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.
Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail. Typical e-commerce transactions include the purchase of online books (such as Amazon) and music purchases (music download in the form of digital distribution such as iTunes Store), and to a less extent, customized/personalized online liquor store inventory services.[1] There are three areas of e-commerce: online retailing, electric markets, and online auctions. E-commerce is supported by electronic business.[2]
Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, (also written as eCommerce) is a type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, typically the internet. Electronic commerce operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer, and consumer to business. It can be thought of as a more advanced form of mail-order purchasing through a catalog. Almost any product or service can be offered via ecommerce, from books and music to financial services and plane tickets.

Site123’s pricing model is simple: you can get started for free, with 500MB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth per month, as long as you don’t need to use your own domain name (free sites are hosted on Site123 subdomains). However, you won’t be able to engage in eCommerce until you upgrade to the Premium plan. For $9.80 per month, a free domain is included for one year, you’re provided with an ample 10GB of storage and 5GB of bandwidth, Site123 branding is removed and you can sell as many items as you wish.


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.

Miva’s unique hybrid SaaS technology combines the ease of use and trusted security of SaaS with the flexibility and rich functionality found in Open Source and On-Premise systems. Miva’s native functionality includes a rich assortment of shopping and merchandising tools that reduce the need for third-party plug-ins. With Miva, merchants can operate B2B and B2C sales through a single website, displaying products and offering promotions tailored to specific customer groups.

There are also online advertising laws that protect consumer privacy and ensure truthful marketing practices online. As an e-commerce business, online advertising is a major part of your strategy. Over the past decade, federal and state governments have passed new online advertising laws. As you expand into online marketing, it is important to be familiar with these. The CAN-SPAM Act, for instance, sets the rules for advertising through email, the most important rule being that consumers must be able to opt out of messages from businesses.
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.
And even better, they do offer a Theme editor within the platform that you can use for customization. You can choose to hide sections within the theme editor without removing them. Hidden sections will still be customisable in the theme editor but not visible on the store front-end. This allows you to start sections for future releases and remove the need for theme duplications ( a common issue most developers face with WordPress).
Last but not least, there are the transaction fees. In essence, whenever you sell something with either of the platforms, they will charge you a small fee (for processing the payment, delivering the money to your account, etc.). Those fees change quite often, so I won't get into that here, but just be aware that they exist. Usually, they sit around 2%-3% per transaction but make sure to check the exact numbers before signing up with either of the platforms.

Internationally there is the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which was formed in 1991 from an informal network of government customer fair trade organisations. The purpose was stated as being to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems connected with cross-border transactions in both goods and services, and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants for mutual benefit and understanding. From this came Econsumer.gov, an ICPEN initiative since April 2001. It is a portal to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies.


Using Magento is not for everyone, especially if the store owner is not a programmer, or doesn't have a team of programmers working on his or her team. And then there's the price tag; the basic version is free, but getting an enterprise version means you'll need to shell out at least $20,000/year. If you don't have programmers on staff, be prepared to invest in third-party programming costs as well.
All downloads are legal, and while the majority of the songs are free, there are some premium tunes which users can buy or stream for free on the site. Artists can also upload music and create a custom profile for free, and users can filter search results by song, name, genre, or even whether the artist is signed or unsigned. PureVolume is a great way to learn about artists you otherwise wouldn’t likely encounter, especially given the site offers plenty of music news and interviews with up-and-coming artists.
Modern 3D graphics technologies, such as Facebook 3D Posts, are considered by some social media marketers and advertisers as a more preferable way to promote consumer goods than static photos, and some brands like Sony are already paving the way for augmented reality commerce. Wayfair now lets you inspect a 3D version of its furniture in a home setting before buying.[60]
Electronic transactions have been around for quite some time in the form of Electronic Data Interchange or EDI. EDI requires each supplier and customer to set up a dedicated data link (between them), where ecommerce provides a cost-effective method for companies to set up multiple, ad-hoc links. Electronic commerce has also led to the development of electronic marketplaces where suppliers and potential customers are brought together to conduct mutually beneficial trade.
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]
Magento is established as the global market leader for online retailers, commanding a whopping 20% of the total eCommerce marketplace, and it now supports over 250,000 businesses with its platform – in comparison, the closest rival has just 11% market share. Aside from leading the pack, it’s fully customisable appearance and functionality make it ideal for almost any business. With regular updates and a huge support community, Magento is head and shoulders above any other eCommerce platform in our opinion.

Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (China), Chinese (Hong Kong), Chinese (Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Dutch (Belgium), English (Australia), English (Canada), English (New Zealand), English (South Africa), English (UK), English (US), Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French (Canada), French (France), German, German (Switzerland), Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moroccan Arabic, Norwegian (Bokmål), Occitan, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Costa Rica), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Venezuela), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

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.


Security is a primary problem for e-commerce in developed and developing countries. E-commerce security is protecting business' websites and costumers from unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction. The type of threats include: malicious codes, unwanted programs (ad ware, spyware), phishing, hacking, and cyber vandalism. E-commerce websites use different tools to avert security threats. These tools include firewalls, encryption software, digital certificates, and passwords.[68]
This is why I have listed down the aforementioned websites on the basis of ease of use and popularity. However, in my personal opinion, the audio section of the Internet Archive makes it the best free music download website because I can find almost every artist there. You are free to choose the one which suits you the best, so go ahead and explore these sites.
Weebly’s range of price plans and various features make it great value for money. You can easily scale up through the price plans as your store grows, but for large or fast-growing stores, it’s not the best option. Weebly is developing its ecommerce focus and releasing some promising updates. With Square now opening up Weebly’s ecommerce abilities, we definitely recommend watching this space.
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.
The Free Music Philosophy[1] generally encourages creators to free music using whatever language or methods they wish. A Free Music Public License (FMPL)[2] is available for those who prefer a formal approach. Some free music is licensed under licenses that are intended for software (like the GPL) or other writings (the GFDL). But there are also licenses especially for music and other works of art, such as EFF's Open Audio License, LinuxTag's Open Music License, the Free Art license and some of the Creative Commons Licences.

LemonStand is a refreshingly customizable cloud based eCommerce platform that helps fast growing retail brands and subscription eCommerce companies create beautiful online stores that stand out from the crowd and sell more. Features an infinitely flexible storefront design engine, including the ability to check out on your own domain, customize the entire checkout process and even A/B test different designs. Comes with built-in features to sell standard one-time products, or recurring subscriptions without requiring an extra app. You can even sell both seamlessly together to maximize revenue and growth. A full featured content management system (CMS) and blog is built-in to enable advanced and integrated content marketing from a single platform And there are no transaction fees or penalties for using your payment processor of choice.
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.
Thank you for this report. It has saved me a lot of time and effort. I do however have one question. I am looking at GoCentral which is GoDaddy’s e-commerce platform. Have you heard anything good or bad about this? I am trying to find out if it has drop shipping integration. There is a charge for each transaction but I am looking for security, ease of use, the best customer service….as I don’t want to wait days to get a response back if I have an issue with my store. Time is money and I would like to use a company that will answer the phone and emails asap. I have always had a great experience with GoDaddy but I didn’t know if you had heard about this service. Any help that you can provide would be great. Thank you!!
BigCartel is a great platform for small businesses and creative independent ventures. They aim to make selling easy for small stores, with a “quick setup” feature that can get an ecommerce store up and running extremely quickly. They also have a range of free themes. Customizability isn’t super high, but apps and add-ons do allow for some flexibility.

In contrast, some of Volusion’s best features are its analytics and insight reports. These let you keep track of all your stock in one place. This is super useful, especially if you’re making the most of multi-channel selling over Facebook. This takes a lot of stress off your shoulders – with Volusion, you can sit back, relax, and easily keep your store organized.
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.
How do they really know? That's the question that immediately comes to mind in reviewing the top-level data from Voxpro's recent survey of customers and their relationship with chatbots. The data show that 68 percent of consumers haven't used chatbots to contact a brand. About 1,000 people answered the survey. How reliable is that number, though? I'm not disrespecting Voxpro -- just the opposite. [More...]
Depending on if you are a small business with the intention of doing most of the set-up on your own, or if you are a larger business who’d prefer to take a hands off approach, there is an ecommerce platform for you. Ability to customize, scalability, affordability, bandwidth, mobile accessibility, the number of apps, your amount of technical knowledge and user experience are all things to consider when choosing the right ecommerce platform.  
Live Music Archive is essentially a partnership between Internet Archive and etree.org, a community dedicated to providing high-quality, lossless versions of live concerts. You can think of it as a bootlegger’s paradise given the site’s sheer abundance of concert material, much of which focuses on jam bands such as the Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, and Sound Tribe Sector 9. Still, there are a host of other bands to choose from — The Smashing Pumpkins, Jack Johnson, Animal Collective, etc. — along with plenty of genres to browse, ranging from jazz to reggae.
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.
Payment gateway software is usually delivered pre-integrated as part of an e-commerce platform. This type of software can also be used separately by companies who do not want to limit their options to the integrations provided by e-commerce vendors. While most providers of e-commerce platforms offer integration with the most popular payment gateways, other options may be preferable, especially for markets that aren't well served by the main players.
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.
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.
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.
One thing that all of the platforms have in common is the fact that their dashboards are all very easy to navigate. Furthermore, most of the platforms offer some sort of a setup wizard that will guide you through the creation of your first store. Inventory management, design functionality and the setup process all tie into how the overall ease of use is classified in this comparison.
You can also get a range of child themes for Storefront in case you want to customize the look of your store further. Most of the child themes are available at $39 a piece (occasionally, though, there are themes with price tags as high as $119). If you're a developer with ecommerce clients, they have a package for $399 where you get all of the themes in the library.
Internationally there is the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which was formed in 1991 from an informal network of government customer fair trade organisations. The purpose was stated as being to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems connected with cross-border transactions in both goods and services, and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants for mutual benefit and understanding. From this came Econsumer.gov, an ICPEN initiative since April 2001. It is a portal to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies.
Wherever you are right now in your ecommerce journey, we hope this post gave you some insights that you can apply in your venture. If you’re just starting out and need help picking a platform or deciding on your target audience,  go back and read the section on ecommerce types and solutions. Already running a business and want to ensure your success? Read through the ecommerce stories above.
The rise of e-commerce has forced IT personnel to move beyond infrastructure design and maintenance to consider numerous customer-facing aspects, such as consumer data privacy and security. When developing IT systems and applications to accommodate e-commerce activities, data governance-related regulatory compliance mandates, personally identifiable information privacy rules and information protection protocols must be considered.
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.

Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce refers to the electronic exchange of products, services or information between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers. Examples include online directories and product and supply exchange websites that allow businesses to search for products, services and information and to initiate transactions through e-procurement interfaces.


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.”
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.

Finding (then subsequently deploying) a new ecommerce solution is a massive undertaking. It will likely take a lot of time (and for enterprises, money) to take on this project. But here’s the good news: picking the right solution can enable you to scale your business, improve operations, and increase sales, so while the process of selecting an ecommerce platform can be challenging, it’s completely worth it.


Akshay is a passionate marketer and enjoys providing innovative and valuable insights to the blog. He is currently the Founder of a Global Content & Growth Marketing Agency, and loves to help startups, agencies and marketing managers grow their business. Interests that excite him include innovation, startups, health & fitness, meaningful experiences, golf & meditation.
Catalog management — displays products by category in a way that’s easier to navigate than scrolling or searching through lists of hundreds or thousands of products. Most basic e-commerce tools do not provide this type of functionality because it is not critical for small companies. Medium and large businesses that sell a high number of products and services can significantly benefit from using catalog management software by creating custom catalogs for various consumer segments, and sometimes even for individual B2B customers.
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.

We are in talks with a few organizations who have very substantial interest and whose values align with ours. As negotiations continue, I may write more updates here as we move along and may be able to announce a new parent org for FMA in the coming weeks. Nothing is set in stone though so we still face shutdown, and if you have questions or want to help, please contact us using the Closure Comment form (at the end of this blog post). 

×