Why Use eCommerce Software?
The top performers in our review are 3dcart, the Gold Award winner; Shopify, the Silver Award winner; and Volusion, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 platforms.
Introduction to eCommerce Software
If you have a business, you most likely can’t afford to not sell your product, service or software online. That’s why many people look for eCommerce software to help them accept payments via their business website. But how do you find the right software for your business?
We’ve reviewed the ten best eCommerce software platforms available. These tools help you build your own website and include a shopping cart and the ability to process payments online. Some of the eCommerce options we reviewed also allow you to integrate their payment platforms into your existing website. For more information on how these products might help your business, you can read our articles on eCommerce software.
How Does eCommerce Software Work?
eCommerce software helps you build an online store with both a cart and a website from existing or custom templates. Within these templates, you can customize aspects of your website, like adding products and deals. You can also add and change text and images. Some platforms also allow you to use a drag-and-drop editor so that you can adjust the layout of the template you choose, though this is not available in all features. However, HTML and CSS editors are available to help you easily customize your website. You can also customize aspects of your cart, such as whether or not you let your customers check out as guests or require them to create an account.
Often, eCommerce solutions can integrate with many different payment gateways, so if you already have a credit card processor, you may be able to keep it when you begin selling your products or services online. This depends on the service you choose, however.
Half of the products in our review offer dedicated SSL certificates for your and your customers’ security at no additional cost. Some of the platforms have a shared SSL certificate, and you can add a dedicated certificate of different strengths for an extra fee. Every eCommerce website builder we reviewed is PCI compliant at the time of this review, which helps protect your customers’ information. You should be aware, however, that in June of 2018, SSL certificates will no longer be considered PCI compliant. You may wish to consider this before you purchase a dedicated SSL certificate. Only X-Cart offers TLS 1.2 encryption, which will still be considered PCI compliant at the time of the shift in 2018.
How Much Will It Cost?
Each of the web store builders we reviewed has different types of eCommerce software available. We reviewed plans that allow around 1,000 products to be stored on its website. Different plans are available depending on the needs of your business, however, and many companies offer custom packages.
Most services on our review do not charge a transaction fee, and none charge a setup fee. Keep in mind, however, that the payment gateway you use will most likely charge a transaction fee so that you can process credit cards payments.
The prices presented on this site were quoted to us at the time of the review and may not be the price you are charged for service. Keep in mind that you may be able to customize your plan and add features, which may cost more than the listed price.
What We Evaluated; What We Found
We looked for certain criteria when we reviewed the eCommerce software companies in our review. These included web-hosting tools, shopping cart and eCommerce tools, and back-office features. None of the companies in our review had any say in the results of testing.
Web Hosting Tools
All of the companies we reviewed offered web hosting in conjunction with an online store. We evaluated each platform and created an ease-of-use score based off our testers’ experiences building websites in each service. This score considered the types of editors available, such as HTML or CSS editors, as well as how easy it was to change text and images, add products, customize the templates, and complete other aspects of building and customizing a website. Volusion and Pinnacle Cart earned the highest ease-of-use scores in our comparison.
We made sure that each company in our review offers free templates that you can use when you sign up for an eCommerce plan. The number of templates available in products in our review varies from four to more than 100. Many companies also allow premium templates, which cost extra. CoreCommerce, Ashop and Pinnacle Cart do not offer premium templates but do offer to create custom templates for you for an additional cost.
Most of the eCommerce platforms in our review have different apps that you can install to help you get your store exactly where you need it to be for your business. For example, if you need to offer flash deals or special promotions, there may be a third-party app with which the platform integrates to make this possible on your website. These applications are often free, though they may sometimes cost extra depending on the software you’ve chosen and the app itself.
Cart & Checkout
We tested the cart and checkout process available from each service from the vantage point of the customer. In this score, we considered the number of steps it takes to complete checkout, the availability of guest checkout, the presence of a PayPal option, and the ease of use of shopping and checking out on a mobile device. Most of the products on our lineup earned high scores for this ease-of-use test.
We also considered services that integrate with online stores, like Amazon or eBay, and that can translate your store into languages other than English.
In our review, we also considered the helpfulness of the support available from each company. The support score we created considers the offerings of 24/7 support, live chat, an online support center, being welcomed and contacted by a real person, and other factors.
We looked for services with fraud detection to help protect you and your customers. We also considered a built-in POS system and available email accounts in association with your website when we ranked the services in our review.
Verdict & Recommendation
eCommerce software can help your business flourish in this age of technology. Finding the best one for your business is paramount to your success. All of the companies in our review provide excellent features and service. The top three products, 3dcart, Shopify and Volusion, offer excellent features and high ease-of-use scores. If budget is an issue for your company, 3dcart and Volusion are both priced competitively. Shopify, GoDaddy and BigCommerce have no limits on storage, bandwidth and products, so if you have a lot of products or a lot of customer traffic, these may be good choices for you.