As hard as it might be to believe, there are over 120 different shopping cart software platforms out there, and they all have their place in the market. We should know, after all, our work is to test them all out. And we've been doing that … a lot. So far, we've covered each of the top platforms in individual reviews plus created a comprehensive comparison chart looking through the most crucial traits of each platform. We've also ranked all platforms based on their SEO effectiveness.
Cost of the ecommerce platform – Ecommerce platform costs will vary depending on the business’ size, sales volume, and of course, the solution itself. Some solutions (such as Magento) charge yearly licensing fees while others (like Shopify) require monthly subscription fees. In some cases (such as Demandware) the provider takes a cut from the retailer’s sales.
In addition, e-commerce has a more sophisticated level of impact on supply chains: Firstly, the performance gap will be eliminated since companies can identify gaps between different levels of supply chains by electronic means of solutions; Secondly, as a result of e-commerce emergence, new capabilities such implementing ERP systems, like SAP ERP, Xero, or Megaventory, have helped companies to manage operations with customers and suppliers. Yet these new capabilities are still not fully exploited. Thirdly, technology companies would keep investing on new e-commerce software solutions as they are expecting investment return. Fourthly, e-commerce would help to solve many aspects of issues that companies may feel difficult to cope with, such as political barriers or cross-country changes. Finally, e-commerce provides companies a more efficient and effective way to collaborate with each other within the supply chain.
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.
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.
Fortunately, a new breed of business software integrates all the needed commerce and business functionality into a single ecommerce platform via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. With an infrastructure that unifies business applications and the data that feeds them, it is possible to create relevant, engaging and personalized online experiences.
Amazon, by contrast, is a primarily an e-commerce-based business that built up its operations around online purchases and shipments to consumers. Individual sellers can also engage in e-commerce, establishing shops on their own websites or through marketplaces such as eBay or Etsy. Such marketplaces, which gather multitudes of sellers, serve as platforms for these exchanges. The purchases are typically fulfilled by the private sellers, though some online marketplaces take on such responsibilities as well. E-commerce transactions are typically be done through a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.
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Product management — is essential for companies using e-commerce platforms, since they usually sell many types of products. A complex offering of products and services means that a lot of product data needs to be managed and maintained to ensure that the online store accurately represents what the company sells. Product information is also important to track sales and revenues by product, a mix of items, packages, or product types.
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...]
When Last.fm was initially created in 2002, it functioned as an internet radio station in a similar fashion to Pandora and iHeartRadio. In 2005, however, the site adopted Audioscrobbler, a music recommendation system that collects data from dozens of media players and music streaming websites to craft individual user profiles that reflect musical taste and listening habits. Last.fm has now “scrobbled” info from nearly 100 billion plays, which total more than 7 million years’ worth of listening.
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...]
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.”
News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures. Private, or on-premises, cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to a report by 451 Research and Canonical. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures. [More...]
Sitting firmly at the “all inclusive” end of the market, Volusion is a feature-rich e-commerce platform with everything you could possibly need to run an effective e-commerce store. Like Shopify and Bigcommerce, the model is similar – you are effectively renting your store on a monthly basis, and in the process gaining access to the power and customization potential of the Volusion platform.
Weebly has four price plans, all of which support ecommerce. It might not really matter which Weebly plan you choose – you can sell online with any of them – but the best plan for you will depend on the size of your business. You can only sell up to 10 products on the cheapest Starter plan, whereas if you want to sell unlimited products, you’ll need the Business plan at $25 a month. This also removes the 3% transaction fee placed on the cheaper price plans.
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.
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. 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. 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.