Johannah Cole

Any suggestions for hosting a straightforward e-commerce site?

Shopping cart, blog and a couple of contact us/about us type of pages. Current shortlist is Shopify and Big Commerce for e-commerce websites.

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5 Answers

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

My two cents is I'm preparing to move to Shopify after a lot of consideration. It just has some really slick integrations and the interface is very pleasant. It is a bit more costly than my current solution, SnipCart. Prior to looking at SnipCart I was eyeing Shoprocket. It is a great product, but didn't suit my specific needs as well as I'd have liked.

There is also Celery, which seems pretty straightforward, but I haven't used it personally. Just keep in mind there are plenty of great platforms out there, but you need to use the one that ultimately fits your needs.

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David Debono

David Debono , Managing Director at Circle Business Consulting

Hello Johannah,Another big player in the hosted e-Commerce space is Volusion. But recent experience with Shopify suggests that they are slightly better than Volusion, as some coding experience is required with Volusion. There are some tradeoffs though, namely around transaction fees per purchase before you hit a certain threshold, but if you are just starting out it shouldn't be cost prohibitive, as the only costs are monthly fee + transaction costs.The other limitation of hosted eCommerce sites is that you don't technically own the site, just leasing it, ie if you want to move the site over to another hosting provider you cant, because the software is hosted, supported and maintained by the vendor, which is a big limitation if you have big goals for the website. If it's just a simple site for a proof of concept, then hosted solutions (shopify, volusion, bigcommerce etc) are just fine, because they will provide you everything you need in the short to medium term without breaking the bank. If you do want complete control over the site, you might want to have a look at WooCommerce Shopfront built on WordPress. You will need a developer to set it up for you and there will be upfront development costs, along with ongoing hosting fees (Australian based VPS recommended) however, you have full control over the site and can get virtually any web developer to support the site for you. The other benefit of the ShopFront solution, is that the platform is built on WordPress and the WooCommerce shopping cart functionality is tightly packed with WordPress, which cuts down on the amount of ongoing maintenance you will need, as the number of third party plugins are required are kept to a minimum.There are plenty of options to consider, ultimately what it comes down to is budget and how hands on you want to be.All the best. DavidCircleBC | Websites | Cloud | Telecommunications

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Dave Williams

Dave Williams , Sales & Business Consulting & Separate Online Retail Store at Asia Pacific Sales Management

Hi Johannah,

There are a couple of great free platforms that I have used. Opencart.com and SEO Toaster. Both are very simple and effective, and offer loads of free templates. I personally prefer these to Big Commerce (not as intuitive as what it could be), and I haven't used Shopify.

My preference for ease of shopping cart configuration is opencart though.

My business website is on SEO Toaster www.asiapacificsalesmanagement.com but with the shopping cart turned off.

Good luck!

Dave

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Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray , Managing Owner at MyCL (My Computer Lab)

If you have under 10 items, ecwid is free for the shopping cart side.

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Terry Chadban

Hi Johannah,Definitely have a look at using Wordpress and WooCommerce for your site as well, that is the combination that we recommend to most of our ecommerce clients. The biggest reason is that you own the website and contents, not Shopify, Volusion or Etsy. Good luck with the business, though.Terry

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