Do you want to start an eCommerce website and worried about technology part? Staring an online store is becoming very simple and hassle free now a days. In this article I you will learn how you can also create your own eCommerce website without investing in technology. And this has happened because of ready to use hosted eCommerce platforms.
We will share detailed review of best eCommerce platforms providing ready to go eCommerce hosted technology which includes eCommerce software, inventory management, invoicing, order management, plugins, payment gateway, multiple platform connection and all necessary features to start your eCommerce business in few minutes.
Glance back just a couple of years and it won’t be a hard guess that the retail businesses have had some major transformations. Modern day retailers have already realized that digital experiences have completely reshaped the way of doing business. By the end of 2020, ecommerce or online retail projected to grow to 4.206 trillion mark US dollars by 2020 worldwide and in the next couple of years, it will hold the title of becoming the most valuable and fastest growing industry.
Today, more than 71% of retail shopping happens online through eCommerce vendors. The reasons are many and include better deals, comparative pricing, more varieties to choose from, easy payment, doorstep delivery and much more. It thus doesn’t come as a surprise when even physical stores are looking for a digital presence.
Going online widens your market exponentially and the opportunities to sell are endless. Further, you don’t necessarily have to host your own store for starters. After seeing growth of this industry many people willing to start own ecommerce business. There are incredible eCommerce marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist, Flipkart and Amazon those let you do the selling and reach out to the millennia. With eBay for instance, you can choose to sell just about anything. It could be collectables, toys, electronics, paintings, apparel, and cosmetics and just about anything.
Selling on platforms like eBay in addition to your physical store also gives you more opportunities and a market that surpasses geographical boundaries. Selling on eBay is also a very easy process and would be just like interacting with the customer, with eBay managing the deal. More serious and established retailers, with a vast product line can also look to come up with their own dedicated platforms.
But, there are some limitations when you are selling your products on third party marketplaces like eBay too. We will definitely write a separate articles to discuss those third party marketplaces but here, we will emphases on having your own eCommerce website. It will not just give you full control on how you manage your website but will give you benefits of returning customers who can directly place order on your website without paying referral fees.
Here are 8 popular eCommerce platforms to start with:
As there are 100s of hosted eCommerce platforms are available in market and all are offering custom solutions by considering different target audiences and target market. Here we shortlisted 8 best platforms by considering their overall popularity and global acceptance. This list will be updated on regular bases.
With more than 153468 stores, BigCommerce is one of the most reputed eCommerce software platform when it comes to online store deployment. Again, BigCommerce technology is being used by both small and larger stores to increase traffic. The unique advantages with BigCommerce include:
- A comprehensive and ‘out-of-the-box’ toolkit to build your online presence
- Integration of social channels to leverage your sales
- Hundreds of apps to add more advanced store functionalities right from filters to checkout
- A 24x7x365 support, especially if you need help at 3 o’ clock in the morning!
- BigCommerce platform offers great features to connect various platforms like eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram etc.
- Offers over 250+ local currencies support to target local customers without worrying about payment conversions
- They offers responsive framework that can help you to improve mobile conversions of the store
BigCommerce pricing starts at just $29.95/month to $249.95/month, depending on the features you would want to use. They are also offering Enterprise solution at custom pricing which is lower than Magento and Shopify plus (this is what they are claiming).
Shopify is one of the first names you must have stumbled upon when searching for ecommerce platforms to host your online store. It is perfect for both small businesses and larger retail brands selling million of dollars of worth products. The key advantages with Shopify include:
- Hundreds of professional, beautiful and mobile ready themes for a great looking store
- More than 1500 apps that increase the functionality of your online store
- 24×7 support across the year
- Pre approved experts if you are looking to hire help with your store designs and functions
- You don’t require any knowledge of coding!
There is no doubt why shopify is the number one choice to create ecommerce store. By the end of 2015 total 2.43L stores has been created on shopify and they made $14.3 Billion from sales.
Pricing: Shopify plans start at just $29/month and you can move on to the $299 for the advanced plans with more features.
If you are an enterprise business and looking for large scale solution, you can also go with Shopify plus to meet your ever growing requirement.
Shopify store offers great platforms for developers to deploy custom Shopify apps to improve your store performance with enhance experiences. Here you can use those app as per your requirement.
Volusion might not be as easy as Shopify, but if you have the understanding of ecommerce portals, this is worth it. One disadvantage with Volusion however is that you need to have a basic idea of coding. Volusion is catering to a range of retail businesses including electronics, apparel, automotive, jewelry, beauty & health, food & beverages and more. The key features include:
- About a 100 apps that let you integrate useful and comprehensive ecommerce tool in your store
- 24×7 support over phone, live chat and email
- Zero transaction fee. This means you keep all the profit!
Pricing: Pricing of Volusion is at par with Shopify, ranging between $15/month and $135/month. However, getting to keep all your profits makes it an exciting choice.
Big Cartel is more popular among individual sellers who are looking to sell less than 5 products (Free Forever). It is also being used by sellers with a bigger businesses and establishment. However, it is recommended for sellers who have less than 300 products to sell (this would also be the limit with the platform). The key features include:
- Build and independent store with easy website builder
- Basic features that allow the buying and selling process
- Mobile friendly and responsive stores
- SEO, order management, promotion marketing tools
- Real time feedback with data and statistics
Pricing: Big Cartel offers four plans. The Gold membership is free and allows for 5 products. The Platinum membership costs $9.99/month and allows for 25 products. The Diamond membership costs $19.99 and allows for 100 products. Lastly, the Titanium membership costs $29.99/month and allows for 300 products.
Shift4Shop (previously known as 3DCart) offers the usual standard features along with special capabilities like drop shipping support, affiliate marketing program and a couple more. Shift 4 shop provides 24/7 free tech support even if you are using the free trial. After signing up on Shift4Shop you will also get hundreds of free and premium templates designs to set up your store.
- Easy customization
- Built-in Facebook store to sell on Facebook
- Search engine optimization friendly (Custom URL’s, Dynamic meta-tags)
- Real-time shipping information
Pricing: The plans of Shift4Shop hosting range between $29/month to $229/month – at par with Shopify
CoreCommerce is perfectly suited to sellers looking at the international markets. This is ensured by an outstanding multilingual support and a range of payment gateway integration. Apart from this, CoreCommerce offers a range of free and responsive templates to work with along with third party apps that add more power to your store.
Pricing: CoreCommerce pricing ranges between $39.99/month and $199.99/month
SquareSpace is especially recommended for individual sellers, especially artists, bloggers, photographers, musicians, etc. it’s not the traditional generic business but does offer some incredible variety of responsive templates to work with.
Pricing: SquareSpace has 2 pricing – $26/month (Basic) and $46/month (Advance)
LemonStand offers unique flexibility in designing and automation of your own online store. It has in face hosted stores that have won tradeshow awards and startups that have generated more than $400,000 in pre-sales! Young and energetic, LemonStand is a new age competitor of Shopify and is worth a try.
Pricing: Ranges between $49/month and $149/month
If you don’t want to get into technical part of managing eCommerce business, the eCommere software platform solutions mentioned above can be your best choice. You can get more time in managing your core expertise like catalogue, inventory, product promotion and shipping to run your eCommerce business smoothly.
If you think we missed any wonderful eCommerce platform to include in the list, we would love to hear your views.