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).
Conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional sense, is possible to do electronically because of certain software programs that run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product display, online ordering, and inventory management. The software resides on a commerce server and works in conjunction with online payment systems to process payments. Since these servers and data lines make up the backbone of the Internet, in a broad sense, e-commerce means doing business over interconnected networks.
CloudCraze delivers robust B2B commerce native on Salesforce. It allows businesses to generate online revenue fast and easily scale for growth. Its Customer-First Commerce model puts the customer at the core, informing every interaction with data across commerce, sales, marketing, service and more. With the trusted Salesforce infrastructure and core capabilities, CloudCraze provides infinite flexibility to extend functionality, add products and channels, and conduct billions of dollars in transactions anywhere. CloudCraze powers Customer-First Commerce for industry leaders such as AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Ecolab, GE, Hallmark, Kaplan, Kellogg’s, Land O’ Lakes, L’Oreal, Symantec and Tyco. CloudCraze is funded by Insight Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures. CloudCraze is recognized in The Forrester Wave™: B2B Commerce Suites, Q1 2017 and as a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2017. CloudCraze is a Salesforce Platinum ISV Partner.
SquareSpace is comparable to Wix and WordPress more than a dedicated ecommerce platform like BigCommerce. However, it offers many features that are attractive for smaller websites. If your ecommerce business is on the smaller side and you’re not looking for advanced features, SquareSpace will make setting up an online store pretty simple and painless.
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.
WooCommerce is completely free to use and is powered by a community of developers dedicated to making WooCommerce as flexible and versatile as the industry needs. As the internet and online stores continue to evolve, WooCommerce evolves with it. Bluehost makes building a WooCommerce website easy for beginners while still providing all the tools necessary for pros. WooCommerce allows anyone to setup and run a professional online store in minutes. The best part is that it's all powered by WordPress so your data is all 100% owned by you.
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The first step to starting an eCommerce business is deciding what products you’re going to sell. Finding a profitable idea can be hard work, so be prepared to do some serious digging and thinking. It’s essential that you choose products with healthy margins that will allow you to turn a profit and scale the business in the future. Once you know what you want to sell, you’ll need to decide how and where you’re going to source the products. The four main methods of sourcing products and inventory are making, manufacturing, wholesale and dropshipping.
Of course, with a field as complex as ecommerce, there will always be something new to learn down the line. Keep in mind that you can always refer to this guide at any time if you’re not sure what your store’s next move should be. We also encourage you to check out our library of ecommerce guides and news if you want to immerse yourself even more in the field.
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.