“Has loads of great functionality”. Oh well, where do we start! Not only is there a large amount of functionality—the quality is also very high, from analytics dashboards to high-standard security. Want to create a subscription-based payment model? No problem. Your business is expanding and you’re thinking of expanding your catalogue as well? Easy peasy.
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.
Demandware is a fully-hosted, cloud-based ecommerce platform with built-in omnichannel and predictive analytics capabilities. Demandware’s Commerce Cloud has a native data model which leverages a shared view of customer data, order history, inventory, and promotional information across all channels to give its retail clients valuable shopper insights that can be used for benchmarking and analysis.
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.
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. 
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.
Ecwid is a hosted cloud commerce platform used by over 1 million merchants in 175 countries and offers the easiest way to add an online store to any website, social site or multiple sites simultaneously. With Ecwid, you get everything you need to start selling online in minutes. Easily embedded into any web presence and leading POS systems, you can market, merchandise and sell products and services from multiple online stores with mobile management and point-of-sale integration anywhere at any time.

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. 
Using Magento is not for everyone, especially if the store owner is not a programmer, or doesn't have a team of programmers working on his or her team. And then there's the price tag; the basic version is free, but getting an enterprise version means you'll need to shell out at least $20,000/year. If you don't have programmers on staff, be prepared to invest in third-party programming costs as well.
Not every song posted on SoundCloud is free, but both big-name and lesser-known artists often offer free downloads if you can manage to find their verified profile. You can browse SoundCloud by artist, genre, popularity, or latest postings; you will be surprised at how many free tracks are out there. There is also a section of the site dedicated to tracks released under Creative Commons licenses, which means you’re free to download, remix, or tweak them as much as you like.
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.
This is fairly self-explanatory. One factor you want to look at is the number of search terms your site ranks in the top 20 for. The closer you are to page one in search results, the higher the chances of you drawing organic search traffic. The more keywords your rank for, the more traffic you get.  Using data from Ahrefs, we looked at the average number of terms ranked on the first two pages on Google.  In terms of my overall performance scores, live ranking data was only a small factor.
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.

SoundCloud essentially serves as the YouTube of music uploading, meaning anyone can upload their tracks to the site before specifying whether they’re available for download or strictly for streaming purposes. Moreover, the site touts an extremely active user community and one of the sleekest user interfaces of any site on our list, one conveniently lined with a navigational bar at the top and direct access to the service’s accompanying mobile apps. Artists might not always offer free downloads of their music, but the labels nearly always do. Fair warning: SoundCloud’s had a bit of financial trouble recently, so you might want to visit the site soon and go on a downloading spree just in case the site goes kaput.


Getting an online store launched on Magento from scratch is even more problematic than on WooCommerce. First off, there are two versions of Magento: the first one is the free community version (which is software that you can download and then install on a server – kind of like WordPress+WooCommerce), the second one is a hosted service (one that you can just sign up to – kind of like Shopify).


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.

Lightspeed Retail is a complete point of sale and inventory management tool that's easy to set up and even easier to use. Used by over 50, 000 businesses across the globe, Lightspeed has helped customers increase their profit by up to 20% in their first year.It simplifies time-consuming tasks like inventory and employee management, so you can focus on taking care of your customers and growing your business. Access detailed sales reports in minutes and easily identify best-selling items or use the built-in customer profiles to provide personalized service that will increase customer loyalty. More than just a cash register, this cloud-based iPad point of sale system allows you to manage your store from anywhere and instantly access your data, so you can benefit from all the tools and knowledge you need to take your store to the next level. Inventory management - Easily create product variations such as size, color and material by using the efficient matrix system. - Combine purchasing, transferring and multiple vendors into one master order. - Process special orders, layaways and work orders. - Create, track, and assign serial numbers to products. - Bundle individual items to sell them as a package. Free Onboarding & 24/7 Support - Benefit from a dedicated team who help you get started in a 1:1 session. - Get live chat support with our support heros located around the world. Reporting - Track sales and inventory numbers with reports that make it easy to see sales, profits and changes over time. - Identify opportunities for growth and business improvement. - Learn which employees are your top performers. - Get a clear view of your customers’ needs and shopping habits. Customers - Track sales history for a more efficient shopping experience and more personalized sales approach. - Record customer information and use it to inform them about deals or new arrivals. Employees - Intuitive, easy-to-learn interface for your employees. - Create a simple and logical workflow that suits your business. - Track sales by employee and access performance reports for your staff. - Control employee access to information such as refunds, the ability to edit products and pricing, or view sales data. Hardware & payments - Integrate your system with hardware such as barcode scanners and cash drawers to reduce checkout times. - Reduce credit card fraud with EMV. - Accept major credit card and Apple Pay®. Integrations - Sell in-store and online with Lightspeed’s fully integrated eCommerce solution, Lightspeed eCom. - Our network of over 250 integration partners allows you to tailor Lightspeed to your business’ needs. Questions? You can always reach our friendly team of specialists by calling 1 855 251 0441 or by going to our support center for helpful tips, training videos and system updates. Lightspeed Retail is a perfect fit for industries such as: apparel, footwear, bike, vape, jewelry, pet, sporting goods, home decor.

Spree Commerce empowers the world’s sellers by providing them with a versatile, modular open-source ecommerce platform that allows for easy integrations with every major third-party service. Spree benefits from a vibrant, international community of over 500 designers, developers and other professionals who have enthusiastically contributed to the growing platform since 2008, making it one of the top open source projects in the world. In 2013, the company launched Wombat, a sophisticated piece of integration software that connects any store to any service or application. Wombat automates the backend operations of storefronts running any ecommerce platform including Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce and Prestashop.
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.
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...]
We are in talks with a few organizations who have very substantial interest and whose values align with ours. As negotiations continue, I may write more updates here as we move along and may be able to announce a new parent org for FMA in the coming weeks. Nothing is set in stone though so we still face shutdown, and if you have questions or want to help, please contact us using the Closure Comment form (at the end of this blog post). 

Cost of the ecommerce platform – Ecommerce platform costs will vary depending on the business’ size, sales volume, and of course, the solution itself. Some solutions (such as Magento) charge yearly licensing fees while others (like Shopify) require monthly subscription fees. In some cases (such as Demandware) the provider takes a cut from the retailer’s sales.


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.
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.

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. 

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