Ecommerce Platforms - Who's The Best?

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Retail

  In this presentation we review 4 popular ecommerce platforms and recommend what we feel is the best option for your small business. We compared the cost vs. value of BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Volusion vs. 3dCard for the brick and mortar small business owner who is looking to do a significant amount of online sales.
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  • 1. Who’s The Best Ecommerce Platform?
  • 2. Why we choose Shopify over other Ecommerce sites? Shopify is the only one of the major ecommerce sites reviewed with packages that include online, mobile, and in-store solutions. The other solutions lack either mobile or in-store functionality. For a basic plan of around $78/month, or a professional plan at $128/month.
  • 3. Shopify has been around for a long time. And it has been consistently rated as one of the better ecommerce solutions. In addition, they have some of the best value in the industry for their service cost.
  • 4. Click To Try Shopify Free For 30 Days! Or continue with the presentation for a full comparison…
  • 5. Costs and Credit Card Processing Fees
  • 6. The most basic plans start at $15 and go all the way up to premium packages at around $200. We recommend Shopify’s Professional Plan, with plenty of features for the median price-point of $79, as the best option for small business owners.
  • 7. Shopify’s Professional plan at $79/mo offers 5 GB of file storage, unlimited products, professional reports, and abandoned cart recovery. Shopify, via Stripe, charge a 2.5% of total payment + $.30 fixed fee per transaction for credit card processing services. ! Full pricing details here.
  • 8. Bigcommerce’s Gold plan costs $79.95/mo and offers unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, and unlimited storage. Bigcommerce uses third-party payment gateways for their credit card processing and charges no transaction fees. ! Full pricing details here.
  • 9. Volusion’s Pro plan costs $75/mo, which includes unlimited storage, 10 GB of bandwidth, 10,000 products, priority support, and direct Amazon/Ebay integration. Volusion has no transaction fees other than their flat credit card processing fee of 2.15% of total payment + $.30 fixed per transaction. ! Full pricing details here.
  • 10. 3dcart offers their Professional plan for $65.99. This plan includes features such as unlimited storage, 10,000 products, and $200 in free ad credits. They have no transaction fees and outsource all of their credit card processing to third-party payment gateways. ! Full pricing details here.
  • 11. Customer Service Through browsing various forums, reading reviews, and interacting with each ecommerce store myself, Shopify’s customer service is the winner. Bigcommerce comes in at a close second with Volusion and 3dcart bringing up the rear.
  • 12. Shopify has phone and email options, as well as a live online chat feature.
  • 13. Customer Service Bigcommerce is basically the same, providing phone, email, and live chat options with every package.
  • 14. Customer Service Volusion has phone support and “online” support, which from what I can tell is just live chat. If you purchase Volusion’s Pro plan, they claim to offer “priority” status to your customer service needs, although it is unclear exactly what that actually means.
  • 15. Customer Service 3dcart advertises “tech support”, which is really just phone and email support like the other ecommerce platforms, and a live chat option as well.
  • 16. Ease of Use None of these sites are as easy or intuitive to use as other basic website builders like Weebly. It is possible to get a basic site up and running within 20-30 minutes. However, it will probably take quite a bit more time to actually get a unique and professional looking site.
  • 17. I initially liked Shopify’s interface the least, although most reviews seem to find it one of the simplest and easiest to use. However, once I got comfortable with it, it was actually pretty handy.
  • 18. Bigcommerce has a very streamlined and professional looking interface, my favorite of the 4. With your design options on your left and a big preview of your in-progress site on the right, customization is a breeze.
  • 19. Volusion’s interface lands somewhere in-between Bigcommerce and Shopify. It is relatively simple to navigate, but is not as streamlined as Bigcommerce. You have to navigate away from your edit page to preview your site, which is a hassle.
  • 20. 3dcart had a similar feel to me as Volusion, in that the interface was easy enough to use but navigating away from the edits page to preview your store was a hassle.
  • 21. PRODUCT LIMITS One important thing for you to determine is hoy many products you anticipate listing on your site. In reality, the average small business owner is probably not going to be listing more than 10,000 products.
  • 22. Offer unlimited product listings for all of their plans.
  • 23. Offer unlimited product listings for all of their plans.
  • 24. Volusion’s mini starts out at 100 products, moves up to 1,000 for plus, 10,000 for pro, and unlimited for premium.
  • 25. 3dcart goes to 200 for their mini, 1,000 for starter, 10,000 for professional, and unlimited for their power plan.
  • 26. PAYMENT OPTIONS Most ecommerce sites offer both in-house and third-party payment options. Some, like 3dcart, do all of their payment processing through third-parties. All of the ecommerce sites reviewed accept the major payment gateways such as Paypal, Stripe, and Authorize.net, just to name a few.
  • 27. PAYMENT OPTIONS Shopify - Bigcommerce - 70+ Payment Gateways 60+ Payment Gateways Around 40 Payment Gateways. It is important to note that some of Volusion’s gateways are “fully-featured” and some are only compatible with specific services. 100+ Payment Gateways 3dcart -
  • 28. TEMPLATE OPTIONS Each ecommerce platform has their own templates/themes, which are basically pre-programmed designs with certain customizable features that the business owner can pick for their storefront.
  • 29. Shopify’s poor selection of free templates is perhaps its biggest negative. There are 11 free themes with 2-3 style variations per theme, which put the overall options at a little over 30.
  • 30. Bigcommerce has over 100 free template options as well as many premium designs. With all of the options, you should easily be able to find one to fit your needs.
  • 31. With around 80 free options, you should be able to find a theme that fits your brand. Of course, premium options are also available starting at $50 and up.
  • 32. 3dcart offers a little more than 50 free template options. In general, their free options are not quite as visually compelling to me as the other 3, but they do have enough variety.
  • 33. SEO SERVICES Search engine optimization, or SEO, is basically the process of formatting certain aspects of your site so that they will show up higher and more often in Google and similar search engines.
  • 34. Shopify includes everything in their website design that is needed for SEO success, including title and header tags, meta descriptions, and SEO-friendly themes, to name a few.
  • 35. Bigcommerce offers similar SEO features to Shopify, including title and header tags, meta descriptions/keyword tools, and SEO-friendly themes.
  • 36. Volusion has SEO features like automated sitemap creation schema.org integration, which allows customer reviews to show up higher on Google Search.
  • 37. 3dcart advertises SEO friendly HTML’s and URLs, as well as automatic or manual meta tag creation options, category breadcrumb navigation, and an RSS content reader.
  • 38. Integration with Social Media / Other Online Storefronts
  • 39. If you are planning to sell on social media or other online storefronts in conjunction with your ecommerce site, It is important to determine the level of integration ability that each of the ecommerce platforms provide.
  • 40. Shopify is fully integrated with popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., which basically means you can market your Shopify store/products on any of these sites.
  • 41. Bigcommerce has similar features to Shopify, fully integrating with Facebook, Twitter, etc. and providing a Facebook Store.
  • 42. Volusion integrates with Facebook, Twitter, etc., and has Facebook, Ebay, and Amazon storefront options.
  • 43. 3dcart is compatible with Facebook, Twitter etc. Facebook and Ebay stores can be opened through the downloading of an app, although there does not seem to be any integration with Amazon.
  • 44. ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE INTEGRATION If you already have accounting software of some kind, determining whether or not your ecommerce site is compatible with that service is important. If so, it makes keeping track of the numbers side of your business a much easier task.
  • 45. Shopify has the ability to import/ export various files and spreadsheets which are compatible with most business software. Their app for integration with Quickbooks can be found here.
  • 46. Bigcommerce also has importable/exportable files and spreadsheets. You can also purchase an app from Webgilty that can be found here which provides seamless two-way integration between Bigcommerce and Quickbooks.
  • 47. Volusion users can export/ transfer files between Volusion and Quickbooks in one of two ways, through llf file transfer or through Quickbooks’ Volusion API app, both of which are explained in-depth here.
  • 48. 3dcart imports/exports files to accounting software and also has an app that can be found here for direct integration with Quickbooks. The catch, is that the app only works with pc based Quickbooks software.
  • 49. CONCLUSION When comparing cost/value ratio through the lens of factors reviewed, our recommended ecommerce platform for the small business owner who is looking to do significant selling online, is Shopify, with Bigcommerce as a close second.
  • 50. CONCLUSION It is always helpful to do a little research of your own to see which features are important to you, but the guide should provide you with the majority information you need make the best decision for your business.
  • 51. Click To Try Shopify Free For 30 Days!
  • 52. Click To Try Shopify Free For 30 Days!
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