Top E-Commerce Platforms (cloud E-Commerce services, not self-hosted solutions)

- E-Commerce
 

In this post you will find all the necessary information about the most popular e-commerce platforms. BigCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, Corecommerce, Volusion, AmeriCommerce, 3dcart, Bigcartel and Lemonstand are among described solutions. Remember, that all of them have their unique features and options. Some platforms offer much wider possibilities, but in a case with small businesses they are unnecessary.

ecommerce-services

BigCommerce

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BigCommerce includes such features as marketing tools, SEO, analytics, coupons, and product reviews from the start. There are also thousands of other add-ons, which you can use with your e-commerce store. Many of them are free, and paid apps often have a trial period.  Bigcommerce really shines for its built-in SEO features and tools to improve search engine rankings. There is also an integration with Google Shopping in BigCommerce.

It is extremely easy to set up a Bigcommerce store with Quick Launch Wizard. There are strong support features such as Live Chat and Bigcommerce University. You can also use a phone or email support.

With 65 payment gateways, Bigcommerce offers a ton of different payment options. Visa, MasterCard, Google Checkout, PayPal, Amazon Simple Pay and dozens of other gateways are yours to command. There are more than 100 free design themes in BigCommerce. The cheapest premium theme costs $120.

The platform provides top-notch security. All e-commerce stores within the system are Level 1 PCI compliant, and with an SSL certificate all shopping carts are safe from a leak of information. You also get automated backups of your e-commerce store with BigCommerce.

The platform offers three pricing plans which range between $34.95 and $199.95 per month. All of them offer unlimited bandwidth and products.

Shopify

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Shopify has one of the most thought-out feature sets among other platforms from our list. The company also has one of the most complete control panels. Shopify includes everything you need to sell products, both online and offline. Software and hardware sides are designed to make this process flawless. It takes just a few minutes to create a basic e-commerce store with Shopify. To add inventory to your e-commerce shop you only need to press the product tab. Another Shopify advantage over the other platforms is in its templates and design. There are both high quality free and paid themes. Paid ones start at $80.

With one of the biggest App Stores you get all the necessary extensions to upgrade your store with new useful features. Shopify content management system allows you to create new product and contact pages with ease. You can even start your own blog from a dashboard.

Thanks to built in SEO features your shop will be found on major search engines. Marketing features of shopify include AdWords and Facebook Ads credits, a discount code coupon generator and a newsletter system. Shopify also has its own payment system – Shopify Payments.  In addition, the platform supports more than 70 different gateways. Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, offers 128-bit Free SSL certificate and 24/7 customer support.

There are 5 different pricing plans at Shopify. The cheapest one is $14 per month, while the most expensive one is $179. For both online and offline operations a starter plan is $78 a month, and the most complete solution is $228 a month.

Squarespace Commerce

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Squarespace provides Twitter, Facebook and Instagram integration from its initial configuration. The platform has an extremely small feature list, so it is ideally suited for stores with less than 200 SKUs. Being very lightweight, Squarespace Commerce still offers all the important tools for an online retail. Because of drag and drop functionality, it is extremely easy to setup a basic store, but some features require coding.

Squarespace Commerce is known for its design. The platform offers more than 20 beautiful themes, which can be easily customized. All these themes are responsive. The biggest drawback here is that they are created with blogging and art in mind, and e-commerce is not their primary use.

Speaking of SEO and marketing, it is necessary to mention, that Squarespace allows you to edit meta descriptions, page titles, make custom URLs, and use 301 redirects. The only drawback is the absence of specific apps, designed to extend the e-commerce functionality.

The only payment gateway of Squarespace Commerce is Stripe. The platform offers 24/7 support for free, you can also use a live chat support, or a peer-to-peer help from the forum.

For $30 per month Squarespace Commerce offers unlimited bandwidth and storage, unlimited digital and physical products, and 24/7 support.

Volusion

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Volusion is a cloud-based e-commerce platform for shopping. With this platform you don’t need to purchase costly extensions through a separate app store, because all the necessary features are built into the dashboard. With Volusion you get all the necessary tools to gain an overview of clients, who have abandoned their carts or completed their purchases; encourage customers to keep checking back; give points to customer for complete purchases.

With clean and easy to use interface, Volusion store can be set up in minutes, but only in case if you understand what to do. Without a setup wizard this process can become a torment, especially if you are a beginner.

Volusion Inventory is a little daunting for the novice users. There are a lot of different options and settings, which look very confusing for the beginners but are useful for veteran store owners. Volusion is SEO optimised, and provides the ability to sell through a personalized Facebook store. There is also an integration with Amazon on the platform.

There are over 30 payment gateways in Volusion, with Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.Net among them. It is also possible to accept credit cards right through Volusion. Volusion SSL security package costs $89 for a year or $199 for three. In addition you can sign up for Semantic SSL certificates.

The company provides 24/7 support via chat, phone and email. Mini plan receives only online support. The cheapest Volusion pricing plan will cost you $15 per month, the most expensive – $135. Two other plans cost $35 and $75 per month.

CoreCommerce

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CoreCommerce is an e-commerce platform with the largest set of features. It offers dozens of tools designed to help you create your own store, customize it, manage inventory, create customized reports and much more. There are also a huge number of security enhancements to make both your and your customer’s experience secure. Another great feature is a setup wizard. It teaches, how to set up your online e-commerce store by showing you the most important areas and aspects. When adding a new product, you get different categories created for an easier overview. Social media connections are also among CoreCommerce core features. Moreover, drag-and-drop interface helps you to rearrange different elements of the store with ease, but overall dashboard design is a little bit outdated.

CoreCommerce also offers more than 100 templates for free, but many of them needs an update. You can edit the layout of CoreCommerce store without looking at the code, but it is impossible to upload themes created from scratch.

The platform offers integrated SEO features, such as search engine friendly URL’s. It also works with Google sitemaps and Google Analytics. And with implemented Google Product Feed,you can list your products on Google Shopping with ease. Marketing features include gift certificates, coupons, friend programs, and mailing lists. There are also a lot of different ways of dealing with inventory in CoreCommerce.

The platform offers 50+ payment gateways (PayPal and Google Checkout are included). And it is possible to set a order limits: minimum and maximum. CoreCommerce is PCI/DSS compliant with a 256-bit encryption SSL certificate. There is a 24 hour chat and phone support during the workweek and an 8 hour support on Saturday.

With CoreCommerce you can choose one of four different pricing plans. The cheapest plan costs $29.99 per month and the most expensive one is $199.99.

AmeriCommerce

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With AmeriCommerce you can create and run several stores from the same control panel. This feature is very useful, especially if you are going to provide a support for different languages. The company can also help you get started, but there is a detailed setup wizard for everyone.

There are 5 different pricing plans, which ranges between 25 and 300 dollars. All the plans offer everything you need to micromanage your inventory and even set up the minimum and maximum number of goods anyone can purchase. CSV import and export are also supported.

AmeriCommerce provides 52 templates, but many of them are just copies with different colours. To avoid this problem you can upload your templates and apply them to your e-commerce store.

With the platform you can save the current Google rankings of your store by directing your current URLs to the new ones. AmeriCommerce also provide an advances reward system. The company works with more than 50 payment systems, but only 4 of them are international.

128bit SSL, PCI-compliance, 99.9% uptime are among core security features of AmeriCommerce. There is also a limited in time phone support, 24/7 email and a support solution with tickets.

Big Cartel

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Big Cartel is a solution for small e-commerce businesses. It lacks a lot of useful features of other platforms, but it still exists. Big Cartel stores do not offer a search option, which is a great problem. Because of limited features this platform is easy to use. The creation of Big Cartel store requires no coding. The platform has 4 pricing plans, which ranges from 0 to 30 dollars a month. All of them offer only 6 customizable templates. Inventory tracking is a standard feature, but only for paid plans.

Uneditable URLs, the absence of SEO features, two choices for payments, and weak marketing tools are the other significant drawbacks of Big Cartel. For keeping customers and their information secure, the company provides SSL encryption. There is also an email support during workweek.

3dcart

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3dcart exists since 1997. It was designed to help e-commerce store owners to become as competitive as possible. To reach this goal, 3dcart provides features, which are built directly into the software. Being feature rich, 3dcart provides a dashboard with an outdated design, but it is easy to navigate. If you feel, that existing features are not enough, you can use an app store. There is also a setup wizard, if you enter the dashboard for the first time.

There are 80 free themes in 3dcart, but most of them are duplicates with color tweaks. The inventory manager of 3dcart is the most confusing among other solutions from our list. It just have too many options. 3dcart also provides several SEO and Marketing features, but they are far from advanced.

The biggest advantage of 3dcart is its payment gateways. Platform provides support for over than 100 payment processors. In addition to free shared SSL, 3dcart offers three paid solutions, which range from 79(a RapidSSL certificate) to 995 dollars (Extended Validation SSL Certificates). Five pricing plans starts at $20 per month. The most expensive plan costs 130 dollars. There are email, live chat and 24/7-phone support for all pricing tiers in 3dcart.

LemonStand

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LemonStand is another web-based e-commerce solution. It is famous for its ability to import product information from Shopify. LemonStand has an user friendly backend, so even novice store owner can find all the necessary features and options. But if you need some extra customization you have to deal with HTML and CSS codes.

Themes in LemonStand are fully customizable, but only through changes to CSS and HTML. The platform offers only four of them. But it provides easy Inventory management. With the ability to customize the HTML code, you can choose what kind of SEO features you need. Marketing tools in LemonStand are represented with coupons, sales and discounts.

The platform handles payments through a third party payment processor. The same is about SSL certificates –  you can purchase them from third parties. LemonStand offers phone and email support.

There are 3 pricing tiers and an enterprise plan. The cheapest solution costs 29 dollars per month, while enterprise plan is almost $400 for the same period.