Depending on if you are a small business with the intention of doing most of the set-up on your own, or if you are a larger business who’d prefer to take a hands off approach, there is an ecommerce platform for you. Ability to customize, scalability, affordability, bandwidth, mobile accessibility, the number of apps, your amount of technical knowledge and user experience are all things to consider when choosing the right ecommerce platform.
Pinterest, for instance, has Buyable Pins that enable merchants to sell products featured on their Pinterest page. According to the site, “Buyable Pins have a blue price tag, which tells people your product is in stock and available for purchase. People can easily spot these Pins all over Pinterest—in search results, in related Pins and on your business profile.”
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...]
Starting at $29.99 per month, BigCommerce is abundant with features. A Standard pricing plan comes BigCommerce comes with a number of sales channels, and is rich in features, including a responsive website, single-page checkout, Apple Pay, reporting tools, HTTPS, and more. While it lacks powerful content management capabilities, you can easily integrate BigCommerce with a CMS like WordPress to reap the benefits of content and commerce.
Even though they all have these knowledge bases, along with blogs, FAQs and other documentation, Shopify and Bigcommerce have the most users, making them far superior regarding knowledge base content. Why is this the case? Simple. Since more people are discussing the systems, by default, more questions have been asked and more answers have been posted.
Web content management software helps companies manage large volumes of content that is used in online stores and facilitates the creation marketing campaigns, catalogs, and e-commerce personalization. Complex e-commerce platforms require different types of content such as text, images, and videos, which should be mobile-friendly and reflect the company brand.
Load time is a pretty straightforward indicator of how fast your site is. Simply put, it’s the measure of how long it takes a page (or pages) on your site to fully load. A slow site is a killer in ecommerce – potential customers run away from slow sites, and as we mentioned earlier, each second you gain in site loading speed translates directly into sales gained.
All downloads are legal, and while the majority of the songs are free, there are some premium tunes which users can buy or stream for free on the site. Artists can also upload music and create a custom profile for free, and users can filter search results by song, name, genre, or even whether the artist is signed or unsigned. PureVolume is a great way to learn about artists you otherwise wouldn’t likely encounter, especially given the site offers plenty of music news and interviews with up-and-coming artists.
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.
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.
Too bad its pricing is a bit outdated. While you get a decent number of features in its starter plan, it is limited at 4,000 visitors (actually it’s limited on bandwidth, but it does the math for you). It’s also limited at 100 products, which equals 20 visits per product. That’s not enough for a decent conversion rate. Even when you pay $129.99 a month you only get 90,000 visitors, which isn’t that much. Its High Traffic Plus plan will give you up to 500,000 visitors (at a staggering cost of $499.99/month).
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.
The devil is in the details, though, so when picking the platform for yourself, you should probably focus on things that are more niche in their nature, yet can mean the world to your business. And the complete list of those can be huge, so I urge you to do your own research and in-depth comparison once you have a general idea of the platform you’d like to try out.
"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."
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.
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.
Next up, ThemeForest is a massive repository for WordPress themes, and even features its own WooCommerce section. Inside, you’ll find hundreds of premium themes for the ecommerce platform, targeting a broad range of niches. If you’re looking for a theme that includes features relevant to your particular industry, ThemeForest is probably the right place to look.
nopCommerce is the leading ASP.NET based open-source eCommerce platform. It is a free solution with comprehensive features that is applicable for all types of users from new online businesses to the most demanding enterprise-level eCommerce experts. nopCommerce is one of the most secure, stable and extendable shopping carts. The platform has a rich architecture with lots of features available out of the box. There is also a lot of additional functionality that one can find in the marketplace. Free support on community forums is available.
Another challenge is the ability to transfer product information from e-commerce to platforms like Amazon and eBay. Companies using these platforms also need to export sales data and analyze it in accounting or ERP solutions. While there are hundreds of tools to export and import data to and from Amazon, not all e-commerce platforms offer robust features for this purpose.
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 🙂
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.
E-commerce may take place on retailers' Web sites or mobile apps, or those of e-commerce marketplaces such as on Amazon, or Tmall from AliBaba. Those channels may also be supported by conversational commerce, e.g. live chat or chatbots on Web sites. Conversational commerce may also be standalone such as live chat or chatbots on messaging apps and via voice assistants.
A noteworthy feature included in BigCommerce Enterprise is the one-page checkout feature which aids in conversion rates. However, BC Enterprise falls behind Shopify in available themes, integrations, and add ons. Another complaint about BigCommerce is the price lock down rule; companies who make a certain revenue are forced into the enterprise plan.
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.
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.