Comparing The Top Three E-Commerce Platforms
Seeking to start building your online store? The first step is to choose the right e-commerce platform for your needs. Through my experience, I have found the top three content management systems for e-commerce to be BigCommerce, Shopify and Volusion. Each platform is fully managed, fairly simple to set up and offers a variety of additional features. In this article I will discuss the most important facets of an e-commerce CMS and how the different companies compare in each class.
Each CMS offers a free trial offer to begin setting up and testing out your store. This is an awesome feature since it allows you to try out each platform to get a couple weeks and see which one is best for you.
BigCommerce offers five different monthly payment plans. The “Bronze Plan” (or the most basic plan) costs $24. 95 per month. This price includes one hundred products, 3 staff logins, two GB Bandwidth, 200MB storage plus $50 free Google AdWords. The following plans offer more of each of those people features at a slightly higher cost.
Shopify has four payment plans. Each plan can be paid monthly or yearly (for slight discounts). The basic is $29 per month, including unlimited bandwidth, 100 SKUs, hundred MB storage, $100 Google AdWords Credit and $75 Amazon Ad Credit. The major disadvantage of the Shopify payment plan is the 2% transaction fee. This means that 2% of all revenues (not profits) go to Shopify. Therefore , if your company operates with a small profit margin, beware of these transaction fees! However , paying more to get a bigger plan will include progressively smaller transaction fees.
Volusion’s most basic transaction plan “Steel” is $19/month for 100 products and 1 GB data transfer. Like the others, each plan offers more products and data transfer for a somewhat higher monthly fee.
Ease of Use:
When i mentioned before, each of the three companies has been doing a great job at simplifying the process of setting up an online store using their CMS. However , when it comes to the design of the shop, any variation from the default themes is not always so simple. BigCommerce has accomplished ease of use by providing the “drag and drop design” function that allows you to reconfigure the layout of the template without knowing how to edit the programming language. Shopify’s main downfall in terms of “ease of use” is the use of Liquid as their programming language. Even just editing the title tags to help SEO needs learning a new programming language (for most of us who don’t know Liquid).
BigCommerce outshines the other two in ease of use. In addition to simplifying the design process, BigCommerce provides a completely integrated payment system, integrates with Google Website Optimizer for testing and analysis, and simplifies the process of creating and monitoring the product options.
If you are planning on hiring someone to create a completely customized template for your store, this section may not be relevant. However , many people are unable to afford such luxuries and rely heavily on the available template designs. In my opinion BigComerce offers the best variety of totally free templates. There are more than 90 various designs and each one can easily become customized of modified based on your preferences. There are also excellent BigCommerce design companions that are available for template modifications. Shopify has a few free default layouts to choose from that are attractive and simple enough to work with. However , their more professional-looking templates have to be purchased. Volusion provides a variety of free templates, none of that are very impressive by today’s standards.
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Marketing and advertising & SEO:
Each of the three systems provide excellent tools to help increase marketing and SEO efforts. Such functions include email campaigns, coupon codes, promotional ads, etc . BigCommerce has great SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION and internal navigation. BigCommerce plus Shopify both have multi-channel retailing enabling you to sell products from your store via Facebook (and eBay in the case of BigCommerce). Volusion offers an unique and helpful affiliate platform to promote your online shop. Through this platform, 3rd celebrations can register with store proprietors as advertisers, bloggers, advocates plus grass-roots-style organizations to help market the particular e-commerce website.
When constructing an online store, it’s important that an educated and patient individual will be able to help you with any questions that you have along the way. Lucky for us, all three CMS platforms have excellent customer service so there is nothing to worry about in this category!
Based on my experience and research, I prefer BigCommerce because it user friendly and provides great SEO information and analysis. BigCommerce also has excellent style partners that are available to help with template modifications and designs without charging a lot of money (as is often the case with web designers). If you’re starting out, and have time, go ahead and try all three for a couple of weeks to see which you prefer.