For anyone who is planning to start a new ecommerce business in 2018, it's important to first understand how digital commerce has evolved in past 2-3 years and where it is heading. Beyond mobile and social, we've seen just about every aspect of ecommerce evolve. Let's have a look at the major highlights that will shape and influence ecommerce now and in the future.
Contemporary electronic commerce can be classified into two categories. The first category is business based on types of goods sold (involves everything from ordering "digital" content for immediate online consumption, to ordering conventional goods and services, to "meta" services to facilitate other types of electronic commerce). The second category is based on the nature of the participant (B2B, B2C, C2B and C2C);[39]
Drupal Commerce – This is an open-source ecommerce framework that enables users to build online stores and applications on Drupal. Drupal Commerce is highly flexible and offers hundreds of modules that allow users to enhance and extend its functionalities. There’s also Commerce Kickstart, “a distribution of Drupal Commerce packed with features that make it more complete, faster to launch, and easier to administer.”

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. 
The future trends in the GCC countries will be similar with that of the western countries. Despite the forces that push business to adapt e-commerce as a means to sell goods and products, the manner in which customers make purchases is similar in countries from these two regions. For instance, there has been an increased usage of smartphones which comes in conjunction with an increase in the overall internet audience from the regions. Yuldashev writes that consumers are scaling up to more modern technology that allows for mobile marketing. However, the percentage of smartphone and internet users who make online purchases is expected to vary in the first few years. It will be independent on the willingness of the people to adopt this new trend (The Statistics Portal). For example, UAE has the greatest smartphone penetration of 73.8 percent and has 91.9 percent of its population has access to the internet. On the other hand, smartphone penetration in Europe has been reported to be at 64.7 percent (The Statistics Portal). Regardless, the disparity in percentage between these regions is expected to level out in future because e-commerce technology is expected to grow allowing for more users. The e-commerce business within these two regions will result in a competition. Government bodies at country level will enhance their measures and strategies to ensure sustainability and consumer protection (Krings, et al.). These increased measures will raise the environmental and social standards in the countries, factors that will determine the success of e-commerce market in these countries. For example, an adoption of tough sanctions will make it difficult for companies to enter the e-commerce market while lenient sanctions will allow ease of companies. As such, the future trends between GCC countries and the Western countries will be independent of these sanctions (Krings, et al.). These countries need to make rational conclusions in coming up with effective sanctions.
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. 
However, e-commerce lacks human interaction for customers, especially who prefer face-to-face connection. Customers are also concerned with the security of online transactions and tend to remain loyal to well-known retailers.[65] In recent years, clothing retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger have started adding Virtual Fit platforms to their e-commerce sites to reduce the risk of customers buying the wrong sized clothes, although these vary greatly in their fit for purpose.[71] When the customer regret the purchase of a product, it involves returning goods and refunding process. This process is inconvenient as customers need to pack and post the goods. If the products are expensive, large or fragile, it refers to safety issues.[64]
A fully customizable frontend to showcase your style is just the start. Create online look books, true-to-life videos, and even interactive content through AR and VR technology. Then, bring it to life. Shopify’s universal POS powers pop-up shops, product drops, and live events. Sync products, inventory, and customer data automatically across all your channels and expressions.

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.
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.
BigCommerce is similar to Shopify in that it offers a range of powerful ecommerce features packaged in an easy-to-use SaaS platform. It’s almost neck-and-neck with Shopify in terms of pricing too, and currently enjoys a decent amount of popularity with users. Ultimately, it’s Shopify’s superior app developer support that keeps BigCommerce from being the best ecommerce platform for small businesses.
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.
Weebly’s range of price plans and various features make it great value for money. You can easily scale up through the price plans as your store grows, but for large or fast-growing stores, it’s not the best option. Weebly is developing its ecommerce focus and releasing some promising updates. With Square now opening up Weebly’s ecommerce abilities, we definitely recommend watching this space.
Absolutely. Depending on what you want your e-commerce store to do or look like, you can choose from a variety of available WooCommerce themes. Once you've chosen a theme, you can begin to customize it within the "customizer" section of your WordPress dashboard. This will allow you to make simple changes like adding your personal logo or changing the background and font. Coding knowledge is not a requirement for using WooCommerce, however for users who know basic HTML or CSS, customization can be taken to a whole new level. We recommend that beginners to WooCommerce choose a theme that best fits their needs and then learn how to customize it further through our knowledge base articles or community forums. As your customization skills increase, you will be excited by all the possibilities your WooCommerce online store has available to leverage.
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.
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.
When someone mentions a “free” ecommerce platform, that’s usually code for open source. If you’d rather devote money to other aspects of your business or you’re looking for the satisfaction of building an ecommerce store, open source ecommerce solutions could be the answer you’re looking for. While we’ve mentioned some of these platforms previously, here we will compare and contrast additional platforms that are considered “free.”
We regret to inform you that due to a funding shortage, the FMA will be closing down later this month. The future of the archive is uncertain, but we have done everything we can to ensure that our files will not disappear from the web forever. The full audio collection will be backed up and available at https://archive.org/details/freemusicarchive (some of the collection is already there; feel free to go browse).
A fully customizable frontend to showcase your style is just the start. Create online look books, true-to-life videos, and even interactive content through AR and VR technology. Then, bring it to life. Shopify’s universal POS powers pop-up shops, product drops, and live events. Sync products, inventory, and customer data automatically across all your channels and expressions.
But wait, there’s more! There are also loads of plugins available for WooCommerce. Adding even more features to your e-commerce site will be just a matter of choice. You can import products from your Amazon shop to your website, allow users to track their shipping from your online store, add social coupons… and a lot more. You can find plugins on CodeCanyon, our marketplace for all things code. And make sure you check out our post 10 Plugins for Extending WooCommerce or the tutorial 20 Useful WordPress e-Commerce Plugins Available on CodeCanyon to get an idea of what you can do with these extensions.
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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.
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We regret to inform you that due to a funding shortage, the FMA will be closing down later this month. The future of the archive is uncertain, but we have done everything we can to ensure that our files will not disappear from the web forever. The full audio collection will be backed up and available at https://archive.org/details/freemusicarchive (some of the collection is already there; feel free to go browse).

Your product idea will dictate which aspects of the market you need to research, but some of the most important areas to look into will be your competition, pricing strategy, and your unique value proposition. At this point, it is also a good idea to draft a business plan that will help you visualize your growth strategy and identify any potential threats or obstacles.
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 🙂
In 2013, Brazil's e-commerce was growing quickly with retail e-commerce sales expected to grow at a double-digit pace through 2014. By 2016, eMarketer expected retail e-commerce sales in Brazil to reach $17.3 billion.[49] India has an Internet user base of about 460 million as of December 2017.[50] Despite being third largest user base in world, the penetration of Internet is low compared to markets like the United States, United Kingdom or France but is growing at a much faster rate, adding around 6 million new entrants every month.[citation needed] In India, cash on delivery is the most preferred payment method, accumulating 75% of the e-retail activities.[51][citation needed] The India retail market is expected to rise from 2.5% in 2016 to 5% in 2020.[52]
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.
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.
Also, the hosting thing. In the table above, I’m saying that it’s around $100 / year. I got that number from SiteGround. They have some hosting plans that they promise to be WooCommerce-optimized. Out of the three tiers available, I wouldn’t recommend going below GrowBig or GoGeek, which are $5.95 and $11.95 respectively. Hence, this adds up to $71.40 for the former and $143.40 for the latter annually.
WooCommerce – because it integrates into WordPress – comes with a lot of strong SEO features built right in. WordPress will give you feedback on your SEO right in pages and posts. This makes it easy to visually judge if your SEO on any given page or post is strong and also takes the pressure and thinking out of SEO. For SEO, it is certainly one of the best ecommerce platforms out there.
Modern 3D graphics technologies, such as Facebook 3D Posts, are considered by some social media marketers and advertisers as a more preferable way to promote consumer goods than static photos, and some brands like Sony are already paving the way for augmented reality commerce. Wayfair now lets you inspect a 3D version of its furniture in a home setting before buying.[60]
WooCommerce was designed specifically for WordPress, one of the most powerful and respected building platforms in use today. With the fundamentals handled by WordPress, WooCommerce then takes the guesswork out of creating your online store, by handling everything from inventory management to payment methods and even your store's overall appearance.
Volusion allows you to focus on selling products and leaves the technical stuff, like getting bogged down by servers or getting frustrated with the back end of your site, to them. Volusion does not charge any transaction fees so you keep all of the revenue you make. Volusion has 359 (82 free and 277 paid) ecommerce template design options including some that are very mobile-friendly. Volusion also enables you to run your store on the go with their mobile app.

Drupal Commerce – This is an open-source ecommerce framework that enables users to build online stores and applications on Drupal. Drupal Commerce is highly flexible and offers hundreds of modules that allow users to enhance and extend its functionalities. There’s also Commerce Kickstart, “a distribution of Drupal Commerce packed with features that make it more complete, faster to launch, and easier to administer.”
Volusion allows you to focus on selling products and leaves the technical stuff, like getting bogged down by servers or getting frustrated with the back end of your site, to them. Volusion does not charge any transaction fees so you keep all of the revenue you make. Volusion has 359 (82 free and 277 paid) ecommerce template design options including some that are very mobile-friendly. Volusion also enables you to run your store on the go with their mobile app.
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.
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.
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