There are also online advertising laws that protect consumer privacy and ensure truthful marketing practices online. As an e-commerce business, online advertising is a major part of your strategy. Over the past decade, federal and state governments have passed new online advertising laws. As you expand into online marketing, it is important to be familiar with these. The CAN-SPAM Act, for instance, sets the rules for advertising through email, the most important rule being that consumers must be able to opt out of messages from businesses.


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.
One thing that all of the platforms have in common is the fact that their dashboards are all very easy to navigate. Furthermore, most of the platforms offer some sort of a setup wizard that will guide you through the creation of your first store. Inventory management, design functionality and the setup process all tie into how the overall ease of use is classified in this comparison.
Particularly if you’re running Magento on your own servers, you could have complete freedom over the look, feel, and functionality of your store and you don’t have to rely on your solution provider to make changes to the site. That said, it also means that you’re in charge of maintaining and updating your servers and store, which requires an in-house team or agency. If you’re not up for all that, you may want to consider the Cloud Edition that Magento launched earlier this year.
These are your typical online retailers. They can include apparel stores, homeware businesses, and gift shops, just to name a few. Stores that sell physical goods showcase the items online and enable shoppers to add the things they like in their virtual shopping carts. Once the transaction is complete, the store typically ships the orders to the shopper, though a growing number of retailers are implementing initiatives such as in-store pickup.
We’ve rated the top ecommerce platforms at least four stars out of five in our ecommerce comparison chart. You don’t need any coding knowledge to build a stylish online store. This is not true of more complex self-hosted ecommerce software like WordPress and Magento (if you want to find out more about these advanced tools, visit our guide on best ecommerce software).

For the uninitiated, the dot-com bubble burst occurred from 1997 to 2001. The rapid growth of Internet usage and adoption at the time fueled investments at incredibly high valuations and companies that haven’t even turned a profit went public. The hype wasn’t sustainable, though, and capital soon dried up. As you’ll learn below, this was ultimately one of the reasons why Boo.com (among others) shut down.

WP Engine is ideal for your ecommerce store because it is built for speed, easily scalable, provides simple staging, and total security. Ecommerce sites using WP Engine’s digital experience platform experience three-times more cart additions, 50 percent reduced page load, and three-times more checkouts. Check out the various plans we offer for any size business. Or check out our enterprise plans to take your enterprise level business up a notch.
Magento is established as the global market leader for online retailers, commanding a whopping 20% of the total eCommerce marketplace, and it now supports over 250,000 businesses with its platform – in comparison, the closest rival has just 11% market share. Aside from leading the pack, it’s fully customisable appearance and functionality make it ideal for almost any business. With regular updates and a huge support community, Magento is head and shoulders above any other eCommerce platform in our opinion.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin. And it's available for free. Packed full of features, perfectly integrated into your self-hosted WordPress website. Add powerful shop facilities to your WordPress website with our free eCommerce plugin. Powering over 24% of all online shops, WooCommerce helps you sell anything. Beautifully.
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.
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.
If you have an enterprise level business that already uses WordPress, WooCommerce might be perfect for you. However, it is very simple and not intended for a hugely complicated ecommerce experience. If you have a lot of products, you’ll need to import a bulk product extension which runs at around $200. This solution is simple and straightforward but if you are an enterprise level company you might consider opting for a digital experience platform so your site can scale.
SquareSpace is comparable to Wix and WordPress more than a dedicated ecommerce platform like BigCommerce. However, it offers many features that are attractive for smaller websites. If your ecommerce business is on the smaller side and you’re not looking for advanced features, SquareSpace will make setting up an online store pretty simple and painless.
Today's customer feedback world is extremely complex with data coming from a variety of sources. With the growing number of cross-functional teams and silos within an organization, leaders have been finding it increasingly difficult to capture the full 360-degree view of the customer to drive true change within an organization. While it's clear that problems exist, what's less straightforward is why. [More...]
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...]

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.
Soundstripe is a stock music site made for video producers. We offer a great variety of high quality royalty free songs, and our unlimited licensing model is one-of-a-kind in the industry. We are designed to make it easy, profitable, and fun for you to add great music to your videos. Now it’s time to give us a try. Listen to all the music you want in our stock music library, and then check out our monthly and yearly subscriptions. For the quality of music we offer, you can’t find a better price.
Two of the most important factors behind poor performance are server distance and load. If your servers are overloaded or too far away from your visitors’ locations, your site can load slowly. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) tackles this issue by distributing cached copies of your site to nearby locations from data centers around the world, thereby lightening the load on your main servers.
Soundstripe is a stock music site made for video producers. We offer a great variety of high quality royalty free songs, and our unlimited licensing model is one-of-a-kind in the industry. We are designed to make it easy, profitable, and fun for you to add great music to your videos. Now it’s time to give us a try. Listen to all the music you want in our stock music library, and then check out our monthly and yearly subscriptions. For the quality of music we offer, you can’t find a better price.
As if e-commerce companies didn't have enough problems with transacting securely and defending against things like fraud, another avalanche of security problems -- like cryptojacking, the act of illegally mining cryptocurrency on your end servers -- has begun. We've also seen a rise in digital credit card skimming attacks against popular e-commerce software such as Magento. [More...]

Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.
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.
E-commerce has allowed firms to establish a market presence, or to enhance an existing market position, by providing a cheaper and more efficient distribution chain for their products or services. One example of a firm that has successfully used e-commerce is Target. This mass retailer not only has physical stores, but also has an online store where the customer can buy everything from clothes to coffee makers to action figures.
If you do short run custom products like engraved jewelry or even wall decals, you’ll need custom product fields for customization. Plan on managing a large inventory of various products? You might need a back-in-stock email notification feature or dropship integration to keep your orders leaving the warehouse as fast as they enter your ecommerce system.
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.
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.
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.

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).


LemonStand is a refreshingly customizable cloud based eCommerce platform that helps fast growing retail brands and subscription eCommerce companies create beautiful online stores that stand out from the crowd and sell more. Features an infinitely flexible storefront design engine, including the ability to check out on your own domain, customize the entire checkout process and even A/B test different designs. Comes with built-in features to sell standard one-time products, or recurring subscriptions without requiring an extra app. You can even sell both seamlessly together to maximize revenue and growth. A full featured content management system (CMS) and blog is built-in to enable advanced and integrated content marketing from a single platform And there are no transaction fees or penalties for using your payment processor of choice.
Fortunately, a new breed of business software integrates all the needed commerce and business functionality into a single ecommerce platform via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. With an infrastructure that unifies business applications and the data that feeds them, it is possible to create relevant, engaging and personalized online experiences.
Of course, you could use a standard WordPress theme – many fully support WooCommerce. However, WooCommerce-specific themes are built from the ground up with the ecommerce platform in mind, so they’re often a smarter bet. There are some excellent free choices out there, and you can also find premium options that include more features for a set price.

1ShoppingCart is the world’s most popular automated solution for businesses who want seamless integration of all the tools needed to be successful online. Add a Shopping Cart and Lead Capture to your website in minutes. Then use the built in marketing tools like Automated Email Marketing Campaigns, Affiliate Program Management to follow up with your customers and make more sales.

The definition of e-commerce includes business activities that are business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), extended enterprise computing (also known as "newly emerging value chains"), d-commerce, and m-commerce. E-commerce is a major factor in the U.S. economy because it assists companies with many levels of current business transactions, as well as creating new online business opportunities that are global in nature.
In the United Kingdom, The Financial Services Authority (FSA)[33] was formerly the regulating authority for most aspects of the EU's Payment Services Directive (PSD), until its replacement in 2013 by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.[34] The UK implemented the PSD through the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (PSRs), which came into effect on 1 November 2009. The PSR affects firms providing payment services and their customers. These firms include banks, non-bank credit card issuers and non-bank merchant acquirers, e-money issuers, etc. The PSRs created a new class of regulated firms known as payment institutions (PIs), who are subject to prudential requirements. Article 87 of the PSD requires the European Commission to report on the implementation and impact of the PSD by 1 November 2012.[35]
With the new Points and Rewards WooCommerce Extension, the only thing missing is a referral system that let's customers earn points for referring their friends. So essentially anyone could create an account on your WooCommerce site and share your products with their friends. When their friends use the referral link and buy a product from your site, the customer that refers them gets points.

For those who wish to start a multi-vendor store such as one on Amazon may find BigCommerce lacking some of the available support other ecommerce platforms provide with more integrated marketplace models. Another concern with BigCommerce may be the lack of free themes. With only 7 free themes, BigCommerce lags behind other ecommerce platforms, given the fact that most of them offer more than 20 free themes. But that doesn't change the fact that you get a multitude of premium themes and plenty of customization options to give your store a unique identity.

You can use an off-the-shelf eCommerce solution like Shopify, which makes building an online store a quick and easy process. However, it will also mean less customization, as you will need to choose from an existing pool of themes and tools provided by the platform. If you opt to run a dropshipping business, eCommerce solutions like Oberlo will allow you to get the store off the ground and start selling in as little as few hours.
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.
The Nexternal eCommerce Platform is a PCI Service Level 1 hosted system that enables brands to sell products directly to consumers or other businesses online, in person, or over the phone. The platform has been continuously evolving since 1999 and has features that will not be found in simpler applications. The software is a single database solution that provides a holistic overview of customer activity regardless of the channel the purchaser is utilizing. All orders can be managed in a web base Order Management System that is integrated with the major shipping carriers, allowing for efficient order processing. Our newest application, TrueCommerce Engage is a mobile point of sale solution that, uses the same database as the online catalog.
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