In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council are among the primary agencies that regulate e-commerce activities. The FTC monitors activities such as online advertising, content marketing and customer privacy, while the PCI Council develops standards and rules, including PCI Data Security Standard compliance, which outlines procedures for the proper handling and storage of consumers' financial data.

BigCommerce is most easily compared to Shopify. Both platforms offer a similar experience when building an ecommerce platform. Like Shopify, BigCommerce offers a range of prices and packages tailored to different types of businesses. The platform is highly customizable if you are comfortable with some light coding. It is also possible to use themes and templates to build your website, but some of these will come at an additional cost.
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.
Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail. Typical e-commerce transactions include the purchase of online books (such as Amazon) and music purchases (music download in the form of digital distribution such as iTunes Store), and to a less extent, customized/personalized online liquor store inventory services.[1] There are three areas of e-commerce: online retailing, electric markets, and online auctions. E-commerce is supported by electronic business.[2]
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.
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.
DatPiff is also the only site on this list that consistently offers free music from mainstream artists — think Future and Drake — and remains the No. 1 spot for fans to download new tapes, view release schedules, and listen to fan-made compilation albums. The site even features a pop-out player so you can listen before you download, as well as a news aggregator that collects stories from sites like HipHopEarly.
Webgility is a premium Ecommerce Operations and Accounting automation software designed for multi-channel ecommerce companies who use QuickBooks or Netsuite. Run your whole ecommerce business from a single app — Automate your accounting and sync your business data—including inventory, order management, and shipping—to your QuickBooks or Netsuite. All within one comprehensive app. Automate your accounting—and ditch the busywork — Easily and automatically post all of your sales directly into QuickBooks or Netsuite, knowing it’s timely, accurate, organized, and tax compliant. Create sales receipts or invoices, record expenses and fees, and fully reconcile—error-free. Manage orders—and improve customer satisfaction — Process orders faster. Easily search, sort, filter, import, and export multichannel orders. Manage cancellations and process and track returns and refunds. Automatically create purchase orders for out-of-stock items. Ship faster for less – Automatically connect orders to shipping carriers (FedEx, UPS, USPS) for instant rate comparison. Simply click to print shipping labels and pick lists, validate addresses, track shipments, and notify customers. Never oversell with accurate multichannel inventory — Instantly sync and update price and quantity between all sales channels and QuickBooks or Netsuite. Keep track of what products you have listed on what sales channel, what’s selling for what price, and when you need to order more. Gain valuable insights with powerful analytics — Learn actionable intelligence based on data insights to run your business with strategy instead of guesswork. See all channels, expenses, inventory, financial, and customer analytics to optimize operations and increase revenue.
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...]
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.”
Recent research clearly indicates that electronic commerce, commonly referred to as e-commerce, presently shapes the manner in which people shop for products. The GCC countries have a rapidly growing market and characterized by a population that becomes wealthier (Yuldashev). As such, retailers have launched Arabic-language websites as a means to target this population. Secondly, there are predictions of increased mobile purchases and an expanding internet audience (Yuldashev). The growth and development of the two aspects make the GCC countries to become larger players in the electronic commerce market with time progress. Specifically, research shows that e-commerce market is expected to grow to over $20 billion by the year 2020 among these GCC countries (Yuldashev). The e-commerce market has also gained much popularity among the western countries, and in particular Europe and the U.S. These countries have been highly characterized with consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) (Geisler, 34). However, trends show that there are future signs of a reverse. Similar to the GCC countries, there has been increased purchase of goods and services in online channels rather than offline channels. Activist investors are trying hard to consolidate and slash their overall cost and the governments in western countries continue to impose more regulation on CPG manufacturers (Geisler, 36). In these senses, CPG investors are being forced to adapt e-commerce as it is effective as a well as a means for them to thrive.
BigCartel is a great platform for small businesses and creative independent ventures. They aim to make selling easy for small stores, with a “quick setup” feature that can get an ecommerce store up and running extremely quickly. They also have a range of free themes. Customizability isn’t super high, but apps and add-ons do allow for some flexibility.

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 🙂
One important thing to point out is to not get overly excited with WooCommerce’s seemingly attractive pricing too much. While, yes, the platform itself is free, and all the components needed to make it operational (including PayPal payments, etc.) are free, you might need a number of paid extensions to get some helpful additional features. This will grow your bill.
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.
But, the devil is in the details. At the end of the day, Shopify seems like a more laser-focused solution. Everything that Shopify offers is geared at making your online store more functional and easy to use. With WooCommerce, the platform is extremely feature-rich and it doesn't lack any specific eCommerce features. However, it's still an add-on to WordPress, making it more complex to configure.
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).
For my money though, comparing SaaS and deployed platforms is a bit too big of an ask. Comparing Apples with Apples is a good ambition but by their nature you have two very different types of fruit there. Magento site performance, for example, is almost entirely dependent on how well set up the store is. A good Magento developer can make it sing – but it takes time and expertise…. As a SasS solution the variance between Shopify sites should be much smaller.
At Digital River, we believe in true accountability. Everything about our advanced cloud solution is designed for risk-free global commerce. Our proven expertise with tech-centric brands means you have a proactive partner who is always focused on your success. We power and personalize your shopping experiences, process and fulfill orders, and localize your online business everywhere. To protect your brand, we take on risk. We combat fraud, and simplify billing, taxes and compliance. Accountability means we bring you leading tools for digital disruption. With the latest revenue models, we help you grow and meet shifts in buyer preference. Built for B2C and B2B, our commerce cloud supports everything from subscriptions, and accounts and entitlements, to micro-transactions, emerging payments and the Internet of Selling your Things. In short, we’re all-in, fully committed and responsible for each facet of your ecommerce business. We are trusted advocates who help build your brand, amplify your ROI and expand your global opportunity. Digital River is Commerce with Accountability. www.digitalriver.com
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.  
After disabling each plugin, test your site’s loading times to see if there are any improvements. If speeds remain the same – or the improvement is minimal – reactivate that plugin and try the next one instead. Keep in mind that there are likely to be some small variations during each performance test, so we recommend conducting a few and averaging the results for a more complete picture.
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.
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