At its core, e-commerce refers to the purchase and sale of goods and/or services via electronic channels such as the internet. E-commerce was first introduced in the 1960s via an electronic data interchange (EDI) on value-added networks (VANs). The medium grew with the increased availability of internet access and the advent of popular online sellers in the 1990s and early 2000s. Amazon began operating as a book-shipping business in Jeff Bezos' garage in 1995. EBay, which enables consumers to sell to each other online, introduced online auctions in 1995 and exploded with the 1997 Beanie Babies frenzy.
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.
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.
Many of these platforms offer different levels of pricing in order to cater to a wider range of ecommerce businesses. Some even have free versions. However, lower cost often means fewer special features and add-ons. Businesses with very specific needs may find that they need to pay a little more to ensure they get all the features they require for their ecommerce business.
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.
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.
Bluehost makes it easy to get started with WooCommerce web hosting. Simply choose the hosting plan that is right for your website needs, and then create or add your existing domain. We will automatically install WooCommerce on top of your WordPress website while also providing a free WooCommerce SSL to keep your site and transactions secure. Setup takes only a few minutes and then you can begin selecting a theme for your online store. Shortly after you've selected a WooCommerce theme, you can begin adding your products and payment information.
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.”
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.
OpenCart also has multi-store support that lets you stay on top of different stores from a single interface. This functionality lets you set products for different stores, use specific themes for each online store, and localise your websites. Product options and attributes are also quite flexible with OpenCart, and the solution lets you add extra product variables.
Among emerging economies, China's e-commerce presence continues to expand every year. With 668 million Internet users, China's online shopping sales reached $253 billion in the first half of 2015, accounting for 10% of total Chinese consumer retail sales in that period. The Chinese retailers have been able to help consumers feel more comfortable shopping online. e-commerce transactions between China and other countries increased 32% to 2.3 trillion yuan ($375.8 billion) in 2012 and accounted for 9.6% of China's total international trade. In 2013, Alibaba had an e-commerce market share of 80% in China. In 2014, there were 600 million Internet users in China (twice as many as in the US), making it the world's biggest online market. China is also the largest e-commerce market in the world by value of sales, with an estimated US$899 billion in 2016.
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.
Shopping carts — are the most basic features but also the most critical, since they are the interface between the company and its customers. The first thing that customers will use to buy online is a shopping cart, and they usually do not care how it works and what’s needed to keep it safe. The essential characteristic of shopping cart software is ease of use. Buyers want the ability to perform transactions fast, so the user interface of a shopping cart needs to be extremely easy to use.
User-friendly e-commerce software platform with mobile app. Merchants can create their website and sell products to B2C and B2B (both) customers. API integrated with all major payment gateways and shipping companies. Having marketing tools like: automated mailer to abandoned order, reward point system to engage customers, persistent cart, automatic currency based on customer location, etc.
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.
In order to grow, brick-and-mortar stores realize they must use their digital touchpoints to enhance their customers' in-store experiences. Online retailers recognize they need to separate themselves from the pack through faster and more informative shopping experiences. And omnichannel sellers and brands are aware they need to provide their customers with a seamless, cross-channel experience. [More...]
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.
"We are a small team who turn out several videos each week for YouTube. Adding music to our videos has elevated them to a much higher standard, and our audience has responded very favourably. We looked around at a lot of libraries and found Soundstripe has a great selection of quality tracks that meet all our needs - from dramatic instrumentals for travel videos, to subtle background music for talking heads and tutorials."
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.
Another challenge is the ability to transfer product information from e-commerce to platforms like Amazon and eBay. Companies using these platforms also need to export sales data and analyze it in accounting or ERP solutions. While there are hundreds of tools to export and import data to and from Amazon, not all e-commerce platforms offer robust features for this purpose.
E-commerce technologies cut transaction costs by allowing both manufactures and consumers to skip through the intermediaries. This is achieved through by extending the search area best price deals and by group purchase. The success of e-commerce in urban and regional levels depend on how the local firms and consumers have adopted to e-commerce. 
One important thing to point out is to not get overly excited with WooCommerce’s seemingly attractive pricing too much. While, yes, the platform itself is free, and all the components needed to make it operational (including PayPal payments, etc.) are free, you might need a number of paid extensions to get some helpful additional features. This will grow your bill.