customer score, which represents how much these users enjoyed using Shopify, and how likely they’d be to recommend it. At the top of the page, you can see how Shopify performed in each individual research area.

In this review, we’ll talk about what we learned in our research testing, discussing Shopify’s pricing, features, benefits, and more to help you decide whether it’s the right option for your business. Now let’s get started…


What are Shopify’s pros and cons?

ProsCons
Multi-channel selling – integrate your Shopify store with numerous other social media channels and online marketplaces to reach new audiences and boost sales Transaction fees – Shopify imposes its own transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments
Superb sales features – offers the most (and best) sales-specific features of any platform we tested, including an online invoice generator Reformatting issues – you’ll need to reformat your entire website should you decide to switch themes after you’ve gone live
Customisable platform – create a unique Shopify store by installing different apps or tweaking your theme’s features Costly apps – installing apps can rack up a lofty bill quite quickly
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial so you test its tools before committing Try Shopify Free

What are Shopify’s features and benefits?

Overall, we were very impressed by Shopify and its ecommerce and website features. It’s easily one of the best ecommerce platforms out there.

Our research revealed that Shopify offers the highest number of sales features of any platform we tested, ticking off a whopping 61/65 features across the 13 sales-specific areas we reviewed. That means Shopify offers everything you need to successfully sell products online, and then some.

User-friendly inventory management tools

Shopify inventory

Shopify makes it really easy to add single or multiple products to your inventory, providing in-built stock management tools and revenue reports to help you keep track of sales. We found it very easy to navigate, with plenty of prompts to ensure you’re never stuck for too long.

Excellent multi-channel integration

shopify multi channel selling tool

Selling to multiple online audiences is important for growing your business. That’s why Shopify makes it really easy to start selling your products directly from social media platforms – including Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest – and from other websites such as Amazon, eBay, BuzzFeed, and Kik. Just note that your currency will have to be set to USD.

Shopify turns multi-channel selling into a breeze Start Selling on Shopify

Large app store

shopify app store

You can choose from over 1,200 apps to give your website extra capabilities in areas like marketing, shipping, finance, and more – and that’s on top of Shopify’s in-built features. This flexibility makes it a really customisable platform, allowing you to tweak your Shopify ecommerce store quickly and easily, unless you want to switch themes after publishing – in that case, you’ll need to reformat your entire site by yourself.

There are some free apps, but most of them charge subscription plans or one-off fees. It’s easy to rack up a hefty monthly bill, so be wary of installing too many costly apps.

 Supports 100+ payment processors

Shopify payment processors

Shopify supports over one hundred payment providers from around the world, meaning you can accept more payments from a wider variety of audiences. The most popular platforms include PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay, but you’ll need to pay transaction fees unless you use Shopify’s own processor, Shopify Payments.

Attractive themes

Shopify ecommerce themes

Shopify offers 10 free themes and 64 paid themes that cost between $140 and $180 (£100 and £130 or so). There are fewer free options than most other website builders, but Shopify still came third in our ‘design functionsresearch, scoring 3.8/5. Every theme has been created by professional designers, and they’re all mobile responsive to ensure that your website looks great when displayed on any device.

You can search for Shopify’s ecommerce themes by industry, with choices like health and beauty, sports and recreation, and electronics. You can also search by collections, such as minimalist style or grid-style layout. Overall, picking and customising themes feels pretty seamless.


How much does Shopify cost?

Shopify scored 3.8/5 in our value for money research, which is lower than all of its main rivals (BigCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace). Its price plans aren’t the cheapest out there, and some of Shopify’s ecommerce capabilities come from costly third-party apps – which makes it one of the more expensive ecommerce platforms in general.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period plus three core price plans, which we’ve converted from USD to GBP:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll getTransaction fees
Basic Shopify£22/monthStarting a small online storeSell an unlimited number of products

24/7 support

Sell in 133 currencies

2.2% + 20p credit card rates
Shopify£58/monthGrowing your businessEverything on the Basic plan, plus:

Gift cards

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Five staff accounts

1.9% + 20p credit card rates
Advanced Shopify£219/monthLarge online storesEverything on the Shopify plan, plus:

Third party calculated shipping rates

15 staff accounts

Sell in five languages

1.6% + 20p credit card rates
You can try Shopify at no cost for 14-days Try Shopify Free

Is Shopify right for my business?

Shopify performed really well in our research overall, but particularly within the sales tools category ‌– making it one of our top platforms for small businesses. However, no two businesses are truly the same, which means it might not be the perfect choice for everyone.

“I want to grow my small business quickly”

Shopify is designed to help businesses reach new channels and boost sales. It has the best sales-specific tools of any platform we tested, which are all designed to help your business grow. While there are platforms with cheaper price plans out there, you'll struggle to find a platform that boasts better sales and marketing features than Shopify.

“I don’t want to spend extra on top of the monthly subscription plan”

Shopify doesn’t offer the best value for money, scoring 3.8 in our research. This is because, on top of Shopify’s price plans, you’ll likely need to spend money on third party apps, transaction fees (unless you use Shopify Payments), and your chosen theme. Many Shopify alternatives, such as BigCommerce, offer everything you need already built-in, meaning you don’t need to pay for much more than the set price plans.

“I want an easy-to-use platform”

If you’re wondering how to start an ecommerce website with Shopify, you should know it’s a very user-friendly process. Out of all the platforms we tested, Shopify earned the highest customer score with an impressive 4.6/5. This translates into a user-friendly platform that’s simple and relatively stress-free to use. It also means our research participants are likely to recommend the Shopify ecommerce platform to friends and family.


What did our research participants say about Shopify?

Once our participants had created their Shopify store, we then asked them to describe their experience, and how they felt about the Shopify ecommerce platform in general. The feedback overall was very positive – Shopify got the highest customer score of all the platforms, scoring 4.6/5. However, some participants found designing the storefront slightly more challenging than managing the inventory side of things:

“Shopify automates the process of creating a website for you, which is great. Then there's other things, like creating product collections manually: you can just tag items and Shopify will automatically populate the collection, which in the long run seems like a much simpler way to do things. Shopify just had a little bit more going on under the hood than the other platforms.”


“The site’s backend I managed to sort out all fine. But I just expected that, when I was on the storefront editing screen, I would be able to edit anything presented in front of me ‌– but that was not the case.”


“If I ran my own business, I think using an ecommerce platform would be the right method for me, and I’d definitely use Shopify.”

Shopify gained the highest ‘customer score' of any platform we tested Start selling on Shopify

Expert verdict

We’ve now shown you what’s under the Shopify ecommerce bonnet, but let’s recap what we've learned.

It's a user-friendly platform with superb sales-specific features, including multi-channel integration and an intuitive inventory system. This makes Shopify one of the best platforms for large companies and small businesses alike.

There are extra transaction fees to be wary of if you’re on a tight budget, but you can avoid those by using Shopify Payments. And while Shopify doesn’t offer the most creative control, it’s a really strong ecommerce platform overall, designed to help your business grow quickly and easily. Don’t forget it offers a 14-day free trial, too.

Is Shopify the best ecommerce platform? Well, it’s definitely up there. Just check out its impressive scores from our research and testing below:

Website featuresSales toolsDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer scoreEase of useTotal rating

4.2

4.73.83.83.84.64.0

4.2

As you can see from its sales tools score, Shopify knows its stuff when it comes to selling online. If you want lots of control over your inventory, and the ability to reach new audiences ‌– and you don’t mind a few creative limitations, ‌– then Shopify should be your top choice.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Squarespace Ecommerce Review 2021: Does it Shape up?

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 31 March 2021

Squarespace is the leader of design, but is that what your business needs? Read on to find out…


Website featuresSales toolsDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer scoreEase of useTotal rating
4.24.04.44.93.34.13.44.2

This Squarespace Ecommerce review is backed by research and first-hand experience. By that, we mean that we created our own Squarespace shop to see exactly where it performs well, and where it could improve.

During this process, we reviewed its website features, sales tools, design functionality, value for money, help and support, and ease of use, scoring each category out of five. You can see those scores above.

We also invited regular users to build a Squarespace shop, which gave us an overall customer score. This score represents how likely they’d be to recommend it.

Thanks to our extensive period of research, we can now confidently recommend Squarespace if you’re a cost-conscious business owner who wants strong marketing features to help grow your beautiful online store.

But that’s just a taste of our research. For the entire menu – including Squarespace Ecommerce’s pricing, pros and cons, top features, and more – just keep on reading.

What are Squarespace Ecommerce’s pros and cons?

ProsCons
High-quality features – Squarespace Ecommerce offers superb marketing and sales features, including a free built-in social media live feed for your company’s channels, a feature which costs money on other platformsHard to use – our research participants found Squarespace relatively hard to use compared to all the other platforms
Best-designed templates – gaining the highest design-related scores of any platform we tested, Squarespace offers sleek templates that allow your products to shine online Supports very few payment processors – it only supports PayPal and Stripe, which is considerably fewer than its rivals – including Shopify, which supports over 100 options
Best value for money platform – Squarespace got the highest score in this category (4.9/5) thanks to its generous range of built-in features and affordable price plans
Squarespace Ecommerce offers a 14-day free trial period Try Squarespace Free

What are Squarespace Ecommerce’s features and benefits?

As one of the best ecommerce platforms we tested, scoring 4.2/5 for website features and 4.0 for sales tools, it comes as no surprise that Squarespace packs a punch in the features and benefits ring.

Below are some of the top features that helped Squarespace Ecommerce nail such impressive scores in those categories.

Best templates of any platform we tested

Squarespace Ecommerce templates

Designed for a range of industries including fashion, food, weddings, and non-profit organisations, each of Squarespace’s templates looks stunning, and should help your products – and your entire website – really stand out. You can even preview how each template would look when displayed on a tablet or mobile before choosing one.


Multi-channel integration

Squarespace Ecommerce multi channel selling

Syncing your Squarespace shop with social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, otherwise known as multi-channel integration, is important for helping your business grow and reach more audiences. Thankfully, it only takes a couple of clicks to get started, then all you need to do is paste your company’s social media URLs to integrate the channels.


Excellent email campaign tools

Squarespace email marketing templates

Squarespace Ecommerce makes it really easy to build and monitor your email campaigns, offering a wide range of professional-looking email templates to help you get started. You can even choose to automatically send emails based on triggers, such as whenever a new customer signs up to your newsletter, or when a customer makes a first-time purchase. The total number of emails you’re able to send depends on the price plan you choose, but you’ll enjoy the process regardless.


Sell digital and service-based products

Squarespace Ecommerce sell digital products

During our testing, we were particularly impressed by Squarespace’s choice of product types. You can sell gift cards, and physical, digital, and service-based products, giving your business the flexibility to sell different products and create new ways to make money. Overall, this is one of the main reasons why Squarespace got such an impressive score in the sales tools category.


Squarespace Ecommerce pricing

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial period, so you can test its design tools and ecommerce features at no cost before spending a penny. If you enjoyed using the platform and would like to continue, you’ll then need to sign up to one of the two ecommerce-specific price plans:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Basic Commerce£20 per month

Point of Sale app to help you sell in person

Sell on Instagram

Limited availability labels

0% transaction fees

Sell an unlimited number of products

Advanced Commerce£30 per month

Everything on the Basic Commerce plan, plus:

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Sell subscriptions

Advanced shipping features

Offer more advanced discounts for customers

Boasting 4.9/5 in our value for money research, Squarespace is one of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses. It has cheaper price plans than Shopify and BigCommerce, and it offers more built-in sales and marketing features than Wix Ecommerce does, including social media live feeds. In contrast, Wix relies on paid apps for many marketing and sales features.

Squarespace Ecommerce is superb value for money and offers a 14-day free trial period Try Squarespace Free

Is Squarespace Ecommerce right for my business?

Squarespace Ecommerce has all the right sales tools to help small and medium-sized businesses grow. But, is it right for your business?

“I want to create a beautiful online store”

Squarespace is the perfect ecommerce platform for you. Thanks to its clean, stylish templates and impressive design tools, Squarespace has everything you need to create a web designer-quality online store for your business. If your competition is using an alternative ecommerce platform, it’s highly likely that your website will outshine theirs.

“I want to build an ecommerce empire”

For all its excellent design and marketing features, Squarespace Ecommerce doesn’t really have the necessary features that large businesses would need to grow. For instance, it only supports two payment processors, which isn’t nearly enough for large corporations. We rate BigCommerce as the best ecommerce platform for large companies.

If your business is growing to new heights and you want to stick with your Squarespace store, you can install the Zapier plugin to add greater ecommerce functionality to your website. Zapier allows you to connect your Squarespace shop with over 3,000 apps, spanning different areas of ecommerce, finance, marketing, shipping, and more.

“I need a platform that’s really simple to use”

Squarespace isn’t the easiest ecommerce platform to use, especially compared to Wix or Shopify, but it’s still straightforward in the grand scheme of things. It has powerful design tools that give you more freedom than any other ecommerce platform, so naturally that means it comes with a steeper learning curve than its competitors. However, the platform offers tips and pop-up guides while you’re creating your Squarespace shop.

“I need strong marketing features to grow my business”

Squarespace Ecommerce excels in the marketing department. It offers multi-channel integration to help you reach new audiences across social media, a built-in social media live feed option, and an excellent email campaign builder to help you communicate with customers and encourage repeat purchases.


Squarespace Ecommerce has the tools you need to build a beautiful and successful store Start Selling on Squarespace

What did our research participants say about Squarespace Ecommerce?

Out of Squarespace's main rivals, only BigCommerce gained a lower customer score, with 3.3/5 compared to Squarespace’s 4.1/5. While not a terrible score for Squarespace, there’s still room for improvement in terms of user-friendliness.

We asked our research participants to describe how they found building their Squarespace shop. Here’s what some of them had to say…


“I really liked how there was the option to have promo pop ups on your store. It made Squarespace appear very professional and it’s a great way to really show off about your offers to your customers, right in front of their very eyes.”


“It would be good to have more drag and drop features and maybe a little more control over the general positioning of things.” 


“Its templates look incredibly professional, and Squarespace provides a description of the features that come with that particular template.”


Expert verdict

We’ve shown you every side of the Squarespace Ecommerce story, reviewing its sales tools, pricing, top features, and more.

A design-oriented ecommerce platform, Squarespace does offer some impressive marketing and sales features, too, including multi-channel integration and the ability to sell digital and service-based products. For an overall recap, check out Squarespace’s research scores below…

Website featuresSales toolsDesign functionsValue for moneyHelp and supportCustomer scoreEase of useTotal rating
4.24.04.44.93.34.13.44.2

With these scores in mind, we recommend Squarespace to people who are building sites for small or medium-sized businesses, and are looking for a great value ecommerce platform that combines design and ecommerce to perfection. It’s not the ideal option for large operations, but it has everything you need for your small or medium-sized business to outshine and outperform the competition.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Wix Ecommerce: Reviewed and Rated for 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 25 March 2021

Wix logo

Website features Sales tools Design functions Value for moneyHelp and supportCustomer scoreEase of useTotal rating
4.64.33.54.24.84.53.64.3

In this Wix Ecommerce review, we reveal everything we learned when we tried the platform ourselves – both the good and the bad. We examined Wix in the areas that matter most to your business, including its sales tools, value for money, help and support, and more.

To provide you with a detailed breakdown of Wix’s wins and losses, we then scored it out of five in each of the categories mentioned above. You can see those results in the table above.

We also invited everyday users to create a Wix online store to help provide us with a customer score, representing how much they enjoyed using Wix and how likely they’d be to recommend it.

Wix Ecommerce is one of the most popular solutions available on the market, but read on below to find out whether it’s the right platform for your business.


What are Wix Ecommerce’s pros and cons?

Wix is one of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses, but where exactly does it win and lose? Check out its pros and cons below…

ProsCons
Intuitive design tools thanks to its ‘what you see is what you get’ editor, you have eyes on how your edits impact your storefront in real time Overwhelming freedom the sheer amount of creative freedom can make it hard to adhere to ecommerce best practices
Focuses on your brand building your brand image is simple thanks to the wide choice of templates (71 of which come with ecommerce capabilities built-in) Restrictive template choice – you cannot switch templates once you publish your website
Add product videos enhance the buyer’s experience and increase sales with product videos Tricky to sync physical and digital inventories this function is much more simple on other platforms
Wix offers a 14-day money back guarantee on its ecommerce price plans Try Wix Today

What are Wix Ecommerce’s features and benefits?

Wix grabbed the highest ‘website features’ score of any platform we tested, earning an outstanding 4.6/5 – and for good reason. It also impressed us with its sales tools and help and support features, scoring 4.3/5 and 4.8/5, respectively.

But what does Wix offer to earn these high scores? While we were testing Wix Ecommerce, these features and benefits really shone through….

✓ Drag-and-drop design feature

wix editor interface

Unlike the other ecommerce platforms we tested, Wix uses drag-and-drop design. This enables you to select an element – such as an image or text box – and move it anywhere around the storefront, giving you total control over how your store represents your brand image. 

This type of design interface is also referred to as a ‘what you see is what you get’ editor, meaning you can see your edits appear in realtime on your storefront. This is the key reason Wix Ecommerce gained such an impressive customer score of 4.5/5 – you’re never left making edits without knowing how everything is going to look.

On many other platforms, such as BigCommerce, you typically update text boxes and images in a separate editor ‘backend’, and then click preview to see how it would look on the live website, which is far more time consuming.


✓ Wide choice of ecommerce-specific templates

Wix ecommerce templates

Of all Wix’s 500+ templates, 71 of those come with ecommerce-specific features, such as product image templates and ‘checkoutbuttons. While all of Wix’s templates are free, you’ll need to sign up to one of the Wix Ecommerce plans to gain access to these 71 options. Every template is mobile-responsive, meaning it’ll reformat its content to look sublime when displayed on all devices, which is vital for creating a positive user experience and boosting sales.


✓ Comprehensive customer support

wix ecommerce help and support

Gaining a commendable 4.8/5 in our help and support research, Wix offers support via phone, social media, and email. It also provides 24/7 on-page editor support, a community forum, and a knowledge base that provides links to article guides and tutorials. In terms of support, Wix is the full package.


✓ Multi-channel integration

facebook shop example

Selling your products across different platforms will help boost your Wix Ecommerce store sales, opening up your business to wider audiences. You can integrate your store with Instagram, but you can sell across more channels, such as Facebook and Pinterest, by installing the Ecwid ecommerce app (costing between £0 and £99 per month, depending on the size of your store). This feature is particularly useful when you consider 81% of people use Instagram to research products and services.


Wix Ecommerce boasts excellent features in both design and marketing Start Selling on Wix

Wix Ecommerce pricing

Scoring a reasonable 4.2/5 in our value for money research, Wix’s three ecommerce price plans are more affordable than those of many of its competitors, including Shopify and BigCommerce, but it doesn’t offer quite as many sales features built-in. Remember though, for a greater scope of ecommerce features for your Wix online store, you can install the Ecwid app.

Wix offers a 14-day money back guarantee when you sign up to one of its ecommerce plans:

 

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll get
Business Basic£13 per month

Accept online payments

Unlimited bandwidth

20GB storage

Free domain for one year

Upload up to 5 hours of video

Site Booster app

Visitor Analytics app

£75 Google Ads voucher

Sales analytics and reports

Business Unlimited£16 per month

Everything on Business Basic, plus:

35GB storage

Upload up to 10 hours of video

Professional logo

Pro ecommerce features, such as automated sales tax calculations

Business VIP£22 per month

Everything on Business Unlimited, plus:

50GB storage

Upload unlimited video hours

Priority response on Wix Answers page

First priority VIP support

Wix offers a 14-day moneyback guarantee once you sign up Try Wix Today

Is Wix Ecommerce right for my business?

Wix Ecommerce is one of the very best ecommerce platforms we tested, coming in second place in our overall testing (behind BigCommerce). However, it’s not the ideal solution for every business. Below are some common scenarios which will help you decide whether Wix is the one for you.

“I run a large business”

Wix Ecommerce isn’t the ideal option for you because, unlike Shopify or BigCommerce, it doesn’t offer much flexibility in terms of inventory management features, which is something that most large companies would require in order to run smoothly and grow quickly.

Alternatively, Wix is perfect if you run a small business and want to focus on building your brand image first with its intuitive design tools and creative control, then focus on building your inventory later. But if that's not the case, we recommend BigCommerce, which took first place in our comparison of the top platforms for large companies.

“I want support for search engine optimisation (SEO)”

Wix is one of the best platforms for SEO support, helping your Wix online store appear higher up in the search engine results page. With its SEO Wiz tool, the platform provides a step-by-step plan on how to improve your site’s SEO with various tutorials, prompts, and guides. Nailing your SEO can help to bring more visitors to your website and boost your sales, and is an area in which Wix excels.

“I want to create an online store that suits my brand”

You'll definitely be able to create a website that's unique to your business with Wix. It offers over 500 templates to choose from (71 of which come with ecommerce features built-in), grouped by industry to help you find a look and feel that suits your offering. You should be aware, though, that once you've committed to a template, you can't change it – so be sure to experiment with a few before making your decision.

As well as this, Wix also offers 200+ possible app integrations to enrich your site's functionality, so your Wix online store should be able to do everything you want it to.


What did our research participants say about Wix Ecommerce?

Once our participants had finished creating their Wix Ecommerce website, we asked them to describe how it went. Don’t forget that Wix gained an impressive customer score of 4.5/5, which should give you an indication of how positive our participants found their experience using the platform. But still, that’s not a perfect 5/5 score…

“Being able to see your store come to life before you, as you are creating it, is so rewarding.”


“Wix has that thing where you can do anything: complete freedom. But, I found that more of a hindrance than a benefit in an ecommerce context.”


“The one thing I really liked was that it suggested adding a product video instead of a photo. I really liked how it offered this functionality. This is a platform for the designers and the creatives.”


Our research participants loved using Wix and gave it a 4.5/5 customer score Start Selling on Wix

Wix Ecommerce came second place in our research, finishing only behind BigCommerce, but outperforming Shopify, Squarespace, Square, and GoDaddy. It impressed us with its intuitive design tools that make it really easy to build the brand image you want, while offering some decent sales tools to boot, such as product videos and multi-channel integration with Instagram.

For a quick recap, here’s how Wix Ecommerce performed in our research categories:

Website features Sales tools Design functions Value for moneyHelp and supportCustomer scoreEase of useTotal rating
4.64.33.54.24.84.53.64.3

Wix Ecommerce ticks all the right boxes for small businesses – it offers affordable price plans starting from just £13 per month, provides comprehensive customer support to help fix your issues quickly and keep sales coming in, and boasts lots of creative control to help you design a website that truly represents your brand.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The 9 Best Website Builders and Ecommerce Platforms 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 November 2021

Your business needs an ecommerce platform or a website builder – but which one?


We recently revisited our research to see how the best ecommerce platforms and website builders have improved – or slipped up – since we first tested them. We looked at the most important areas such as sales features, design functions, value for money, customer support, and ease of use, scoring each platform out of five in those categories.

And the results are in. The most improved platforms are Shopify – improving its user-experience in the backend – and Wix, with its bulked-out multi-channel selling.

For everything else, simply keep reading. We'll first review the best ecommerce platforms, followed by our favourite website builders…


The 5 best ecommerce platforms

Based on our research findings, we know the best ecommerce platforms are:

Ecommerce platform

Starting price (billed annually)Best for

Overall rating /5

 Shopify

£22/monthBest sales-specific features

4.7

Wix Ecommerce

£13/monthBest for user-friendliness

4.6

BigCommerce

£22/monthBest for scaling your business

4.4

Square Online

£0/monthBest value for money

4.4

Squarespace Ecommerce

£20/month

10% off with code EM10

Best for designing your brand image

4.3


Shopify 4.7/5

Would suit your business if you want excellent sales-specific features

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

4.7

3.93.04.4

3.5

In our latest round of testing, Shopify shot up from 4.2 to 4.7/5 overall. This comes down to its intuitive inventory management tools that pre-empt what you might want to add next, and more comprehensive customer support.  What's more, you can upload single or multiple products, receive daily revenue reports, and use its online invoice generator to make your payment collection days much easier.

It also offers superb multi-channel integration, letting you sell through Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and other social platforms (which is more than Wix Ecommerce can offer).

However, it’s the only platform to enforce its own transaction fee (2.2% +20p on the ‘Basic’ plan) unless you use Shopify Payments. Shopify also relies on third party apps for much of its functionality, which can see your monthly costs add up quickly.

Pros:

  • Excellent multi-channel integration
  • Provides the best sales-specific features of any platform we tested
  • Strong server response time, meaning your pages should load very quickly
  • Intuitive inventory management features

X Cons:

  • Transaction fees imposed if you don’t use Shopify’s payment gateway
  • Less creative freedom on your storefront than Wix Ecommerce
  • Fewer in-built features than most platforms, meaning you'll rely on costly apps for certain functions

Shopify pricing

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period plus three core price plans, which we’ve converted from USD to GBP:

Plan

Cost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Basic Shopify£22/monthStarting a small online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

24/7 support

2.2% + 20p credit card rates

Sell in 133 currencies

Shopify£58/monthGrowing your business

Gift cards

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Five staff accounts

1.9% + 20p credit card rates

Advanced Shopify£219/monthLarge online stores

Third party calculated shipping rates

15 staff accounts

Sell in five languages

1.6% + 20p credit card rates

Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce platforms around Try Shopify Free

Wix Ecommerce 4.6/5

Would suit your business if you want a user-friendly platform

Sales features /5

Design functionalities/5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

3.9

3.54.24.3

4.0

Wix Ecommerce has also improved, increasing from 4.3 to 4.6/5 overall. It now supports Instagram and Facebook integration, while you can also use drop shipping services.

We also liked the SEO Wizard tool, which makes it really easy to improve your store’s ranking on Google’s results pages.

That said, Wix is still your best bet if you want total control over how your storefront looks. With Wix, you can create an online store entirely within your own control, with its flexible creative tools enabling you to build a truly unique storefront. If you're not too concerned about a powerful inventory system, then you'll love using this platform.

Read Full Wix Review

Pros:

  • Lots of creative control to help you build your brand
  • Add product videos to help improve the customer experience
  • Wix has everything a small business would need already built-in

X Cons:

  • The sheer amount of creative freedom can hinder ecommerce best practices
  • Only supports multi-channel selling via Instagram as an in-built feature
  • Could be easier to sync physical inventory with your new Wix store

Wix Ecommerce pricing

Wix offers a 14-day free trial on its premium plans, with three ecommerce-specific plans to choose from:

Plan

Cost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Business Basic£13/monthSmall businesses looking to sell online

Accept online payments

Unlimited bandwidth

20GB storage

Free domain for one year

Upload up to 5 hours of video

Site Booster app

Visitor Analytics app

£75 Google Ads voucher

Sales analytics and reports

Business Unlimited£17/monthGrowing businesses

35GB storage

Upload up to 10 hours of video

Professional logo

Pro ecommerce features such as automated tax sales

14-day free trial£22/monthMedium to large businesses

50GB storage

Unlimited video hours

Priority response on the Wix Answers page

VIP support

Wix Ecommerce makes it really easy to build a successful brand online Try Wix Ecommerce Free

BigCommerce 4.4/5

Would suit your business if you want to scale to new heights

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

4.6

4.23.04.5

3.3

BigCommerce is big on built-in features. It has everything you need to grow your business already available at no extra cost – unlike the other platforms, such as Shopify, which rely on third-party apps.

We found BigCommerce’s multi-channel selling particularly impressive – enabling you to sell via social media and grow your audience with ease – and loved its SEO features, which can help your online store to appear high up on relevant search engine results pages. 

Again, unlike Shopify, there is no transaction fee to worry about, which can help you save enormously in the long run.

While it’s still the least user-friendly platform we've tested (scoring 3.3/5 for ease of use), BigCommerce is brilliant at helping you to manage your entire business processes, not just sell products.

Pros:

  • Excellent SEO features, including onsite prompts and hints when adding products
  • Widest choice of in-built features of any platform on the market
  • Multi-channel integration across social media
  • No transaction fees, unlike Shopify

X Cons:

  • Interface could be more user-friendly
  • Would be quite overwhelming at first for tech beginners
  • Relatively restrictive template design

BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers a generous 15-day free trial period, and three core price plans in USD, which we’ve converted to GBP:

Plan

Cost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Standard£22/monthStarting a small or medium-sized online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

Multichannel selling

Coupon creation

Reporting tools

Plus£59/monthGrowing your online store

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Customer loyalty programmes

Store credit card payment details

Pro£220/monthScaling your business to new heights

Filter products through size and colour variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google reviews

Big ambitions for your business? BigCommerce might be right for you Try BigCommerce Free

Square Online 4.4/5

Would suit your business if you want value for money

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

3.7

2.64.74.1

3.9

Square Online lets you build a website and sell for free. That's by far its biggest selling point. While it could massively improve its design flexibility (scoring a measly 2.6/5), and offer better reporting features, it's still one of the quickest and most affordable ways to build an online store.

We recommend Square Online for small online stores – it has all the essentials you need to start selling online for free, including multi-channel integration, and it doesn't overwhelm you with data fields like BigCommerce does.

The transaction fees are relatively high, and the overall layout could be more intuitive, but Square Online is an excellent no-frills approach to selling online.

Pros:

  • Ability to sell for free
  • No bells and whistles platform – simply the essentials
  • Easy to get your store up and running

X Cons:

  • High transaction fees which could impact growing businesses
  • Overall layout could be more logical
  • Restrictive design tools

Square Online pricing

Square Online has four price plans to choose from:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll getTransaction fees

Free

£0 per monthSell unlimited products

Instagram and Pinterest integration

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Professional£9 per monthUse your own domain name

No Square branding or ads

Free custom domain for one year

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European card

Performance

£19 per monthHave customer reviews on your site

Recover lost sales with abandoned cart emails

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European card

Premium£54 per monthSave with lower card transaction fees

1.75% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Square Online is the best value for money platform we've tested Try Square Free

Squarespace Ecommerce 4.3/5

Would suit your business if you want a stunning online store

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

3.1

3.94.24.2

4.2

Squarespace is the best website builder that offers ecommerce functionality on the side, impressing us with its intuitive inventory management, visual marketing approach, and improved ease of use going from a 3.4 to 4.2/5 score since our previous testing. In fact, it's now the easiest-to-use platform on our list.

It supports multi-channel selling, the ability to create and brand your Instagram story posts, and built-in social media live feeds on your website – something that costs extra on the other platforms. Squarespace has also increased the number of integrated payment processers from two to five.

Space for improvement? Sure. It has limited stock monitoring capabilities and a relatively poor site speed performance, meaning you risk your customers waiting for some pages to load. For a platform focussed on design, we were disappointed to find a limited number of ecommerce-specific templates, too.

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Easiest platform to build an online store with, providing prompts to support your experience
  • Real focus on visual marketing, helping you build more than a website

X Cons:

  • Relatively limited stock monitoring functions
  • Poor site speed performance
  • Very limited ecommerce-specific templates to choose from

Squarespace pricing

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial period and has two ecommerce-specific price plans to choose from. Also, don't forget you can save 10% on Squarespace by using code EM10 at the checkout.

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Basic Commerce£20/monthSMBs looking to sell online

Point of Sale app to help you sell in person

Sell on Instagram

Limited availability labels

0% transaction fees

Advanced Commerce£30/monthMedium-sized ecommerce businesses

Abandoned cart recovery

Sell subscriptions

Advanced shipping features (including a real-time cost calculator)

Squarespace can help you design a store that really stands out from the competition Try Squarespace Free

The 4 best website builders

From our independent research, we know that the best website builders are:

Website builderStarting price (billed annually)Free plan/trial?Best forOverall rating /5
Wix£6.50/monthFree planBest overall website builder4.8
Squarespace£10/month

10% off with code EM10

14-day free trialBest templates4.8
GoDaddy£6.99/month30-day free trialFastest to build a website4.2
Weebly£4/monthFree planBest value for money3.9

Wix 4.8/5

Would suit your business if you want a website built quickly

With over 154 million users in 190 different countries, Wix enables you to build a professional-looking website within a matter of hours, offering 510+ templates and intuitive drag-and-drop design tools. 

Better yet, Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) can generate a brand new website for you in minutes, after you’ve answered a few questions about the type of site you want.

On the downside, Wix doesn’t allow you to switch templates once you publish your website, which can be quite restrictive.

Pros:

  • Huge choice of templates to help you design the website you want
  • Best website builder for help and support
  • Wix ADI can build a website for you within minutes

X Cons:

  • Cannot switch templates after publishing your website
  • Adding apps can increase your monthly costs

Wix pricing

Wix has four plans that are designed for building non-ecommerce websites. Connect Domain is not a full premium plan – instead it simply allows you to add a custom domain name to your website. For Wix's premium features, you'll need to sign up to at least the Combo plan at £6.50 per month.

Wix also has a free plan, but it comes with Wix adverts on every page, plus a ‘.wix.com’ subdomain, which can make your site look unprofessional. For that reason, we’d recommend the premium plans for building your business website:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Connect Domain£3.50/monthVery basic websites

1GB bandwidth

500MB storage

Connect your own domain name

Combo£6.50/monthPersonal use

2GB bandwidth

3GB storage

Remove Wix ads

Free domain for one year

£75 Google Ads voucher

Unlimited (most popular)£9.50/monthEntrepreneurs and Freelancers

Unlimited bandwidth

10GB storage

Site Booster app (worth £45)

Visitor Analytics app (worth £45)

VIP£19/monthSmall to medium businesses

20GB storage

Professional logo designed for you (worth £38)

VIP support

Wix is the best overall website builder on the market Try Wix Today

Squarespace 4.8/5

Would suit your business if you want a beautiful website

The best website builder for design, using Squarespace is the closest you’ll get to professional web designer quality. It offers the best-designed templates on the market, and powerful design tools.

Due to this creative complexity, Squarespace is harder to use than Wix. If you struggle with tech or have little interest in spending hours – or days – designing your website, then you should try Wix or Weebly instead.

That said, you’ll end up with a beautiful website if you stick it out with Squarespace.

Pros:

  • Best-designed templates of any website builder
  • Offers lots of creative control through powerful design tools
  • Mobile app to help you get creative on the go

X Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve than on Wix
  • No auto-save feature while editing your website

Squarepsace pricing

Squarepace offers a 14-day free trial, and has two website builder plans to choose from:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Personal£10/monthPersonal use

Free custom domain

Unlimited bandwidth and storage

24/7 customer support

Business£15/monthSmall businesses

Professional Google account

Up to £75 Google Ads credit

Sell unlimited number of products

Sell gift cards

3% transaction fee

Remember that Expert Market readers can save 10% on Squarespace by using code EM10 at the checkout.

Squarespace has the best design tools to help your website shine online Try Squarespace Today

GoDaddy 4.2/5

Would suit your business if you want to get online quickly

GoDaddy is a solid all-round choice for small businesses. It's user-friendly thanks to its ADI feature (artificial design intelligence) and has since improved its design functionality by offering sleeker templates and greater customisation. It's also the quickest and most efficient website building experience.

However, the ADI feature sacrifices originality for time. This means your store will get built within a few minutes but risks looking just like another GoDaddy product.

We were also impressed by GoDaddy's SEO Wiz, helping you optimise your website in order to appear higher in the search engine results pages. All in all, GoDaddy's a safe pair of hands.

Pros:

  • Quickest and most efficient way to build a website
  • Excellent SEO features to increase your site's visibility on search engines
  • Generous free trial period of 30 days

X Cons:

  • Your site risks looking generic due to the ADI function
  • Restrictive design interface

GoDaddy pricing

PlanCostBest forWhat you’ll get

Basic

£6.99/monthPersonal use

Security

24/7 support

Analytics

100 email marketing sends/month

1 social media platform

5 social posts/month

One-time appointments

Standard

£9.99/monthSmall businesses

Everything on Basic, plus:

SEO support

3 social media platforms

20 social posts/month

500 email marketing sends/month

Premium

£14.99/monthGrowing businesses

Everything on Standard, plus:

Unlimited social media platforms

Unlimited social posts/month

Unlimited email marketing sends/month

Recurring appointments

Email and text appointment reminders

GoDaddy is the quickest and most efficient route to building a website Try GoDaddy Today

Weebly 3.9/5

Would suit your business if you want value for money

Weebly is another popular drag-and-drop website builder, meaning you can place elements wherever you like on each page. 

It offers affordable price plans and plenty of apps to help you grow your business, as well as strong SEO features to help your website appear higher up on the search engine results pages, making Weebly great value for money.

It can’t match Wix for creative freedom, and it doesn’t have an ADI option. Also, Weebly’s templates are less impressive than those offered by Squarespace, but it’s a good option for small business owners who don’t have much technical skill.

Pros:

  • Really useful SEO guides and tips
  • Large app market to help you bolster your site
  • Best value for money website builder

X Cons:

  • Lacks the creative freedom found on Wix
  • No ADI feature
  • No personal restore option (the support team will have to restore your site for you)

Weebly pricing

Weebly has three website builder plans to choose from. Like Wix, it has a free plan, but that comes with Weebly adverts on each page, which can make your site look amateurish. We recommend signing up to one of these price plans:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Connect£4/monthPersonal sites

Free SSL security

500MB storage

Connect a custom domain

Chat and email support

Pro£9/monthGroups and organisations

Unlimited storage

Remove Weebly ads

Site search bar

Accept payments

Phone support

£75 Google Ads credit

Business£18/monthSmall businesses and stores

Coupon codes

Shipping cost calculator

Automatic tax calculator

Pop-up notifications

Weebly offers superb value for money and can help your business grow online Try Weebly Today

Expert verdict

The best ecommerce platforms are Shopify and Wix Ecommerce, scoring 4.7/5 and 4.6/5, respectively overall in our testing. Shopify is the all-in-one ecommerce solution, ideal for almost any online store, while Wix Ecommerce is the more user-friendly platform, making it easy to build a smaller, brand-focussed online store.

The best ‘generic' website builders are Wix and Squarespace, both scoring an impressive 4.8/5. Wix is ideal for creating professional-looking websites with consummate ease, while Squarespace offers sleek templates and superb design features.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The Best Ecommerce Platforms 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 17 November 2021

We thoroughly tested a range of ecommerce platforms, using our findings to create a final list of nine…


During our extensive period of research, we critically evaluated each platform in different areas such as sales tools, website features, value for money, help and support, design functionality, and ease of use.

Based on those findings, we created unique overall ratings out of five. Check out our comparison table below to see the scores…

Before you read on – don't forget you can save 10% on Squarespace by using code EM10 at the checkout.

Ecommerce platform comparison table 2021

Ecommerce platformBest forOverall rating /5Starting price planFree trial/plan?Visit website
Shopify logoSales-specific features4.7£22/month14-day free trialTry Shopify
Wix logoUser-friendliness4.6£13/month14-day free trialTry Wix Ecommerce
Bigcommerce logoScaling your business4.4£22/month15-day free trialTry BigCommerce
Square Online logoValue for money4.4£0/monthFree planTry Square Online
 

Squarespace logo

 

Designing your brand4.3£20/month14-day free trialTry Squarespace Ecommerce

(Save 10% with code EM10)

woocommerce logoDoing everything on your own3.8*Custom pricingFree to install 

Try WooCommerce (powered by Bluehost)

americommerce logoMedium-sized B2B businesses3.5£18/month14-day free trialTry AmeriCommerce
pinnaclecart logoDrop shipping services3.2£58/month14-day free trialTry PinnacleCart
*WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin (like an app) that adds ecommerce functions to your WordPress website. It’s free to install, but you’ll need to pay for things like web hosting (we recommend Bluehost, at approx. £14 per month), a domain name (approx. £10 per year), security (approx. £8 per year), themes (£0 to £100+), and other plugins (£0 to £300+per year).

What are ecommerce platforms?

Ecommerce platforms are online tools designed specifically to help you create online stores, without needing to use any code. They have everything you need to take payments, sell products, and grow your brand all in one place, offering monthly price plans that typically range from £13 per month to £200+ per month.

The right plan for you will generally depend on the size of your business, and the number of features you need.

Why use ecommerce platforms?

Using an ecommerce platform is an easy and affordable way to create a professional-looking online store. Rather than researching for a web designer and spending thousands on web designer fees, you can create your own ecommerce website within a few hours, for as little as £13 per month.

Some ecommerce platforms even offer free plans, enabling you to build an online presence for your business at no initial cost. If there’s no free plan on a particular platform, you’ll likely find a free trial period so that you can test the entire software without spending a penny.

What’s more, most platforms are really intuitive, turning the complex world of web design into a breeze, while providing 24/7 customer support to help keep your online store running smoothly.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

Mitrefinch Time and Attendance System Review

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 8 April 2020

Mitrefinch’s impressive solution can revolutionise the way a business operates… but is it right for you?


Mitrefinch logo
Mitrefinch review

Pros:

  • Software is intuitive and easy to use
  • Offers a range of employee self-service features
  • Dependable biometric and proximity clocking-in terminals
  • GDPR compliant
  • Excellent customer reviews
  • Highly rated customer support

X Cons:

  • Doesn’t advertise its rates transparently
  • Not as customisable as other time and attendance systems we’ve reviewed
  • No facial recognition clocking-in terminals
At a glance: Mitrefinch backs up its impressive set of time and attendance hardware with slick software, and has the customer support (and testimonials) to match.

Wasted time in the workplace costs British businesses around £80 billion annually. Add to this the £144 billion our private sector companies are losing every year through fraud, and it starts to paint a pretty bleak picture.

Whether it’s absences, latenesses, or employees punching out early, it all eats into your bottom line. And, as your business grows, it can become increasingly tough to spot the little things – say, an employee adding a few extra minutes to a timesheet – before they become big things, such as a corrosive culture of ‘buddy punching’.

So what’s the solution? And where does Mitrefinch’s time and attendance system come in?

Let’s take a look.

Mitrefinch: quick timeline

  • Founded in 1979
  • Invented the world’s first time and attendance system in the 1980s
  • Branched out into the US and Australia in the 1990s
  • Followed suit with a move into New Zealand and Canada in the 2000s
  • Acquired Advanced Systems America in 2018

What does Mitrefinch do?

Mitrefinch offers a suite of workforce management tools, helping you to streamline your business’ operations and drive productivity in the workplace. As well as software for payroll and HR management, Mitrefinch’s access control allows you to rest easy, knowing that your premises are protected. 

Basically, Mitrefinch does a lot.

What we’re mainly interested in, though, is Mitrefinch’s time and attendance system. Comprising both hardware (a clocking-in device to record when your employees arrive and leave the building) and software (to manage hours, shift patterns, absences, and sick pay), it’s a simpler way of keeping costs low, and productivity high.

Time and attendance systems are an excellent investment for any business grappling with the complexities of staff and timesheet management. They can also help stamp out buddy punching, while allowing you to reward your most hard-working, punctual employees.

But is Mitrefinch’s time and attendance system right for your business? Or would you be better served by another provider, such as Bodet or Safescan

Let’s take a look.


What are Mitrefinch’s features and benefits?

Mitrefinch fingerprint clocking in terminal

Biometrics to barcodes

Whether it’s for securing your premises or keeping track of staff arrivals and exits, Mitrefinch’s hardware is powered by top class technology. Mitrefinch’s RFID (radio-frequency identification) terminals offer no-frills, proximity clocking-in, while its biometric devices (pictured) allow your employees to punch in with just a fingerprint.

Mitrefinch doesn’t offer facial recognition terminals just yet, but we reckon it’s just a matter of time – so watch this space!

Simpler software

mitrefinch time and attendance system software

Of course, clocking in is about more than just the devices. Behind all good hardware, you'll find even better software.

Take Mitrefinch’s, for example. Its drag-and-drop absence planning functionality makes it easier to organise your rota, while its colour-coded calendar display (pictured) livens up a dull chore with a splash of vibrancy.

Employee self-service

And it’s not just you that stands to benefit from Mitrefinch’s slick, savvy software – your employees will, too.

Your staff will be able to access an online self-service portal, within which they can manage their own time off, and view the latest version of the rota. As well as empowering your team to take their schedule into their own hands, this also saves you time and resources – not to mention the hassle of handling ad hoc holiday requests, too.

Real-time reporting

Mitrefinch’s powerful backend software provides all the info you need to understand your workforce. You can analyse absence trends and productivity output from your phone, and generate Bradford Factor reports at the touch of a button.

GDPR compliant

Understanding the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is difficult enough – let alone complying with it! Fortunately, then, Mitrefinch can help with just that. By centralising and deleting your records as necessary, Mitrefinch ensures you stay fully GDPR compliant.

Better still, Mitrefinch’s impressive software provides alerts if it looks like any of your employees may be on track to exceed their legal working hours limit. This helps you steer clear of any fines and penalties, and avoid putting too much pressure on your hardest workers (poor, overworked Bob).

Mitrefinch interface on devices

Mitrefinch’s dashboard helps you stay compliant, in more ways than one


Fully flexible

It’s easy to see why time and attendance software goes hand in hand with payroll. Data from your clocking-in device goes straight to your computer, where you can use it to inform your payroll records. This reduces human error, and helps verify the hours you’re paying your staff for.

Mitrefinch makes all this even simpler. As well as a complete time and attendance system, Mitrefinch also offers its own payroll solution – allowing you to manage both attendance and pay from a single, intuitive application

If you’re happy with your current payroll provider, though, you’re under no obligation to switch. Mitrefinch’s versatile time and attendance software promises to integrate with your existing payroll solution, slotting seamlessly into your existing processes.

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1. Do you already use a time and attendance system? YES NO

How much does Mitrefinch cost?

Like most of the big time and attendance system suppliers, Mitrefinch offers bespoke pricing. What you’ll pay will depend on the size of your business and premises, the amount of staff you employ, and the unique demands of your industry

Your total bill will also depend on which of Mitrefinch’s added services you’ll require. Sure, a time and attendance system is vital, but will you also want to safeguard your premises with an access control system? Or would you prefer to wrap up your HR, payroll, and workforce management needs under the convenience of a sole supplier?

Your costs will also be defined by whether you choose to buy or lease the clocking-in terminals. You’ll also be eligible for a monthly rental fee for the software (Mitrefinch’s system is SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, and can only be leased), and potentially any further costs for machine rental or maintenance.

The bottom line, then, is that Mitrefinch doesn’t provide rates openly on its website.

It’s frustrating, sure – but that’s where we come in handy. Answer a few quick questions (it takes less than a minute, we promise) and you’ll receive tailored quotes from leading time and attendance system suppliers… Mitrefinch included.

We’ll take into account your workforce’s size, your industry, and how soon you’re looking to get your system installed. We’ll also ask for your postcode, so we can match you only with the best suppliers in your neck of the woods.


Is Mitrefinch right for my business?

“I need a clocking-in device for a building site”

Situating a clocking-in device in a workplace that’s exposed to the elements can be tough. This is especially true on construction sites – where builders are regularly clocking in and out for lunch breaks with dirty hands – or in greasy environments, such as kitchens.
Mitrefinch MF8960
It’s for these purposes that Mitrefinch’s MF8/960 fingerprint clocking-in device (pictured) utilises multi-spectral imaging technology. Mitrefinch’s terminals read the unique biometric data from beneath the skin’s surface, mitigating the effects of damp conditions – such as in a spa or rainy outdoor area – and of any dirt that’s accumulated on your employees' hands.

“I want to manage my staff remotely. Can I do that?”

Absolutely. Mitrefinch’s time and attendance system software offers cloud-based deployment, which allows you to view and edit information in real-time. This includes keeping tabs on live clock-ins, and viewing any changes to the rota as they unfold.

“I’m looking for an on-premise time and attendance system”

And fair enough, too – on-premise deployment is still one of the best ways to retain ultimate control over your system. As well as gaining customisability and more control over your data security (not to mention unfettered flexibility), you’ll have Mitrefinch’s team of specialists on hand to walk you through setup, and assist with maintenance. 

Get in touch with Mitrefinch to discuss its on-premise time and attendance system, or what a hybrid solution could do for your business.

Or, if you’re ready to receive bespoke time and attendance quotes for your business, click one of the buttons below.

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What do Mitrefinch’s customer reviews say?

By and large, Mitrefinch picks up pretty positive reviews across the board. It boasts a laudable rating of 4.5/5 on Trustpilot, plus solid scores on review aggregators such as Software Advice (4.04/5) and Featured Customers (4.7/5).

So what’s Mitrefinch doing well? Most things, it seems – but where it really excels is in its customer service:

“Support is generally spot on. The guys on there really go out of their way to solve your query/problem and help you as much as they can to provide a solution. Response times are generally very good too.”

  • Stuart, Mitrefinch customer

“I recently contacted Mitrefinch’s support team via email, to help me make some system amendments. I got a response almost instantly, and a resolution to my query within the hour. The instructions I received were really easy to follow, and I was able to make the amendments without any issue.”

  • Paula, Mitrefinch customer

“We have always found Mitrefinch support to be very helpful and quick to respond to any issues. And the support portal is extremely useful when keeping track of open and closed tickets. Fully recommend this system.”

  • Liam, Mitrefinch customer

Negative feedback about Mitrefinch is in short supply. Some of those that did review Mitrefinch in a less favourable light focussed more on the product itself, rather than the customer service:

“Mitrefinch as a system is fantastic, and has significantly reduced our admin time. However, the system is not fully customisable, as was stated in our initial meeting. That said, the customer support that I have received from Mitrefinch has been efficient and pragmatic, and they have managed to solve the majority of my queries.”

  • Michaela, Mitrefinch customer

Others were more ambivalent…

“If I could have given three and a half stars, I would. Initially, we had a lot of teething issues with the system and support, and it’s taken the better part of two years to get the system to where we want it to be. That said, the self-service holiday booking system has really streamlined our processes and saved staff time.

“Our manual timesheets have now been eradicated thanks to the ‘clocks', and Mitrefinch’s system is easy to use and navigate. We also have [Mitrefinch’s payroll solution] Flexipay, which works well. Overall I wouldn't say it's been a great experience, but it certainly hasn't been a bad one. [Mitrefinch’s] implementers are extremely good at their job, and very knowledgeable too.”

  • Keiran, Mitrefinch customer

By now, you’ve probably formed your own opinion of Mitrefinch. Read on to hear ours.

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Expert verdict

The right time and attendance system has the power to drastically reduce the time you spend on admin. It’ll also remove most opportunities for fraud and improve punctuality, while empowering your staff to take calendar management into their own hands. It’s fair to say, then, that choosing a supplier is quite an important decision.

And we believe that choosing Mitrefinch is the right one. 

Mitrefinch isn’t only a time and attendance system – it can be your HR, payroll, and access control solution, too, should you need it to be. The full package, so to speak – complete with all the components you need to cut your workload in half, and free up time to grow your business.

Oh, and Mitrefinch’s products are all backed up by prompt, personable customer service.

Sure, it’s not the most customisable solution out there. And annoyingly, it doesn’t advertise rates openly – so we can’t tell you exactly what you can expect to pay.

That’s why it’s key to shop around a bit before you make a selection. Answer a couple of quick questions about your business, and the type of time and attendance system you’re interested in. We’ll match you with one or more leading time and attendance system suppliers, who’ll provide you with quotes tailored to the size of your business and workforce.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

The 10 Best Security Cameras for UK Businesses in 2021

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 19 January 2021

Can you put a price on peace of mind? With the right business security camera, we think you can – and it’s as low as £17.99


Crime costs businesses money. In 2019 – which, thanks to COVID-19 disruption, is just about the most recent data we have in this area – theft alone cost UK businesses around £4.8 million. Taking into account the total financial impact of crime and crime prevention to retailers, that figure’s more like £1.9 billion.

We could go on all day, but why scaremonger? You don’t need a bunch of statistics to tell you that protecting your business is important.

And the best business security cameras don’t just serve as a deterrent to burglars, thieves, and vandals. They come with big insurance benefits too, and can be vital when it comes to prosecuting offenders in court.

But not all cameras are created equal.

Whether you’re looking for a basic, budget-friendly camera ideal for a small shop, or a more comprehensive multi-camera (and multi-directional!) setup, it’s all here.

So read on, as we review our top 10 favourite commercial security cameras for 2021. We’ve broken down top features, pros and cons, and pricing – basically, everything you need to choose the right tech for your business.

Lights, camera…


1. Verisure Cloud Cam Pro

Best integrated business security camera solution

Topping our list is Verisure’s Cloud Cam Pro. Billed by the company as the ‘brave new world’ of security cameras, it’s a clever, compact device (though Huxley himself probably wouldn’t have been a fan).

Nevertheless, the Cloud Cam Pro does offer a whole new world of benefits – mainly real-time, HD footage, streamed straight to your smartphone or tablet. Verisure is also one of the only security camera suppliers listed here to offer 24/7 technical support – plus a lifetime warranty to boot.

Yet it’s not these features alone – or even the camera in and of itself – that makes Verisure worth your investment. The Cloud Cam Pro’s real value lies in its synergy with Verisure’s array of innovative security products.

The Cloud Cam Pro works best when it’s alongside the sirens, access controllers, and panic buttons that make up the rest of Verisure’s complete security package. You can combine your camera with devices that detect smoke, light, and shock, as well as when there’s been a breach of your business’s perimeter.

To find out more about the company’s range of business security services, head to our Verisure review.

Verisure Cloud Cam Pro features

  • 5m night vision
  • 1080p full HD
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Bespoke pricing

Verisure Cloud Cam Pro pricing

Verisure’s bespoke packages take into account your business’ size, budget, and unique business security needs. For an accurate quote on what the Cloud Cam Pro will cost you, contact Verisure directly. Or…

Or, you can use our free, quote-finding questionnaire to start comparing rates from leading business security camera systems, today. Here’s how it works.

Simply provide us with a few details about the type of security setup your business is looking to implement – whether that’s cameras alone, or alarms and access control, too – plus a bit of info about how soon you’ll need the system installed.

When that’s done, we’ll look to match you with one or more suppliers that fit your needs. If there’s a good fit, those providers will be in touch with you directly, to offer tailored, no-obligation security camera quotes and advice. Easy!

Pros:

  • Capable of both continuous and manual recording
  • Round-the-clock customer support
  • HD video
  • Aesthetically pleasant design will look good on your premises

X Cons:

  • Its night vision only sees up to (a relatively paltry) five metres

2. Arlo Ultra

Best wireless security camera for small businesses

Wires, while often necessary, are rarely convenient – particularly when it comes to hooking up your camera in awkward places. That’s just why we love the Arlo Ultra – our top wireless security camera pick for small businesses.

High definition video. A powerful, motion-activated spotlight. Colour night vision. What’s not to like? The Ultra also comes with a whopping six-month battery life, meaning you can forget about the stress of having to charge it regularly – just as you can forget about the hassle of those pesky wires!

The camera’s also packed with plenty of additional features. Advanced zoom allows you to pick up licence plates, words, and logos in detail, while its ‘advanced dewarping’ functionality provides clearer images – removing the awful ‘fisheye’ distortion that plagues so many cameras.

Arlo Ultra features

  • Both 1080p and 4K ultra high definition video quality available
  • 180° field of view
  • Colour night vision
  • Two-way audio, with noise-cancelling technology
  • Auto-focus and zoom
  • Amazon Alexa and Apple Homekit compatible
  • Works with a security light

Arlo Ultra pricing

For a single-camera setup with 1080p high definition video, you’ll pay as little as £238. That’s if you select DIY setup, though – professional installation will cost an extra £120. For a multi-camera system, or for 4K video, you’ll pay extra.

Here’s a quick table we knocked together to give you an idea of how much your personalised Arlo Ultra business security camera system will cost you. Click the links to view each product on Amazon, and – if you’d like – shop your favourite.

1080p4K
One-camera system£238£389.35
Two-camera system£449£549.95
Three-camera system£415.26£684
Four-camera system£679£857

At £415.26, a three-camera system clearly represents the best value, as well as some of the widest coverage – so it’s ideal if you operate a large premises. Three and four camera Arlo Ultra setups cost an extra £180 each for professional installation.

Pros:

  • Works with multiple different virtual assistants
  • Intelligent noise-cancelling technology helps you get the best out of the two-way audio function
  • Herculean battery life

X Cons:

  • It’s one of the more expensive cameras on our list, although the three-camera setup offers excellent value for money
  • Installation costs extra

3. D-Link DCS 9500T

Best camera for securing your workplace against COVID-19

The D-Link DCS 9500T offers a security camera that’s, shall we say… a little different. Marrying artificial intelligence with thermal imaging technology, this model allows you to screen your staff for cases of elevated temperature. With most UK companies still navigating the challenge of returning to the office amid a pandemic that continues to rage out of control, the DCS 9500T might be just what your business needs to adapt.

And if thermal imaging wasn’t enough for you, don’t fret – the most impressive camera in D-Link’s highly regarded repertoire wears several more hats.

It doubles as a kind of facial recognition attendance tool, enabling you to directly identify staff suffering from a fever, and intervene accordingly. You can also integrate it with your building’s access control system, allowing you to control the flow of your employees during times of restrictions.

If a truly pandemic-proof business security camera does indeed exist, this is it.

D-Link DCS 9500T features

  • Includes thermographic camera and blackbody calibrator
  • Digital I/O (input/output) alarm
  • 17 colour image modes
  • Screens up to 45 images per second
  • Stores a library of up to 10,000 facial images
  • 35° horizontal field of vision

D-Link DCS 9500T pricing

D-Link doesn’t advertise its rates for this camera online, and we think that’s because the DCS 9500T is a bespoke offering. It’ll need to be configured to the specific demands of your business and location, so it’ll be best to enquire directly with the company for a quote.

That said, this camera is a complete setup for thermal and facial recognition, which puts it in a different league to the rest of the cameras here. In other words, it won’t come cheap, and one retailer online has the DCS 9500T in the region of £12,765.99 (excl. VAT). Small businesses, avoid!

D-Link also offers a range of business security cameras that are far more wallet-friendly (but naturally much lighter on features) than this one. The DCS-932L (£17.99), DCS-4602EV (£89.99), and DCS-8600LH (£177.70) are our favourites.

Pros:

  • The camera screens up to 45 facial images per second…
  • ... and can store up to 10,000 of them!
  • Includes a free wall-mounted bracket
  • Medical-grade accuracy

X Cons:

  • Suitable for indoor usage only
  • Limited field of vision

4. Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera

Best business security camera for virtual assistant compatibility

“Hey, Google. Show me what’s happening at my office”. With the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera – which also sports integration with IFTTT (If This Then That), plus virtual assistants from Amazon and Apple – those few words are all you’ll need to utter to start streaming real-time footage, straight from your business’s premises to your smartphone or tablet.

And when Netatmo says smart, it means it. The camera can easily differentiate between people, animals, and vehicles, and will ignore harmless movements. Better still, you can customise the notifications you receive – so your phone won’t be blowing up every time a dog decides to cross the street.

Looks-wise, Netatmo’s smart camera balances durability and design, with a sleek – yet robust – build.

It’s well-equipped to handle the elements, too, and will look good regardless of where you place it at your business’s premises. With a build that’s more reminiscent of one of Bose’s premium offerings than a typical business security camera, the Netatmo is sure to be music to your business’s ears.

Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera features

  • 1080p high definition resolution
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant, and IFTTT technology
  • 15m infrared night vision
  • 8x digital zoom
  • Integrated smart floodlighting
  • 300° field of vision

Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera pricing

This Netatmo model retails online for £249.99, although it’s currently reduced on some sites to as little as £169.98.

Unlike with most other smart cameras (or, in fact, with any other Software-as-a-Service companies), Netatmo doesn’t charge ongoing subscription fees. You’ll just pay a single, one-time fee to purchase the camera itself.

While this is good, we’ve found that this cost-saving benefit comes with a catch – namely, Netatmo’s limited customer support. There are some online resources, and you can email the team. But if requiring phone support (or even a basic live chat service) is a sticking point for you, look elsewhere (or keep scrolling!).

Pros:

  • No subscription fees
  • Decent customer reviews online
  • Free app works with iPhones and iPads – you’ll just need iOS 10 or above
  • Mounting kit and microSD card are both included

X Cons:

  • No phone-based or live chat support available

5. Foscam FI9926P

Best security camera for small businesses

Well-suited to smaller offices with more moderate security needs, Foscam’s single-camera FI9926P is a reliable, no-frills choice. Sure, it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel for features (no thermal imaging here), but what it does, it does well. Night vision, two-way audio, privacy mode, and crystal clear video quality are all included as standard.

For the price, the camera is impressively dynamic, too. You’ll get a 300° horizontal field of vision, while the FI9926P’s 100° tilt provides a wide vertical angle, too. Foscam’s app is free, and as customisable as you need it to be. You can also set up real-time alerts for your smartphone, and choose from a range of flexible data storage options.

Thankfully, installation is a breeze, too. You can DIY the setup in just three simple steps, via Foscam’s surprisingly slick mobile app. Your box comes with a quick start guide, Ethernet cable, and all the equipment you need to get your camera wall-mounted.

Foscam FI9926P features

  • 1080p high definition
  • 4x optical zoom
  • 300° pan, 100° tilt
  • Two-way audio
  • Dual-band
  • Privacy mode
  • 10m night vision

Foscam FI9926P pricing

The Foscam FI9926P retails for just £99.99 online, making it one of the most budget-friendly business security cameras on our list.

Pros:

  • Cheap as chips!
  • Two-way audio equipped
  • Simple installation
  • UK-based technical support

X Cons:

  • The zoom quality isn’t amazing

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6. Swann Wire-Free 1080p Security Camera

Best security camera for businesses on a shoestring budget

As far as low-cost business security camera options go, you can’t do much better than this what-you-see-is-what-you-get offering from Swann. Inheriting the colour and elegance of its (almost) namesake, Swann’s wireless, 1080p high definition camera is as easy on the eye as it is on your balance sheet.

Yet Swann’s style doesn’t mean it lacks substance – the camera backs up its durable, weatherproof build (and lengthy battery life) with all the features you’d expect from models double its price. We’re talking about a 180° viewing angle, two-way audio, and compatibility with Amazon and Google’s virtual assistants.

Swann also flaunts trademarked ‘TrueDetect’ technology, which employs a mix of heat, motion, and person detection to provide you with reliable alerts when there’s activity outside your business’s premises.

This camera is also notable for being the only one to include a facial recognition – yes, facial recognition – capability for so cheap. The camera can store up to ten faces, and trigger personalised push notifications when recognised faces arrive at your premises.

Swann Wire-Free 1080p Security Camera features

  • 1080p (it’s in the name, after all!)
  • Two-way audio
  • 180° field of vision
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Heat, motion, and person detection
  • Stores up to ten faces, with in-built facial recognition functionality
  • Free cloud recording and online data backup
  • Rain, snow, and heat-proof design

Swann Wire-Free 1080p Security Camera pricing

At just £89.99, the Swann Wire-Free 1080p Security Camera is the cheapest business security camera on our top 10 list.

For this reason, we’d most recommend Swann’s single-camera setup for smaller companies or solopreneurs.

Still, there’s no reason businesses with larger premises can’t also profit from Swann’s more extensive packages. For £294.98, you can grab Swann’s four-camera deal, which also includes a DVR (digital video recorder) – with a whopping 1TB hard drive, no less – for storing your footage.

Pros:

  • Free local and cloud storage included
  • Built to last
  • Facial recognition included

X Cons:

  • Swann’s mobile app lacks the intuitiveness of its competitors
  • Limited field of vision

7. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Most feature-rich business security camera

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor – one of the highlights of Google’s high-profile entry into the security camera space – lives up to its name. It’s smart, for one, and its 12x digital zoom and enhancement, algorithms which automatically track movement, and stunning 4K picture resolution all help make it our top pick for intelligent features.

Sure – all that plain, unadulterated functionality means that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor doesn’t come cheap. But, with up to 15 metres of viewing range, a 360° field of vision, and a mic that comes with noise and echo suppression, you certainly get what you pay for.

You can also be sure that your video recordings stay safe. They’ll be stored in Google’s cloud, protected by a combination of AES 128-bit encryption, two-step verification, and one of the most secure connections on the internet.

As far as installation goes, you can do it yourself, or have a Nest professional come do it for you.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor features

  • 360° field of vision
  • 15m viewing distance
  • 2×2 MIMO chip aids wifi connectivity
  • Infrared LEDs enable night vision
  • 12x digital zoom
  • 4K image resolution

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor pricing

Google’s Nest Cam IQ Outdoor costs £329. You’ll also be eligible for a £5 per month subscription fee, although this covers all the cameras at your business. Flexible payment options are available.

For a cheaper alternative that still bears the Google Nest mark of quality, you can opt for the slightly more basic version of the IQ. Available for just £135, the Nest Cam Outdoor doesn’t quite boast the same high-spec feature list as its big brother, but it should still suit small or budget-bound businesses just fine.

Pros:

  • Weatherproof and completely tamper-resistant
  • View snapshots from the previous three hours for free
  • You can choose between either event-based or continuous recording

X Cons:

  • Though it’s billed as an outdoor camera, it’ll still require an indoor power outlet to function

8. Axis P3719-PLE Network Camera

Best multi-directional business security camera

Ideal for a large interior office space, the Axis P3719-PLE is our top multi-directional business security camera pick. Sure, it’s at the pricier end of the spectrum – but, with a 360° viewing field of vision and zero blind spots, you’re actually getting four cameras in one. We could throw some more acronyms at you to describe the P3719-PLE’s fancy feature roster – IR, HD, LED, and so on – but the camera’s name alone is confusing enough. Just rest easy knowing the camera is shock and weather resistant, and that its extensive tilt and pan range means you’ll never miss a thing.

We’ll say it again – this camera isn’t cheap. If you’re looking for a cut-price security solution that’ll be effective in the short-term, opt for something from Swann or Foscam – not this one.

But – and there’s a big but – the Axis P3719-PLE will save you money in the long run. 

Like we said, it’s four cameras in one – one installation, one licence fee, one IP address, one cable… but four cameras! If you’re happy with the greater initial outlay, and just want the best multi-directional security camera a business can buy, this is the one to pick.

Axis P3719-PLE Network Camera features

  • 1440p video resolution
  • 30fps (frames-per-second) frame rate
  • 15m infrared night vision
  • 100° angle of rotation
  • 1024MB ROM capacity
  • 512MB Flash memory

Axis P3719-PLE Network Camera pricing

This camera is available to purchase online for £1,485.63 (+£50 shipping). That makes it one of the most expensive business security cameras on the market, up there with the Panasonic and Sony models still to come (though still nowhere in the region of that D-Link thermal imaging setup, don’t worry!).

Pros:

  • Comes with a five-year warranty…
  • …and a 30-day refund if you’re not happy
  • Trustworthy brand
  • Simple ceiling placement

X Cons:

  • Its steep price point will alienate tighter budgets

9. Panasonic WV-S6130

Most dynamic security camera for businesses

One of the most recognisable names in electronics (full stop!), Panasonic – unsurprisingly – produces one of the most versatile, high-quality lines of business security cameras out there. This one’s our favourite.

Dynamic and reactive, the WV-S6130 automatically adjusts to movement or changes, helping keep distortion and blurring – not to mention your bandwidth – to a minimum. It also shoots in colour at night, in full 1080p HD, with a silky pan/tilt movement for maximum coverage.

Panasonic WV-S6130 features

  • 60fps frame rate
  • 1080p screen resolution
  • Colour night vision
  • End-to-end system encryption
  • 350° panning range

Panasonic WV-S6130 pricing

The WV-S6130 currently retails online for £1,411.11 (excl. VAT).

Pros:

  • Impressive panning range provides an almost complete field of vision
  • Crystal clear, distortion-free image clarity

X Cons:

  • Brackets for ceiling or wall mounting aren’t included
  • Setting it up yourself can be a headache – we’d recommend insisting on professional installation!

10. Sony SNC-VB642D

Best business security camera for night vision

Could we have Panasonic here without its greatest rival Sony? Of course not. Still, regardless of the big brand name that precedes it, the (inhales) SNC-VB642D is forward-thinking and feature-rich enough to make this list on its own merits.

Forgetting for a second about the price point (which sits with the Panasonic, Axis, and D-Link models at the pointier end of the scale), the SNC-VB642D still offers plenty of value for money. The camera counts image stabilisation, advanced infrared technology, and high frame rate recording among its impressive span of services. And, with its durable, weather-resistant casing and classic ‘bullet’ design, you know the SNC-VB642D means business.

Oh, and there’s no escaping a review of this jewel in the crown of Sony’s V-Series without mentioning what we reckon is its finest feature – its night vision.

This camera can pick out objects in pitch darkness at an incredible distance of 100 metres away. ‘Nuff said!

Sony SNC-VB642D features

  • 60fps frame rate
  • 100m night vision
  • 6° to 105.3° horizontal viewing angle
  • 1° to 56.9° vertical viewing angle
  • Android and iOS compatible
  • In-built motion and facial detection
  • 12x total zoom ratio

Sony SNC-VB642D pricing

You can get your hands on this one for £1,361.25. That puts the SNC-VB642D in the ballpark of business security cameras from Panasonic and Axis, but means it's far more expensive than those from Netatmo, Arlo, and Google Nest.

Pros:

  • Vandal-resistant
  • PoE (Power over Ethernet) allows you to save on cable costs and space
  • Adjustable sunshade protects the camera’s lens from wear and tear
  • Shipping is included

X Cons:

  • It’s on the expensive side

Next steps

Still not sure which business security camera is right for the specific needs of your premises? Let’s recap our top 10, and why they’re here:

  • Verisure Cloud Cam Pro: Our best integrated business security camera solution – use it with Verisure’s sharp set of alarm and access control tools for maximum results.
  • Arlo Ultra: An impressive wireless camera with a titanic battery life.
  • D-Link DCS 9500T: A comprehensive – yet budget-busting – thermal imaging and facial recognition setup, ideal for navigating the pandemic-induced uncertainties of 2021 and beyond.
  • Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera: A good-looking, low-cost security camera with excellent virtual assistant compatibility.
  • Foscam FI9926P: An affordable, no-frills security camera well-suited to surveilling small office spaces.
  • Swann Wire-Free 1080p Security Camera: Our top pick for value, with its bargain basement price point belying its eye-catching array of features.
  • Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: The most innovative camera we found for UK businesses. What more would you expect from Google?
  • Axis P3719-PLE Network Camera: On the pricey side, but justifiably so. It’s four cameras in one, after all!
  • Panasonic WV-S6130: A versatile, dynamic camera with a wide field of vision, although its larger price tag will mean it’s not for everyone.
  • Sony SNC-VB642D: A streamlined, bullet-shaped camera that can spot things up to 100 metres away – at night!

These cameras are our top 10, based on in-depth research and analysis. We’ve tried to choose cameras that reflect a range of business sizes and types, but we’re aware the above models may not necessarily represent the best choice for you.

Luckily, that’s where our free quote-finding questionnaire comes into its own.

It’s designed to match you with one or more business security camera suppliers – specifically, those that are best-placed to meet the unique needs of your team.

But first, we need to know exactly what those needs are. So hit the button below to start the process – it takes just 30 seconds, while you provide us with some basic info about your security requirements and installation timeframe.

End result? Tailored, no-obligation security camera quotes and advice, offered by real people. Happy researching!

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FAQs

Do you need permission to install a business security camera?

Yes. Before setting up your camera, you should register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

This is to help you identify and eliminate any potential risks to data protection before going ahead with installing your business’s new security camera.

Is security camera footage admissible in court?

Essentially, yes – footage from your business’ security camera is admissible in court, in the event that you decide to press charges against a vandal or thief. However, in order to constitute evidence, the video footage must comply with strict regulations. Let’s discuss.

What laws pertain to business security cameras in the UK, and how do I comply?

Wherever there are cameras, there is data. And wherever there is data, there is the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Introduced in 2018, the GDPR lays out a few broad principles that apply to many different aspects of data protection. Regarding business security camera footage, you can interpret the GDPR as follows:

Be transparent

You need to let people know they’re being recorded if they could be in your camera’s line of sight. For the public, you can achieve this with a simple sticker on your premises’ window, or with a basic sign.

You’ll also need to disclose to your employees if you’re filming them, which should be clearly explained in your privacy policy.

Restrict access to footage

It’s vital that only employees with the right permissions should be allowed access to your business’ security camera footage. Control the amount of logins your camera’s accompanying software allows, and double-check with your chosen provider that the requisite levels of encryption are in place.

Clearly state your reasons for filming

The GDPR requires that any business wishing to capture footage of individuals must clearly lay out its reasons for doing so. Wanting to spy on your employees isn’t enough; ensuring the safety of your staff and the public is.

Delete any video that you no longer need

The GDPR takes a firm stance against the possession of personal data after it’s no longer necessary. In most cases, this is 90 days, so it’s wise to ensure that you’re not holding onto footage past this point.

Businesses that fail to comply with GDPR law face severe fines. If you have doubts about your current process for handling data, or how installing a security camera might affect your business’s data protection efforts, seek legal assistance.

White security camera mounted on grey wall narrow

How much does a business security camera cost?

Business security cameras vary greatly in price. And, unsurprisingly, you usually get what you pay for.

The very cheapest you can expect to pay is about £17.99, for the D-Link DCS-932L. For better specs, features, and durability, you’ll of course need to invest a bit more, and we found most workable business security cameras tend to fall between £100 and £500 per unit.

Spending more than £1,000 will get you a premium security camera – the above models from Axis and Sony come to mind here – while, as we’ve seen, anything involving thermal imaging will be in the range of £10,000 or more.

What features should I look for in a business security camera?

Since you’ve made it this far, we’re guessing you already have a pretty good idea of the kind of functionality the right security cameras should offer. Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll need every feature under the sun, and it’s important to navigate an equilibrium between your business’s needs and its budget.

With that in mind, there’s a handful of core features we’d recommend to all businesses:

Two-way audio

This feature allows the camera to pick up noise from its surrounding environment, via an in-built microphone.

You’ll also be able to talk ‘through’ the camera, enabling communication between you and that lovely balaclava-clad rogue standing in your business’s car park.

Optical zoom

You don’t have to be an avid shutterbug to know what the ‘zoom’ function does. Less known, though, is the difference between digital zoom and its optical counterpart.

We won’t bore you with the details. Basically, digital zoom compromises image quality. As you zoom in, the centre of the image gets bigger, but at the expense of the outer edges of the image, which are cut away.

Optical zoom lenses don’t suffer from the same issue, and you’ll find that most professional cameras – including the best of the security variety – have one.

Along with the type of zoom lens, you should also be able to see in a camera’s specs what level of magnification it can achieve: the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, for instance, has a 12x digital zoom, while the Foscam FI9926P boasts 4x optical zoom.

The bottom line? Choose a camera with optical zoom for premium picture quality, along with a lens that offers at least 4x image enlargement.

Night vision distance

Okay, so almost every security camera worth its salt should be able to see in the dark. It’s made possible by infrared technology, the same tech that powers thermal imaging devices (like that snazzy D-Link model we saw earlier), and – for obvious reasons – is crucial for maximising the security of your premises.

However, what you need to look for isn’t just the night vision itself – it’s how far your camera can actually see in the dark. With some cameras, that’s as limited as five metres; with Sony’s SNC-VB642D, it’s as far as 100 metres. Certain cameras even offer colour night vision as an added bonus!

How do you install a security camera at your business’s premises?

Most business security camera providers will offer some kind of installation service, though in many cases this will cost you extra.

If this fee is one you’d prefer to avoid, you can set up your camera yourself. We don’t always recommend this, and the ease with which you can self-install will differ greatly between providers (and will have a lot to do with the cost and complexity of the camera).

Can I use a security camera intended for home use on my business’s premises?

Sure, why not? It can be a great cost-saver – particularly if you’re a small business, with a more modest amount of space to surveil.

That said, we wouldn’t recommend this approach for larger premises. Bigger companies will be better served by a more holistic security system – one that includes not only cameras, but alarms, sensors, and access control devices, too.

Verisure, ADT, and SECOM all supply packages of this nature. We’d recommend contacting them directly for rates, or utilising our free, 30-second quote-finding form to receive bespoke quotes from leading business security system providers.

A quick word about how we monetise our content…

Here at Expert Market, we’re supported by you guys – our readers. So, in the interest of transparency, we wanted to quickly explain the links you’ve probably noticed peppered throughout the content above.

Some of these links will take you directly to Amazon’s site, giving you the opportunity to view more information about a specific camera, and – if you choose – make a purchase there.

Other links will keep you on our site, and invite you to complete a short form. After learning more about your business’ specific requirements via these responses, we’ll match you with security system suppliers that fit those needs. These providers will then be in touch to offer quotes tailored to your business’s unique needs and installation timeframe.

Should you wish to make a purchase through any supplier we connect you with – or get quotes through us – we may receive a referral payment from the retailer. It’s kind of a ‘thank you’ for bringing the two of you together. We should also mention that we do our due diligence, and work only with reputable, reliable security camera suppliers, handpicked by our expert team.

The monetisation of Expert Market never affects the impartiality of our reviews and selections, and it never will. The links you see enable us to retain our editorial independence, retain the finest business and tech writers around, and – most importantly – keep our content free, forever. Hope you enjoyed!

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

SECOM Business Security Review 2021: Is it Right for Your Premises?

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 May 2021

You’ve seen its logo adorning everything from shop windows to residential alarms – but is SECOM’s flexible, forward-thinking approach to security right for the unique needs of your business?


secom logo

Pros:

  • Excellent Trustpilot rating
  • Alarms are backed by an expert response team available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Range of affordable pricing packages offers something for businesses of all sizes
  • Accredited by all the major relevant bodies
  • Offers temperature screening for the post-COVID-19 office environment

X Cons:

  • Some reviews suggest that the service can be slow, and appointments misscheduled
  • It may be difficult to get out of a contract
At a glance: SECOM already boasts strong technology and a commitment to innovation. But add in a wealth of superb customer reviews – plus a budget-friendly price point – and SECOM emerges as a safe selection for businesses of all shapes, sizes, and sectors.

What is SECOM?

SECOM is an industry-leading provider of security systems for business and homes across the UK.

With three decades of experience – and roots stretching back over 100 years – SECOM is a dependable, dynamic supplier of a range of forward-thinking security solutions.

But what can SECOM offer your business? Let’s explore.

Alternatively, if you don’t need all the detail just yet – and just want to compare quotes, ASAP! – you can answer a few questions right here, right now, and receive tailored, no-obligation quotes in return.

We’ll ask about your business’s key security system requirements – that is, the type of solution you’re looking for, when you need it by, and whether you’ll require a completely new system installed, or just a few extra bits and bobs.

Once we have this info, we’ll match you with leading, trusted business security system providers that meet not only your specifications, but your industry and location, too. They’ll then be in touch with tailored, expert security system quotes and advice – all free of charge!

Hit one of the buttons below to get started.

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What services does SECOM’s business security system offer?

CCTV and IP surveillance systems

Forget Orwell’s 1984, and all those spy movies you’ve seen – CCTV systems aren’t built for sinister purposes. Unless you’re a Bond villain, SECOM’s camera systems aren’t designed for spying on your employees, but rather ensuring their safety; not to mention the security of your non-human assets, too.

Fortunately, SECOM offers a couple of flexible camera varieties – both CCTV and IP (internet protocol) solutions – to suit your business’s needs and budget. Both allow you to view footage remotely, and will be installed by trained SECOM engineers. A free consultation is also included as standard.

So, CCTV or IP – which one’s right for you?

CCTV systems

Available in ‘dome’, ‘bullet’, and ‘box’ varieties, SECOM’s CCTV cameras are a durable, discreet way of monitoring your premises, 24/7.SECOM security camera

These cameras are equipped with excellent image quality, as well as infrared technology for filming at night.

SECOM’s CCTV cameras can also provide excellent quality footage in either black and white or colour; there’s even a camera that shoots in colour, but changes to monochrome in low-light conditions.

SECOM’s dome camera (pictured) is particularly handy in an internal office environment. As well as providing 360-degree coverage of a room – plus the ability to switch swiftly between different views – this camera also comes in varieties which are immune to both vandals and the weather.

SECOM’s CCTV packages start from just £695.

IP systems

For a camera system with superior image quality and a more future-proof approach, IP (internet protocol) systems are a great place to start.

Unlike traditional ‘analogue’ camera setups – which rely on a coaxial cable to distribute video – an IP system utilises the internet to record and transmit live footage. Images are stored locally, on an NVR (network video recorder), and there’s also a chance to plug in an SD card as a backup.

In addition to the high-resolution picture quality and lack of reliance on cables, the other key advantage of an IP system is that it has a greater storage capacity.

This enables images to be kept for longer before they have to be overwritten, and means that – should an incident take place in view of your camera – you won’t have to worry about vital evidential footage going missing.

Rates for SECOM’s IP camera systems begin at £945.

Struggling to decide which camera is right for you? We can help.

Head to our guide to the best business security cameras in the UK. SECOM’s IP camera system doesn’t make the list, but our experts have reviewed and rated ten different security cameras for 2021 – all of which can boost your business’s peace of mind.

Intruder alarms

SECOM offers Grade 2 and Grade 3 intruder alarms. These are designed to protect business premises that have been classified by insurance agencies as facing a threat level of between medium and high risk.

SECOM’s intruder alarms pick up any movement around your property, or vibrations around your premises’s entry points. When activated, these devices emit a loud sound, accompanied by a flashing strobe light (the scary kind, not the disco variety) to scare off thieves and vandals.

SECOM’s Grade 3 intruder alarms also come with an intelligent anti-masking feature included as standard. This functionality means that – should any of your cameras or sensors become blocked or tampered with – the alarm will immediately be raised.

Visually verified alarm

SECOM’s wireless visually verified alarm functions how it says on the tin.

The camera is triggered when movement is detected. These images are then fed back to the trained experts in SECOM’s ARC (alarm receiving centre), who’ll take a look and – if there’s a threat present – ensure that any appropriate action is taken to quell it.

There’s no kind of telephone line or external power supply required, nor any cabling between components necessary.

This type of alarm – as well as being among the most affordable of SECOM’s business security solutions – is also one of the most low-maintenance. It’s best suited as a short-term solution, or where a more conventional intruder alarm isn’t as appropriate; such as construction sites, or vacant properties.

Packages for SECOM’s visually verified alarm systems start at anywhere between £199 and £429 per month.

Fire safety solutions

Business security systems aren’t just about protecting your premises from thieves and vandals, but from the elements, too.

Thankfully, SECOM provides several tools – including fire alarms and extinguishers, as well as emergency lighting fittings – for safeguarding your building and employees against the devastating effects of fire.

As with SECOM’s intruder alarms, its fire alarms are backed up by 24/7 support from the trained professionals at the company’s ARC.

Fully integrated physical security

SECOM’s physical security systems include collapsible gates and grilles, roller shutters, and heavy-duty security gates.

Whatever the solution, each is designed with two firm goals in mind: deterring trespassers, and providing a formidable barrier between them and your business’s property.

The peace of mind you’ll receive is just a bonus!

SECOM doesn’t advertise rates for its fire safety and physical security solutions on its website. We’d recommend enquiring directly with the company for a bespoke quote, or utilising our free quote-finding questionnaire for tailored UK security system rates and advice.

Access control

As your business grows, and your workforce becomes harder to keep track of, implementing effective access control practices at your office becomes increasingly vital.

Thankfully, SECOM’s solutions offer great value for businesses of all shapes and sizes, with feature-rich access control systems starting from just £550.

Basic PIN, card, and fob readers should suit smaller budgets, while SECOM’s biometric access control devices allow your staff to clock in using their biometric data. This includes completely hands-free technology – so it’s ideal for navigating the tricky early days of returning to the office amidst a global pandemic!

For a slightly larger outlay, SECOM’s video door entry system allows you to visually screen visitors to your business’s premises. It’s vandal-proof, too, while a two-way speech function allows you to converse through the device. Rates begin at £725.

SECOM also offers a fully-fledged visitor management system, with prices starting at £2,900. Targeted at enterprises in the education sector, it enables you to not only check your business’s visitors in, but print out a photo badge for them with speed and efficiency.


What are SECOM’s features and benefits?

COVID-19 friendly approach to returning to work

Many businesses in the UK have had to adapt to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – but far fewer have had to help other businesses adapt, too.

SECOM is one of them. Since the coronavirus began spreading, the company has introduced systems that enable you to monitor your premises’s capacity, as well as keep tabs on how many people are inside it at any given time.

Innovative technology also lets you screen your staff’s temperature before they enter the workspace, and enables you to communicate audio announcements to your staff and customers with ease.

Formal accreditation by the industry’s leading bodies

When it comes to protecting your business, you’ll want the very finest experts the industry has to offer on your side.

In addition to 30 years of experience engineering bespoke security solutions for UK businesses, SECOM’s service is also widely accredited by all the bodies that matter.

That includes the NSI (National Security Inspectorate), which certifies SECOM’s ARC to ‘Gold’ standard. The company’s cabinet of accolades – which you can view in all its glory on SECOM’s website – also includes endorsements from the British Safety Council, RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), and SafeContractor, among others.

24/7 protection for your premises

All SECOM’s dynamic security solutions – that includes intruder and fire alarms, as well as physical protection – come with the additional layer of safety that SECOM’s ARC provides.

An ARC (alarm receiving centre) is basically a big building, packed to the rafters with security experts. As soon as there’s a whiff of trouble at your property, alarm bells will (literally!) start ringing. SECOM’s staff will take a look, and – if it’s an animal, harmless passerby, or crisp packet floating along on the breeze – ignore it.

If it’s an intruder, however, the team springs into action, and will either dispatch a security specialist to your property, or alert the police immediately. They’re on hand around the clock, too – because burglars don’t go on holiday!

Competitive, bespoke rates for your business

The security needs of UK businesses are rarely a ‘one size fits all’ kind of affair.

That’s why SECOM will put together a solution that’s tailored entirely to the unique demands of your business, premises, and industry.

Sure, there’s also a range of pre-built packages – which are ideal for giving you an early idea of how much you can expect to pay going forward – but the real value lies in investing in a flexible security setup that scales as your operations do.


How much does SECOM cost?

While SECOM will put together a bespoke rate to fit the specific needs of your budget and premises, it provides some rough guidelines for what you can expect to pay.

Visually verified intruder alarm packages start at £199, while rates for intruder alarms – both the wired and wireless varieties – begin at £795.

Prices for SECOM’s conventional CCTV systems start at £645, while IP systems – due to the more advanced technology involved – cost £945.

If you’re interested in one of SECOM’s access control packages, you can expect to pay at least £550, while the company’s video door entry technology costs a minimum of £725. With a starting price of £2,900, SECOM’s visitor management system is one of the security system supplier’s most expensive offerings, but trust us – you’ll get what you pay for!

SECOM doesn’t advertise rates for its fire safety or physical protection solutions online – you’ll have to get in touch with the company directly to request that information directly.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to receive business security solution quotes and advice from a range of providers – all tailored to the unique needs of your business, of course – we can help.

Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick, quote-finding questionnaire. We’ll ask a few questions about the type of system you’re looking to implement – whether that involves alarms, CCTV, or access control – and the timeframe in which you need it installed by.

Our algorithm will then match you with one or more leading business security system suppliers in the UK – but only if they meet the exact requirements that you’ve specified. These providers will soon be in touch with free, no-obligation business security quotes and advice. 

It takes only a moment to get started, and your business just has to be based in the UK to be eligible.

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Is SECOM right for my business?

Is SECOM right for you? Let’s delve into a couple of our common FAQs from business owners just like you to find out.

“I operate in the care industry. Is SECOM right for my business?”

SECOM offers several packages that are tailored to the extremely unique demands of the care industry.

Utilising GPS, geofencing, and the latest in wearable technology, SECOM provides security solutions for care homes, as well as CQC (Care Quality Commission)-compliant devices for nurses and clinical staff.

For public-facing staff not only in care homes – but in retail, hospital, mental health, and criminal justice environments, too – SECOM’s staff attack alarms provide even more peace of mind.

Cost-effective, easy to use, and with multiple display and notification options available, these alarms help you satisfy your duty of care to your staff. Moreover, they also demonstrate that business security shouldn’t start and end with your premises alone!

“I want to protect my lone workforce. Can SECOM help?”

Absolutely! SECOM’s breadth of capabilities aren’t limited to an office environment. Whether it’s a security guard working the graveyard shift, or a driver hauling goods across the length of the country, you have a responsibility to protect your lone workers.

And, with ‘SECOMProtect’, you can. This clever device looks (to the untrained eye, at least) like an ID badge. But what it actually is is a savvy mobile communication device. With it, your staff can record audio – allowing them to capture potentially valuable evidence – as well as trigger an alarm.

It also goes without saying that this alarm is monitored around the clock, by one of the dedicated operators at SECOM’s ARC. With that kind of backup, your lone workers will be able to go to work every day (or night!) with full confidence in their safety – and that their employer cares about them!

“I want a complete workforce management solution. Is SECOM it?”

While SECOM excels in the range and scope of its security and access control solutions, it’s not a complete workforce management tool.

If you’re looking for something which is – that is, a setup which incorporates anti-theft, access control, and time and attendance resources – Stanley Security is your best bet. It employs a holistic approach to managing your staff and space, and is highly scalable to boot.

We discuss Stanley Security in greater detail in our SECOM alternatives section below.

SECOM reviews: What do customers say?

SECOM has an outstanding Trustpilot score of 4.7/5, for a rating of ‘Excellent’.

That means that, from a total of the 1,089 SECOM reviews available on Trustpilot at the time of writing, 83% of them are five stars, or ‘Excellent’, An additional 9% of SECOM’s customers, meanwhile, award them four stars, or ‘Great’.

We dived into some of SECOM’s most recent reviews to get an idea of what the public are saying about it.

Spoiler alert: the quality of SECOM’s customer service comes up a lot.

“As always, [SECOM’s] courteous engineer was very mindful of social distancing, and completed our annual service in a timely manner.”

  • Mrs Badowski, SECOM customer | 24th April, 2021

“The engineer was polite, knowledgeable and efficient. He was aware of COVID-19 safety protocols, and acted accordingly to keep everyone safe.”

  • Kan, SECOM customer | 22nd April, 2021

“[SECOM’s] service was excellent as usual. The engineer arrived promptly, and the service was performed quickly and efficiently. I would recommend them to anyone.”

  • Mr Tucker, SECOM customer | 17th April, 2021

Looking at some of SECOM’s less glowing reviews, several customers cite phone calls not being answered or returned, and having to chase the company to book in a routine service.

Here’s what one customer had to say about organising an appointment slot:

“SECOM’s service visits are efficient and thorough, and its engineers are technically proficient. I would give SECOM five stars, but the company does not provide accurate times of arrival for appointments, which means I’ve been waiting for an extended period to receive a service.”

  • Neil, SECOM customer | 3rd February, 2021

There are few truly terrible reviews for SECOM, but the ones we’ve found tend to coalesce around contract cancellations, the inconsistency and unreliability of service visits, and being unable to nail down someone to speak to about an issue.

“Despite contacting SECOM at the beginning of December to try to cancel my contract, I’m still waiting for someone to reply to my messages. SECOM still sent an engineer out to service my alarm twice in the last month, without prior notice.”

  • Louise, SECOM customer | 5th January, 2021

“We have always found the guys who service our system fine – but every year they arrive unannounced, without any prior appointment being made. Please get your act together!”.

  • Mr Pryke, SECOM customer | 1st December, 2020

Ultimately, although there’s definitely room for improvement, SECOM’s reviews are still pretty excellent across the board.

Plus, any potential SECOM customer should take heart from the fact that the company has replied to all (yes, all) of its reviews on Trustpilot. This is a rarity – particularly in the world of big businesses – so it’s refreshing to see a company showcase such a demonstrable commitment to transparency and customer care.

For that reason, we recommend SECOM as a trusted business security system provider.


SECOM alternatives: What other providers should I consider?

Of course, SECOM may not be the exact right fit for your business – and, at this stage in your security system explorations, you’ll certainly want to keep an open mind as to what other providers are out there.

So what other providers are out there?

Our best SECOM alternatives in 2021 are:

Verisure

Best SECOM alternative for its innovative, hi-tech anti-theft devices

With shock sensors, perimeter detectors, and a range of devices that are sensitive to light, movement, and smoke, Verisure’s catalogue of security products is enough to make Alcatraz’s blush.

But our favourite has to be Verisure’s ZeroVision Fog Barrier.

It’s a canister that releases a vision-obscuring mist into your building when a trespasser is detected. It works on a very simple premise, and one that Verisure’s own marketing team is quick to pounce on: “you can’t steal what you can’t see!”.

To learn more about the kind of benefits that releasing an intruder-nullifying fog into your business’s premises can offer, explore our Verisure review, written for 2021.

Stanley Security

Best SECOM alternative for providing a complete workforce management solution

Stanley Security is good at looking at things holistically. As well as providing businesses of all sizes and sectors with scalable CCTV, access control, and intruder alarm systems, it also provides a complete time and attendance solution, too. This means you can not only keep your employees safe, but keep track of their hours, shift patterns, sick pay, and holidays, too. Stanley Security offers a range of affordable workforce management packages, and will provide a free security audit of your business to boot.

To find out how Stanley Security’s time and attendance hardware stacks up against the competition, check out our guide to the top 10 clocking-in systems for your business.

ADT

Best SECOM alternative for the quickest response times in the industry

With 24/7 support, 147 years in the industry, and a 4.6/5 Trustpilot rating (from a whopping 10,361 reviews), the numbers are definitely on ADT’s side. You’ll enjoy a bespoke rate and expert installation, plus an industry-topping response time (at just 42 seconds, it’s quick). Bank-level encryption powers your business security tech setup, while – on a much simpler level – a smooth, intuitive mobile app puts control over your system at the tips of your fingers.

To see how ADT weighs in against other systems of its ilk, dive into our list of the best business security systems in the UK.


Expert verdict

Okay, so SECOM may not boast the same lightning-quick response rates as ADT does. And – unlike Stanley Security – it doesn’t constitute a ‘silver bullet’ to all the pain points of managing an entire workforce and office space.

Plus, while it’s range of business security devices and packages are both robust and reliable, there’s nothing there that’ll set your heart on fire – at least not like Verisure’s impressive ZeroVision Fog Barrier does.

Despite all this, however, SECOM excels. Its superlative Trustpilot rating beats out those of all of its closest competitors, while its custom rates marry affordability with transparency. No matter where you’re at in your business’s growth journey, you can be confident that SECOM is not only a smart, safe security solution – but one that will scale with your business, too.

And remember, if you think SECOM might be for you – but would like to do just a bit more comparing before you commit – then we’d recommend taking advantage of our free quote-finding questionnaire.

Simply furnish us with a few details about your business’s security requirements, and we’ll match you with one or more of the UK’s leading providers. They’ll then be in touch, with no-obligation quotes and advice that are totally tailored to your enterprise’s needs. Happy researching!

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Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.