After the SWOT analysis is done, see how it fits into your overall vision. Where do you see your business in five years? In 10 years? This will help you set business objectives for the current year, for sales, profits, customers, traffic, new systems and new staff. After the objectives are set, you can set a strategy into place yourself or hire an e-commerce consultant to help you.
In contrast, some of Volusion’s best features are its analytics and insight reports. These let you keep track of all your stock in one place. This is super useful, especially if you’re making the most of multi-channel selling over Facebook. This takes a lot of stress off your shoulders – with Volusion, you can sit back, relax, and easily keep your store organized.
Best-of-Breed: Specialized software that focuses on one particular area or function. If you want to add a shopping cart feature to an existing website, for example, you can add dedicated shopping cart software. Shopping cart software enables purchases, but typically doesn’t provide advanced features such as sales reporting and inventory management.
Shopify is another strong ecommerce software option. Their mission is to make selling online as fast and simple as possible. They nailed that, but their SEO has some holes. Weak ranking performance, rigid URL structures and a WordPress plugin that uses iFrames highlights my concerns with their SEO. Moreover,  you can’t customize Shopify’s checkout page.

Instead of a certification program WooCommerce uses an official partnership program. WooCommerce recommends users to use these WooExperts for their WooCommerce projects.[26] Suppliers can apply to become a partner and by doing so will undergo a multi-stage application process that includes skill evaluation and an interview. Throughout the process WooCommerce aim to assess familiarity with WooCommerce core and extensions. The partnership program had either a Gold, Silver or Bronze level[27] until late 2017, when it moved to a flat "verified WooExpert" system.[28]


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.
HBO chief Richard Plepler has issued a response to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's claim that the ongoing impasse between the companies was the result of a purely anticompetitive play on AT&T's part. It was Dish that dropped HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, blacking out programming for subscribers, Plepler said. That was the first time in HBO's nearly 50-year history that any pay-TV service dropped the premium channel from its lineup. [More...]
Version 1.2.0 of WooCommerce Blocks is now available as a feature plugin. It’s the easiest, most flexible way to display your products on posts and pages! Using the original “Products Block”, your displayed products can be filtered by category, sale status, or a variety of other fields. You can even make a custom list of handpicked products to display.
An example of the impact e-commerce has had on physical retail is the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days in the U.S. According to Rakuten Marketing data, in 2017, Cyber Monday -- which features sales that are exclusively online -- saw 68% higher revenues than Black Friday -- which is traditionally the biggest brick-and-mortar shopping day of the year.
Additionally, all of the solutions we're talking about have their knowledge bases, which basically let you search a topic and see if someone else has talked about it and addressed it in the past. In my opinion, this is one of the best support areas you can find, since it allows you to resolve a problem while maybe sitting on the phone waiting for a support rep.
PayMotion is an award-winning, end-to-end solution for selling products and services online. Through a cloud-based platform, we enable businesses to create customized checkouts, accept a variety of payment methods, localize carts for better conversions, maximize subscriptions and recurring billing, send customized transaction communications, track and manage reselling and integration partners and more. This is combined with PCI DSS Lever 1 Certification, fraud mitigation and free multilingual customer billing support for you and your customers. PayMotion is the complete payment engine of your technology stack with APIs allowing you to integrate the platform's extensive reporting features into your other business platforms.
With these developments in mind, I have assembled a list of top seven ecommerce platforms that can help you get started in 2018. Before we begin, let's acknowledge that amid this cutthroat competition, only the right combination of business model and ecommerce platform will survive because your traction in the ecommerce world depends a lot on the kind of technology you are equipped with. You have to choose a platform that can meet your own distinct feature requirements as appropriately and as uniquely as your individual business model. Whether you want to launch a conventional ecommerce store, or a multi-vendor marketplace, this list will save you some of the hard grunt work. Ultimately, however, only you can determine which platform is best for you.
Research from BigCommerce has found that Americans are about evenly split on online versus offline shopping, with 51% of Americans preferring e-commerce and 49% preferring physical stores. However, 67% of millennials prefer shopping online over offline. According to Forbes, 40% of millennials are also already using voice assistants to make purchases, with that number expected to surpass 50% by 2020.
When Last.fm was initially created in 2002, it functioned as an internet radio station in a similar fashion to Pandora and iHeartRadio. In 2005, however, the site adopted Audioscrobbler, a music recommendation system that collects data from dozens of media players and music streaming websites to craft individual user profiles that reflect musical taste and listening habits. Last.fm has now “scrobbled” info from nearly 100 billion plays, which total more than 7 million years’ worth of listening.
Although retailers are slating some outstanding deals for Black Friday, the shine of the once-feverish shopping day has diminished, as product discounts have started to appear earlier and earlier in the holiday season. Discounts formerly found exclusively on Black Friday -- and on its online equivalent, Cyber Monday -- gradually have migrated to earlier in the fall. [More...]
You can also get a range of child themes for Storefront in case you want to customize the look of your store further. Most of the child themes are available at $39 a piece (occasionally, though, there are themes with price tags as high as $119). If you're a developer with ecommerce clients, they have a package for $399 where you get all of the themes in the library.
E-commerce helps create new job opportunities due to information related services, software app and digital products. It also causes job losses. The areas with the greatest predicted job-loss are retail, postal, and travel agencies. The development of e-commerce will create jobs that require highly skilled workers to manage large amounts of information, customer demands, and production processes. In contrast, people with poor technical skills cannot enjoy the wages welfare. On the other hand, because e-commerce requires sufficient stocks that could be delivered to customers in time, the warehouse becomes an important element. Warehouse needs more staff to manage, supervise and organize, thus the condition of warehouse environment will be concerned by employees.[18]
Before the advent of copyright law in the early 18th century and its subsequent application to music compositions first, all music was "free" according to the definitions used in free software or free music, since there were no copyright restrictions. In practice however, music reproduction was generally restricted to live performances and the legalities of playing other people's music was unclear in most jurisdictions. Copyright laws changed this gradually so much so that in the late 20th century, copying a few words of a musical composition or a few seconds of a sound recording, the two forms of music copyright, could be considered criminal infringement.[3]
Let’s say your store’s anniversary is in January. To celebrate, you want to give your customers a 50% discount for the entire month — but only for the first 200 customers. Here's how to harness #WooCommerce's simple-yet-powerful coupon functionality:https://woocommerce.com/posts/coupons-with-woocommerce/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=WooCommerce&utm_content=How%20to%20Create%20Coupons%20with%20WooCommerce …

Wherever you are right now in your ecommerce journey, we hope this post gave you some insights that you can apply in your venture. If you’re just starting out and need help picking a platform or deciding on your target audience,  go back and read the section on ecommerce types and solutions. Already running a business and want to ensure your success? Read through the ecommerce stories above.
If budget is not an issue and you are solely looking for a place to sell products with little to no technical involvement, the fully hosted SaaS Shopify Plus is worth checking out. For enterprise businesses, this means a lot of removal of opportunity costs; if you’d rather spend money on marketing and product development and not on testing servers.
When the Oculus Rift launched in 2014, industry stakeholders speculated that the new, high-end in-home virtual reality headset would disrupt the entertainment industry. Just four years later, the technology has reached a crossroads, still lacking adoption by mainstream consumers. In a recent survey, 25 percent of broadband households indicated they were familiar with some type of VR technology, but just 8 percent actually owned a headset. [More...]
Akshay is a passionate marketer and enjoys providing innovative and valuable insights to the blog. He is currently the Founder of a Global Content & Growth Marketing Agency, and loves to help startups, agencies and marketing managers grow their business. Interests that excite him include innovation, startups, health & fitness, meaningful experiences, golf & meditation.
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.
For businesses that prefer a simple online store, Magento Go is Magento’s most basic plan. Features ideal for small retail shops include the very simple user interface, a highly developed knowledge base that answers almost every question you might have, very developed product management, and no transaction fees (just one service fee per month). Ultimately, Magento Go offers a very basic experience; there is limited bandwidth, limited themes, few add-ons, and infantile development features.
In e-commerce, exchanges occur between two parties over some electronic medium, typically the Internet. These exchanges are most commonly transactions between companies and consumers, wherein consumers purchase products and services by credit card payment over a secured website. These exchanges, however, can also include transactions between companies as well as between individuals.

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.
Serving niche markets. Running a niche brick-and-mortar business is extremely difficult. There’s almost no chance of scaling it unless a niche product becomes mainstream. By tapping into a global market, on the other hand, eCommerce retailers can build a highly profitable niche business without any further investment. Using online search capabilities, customers from any corner of the world can find and purchase your products.
For many people, pricing is the most important factor, not only when deciding which of the best ecommerce platforms to use, but in general, as they go through life. Personally, I feel that if you are going to be investing a lot of your time and energy into creating your own online retail space, then there should be more important factors than saving $1 on the price of the platform. With that said, though, we also want to aim at getting the most bang for our buck. Here's how things play out.
The platform is truly everything you want out of an ecommerce solution, equipped with PCI compliance, tax calculation features, return management modules, loyalty programs, email marketing, and more. While the interface’s dashboard can be a little tricky, there are some beneficial features, such as the ability to list and add product attributes, site management functions, and SEO optimization features. Magento Enterprise is primarily geared toward retailers who want the all-in, hands off package.
Webgility is a premium Ecommerce Operations and Accounting automation software designed for multi-channel ecommerce companies who use QuickBooks or Netsuite. Run your whole ecommerce business from a single app — Automate your accounting and sync your business data—including inventory, order management, and shipping—to your QuickBooks or Netsuite. All within one comprehensive app. Automate your accounting—and ditch the busywork — Easily and automatically post all of your sales directly into QuickBooks or Netsuite, knowing it’s timely, accurate, organized, and tax compliant. Create sales receipts or invoices, record expenses and fees, and fully reconcile—error-free. Manage orders—and improve customer satisfaction — Process orders faster. Easily search, sort, filter, import, and export multichannel orders. Manage cancellations and process and track returns and refunds. Automatically create purchase orders for out-of-stock items. Ship faster for less – Automatically connect orders to shipping carriers (FedEx, UPS, USPS) for instant rate comparison. Simply click to print shipping labels and pick lists, validate addresses, track shipments, and notify customers. Never oversell with accurate multichannel inventory — Instantly sync and update price and quantity between all sales channels and QuickBooks or Netsuite. Keep track of what products you have listed on what sales channel, what’s selling for what price, and when you need to order more. Gain valuable insights with powerful analytics — Learn actionable intelligence based on data insights to run your business with strategy instead of guesswork. See all channels, expenses, inventory, financial, and customer analytics to optimize operations and increase revenue.

Like any digital technology or consumer-based purchasing market, e-commerce has evolved over the years. As mobile devices became more popular, mobile commerce has become its own market. With the rise of such sites as Facebook and Pinterest, social media has become an important driver of e-commerce. As of 2014, Facebook drove 85 percent of social media-originating sales on e-commerce platform Shopify, per Paymill.
Serving niche markets. Running a niche brick-and-mortar business is extremely difficult. There’s almost no chance of scaling it unless a niche product becomes mainstream. By tapping into a global market, on the other hand, eCommerce retailers can build a highly profitable niche business without any further investment. Using online search capabilities, customers from any corner of the world can find and purchase your products.
Internationally there is the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which was formed in 1991 from an informal network of government customer fair trade organisations. The purpose was stated as being to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems connected with cross-border transactions in both goods and services, and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants for mutual benefit and understanding. From this came Econsumer.gov, an ICPEN initiative since April 2001. It is a portal to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies.
BigCartel is a great platform for small businesses and creative independent ventures. They aim to make selling easy for small stores, with a “quick setup” feature that can get an ecommerce store up and running extremely quickly. They also have a range of free themes. Customizability isn’t super high, but apps and add-ons do allow for some flexibility.
"We are a small team who turn out several videos each week for YouTube. Adding music to our videos has elevated them to a much higher standard, and our audience has responded very favourably. We looked around at a lot of libraries and found Soundstripe has a great selection of quality tracks that meet all our needs - from dramatic instrumentals for travel videos, to subtle background music for talking heads and tutorials."
WooCommerce is free to download and easy to setup, making it ideal for the small business using a WordPress website. The interface is modern and intuitive and creates beautiful websites using extensive and mobile-friendly themes. Plenty of add ons such as Instagram integration, table rate shipping and wholesale pricing can be purchased if businesses want to take it up a notch. It’s by far one of the best options for small businesses, due to its affordability and ease of content creation on WordPress to bridge the gap between content and commerce. 
CloudCraze delivers robust B2B commerce native on Salesforce. It allows businesses to generate online revenue fast and easily scale for growth. Its Customer-First Commerce model puts the customer at the core, informing every interaction with data across commerce, sales, marketing, service and more. With the trusted Salesforce infrastructure and core capabilities, CloudCraze provides infinite flexibility to extend functionality, add products and channels, and conduct billions of dollars in transactions anywhere. CloudCraze powers Customer-First Commerce for industry leaders such as AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Ecolab, GE, Hallmark, Kaplan, Kellogg’s, Land O’ Lakes, L’Oreal, Symantec and Tyco. CloudCraze is funded by Insight Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures. CloudCraze is recognized in The Forrester Wave™: B2B Commerce Suites, Q1 2017 and as a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2017. CloudCraze is a Salesforce Platinum ISV Partner.
For those seeking something in between Magento Go and Magento Enterprise, Magento Community is your go-to. It is free with paid extensions, features mobile integration, plenty of themes, and multi-store functionality. Magento Community will best serve retailers with high traffic and a large inventory and is ideal for mid-sized to upper retailers. Essential, with a series of extensions and excellent programming, retailers can achieve an Enterprise level site and a sophisticated ecommerce experience.
Tracey Wallace is the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she covers all things ecommerce: marketing, design, development, strategy, plus emerging trends, including omnichannel and cloud replatforming. She is often featured in publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and ELLE, along with leading BigCommerce partners like HubSpot and Square. She launched her career in ecommerce with Y-Combinator backed Shoptiques.
You’re probably used to using this online retailer to buy everything from the best headphones to dog food, so why not add some free music to your shopping list? Believe it or not, Amazon has a massive assortment of thousands of free tunes available via its digital music arm, allowing you to pick through everything from obscure indie and classical music to hits by the Foo Fighters (whose songs Saint Cecelia and Iron Rooster were available for free download on the service, last we checked). Checkout is quick and painless, and it works just like buying a song that costs money on Amazon, sans payment. Simply add a song to your shopping cart, check out, and the tunes are yours.
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.
Imagine an ecommerce platform that allows customer service reps to have a single view of a customer across all channels, a centralized order and inventory management system that can efficiently fulfill orders from all your sales channels, including brick and mortar stores, or utilize a customer's order history data to provide personalized and relevant offers. The possibilities brought to light with the advent of a complete ecommerce platform for business optimization and improved efficiencies as well as deepened customer engagement and satisfaction are limited only by one's creativity.
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