eCommerce software, or shopping cart software, is the system on a website that creates a functioning online store. There are several types of eCommerce software, including full website platforms that let you build a complete online store of your own, and transaction fee-based marketplaces that allow you to list items among other sellers to be seen by a large audience.
The best eCommerce software is built to provide you with everything you need for success, including the ability to define your brand and stand out from competition, eCommerce automation tools to help manage customers and inventory, and more. Marketing features are also extremely important, such as scheduled email newsletters which have been shown to be among the best marketing automation for eCommerce.
Many eCommerce platforms charge transaction fees on each of your sales, often in addition to a monthly fee for use of the platform or for the increased selling capability of an advanced seller account. Whether you decide to sell on a large marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, or opt for another transaction fee-based eCommerce platform, you're going to sacrifice some of your profits. Plus, while large marketplaces have their advantages like huge numbers of customers and a great chance for exposure, it's also impossible to build a memorable brand among so much competition. You also need to follow marketplace policies rather than doing business the way that works best for you.
Of course, this doesn't mean you can't thrive on a large marketplace, but they're best used as an additional sales channel alongside your own fully-branded online store website. And some transaction fee-based providers don't even have the advantages of these large marketplaces, essentially costing you more money for no benefit.
Shift4Shop is committed to our merchants’ success, which is why we don’t penalize store owners for having a successful business. Many ecommerce providers charge a transaction fee on every sale, sometimes up to 7%! With this type of fee structure, most successful stores have monthly bills in excess of $1,000.00, but are hesitant to switch shopping carts in fear that their search engine rankings and sales will suffer, or that it will be too difficult to do so.
A shopping cart allows visitors to make purchases. It provides a way to create a temporary list of items via an "add to cart" function, and then to complete the purchase of the items through a virtual checkout in which the customer enters their payment and shipping information. Payment is collected through a connected payment processor and the order is sent to the online store owner for fulfillment.
Product pages provide a unique website page for every product on an eCommerce website. Product pages include photos of the product, information, pricing, and a button for adding the product to the shopping cart. Some eCommerce software allows additional content on product pages such as product reviews and a products Q&A section.
Ease of use refers to how easy the eCommerce software is to use and understand. Ease of use affects the level of difficulty an online store owner will face when they perform various tasks with the software, such as adding products, managing orders, and customizing their website. Difficult software often results in additional expenses such as hiring developers or training employees.
The learning curve represents how easy it is to learn how to use the software effectively. A minimal learning curve means the software is friendly to beginners. A steep learning curve means a new user may find themselves lost and struggle to understand how to accomplish what they want to do with the software.
Responsive design refers to a website that is designed to be friendly to all mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, and work equally well on all of these systems. "Responsive" in this context means a website "responds" to a device by adapting its design to fit the screen. Responsive websites are ranked higher by search engines because today's internet users prefer to visit responsive sites.
Data export provides a quick way of creating a spreadsheet or CSV file that lists a large amount of the online store's data in an organized manner. Exports can include customer information lists, product information lists, order lists, and more. Data export is often needed for backing up information, for accounting purposes, and for import into a new or rebuilt version of the online store.
This is how much the eCommerce software costs. Price can include setup fees, initial licensing fees, and other beginning fees, but not your initial hosting fee or similar fees. Your own startup costs may vary if you decide to hire a developer to perform any setup for you. Some eCommerce software have multiple plans available, while others are free to use.
These are the costs an eCommerce merchant will need to continue to pay in order to use the eCommerce software. These costs can take the form of monthly or annual fees for the software itself or other components needed for the software to run, like web hosting. Costs for upgrades and support are also included in ongoing costs.
This is the approximate count of currently live websites using this platform. An eCommerce platform's popularity can be influenced by ease of use, low costs, ease of obtaining the software, relation to another popular platform, or effectiveness of its marketing and should not be assumed to represent the overall quality of the software for running an online store.
Shift4Shop is an all-inclusive hosted eCommerce solution that includes everything you need to build and run a successful online store of your very own. Build and promote your unique brand without your products being mixed into a large marketplace or subjected to listing fees and transaction fees. Define your own store policies rather than letting a large marketplace choose them for you, and sell products without arbitrary restrictions. You can still connect to popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to achieve the best of both worlds, and manage all your inventory and sales from your Shift4Shop dashboard. Shift4Shop includes advanced PCI-compliant security, 24/7/365 free support, powerful marketing and SEO tools, and robust order management and reporting.
Shift4Shop offers a free, unlimited and fully scalable plan that will let you unlock the potential of your business.
Amazon is the largest online marketplace in the world and is the first choice of millions of customers when they want to purchase products from a trustworthy source. Selling on Amazon is a great way to get exposure for your brand — however, it's not easy. As a third-party seller, your products will be listed together with other merchants selling the same product, and competition can be fierce. You're also forced to operate under Amazon's strict return and customer service policies. Plus, there are fees attached to every Amazon sale: whether you use a Professional Seller Account for $39.99/mo. or an Individual Seller Account with no monthly fee, you'll still lose a bit of profits from every item sold. To be truly competitive, you may need to use Fulfillment by Amazon so you can offer Prime shipping. Amazon offers only a minimal chance to build your brand, so you'll benefit greatly from the opportunities presented by having your own website with Shift4Shop alongside your Amazon sales.
eBay has made a name for itself as the biggest auction website and the go-to marketplace for buyers looking for low prices. You can list items for auction or for set-price sales, build an eBay Store with limited branding, and reach millions of potential customers. However, eBay's fee structure is extremely complex and you're going to lose money on every sale — especially since customers visit eBay with rock-bottom prices in mind. You'll also need to abide by eBay's customer service policies even if they're not the best for your business. If you want to be successful selling online, you should take advantage of the brand-building and customer retention offered by a Shift4Shop website. In fact, you can run a great eBay Store directly from your Shift4Shop dashboard and get all the advantages of both platforms while ensuring the future of your business.
Etsy is a marketplace geared toward handmade products including crafts (whether decorative or practical), art pieces including photography, craft supplies, and vintage items at least 20 years old. The seller must be involved in the making of the product if it is listed as handmade. While Etsy began as a great venue for beginning artists to get their start, it's become oversaturated and harder than ever for a seller to make profits. Listing fees, transaction fees, and Etsy Store fees cut into how much you can make, and you're forced to use Etsy Payments which charges yet another fee. Your products are mixed with others from different sellers and your own Etsy store offers only minimal customization, making it difficult to build your brand. And due to Etsy's Fee Avoidance Policy, even attempting to inform customers about your outside online store can result in your account being suspended if any of your Etsy products are available on your own website. If you do run into problems, you'll have a hard time getting help as Etsy's customer service has declined sharply since the company went public and began focusing on investors instead of sellers.
While Shopify is one of the most popular online store platforms today, it's not the best solution for a growing business. Transaction fees will hold you back, and Shopify is known for keeping many of the most important eCommerce features locked behind paid apps. Between your monthly plan and app charges, you'll end up paying over three times the cost of Shift4Shop to get a similar feature set. Other important tools are restricted to higher-tier plans, but even after upgrading you'll still need to pay for the same apps. Shopify also has a limited selection of free themes, making it harder for a new business to brand their store, and the themes are written in a proprietary language called Liquid so customization is a task to learn.
Squarespace is a popular website builder with a set of eCommerce features called Squarespace Commerce included with their Business plan and up (legacy Personal plans can still access some of them but they're not available in new Personal plans). While Squarespace may be great for a personal or portfolio website, its eCommerce features are severely lacking. The simple fact is that Squarespace is not focused on eCommerce and the limitations of its online store features show evidence of being implemented as an afterthought. Payment processors and shipping options are both severely limited and there are very few built-in integrations. Squarespace users have also reported numerous glitches and bad customer support. The $26/mo. Business plan imposes a 3% transaction fee, and while higher-tier plans eliminate this, the included features don't measure up to the pricing.
Web giant Yahoo! offers a basic eCommerce platform called Yahoo! Stores that many beginning sellers use due to brand recognition and relative ease of setup. However, Yahoo! Stores don't have the staying power to support a growing business, and entrepreneurs often find themselves needing to move to another platform to continue to scale up. Transaction fees hinder profits, and Yahoo! Stores lack many important eCommerce features such as coupon creation, blogging, and real-time shipping calculation for carriers other than UPS. Payment methods are also quite limited, cutting down on your options for winning customers. Some vital eCommerce features require purchase of apps for your store, which adds an additional expense. Like many long-time web companies who branch out into eCommerce, Yahoo! is not sufficiently focused to provide the online store solution a growing business needs.
Every facet of Shift4Shop's platform is built to give you an edge, including our complete set of free marketing tools. You'll have access to features that let you implement all the marketing strategies the pros use, like special promotional events, coupons and gift cards, an affiliate program, a loyalty program with reward points, and more. Reach customers with the proven method of timed, optimized emails to build relationships and improve satisfaction.
Expand your audience further with Shift4Shop's advanced SEO tools, built right into the platform to make the technical aspects simple. Our social media integration lets you sell on Facebook, get pinned on Pinterest, and encourage customers to share your products with others.
At Shift4Shop, we can confidently say we offer a more complete set of marketing and SEO tools out of the box than any other platform, and they're built to help you make your mark.
It's not easy to convert a visitor into a shopper, especially today. Internet users only give a website about 5 seconds to make an impression on them before they decide to leave and look somewhere else.
But with Shift4Shop, you have a selection of attractive and compelling responsive themes that let you create a website built to convert — no programming necessary. No matter what "look" your brand requires, you'll find it in Shift4Shop's vast theme selection: just pick a design that works for your products and industry, and off you go.
Need further customizations to make your brand really shine? You'll have full access to the HTML and CSS used in your online store's design, giving you complete creative control over every pixel on every page. Make changes directly in your browser or do it through FTP, and enjoy absolute freedom of design.
Go a step further and add great features like a gorgeous Homepage Carousel, Recently Viewed Items, Quick View for products, and the Single Page Checkout that online shoppers love. Plus much, much more.
Shift4Shop's in-depth reporting features allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you can learn what to improve, and what works best.
Access detailed reports generated from the data automatically gathered and compiled by the Shift4Shop platform. In your Online Store Manager, you'll find reports relating to:
As a Shift4Shop store owner, you’ll always have the data you need to understand where your business is thriving, and learn what you can do better.
Shift4Shop makes store and product management easy with our intuitive web-based Online Store Manager. Log in from anywhere to create, edit, and manage your products however is needed, and organize them in as many categories as the situation requires.
You'll be equipped with a robust selection of features and tools built to make selling online easy — and fun, too. Upsell and cross-sell to boost sales, implement waiting lists for new products, let customers create shareable wish lists, and encourage interaction with product reviews and Q&As. Sell physical products, digital downloads, or both.
Build attention-grabbing product pages with multiple images, dynamic zoom, and video. Selling products with lots of variants like color or size? Include them all with Shift4Shop's unlimited Product Options feature!
At Shift4Shop, we're always watching out for the next vital eCommerce feature so we can make it available to you right in your Online Store Manager.
Dealing with customer orders is easy with Shift4Shop. Quickly process, print, edit, and update customer orders from your easy-to-use Online Store Manager. Print shipping labels, process returns, take phone orders, and create customer groups for customized pricing levels.
Want to expand via dropshipping and reach the next level? Shift4Shop's built-in dropshipping feature makes setup easy. Smooth your operations out further by using our QuickBooks integration, which lets you instantly and automatically synchronize all your Shift4Shop orders and inventory with QuickBooks desktop.
From the smallest startup to the largest enterprise, Shift4Shop's order management system is designed to help you grow and hit all your targets. Built-in advanced reporting keeps you apprised of successful strategies, while other powerful tools like FraudWatch and eBay and Amazon Order Integration keep your online store on the cutting edge.
As a Shift4Shop store owner, you'll have access to a complete set of shipping features to help you get orders out the door without difficulty.
Connect your store to major shipping carriers through Shift4Shop's powerful integrations. Keep customers informed of shipping costs with real-time rates from carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL and Canada Post, for no extra charge.
If flat-rate shipping is right for your business, you can set it up quickly with Shift4Shop. Offer rates based on order weight, item quantity, ZIP code, or total order value. Shift4Shop makes it easy to customize your shipping for your exact business needs.