One of the enormous challenges of the digital age is the overwhelming number of technology solutions in every industry – making the right choice becomes difficult.
The e-commerce technology marketplace is awash with web software solutions that come with diverse features and capabilities. It’s often challenging for less tech-savvy retailers to understand the complexities of these e-commerce platforms and how to choose the best for their business.
Today, I want to share with you a comparison review of the three leading hosted e-commerce platforms. I will cover some of the features and the pricing plans of each of these three e-commerce website development platforms.
Shopify is the leading e-commerce platform that allows users to set an online store within minutes. It’s a perfect choice for retailers, social media sellers, and online shop owners who want to provide their customers with a flawless online shopping experience.
Shopify allows you to accept credit cards payments, track and manage orders, build an online store, manage inventory and much more. It is a complete e-commerce solution that leads the pack of the best e-commerce platforms. Shopify also supports selling on Facebook and Amazon.
Shopify has several useful features that help retailers create robust e-commerce sites with all the features required and custom design. Let’s briefly look at some of the features provided by Shopify.
- Website Builder – Shopify has a user-friendly website builder that helps users create full-featured e-commerce content management system with no coding skills.
- Professional Themes – there are more than one hundred professional themes that you can choose from when building your store with Shopify. Most of the templates are from the best designers in the world.
- Blogging Platform – Shopify comes with a fully integrated blogging platform to help retailers publish blogs for improved content marketing and SEO. The blogging platform supports categories and comments moderation.
- Mobile Commerce Support – Shopify is designed with an inbuilt mobile shopping cart that lets visitors browse products on mobile devices and buy through the mobile commerce cart.
- Easy Domain Setup – for complete starters a domain name is provided, or you can use your existing domain to set up your online store.
- Free SSL Certificate – Shopify offers every customer a free 256-bit SSL certificate that protects all the pages, credit card data, content, and transaction data at the same security level provided on bank websites or applications. SSL certificate is essential in helping retailers achieve PCI compliance.
- Accept Credit Cards – you can build a store on Shopify that accepts credit cards. You can receive payment from MasterCard, Discover, Visa and American Express credit cards. Shopify offers a considerably low credit cart rate with no hidden charges.
- Multiple Payment Gateways – you can integrate a broad range of payment gateways with Shopify. There are more than one hundred external payment gateways that are supported by Shopify from bitcoin to PayPal and several others.
- Free Shipping Supported – you can set up free shopping to improve the number of products ordered. A price point is used to determine customer eligibility for free shipping.
- Multiple languages – there are more than fifty languages that you can translate your Shopify theme to suit a specific audience or region.
- Advanced Shipping – Shopify lets you set up the shipping rates based on weight, tiers, location and fixed prices. You also get automatic shipping rates from the leading shipping carriers such as FedEx and UPS.
- Shop Management Features – Shopify helps manage country and state taxes based on your location. You can also recover bounced sales by sending an automatic email to the customer with the link to their abandoned cart.
Shopify allows you to set up an online store for 14 days free trial with no credit card requirement. The pricing comes in three plans:
- Basic Shopify Plan – this is the lowest priced plan for $29 per month with the highest credit card and transaction fees. There are two staff accounts, unlimited products, and file storage. The gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, professional reports and advanced report builder are not in this plan.
- Shopify Plan – this plan is suitable for an actively growing business, the price is $79 per month. Compare to the basic Shopify plan it offers the gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, professional reports features. It does not include the advanced report builder and the third party calculated shipping rates.
- Advanced Shopify Plan – the price is $299 per month, this plan is ideal for large businesses that want to leverage the power and resources of Shopify to provide an excellent e-commerce experience.
Bigcommerce is the second most popular e-commerce platform that provides useful features for building online stores. Bigcommerce allows you to showcase products on Facebook, Amazon, and eBay. You can try it for 14 days free trial before you buy the ideal plan for your business.
Bigcommerce is a fully customizable, responsive e-commerce content management system that comes with numerous features that include but not limited to the following:
- Highly Customizable Templates – Bigcommerce provides several customizable templates for different e-commerce industries. It’s possible to create a custom brand focused e-commerce site with Bigcommerce.
- 99% Hosting Uptime – Bigcommerce hosting is reliable for all merchants, with an average uptime of 99.99% and high security that guarantees PCI compliance.
- Easy Migration – Bigcommerce provides site migration features and support to help new users from other e-commerce platforms import products to Bigcommerce. They offer an in-house catalog transfer team of experts to help new users migrate from other platforms.
- Full-featured E-commerce CMS – Bigcommerce provides you with a comprehensive e-commerce content management system. You can manage products, create categories, add pages, add a blog, edit pages, add product categories, SKU, prices, and images.
- Major Payment Gateways Supported – you can use any payment gateway of your choice on Bigcommerce without any penalties including all the leading payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe.
- Mobile Shopping Cart – Bigcommerce has a mobile cart to help increase conversions from mobile traffic. Mobile cart includes one-page checkout which improves conversions.
- Inventory Management – a powerful control panel allows users to manage the inventory and track orders to provide customers with factual information on the availability of each product.
- Sync All Inventories – Bigcommerce has a unique feature that allows you to sync inventory with Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Square POS so that you process all orders from one place.
- Marketing Features – to increase conversions Bigcommerce has flawless integration with email marketing service providers, and Google shopping to help in marketing. Additionally, in-built features like one-page checkout, faceted search and abandoned cart saver help to increase conversions.
Bigcommerce offers 15 days free trial period before you can pick the best payment plan for your business.
- Standard Plan – this is the lowest priced at $29.95 per month, there are no transaction fees, bandwidth and file storage is unlimited, and the maximum limit of the online sales per year for this plan is $50k. This plan lacks customer grouping and abandoned cart features and attracts the highest credit card charges.
- Plus Plan – this plan is priced at $79.95 per month and comes with additional features like the abandoned cart and customers grouping. The maximum limit of the online sales per year is $150k. This plan lacks Google customer reviews, faceted search (product filtering), and custom SSL features.
- Pro Plan – this plan allows a maximum of up to $400k online sales per year and the monthly price is $249.95. The plan includes Google customer reviews, custom SSL but lacks faceted search (product filtering), and unlimited API calls.
- Enterprise Plan – this is a custom plan that can be developed based on individual business needs. This plan includes both the unlimited API calls and faceted search (product filtering).
Volusion is a stunning and creative e-commerce platform that offers a robust site e-commerce builder and 14 days free trial with no credit card requirement. It has an inventory management system, simple payment processing, built-in SEO features, unlimited products customization and an innovative CRM.
- Responsive Themes – Volusion offers users fully customizable templates that adapt to screens of all sizes. All these themes come with intuitive e-commerce functionality. Volusion has a CSS editor for frontend developers who want to customize the templates.
- Custom Domain – you can set up your store with a custom domain for easy marketing and search engine optimization. Volusion has in-built on-page SEO features like sitemap generation and robots.txt editor.
- Content and Navigation Editor – editing content on the backend requires no coding skills since Volusion has an intuitive, user-friendly content editor. The navigation can also be edited using the navigation editor.
- Product Pages – Volusion content management system, allows users to add product pages with subcategories, images, content and SEO settings. The homepage features a slideshow that can be used to showcase discounted offers.
- Payment Gateways – Volusion supports the use of credit cards, cash, wire transfer, PayPal, Stripe, money orders, electronic checks and Amazon Pay.
- Security – with Volusion you can be guaranteed of 99.9% uptime for your online store. They offer SSL certificates to improve safety and PCI compliance; the checkout is secure and PCI-certified.
- Shipping and Taxes – shipping options on Volusion support discounted offers and flat shipping rates. The tax calculator is useful for completing the tax calculations during checkout.
- Inventory Management – Volusion comes with innovative inventory management features that include; barcode generator for products, vendor codes, product status, tracking stock for reordering, CSV products import, and CRM to manage sales tickets for different departments.
Volusion offers 14 days free trial with no credit card required before you can pick the most suitable plan for your business.
- Mini Plan – this plan is for small shops with a maximum of 100 products, 1GB bandwidth, and secure checkout. It lacks customer reviews, products import or export, newsletter and abandoned cart reports. The price is $15 per month, but the annual payment plan is $13.50 per month.
- Plus Plan – this plan allows up to 1000 products, 3GB bandwidth, both online and phone support and secure checkout. The price is $35 per month, but the annual plan is $31.50 for every month. This plan lacks eBay and Amazon integration, phone orders, API access, batch processing, customer loyalty program and dedicated account manager for support.
- Pro Plan – this plan allows up to 10,000 products, 10GB bandwidth, secure checkout and priority support. The price is $75 per month, but the annual plan is $67.50, this plan only lacks a dedicated account manager.
- Premium Plan – this plan has unlimited products, 35GB bandwidth, priority support, secure checkout and a dedicated account manager. The price is $135 per month, but the annual billing price is $121.50 per month.
E-commerce platforms provide the fastest, easiest way to build e-commerce websites without any coding experience. It’s clear that these three e-commerce platforms offer nearly similar features with different pricing.
Ultimately, reliability, data security, and user experience are three factors that will continue to shape the future of e-commerce. For now, Shopify is leading, but Bigcommerce and Volusion command a considerable size of the market share.