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.
eCommerce refers to any form of business transaction conducted online. The most popular example of eCommerce is online shopping, which is defined as buying and selling of goods via the internet on any device. However, eCommerce can also entail other types of activities, such as online auctions, payment gateways, online ticketing, and internet banking.
With these developments in mind, I have assembled a list of top seven ecommerce platforms that can help you get started in 2018. Before we begin, let's acknowledge that amid this cutthroat competition, only the right combination of business model and ecommerce platform will survive because your traction in the ecommerce world depends a lot on the kind of technology you are equipped with. You have to choose a platform that can meet your own distinct feature requirements as appropriately and as uniquely as your individual business model. Whether you want to launch a conventional ecommerce store, or a multi-vendor marketplace, this list will save you some of the hard grunt work. Ultimately, however, only you can determine which platform is best for you.
At its simplest form, ecommerce software enables a business to sell products and services online. Traditionally, businesses had to purchase on-premise, standalone ecommerce software that required extensive IT setup and in-house management with specialized development teams. These solutions were generally costly, not scalable, challenging to work with, and time consuming to customize and integrate with other systems.
These are your typical online retailers. They can include apparel stores, homeware businesses, and gift shops, just to name a few. Stores that sell physical goods showcase the items online and enable shoppers to add the things they like in their virtual shopping carts. Once the transaction is complete, the store typically ships the orders to the shopper, though a growing number of retailers are implementing initiatives such as in-store pickup.

Web content management software helps companies manage large volumes of content that is used in online stores and facilitates the creation marketing campaigns, catalogs, and e-commerce personalization. Complex e-commerce platforms require different types of content such as text, images, and videos, which should be mobile-friendly and reflect the company brand.
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]

For traditional businesses, one research stated that information technology and cross-border e-commerce is a good opportunity for the rapid development and growth of enterprises. Many companies have invested enormous volume of investment in mobile applications. The DeLone and McLean Model stated that three perspectives contribute to a successful e-business: information system quality, service quality and users' satisfaction.[58] There is no limit of time and space, there are more opportunities to reach out to customers around the world, and to cut down unnecessary intermediate links, thereby reducing the cost price, and can benefit from one on one large customer data analysis, to achieve a high degree of personal customization strategic plan, in order to fully enhance the core competitiveness of the products in company.[59]


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.
IBM WebSphere Commerce has four product editions: there’s Commerce on Cloud for those who want to quickly go to market; there’s WebSphere Commerce – Express, which was made for quickly implementing an online presence; there’s WebSphere Commerce Enterprise, which was designed for high-volume companies and multiple sites; and there’s WebSphere Commerce Professional, an option for midsize businesses.

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.
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.
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.
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.
The world of dropshipping is often considered the easiest way to sell products online. The biggest difference between drop shipping and the standard retail model is that in drop shipping, the selling merchant doesn't stock his own inventory.  Instead, the merchant purchases inventory as needed from a third party – usually dropshipping wholesalers or manufacturers – to fulfil orders.

Bigcommerce also has a nice library of themes for you, divided into multiple categories, and all of them responsive and fully customizable. They were developed to establish a more modern, fluid user experience, utilizing cool new merchandising features for categorization and differently sized catalogs. There are both free and paid options available, and I have to say that those free ones really are attractive-looking.
The changing market represents a vast opportunity for businesses to improve their relevance and expand their market in the online world. Researchers predict e-commerce will be 17 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2022, according to Digital Commerce 360. The U.S. will spend about $460 billion online in 2017. These figures will continue to climb as mobile and internet use expand both in the U.S. and in developing markets around the world.
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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.

These are your typical online retailers. They can include apparel stores, homeware businesses, and gift shops, just to name a few. Stores that sell physical goods showcase the items online and enable shoppers to add the things they like in their virtual shopping carts. Once the transaction is complete, the store typically ships the orders to the shopper, though a growing number of retailers are implementing initiatives such as in-store pickup.
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