Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. Ecommerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.
When someone mentions a “free” ecommerce platform, that’s usually code for open source. If you’d rather devote money to other aspects of your business or you’re looking for the satisfaction of building an ecommerce store, open source ecommerce solutions could be the answer you’re looking for. While we’ve mentioned some of these platforms previously, here we will compare and contrast additional platforms that are considered “free.”

If you have a WordPress website and you simply want to start an online store as an addition to it, there’s very little point in choosing anything other than WooCommerce. Under the hood, it’s just a WordPress plugin that you can install and keep everything under one admin panel. WooCommerce doesn’t lack in any crucial eCommerce area. You’ll be thrilled using it as the pillar of your online store.


One important thing to point out is to not get overly excited with WooCommerce’s seemingly attractive pricing too much. While, yes, the platform itself is free, and all the components needed to make it operational (including PayPal payments, etc.) are free, you might need a number of paid extensions to get some helpful additional features. This will grow your bill.
One of the oldest, open-source ecommerce solutions on the market, Volusion offers a very standard and comprehensive experience. For a business just getting off the ground, their Mini plan allows for 100 products, includes 1GB of bandwidth and only costs $15 per month. For those who have graduated and are generating more revenue, there are the Plus and Pro plans for 1000-10,000 products and 3-10GB of bandwidth. These plans are $35 and $75 per month respectively. If you are looking for a simple and clean online store with few products, Volusion could be good for you.
Business to Business or B2B refers to electronic commerce between businesses rather than between a business and a consumer. B2B businesses often deal with hundreds or even thousands of other businesses, either as customers or suppliers. Carrying out these transactions electronically provides vast competitive advantages over traditional methods. When implemented properly, ecommerce is often faster, cheaper and more convenient than the traditional methods of bartering goods and services.
That being said, the look and feel of all that is much more technical than it is in Shopify or Bigcommerce. Magento is more geared at giving you all the eCommerce features possible and then letting you decide how much of it you really need. The reports are awesome, so are all the stats and insights you get about the state of your store, but overall, this is a more enterprise-level platform, and perhaps not that easy to grasp for someone who’s just getting into their eCommerce journey.
OpenCart. OpenCart could be a great choice for small businesses without tech savvy employees. OpenCart is very simple to install and start using. It runs very quickly using simple code. OpenCart allows you to set advanced user privileges and separate access for users and groups. A simple code also has drawbacks; often for sale extensions and themes may not be up-to-date with security standards. 

Catalog management — displays products by category in a way that’s easier to navigate than scrolling or searching through lists of hundreds or thousands of products. Most basic e-commerce tools do not provide this type of functionality because it is not critical for small companies. Medium and large businesses that sell a high number of products and services can significantly benefit from using catalog management software by creating custom catalogs for various consumer segments, and sometimes even for individual B2B customers.


CUSTOMER SERVICE – Additionally, with a commercial solution you benefit from the support structure. Open source solutions such as WordPress are often community driven and you are therefore dependent on that community to provide support. While that can also work very well – if you are in desperate need of help at 3 am on a Sunday, it’s nice to have a guarantee it will be there.
Magento is an open-source platform offering maximum flexibility as well as third party integration. It comes with an abundance of features other platforms are missing, including multiple locations, sites, languages, and currencies. Magento also happens to be very scalable and it suited to grow your small or enterprise business to a thriving online store.

Shopify Plus is making enterprise ecommerce simple by providing high growth and high volume merchants multi-channel commerce software without the headaches. We empower merchants to sell online and off, across social channels like Facebook and Instagram and through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Engineered for scalability and reliability, Shopify Plus is driving massive disruption in the traditional enterprise landscape by giving customers the power and capabilities they need to grow and succeed without the headaches, costs, lengthy timelines and BS of the traditional enterprise options. Shopify Plus works with the largest, most innovative companies in the world like Proctor & Gamble, General Electric, Budweiser, Red Bull and many more.
Determine compatibility – Skill level and expertise aren’t enough. You should also ensure that the consultant has a great relationship with you and your staff. Take time to evaluate cultural fit and see if they’re compatible with your team. Look into their work ethic. How do they operate? How do they interact with others? The answers to these questions can help you determine if they’re a good fit.
A Canadian-based ecommerce solution, Shopify has been helping online businesses across the globe with a sharp focus on the trending social commerce and mobile shopping. Founded in 2004, Shopify has always kept up with the pace of evolving ecommerce trends and technologies, having broken ground on powerful additions such as social shopping whereby your customers never leave their social media platform in order to buy from you.
OpenCart also has multi-store support that lets you stay on top of different stores from a single interface. This functionality lets you set products for different stores, use specific themes for each online store, and localise your websites. Product options and attributes are also quite flexible with OpenCart, and the solution lets you add extra product variables.
You can play the songs before downloading them, but when you're ready to save the songs to your computer, click the FREE button to add it to your cart. Then, you can check out as if you were purchasing something by clicking Place your order. You'll be taken to a link to download the free music, and it'll also be saved in the Digital Orders tab of your order history.
It’s a powerful platform with features to support personalised shopping experiences, efficient merchandising as well as the rapid launches of commerce sites for different brands, markets, or campaigns. Oracle ATG Web Commerce also has native features that allow merchants to sell more complex product lines and data-rich products, such as those that require shopper information.
Hi Zeal, WooCommerce is great if you have an existing WordPress site or if you’re looking to build something more than just an online store (if you also want to have a blog for example) since it’s a very flexible platform with lots of room for customization. Though if you just need an online store and want it to be super-simple then I would stick with the platforms listed here.
Hey Darren; that’s really a fantastic article! I assume you’ve put a lot of effort into that but believe me that’s the best comparison of eCommerce platforms I’ve seen so far 🙂 One question popped up on my mind. Do you believe that an eCommerce platform lacks certain competencies if a merchant using that platform needs external apps to support his/her store? I work for an app developer company – so I may be subjective in that sense – but for me eCommerce apps add a lot of value on top of the standard offering of the platforms. For instance, we provide AI powered personalization for the eCommerce websites. An eCommerce platform’s development team do not need to bother creating these competencies in house – and they may not succeed – as this is not their expertise. I’d love to hear about your thoughts 🙂
The changing market represents a vast opportunity for businesses to improve their relevance and expand their market in the online world. Researchers predict e-commerce will be 17 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2022, according to Digital Commerce 360. The U.S. will spend about $460 billion online in 2017. These figures will continue to climb as mobile and internet use expand both in the U.S. and in developing markets around the world.

Showcase your products and drive sales from your Facebook Business Page with the free Facebook for #WooCommerce extension. Sync your entire catalog with a click, and reach people after they’ve visited your website with dynamic, relevant ads on Facebook.https://woocommerce.com/products/facebook/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=WooCommerce …
Do you want to charge customers a one-time flat fee for add-ons – such as an accessory for a product, or setup – regardless of quantity? Now you can, with the new and improved #WooCommerce Product Add-Ons 3.0:https://woocommerce.com/posts/pricing-options-image-swatches-product-add-ons-3-0/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=WooCommerce …
SuiteCommerce enables B2B and B2C merchants to rapidly create unique, personalized, and compelling branded shopping experiences across multiple channels. Differentiate your brand and exceed customer expectations, whether it is through mobile, online, or in-person, and empower your sales associates to provide engaging customer acquisition and retention experiences by utilizing a single source of item, inventory, customer and order data to feed your customer-facing systems. SuiteCommerce's integrated cloud-based nature unifies business applications and provides a central repository for order management and customer details, item and inventory data, creates seamless, omni-channel, brand experiences, and streamlines your business for continuous growth.

Shopify has been in the business for a very long time. It is one of the most successful platforms out there and gets good reviews from users. It offers light and reduced cost plans for small businesses that aren’t too expensive. And Shopify’s themes allow for a large amount of customizability. Generally speaking, it is extremely easy to setup and use, so much that you don’t really need to hire a developer. For small businesses, we consider it to be the best ecommerce platform out there. 


While other ecommerce platforms use drag-and-drop editing, or even let you create your store from scratch if you want to, GoDaddy does something different. It uses ADI, which stands for Artificial Intelligence Design. This means it simply asks you a few questions, and then uses your answers to create a personalized store for you. This is what makes it the easiest ecommerce platform to use on the whole market.
An ecommerce platform is not a "one size fits all" solution that will work for everyone. All the ecommerce platforms discussed in this article are built for different kinds of business requirements. The pros and cons outlined are not about what's wrong with them. The curated list is designed to help you make a calculated decision and choose a platform that serves your needs best.
After disabling each plugin, test your site’s loading times to see if there are any improvements. If speeds remain the same – or the improvement is minimal – reactivate that plugin and try the next one instead. Keep in mind that there are likely to be some small variations during each performance test, so we recommend conducting a few and averaging the results for a more complete picture.
eCommerce is the fastest growing retail market projected to hit $4.058 trillion in sales in 2020. Mobile commerce, or mcommerce, is a rapidly growing new avenue of eCommerce that’s mostly driven by the expanding market and influence of smartphones and millennials’ comfort with shopping online. In 2016, the mcommerce sector enjoyed a 39.1% increase in sales compared to the previous year.
Reduced costs. eCommerce businesses benefit from significantly lower running costs. As there’s no need to hire sales staff or maintain a physical storefront, the major eCommerce costs go to warehousing and product storage. And those running a dropshipping business enjoy even lower upfront investment requirements. As merchants are able to save on operational costs, they can offer better deals and discounts to their customers.

Shopify is the leading cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Merchants can use the software to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. The platform also provides merchants with a powerful back-office and a single view of their business. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, using enterprise-level technology made available to businesses of all sizes. Shopify currently powers over 243,000 businesses in approximately 150 countries and is trusted by brands such as Tesla Motors, Budweiser, Red Bull, LA Lakers, the New York Stock Exchange, GoldieBlox, and many more. For a demo, please visit: https://docs.shopify.com/webinars
Because of the limited storage space offered by Volusion, this particular platform might not be ideal for huge companies. Exceeding the storage space offered results in large fees which is not ideal for a large, enterprise level business. Volusion is highly customizable and jam packed with features with five different plans suitable for many different size businesses. Their premium plan (the highest plan they offer) is around $135 per month.
In the end, WooCommerce gives you more SEO-specific options overall, purely because of the fact that it's built on top of WordPress. The only problem is that your site speed largely depends on the hosting you go with. Because of this, the SEO category goes to Shopify. You don't have to worry about optimization much, and your speeds are always going to be top-notch.
Selz is very affordable, especially when you consider its features compared to comparably priced ecommerce platforms. Not only is it incredibly easy to use, but it also offers integrations for selling through WordPress, Facebook, and other independent websites. It also offers many security features and customer-friendly delivery options for merchants selling digital products.

Do you want to charge customers a one-time flat fee for add-ons – such as an accessory for a product, or setup – regardless of quantity? Now you can, with the new and improved #WooCommerce Product Add-Ons 3.0:https://woocommerce.com/posts/pricing-options-image-swatches-product-add-ons-3-0/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=WooCommerce …
Also, the hosting thing. In the table above, I’m saying that it’s around $100 / year. I got that number from SiteGround. They have some hosting plans that they promise to be WooCommerce-optimized. Out of the three tiers available, I wouldn’t recommend going below GrowBig or GoGeek, which are $5.95 and $11.95 respectively. Hence, this adds up to $71.40 for the former and $143.40 for the latter annually.
Finding (then subsequently deploying) a new ecommerce solution is a massive undertaking. It will likely take a lot of time (and for enterprises, money) to take on this project. But here’s the good news: picking the right solution can enable you to scale your business, improve operations, and increase sales, so while the process of selecting an ecommerce platform can be challenging, it’s completely worth it.
Specially designed for startups and SMBs, YoKart is a turnkey and features rich ecommerce marketplace solution to build multi-vendor stores such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. While many other ecommerce platforms do offer a multi-vendor version, YoKart specializes in this particular field. YoKart, with its latest upgrade (YoKart V8) now packs an even bigger punch. It's multilingual and multi-currency features allow store owners to expand their reach on a global level. And then there is the plethora of payment gateways, in-built analytics tool, rewards and discount coupon management features.
Another way to analyze popularity is to tie it in with where customers are going when they leave a certain ecommerce platform. The reason this is interesting is that it gives you an indicator of which of the companies have kept up with technologies and made improvements to bring in additional customers. A quick market share search on Shopify shows that the Shopify company is gaining most of its customers from Bigcommerce, Big Cartel, and Volusion. Bigcommerce is still stealing some customers from Shopify, but it used to be the number one place that people would go after Shopify. We assume it's because of the Bigcommerce pricing.
The only downside in all this is that you somehow need to get your hands on a WordPress site in the first place. And okay, I know this is not particularly a problem for you maybe, but we have to remember that WordPress can be quite confusing to a beginner, and the need to first set up a WordPress site and only then a WooCommerce store is far from intuitive.
Live Music Archive is essentially a partnership between Internet Archive and etree.org, a community dedicated to providing high-quality, lossless versions of live concerts. You can think of it as a bootlegger’s paradise given the site’s sheer abundance of concert material, much of which focuses on jam bands such as the Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, and Sound Tribe Sector 9. Still, there are a host of other bands to choose from — The Smashing Pumpkins, Jack Johnson, Animal Collective, etc. — along with plenty of genres to browse, ranging from jazz to reggae.
To start an online business it is best to find a niche product that consumers have difficulty finding in malls or department stores. Also take shipping into consideration. Pets.com found out the hard way: dog food is expensive to ship FedEx! Then you need an ecommerce enabled website. This can either be a new site developed from scratch, or an existing site to which you can add ecommerce shopping cart capabilities.
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