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Ecommerce Platforms


 
Clarity eCommerce logo
 
Clarity eCommerce is a customizable and modular ecommerce platform that is designed for business-to-business organizations. The solution can be deployed in the cloud and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution drives... Read More
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Clarity eCommerce is a customizable and modular ecommerce platform that is designed for business-to-business organizations. The solution can be deployed in the cloud and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution drives... Read More
 
Shopping Cart Elite logo
 
Shopping Cart Elite is a cloud-based e-commerce management solution designed for small and midsize online retailers. The product offers website management, inventory management, search engine optimization (SEO), customer relationship... Read More
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Shopping Cart Elite is a cloud-based e-commerce management solution designed for small and midsize online retailers. The product offers website management, inventory management, search engine optimization (SEO), customer relationship... Read More
 
WebStudio logo
 
WebStudio is enables organizations to deploy a customized e-commerce online store or product catalog solution. The solution is suitable for IT, publishing and marketing departments of organizations of all sizes. Customers can customize... Read More
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WebStudio is enables organizations to deploy a customized e-commerce online store or product catalog solution. The solution is suitable for IT, publishing and marketing departments of organizations of all sizes. Customers can customize... Read More
 
GoECart 360 logo
 
GoECart is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) system for small to midsize retailers, including jewelry stores, pharmacies and apparel. GoECart offers integrated POS, inventory management, customer management (with complete customer... Read More
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GoECart is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) system for small to midsize retailers, including jewelry stores, pharmacies and apparel. GoECart offers integrated POS, inventory management, customer management (with complete customer... Read More
 
3dcart logo
 
3dcart is a cloud-based e-commerce solution that helps businesses build online stores with built-in shipping and payment functionalities. Businesses can create online stores using their own designs or premade website themes.   After... Read More
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3dcart is a cloud-based e-commerce solution that helps businesses build online stores with built-in shipping and payment functionalities. Businesses can create online stores using their own designs or premade website themes.   After... Read More

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Lightspeed eCommerce logo
 
Lightspeed eCommerce is a cloud-based e-commerce solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include inventory management, web store design, marketing and business analytics. Lightspeed’s inventory management... Read More
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Lightspeed eCommerce is a cloud-based e-commerce solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include inventory management, web store design, marketing and business analytics. Lightspeed’s inventory management... Read More
 
RQ Retail Management logo
 
iQmetrix specializes in retail software, with products focused on retail management and customer experience technology. The RQ Retail Management system is iQmetrix’s flagship POS software product, which allows the user to manage... Read More
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iQmetrix specializes in retail software, with products focused on retail management and customer experience technology. The RQ Retail Management system is iQmetrix’s flagship POS software product, which allows the user to manage... Read More
 
Vend logo
 
Vend is a cloud-based point of sale system for retailers of all types and sizes. Vend offers tools to help manage the customer experience, as well as sales, inventory, customer data and more. Vend is designed to work on various devices... Read More
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Vend is a cloud-based point of sale system for retailers of all types and sizes. Vend offers tools to help manage the customer experience, as well as sales, inventory, customer data and more. Vend is designed to work on various devices... Read More
 
Sellbrite logo
 
Sellbrite is a cloud-based inventory management solution designed for small and midsize companies. It offers order management, product management, channel analytics and inventory control functionalities within a suite. Sellbrite helps... Read More
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Sellbrite is a cloud-based inventory management solution designed for small and midsize companies. It offers order management, product management, channel analytics and inventory control functionalities within a suite. Sellbrite helps... Read More
 
Browser Push Notifications logo
 
Browser Push Notifications is a cloud-based platform that helps users to manage push notifications in web browsers. The product features customer segmentation where visitors can be grouped and targeted for marketing campaigns. Users... Read More
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Browser Push Notifications is a cloud-based platform that helps users to manage push notifications in web browsers. The product features customer segmentation where visitors can be grouped and targeted for marketing campaigns. Users... Read More

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iAPPS Commerce logo
 
Bridgeline Digital's iAPPS Commerce is an e-commerce solution that helps companies of all sizes manage their online businesses. Companies can choose to deploy the solution on-premise or use it as a cloud-based solution. Using iAPPS... Read More
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Bridgeline Digital's iAPPS Commerce is an e-commerce solution that helps companies of all sizes manage their online businesses. Companies can choose to deploy the solution on-premise or use it as a cloud-based solution. Using iAPPS... Read More
 
Sana Commerce logo
 
Sana Commerce offers e-commerce solutions which are fully integrated with AP and Microsoft Dynamics for wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers. The main features offered include catalog navigation, automated ordering, personalized... Read More
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Sana Commerce offers e-commerce solutions which are fully integrated with AP and Microsoft Dynamics for wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers. The main features offered include catalog navigation, automated ordering, personalized... Read More
 
Ecwid logo
 
Ecwid is an e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses that enables users to set up an online store on any website or social site. The solution is cloud-based and it can integrate with existing websites without affecting... Read More
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Ecwid is an e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses that enables users to set up an online store on any website or social site. The solution is cloud-based and it can integrate with existing websites without affecting... Read More
 
AbanteCart logo
 
AbanteCart is an open source e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses that helps users create online stores to sell products and services. Key features include HTML5 responsive templates, catalog management, a discount... Read More
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AbanteCart is an open source e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses that helps users create online stores to sell products and services. Key features include HTML5 responsive templates, catalog management, a discount... Read More
 
Squarespace logo
 
Squarespace helps users create websites and offers an e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses for building online stores. Squarespace e-commerce solutions allow users to sell products and services, as well as manage inventory,... Read More
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Squarespace helps users create websites and offers an e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses for building online stores. Squarespace e-commerce solutions allow users to sell products and services, as well as manage inventory,... Read More

 

Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: April 7, 2017


Ecommerce software is an invaluable tool for many retail businesses today. While in-store revenue still makes up the bulk of retail sales, more and more customers are shopping online. A forecast by eMarketer projects ecommerce sales will soar to $2.5 trillion by 2018.

We’ve created this Buyer’s Guide to help you better understand the market so you can get your online store up and running quickly. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Reviewers' Choice
What Is Ecommerce Software?
What Type of Ecommerce Software Buyer Are You?
Common Functionality of Ecommerce Platforms
Market Trends to Understand
Key Integrations for Your Online Business
Recent Events

Reviewers' Choice

 Reviewers' Choice Ecommerce Graphic

Reviewers' Choice Products

3dcart AbanteCart
Ecwid RQ
Squarespace VendHQ

Our Reviewers’ Choice list shows the five highest user-rated software solutions for Ecommerce when adjusted for total number of reviews and recency of reviews.

If a software solution has more reviews, and more recent reviews, we value those ratings more highly than a product with fewer, older reviews. This is because is it much harder to get 100 five-star reviews than it is to get 10.

We also know that software vendors continually tweak and update their product, so we believe that more recent reviews tend to be more accurate.

To determine which products made the final cut, we looked at how users rated each solution's:

  • Overall performance,
  • Ease of use, and
  • Customer support

A solution can make the Reviewers' Choice top five in all three categories, or just one or two. All software solutions in the Reviewers' Choice have at least 10 reviews from real software users. The final products are listed in alphabetical order from left to right.

For more details on how we selected our Reviewers' Choice, read the full methodology.

What Is Ecommerce Software?

If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ve interacted with ecommerce software. This type of software is a combination of:

  • Website design
  • Product listings
  • Online payment capabilities
  • Inventory management
  • Sales reporting
  • Customer management

Just as retail point of sale (POS) systems support in-store purchases, ecommerce platforms make it possible for businesses to sell online. While some POS systems offer ecommerce capabilities, there are plenty of specialized platforms built solely for online stores.

Ecommerce platforms are created to support different aspects of the online purchase process. As the chart below shows, this goes far beyond creating a digital storefront:

Purchase process

When choosing your new ecommerce software, you’ll need to know the differences between:

  • Hosted platforms vs. self-hosted platforms
  • Cloud-based software vs. open source software

Hosted means your ecommerce platform lives on a server that’s managed by someone else. Cloud-based software often requires a regular fee, but vendors manage the updates, capabilities, modifications, security etc.

Self-hosted means your ecommerce platform lives on a server that you manage yourself or pay a third party to manage. Open source software enables you to modify and add functionality to the source code. Open source solutions are almost always self-hosted.

Patrick Rauland, a product manager at WooCommerce—an open source ecommerce solution—uses an analogy to clarify the differences. He compares the difference between self-hosted and/or open source options with hosted platforms (which are usually cloud-based) to the difference between owning a car and using public transit:

Rauland says:

"Cars [self-hosted/open source] allow you to go anywhere, anytime you want. You can paint your car any color you like; you can customize it in just about any way you can dream. You can choose how fast you get to your destination and you can choose what radio station to listen to."

And as for public transit:

"Public transportation [hosted/cloud-based] goes to where most people want to go; it goes at a decent speed (sometimes even beating cars) and is maintenance-free (for you). There are usually reasonable monthly fees, instead of a big upfront cost when purchasing a car."

Rauland’s metaphor paints a positive picture for both options, but there are drawbacks to each as well:

Self-hosted/open source: You’re responsible for not only operating your online store but also for your website domain, development, maintenance and the upfront cost of the software.

Hosted/cloud-based: You must follow the rules of your provider when it comes to the look, feel and functionality of your website and the backend managing capabilities. If you change systems, you have to learn an entirely new platform.

The chart below gives more detail about the major implications and benefits of each option:

Ecommerce comparison

The options discussed above are for businesses that are building or rebuilding their online store. If you already have a viable website, then you may wish to explore a best-of-breed option.

Best-of-Breed: Specialized software that focuses on one particular area or function. If you want to add a shopping cart feature to an existing website, for example, you can add dedicated shopping cart software. Shopping cart software enables purchases, but typically doesn’t provide advanced features such as sales reporting and inventory management.

Regardless of what type of system you choose for your online store, here are some core features that are typically included:

Shopping cart Allows visitors to save and manage items for purchase while continuing to shop. Carts support checkout and purchase completion.
Customer relationship management (CRM) Includes functions such as email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) tools, customer/product reviews, social media integration, customer accounts/profiles and database management.
Reporting and analytics Helps users create dashboards with reports of site-wide and product-specific sales, as well as site analysis from internal platforms and external ones such as Google Analytics.
Inventory management Automatically tracks quantities and physical locations of products. Many systems sync in-store and online sales to create one transparent inventory for all channels.
Order fulfillment Includes estimating shipping and handling costs at the point of purchase and manages the logistics for getting an order from inventory to delivery.
Shipping management Populates shipping and handling rates at the point of sale and sends customer delivery information to third-party shipping providers.
Mobile store (m-commerce) Makes an ecommerce website available from a mobile browser or app.
Marketplace management/integration Manages the sales of products across various ecommerce markets outside of the actual website (e.g., Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest).

Market Trends to Understand

Keep these trends in mind when reviewing ecommerce platforms:

Growth of m-commerce. Reports estimate ecommerce purchases made from mobile devices will add up to $153 billion by 2019. It’s best to ensure your online store is optimized for mobile.

New digital marketplaces. You want your online store to be perfect, but it’s no longer the only place to showcase and sell your products. Many systems integrate with Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and other online marketplaces, so you can sell on multiple platforms from a central system.

Enabling social selling. Just as systems are integrating with marketplaces, many platforms are also enabling purchases directly from social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Payment options. There are many payment options for online shoppers besides their credit and debit cards, e.g., PayPal, Google Wallet and Amazon Payments. It’s wise to offer as many as possible.

Key Integrations for Your Online Business

If you have a smaller business, you may manage order fulfillment and shipping without the need for additional systems. Your “warehouse” may be in your house, garage or brick-and-mortar store. All you have to do is note the order in your inventory management system, package it and ship it.

If you’re a larger business, the process is more complex. You may find that you need more robust additional capabilities, such as:

Our report on these integrations highlights the profoundly positive impact they have on ecommerce businesses:

Impact of integrations

You’ll also want your online store to integrate with any customer management software you have in place. You can manage customers across channels, track purchases, send more meaningful marketing materials and administer loyalty rewards.

The same is true for any sales reporting and analytics systems you may already be using. You don’t want to rely on disparate systems and reports for performance analysis because you’ll get a more accurate snapshot of sales data across all your properties from one cohesive system.

Recent Events

Lightspeed POS acquires ecommerce software company SEOshop. The vendor now offers Lightspeed eCom for online and multichannel retailers. Prior to the acquisition, Lightspeed was identified as the most popular retail POS system, based on Software Advice’s methodology.

Shopify debuts social selling on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Merchants can now sell goods on social sites by:

  • Integrating online stores with Facebook profiles
  • Including “Buy Now” buttons into Twitter posts
  • Offering products on buyable Pinterest pins

 

 

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