E-commerce is conducted using a variety of applications, such as email, online catalogs and shopping carts, EDI, the File Transfer Protocol, web services, and mobile devices. This includes business-to-business activities and outreach, such as using email for unsolicited ads -- usually viewed as spam -- to consumers and other business prospects, as well as sending out e-newsletters to subscribers and SMS -- short message service -- texts to mobile devices. More companies now try to entice consumers directly online, using tools such as digital coupons, social media marketing and targeted advertisements.

Tracey Wallace is the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she covers all things ecommerce: marketing, design, development, strategy, plus emerging trends, including omnichannel and cloud replatforming. She is often featured in publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and ELLE, along with leading BigCommerce partners like HubSpot and Square. She launched her career in ecommerce with Y-Combinator backed Shoptiques.

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]


Spree Commerce empowers the world’s sellers by providing them with a versatile, modular open-source ecommerce platform that allows for easy integrations with every major third-party service. Spree benefits from a vibrant, international community of over 500 designers, developers and other professionals who have enthusiastically contributed to the growing platform since 2008, making it one of the top open source projects in the world. In 2013, the company launched Wombat, a sophisticated piece of integration software that connects any store to any service or application. Wombat automates the backend operations of storefronts running any ecommerce platform including Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce and Prestashop.

If you are selling physical goods, you'll need to consider how you're going to ship them. PayPal and other processors have worked with shipping merchants, including USPS and UPS, to offer one-stop postage processing. You will also need to research your state laws to determine if you are required to obtain a permit for selling online, or if you need to collect sales tax for your state or municipality.
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.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is primarily used for selling products or services online. Regardless if your products are digital or physical, WooCommerce makes it easy to build an online store that is customized specifically to your business needs. WooCommerce also makes it easy to manage your inventory, take secure payments, manage shipping, and will even apply taxes accordingly.

“We have huge, huge traffic spikes because we have such a strong core consumer and fan base. They all hit the [previous] website and it just crashed. When we moved from Magento to Shopify Plus, rather than taking months and months to replatform it took weeks. We could concentrate on what we’re really, really good at, which is our customers, our brand, and our product.”
Earlier this year, in response to reports that Russian actors had used Facebook to disrupt the 2016 election, I wrote a few pieces about how one might go about fixing the problem. I am not sure I have solutions for everything, but what motivates me is the sagging feeling that settles in whenever society throws up its hands and punts. We can do better. [More...]
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).
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.
Spree Commerce empowers the world’s sellers by providing them with a versatile, modular open-source ecommerce platform that allows for easy integrations with every major third-party service. Spree benefits from a vibrant, international community of over 500 designers, developers and other professionals who have enthusiastically contributed to the growing platform since 2008, making it one of the top open source projects in the world. In 2013, the company launched Wombat, a sophisticated piece of integration software that connects any store to any service or application. Wombat automates the backend operations of storefronts running any ecommerce platform including Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce and Prestashop.
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 🙂
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.

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.
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).
Windsor Circle's personalization platform allows retailers to create personalized, marketing campaigns to increase revenue, customer brand affinity, and customer value. With Windsor Circle, retailers can gain access to their 3+ years of eCommerce data - product, purchase, and customer data - and create segments based on these fields, as well as predictive data sets, such as predicted gender, next order data, future value, to power campaigns via email, social, direct mail, and more.
Ecommerce Platforms is a review site that shows the good, great, bad, and ugly of online store building software. We strive to provide easy to read reviews that will help you choose which ecommerce platform is right for you. We maintain an affiliate relationship with some of the products reviewed as well, which means we get a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to our readers). Feel free to follow us on Twitter, comment, question, contact and ENJOY.
Inventory control software allows companies to manage the availability of the products they sell online. This type of software can also be used to identify the products’ quantities required to fulfill demand, for inventory valuation, and inventory transfers between warehouses and locations. All these features are vital to ensure that companies ship the right products for each consumer and customer.
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.
Payment gateway software is usually delivered pre-integrated as part of an e-commerce platform. This type of software can also be used separately by companies who do not want to limit their options to the integrations provided by e-commerce vendors. While most providers of e-commerce platforms offer integration with the most popular payment gateways, other options may be preferable, especially for markets that aren't well served by the main players.

A SWOT analysis can help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your company's current environment. What does the market look like? Where does your business excel, and where does it falter? Review your entire business, not just segments of it. Evaluate external opportunities, because this is the often the primary place to invest time and money. Be honest with yourself when analyzing weaknesses and threats, or else the analysis will not be helpful.
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.

Site123’s pricing model is simple: you can get started for free, with 500MB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth per month, as long as you don’t need to use your own domain name (free sites are hosted on Site123 subdomains). However, you won’t be able to engage in eCommerce until you upgrade to the Premium plan. For $9.80 per month, a free domain is included for one year, you’re provided with an ample 10GB of storage and 5GB of bandwidth, Site123 branding is removed and you can sell as many items as you wish.
Important: If you will be using the Twenty Nineteen theme included with WordPress 5.0 or if you will be using PHP 7.3, you should also be using WooCommerce 3.5.2+. In this release we’ve added the necessary styling for stores to look nice in the Twenty Nineteen theme and made backwards-compatible code tweaks to prevent notices and warnings when running PHP 7.3.
Founded in 1997, 3dcart is a complete and robust eCommerce platform designed to help online store owners thrive in a competitive market. With hundreds of features built directly into its software, merchants can effectively open, operate and maintain a successful eCommerce website with relative ease and efficiency. 3dcart currently powers more than 17,500 global merchants, and its support team is always available, at no additional cost, 24/7/365. 3dcart is an Inc. 5000 company, a Visa PCI Certified provider and a pioneer in mobile commerce and social media marketing. Fully scalable and completely customizable, 3dcart continues to be the solution of choice by industry experts all over the world.

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...]
The site’s user interface is also remarkably clean and simple, allowing you to effortlessly search or browse artists within a visual hub loaded with recommendations and complimentary mixtapes that cover a wide swath of genres, musicians, and forthcoming events. Furthermore, the site often boasts exclusive samplers and releases from artists before they premiere elsewhere, along with corresponding links for connecting you with artists’ social media pages and management. Some of our favorite albums being offered last time we checked? Wild Ones’ Keep it Safe and John Prine’s Live in Asheville ’86.

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.
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.  
HBO chief Richard Plepler has issued a response to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's claim that the ongoing impasse between the companies was the result of a purely anticompetitive play on AT&T's part. It was Dish that dropped HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, blacking out programming for subscribers, Plepler said. That was the first time in HBO's nearly 50-year history that any pay-TV service dropped the premium channel from its lineup. [More...]

You can see why Shopify scored top marks in this area. Features like these don’t just make running your online store possible – they make it easy and enjoyable too. Put simply, Shopify was designed to help people build an online store. That’s why it’s packed with these high quality sales features, which were specially created to support your ecommerce business.

This means your store won’t just look good with Squarespace: it’ll pack a punch too! But if you want speedy growth on a large scale, you might find Squarespace too small too soon. With no app store, you’re totally reliant on the inhouse features and tools provided by Squarespace. Shipping and payment options are also limited when compared to Shopify and BigCommerce.
The rate of growth of the number of internet users in the Arab countries has been rapid – 13.1% in 2015. A significant portion of the e-commerce market in the Middle East comprises people in the 30–34 year age group. Egypt has the largest number of internet users in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Morocco; these constitute 3/4th of the region’s share. Yet, internet penetration is low: 35% in Egypt and 65% in Saudi Arabia.[53]
In response, the concept of free music was codified in the Free Music Philosophy[1] by Ram Samudrala in early 1994. It was based on the idea of Free Software by Richard Stallman and coincided with nascent open art and open information movements. Up to this point, few modern musicians distributed their recordings and compositions in an unrestricted manner, and there was no concrete rationale as to why they did it, or should do it.[citation needed]
Finding (then subsequently deploying) a new ecommerce solution is a massive undertaking. It will likely take a lot of time (and for enterprises, money) to take on this project. But here’s the good news: picking the right solution can enable you to scale your business, improve operations, and increase sales, so while the process of selecting an ecommerce platform can be challenging, it’s completely worth it.
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.
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