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How to choose between 25 popular ecommerce platforms for your online store

There are lots of ways to sell your products online and so many e-commerce platforms to choose from. You can use Craigslist, Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, ArtFire, and similar eCommerce platforms. Or, you can create your own online store, which we recommend. In this guide, we will show you why you need your own store and how to choose the right eCommerce platform for your business.

Why You Need Your Own Online Store

Before we start comparing shopping cart software solutions, what you really need to know is the WHY. Why do you need your own online store when there are plenty of online marketplaces that do most of the heavy lifting for you? There are many reasons, but here are the top three.

1. You can collect your customer's data and start building relationships.

What happens when someone views your products on a site like Etsy but doesn't make a purchase? You've lost a customer, plain and simple.

When someone visits your website, however, you have the opportunity to ask for their email address and start building your list. You've likely heard the phrase “the money is in the list” and that's entirely true! You can make list building a priority on your website, which is something that you can't do if you only sell through a platform like Etsy. In fact, you don't ever get access to your customers' email addresses when they purchase from your Etsy shop!

Also, when someone views your products on your e-commerce platform, you have the chance to reach them again on networks like Facebook and Google through re-targeting. Re-targeting (or re-marketing) is an advertising strategy that allows you to create and show ads designed for people who have visited a specific page on your website. Website visitors who are reached through re-targeting ads are much more likely to convert and make a purchase.

Re-targeting is just one example of ways you can use your customer's data for marketing purposes IF they visit your website to make a purchase instead of a communal marketing place. When people come to your website, you also have the chance to get them on your email list and turn them into a social media fan.

2. You don't have to fight with competitors in your store.

Can you imagine being Dillard's and having products from Sears, Macy's, and Nordstrom popping up inside your store to buy? Or can you imagine having doors to other stores inside yours so people can walk right out of yours and into theirs? That's what happens in online marketplaces. People are served your competitor's products in some cases, or they are given easy navigation to leave your products and go to your competitors.

When you have your own online store on your own website, the only products people will have to choose from are yours. The lack of distractions and additional options will make people much more likely to buy from you.

3. Your customers are yours, not someone else's.

When someone purchases a product from you on Etsy, they register their information to make a purchase, but they register with Etsy, not you.

When you have your own online store, the information they enter to make a purchase will be yours. With their permission, you will be able to reach them again through email marketing, direct marketing (snail mail), and SMS marketing (text messaging). You can also take your customer email addresses and create custom advertising audiences on Facebook to reach them again through social advertising.

As you can see, it's almost crazy not to have your own online store. Especially if you factor in all of the other issues with online marketplaces such as additional seller fees, lack of options to customize your store as your own, and much more.

So how do you create your own online store? With a shopping cart solution.

Three Major Groups of E-commerce Platforms Solutions

When you start researching shopping cart software, you will find that there are many options to choose from. For physical products, they typically fall into three groups.

1. Hosted Shopping Cart Software

Hosted shopping cart software allows you to create an online store without having to install shopping cart software on your own website. In many cases, you will just customize a URL like yourbusiness.theirsoftware.com. Most will also allow you to use your own domain name like yourbusiness.com and have it point to their service.

The biggest pro of this kind of software is that you do not have to worry about the technical side of owning your own online store. You don't have to install or update the software, manage security certificates, or handle other technical hassles. You just set up your store, enter and update your products and process the orders.

Because the shopping cart software provider is maintaining your online store, you will likely have to pay a monthly fee based on the number of products and sales volume. Monthly fees can be a drawback, especially if you are not making sales to start with, but have to pay just to have your store online.

2. Self-Hosted Shopping Cart Software

Self-hosted shopping cart software allows you to install the shopping cart platform on your own website server. In this case, you will use your own domain name like yourbusiness.com.

The biggest pro of this kind of software is that, in most cases, it is either free or significantly less than hosted software solutions because you will be doing installation and maintenance.

Because the shopping cart software is installed on your website, you will be responsible for configuration, design, security, file storage, and much more. If you're not a technically savvy person or don't have the time to be, you'll be paying for designers, developers, and webmasters to support your store.

3. WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins

The alternative to hosted and self-hosted software platforms are plugins. Plugins are add-ons that work alongside other website platforms. The most popular website platform is WordPress, a widely-used content management system.

The biggest pro of this kind of software is that it works with the platform you are already using for your website. Instead of having to learn a new platform, you will install it on the platform you are already familiar with.

Because the shopping cart plugin is an add-on, you will likely have to purchase it and pay an annual subscription for updates. These typically are less than what you would pay for a hosted shopping cart software solution.

Similar to plugins are widgetized options that work independently of your platform. These only require you to use an embed code from their website anywhere on your website you choose. It's a blend of hosted and plugin, typically with fewer customization options, but also with less cost and hassle.

What to Consider

Not every solution is right for everyone, so as you are looking at your options, be sure to consider the following.

* Technical and setup work required.

* Recurring costs, especially if you won't be making sales right away.

* Additional fees on top of recurring monthly subscriptions (setup fees, transaction fees, chargeback fees, etc.).

* Template options and customization of design.

* Number of configurable options for your products.

* Integration with tools you are already using.

* Tasks that are automated versus those that you will have to handle (inventory management, shipping, etc.).

* Additional features available (discount codes, blogs, review system, etc.) and associated costs for third-party apps when needed.

Introducing 25 Popular Shopping E-commerce Platforms

Now that you know what types of shopping cart software are out there, here's a quick introduction to 25 popular shopping cart software solutions.

Note that there are many others out there, including solutions that are specific to digital products. We didn't include the latter in this comparison, but might in a future post.

1. Hosted Shopping Cart Software

Here are 12 hosted e-commerce platforms that you might consider for your own online store (there are many others, but we only looked at some of the more popular ones). Some are easier to set up than others, some offer more features, some are less expensive, some are geared towards a certain type of products, while some offer more integrations. Think about what you need MOST in an online shopping cart solution as you decide which platform is right for you.

3D Cart

3d cart ecommerce platforms comparison3D Cart is one of the best and most complete eCommerce solutions available today, used by 15,000+ store owners. Their monthly fees are reasonable and they offer a free 15-day trial. They also offer a lot of additional features, including a loyalty program, product reviews, integration with many third-party apps and affiliate programs, blogging capabilities and much more.

Monthly fees: $19.99 to $129.99

Pros: They don't charge any per-transaction fees.

Cons: Their free templates are not as modern or beautiful, so you might have to invest in a designer.

Click here to learn more.

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bigcommerce-shopping-cartBigCommerce is one of my all-time favorite e-commerce platforms (I used it both for my t-shirt business and my soap business) and their platform is simply amazing and very easy to set up. Their platform powers more than 36,000 online stores and their SEO features are great. They also offer a lot of great built-in marketing features like social media integration, abandoned cart saver, newsletters, coupons and discounts and different customer segments (great if you are selling your products wholesale to other retailers).

Monthly fees: $29.95 to $199.95, plus a 1.5% transaction fee for the $29.95 plan

Pros: Super easy to set up, great templates, blogging features and your own secure checkout via your URL domain name

Cons: The blogging feature is not very robust

Click here to learn more.

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Big Cartel

big-cartel-shopping-cart-comparisonBig Cartel is one of the more simple e-commerce platforms for clothing and tee designers, bands, record labels, jewelry makers, crafters, and other artists. Over 500,000 artists and makers have used Big Cartel to easily set up shop and get back to doing what they love. BigCartel offers basic features, including mobile-optimized templates, inventory tracking, discount codes, custom domains and order management.

Monthly fees: Free (for up to five products), then $9.99 to $29.99 based on how many products you sell

Pros: One of the least expensive options for crafters and makers and very easy to set up and get started, no per-transaction fees

Cons: Not very many advanced features, so you might outgrow it once your sales volume increases

Click here to learn more.

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Foxy Cart

foxycart-reviewFoxyCart was mostly developed for developers and it's very easy to customize if you are familiar with HTML (but it's not as out-of-the-box as some of the other shopping cart platforms discussed here). It was designed to streamline the checkout process, but it doesn't offer a lot of the features of many of the other hosted shopping carts.

Monthly fees: $20 to $300 plus a 15 cents fee per sale after the first 100.

Pros: Their main focus is on conversions and checkout and their checkout prices is highly optimized, which can increase your sales.

Cons: Not easy to set up if you are not a developer (you'll have to hire someone to help you set up). doesn't offer email marketing, inventory, analytics, CRM or any of the other features of a more robust shopping cart platform.

Click here to learn more.

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indiemade-reviewIndieMade is designed for artists, by artists, and is super easy to use. Their platform allows you to build a site with a store, blog, galleries, event calendar and much more. IndieMade's platform was built by successful artists and indie entrepreneurs. IndieMade's simple themes and architecture optimize any artist's content — text, images, video, audio — so it's attractive to humans and search engines.

Monthly fees: $4.95 to $19.95

Pros: It's easy to set up, offers great SEO features, has inexpensive monthly fees with no per-transaction fees, and allows you to set up a blog and event calendar

Cons: Your only option for customer payments is PayPal, which can hurt your sales because not everyone has a PayPal account

Click here to learn more.

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shopify-reviewShopify is one of my favorite online shopping cart platforms. Their 100+ designs and templates are absolutely stunning and their platform powers more than 150,000 online stores! You have complete control over the look and feel of your website, from its domain name to its layout, colors, and content. It also easily integrates shipping with every major carrier and provide your customers with tracking info for their orders, in addition to powerful SEO features, unlimited products, tax support, discounts and coupons, flexible shipping rates, customer groups (great for wholesale sales), inventory management and more.

Monthly fees: $14 to $179, plus 2.25-2.9% and 30 cents per transaction fee

Pros: Tons of amazing features, blogging platform, add-on apps to help you manage everything from shipping, tracking and inventory to affiliates, referral programs and more. They also offer automated tax rate calculations, which many of the other shopping carts don't offer (this will save you so much time and money when it comes to your year-end accounting).

Cons: Their per-transaction fees are higher than any other shopping cart we compared in this article and if you have under $1 million in sales the checkout process takes places on Shopify's servers (yourstore.shopify.com instead of yourstore.com), which can lower your conversions and increases your bounce rate.

Click here to learn more.

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squarespace-reviewSquarespace lets you easily create a fully integrated and beautiful e-commerce website. You can showcase and sell your products with one of their award-winning templates, then customize the look of your online store by using their powerful, easy-to-use platform. With hundreds of customizable settings from fonts to your online store's layout, it's easy to make your e-commerce website amazing.

Monthly fees: $10 – $30

Pros: Their annual plans come with a free domain name, their templates are stunning and it's super easy to use and mobile-friendly.

Cons: Only integrates with Stripe for payments and Stripe's fees are hefty at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

Click here to learn more.

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storenevy reviewStorenvy is home to emerging brands and inspired goods. You can launch a custom store in minutes and also get your products discovered through their social marketplace. After you sign up, you have the option to open up your marketplace store and get access to millions of built-in customers. It's similar to Etsy, but it also allows you to run your own independent online store.

Monthly fees: Free to sell through your own online store and 10% fees if you sell through their marketplace

Pros: It's quick and easy to set up, there are no monthly or transaction fees, you can create discount codes and coupons and your site is mobile-friendly.

Cons: Only integrates with Stripe and PayPal for payments and their fees are hefty at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

Click here to learn more.

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Ultra Cart

ultracart-reviewUltracart  is a premier shopping cart and e-commerce management platform. Much more than simple order taking, UltraCart integrates with your entire e-commerce business, including shopping cart, payment processing, marketing & affiliate management, shipping systems, product fulfillment, and accounting systems.

Monthly fees: $49.95 – $154.95

Pros: One of the industry's most robust and flexible e-business platform. Offers single-page checkout, affiliate management, refund processing, chargeback disputes, and SSL certificates. Also integrates with WordPress.

Cons: Not as intuitive to set up as some of the other hosted platforms

Click here to learn more.

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volusion-reviewVolusion's fully-hosted e-commerce software is powerful, affordable and backed by professional design and marketing services, business tools and dedicated support from real Volusion experts, 24×7. They are also level 1 PCI compliant ensuring credit card data security. They include everything you need to develop and cultivate a successful online business in a clean, easy-to-use admin.

Monthly fees: $15 – $135

Pros: They offer lots of great features, including easy SEO option, integration with social media so you can sell your products on Facebook and other platforms, product ratings and reviews, daily deals and discounts, email integration, powerful inventory management and the ability to integrate with 50+ payment gateways.

Cons: The back end admin platform is a bit clunky to use

Click here to learn more.

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Yahoo Commerce

Yahoo Commerce myahoo-commerce-reviewakes it easy to start, build & grow an online store. Their e-commerce platform includes store design, shopping cart with secure payment options & shipping integrations. It was one of the first platforms for e-commerce and is the only major platform to experience 100% uptime for the past 5 years during the holidays.

Monthly fees: $13 – $249 plus .75% to 1.49% fee per transaction

Pros: Their plans come with $450 in advertising credit on the Yahoo! network and you can get a free domain name with your online store

Cons: Although they have made some updates over the last few months, their admin back-end and the features they offer are still a bit outdated

Click here to learn more.

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2. Self-Hosted Shopping Cart Software

If you want to avoid paying monthly or per-transaction fees, hosted shopping carts are a great way to go. You might pay more upfront to purchase a license to their software (although many of them are free), but you won't have any ongoing or monthly fees. Below are seven self-hosted shopping cart solutions to consider. Please note: you will have to purchase a domain name and monthly hosting (we recommend WPX Hosting for this), as well as a nice-looking modern theme to go with your shopping cart (we recommend ThemeForest for this).

Agora Cart

agoracartAgoraCart is one of the early open source e-commerce shopping cart software solutions offering small businesses and online retailers more flexibility, power, and customization on a larger scale. AgoraCart can be easily installed on your existing website or it can be hosted for you. At the time of this article, they are working on updating it to Version 6.0.

Cost: Free to download, $19.95 to upgrade to the Gold Version

Pros: No monthly fees or upfront costs to set up your online store. You can purchase add-ons on an as needed basis.

Cons: Their out-of-the-box templates are outdated and you will need tech skills to install it

Click here to learn more.

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magneto-reviewMagento is the eCommerce software and platform trusted by the world's leading brands and it has more bells and whistles than you could ever want or need. It can be customized to meet every need you have for your online store. It powers more than 240,000 online stores and it's extremely scalable and flexible. They also offer a specific solution for fashion brands.

Cost: Free to download basic edition

Pros: It has every feature you can possibly imagine in an online store

Cons: It's not super easy to use and figure out, so you will either have to have some tech skills or hire a developer to set it up and customize it for your needs.

Click here to learn more.

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Open Cart

opencart-comparisonOpenCart is one of the open-source e-commerce platforms that is feature-rich, easy to use, search engine friendly and has a visually appealing interface. It can handle more than one currency and language, offers the ability to create unlimited products and features. It has order management and multiple payment gateways already built in and they provide lifetime free support and free software updates.

Cost: Free to download

Pros: It offers product ratings and reviews, multiple tax rates, great backup and restore tools and automatic image resizing. It also easily lets you set up customer groups so you can sell your products to other retailers via your e-commerce store.

Cons: It's not super easy to use and figure out, so you will either have to have some tech skills or hire a developer to set it up and customize it for your needs.

Click here to learn more.

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oscommerce-reviewOSCommerce provides you with the tools to set up your very own complete and self-hosted online store website for free to market and securely sell products to customers worldwide. Their growing community of over 260,000 store owners, developers, and service providers are there to help you at every stage of running your online store and business. They also offer more than 7,000 free add-ons to use and customize your online store with.

Cost: Free to download

Pros: It offers statistics for products and customers, weight, price, and destination based shipping modules, fast and friendly quick search and advanced search features, as well as product reviews for an interactive shopping experience

Cons: Their templates are very outdated, so you will have to hire someone to design and set up your online store

Click here to learn more.

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Presta Shop

prestashop-reviewMore than 200,000 stores have used PrestaShop‘s easy-to-use online e-commerce platform. They offer both an open-source self-hosted shopping cart, as well as a hosted solution. PrestaShop also offers introductory courses that include product training and tips for running a successful online store. PrestaShop's default template displays beautifully across all screens, from desktop computers to smartphones to tablet devices.

Cost: Free to download

Pros: You can make a lasting impression with a beautiful template from the more than 1,000 PrestaShop addons They also offer an intuitive interface, brilliant analytics, quick install features and powerful navigation. PrestaShop's advanced tracking system detects where customers are located and automatically calculates their local tax rate.

Cons: Even though their basic platform is free to use, PrestaShop earns money through modules-specific features-you can add to your store using their marketplace, which can add up to a lot of money depending on what features you need.

Click here to learn more.

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xcart-reviewXCart is easy to use, easy to set up and easy to modify. All you pay is a one-time licensing fee! There are no fee for transactions, no large monthly fees, no sneaky add-on fees like you get with “free” software. When you want an upgrade, simply press one button and the software updates automatically.

Cost: Free for the basic edition, $495 fee for their business license and up to $3,995 for all the bells and whistles

Pros: XCart offers mobile-responsive design, integration with many third-party applications, easier setup and design than some of the other hosted platforms and beautiful templates (you'll have to pay extra for them)

Cons: Their $495 license fee is hefty if you are just starting out and want more than the basics in an online shopping cart

Click here to learn more.

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Zen Cart

zencart reviewZen Cart is the first shopping cart I ever used when I launched my t-shirt business. It's free to download and install and it comes with some great basic features. You can install it on any hosting service you prefer and Zen Cart will run on servers with relatively simple requirements of PHP, Apache & MySQL. It was a great solution for when I was first starting out, but I outgrew it after about a year (I couldn't download customer lists and orders and I couldn't integrate it with an email provider).

Cost: Free to download

Pros: Free to get started and it offers some great basic features and with many popular payment gateways built-in, you can start accepting payment immediately. If you need to integrate a custom module, there are hundreds of community-contributed payment modules to select from.

Cons: It needs a lot of customization and the skills of a developer and/or designer to make it modern-looking, not mobile responsive (unless you purchase or set up a mobile-responsive theme)

Click here to learn more.

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3. WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins

If you already have a website hosted on WordPress and want to add an e-commerce component, investing in a WordPress e-commerce plugin is the way to go. Below are five of the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugins when it comes to e-commerce platforms.

Cart 66

cart66reviewCart66 is the only WordPress e-commerce solution that makes your store PCI compliant (for the Cloud version), so you don't have to worry about SSL certificates and compliance. It gives you everything in one simple package with no additional transaction fees or pricey add-ons. You can choose from over 50 included payment gateways and you can even sell memberships and subscriptions through your online store (great if you want to start a “product of the month club.”) They also offer a hosted Cloud platform.

Cost: $149 for the Pro edition, plus a one time $99 setup fee or $30 per month for the hosted/Cloud version

Pros: It's very clean and organized and offers lots of features, so you don't have to install new plugins with each feature that you need. It's also the only WordPress e-commerce system that makes your store PCI compliant from the start (with the Cloud version).

Cons: No secure hosted checkout page for the Pro version (you need your own SSL), no customer accounts with order history

Click here to learn more.

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ecwid-comparisonEcwid seamlessly integrates via a plugin to your current WordPress site — your design is preserved and no programming is needed. You can also add your store to as many additional sites as you want and manage it from one place and any changes you make are mirrored instantly across all your sites. Ecwid also makes it easy to sell on mobile phones, social sites and marketplaces like Google Shopping, Amazon and Shopping.com. Ecwid integrates with social networks, including Facebook and Tumblr. Your Ecwid store looks perfect on any smartphone and adapts to your customer's screen.

Cost: Free for up to 10 products, $15 to $99 monthly based on the number of products you sell

Pros: You don't need to worry about upgrades, SSL-certificates, security, server configuration and hosting since they handle all the details. Ecwid seamlessly blends into your existing site in minutes — your website design is unaffected and no software installation is necessary.

Cons: The more products you have in your online store, the more you'll pay

Click here to learn more.

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jigoshop-reviewJigoshop is a well-established e-commerce platform that combines broad functionality, easy migration options, and professional support packages. Jigoshop is optimized for the search engines and is PCI DSS compliant. It has powerful SEO features, great marketing features like combined shipping, gifts, coupons and vouchers, and an intuitive user interface.

Cost: Free

Pros: It offers great SEO features, the ability to add video to your product pages and statistics for your online store

Cons: The basic version is very simple, so you'll have to pay separately for features like product comparison, themes, and even PayPal integration and coupons.

Click here to learn more.

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woocommerce-reviewWooCommerce is the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin. It's packed full of features and it perfectly integrates into your self-hosted WordPress website. With hundreds of free & commercial WooCommerce extensions, spanning all your logistical & technical requirements, you can rest assured there's an extension for that.

Cost: Free

Pros: It has an easy-to-use intuitive interface and you can find an extension for ANY features you need, making your online store highly flexible and customizable

Cons: Depending on what features you need, you'll have to purchase each feature separate (even PayPal or Stripe integration), which can quickly add up

Click here to learn more.

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What users say

We don't want you to only rely on our research, so we reached out to dozens of store owners who are using these e-commerce solutions and here's what they had to say (click the down arrow button to the right of each shopping cart to see reviews of that particular cart).

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Pros: I like that it’s intuitive to operate from the backend as well as for the customer.

Cons: I don’t like the limited export log features.
– Justin Oliver, www.freebord.com
Pros: Big Commerce has many good features and plug-in apps for small and home business. Seamless integration with many major credit and shipping providers. It's very easy for the layperson to set up and go! Pick your theme, shipper, and payment provider, then plug in some images and content, and your up and running! It also integrates into QuickBooks for easy accounting.

Cons: Big Commerce is designed to handle small businesses. Larger companies will need to hire a programmer to create features like separate wholesale and retail shopping pages (no business wants their wholesale prices public!). They are often extremely slow in updating their themes and features. Getting a necessary feature through big commerce is next to impossible. For instance having a tax app that could handle sales tax in states like New York, once it was acknowledged as a problem took well over a year, and their clients had been non-compliant with tax codes for years.
– Sara Rudin, www.tidytotsdiapers.com
Pros: Metrics for everything! And they’re super easy to monitor.

Cons: Unable to attach Google Analytics effectively
– Stacey Hawkings, www.TimeSavorSolutions.com

Pros: Processing orders is easy and Big Commerce actively works on improving the back-end interface, including allowing customization of the HTML code so we can have a unique look without the extra expense of hiring a programmer.

Cons: The templates are great, but sometimes we need to deviate more than allowed and it's really tough to be restricted. We have the same issue with the Big Commerce packing slip, which is mostly good, but unfortunately cannot be entirely customized to meet our fulfillment team's needs.
– Sandra Harris, www.EcoLunchboxes.com

Pros: Easy to edit and configure

Cons: Inflexible shipping options
– Tobi Kosanke, www.crazykfarm.mybigcommerce.com

Pros: What I love about Big Commerce is their easy to use interface. I can change anything on my e-commerce site with their easy to use style editor. I don't need any knowledge of Java or HTML to get the desired design that I want on the website.

Cons: What I don't like about Big Commerce is their shipping design. It's very complicated to use and it does not give me enough options to choose what kind of shipping I want.
– Lisa Chu, www.blacknbianco.com

Pros: Big Commerce's technical support and SEO team are fantastic and their platform is very easy to use. That is really 2 things but I feel they go hand in hand. Their team is always extremely
knowledgeable, helpful and pleasant to work with. When I hang up the phone with them, I am always able to cross things off my to-do list.

Cons: Any major changes to the template require an outside web developer.
– Colleen Corcoran, www.TheHandkerchiefShop.com

Pros: User-friendly; easy access, reporting, printing. If you need help they answer right away via email or live chat. NO CONTRACTS, NO FEES TO SETUP.

Cons: Nothing at the moment
– Alex Camacho, www.regogear.com

Pros: Looks professional, easy to use, comes with SSL built in, cheaper than other options

Cons: Hard to edit anything other than products, so I can't change the overall look of my store with pics, text boxes, specials, etc. Also doesn't have a good related products/cross-sell/up-sell option
– Adam Fried, www.Adamsurns.com

Pros: It has superior modern functionality.

Cons: I think they need to revamp their theme selection a bit.
– Kenny Kane, www.stupidcancer.org

Pros: It's extremely easy to use and add new products. When you have a large inventory and adding new products daily that is VERY important for an e-commerce store.

Cons: One thing that I find frustrating is the response time to custom needed fixes to the web template take too long. I have needed the coupon code box moved for quite a long time as its not area that is easily noticed by customers.
– Nicole Spica, www.instantestore.com

Pros: I love the value BigCommerce provides compared to building a site from scratch.  Starting with BigCommerce can save a startup thousands of dollars with the amount of both front- and back-end features it provides.

Cons: Because businesses are so diverse and BigCommerce can capture everything every business needs, it's at times impossible to fully customize your store exactly the way you want.
– Sean Miller, www.tieyoursocks.com


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Pros: Easy setup and implementation into the site, full shop design customization (not limited to templates like other platforms), various shipping, tax, payment processing, and coupon options, help portal is very resourceful, drag and drop code that integrates nicely with Adobe Muse, well organized backend that is easy to manage customers and add new products.

Cons: Although the mobile app is nice for POS, it is missing the ability to give those customers a discount (the app development team said they are working on adding this)
– Kelly Stone, www.hoffman.com

Pros: I love using Ecwid for its cross-platform and omnichannel capabilities. Ecwid provides a central dashboard to effortlessly manage activity across all different storefronts. No other provider offers this kind of ease-of-use and flexibility.

Cons: I wish Ecwid would offer more customization options for customers that are particular about the design of their website. However, Ecwid's new API platform is a step in the right direction to offering increased customization solutions.
– Sarah Rayer, www.srayerassociates.com/


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Pros: The thing I love the most about Magento Community is, because it has such a large market share (approximately 30%) and a huge community of users who share information online, anything you need, especially extensions, are readily available at a fraction of the cost than what it would cost to develop. It is extremely flexible because of the mass amount of extensions
and add-ons available, so anything you can imagine you would need for your eCommerce store has pretty much already been created, and all you need to do is just integrate it.

Cons: Prior to Magento Community, we were with Magento Go which was a hosted solution. The nice thing about being with Go was that they were responsible for making sure the cart was stable, for a fraction of the cost. However, now with the added flexibility that comes with Community ( what we really love about it ) comes with the downside that we are now responsible for
fixing any bugs or issues.
– Nima Noori, www.torontovaporizer.ca


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Pros: User-friendly templates and eCommerce setup (no coding experience needed)

Cons: No archive or keyword navigation for a blog that's part of your Shopify eCommerce site
– Irina Jordan, www.artisurn.com/

Pros: Shopify is a hands-on Company that has a great support team. They assist you with the smallest issues that seem impossible to solve. They are respectful and have great tech-side manners. The shop is very user-friendly to sell your products, create coupons, add and delete items and all around updating.

Cons: The only problem I have is when I email Shopify with a problem, they take quite a bit of time to get back to you through the email process. It is much quicker when you phone them
– Joan Jacobsenm, www.runningwithwrinkles.com/ 

Pros: The one thing that I did like most about Shopify when I first used it was the simplicity and cleanliness of its design. The back-end works well and it's intuitive. The templates are beautiful from the start and only need a bit of personalization to get going.

Cons: The one thing that I definitely don't like about Shopify are the fees involved with going through another payment processor than their own. 1% doesn't seem like a lot when you're starting out, but as your revenue ramps up it can be a big number. Remember that PayPal is considered an alternative payment method for them so if you accept it you'll be paying a lot to accept through anything other than credit cards.
– Chris Scully, www.Vaped.ca

Pros: The ability to add advanced functionality by simply adding additional apps like Abandoned Cart emails, Exit Pop Up windows, etc., for a fraction of the cost it would be to hire custom developers.

Cons: The lack of themes has resulted in many of the sites looking to similar to one another unless you customize it yourself.
– Jonathan Spektor, www.certatim.com

Pros: I built my online store through Shopify and am beyond happy with this platform. I should mention that I own a web development company, therefore, my standards and expectations were very high. I used Shopify (as opposed to my own developers) because Shopify already had pre-built exactly what was I looking for in a site and an online store (and then some!). It was a better use of my time, and my staff's time, to use what Shopify offers for a mere $29/mo. The online tools are very simple to use and understand.

Cons: There is a bit of a learning curve to the back-end, as to be expected.
– Ann Ballow, www.piapouch.com

Pros: It is easy for a small business without an in-house IT team to run an online store. There are tons of apps that provide solutions across the board to help grow sales on a budget: email marketing, social, etc…

Cons: The downside? Our biggest issue is with the discount feature since there are some limitations to customization. There is no easy setup for a discount that can be only used one time per customer which seems like it would be fairly simple to set up! Instead, your only option is to set up a bulk set of discount codes where each user is sent a unique code. This makes it hard to market a discount off your first order with a generic coupon code.
– Sydney Waldron, www.dropps.com

Pros: I love how easy it is for a beginner to be able to set-up and change things on their website. Extremely user-friendly.

Cons: I do not like that on the catalog pages you can not list sub-categories.
– Brad & Effie Stees, www.whynotenvyme.com

Pros: Shopify has an amazing 3rd party app ecosystem. I've integrated about 15 separate apps into the Zest Tea website. The integrations tend to be incredibly smooth and customer service
is top notch from most of the app providers and Shopify. My favorite apps include YOTPO for customer reviews, Retention Grid for email marketing, and Olark for online chat support.

Cons: My biggest complaint with Shopify is that the check out process is not hosted on your own domain. It makes it far more difficult to track funnel conversions when the customer
leaves your site and then returns at the end. That being said, they have improved the functionality and provided additional transparency into the checkout process.
– James Fayal, www.GetZestTea.com

Pros: My favorite thing is the excellent customer service. (You get people that really do speak English) Any question you have can be answered almost immediately.

Cons: Probably the options of free templates they have – you'll have to be pretty creative with the templates they give you.
– Rachel Maxwell, Maxwell Biometrics

Pros: The simplicity in setting up a site and the ease with which allows you to set up an online business cheaply and start taking orders, as well as the high level of customer service support.

Cons: Limitations around the shopping cart and personalization on some of the templates
– Elliott Rampley, www.rampleyandco.com

Pros: The platform is very user-friendly, aesthetically appealing, and intuitive.

Cons: Shopify backend is not as editable as you'd think. CSS and HTML are languages you need to be well-versed in order to get your site where you want it to be.
– Megan Scott, www.criticalcycles.com

Pros: Everything! I love the ease, the flexibility of design, all of the great apps that easily integrate. I sell on Amazon and my inventory is in Amazon warehouses: Shopify integrates seamlessly so I can keep track of inventory easily, and use Amazon to fulfill the orders. The Shopify dashboard of information, where buyers come from, payment schedules, etc., is nice and it is easy to track orders and communicate with clients. I am a big fan of Shopify!

Cons: Some of the design features on the blog pages could be a little better.
– Kathy Heshelow, www.sublimebeautyshop.com

Pros: How easy it was to set up and get going. From beautiful templates, payment gateway, to security already available.

Cons: The inflexibility with the platform once you want to do something outside of standard online selling – such as subscription model servicing.
Alice Pai, www.mypichi.com

Pros: The customer service is impeccable and always available through multiple channels. Not only do they respond quickly and accurately, but they guide you to articles within their resource documents that expand upon the answer.

Cons: The checkout section is on the Shopify side so aligning it with the rest of the site as far as look, feel, or ability to chat with customers is limited.
– Scott Rundell, www.smoothwindkites.com

Pros: The platform is customizable and easy to update, even for someone who has a minimal code background.

Cons: Cross-selling with products you may also like on an item page isn't customizable, it's not currently possible to specify certain products to appear at the bottom of a specific item page.
– Mandy Nagel, www.ithoughtofyou.com

Pros: Accept various methods of payment (VISA, MC, PayPal, etc.)

Cons: Reliance on apps (or custom code) for customization to templates – example banners, pop-ups, etc.
– Stephanie Oatway, www.carrynine.com

Pros: The ability to change templates instantaneously. Other shopping platforms allow similar features but because of the way Shopify structures their data, it is a lot more seamless to switch out the look of your site to see if it impacts metrics like retention and conversion. For example, I used the Lookbook theme and saw time spent on site almost triple while conversions dropped. So I switched back to the Launchpad theme which is a lot simpler.

Cons: The checkout flow. It's not very appealing to the customer – standard vanilla forms that don't really inspire me to give you my information, especially on mobile. Shopify could really innovate this flow given all the one-tap solutions that have been launched for mobile like Apple Pay, PayPal One Touch, etc.
– Madhavi Jagdish, SimpleBra

Pros: The ease of use. Our designer was able to focus on the design of our site rather than worrying about shopping cart integration.

Cons: If you use a 3rd party merchant account like authorize.net or PayPal checkout they charge a 2% transaction fee as a penalty for not using their own card processing system through stripe.
– Mason Curry, www.indianadesigns.com

Pros: Really fast set up. You can have your shop website up and running in a day.

Cons: Expensive add-ons. For instance, there are extra features I would like to use like billing a subscription each month. It costs an upwards of $80 per month to add that functionality. Want your products to go to a bunch of shopping feeds, that's an extra $50 per month.
– Cristin Frank, www.pamperedteacher.com/

Pros: Easy to set up. Integrations Easy to add Google Analytics. It is relatively inexpensive and takes very little time to set up.

Cons: Not good for SEO unless you customize and have to find someone to do if you don't know how. I could never get my rich pins to work and their tech support said and they should work now but they didn't. 🙁 I never got them to work and no one followed up to help me. I wanted to test out Kissmetrics and I couldn't figure out if I could use in Shopify not sure if things like that will work or if there is a workaround to get them to work. Shopify never bothered to respond to this question.
– Margo Schlossberg, www.warriorprincessclothing.com

Pros: It's fairly easy to use. And live chat is available 24/7 for questions.

Cons: Wish more SEO assistance was available at no or low cost.
– Kristie Glenn, www.bluelabelsboutique.com

Pros: One thing I loved about Shopify is their simplicity in creating a professional e-commerce's site. Within minutes I can have a professional website up and running offering products for sale.

Cons: One thing I dislike about Shopify is their attempt to make you pay for every single app. If I want an app that helps me list variations of the same product I have to purchase that app. I would rather pay a higher monthly premium to get every service I need to run an e-commerce site successfully.
– Lisa Chu, www.blacknbianco.com

Pros: What I like best are the well-designed templates, ease of use, and integration with shipping and inventory systems. When we get an order, the order shows up in our shipping app (ShippingEasy) making the process totally seamless.

Cons: What I don't like is that simple reports require a much more expensive subscription. I pay $29 a month plus a percentage of every sale, but I can't view a simple sales report without upgrading. I also hope someday they integrate with Quickbooks.
– Kris Loew, www.poketti.com

Pros: I was very pleased with how easy Shopify was to set up my store and the designs are modern, clean and most are responsive which other providers have a very limited range of responsive designs. The Shopify admin interface is also very simple and not intimidating at all.

Cons: I’ve been very disappointed with the way you have to install apps in order to perform basic functions like printing an order. Other providers have all the bells and whistles preloaded for a similar price.
– Joshua Harrell, www.hotheadstudios.com

Pros: Love the back end system and how easy it is to make changes.

Cons: It would be nice to be able to get a little more data in the reporting section.
– Samantha Abrams, www.emmysorganics.com

Pros: The low cost. It's isn't everything we'd like, but the cost is low so we can focus on building the brand.

Cons: Simplicity of use is at the cost of total developmental control. There are still limits to what Shopify can handle and the workarounds are difficult. I wish it was easier to customize the more complex options.
– Tanner Agar, www.thechefshelf.com

Pros: I've tried a number of e-commerce platforms but none of them compare to Shopify's user-friendly back end interface. For novice webpreneurs, it is relativity easy to add content and images. I also like that there are so many apps to assist in marketing your store.

Cons: It can be expensive to use and like most e-commerce platforms the credit card rates are high.
– Heather Boissonneault, www.mysomethingborrowed.ca

Pros: The turnkey templates and integration of credit card payments.

Cons: You need to pay extra to have your own URL without shop if in it, as in my URL.
– Brynn Foster, Voyaging Foods

Pros: The numerous apps that are available through the Shopify platform

Cons: How the checkout site is separate from your main storefront site! It is hard to tell which sources the sales came from when they split it this way using google analytics or mixpanel.
– DexterSandoval, www.sprayable.co

Pros: Amazingly fast and clean looking

Cons: Very basic unless you pay higher rates.
– Adam Wright, www.thewrightsauce.com

Pros: The best thing about Shopify is how simple they make everything. Building and updating your store, processing orders, and getting customer help couldn't be any easier. You can start a successful store with almost no problems.

Cons: The thing I like least about Shopify is how they don't have a product roadmap or tell us what they're working on.
– AllenWalton, www.spyguysecurity.com

Pros: I migrated my website onto Shopify so I had more control over factors influencing SEO. I really like the fact that when you update an existing page's URL, Shopify automatically creates a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. Such built-in onsite optimization features are great, especially for anyone with limited SEO knowledge, since they help prevent you from unknowingly breaking the rules of Google's complex algorithm.

Cons: I migrated my old site onto the Shopify platform and was disappointed to learn that, although I already had an SSL certificate and my old url was HTTPS, I was unable to use it since Shopify sites must be hosted on their own server.
– Howard Davies, www.ResumeWriterDirect.com

Pros: Extremely straightforward and easy to use without any training – we set this site up in less than a day.

Cons: I was happy that blogging is part of the platform, but it is quite unevolved as far as blogs go.
– JessikaSobanski, www.RistRoller.com

Pros: We love the concept of the themes within Shopify. The ability to create a diverse array of websites to suit specific businesses, genres and needs keeps everything straightforward for us as busy entrepreneurs running a business. We also like that not only is it easily customizable, but it also allows more advanced users to get specific.

Cons: The thing we like the least about Shopify is the integration aspect of the platform. These integrations with other inventory systems or accounting programs are confusing. Things
don't run smoothly and the added cost of integrating multiple programs, such as StichLab and Quickbooks, adds up to a lot of money and even more hassle.
– Meghan Kraft, www.dpms.ca

Pros: I love the design choices and user-friendly interface of Shopify!

Cons: Shopify, unlike BigCommerce, does not have as many free integration apps to help you with marketing and sales (you have to pay for most of them)
– Wes Cherisien, www.simplygeneris.com

Pros: The Dashboard. It provides our team with a quick glance of what's working and what's not. We can see traffic sources and top referral sites, plus understand the success of our conversion funnel – from visit –> add to cart –> checkout –> purchase. We use this information on a daily basis to optimize our site.

Cons: Flexibility in the checkout process. Shopify limits us to a fairly standard form for our customers to fill out, and it'd be nice to be able to adjust this. For instance, filling out shipping and payment information is a two-step process and simplifying this to one page might help people get through checkout faster and thereby increase our sales.
– Matthew, www.kaptureaudio.com

Pros: What I like most about Shopify is the ease of use of the platform for managing products and orders, plus the great customizable templates. It's quick to get set up and to learn how to manage your store.

Cons: There isn't much not to like, but to choose something, it would be Shopify Payments, their payment processing system. We tried it when it was first introduced, but it didn't work well and some customers weren't able to complete orders. So we switched back to our original one. Not a big deal as there are various options available that sync well.
– Chelsea Jones, www.cielbleufootwear.com

Pros: I like most the range and ecosystem of apps the Shopify supports.

Cons: What I like least is that the checkout process is pretty rigid and non-customizable, especially when compared to the level of customization that's available with the rest of the platform.
– JayRishel, www.helixiabra.com
Pros: We're new to Shopify, but so far the platform has proven to be excellent. The themes are clean and relatively easy to customize. It's also great that the platform allows us to plug-in our Google Analytics account and view our stats right on the Shopify dashboard. Overall, Shopify is a time-saving platform that gives us the opportunity to offer our customers a well-functioning, secure, e-commerce store to visit.

Cons: The monthly fees can really begin to add up if you want to utilize some of the useful apps Shopify offers.
– Mojan Bagha, www.mainstreetorientalrugs.com

Pros: As a new seller to e-commerce, Shopify provided us with the opportunity to launch a great site to sell our product for very little startup costs. It is completely hosted so we did not have to concern ourselves with building a shopping cart, payment processing, customer accounts, or overall site structure. With the free themes and apps, we were able to integrate additional features, like pop-up boxes and product review widgets, that allow us to grow the customer base for the unique product.

Cons: Compared to other e-commerce platforms, Shopify is lacking when it comes to technical support for merchants. After launching our site, we had a major issue rerouting a subdomain to direct our advertised landing page to our product page. This occurred the week of Black Friday and our Google Adwords account was shut down because of this issue, a very costly glitch since we could not run ads during this time. We chatted with Shopify support and followed-up multiple times during the process, only to receive an apology email weeks after the incident. To their credit, Shopify reimbursed us the small cost of the domain name registration for the year, but compared to Amazon Seller Support, the lack of urgency with their response was subpar and disappointing.
– JoshStricker, www.genbamboo.com


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Pros: What we like the most about Volusion is really three different things. First, we love that it is a complete system that includes a strong store front-end with product catalog management, content management system, and e-commerce shopping cart. Second, we love that it has a powerful and complete back-end solution for order management, order processing, and
inventory control. And third, we love that Volusion has attracted a very large, very talented set of 3rd party designers, developers, and application plug-in partners that have allowed us to evolve the website as we have grown.

Cons: What we like the least about Volusion are two things. First, it is weak in terms of built-in best practices SEO controls. The architecture of the platform doesn't comply with and follow best practice recommendations from Google's Webmaster Guidelines, and seems to lag the marketplace in terms of providing a page layout that is up to date for current SEO methods. The
second thing is that the platform is structured around a fee system based on bandwidth use. Bandwidth over time has become less and less expensive, but Volusion hasn't really brought their costs down in a linear fashion with this trend.
– Edward Hechter, www.pickleballcentral.com


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Pros: The plugins for Google are excellent. We chose WordPress because of how well the site structure gets us ranked on Google. In particular, the market we are in, which can be saturated, we need the ability to rank in Google quickly with new products, and also allow us to separate ourselves from competitors. Google sitemap plugins, Yoast tools for SEO writing, and also how Woocommerce URL hierarchy is set up, are great things about this platform. The community around the software is good. There is so much out there to help if you have an issue with something. The designs and visuals. WordPress/WooCommerce does a good job as a visual presentation and ease of editing.

Cons: The admin area can be slow. It's an ongoing issue that they have not addressed. Once you have other employees working within the system managing it, the admin can be very sluggish.
– The media manager for handling images is TERRIBLE! We've had to create our own order fulfillment notices, because WooCommerce only seems to care about the sale, then after a sale, it struggles with sending notices of order updates. Adding too many plugins can cause a learning curve when it comes to aligning it with your theme.
– TomLiravongsa, www.inkdropmedia.com

Pros: I love that both WordPress and WooCommerce are free. As a small business, I'd much rather invest time learning a platform than spend money to have someone do it for me. I also love the extensive themes and custom options that I can use to give my e-commerce website a really professional design and add features like a loyalty program and affiliate network that set me apart from other websites.

Cons: WordPress and WooCommerce can be a big learning curve at first, and if you add on a lot of features as we have at Lillian Eve, the cost of all of the plugins can get pretty high. The biggest downside is that many of these licenses have to be renewed every year, so you pay for continued use and support from the software developers. You are also in charge of keeping everything up to date and working when new software updates come out. It can be a lot of maintenance in order to have all of the custom features you want.
– Tiffany Barry, www.lillianeve.com

Pros: I absolutely love how extendable WooCommerce is and how many add-ons are available both from WooThemes and 3rd party sites. The best part is that I can have a self-hosted site and enhance the site in any way I want (most importantly page speed).

Cons: I don't really dislike this about WooCommerce, but it is less of a plug-and-play solution.
– Brandon Howard, www.toneremporium.com


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Pros: We've been with Yahoo eCommerce platform since 1999 and have never been limited by bandwidth or system outages.

Cons: Functionality – Yahoo tends to lag behind when it comes to rolling out new features such as responsive design. This requires keeping programmers on staff or outsourcing enhancements to a third party.
– Bob Shirilla, www.keepsakes-etc.com


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Pros: What I like best about Zencart, is that I have complete control over the domain and website. I can modify the PHP directly to change the appearance or functionality of the site. I also have a wide variety of free plugins to choose from which provide anything from image handlers to WYSIWYG page layout editors. I get millions of dollars worth of free website development from Zencart and it base of developers.

Cons: What I like least about Zencart is the upgrade process. It is not one click and there is only one person responsible for making sure the site is up to date and secure, ME. With other hosted eCommerce platforms, this is taken care of and the site security is always kept up to date, albeit in exchange for a monthly fee or percentage of sales. While appealing, I have stuck with the lower cost, higher flexibility option of an open-source free platform.
– MikeRags, Rural Power Systems


What shopping cart solution do you currently use? What do you like most and least about it? Was this article helpful? Leave a comment below and let us know!


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  1. Thanks for breaking these down so well. I myself have used woo commerce and recommend it to anyone starting out who wants to experiment and test out ecommerce themselves. Also big commerce is great for scaling and larger businesses. All these are good choices as these companies are reinvesting in their software making ecommerce very easy these days.

  2. What a great article! Very thorough! I wish I’d had all of this info two months ago before I switched to Volusion (which I’ve been fairly pleased with.) They have great customer service and chat tech support. Just FYI, when you sign up and make your first monthly payment, you have to pay for an SSL Certificate which runs around $99 a year.

  3. I have a WP website with Woocommerce and Pay Pal. Pay Pal is free and WooCommerce is also free. My total cost per year are less than $100 for some plugins.
    Yes that is 8 buck and change per month. If I ever could get rid of Quickbooks I would be a Happy camper. You don’t need all these nice shopifynand magento thingies for a couple of products.
    Set up is easy and maintaining maybe 5 mins per week to check.

    1. Xero is the best alternative to QuickBooks (and blows it out of the water). But if you’re looking to cut costs, use WaveAccounting; it’s free.

  4. I’m using Weebly and it is reasonable in cost, has many templates to use and is easy to set up and use.

    I just need to get my SEO worked up so that I can be more visible, but that’s not weeblys problem, it’s mine and it takes more time than I like due to my poor health.

  5. Great Post!

    I conducted a similar study a few months back but only looking at how each eCommerce platform fared with regard to SEO. I weighted all of the key SEO features you need for an online store and then scored each platform accordingly.

    Surprisingly, some of the most popular eCommerce platforms don’t allow you to apply even the most basic techniques you need to make your website look relevant to Google.

  6. Really great list. There’s one that’s not listed here which I use – Weebly. The weebly ecommerce platform is fairly new, but I have no complaints. Very customizable features, and lots of themes to choose from. Social media sharing links/icons are added to your products. I pay $29/month, and if I’m not mistaken, this fee covers an unlimited amount of products. But please be sure to check this. You also have the option of paying a one time yearly rate, which is overall cheaper than a monthly payout rate. Look into it you’re interested! I personally love my website.


  7. Excellent overview! I think it’s the best, clearest break down of e-commerce options that I have seen. Some that you mention I have never heard of. I will definitely pass this on as a resource in my community. I work with two groups that have online businesses, most of whom are studio artists. About half have shops on Etsy while others are using some of the platforms you mentioned above. BigCommerce, Shopify, Big Cartel and WooCommerce seem to be the most popular. I’m using WooCommerce on our tafalist site and have found it to be pretty straighforward and adequate for our needs.

    One thing that I would add to what you have said: You don’t have to put all of your eggs into one basket. There is an advantage to being on a marketplace like Etsy. I’ve had my shop there since their second year and have an excellent track record with customer reviews that could be helpful if I decide to open a second shop on my own site. And, I have all of the email addresses of those past customers whom I could notify if I wanted to. It violates Etsy rules to contact customers after a transaction, but if someone wanted to do that, they could. And, with the About page on Etsy, you can refer people to all of those sites that you mention and people who are truly interested can go on over and follow you wherever you are. You can also include all of that info while you are in the process of fulfilling the order.

    I tell people who are thinking of leaving Etsy to consider using it as a marketing tool to bring people over to their new site. Having a nice presentation there could bring in designers, buyers, etc. who might not necessarily find your stand alone shop or who might not trust someone they have never heard of. Having an umbrella like Etsy over your shop does give the customer some feeling of security in case things go bad. We have had several set and costume designers for movies buy our things through Etsy and they probably would not have found us otherwise. If you think of your shop on Etsy as an ad, it can be inexpensive marketing. But, I agree that if someone has a serious business with a defined brand and line of products, they should carve out their own turf, especially since Etsy can (and has) close down shops without notice, one of the worse problems that I see there.

    The other thing that I would encourage people to do is to band together with other like minded folks to create your own associations or online chambers of commerce. That is what we are trying to do with Artizan Made. We have 60 participating shops and they all pay a small monthly fee of $10 which helps cover the cost of promoting them online. They run their businesses independently, but can rely on the group for support. We meet on a private group on Facebook which has been extremely helpful. Our TAFA group also has a private Facebook group and one of our members there posted a link to this article. Having many eyes on the web really helps figure out how to navigate a challenging and ever changing universe…

    Many thanks for such a good presentation! Very useful and clear.

    1. Rachel, thanks so much for sharing your experience with WooCommerce and Etsy! This is very helpful. And thanks for letting me know about Artizan Made – it looks amazing and it’s a great avenue to get your work our there!

  8. I can’t believe that the best ever (FREEEEE) shopping cart isn’t in this list: Square Market.
    From the amazing people who started the first card swipe system, the Square Register, is a totally awesome and ready to use market place/shopping cart.

    No monthly fees. EVER. No set-up or upfront costs. FREE whether you do one sale a year or thousands. They charge only the merchant fee when you make a sale. 2.75 per sale. (By the way if you do thousands, it’s cheaper – that’s when Starbucks made the switch over at all their locations) NO extra costs no matter what kind of payment card. It’s the simplest and easiest thing I have ever used. And it can integrate with any website.

    It also integrates with several apps. But there is NO FEE of any kind at all. Perfect for artists!

    Super smart site from the super smart guy who started Twitter!
    And no… I am not a affiliate – but I should be!

    1. I like Square, but I’ve not been super happy with the user feel of Square Mkt. But it IS a cool free deal!

  9. Love this post! Thanks so much for speaking to this subject in plain English 🙂 Lots of info to digest, and this will take me a while. I just went thru a similar analysis to find a home for my online shop, and I ended up with Indiemade. I’m very happy so far. Am still setting it up, but I like the fast system response, the real time update, the clean, modern templates, the speedy customer service.

    btw, I happened to have tried Storenvy, and I’m not fan of their UI experience, also don’t like the way went about forcing everyone onto Stripe without publicly announcing it (unless they did, and I just can’t find it…) Oh well, it took me quite a while to jump thru hoops just to set up one test item, and in the end, I decided to pass on it.

  10. Thank you so much Andreea for putting this together! After reading this I spent about a week testing a few of the carts and I ended up with Prestashop. I started out with Wix last year, but their shop options were quite limited and templates not responsive. So I just made the move! Prestashop has the amazing feature that allows customers to easily select product attributes. This is great, because I sell a lot of one of a kind rings, and this way they can search for their size with a few clicks. I have spent $130 so far on a responsive font, accordion style FAQ feature and editing software, and there are no monthly, annual or merchant fees! Although I need a little more time to get the website up, it ends up much cheaper than the other options I considered.

    1. Thanks for reading it and I am glad that you found a shopping cart that works for you!!!! Thanks for sharing your experience and best of luck with your shop!

  11. Thank you for this! It was just what I needed to help me make a decision on what ecommerce platform to go with. It has been a decision that has paralysed my business for too long, because I was overwhelmed by the options. After listening to the podcast, I decided to go with Bigcommerce, so was pleased when I went to sign up today, thinking the basic monthly would be $29 and finding it to be $14!

  12. Wow, you’ve put together a very comprehensive list! I started with Volusion and now use Shopify. So far, I’ve been happy with them and doing deal coupons is easy on Shopify.

  13. Great post, Andreea! You always provide so much great information! I’ve seen a few people mention it, but this review is missing Weebly as a major player. I’m moving to it now. It’s a lot less fussy than Shopify with 0% transaction fees at their top level (same price as Shopify’s bottom level), and it covers unlimited products. Also, they have great options like automatic product zoom, ability to add product video, and csv upload for people with Shopify and Etsy shops. Thanks as always for your advice! I’m always sharing your blog with others!

  14. Wanted to let your readers know that IndieMade now offers an alternative payment system to PayPal, so non-PayPal customers can make purchases with a credit card 🙂

    BTW, I love your content Andreea! Thanks for sharing.

  15. I think Magento is one of the advanvced and best CMS for developing an eCommerce website now a days. Magneto is essentially an open-source (only community edition) PHP and MySQL based feature enriched platform. It has a wide range of template system and can empower your website with an impressive range of functionalities. The primary benefit with Magento is its flexibility that let you have complete control on your e-business. The extreme scalability of Magento further ensures that, as per your business growth you can create additional resources in your Ecommerce site.

  16. Hello
    So far I am using Ecwid, eshop, Shopify for addressing Japanese market in different niches. Even if if can read and understand, I am not a Native speaker so that is why I used such kind of solution rather than Japanese solutions like Ec-cube, thebase.in, stores.jp for the most famous. The only local solution I may try is the WordPress plugin Welcart which has a good documentation in English and well supported by its community.

    The problem with Ecwid and Shopify are the monthly fees that can add up fast. Shopify is quite pricey in my opinion, so maybe not the best solution to start out a business if you have not a lot of cash or you want to test (as it is our case).

    == Ecwid : ==

    Pro :
    * Ecwid integration with WordPress is nice. I keep the theme simple to avoid creeping the design
    * You can start for free with 10 products – what I did.
    * FB integration
    * Multi-language ready
    * Lot of payment gateways available

    Cons :
    * It can take some time to load the products in the WP site.
    * Url are not very friendly
    * Some features are not fully internationalized like shipment (Kuroneko Yamato, Sagawa for Japan would be great), payment (here convenience store payment) or auto-translated (thank you message, order reminder message)

    == eShop : ==

    I use it on a very simple shop for downloadable products, only paypal payment. I would to see a fork from it

    Pro :
    * A completely free plugin for WordPress quite robust actually – and apparently well coded. The author updates it time to time for security reason.
    * Only paypal is supported for payment other gateways are deprecated.
    * You can add gateway or other functions with some PHP knowledge. Indeed there are some sandboxes to see how it is coded.
    * Quite easy to mix with themes.

    Cons :
    * You need to translate yourself the po file with poedit to get something good in your language.
    * You need to be a little bit interested in development to fit your needs.
    * Support exists but you must be patient … as it is free (there is a pro dev’ that created some add-on to it)
    * Some themes recent themes are not well supported especially if they are not standard

    == Shopify : ==

    Pros :
    * Lot of features for $29 with fb integration
    * Their Liquid thing is not to bad
    * Quite beautiful actually, even the bar bone theme (and responsive !)

    Cons :
    * Pricey if you consider the % on some payment gateways + monthly fees.
    * Not possible to enter in your shop if you close it down : there is a 30 days period when the shop datas are stored, but you cannot enter inside your back end to extract data. You have to pay again to do that.
    * No able to extract the content of the blogs or pictures by bulk, just the products can be downloaded.
    * Theme is not easy to tweak
    * I do not like the communication of Shopify “easy to create a store” “easy to earn money with ecommerce/dropshipping” because it is quite not the case. Of course they present “case studies” but very often when you read them, you quickly understand that the guys do not really start from 0 (but is not clearly stated and it is written as they “begin from scratch”) but with several thousands of bucks.

  17. I have read that WooCommerce is perfect for beginners. WordPress is so easy to use and WooCommerce is simply an extension of that. Customizing your site through WordPress is really simple due to the number of plugins available. Plus, WooCommerce has tutorial videos to help with the set up. But Magento’s interface is also really easy to use and it comes with tutorial videos and documentation. It has a full installation wizard too. However, Magento’s difficulty is increased when you want to start adding extensions to your site. In this instance, you might want to think about hiring a Magento-specialist developer.
    Please advise if you are familiar with both what to choose for small business – Magento or Woo-Commerce platform and why???

  18. I have an online custom made handkerchiefs website. And its a ecommerce site all i feel that shopping cart software should bit more secured. but indeed that pros and cons saved my day. Thanks for sharing, Andreea!.

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