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Choosing the Best Ecommerce Software
Identifying the best ecommerce software is challenging, primarily because each user values different aspects of the software. All of the top ecommerce products we reviewed, provide the fundamental tools to run a successful online store, but the lists below identify ecommerce software in categories that may appeal to different website owners.
The 3 Best Ecommerce Software for Beginners
If you're new to ecommerce software, the best ecommerce software for beginners makes it easy to get your website up and running. To begin with, choose a user-friendly product with online resources that not only guide you through the platform's features but also teaches you how to increase your sales and draw more traffic. Selecting software that provides a variety of ecommerce templates to choose from makes the design process much easier, and access to quality support is helpful if you run into problems. If you're not sure which ecommerce software is right for you, several offer a free trial so you can experience the product firsthand before committing to a purchase. The three companies mentioned here stand out as some of the best for those who are new to ecommerce.
The 3 Best Ecommerce Marketing Services
Because marketing plays such a significant role in the success of an ecommerce website, it's important to find the best ecommerce marketing services available. Most ecommerce products include search engine optimization and email marketing tools, as well as the ability to integrate with social-media.The best products stand out by offering free advertising credits and analytics to help you track your company's progress over time. Some even offer integrated blogs, which is a great way to reach out to customers and keep them updated on the latest products and sales. The three companies listed here offer all these features and more, and make great choices for new and experienced online store owners alike.
The 3 Best Ecommerce Website Template Providers
Choosing the best ecommerce website template plays an important role in how your customers view and interact with your company. Almost all of the top ecommerce software have a variety of templates available, but the quantity and the quality vary greatly. When searching for the best ecommerce website templates for your business, you should first consider whether you're interested in free templates or are willing to pay a little more for premium templates. Then, you should look at how the ecommerce software allows you to modify your template once you've downloaded it, such as customizing the colors and fonts or adding a company logo. The three companies listed below offer some of the best ecommerce website templates in the industry, and would make a good starting point for your search.
The 2 Best Shopping Cart Software Solutions
For online retailers, finding the best shopping cart software is a key component to running an effective ecommerce website. This is because the customer's online experience is so integral to their overall satisfaction with a product. Discounts and simplified checkouts create a great user experience and can result with higher sales volume. The best online shopping cart software allows online store owners to sell both physical and digital goods, are compatible with mobile devices, and provide a variety of other features to simplify the checkout process.
What Ecommerce Software Features Matter and Why?
Analytics and Reporting identifies the tools available to track website performance and understand customer behaviors. This includes standard measurement factors like website traffic, unique visitors, and referring sites as well as data on sales revenues. The best ecommerce software will include powerful analytics capabilities and strong reporting capabilities. Analytics and Reporting is an important category, as it provides valuable insight into the behaviors of web visitors.
- Customer Profiles - You can create customer profiles to understand the demographics of your customers and to tailor messages toward their preferences.
- Custom Reports - You can run custom reports to view different aspects of your business.
- Dashboards - The software has a dashboard to help navigate the analytics and reporting.
- Pre-Built Reports - The software comes packaged with pre-built reports.
- Sales and Revenue - You can review data on orders, conversions, and total sales.
- Site Performance - You can review data on web site traffic, unique visitors, referring sites, and more.
Marketing refers to the resources and tools designed to assist with website promotion. Features like email marketing and search engine optimization will be covered in this category in addition to facilitating affiliate program and having access to a blogging platform. Marketing is an important category because publicizing products and content is critical to growing a successful online business.
- Affiliate Program - You can offer people who are selling your products your own affiliate program with banners, ad copy, promotional links, and commission payouts.
- Blogging Platform - You can set up a blogging platform with the software.
- Coupons and Promotions - You can offer promotions, coupons, and discounts to new or current customers.
- Customer Groups - You can create customer groups to communicate different ways or set up unique promotions.
- Email Marketing - You can create email campaigns that drive new and returning customers to your site.
- Free Advertising Credits - The software provides you with some sort of free advertising credits towards Google Adwords, Facebook, or another company.
- Search Engine Optimization - You can customize the H1, title, and meta tags of each page as well as create SEO-friendly URLs.
Order Management encompasses the features that contribute to the order process. The best ecommerce products will include the ability for store managers to process orders, send automated order confirmation emails, and manage inventory levels, while allowing customer to track shipping and cancel unnecessary orders. Maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction is an important part of building a successful ecommerce business, which is why Order Management is an important category.
- Automated Confirmation - The software will automatically notify customers when a purchase is complete and their shipment is on its way.
- Cancel Order - The software allows for customers to cancel orders before they have shipped.
- Inventory Management - You can manage physical stock and generate supply orders.
- Order Processing - You can process orders individually or in bulk, including printing invoices, and packing slips.
- Return Management - You can set up a return management system that will allow you and your customers to handle returns quickly and easily with step-by-step status updates.
- Shipment Tracking - The software allows customers to track their USPS, FedEx, UPS, or other carrier shipments with a built-in tracker.
Payments outlines the types of payment capabilities that the ecommerce software provides. Credit card payment processing is a critical feature included in all of the top products. The best ecommerce solutions will have the ability to process several different types of credit cards, provide access to several payment gateways, and facilitate payments through online sources like PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon Payment. The ability to easily add payment functionality and have the capability to process payments is a critical component of ecommerce software, making Payments one of the most important categories.
- Amazon Payments - You can accept payments through Amazon payments.
- American Express - You can accept American Express credit cards.
- Credit Card Payments - You can accept credit card payments.
- Discover - You can accept Discover credit cards.
- Google Checkout - You can accept payments through Google Checkout.
- MasterCard - You can accept MasterCard credit cards.
- Online Payment Services - You can accept payment through online payment providers.
- Other Online Payment Services - You can accept payment through other online payment services.
- Other Payment Options - You can accept other payments beyond credit card processing and online payments, such as an eCheck or C.O.D.
- Payment Gateways - The software has a payment gateway that authorizes and allows you to accept payments.
- PayPal - You can accept payments through PayPal.
- Visa - You can accept Visa credit cards.
Product Placement refers to the different ways products can be displayed, viewed, and sold. Product Placement includes retailing features like cross-selling, upselling, and the ability to upload product photos. The best ecommerce software will allow customized organization of products, provide web visitors with the ability to compare products, and include some form of rating or reviewing capabilities. Ecommerce solutions that enables store managers to organize the website according to preference, upload unlimited product photos, and utilize additional selling techniques can dramatically impact the customer shopping experience. Product Placement is a reasonably important category because it addresses this wide array of features and functionality.
- Cross-selling - You can showcase other products related to the product that is found in a customer's shopping cart.
- Product Comparison - You can compare products, options, and features side-by-side to help customers make a purchase decision and increase conversion rate for certain businesses.
- Product Showcase - You can organize your categories, products, and product attributes in any way that you would like to maximize sales.
- Product Zoom - The software has a zoom tool you can implement that allows customers to mouse over a product and magnify the area of the product.
- Ratings or Reviews - The software allows your customers to promote items they like by posting a product rating or review.
- Unlimited Product Options - You can upload unlimited colors, sizes, or features of a product.
- Unlimited Product Photos - You can upload as many photos as needed for each product.
- Unlimited Products - You can upload an unlimited number of products.
- Upselling - You can upsell a product by offering a higher-end version during checkout.
Shopping Cart refers to the features that allow customers to select items for purchase, continue shopping, and eventually facilitate the purchase of the items selected. Shopping Cart identifies whether the software includes guest checkout functionality, determines if the software is capable of selling digital and physical goods, and specifies if promotion codes, coupons, and tax calculations are supported. The best ecommerce solutions will provide one-page checkouts, have multilingual functionality, and support multiple currencies. Shopping Cart is an important category because having an effective checkout process is a critical element of the ecommerce shopping experience.
- Customer Registration - Your customers can register for a personal account with your store.
- Digital Goods - You can sell downloadable products, like books, music, software, and event tickets and make them available as a download.
- Guest Account - You can provide customers with the ability to purchase as a guest so no registration is required.
- Mobile Compatibility - Your customers can browse and buy from your store while on the go, using any mobile phone.
- Multilingual - You have the ability to showcase your store in a variety of languages.
- Multiple Currencies - Ability to localize your store by currency if you have an international presence and/or customer base.
- One-Page Checkout - You can provide your customers with the quickest, simplest way to purchase your products.
- Physical Goods - You have the ability to sell physical goods or products.
- Purchase Discounts - You can offer your customers a coupon, promotion, or discount.
- Tax Calculations - You can calculate taxes by country, state, county, and city and then apply the correct amount for each customer's location.
- Wish Lists - Your customers can create wish lists in their shopping cart.
Store Design identifies the programming languages supported and the technical resources provided by the ecommerce solution that assist with storefront design and development. The top ecommerce products will include the ability to custom design the website layout, will utilize a quality content management system, provide high quality templates, and access to a designer if necessary. The overall design of an ecommerce website can make a significant difference in the probability of success. Store Design will be an important category for those particularly in tune with website aesthetics and interested in quality design.
- Access to Designer - The company provides access to a designer to help build your store for a fee.
- Content Management System - The software has a content management system that allows you to easily edit pages, upload images, and more.
- Create Template - You can create a template for a new store design and reuse that template.
- CSS - You can alter your store design using CSS.
- Customize Background - You can customize the background of your site.
- Customize Colors - You can customize the colors of your site.
- Customize Font - You can customize the fonts you use on your site.
- Customize Layout - You can customize the layout and design of your site.
- HTML - You can use HTML to design your site.
- Mobile Themes - You can create themes designed specifically for mobile devices to complement your online store.
- Templates - The software comes equipped with pre-designed templates for you to choose from.
3rd party integration refers to the additional features, services, and plugins that can be added to the website to increase functionality. Third party integration for ecommerce products includes a broad range of applications that cover things like social networking, inventory management, marketing, shipping, search engine optimization, and much more. The best ecommerce websites include a browseable marketplace, making it easy to locate and add any necessary application to the website.
- Accounting - The product can integrate with an accounting application or software.
- Advertising - The product can integrate with an advertising application or software.
- Amazon - The product can integrate with Amazon.
- Analytics and Reporting - The product can integrate with an analytics and reporting application or software.
- eBay - The product can integrate with eBay.
- Email Marketing - The product can integrate with an email marketing application or software.
- Facebook - The product can integrate with Facebook.
- Google Apps - The product can integrate with Google Apps.
- Inventory - The product can integrate with an inventory application or software.
- Marketing - The product can integrate with a marketing application or software.
- Order Management - The product can integrate with an order management application or software.
- Payment Services - The product can integrate with a payment services application or software.
- Quickbooks - The product can integrate with QuickBooks.
- Recommendations - The product can integrate with a recommendations or upselling application or software.
- SEO - The product can integrate with an SEO application or software.
- Shipping - The product can integrate with a shipping application or software.
- Shopping Cart - The product can integrate with a shopping cart application or software.
- Social Media - The product can integrate with a social media application or software.
Hosting encompasses all the features associated with hosting the website. This includes characteristics like data backup and restores, and the ability to purchase a domain name. The best ecommerce software will provided unlimited data storage, unlimited bandwidth, and will guarantee uptime of 99% or higher. Hosting is a reasonably important category as it deals with the fundamental characteristics associated with operating a successful ecommerce website.
- 99% or Greater Uptime - The company has its server up and running 99% of the time or greater.
- Backup and Restores - The software automatically backs up everything multiple times a day, including orders, products, photos, and customer records.
- CDN - The software has a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that helps boost performance.
- Domain Name - You can purchase a domain name for your store through the software provider.
- FTP - You can use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer files, pictures and video from your local computer to your hosting company's server or any other network.
- URL Rewrite Management - You can rewrite your URLs for specific pages of your website.
Mobile refers to the website management features and functionality that can be accessed through a mobile device. This includes the ability to view customer data, orders, products, and other site statistics. Mobile is not the most important ecommerce category, but for those that are constantly on the go, having the ability to get quick access to website information and statistics will definitely be appreciated.
- Customers - You can view customers on your mobile device.
- Orders - You can view orders on your mobile device.
- Products - You can view products on your mobile device.
- Statistics - You can view statistics on your mobile device.
Shipping identifies the different features, billing methods, and rates associated with product shipping. This includes features that allow a customer to enter different billing and shipping addresses and tools that can apply discounts to shipping as a purchasing incentive. The best software will include all of these features, as well as fixed-price shipping, weight-based shipping, and automatic carrier rates from major shipping organizations. Shipping is a fairly important category because it plays an important role in the purchasing process and can make a big impact on customer satisfaction.
- Automatic Carrier Rates - You can receive automatic shipping rates from major shipping carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and more.
- Fixed-Price Shipping - You can use set shipping prices that aren't based on weight.
- Separate Billing and Shipping - Your customers can create separate billing and shipping addresses.
- Shipping Discounts - You can set incentives on shipping fees, such as free shipping or offering specific discounts.
- Weight-Based Shipping - Weight-based shipping is available.
Learning Materials identifies the available resources that enable the store manager and others to learn about the software and troubleshoot problems independent of a support representative. A forum, FAQ section, and user manuals are common resources, but the top ecommerce products will also provide video tutorials and live webinars. Some aspects of ecommerce can be challenging, especially if technical skills are still being refined. Learning Materials will be an important category to those that like to dig into issues on their own, and prefer to problem solve independent of a support representative.
- FAQ - The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
- Forum - The company provides an interactive forum where users can post questions and answers.
- Knowledge Base - The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.
- Live Webinars - Live webinars are provided by the company.
- User Guide - A user guide or training manual is provided by the company.
- Video Tutorials - The company provides video tutorials.
Security is a straightforward category that includes features and functionality designed to enable store managers to create and maintain a secure website. Common ecommerce security features include the ability to designate a website administrator that designates permissions to other employees, the inclusion of SSL certificates, and ensuring that the ecommerce website complies with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Although there are not a lot of features in this category, each feature plays an important role in the overall security of the website. The top ecommerce software will include all of these features, and enable web visitors to feel confident when making purchases from the website.
- Administrator Permissions - You can control which areas of your store that individuals within your organization have access to.
- Free SSL - The software comes with a free SSL certificate.
- PCI-DSS Compliance - The software is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), which ensures all payments are secure.
Social Media Integration addresses the different ways the software integrates with social media resources. This includes the ability to link to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other popular social media websites, as well as allowing web visitors to register and sign-in using Facebook, Google+, or other social media credentials. The best ecommerce products include dynamic social media integration capabilities that enable social media resources to contribute to the success of the ecommerce website.
- Link to Social Media - You can link your online store to your company's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
- Send to Friend - Your customers can send a specific product of interest to their friends.
- Share Purchase - Your customers can share their purchases on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest.
- Sign-In via Facebook - Your customers can register and sign-in using Facebook.
- Sign-In via Google+ - Your customers can register and sign-in using Google+.
Support addresses the different ways store managers can contact the software provider when addressing problems that require the assistance of a support representative. The best ecommerce companies include email, live chat, phone, and social media support. Depending on individual skillsets, the broad set of services provided by software may take some time to fully master. Having access to quality support can make a big difference when trying to learn the product or when troubleshooting particularly challenging issues.
- Email - The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
- Live Chat - The company offers live chat support.
- Phone - You can contact the company by phone to get support.
- Social Media - You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.