BigCommerce is a SaaS platform that allows SMBs to develop eCommerce sites. Features include the capabilities to design the storefront, configure products, manage payments, generate traffic, and optimize conversion.
Best Ecommerce Platforms
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Ecommerce Platforms Overview
What are Ecommerce Platforms?
Ecommerce software allows merchants to display a product catalog and conduct transactions online. Most ecommerce transactions are B2C (business to consumer). Some also support more complex B2B (business to business) transactions with contract negotiation features, for example.
There are two general types of ecommerce platform: hosted and self-hosted open source:
Hosted ecommerce solutions, which are cloud-based and billed monthly, tend to be more stable and user-friendly.
Self-hosted ecommerce solutions are more advanced, customizable, and free.
Ecommerce websites, usually referred to as online storefronts, allow shoppers to browse through the merchant's product catalog and purchase products online.
Hosted ecommerce platforms include a set of pre-made templates and themes for storefront design. The best ecommerce software for your online businesses depends on your use cases. There are many different aspects of an online storefront that different ecommerce products may focus on:
Managing larger inventories
Displaying multiple versions (e.g. colors and sizes) of the same item
Managing multiple stores
Representing digital versus physical products
Scalability is also a major consideration when evaluating product catalog options and features.
Online Shopping Cart
An online shopping cart allows website visitors to accumulate a list of products in a virtual "shopping cart" before checkout. In addition to accumulating the list, shopping cart software also calculates the total cost, including shipping and taxes.
Some platforms offer other shopping cart-related features, like abandoned cart tools. These save unfinished orders and/or email customers to remind them that there are still items in their cart. Abandoned cart functionality often costs extra or is available only with higher-tier packages.
Another additional functionality some ecommerce products include is the ability to suggest products for customers to view. This is typically based on individual customer’s shopping behavior along with information about what products other customers have been viewing and buying.
Online Payment System
Some solutions include in-house payment processing. Others integrate to a third party payment gateway. Vendors that offer in-house payment processing often charge a transaction fee. Since payment systems need to handle sensitive customer information, most ecommerce platforms have standard security measures in place.
Ecommerce Platforms Features & Capabilities
Online shopping cart
Online payment system or integration with a payment gateway
Order fulfillment and shipping management
Ecommerce marketing tools
Ecommerce business management
Customer behavior analytics and reporting
Integrations (e.g. CRM, ERP, email marketing, payment gateway, etc)
Ecommerce Platforms Comparison
Monthly subscriptions for hosted products vary widely depending on features and scalability. Monthly charges range from zero to over $1,000 at the very high end.
It’s a good idea to clearly understand requirements and to choose an ecommerce platform based on current and anticipated needs, rather than just focusing on cost. In the long-term, picking the ecommerce platform that is the best for your business's needs will present cost savings that may not be immediately apparent in the startup phase.
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Shopify is a commerce platform designed for both online stores and retail locations. Shopify offers a professional online storefront, a payment solution to accept credit cards, and the Shopify POS application to power retail sales.
Squarespace is a CMS platform that allows users to create a DIY blog, eCommerce store, and/or portfolio (visual art or music). Some Squarespace website and shop templates are industry or use case-specific, such as menu builders for restaurant sites.
Wix is a free, hosted website builder, designed to be user-friendly and customizable without requiring coding from the user. It is well-known for its eCommerce solution, which allows users to build an online store.
WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress, developed by WooThemes (recently acquired by Automattic). Like WordPress, it is designed to be an extendable, adaptable, open-sourced platform. WooCommerce allows merchants to sell physical products, downloadables, or services.
Kentico is a web content management system for building websites, online stores, intranets, and Web 2.0 community sites. Kentico CMS uses ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server for development via its Portal Engine, using Visual Studio, or through Microsoft MVC.
Weebly, now from Square, is a basic content management system with blogging and eCommerce features. It can be utilized for building standard websites or specialized webpages for online stores.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly called Demandware) is a cloud-based eCommerce solution that touts flexibility and scalability for enterprises. It features merchandising tools, such as sorting, filtering, image zooming, and more.
Magento is now part of Adobe. Magento Commerce is the foundation of the Adobe Commerce Cloud, a bundled offering that provides companies with a flexible and scalable end-to-end platform to manage, personalize, and optimize the commerce experience across every touch point and across the customer j...
GoDaddy Web Hosting provides users with storage, email addresses, and unlimited bandwith.
Adobe Business Catalyst is an all-in-one cloud-hosted system for building and managing web content and online stores. It has a built-in CRM framework in addition to sales, service, and marketing features including eCommerce and Email Marketing tools. It is scheduled to be shutdown in 2021.
The Episerver Digital Experience Cloud™ is designed to help marketers and merchandizers deliver omni-channel digital experiences that drive long-term growth. According to the vendor, with Episerver's digital commerce solution, users can:Create consistent brand experiences by extending their visua...
Volusion is a cloud-based ecommerce solution from the company of the same name in Austin, TX. It features an intuitive dashboard, built-in marketing and promos, SEO, templates, and tools to customize look and appearance.
Magento Open Source is an ecommerce content management solution originally developed by Varien Inc and presently supported by Adobe. The Open Source product is for developers and merchants that is available as a free download, and supported with free upgrades from the Magento Community.
SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly Hybris) is designed to help businesses sell more goods, services, and digital content through every touchpoint, channel, and device through their multichannel ecommerce and order management solution, available as a SaaS or on-premise.
Shopify Plus is an eCommerce solution built for enterprise-level companies that enables them to sell online and offline across social channels like Facebook , Pinterest, and marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Miva Merchant is a point-and-click, online store development and management system that allows merchants to build their online store through a web browser, and lets developers provide aftermarket enhancements for the online store.
Oracle Commerce Cloud is an eCommerce solution designed for both B2C and B2B business. It is packaged as modular SaaS platform with capabilities in support of A/B testing, drag and drop building, automatic updates, and more.
Webgility is a multichannel eCommerce software which provides automated accounting and inventory management. It is optimized for QuickBooks Desktop and NetSuite users who sell on multiple channels.
nopCommerce is an open-source eCommerce solution that is iASP.NET (MVC) based with a MS SQL 2008 (or higher) backend database. The vendor says their shopping cart solution is uniquely suited for merchants that have outgrown existing systems.
ChannelAdvisor is a provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions that enable retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimize their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels including Amazon, Google, eBay, Facebook and more.
Digital River Global Commerce offers cloud commerce tools and services for selling digital and physical products across global online markets, handling taxes, regulations, payments, e-marketing and more.
OpenCart is an open-source eCommerce platform. It features support for unlimited categories and products, multiple currencies and languages, shipping, payments, and mobile access.
IBM Digital Commerce is an e-commerce platform that is designed to deliver omni-channel shopping experiences, including mobile, social, and in-store. In June 2019, IBM Digital Commerce was acquired by HCL Technologies.
Oracle's ATG Web Commerce was acquired from Art Technology Group in 2010. Its services and tools are now a part of Oracle's broader suite of CX (customer experience) commerce products.