E-commerce, as the name implies, basically involves transactions or buying and selling via the internet. In this ultimate guide, we will go through some of the best eCommerce platforms to start your online store.
As we all know, the e-commerce market is expanding, and a lot of businesses want to get their products out there.
More people are spending a lot more time on the internet, so it only makes sense that businesses make their products available in places where potential customers can be easily found.
We will be taking an extensive look at some of the best e-commerce platforms, and we will try to help you realize which is best for small businesses, large businesses, and start-ups.
Best eCommerce Platforms
Shopify is a very popular online business store that has a robust economic platform.
Shopify Inc. is a multinational e-commerce company that has its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario. It was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke.
It is a popular cloud-based software, and it has a monthly subscription. It is a software that allows businesses to set up their shops online and sell their products and services without too much hassle.
With Shopify, you don’t necessarily have to be tech-savvy to easily use the software. In Shopify, you have an admin panel where a business can store data, display your products, and also process your orders.
You can market different products, like home products, beauty supplies, ebooks, gift cards, events, and many others. You can also market services such as professional services, creative classes, service appointments, and many more.
In essence, it caters to different industries: clothing and fashion, electronics, art, photography, furniture, edible products, home and garden, beauty, and many more.
Shopify is statistically one of the best e-commerce platforms for SEO. This means that it has faster mobile and desktop speed, and it has meta-title, which tells the search engine what a particular page is about.
Shopify operates with SAAS (Software as a Service). This software gives you deep insight into what consumer management is all about, and it has a massive user base. Also, with Shopify, you can sell a lot of goods and also services.
Key Features of Shopify:
- Shopify Buy Button: This feature enables you to create a habitual shopping experience for your customers. It does so by helping you to add a checkout for your products. When a customer clicks on the Buy Now button, it takes them to Shopify. So, with this feature, customers can buy whatever products that you have put up for sale on your site, with just a simple click. You can also use the Buy Button to display different categories of products on another platform.
- Shopify Blog: This is an instructional feature. It contains articles and also guides that will help you in successfully running your blog and having a great buyer-seller understanding.
- Shopify Theme Store: This store contains both paid and free themes or templates that will help your online store look eye-catching and very appealing to potential customers. This feature is a great way to make your store appear unique from other stores. These themes can be customized to suit the kind of products you are selling. Each theme comes in two or three variants. These templates are both appealing, and also very responsive. The themes are both professional and also quality. The paid-for themes range from the prices of $100 to $180. You can also create your personalized theme via a host of support materials.
- Shopify Point of Sale (POS): This is a very key feature of Shopify. With the POS, you can sell your products not just online, but also in physical locations, by making use of your phone. You can use tills, barcode readers, or any other hardware for that purpose. POS tools allow you to successfully sell at retail shops, events, etc. You could also get the POS add-on. Any sales made on the Shopify POS is automatically linked to your Shopify account.
- CSV File: Shopify allows you to import your data from the CSV file. You can therefore move your data from another e-commerce platform, or add new products to your online store. You can also successfully export data to the CSV file, thanks to Shopify.
- Abandoned Cart Recording: This feature helps the store-owner to know who did not complete their purchase of a particular product(s), and it goes ahead to contact these persons, encouraging them to complete the purchase. It could do this by informing the person about a discount code. This may persuade the person into continuing and finishing the purchase that they started earlier. With this feature, you can view the list of persons that did not complete purchase, the send them an email; or you could automatically send a particular email to all your site visitors. This would include a link to the abandoned cart (This is made available on the advanced Shopify pricing plan).
- Shopify Experts: Shopify has experts that are in design, marketing, photography. These people will help you and guide you on how to run your online store successfully.
- Shopify Analytics: You can use this feature to track the performance of your online store. This really smart feature lets you know the number of visitors that are coming into your site, where they are coming from, as well as the site that referred them to your personalized site.
- Shopify App Store: Here, you can find extensions needed for your app store. Shopify has a lot of app stores which helps you to save money and time.
- Discount Codes
- Gift Cards
- Fraud Analysis
Is Shopify worth all the hype? Well, let’s find out. We will be looking at the pros of Shopify, and you would be able to decide how great it is, from the analysis.
- Safe and Reliable: Shopify is a safe and reliable e-commerce platform. It offers its users security features, as well as the latest security updates, it uses very smart methods to hackproof its site, and it supports SSL certificate (information of Shopify stores can be accessed only through SSL encryption). So, you don’t have to worry about your sensitive information getting out, because Shopify has got you covered. The software also ensures protection from malware and viruses, through apps like Locksmith by Lightward, EU Cookie Bar, Cozy Anti-Theft, and many more.
- Great Customer Service: It has great customer service that is available to respond to the needs of everyone using the platform, and also adhere to professionalism. The Customer Service is an amazing 24/7 support team that tries its best to assist confused users on the site.
- Ease of Use: The platform does not require you to be tech-savvy to successfully use it. You can find and also do what you want to do, with just a few clicks. Thanks to Shopify blog, experts, and its customer service, any confusion you may have about navigating your way through the site, can easily be cleared up. Shopify ensures that you are not too burdened by cumbersome administrative tasks.
- Wide Range of Themes: Shopify features pretty cool themes that make your store stand out, especially considering the massive competition out there. These themes help you to retain customers. It provides a broad selection of themes to choose from. The themes available are based on industry. You have themes about fashion and clothing, gardening, furniture, food and drinks, and many more. You can even customize these themes to suit the products you are selling.
- It Enhances Your Web Structure: As said previously, Shopify is a great software to use if you wish to improve SEO performance. As a business looking to get more customer engagements and more people to buy your products or services, this is a very great advantage. This software helps you create an appealing website with great designs and layout. Your products would be organized in well-placed categories. This would make your website easily accessible.
- You Can Recover Abandoned Cart: While this was similarly mentioned when listing the features, it is very important that we add this to the advantages, because of how helpful it is. Thanks to the Abandoned cart recovery feature, you can now increase purchases. Not only does the feature help you persuade those who did not complete a purchase, but it also helps you identify why they didn’t purchase that product(s). When you’re able to identify the reason(s) why you would improve on any faults your site may be having or any problems regarding the purchase. This would help to improve product sales.
- It Eliminates Excess Inventory: Shopify features dropshipping, which helps your business to only keep inventories they only need at that moment or period in time. You, as a business owner, can have suppliers ship your products to your customers, but only after getting their orders. So, you do not have to unnecessarily spend money on inventory and storage. You can instead manage orders from your dashboard. This does not require a lot of stress.
- You Can Sell Wholesale: Thanks to Shopify, you can successfully sell your products to retailers, in bulk. These retailers then look for customers to sell your products to. However, you would have to pay the retailers little commissions. Selling wholesale helps your business to dramatically increase, without having to worry about advertising. This is because, a wholesale business gives you access to your retailers’ customers, allowing you to spend your time and money on other useful things, like the quality of your products. By selling to retailers that already have experience in the international market, you don’t have to bother about product campaigns, because your products are already covered.
- Low Start-up Cost: Shopify has a relatively cheap start-up cost which is very encouraging to businesses that wish to sell their products or services under this platform. The monthly fees, which we will look into later on, make store setting up affordable.
- Value For Money: The features available on Shopify are really helpful, and it’s no doubt that you would get your money’s worth.
- It Can Handle High Level of Traffic: Shopify has really fast servers that help store-owners to handle traffic on their site, especially in periods when sales are high.
- Strained Customer Service: While it is true that the support team of Shopify has been professional and helpful over the years, there have been reviews by Shopify users lately, that the team has been not been able to successfully resolve some of their problems with the software.
- Expensive Add-ons: The software lacks many advanced features. For you to access these features, you need to buy them. The cost of buying them is relatively high.
- Restricted Shopify Payments: The Shopify Payments, which is a built-in payment processor, is restricted. This means that you can only sell your products to specific countries, and not all countries.
- Overly Basic Email Marketing Functionality: While the functionality is a nice feature, it is too basic.
- Stress in Setting Up Multilingual Stores: Setting up multilingual stores is not an easy task, neither is it cheap.
- Poor Quality of Some Apps: Some of the apps available on Shopify, lack good quality.
- Shopify Lite – $9 per month
- Basic Shopify- $29 per month
- Shopify- $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify- $299 per month
- Shopify Plus- Negotiable, usually costs about $2,000 per month.
Also, there is a 14-day free trial.
BigCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform that was founded in 2009. It has its headquarters in Austin Texas.
It is a great online business platform for start-ups and also for medium businesses. It is a hosted e-commerce software, which means that you can have an online store on it, as it runs on its in-built servers.
Also, it is a Software as a Service product. BigCommerce is an all-in-one software platform with an easy-to-use interface. BigCommerce has a lot of built-in features that are usually add-ons.
Key Features of BigCommerce:
- A Lot of Themes: BigCommerce has a broad range of customizable themes, designed to suit the needs of the different industries. Thanks to its intuitive interface, you can customize your personalized themes, without possessing any special computer skills. You can add your company logo, as well as other branding elements.
- Abandoned Cart Saver: The software features the Abandoned Cart Saver which allows you, as a store owner, to recover lost sales. You can decide what your abandoned cart email will say, before sending it to the persons you wish to send it to. You can even design the emails, however you want, and to your satisfaction. You can then send these emails with coupons or discount codes. This helps to increase sales. With the Abandoned Cart Saver, you can send up to three automated emails to visitors on your site that failed to complete the purchase process.
- Payment Gateways: BigCommerce features several methods to pay for products or services your customers wish to purchase from your store. It has over forty pre-integrated methods of payment for people who wish to purchase from its stores. These payment methods apply to over one hundred countries.
- Staff Accounts: BigCommerce offers you limitless staff accounts.
- Customer Service: It has a 24hr expert term ready to solve problems users may be facing on the platform, no matter how long it may take.
- Reporting and Analytics
- Inventory Management
- Built-In Blog
- Robust SEO Features
- Extended Functionality With Facebook Market Place
- Mobile-Optimized Store.
- APIs: These are important you are considering using a SAAS platform. Thanks to APIs, you can add several functionalities. Bigcommerce gives you about 400 API requests per second.
- Intuitive and Built-In Features: Bigcommerce has almost everything you need, in their software. The features available, are not only built-in but also very functional. While the interface is simple, it contains many features that you need to run a great online store.
- Built-In Marketing Features: Bigcommerce offers you features that are targeted at helping you get customers for your online store. It contains excellent marketing tools.
- Very Scalable E-Commerce Platform: BigCommerce is arguably the most scalable e-commerce platform you can find.
- Great Support Team: BigCommerce has really good customer service ready and equipped to attend to problems you may be facing on the platform. You have a team of professionals on the go, and ready to answer any questions you may be having regarding BigCommerce.
- Ease of Use: BigCommerce is a simple software to use, and you can navigate your way around the platform, without hassle. Especially if you want to set up your store.
- Different Payment Options: BigCommerce offers you different methods of payment for products sold on the platform.
- No Transaction Fees: Unlike some other e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce does not charge transaction fees. However, you would have to pay transaction fees for the payment gateways you use, but this is not within the power of BigCommerce.
- Security: There is server protection, through 24/7 monitoring, firewalls, and many others.
- Store Management: BigCommerce enables you to manage the different areas of your online store. It has built-in analytics features that enable you to monitor traffic and get knowledge of how your customers shop. You can also monitor marketing campaigns, abandoned carts, etc.
- Amazing SEO Tools
- Very Reliable Software
- Many Fields For Product Information
- It Is Very Good at Managing Customer Orders.
- Expensive Themes: Some of the themes available on BigCommerce are expensive to get. The free themes are very few, and the really good themes are quite costly.
- Product and Inventory Management: BigCommerce has way too many product options, which end up hiding the inventory management options.
- Pricing: The pricing in BigCommerce can be tough. We have the monthly fees, credit card fees, transaction fees (although BigCommerce has no control over this one), and add-on fees.
- Inconsistent Loading Speed
BigCommerce’s pricing plans starts from: Standard ($29.95/month), Plus ($79.95/month), Pro ($299.95/month) and Enterprise plans where the pricing is based on the customers online sales.
Magento is an open-source platform that was acquired by Adobe Inc. in May 2018. It is great for businesses in need of massive flexibility.
Also, Magento is great for large businesses. The software provides a rich and satisfying experience to customers looking to purchase goods from stores operating on it.
This software is your go-to source if you want a store that is powerful, and unique from its competitors.
Key Features of Magento:
- Analytics and Reporting: This involves sales report, tax report, tags report, product reviews report.
- Order Management: With this feature, you can print invoices and shipping labels. You can also, view, create, and edit orders from the admin panel, and you can email notifications of the orders you get from your customers.
- Catalogue Management: With Magento, you can arrange your products into different categories and subcategories. You can also manage stock control.
- Advertising Tools: It is well-equipped with tools to help convince people to buy your products or services. So, you can cross-sell your products, monitor coupon usage. It also allows variation of price.
- Shipping and Payments: This software offers you a myriad of shipping and payment options like flat rate shipping, one-page checkout, and many more.
- User Account
- Customer Accounts
- It is Mobile Friendly: You can develop a mobile website without hassle, thanks to Magento.
- It Has A Large Community
- It Has Several Customization Options: There are multiple customization options that amateurs and professionals can easily make use of.
- Feature-Rich: The software is equipped with a lot of features to help attract customers and also to increase sales.
- It is Highly Flexible: Magento is very flexible and has great features that you could use to make your store suit the area of business you’re into. Since the program is open-source, you can customize templates and develop functionality however you want.
- 24/7 Customer Service: Like most e-commerce platforms, Magento has a very professional and responsive customer service, always on the ready to solve any arising problems.
- Comprehensive Functionality: The software has built-in functionality to handle merchandising rules, price requirements, and other complexities.
- Endless customization: Magento has a broad range of customization options for you.
- It Is Scalable
- Strong SEO
- Marketing and Discount
- Costly Themes: Many of the themes are quite expensive to get.
- It Is Generally Expensive: You have to pay exorbitant fees to successfully use the software, and that is a very big drawback.
- It Is Time Consuming: This is a result of slow loading time, difficulty in switching from another e-commerce platform to Magento, difficulty in customizations.
- Really Few Developers
- It requires Web Development Skills
Magento pricing starts at $1988.00 per month. It has a free trial, but it has no free version.
Woocommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform by WordPress, that is great for large businesses.
It was launched on September 27, 2011. This plugin helps you create an online store for whatever line of business you’re into.
It can turn your WordPress into a fully functional online store. So, in order to open your store with WooCommerce, you need to, first of all, have WordPress.
To do this, first of all, need to purchase WordPress hosting and also a domain name, you install WordPress, and then you install WooCommerce. Then, you can extend your store with themes and plugins.
This platform provides businesses with basic store functionalities and is designed to make starting up as easy as possible. Also, you can sell so many things, ranging from physical products to services, reservations, etc.
Key Features of WooCommere:
- Themes: WooCommerce features a lot of themes that would make your store look very attractive. It also themes that are very popular all over the web.
- Product Reviews and Ratings: You can show the feedback of your customers, on the Product Page.
- Limitless Products: This platform allows you to add as many products as you want.
- Product Sorting: Your customers can sort your products according to newness, price, popularity, etc.
- Facebook For WooCommerce: Lets you sync your website to your Facebook. This means that your products would be imported to your Facebook page, and you would be able to advertise your products on there. This is a great feature, as it gives your products more popular outreach. You can also upload your pixels.
- WooCommerce Blogging: It has built-in blogging. You can use WooCommerce to create some great content that will help you to build your brand.
- Tags: You can add tags to your products. This would help your customers easily find what they want.
- Limitless Customizations: You can edit any part of your site, and make your site look unique and very attractive.
- WordPress Content Integration
- Clean Interface
- It Is Open Source: This means that you have full ownership of your store. Also, you can audit or modify the code.
- Very Affordable: You don’t need to pay any fees, other than Service Provider payment.
- Sell Anything: WooCommerce is a platform that allows you to sell a wide range of products and services.
- Robust Features: It has a wide array of features.
- Large Community: It has a large community of users and developers that could help you answer questions or doubts you may have regarding WooCommerce.
- Impressive Flexibility: The platform is flexible, and impressively so. It adapts to several kinds of mobile shops, despite the products.
- Incredible Customizable: You can tons of customization options available on WooCommerce.
- Top-notch Security: WooCommerce has standard security that is constantly being updated to meet up with the latest cybersecurity. It also has very secure gateways, like PayPal.
- Lots Of Service Providers
- Great SEO Performance
- It Works On All Devices.
- Costliness: While WordPress and WooCommerce are, in themselves free, some of the themes may not meet your needs, or may not be suitable. To get the option to change the layout, you might have to pay developers to help you do that.
- Requires Technical Knowledge: You have to have some knowledge of technology to make use of the platform.
- Poor Support: There is no direct support for users on the platform, so you have to seek help from the community of users and developers.
- Tightly Linked With WordPress: As a result of this, you cannot use WooCommerce without WordPress.
While WooCommerce is free, a domain name costs $12 a year, hosting service is $5-$12 monthly. There are also theme fees, developer fees, and fees for plugins and extensions.
3DCart is a private-owned company that usually develops commerce platforms for online businesses.
It has its headquarters in Tamarac, FL, and was founded in 1997.
It is also an established platform that allows businesses to market their products online. It provides you with the tools you would need to create and manage an online business.
It has over 200 built-in features, and it is good for start-ups, as well as small businesses. This is because it contains powerful tools at a low cost.
Also, 3DCart has a lot of out-of-the-box features. There are over 200 built-in features.
Key Features of 3DCart:
- Facebook Store: This lets you sell through your Facebook fan page. You can advertise your products on your Facebook fan page.
- Payment Processors: It has over one hundred payment processors. It allows you to accept payments from your customers, regarding products they wish to purchase, in a secure manner. You can easily integrate your online business with a payment processor, and you would be able to accept payments from customers, on your online store.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery: This helps you follow up on customers that did not complete their purchase on your site, and persuade them to go back and purchase.
- 24/7 Support Team: It also has a professional and responsive support team, in case there are any doubts or concerns from any user.
- Themes: 3DCart has an impressive number of themes which would you could use to suit your products and your customers.
- Order Management Features: It enables you to process orders quickly, and also to ship quickly.
- Secured Hosting Features: Thanks to 3DCart, you can have your domain name, have 24/7 support, and limitless email hosting.
- Reviews Management
- Promotions Management
- Data Security
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Orders
- Unrestricted Products.
- No setup fees or transaction fees
- Amazing Themes; They are eye-catching and also mobile-friendly
- It has a user-friendly interface for users that are more experienced
- It has a Free Trial period
- Many Payment Options: It has over 100 payment options available.
- It has SEO capabilities
- It has Robust Features: It has so many great features designed to make your marketing experience amazing.
- It is scalable
- Great Marketing Features: It has brilliant marketing features like POS (Point of Sale), SEO capabilities, and many others. Conducting email campaigns is relatively easier on this platform, thanks to Newsletter SmartLists. You can also request product reviews from customers. You even have Social Media Service Plans, which enable you to advertise your products on social media.
- It does not require coding skills
- Easy to sign in.
- The third-party apps are limited
- Learning all the features is time-consuming
- Limited sales volume
- Negative reports on support: There have been negative reviews by customers regarding the support team on 3DCart.
It has a starting price of $9.99 per month.
Prestashop is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that was founded in 2007.
It is published under the Open Software License, and it has its headquarters in Paris, France. It is open-source and it gives you the opportunity of creating your online store.
It is written in PHP, and the software is localized for different countries. Prestashop is a very extensible platform.
This can be seen through the themes and modules, which can be gotten through Prestashop Addons. Also, it is great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Key Features of Prestashop:
- Inventory Management Features.
- Order Management Features: You can run orders, and you can also inform your customers about the evolution of their orders.
- Multiple Payment Options: An example is the PayPal Standard. You can choose to install the payment option you want, with just a single click.
- Inventory Management Features
- Great SEO and Marketing Skills: You can enhance or optimize your site to ensure that it gets indexed by major search engines. Your site would therefore become more popular. Also, it has highly effective marketing tools.
- Checkout: This enables customers to easily buy products or services from your site. There is a one-page checkout on Prestashop.
- Strong Security System: Prestashop is fully equipped to keep your business information confidential. It has a very reliable security system.
- Client Accounts
- Reporting and Analytics: These tools help you track how your business is performing. It helps to optimize business performance.
- Customizable Themes
- Web Agencies
- Over 1,000 Add-on Templates
- Multiple Languages and Taxes
- Several Product Displays
- Prestashop Templates.
- It is open-source: This means that businesses on the platform, can create sites and customize them to suit their needs. You even have a myriad of themes and modules to pick from, thanks to the Prestashop Add-on marketplace.
- It has strong SEO.
- It contains a wide variety of Apps.
- It is easily customizable; It is easily customizable with some coding knowledge.
- It is Free.
- It is Flexible.
- It has tons of third-party extensions
- You can easily manage orders
- It is easy to install and get running
- It is comprehensive.
- It has a very large community
- It has built-in Security: This is a very great benefit, as it makes businesses using the platform feel safer knowing their private business information is protected.
- It has a user-friendly interface
- It has multiple currencies.
- Apps can become costly: While Prestashop itself is free, the apps contained in it can get costly.
- Slower load time It has a slower loading time than most of the other e-commerce platforms of its caliber.
- Less Professional designs: The designs may not meet the standard of large businesses.
- Lack of an Official support team: It does not have an official 24/7 support team like most of the already-mentioned platforms do, although it has a large community of users that can attend to questions by other users.
- It has limited Scalability.
- Developer skills needed.
- Third-party marketing integrations are limited.
Prestashop is free to download and to use. However, Hosting costs $3-50 per month, and themes and modules cost $50-500 per month.
This is an award-winning e-commerce software that is particularly great for selling physical products.
It was founded in 1999 but was eventually launched in 2002 as an e-commerce software. It is a very powerful software that has drag and drop, and in-page editing.
Volusion has been a very great platform for online businesses over the years, and it offers retail sales online.
Also, it is great for SEOs. It is an all-inclusive platform that provides you with all that you need to run a successful online store.
Key Features of Volusion:
- Promotions and Discounts
- Product Visualization
- Inventory Management: This provides quantity verification, and it also displays product status.
- Knowledge Center: Here, you can add tutorials and guides for your products.
- Mobile App
- Barcode Creator: This feature helps to make managing inventory easy.
- Customer Accounts.
- Customizable Storefronts Designs.
- Built-in SEO.
- Secure Hosting.
- Third-Party Integrations.
- Abandoned Cart Reports.
- It has a professional customer service
- Built-in educational services: It contains courses, guides, and newsletters to help you successfully run your online store.
- Intuitive dashboard.
- It is SMB-Friendly.
- Ease of use.
- It has a lot of templates.
- Large Support.
- Several payment options: It has a myriad of payment gateways for customers to pay through.
- It has a great mobile app.
- It has amazing analytics tools.
- Slower load time.
- You cannot sell digital products
- No built-in blogging feature.
It has four pricing plans to choose from:
- Personal Plan- Available at $29 per month.
- Professional Plan- Available at $79 per month.
- Business Plan- $299 per month.
- Prime Plan- Pricing is based on online sales.
Weebly is a web hosting service that was founded in 2006. It has its headquarters in San Francisco.
Weebly allows you to create your blog or website by using its drag and drop interface. So, you can easily bring your ideas to life with this platform.
It is a website builder that allows you to create your online store within a short period without you necessarily having a lot of knowledge of programming.
While Weebly has a paid version, you can get enough tools to make your website look pretty great, on the free version.
Also, it grants you complete access to CSS and Weebly HTML, if you are tech-savvy. It is a very valuable and powerful tool that allows for a stress-free business startup. It has over forty mobile-friendly themes, and it is great for small businesses.
Key Features of Weebly:
- Embedded documents: With Weebly, you can embed documents, like PDF, to your website.
- 24/7 support: You get access to Premium Weebly Support, which means that any questions you have regarding the software, would be answered by the Support Team. However, if you subscribe to Weebly Pro and Weebly Business, your questions would be answered faster than questions asked by those using the free version.
- E-commerce store
- Audio player: You can easily and directly add audio files to your website. To do this, you drag and drop the audio player element into your website, and then upload the audio files with a single click.
- Templates: It has very responsive templates.
- Header slideshows
- Site search: This is a recently-added feature, and it is only available to Weebly Pro users. You can control search results. If you want to hide a particular page, you can go to the Page Settings and click on “Hide This Page From Search Engine.” Also, visitors can quickly and easily find the information they need on your site. You can drag and drop it from any element toolbar into any drag and drop area.
- Website statistics: You can view data regarding pages that people visit the most, and how many people view your site.
- Form builder: With this feature, you can create surveys. Weebly also stores the information provided by the customers on these forms and sends them to you through email.
- Analytics tools.
- Csv file reporting.
- Full-width image and custom backgrounds.
- It has an easy-to-use site editor: Its drag and drop interface makes it quite easy to set up your site, and also use the tools available.
- It has amazing template designs
- Great email tools.
- You can monitor site performance: This is thanks to Analytics tools. It lets you know which of your site pages people visit, what people search for on your website, etc.
- Great for e-commerce.
- It has an autosave function: This ensures that your work doesn’t get lost.
- Easy customization.
- Speed and security.
- Membership area: You can make certain parts of your website open to only members.
- Team management.
- High design flexibility.
- It has a 30-day pay-back guarantee: If you sign up for a Weebly Starter or Pro Account, and you are not satisfied with the services, you can request a full refund, as long as this is within 30 days of the account activation.
- Advanced marketing tools: It can be difficult to add advanced marketing tools, for eg; Custom social shares.
- It has no amazon integration.
- Weak SEO.
- You have to pay for more help.
- It is not the greatest backup system.
- Basic- Free
- Starter- $8 per month
- Pro- $12 per month
- Business- $25 per month.
SquareSpace is an all-in-one e-commerce solution that is great for people looking to create great and unique online businesses.
It was founded in 2003, and it also has an easy drag and drop interface. SquareSpace Inc. is a New York-based website building and hosting company.
It was launched in January 2004. SquareSpace allows businesses to successfully build their websites, using the drag and drop elements.
For you to start selling on this platform, you have to pay 3% of the transaction fees. It is a great platform, particularly if you’re interested in the visual appeal of your business. With a little patience, you can get your site up and running.
Key Features of SquareSpace:
- Drag and drop management.
- Squarespace mobile app: It has a powerful app that is available on both Android and iOS. You can write and also edit your blogs from your mobile device, and you can upload images to your gallery.
- Custom redirects: You can create redirects from the SquareSpace interface to enable shortcuts.
- Built-in mobile websites.
- Page locks and passwords.
- Design tools.
- Design panel.
- Integrated blog.
- Image sourcing: There is the integration of free and paid images. You can search for, and buy professional images through Getty.
- Social buttons and Instagram feed: You can add these to any area of your site.
- E-commerce store: You can upgrade your website to an online store. You have to be on the business plan or one of the special e-commerce plan, for you to successfully access this feature.
- It has over 100 flexible templates: You can easily customize the templates by using the Site Styles Menu.
- Support: It has a great support team, and your answers are almost immediately answered, thanks to live chat.
- Free domain name with the purchase
- It has plenty of e-commerce features.
- Beautiful designs.
- Free SSL certificate.
- There is a free trial.
- It has very little customization for mobile sites.
- Editing and content adding can sometimes be difficult.
- Pricing is expensive.
- It lacks advanced marketing tools.
- Personal plan- $12 per month
- Business plan- $18 per month
- Basic commerce- $26 per month
- Advanced commerce- $40 per month.
10. Big Cartel
This is an e-commerce platform that gives you the opportunity to open your own online store and display your creative business.
It is a cloud-based software that was particularly created for artists and product makers. It was founded in 2005 by Matt Wigham and Eric Turner.
This e-commerce software is not only very affordable but also easy to set up. Instead of having a myriad of features that you would need to pay through your nose just to access, and may still never use, it has a few features tailored to suit the needs of creative businesses.
The software is great for small businesses that are just launching.
Once you’ve signed up with Big Cartel, you would be taken to your new Storefront Management Interface. Interestingly, it does not require transaction fees.
Key Features of Big Cartel:
- Inventory tracking.
- Search engine optimization.
- Connects to your Facebook: Big Cartel lets you advertise your products and sell them via your Facebook page.
- Apps: With apps, you can sell digital goods and also make dropshipping available to your customers, amongst others. These and many more would help to expand your business.
- Abandoned cart recovery.
- Payment: Customers can purchase your products by paying through PayPal, Square, or Stripe. Those are Big Cartel’s three payment options.
- Discount codes.
- Custom domain.
- Seamless checkout.
- Real-time dashboard.
- It is great for artists that market individual pieces.
- It is easy to use.
- It is easy to set up.
- It has unique templates.
- Very affordable.
- Great for small businesses.
- It is fully hosted.
- The online store setup has clean navigation.
- It is not flexible.
- It has very limited payment options.
- It might not be the ideal platform for larger businesses to use.
- The features lack quality.
- Gold plan- Free
- Platinum plan- $9.99
- Diamond plan- $19.99
- Titanium plan- $29.99.
Zyro is a private-owned company that allows its users to build their online business platform without being tech-savvy.
It has a drag and drop interface. Founded in 2019, Zyro has its headquarters in Kaunas.
This platform also provides artificial intelligence to consumers. It helps to create beautiful and functional pages for its users.
If you’re looking to create a personal business quickly and without hassle, then Zyro is the one for you.
Additionally, the software features some great and unique tools that would make your site stand out.
Key Features of Zyro:
- Payment options: With Zyro, you can accept card payments from major credit card services, like MasterCard, Amex, etc. You can even add different third party payment options like PayPal. Thanks to Zyro, you can get access to more than seventy Payment gateways.
- Customer support: It features 24/7 customer support. This is over live chat and email.
- Online store management and reports.
- Free SSL certificate.
- AI business tools: It also features very useful AI tools.
- SEO features.
- Drag and drop elements.
- E-commerce functionality.
- Zyro web design.
- It is very friendly.
- It is very affordable.
- It has reliable security: Thanks to its SSL certificate, your website is made safe, and any sensitive data between your Site’s server and your visitor browser is made private and is secure.
- It is multilingual: Zyro comes in fourteen languages, including English.
- It is beginner-friendly: Beginners can easily access its tools.
- It has very handy app integration.
- Fast update rollouts.
- Great site performance: Zyro is very responsive, and it has automatic Cloudflare inclusion.
- It saves time and costs.
- It is very basic: Although its features are great for businesses, it lacks some advanced functionalities.
- Customizations are limited.
- The customer support: Zyro’s customer support can be slow, and there is limited knowledge on their part.
- Free Plan- $0.
- Basic- $1.99 per month.
- Unleashed- $3.49 per month.
12. Open Cart
Open Cart is an open-source e-commerce platform that has built-in features.
It is an easy-to-use software that is great for online businesses, especially those with no special technical skills.
It is a PHP-based software that supports multiple languages and currencies. It was initially released on April 2020 but has its stable release on the 1st of May, 2020.
This all-in-one software is well-equipped with tools to enable you to create and manage an online business store.
Although it requires some level of coding knowledge to enable extensive customization, it has a great user-friendly interface that is suitable for novices.
Key Features of Open Cart:
- Payment gateways: It has 36 payment gateways.
- Built-in Sales report.
- Tracking tools.
- Product Reviews and Product ratings.
- Templates or designs.
- Social media integration.
- Sales orders.
- Ticket management.
- Sales management.
- Recurring bill.
- Content filtering.
- E-commerce management.
- Unlimited products.
- Unlimited manufacturers.
- The cost of developing security updates is free.
- It is open-source.
- It has integrated shipping methods
- It has a lot of extensions and third-party modules
- It is easy to set up.
- It is a free software to use.
- It supports multiple languages.
- It is highly customizable.
- It is easy to implement.
- It is user-friendly.
- It helps create an international e-commerce platform.
- Dedicated technical support.
- It has tons of free add-ons.
- Difficulty in importing inventory list.
- It has a slow checkout process.
- The order form- the order form is lacking.
- Messy marketplace.
It is a free e-commerce software.
Miva is a Private-owned e-commerce company that was founded in 1996. It has its headquarters in San Diego California.
It is a highly flexible platform. It has been very helpful to many modern online businesses with great tools.
This platform is particularly great for small and medium-sized businesses.
Key Features of Miva:
What features does this flexible e-commerce software possess? There are tons of really cool features:
- Abandoned cart recovery tools.
- Product Reviews: It enables users to write reviews for products, and also display the reviews.
- SEO: It also features tools that would help increase site traffic through organic search.
- Product Visualization.
- Tax display and processing.
- Order process.
- Product comparison.
- Catalog creation.
- POS transactions.
- Logistics Management
- Metadata Management.
- Custom Fields.
- Automated Emails.
- E-commerce features.
- It has a very flexible Storefront design.
- It is fast.
- It is scalable.
- It has great security.
- It has an engaging presentation.
- It is User friendly: This is because it is highly customizable and also responsive.
- It is SEO friendly.
- It supports many third-party trading platforms: This enables access to different markets all over the world.
- Responsive support.
- New features are easy to add.
- The admin area isn’t very user-friendly.
- It is expensive to get a third party to integrate with MIVA.
- Starter- $79.95 per month
- Business- $249.95 per month.
There is also a free trial.
EcWid is a very powerful and easy-to-use e-commerce shopping cart that allows you to create your online store at a fast pace.
It was founded in 2009 by Ruslan Renatovich Fazlyev. This e-commerce platform is especially great for small business to sell their products quickly.
You can add it anywhere you have an online presence, and it lets you create multiple sites to sell your products. It is arguably the most popular add-on store builder for small businesses.
Key Features of EcWid:
- SSL Certificate.
- Facebook Store.
- Order Management.
- Mobile Commerce.
- Inventory Management.
- Email Marketing
- Shopping Cart.
- Language Detection: Stores fronts can automatically be translated into fifty different languages.
- Automatic Updates.
- Defined Shipping Options.
- Boost Sales.
- Importing and Exporting Products: It enables you to import and export data into the platform through a CSV file.
- Search Engine Optimization.
- Ease of Installation.
- It is easy to use.
- Ease of Customization.
- It is great for small businesses.
- It is very affordable.
- It has a free version.
- It has responsive storefronts.
- It enables its users to create their online stores fast.
- Very basic: It features very basic and limited tools.
- It has very limited designs.
You may be curious, ‘how much does EcWid cost?’ Well, the software has different tiers of pricing plans which include:
- Free Plan – $0
- Venture Plan – $15 per month
- Business Plan – $35 per month
- The Unlimited Pricing Plan – $99 per month.
What Is E-commerce, And Why Is It So Important?
Although we gave a basic explanation of what E-commerce is, it’s imperative that we take a more extensive glance at what it’s really about.
E-commerce refers to transactions that are carried out online. Transactions mean buying and selling. These transactions cover not just products, but also services. This means that, while you could buy or sell furniture, bags, and other tangible items, services can also be bought.
These services could include; tailoring, personal chef, pet-sitting, dry-cleaning pickup, and delivery, etc.
The internet is where it’s at, now. A lot more people spend more time on their phones these days, and also prefer being indoors.
Many people would rather purchase things at home from online stores, than walk to a physical store. This means it will be very wise to bring your goods to a place where you know people spend more time and here comes the online world.
The online world is the perfect place for modern businesses to thrive. You can easily advertise your products to anyone, or to people whom you feel would be interested in them.
And you could do this without much stress, thanks to e-commerce. Now, let’s have a breakdown of why e-commerce is truly important.
- Global Market: An online store allows you to display your products to people all over the world, and also sell to them. Unlike physical stores that are limited by geographical locations, an online store allows you to sell your products to people in other states and even other countries and continents.
Thanks to the varieties of online payment gateways available, you can accept payment from a customer that is not in the same area as you. E-commerce, therefore, allows your products or services to have global reach and to be accessible to people far and near.
- Fewer Expenses: Thanks to e-commerce, you don’t have to bother about paying for physical Storefronts or even hiring staff. You can just display your products on your business sites, through the different e-commerce software that are available. It’s even better knowing that many of these platforms are not only affordable to use, but also cheap.
This encourages online businesses to offer better deals and even discounts to their customers. Business increases through this- the business-owner saves more money, and so does the customer. Everybody wins.
- You Can Work From Anywhere: E-commerce facilitates the sale of goods to people, without you having to sit in a store for long hours. With a good laptop and the right E-commerce platform, as well as a good internet connection, you can successfully sell your products and also your services.
- Availability: With e-commerce, business owners are available and stores are always open. This is also a win-win situation for both the Business and its customers, as the customers enjoy the convenience. They don’t have to wait for a particular time before the store would be open. This is because there is 24/7 business availability.
- It Is Easier To Encourage Impulse Buying: This is due to the designs on your business site. The images you display on your site, if eye-catching, could encourage a visitor browsing through your site, to buy a particular product. With great photography that appeals to others, you could indirectly persuade an online shopper to purchase a product(s) from your store.
- It Is A Less Invasive Experience For The Customer: With online businesses, customers don’t have to worry about face-to-face interactions with the store employees. Instead, any questions they have regarding a product or how to navigate their way could be done via live chat, or by messaging the seller.
- You Can Grow Your Business Organically With Contents: Through your blog posts, you can easily advertise the things you sell by making videos or writing blog posts. This would help to increase traffic to your site.
This is unlike physical stores where you have to spend more money advertising your products and services. Interestingly, many of the e-commerce software already mentioned, have built-in blogging.
How Can Online Business Increase Sales?
Increasing sales is the goal of practically every business, and online businesses are not included. While physical stores would easily say “advertising,” when selling products or services online, there is a myriad of ways to increase the sale of your products. We will be looking at the different methods to facilitate the sale of goods or services, as an online business. Some of these ways include:
- Get More Ad Clicks: This can be done with Ad extensions. Ad extensions are a super cool feature that can help to expand your ad and give your customer more places to click. The customer would be able to locate and also purchase what he or she wants at a faster and easier pace. In other words, it saves your customer a step(s).
- Offer A Sure Money-back Guarantee: Customers are more likely to buy from you if they know that they could get a refund if the product or service is not what they actually wanted. This method of increasing business sales, helps customers to trust your business more while also helping to make customer decisions less risky.
- Provide Tons Of Payment Options: Does everyone purchase goods through the same payment gateway? Of course not. While some people would rather use Amex, others would prefer PayPal, and so on. While this may be stressful for you to add, it’s worth it at the end of the day. Most people would not have much interest in purchasing from online businesses with very limited payment options. So, it’s advisable to widen your payment options to accommodate wider audiences.
- Answer Every Question Or Objection: You must pay attention to the questions, worries, or complaints of customers about your online store. Ignoring them, or not answering them on time, is the downfall of many businesses. So, think of all possible questions regarding your products or services, and make sure to answer them in your copy.
- Be Honest in Your Sales Copy: Try to be as honest as possible, and also very straightforward in your copy. Also, avoid exaggerations, as they could be very misleading.
There are tons more ways to increase traffic to your site and to facilitate sales. The online world also provides the tools to make sales easier and faster for you, as an online business.
Frequently Asked Questions on Ecommerce Platforms
What e-commerce platforms do small online businesses need?
Small online businesses need platforms that are affordable, user-friendly, and also have great tools that would make them stand out and also help to grow their businesses. Some of these platforms are; Shopify, SquareSpace, WooCommerce.
How do I start up an online business?
There a few steps you have to follow. The level of stress associated with this can depend on the platform you want to use. The basic steps are; Choosing and sourcing products, conducting research and making plans, getting the right brand, and deciding what you want to sell.
What is e-commerce security?
E-commerce security is the protection of e-commerce assets, from unauthorized use or access. No business wants to put its sensitive information out there, so that’s where e-commerce security comes in.
What is the importance of E-commerce security?
It helps to protect the private data of customers, and also the sensitive information of online businesses. It also strengthens customer trust, because the stronger the business’ security is, the more trust the customer has in the business and in giving out their personal data.
What e-commerce platforms are suitable for large Businesses?
The kind of platforms that suit these businesses are those platforms that are easily customizable, have advanced features, are very responsive, and also have amazing Support. Some of them include Shopify Plus, WooCommerce Enterprise, BigCommerce Enterprise, etc.
What are some of the cheapest e-commerce platforms
Some of the cheapest e-commerce platforms available are: Weebly, Big Cartel, WooCommerce, Magento, etc. Not only are they affordable, but they’re very great platforms, and have cool features to help create and manage your online business.
One sad truth is that e-commerce wasn’t always available at a certain time. There were times that practically every business had to go through physical and financial stress, just to set up. It’s n surprise why e-commerce has become very popular over the years.
This dream-come-through technology has made it easy for businesses to successfully advertise and sell their products or services without much hassle, and it has also made buying very convenient for customers.
Thanks to e-commerce, both buyers and sellers are living the dream.
E-commerce platforms have managed to create a win-win situation for both businesses and also customers. What is stunning about all this is that many of these platforms are free or affordable.
Even the thought of selling without the stress of hiring employees and paying extraneous fees for physical Storefronts is enough to give any business-owner goosebumps.
With everything explained, you don’t need a fortune-teller to inform you that e-commerce is here to stay.
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Hi, I’m Chandan Negi, Founder of SoftwareTools – a Software Review Blog that provides Software Reviews, SaaS Software, Software Tutorials, and Software Products.