You’re probably used to using this online retailer to buy everything from the best headphones to dog food, so why not add some free music to your shopping list? Believe it or not, Amazon has a massive assortment of thousands of free tunes available via its digital music arm, allowing you to pick through everything from obscure indie and classical music to hits by the Foo Fighters (whose songs Saint Cecelia and Iron Rooster were available for free download on the service, last we checked). Checkout is quick and painless, and it works just like buying a song that costs money on Amazon, sans payment. Simply add a song to your shopping cart, check out, and the tunes are yours.
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.”
To start an online business it is best to find a niche product that consumers have difficulty finding in malls or department stores. Also take shipping into consideration. Pets.com found out the hard way: dog food is expensive to ship FedEx! Then you need an ecommerce enabled website. This can either be a new site developed from scratch, or an existing site to which you can add ecommerce shopping cart capabilities.
Electronic commerce or ecommerce is a term for any type of business, or commercial transaction, that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. It covers a range of different types of businesses, from consumer based retail sites, through auction or music sites, to business exchanges trading goods and services between corporations. It is currently one of the most important aspects of the Internet to emerge.
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.
Another significant benefit of using e-commerce software is that it generates a lot of data that is used by other systems such as CRM software, accounting software, ERP systems, and supply chain and logistics suites. For instance, detailed information on sales and returns can be used to determine the profitability of the company, how to improve inventory levels, or which customers are the most profitable and which ones are not generating significant revenue.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get more people to see your products. There are plenty of ways to market your ecommerce store on a budget, and once the sales start rolling in, you can scale up those same methods for even better results. For example, you can use social media sites like Instagram to market your products without spending a cent.


An example of e-commerce between individuals, or between two consumers, would be an online marketplace such as eBay.com. Similar to the example above, anyone with Internet access and a credit or debit card can browse and purchase available products. The difference here is that products are being sold by individual sellers (other consumers) rather than one large online store.
IBM® Digital Commerce is a flexible cloud commerce platform that gives brands the best of both worlds by combining cloud convenience, ease of use and low cost of ownership with the ability to customize the brand experience for seamless customer engagement across any digital touch-point. With a micro-service approach and the latest container technology, IBM WebSphere Commerce simplifies the creation of omnichannel experiences and makes upgrades for IBM provided enhancements simple and fast so you can focus on the things that matter most to your business. Coupled with unmatched omnichannel commerce platform capabilities for delighting customers and artificial intelligence to speed and enhance commerce professionals’ decision making, WebSphere Commerce gives you the tools to innovate rapidly and keep up with your customers and markets.
Below are a few of our favorites, so you can keep the tunes going even when your car rounds the next bend or Comcast decides to cut you off. Many of these sites are void of Billboard artists like Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, but if you look in the right spots, you’ll find a few hits from some big names, along with scores of independent artists that should keep your ears happy and your wallet heavy.
NoiseTrade is part free music site, part promotion platform. You can download any individual track or album an independent artist uploads to the site if, in turn, you generously supply them with your email address and postal code. The freemium promotion platform also encourages you to spread the word about artists you like via Facebook and Twitter, while giving you the option to quickly tip the artist a suggested $4 donation.
Volusion allows you to focus on selling products and leaves the technical stuff, like getting bogged down by servers or getting frustrated with the back end of your site, to them. Volusion does not charge any transaction fees so you keep all of the revenue you make. Volusion has 359 (82 free and 277 paid) ecommerce template design options including some that are very mobile-friendly. Volusion also enables you to run your store on the go with their mobile app.
Rap lovers rejoice! Since the mid-aughts, the hip-hop community has become a veritable breeding ground for free music, much of which comes in the form of mixtapes. Some are original compilations by artists looking to cop some shine, some feature rappers freestyling over popular instrumentals from their contemporaries, and some are just dropped by artists looking to reward their loyal fans with some free tunes — we’re looking at you, Curren$y.
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]
Shopify – A popular choice among many SMBs, Shopify has features that let you sell online, on social media, and in-person. It lets merchants build and customize their ecommerce site through easy-to-use interfaces and templates. And it has features such as inventory management, reporting, buy buttons and more. It also has social selling functionalities for those who are active on sites like Facebook and Pinterest. 
Why do you think it is crucial to decide if you want to open source vs SaaS? I agree with you – but I want to understand your reasoning. In no scenario, do you actually own the platform. You’re either dependent on a dev or the SaaS company. Ive worked with people that have run sites on their own servers using open source and you need additional resources to manage it (like IT). Might not be worth it for some folks.
For businesses that prefer a simple online store, Magento Go is Magento’s most basic plan. Features ideal for small retail shops include the very simple user interface, a highly developed knowledge base that answers almost every question you might have, very developed product management, and no transaction fees (just one service fee per month). Ultimately, Magento Go offers a very basic experience; there is limited bandwidth, limited themes, few add-ons, and infantile development features.
Magento is an open-source platform offering maximum flexibility as well as third party integration. It comes with an abundance of features other platforms are missing, including multiple locations, sites, languages, and currencies. Magento also happens to be very scalable and it suited to grow your small or enterprise business to a thriving online store.
In China, the Telecommunications Regulations of the People's Republic of China (promulgated on 25 September 2000), stipulated the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) as the government department regulating all telecommunications related activities, including electronic commerce.[36] On the same day, The Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services released, is the first administrative regulation to address profit-generating activities conducted through the Internet, and lay the foundation for future regulations governing e-commerce in China.[37] On 28 August 2004, the eleventh session of the tenth NPC Standing Committee adopted The Electronic Signature Law, which regulates data message, electronic signature authentication and legal liability issues. It is considered the first law in China's e-commerce legislation. It was a milestone in the course of improving China's electronic commerce legislation, and also marks the entering of China's rapid development stage for electronic commerce legislation.[38]
Thanks for your comment. Shopify is the best ecommerce platform on the market today but that’s not to say it’s not for everyone. Depending on how comfortable you are on a computer, and what your ecommerce business actually is, other options may be more suitable. Wix and Weebly, for example, are more beginner-friendly and still give you pretty great ecommerce features, they’re just not quite as powerful as Shopify. We’d say that unless you’re selling tons of products, or need to scale up fast, maybe start off with Wix or Weebly then see how things go.
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.
Additionally, all of the solutions we're talking about have their knowledge bases, which basically let you search a topic and see if someone else has talked about it and addressed it in the past. In my opinion, this is one of the best support areas you can find, since it allows you to resolve a problem while maybe sitting on the phone waiting for a support rep.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress-specific ecommerce plugin. Perhaps its most attractive feature is that it is completely free and open-source. The platform is easily customizable and the WordPress community offers endless support. The plugin is also very regularly updated and very secure. Perhaps the biggest downfall is that WooCommerce requires a knowledge of WordPress because the two are tied together. However, WordPress’ ease of use enables even beginners to start and operate an ecommerce store without advanced technical knowledge.

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.”
The Nexternal eCommerce Platform is a PCI Service Level 1 hosted system that enables brands to sell products directly to consumers or other businesses online, in person, or over the phone. The platform has been continuously evolving since 1999 and has features that will not be found in simpler applications. The software is a single database solution that provides a holistic overview of customer activity regardless of the channel the purchaser is utilizing. All orders can be managed in a web base Order Management System that is integrated with the major shipping carriers, allowing for efficient order processing. Our newest application, TrueCommerce Engage is a mobile point of sale solution that, uses the same database as the online catalog.
One of the oldest, open-source ecommerce solutions on the market, Volusion offers a very standard and comprehensive experience. For a business just getting off the ground, their Mini plan allows for 100 products, includes 1GB of bandwidth and only costs $15 per month. For those who have graduated and are generating more revenue, there are the Plus and Pro plans for 1000-10,000 products and 3-10GB of bandwidth. These plans are $35 and $75 per month respectively. If you are looking for a simple and clean online store with few products, Volusion could be good for you.

Your first step should be to learn about what WooCommerce is and what it can do for your ecommerce site. Then, you can begin to make sense of the platform’s main features, how they work, and the steps you’ll need to take to turn your fledgling store into a successful one. This may sound like a lot of ground to cover, but if you have the patience for some upfront work, you’ll reap the rewards over the long term.
WooCommerce is used by a number of high-traffic websites such as Small Press Expo.[11] For the 3rd week of September 2015, Trends indicated that WooCommerce ran on 30%[12] of e-commerce sites and millions of active installs.[13] Ecommerce is rapidly growing worldwide and WooCommerce has over 39 million downloads as a plugin and is currently active on more than three million websites and is the most popular eCommerce platform in 2018.[14] WooCommerce has approximately 4% of the top million HTML pages.[15] In 2018, statistics show that the percentage of online stores that utilize WooCommerce through Wordpress.org's plugin is more than 30% of all stores.[16] WooCommerce has complete control of the market share with an outstanding 42% of all online stores being powered by Woocommerce.[17]
Really cool infographic. You’ve got just about everything covered. I actually sell a product just using paypal since I thought it might be the easiest for me to set up and it is what I am most familiar with. I guess really lots of ecommerce solutions even integrate with paypal however I do not run the sales of my products as a store just individual sales pages for a pay per product approach.
In the United States, certain electronic commerce activities are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These activities include the use of commercial e-mails, online advertising and consumer privacy. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 establishes national standards for direct marketing over e-mail. The Federal Trade Commission Act regulates all forms of advertising, including online advertising, and states that advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive.[26] Using its authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices, the FTC has brought a number of cases to enforce the promises in corporate privacy statements, including promises about the security of consumers' personal information.[27] As a result, any corporate privacy policy related to e-commerce activity may be subject to enforcement by the FTC.

Selecting the right products to sell on your store is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Even if you already have an idea for the kind of items you want to list, it’s smart to consider all your options. If there isn’t a market for your products, you want to find that out before your store opens for business. That way, you’ll have time to make changes to your items so they’re more appealing, or to switch directions entirely.
You can use an off-the-shelf eCommerce solution like Shopify, which makes building an online store a quick and easy process. However, it will also mean less customization, as you will need to choose from an existing pool of themes and tools provided by the platform. If you opt to run a dropshipping business, eCommerce solutions like Oberlo will allow you to get the store off the ground and start selling in as little as few hours.
Note. I don’t feel like I should make statements like, “I enjoy WooCommerce’s product management more than I do Shopify’s” here because it doesn’t actually bring much value into the discussion. I’m just a guy. A user. And my opinion is not any more important than the other person’s. Inevitably, the way WooCommerce does a given thing, for example, is going to be better for some of you than how Shopify does the same thing. And vice versa. So the key here is to check all those features out by yourself and compare which platform just feels better.
The only downside in all this is that you somehow need to get your hands on a WordPress site in the first place. And okay, I know this is not particularly a problem for you maybe, but we have to remember that WordPress can be quite confusing to a beginner, and the need to first set up a WordPress site and only then a WooCommerce store is far from intuitive.
E-commerce markets are growing at noticeable rates. The online market is expected to grow by 56% in 2015–2020. In 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 2.3 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021[63]. Traditional markets are only expected 2% growth during the same time. Brick and mortar retailers are struggling because of online retailer's ability to offer lower prices and higher efficiency. Many larger retailers are able to maintain a presence offline and online by linking physical and online offerings.[64][65]
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.”
A Canadian-based ecommerce solution, Shopify has been helping online businesses across the globe with a sharp focus on the trending social commerce and mobile shopping. Founded in 2004, Shopify has always kept up with the pace of evolving ecommerce trends and technologies, having broken ground on powerful additions such as social shopping whereby your customers never leave their social media platform in order to buy from you.
I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to find and attract customers online. With millions and millions of businesses all vying for attention, the Internet has quickly turned into a very crowded place. But, believe it or not, there's opportunity in all that clutter, and if you approach your marketing and visibility right, you can easily rise to the top. [More...]
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.
Hi. Every marketplace site should offer their vendors the option to feature their listing. This means that for a small fee, their listing can appear ahead of other listings in that category. The plugin should make this listing last a limited time; this option should appear at the end of the 'create a product listing' page. It should offer a (PayPal) payment option so that the vendor can pay for the featured listing. Once this is done, the listing should go live automatically. These listings should also ideally be automatically deleted from the system after the expiry date. Thanks.
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.
With more choices of products, the information of products for customers to select and meet their needs become crucial. In order to address the mass customization principle to the company, the use of recommender system is suggested. This system helps recommend the proper products to the customers and helps customers make the decision during the purchasing process. The recommender system could be operated through the top sellers on the website, the demographics of customers or the consumers' buying behavior. However, there are 3 main ways of recommendations: recommending products to customers directly, providing detailed products' information and showing other buyers' opinions or critiques. It is benefit for consumer experience without physical shopping. In general, recommender system is used to contact customers online and assist finding the right products they want effectively and directly.[74]
As open source software, WordPress is well known for allowing third-party developers to create various extensions and plugins. WooCommerce taps into that further by offering lots of interesting and exciting additions. Whether you want to easily edit aesthetics, sell on Facebook, ramp up email marketing techniques, understand user behavior or quite frankly do anything else, you'll be able to.

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.


WooCommerce – because it integrates into WordPress – comes with a lot of strong SEO features built right in. WordPress will give you feedback on your SEO right in pages and posts. This makes it easy to visually judge if your SEO on any given page or post is strong and also takes the pressure and thinking out of SEO. For SEO, it is certainly one of the best ecommerce platforms out there.
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.
Pinterest, for instance, has Buyable Pins that enable merchants to sell products featured on their Pinterest page. According to the site, “Buyable Pins have a blue price tag, which tells people your product is in stock and available for purchase. People can easily spot these Pins all over Pinterest—in search results, in related Pins and on your business profile.”
Business-to-administration (B2A) refers to transactions conducted online between companies and public administration or government bodies. Many branches of government are dependent on e-services or products in one way or another, especially when it comes to legal documents, registers, social security, fiscals and employment. Businesses can supply these electronically. B2A services have grown considerably in recent years as investments have been made in e-government capabilities.
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.  

When someone mentions a “free” ecommerce platform, that’s usually code for open source. If you’d rather devote money to other aspects of your business or you’re looking for the satisfaction of building an ecommerce store, open source ecommerce solutions could be the answer you’re looking for. While we’ve mentioned some of these platforms previously, here we will compare and contrast additional platforms that are considered “free.”
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.
BigCommerce is the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce platform, powering more than 90,000 stores. You’ll get everything you need to create a successful online store, including a securely hosted site, shopping cart, product catalog and more. Themes and point-and-click design features make it easy to build a gorgeous site without any design or technical skills, while powerful built-in marketing and conversion optimization tools help you promote your business and sell more.

Imagine an ecommerce platform that allows customer service reps to have a single view of a customer across all channels, a centralized order and inventory management system that can efficiently fulfill orders from all your sales channels, including brick and mortar stores, or utilize a customer's order history data to provide personalized and relevant offers. The possibilities brought to light with the advent of a complete ecommerce platform for business optimization and improved efficiencies as well as deepened customer engagement and satisfaction are limited only by one's creativity.
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