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.

Rap lovers rejoice! Since the mid-aughts, the hip-hop community has become a veritable breeding ground for free music, much of which comes in the form of mixtapes. Some are original compilations by artists looking to cop some shine, some feature rappers freestyling over popular instrumentals from their contemporaries, and some are just dropped by artists looking to reward their loyal fans with some free tunes — we’re looking at you, Curren$y.
Let’s start with a fact. When it comes to e-commerce plugins for WordPress, WooCommerce is definitely the world’s most popular. There’s no doubt about it, since it powers about 30% of all online stores out there. That’s huge! And if you wonder where all this success comes from, we’ll let Tuts+ instructor Rachel McCollin answer for us in her course A Beginner’s Guide to Using WooCommerce:
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.
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...]
Customer management – Think about the capabilities you need to build and manage relationships with your customers. For example, if you communicate with shoppers via email, then you need a solution that either has built-in email marketing features or an integration with your email marketing platform. Do you have a loyalty program? Make sure it works with your new ecommerce program.
PureVolume deals with aspiring artists in order to help promote people who are relatively unknown in the music world, acting as a social media platform where both listeners and artists can create profiles and discuss musical interests. Listeners can also write about artists they like and share songs among friends, as well as contact musicians directly to talk about their favorite tracks. Likewise, artists can write updates about their music or reach out to a burgeoning fan base, if desired.
3dcart has no transaction fees, which is always a big plus. It also offers both a mobile front-end and a mobile back-end. What’s interesting is that it also has a full suite of web store related services, like SEO or Facebook marketing. That’s not common for a shopping cart provider but could come in handy. I would advise you to look at some other pages on the site as well, since there are some excellent resources there (like a shopping search engine comparison).
When it comes to business, you're only as good as your reputation. Indeed, your reputation is your brand. It is the substance your logo represents; it is the glue in customer brand loyalty. In a word, reputation is everything. Yet it's not entirely under your control. That doesn't mean you are helpless as a victim of false accusations, ratings, or wrongful attacks on your company's character, however. [More...]
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.

Last but not least, there are the transaction fees. In essence, whenever you sell something with either of the platforms, they will charge you a small fee (for processing the payment, delivering the money to your account, etc.). Those fees change quite often, so I won't get into that here, but just be aware that they exist. Usually, they sit around 2%-3% per transaction but make sure to check the exact numbers before signing up with either of the platforms.
Ecommerce software provides the customer facing front end component of an online business. Online businesses, like all other businesses, need additional software to manage back end functions such as accounting, order management, inventory management, and customer service. Piecing together different software solutions to create a complete ecommerce business platform is complicated, requires frequent maintenance and rarely functions efficiently.
The Free Music Philosophy used a three pronged approach to voluntarily encourage the spread of unrestricted copying, based on the fact that copies of recordings and compositions could be made and distributed with complete accuracy and ease via the Internet. First, since music by its very nature is organic in its growth, the ethical basis of limiting its distribution using copyright laws was questioned. That is, an existential responsibility was fomented upon music creators who were drawing upon the creations of countless others in an unrestricted manner to create their own. Second, it was observed that the basis of copyright law, "to promote the progress of science and useful arts", had been perverted by the music industry to maximise profit over creativity resulting in a huge burden on society (the control of copying) simply to ensure its profits. Third, as copying became rampant, it was argued that musicians would have no choice but to move to a different economic model that exploited the spread of information to make a living, instead of trying to control it with limited government enforced monopolies.[4]
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.

Wix is also very affordable. The baseline plan is only $5/month. Even their most expensive plan is only $25/month. Of course, with this low price and high ease of use comes a cost. Wix isn’t going to have the bells and whistles that fancier platforms boast, but it should be able to satisfy the needs of most small businesses looking for an ecommerce platform.  
Birchbox has a two-pronged business: it offers a subscription in which the company charges members $10 a month to receive “personalized mix of 5 hair, makeup, skincare, and fragrance samples.” Birchbox also has an online shop that allows customers to purchase full-sized products.  As of 2015, Birchbox had more than 800 brand partners and more than a million subscribers.
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.
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.

I know this might not look that useful right away, but please bear with me. This verdict comes down to the overall focus of Shopify on delivering basically every feature that a store owner may benefit from, and not only devoting 100% to the online side of things. Quite simply, Shopify is the only player here that’s equally suitable to work for you online and offline. But again, that’s just me.
Having an online storefront is one of the most straightforward ways to conduct ecommerce. The merchant creates a website and uses it to sell products and services using shopping carts and ecommerce solutions. The “right” solution will depend on the merchant and their products. Below is a list of some of the top ecommerce platforms. Check them out and see which one is right for you.
Bluehost makes it easy to get started with WooCommerce web hosting. Simply choose the hosting plan that is right for your website needs, and then create or add your existing domain. We will automatically install WooCommerce on top of your WordPress website while also providing a free WooCommerce SSL to keep your site and transactions secure. Setup takes only a few minutes and then you can begin selecting a theme for your online store. Shortly after you've selected a WooCommerce theme, you can begin adding your products and payment information.
Cybersecurity has been becoming a larger and larger concern for organizations. Nowadays, most organizations -- regardless of size, industry, location, or profit vs. nonprofit status -- find themselves directly or indirectly impacted by cybersecurity. Even though the topic itself is increasing in importance, many smaller organizations don't have specialized security expertise on staff. [More...]
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.
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.
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.
Even with all the advantages of Shopify mentioned above, there are some downsides with the platform. The most prominent downside is the additional transaction fee you'll be liable to pay if you don't use Shopify Payment. Moreover, plenty of useful and practical extensions require additional investment. Perhaps most challenging is "Liquid," Shopify's own coding language, which requires ecommerce store owners to pay an incremental price for customization.
Now that you have a promising product idea and a clear overview of the market, it’s time to start thinking about the key elements of your store, such as your brand name, domain name, brand guidelines, and your logo. Getting your brand right from the start can help accelerate the growth and conquer the hearts of potential customers. Before turning your attention to building the store, you should spend some time studying the basics of SEO, so that your business gets off to a good start.
Ecommerce has emerged as the single biggest growth driver in the worldwide marketplace. eMarketer, a leading independent market researcher, predicts global B2C ecommerce sales will reach $1.5 trillion this year, a 20 percent increase from 20131. And according to Forrester Research, B2B ecommerce spending in the U.S. alone reached $559 billion in 20132. If ecommerce is important to your business then the solution you choose is arguably one of the most important business decisions you will make.
E-commerce has the capability to integrate all inter-company and intra-company functions, meaning that the three flows (physical flow, financial flow and information flow) of the supply chain could be also affected by e-commerce. The affections on physical flows improved the way of product and inventory movement level for companies. For the information flows, e-commerce optimised the capacity of information processing than companies used to have, and for the financial flows, e-commerce allows companies to have more efficient payment and settlement solutions.[69]
Big Cartel is an ecommerce solution designed for smaller merchants who do not need a sophisticated platform. Typical Big Cartel merchants are bands, clothing designers, jewelry makers, crafters, and other types of artists. The platform is very easy to use but has a limited feature set. Big Cartel likely won’t fill your needs if you have a large product catalog.
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.
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.
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.
But that wasn’t the only factor that led to its failure. According to ABC News, “during its first holiday shopping season after going public, the site was swamped with orders, as were other online toy sites. EToys sold more than any of its competitors, but the publicity over late shipments dogged the company. Analysts say it also made customers wary of holiday Web shopping during the 2000 holiday season.”
My only question about Salesforce's recent revenue announcement is why the company described the vast majority of its nonprofessional services revenues as "subscription and support." Proserv revenues were appropriately small, at $224 million, while subscription and support was $3.17 billion, or 26 percent more than the same quarter a year earlier. Nice going, by the way. [More...]
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 🙂
×