Best All-in-One Ecommerce Solutions

Best All-in-One Ecommerce Solutions


All-in-One Online Storefront Platforms

For many brick & mortar retailers, expanding operations to include an online shop is nearly a requirement to maintain a healthy market share. Launching an online storefront is also a low-priced and typically barrier-free alternative to overseeing a physical establishment. If you have products or service packages, a bit of time to map out a business model/plan and the willingness to (or a partner to help you) translate technical instructions into layman terms, all that remains is to select the ecommerce solution that fits your budget and needs.

A popular choice among e-tailers, with an excellent reputation for customer support is Shopify.  One user reported that Shopify customer support was quick, accurate and delivered by knowledgeable support reps after several support experiences.  Additionally, marketing tools such as SEO features built into the shopping cart, advanced analytics that integrate fully with Google Analytics, a discount code coupon engine, free Google Adwords and Facebook and Amazon Ad credits are standard features in Shopify’s turnkey ecommerce plans.

Likewise, Shopify features an app store for additional services or programs to help you customize your storefront – many are free to integrate.  Apps such as Aftership (track shipments and send delivery updates), Facebook Store and Retail Tower (list your products on comparison shopping engines: Google, Amazon, TheFind, Shopzilla, Pricegrabber, etc.) are must-haves.  Chat, email campaign apps and even a content writing app are among Shopify’s 785 accessible apps to deploy.

The overall pricing scheme for Shopify storefronts is considered on the higher end of the spectrum even though their starter package is only $14/month.  This is due to transaction fees that start at 2.0 % unless you use Shopify Payments in addition to credit card fees that start at 2.9% – just a wee bit steep in comparison to other leading ecommerce platforms.  While Shopify has many big name retail customers (Gatorade, Forbes, Amnesty International, CrossFit), their e-commerce software is more inclined towards small-to-medium sized stores. However, Shopify Plus for growing and larger volume businesses is quickly gaining traction.

In considering alternative ecommerce solutions, Volusion offers App Marketplace (Beta) and does not charge transaction fees.  Their entry level package is $15/month without phone support included; the comparable mid-sized plan is $35/month.  Another e-commerce solution without transaction fees is Vendio; their smallest package is $24.95/month.  BigCommerce, a competitor that also offers an app store- has packages starting at $29.95/month + 1.5% transaction fees.  1shopping cart is another option for an all-in-one solution which offers a 4-week free trial (free trials are standard however they tend to be 2 weeks).

Our review of the best all-in-one ecommerce solutions:

 

PROVIDER

STARTER

NEXT LVL

TRANS FEES

APPS

FREE TRIAL

FINAL WORDS

Shopify

  $14/month  $29/month 2.0% YES 14-DAY Exponential growth, customer-focused

Volusion

  $15/month $35/month None BETA 14-DAY   Incumbent

BigCommerce

       – $29.95/month 1.5% YES 15-DAY White Glove setup for enterprise

1shoppingcart

     – $34/month 1.25% NO 4-WEEKS   Basic, professional

Vendio

      – $24.95/month None NO 15-DAY e-Bay & Amazon, integration

 

Notable downside items for Shopify:  low-inventory alerts are not included, additional cost applies to enable ‘Like’ on Facebook, and file imports for products are slow: a file of 30,000 products could take close to 24 hours, 2 separate uploads.

For a lower monthly commitment, Volusion’s offering is robust however there are limitations on bandwidth and additional usage fees.  A cloud ecommerce solution since 1999, Volusion’s experience is well noted in areas such as store scalability, ease of adding features and fraud protection.  They also publish helpful, forward-looking advice for merchants.  Volusion’s 2-minute Tuesdays is a regular clip on YouTube.

Vendio was one of eBay’s first developer partners and was acquired by Alibaba in 2010.  It is considered an e-tail expert and has won numerous awards, however many reports of poor customer service can be found in software reviews and on user forums.

If this all sounds exciting but you don’t have products or services to sell, you can still earn commissions by signing on with an affiliate store builder such as Sellfire, and by activating an affiliate account.  For $19.95/month, product displays can be added to your existing website.  Each click originating from your site to a retailer participating in an affiliate program is attributed to you via your publisher ID and you are paid a commission if the click results in a lead (in some cases) or a sales transaction – through your affiliate account.  Tools are provided by Sellfire, AmeriCommerce, or  IncomeShops, to assist you with drawing traffic from search engines to your website.  Mixed reviews of these affiliate storefronts exist online, with tales ranging from complete ease of setup and user satisfaction to utter disappointment for extra fees associated with Amazon integration.  Proceeding with a free trial is risk-free and it provides a valuable learning experience for ecommerce startups.

Amber Hancock is a general business and people enthusiast from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  With an extensive background in Canadian telecommunications, she is a fan of new technologies and believes wholeheartedly in saving the cheese for dweebs.

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