The Best eCommerce Platforms For Your Small Business

Selecting the best ecommerce platform for building your online store can be tough. I find it helpful to keep in mind that shopping for this type of software is similar to shopping for any other product (you just happen to be shopping for shopping cart software, which I’ll grant is slightly strange). You ultimately need your ecommerce software to do two primary things: to serve your particular online selling needs, and to accomplish this for an affordable price.

If you’ve heard of any ecommerce software up to this point, you’ve probably heard of a platform called Shopify. Shopify often receives top billing in this category, and with good reason. Still, it’s by no means the perfect solution for everyone. Along with Shopify, we’ve compiled a few other great options worth considering in your search for an online home for your store.

Shopify BigCommerce 3dcart Ecwid Wix

3dcart

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Monthly Cost

$9 – $299

$29.95 – $249.95

$19 – $229

Free – $99

$25 – $40

Core Features

Great

Excellent

Excellent

Good

Good

App Store

Very Large

Large

Moderate

Moderate

Small/Moderate

Ease Of Use

Very Easy

Easy

Moderate

Very Easy

Easy

Web Design

Great

Good

Good

OK

Excellent

Customer Support

Great

Great

Good

Good

Good

From a bird’s-eye view, our main reasons for recommending these platforms are user-friendliness, a solid feature set, and an accessible price. Notice that they’re also all SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms, meaning you are not responsible for downloading, installing, and hosting the shopping cart on your own server. Instead, you subscribe to the service (most often for a monthly fee), and all the hosting and software updates that underpin your online store are automatically handled for you. Easy! eCommerce software has been trending in this direction over the past several years, and the available SaaS options have only become more robust and customizable over time.

What To Look For In An Ecommerce Platform

Before we discuss the individual recommendations further, here’s a quick overview of the key factors we consider when evaluating ecommerce software:

  • Pricing: How does the monthly subscription system work (what factors determine the different pricing levels), and what are the options/costs associated with accepting payments from shoppers?
  • Features & Add-ons: How strong is the core feature set of the software, and how well can these features be expanded upon using the platform’s associated app marketplace?
  • Ease Of Use: How steep is the learning curve for ecommerce beginners (particularly those without any coding experience)? What is the balance between user-friendliness and the capability of the platform to accomplish both basic and advanced tasks?
  • Web Design: How attractive, modern, and functional are the available theme templates for designing storefronts? What customization options are available, and how robust/flexible are these tools?
  • Customer Support: What is the availability and quality of email, live chat, and phone support for the software, along with any other self-help resources provided by the company and user community?

And, of course…

  • User Reviews: What are real store owners (like you!) saying about the software, both good and bad?

That’s our basic guideline. Now, we’ll take a closer look at each platform, highlighting the main benefits and drawbacks of each one, along with the types of online sellers we think the software typically suits best. We’d definitely recommend reading our full review of each platform before making your final choice. We’ve also posted one-on-one comparisons for several of the platforms if you’d like to check out those in-depth articles as well.

1. Shopify

As mentioned, Shopify is our most commonly recommended ecommerce platform. The combination of strong core features, an exhaustive app marketplace, and high ease-of-use put Shopify at or near the top of most SaaS ecommerce platform rankings.

Pricing

There are technically five Shopify plans, but the three subscription levels in the middle are considered the standard options for most SMB owners needing an online store. The price jumps between the three middle plans are based primarily on additional features and the ability to set up more staff accounts. Here are all five levels:

  • Shopify Lite: $9/mo. Embeddable cart, but no standalone store website.
  • Basic Shopify: $29/mo.
  • Shopify: $79/mo.
  • Advanced Shopify: 299/mo.
  • Shopify Plus: Custom pricing. Reserved for enterprise-level customers.

When it comes to accepting payment from your customers, you should note that this is the only platform on our list that charges an extra commission per sale. This goes above and beyond the normal processing fees you’ll need to pay to your credit card processor. Shopify’s commission decreases incrementally as you climb the subscription ladder: 2% on Basic, 1% on Shopify, 0.5% on Advanced.

You can avoid these extra Shopify transaction fees if you sign up for the in-house payment processor — Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) — but this gateway is only available in 10 countries. In addition to eliminating the extra transaction fee, Shopify struck a deal with Stripe to offer lower payment processing fees with Shopify Payments than if you were to use Stripe (or a similar processor) by itself. These discounts apply to your processing if you’re on the Shopify Plan or the Advanced Shopify Plan.

Shopify does provide over 100 alternative gateway options. You’ll just be saddled with that extra percentage Shopify charges per sale when you stray from Shopify Payments.

Features & Add-Ons

Shopify is defined by a quality core feature set that works well for a wide variety of sellers. Moreover, Shopify has a very large app marketplace (of around 2500 apps) that will provide virtually any additional feature you might need. If there is one disadvantage to this system, it is that these integrations can add to your monthly operating costs. Meanwhile, merchants appreciate how many of Shopify’s third-party apps are fully-fledged software platforms that are commonly used to support ecommerce, rather than just simple extensions that add a small feature or two (the app store does have those as well, though!)

Here are a few Shopify features we like:

  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Built-in shipping software (Shopify Shipping)
  • Real-time shipping calculations
  • Manual order creation (virtual terminal)
  • Automatic tax calculation
  • Shopify POS & other POS integrations
  • Extensive order fulfillment & dropshipping integrations
  • Coupons, discounts & gift cards

Ease Of Use

Shopify has one of the easiest learning curves in the ecommerce software market. Simplicity is the name of the game for Shopify — it’s clear they’d rather offer the ability to expand the platform’s capability with optional add-ons than to overwhelm the newbie with a complicated dashboard or intricate customization options from the get-go.

The Shopify dashboard is clear and well-organized, and any built-in feature can be manipulated easily with zero coding knowledge.

Web Design

Shopify offers 10 free themes (made by Shopify), as well as 67 paid themes (made by third-parties) that range in price from $140-$180. Technically, the total theme count is a bit higher, because each theme has multiple style variations that swap out colors and whatnot. Shopify themes are some of the more elegant and functional options we’ve seen. As a nice bonus, the theme marketplace can be searched by desired theme features.

While the Shopify theme editor may not be as flexible as that of a top-notch website builder (like Wix), the drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to stack and rearrange page elements, called “Sections.” (Perhaps don’t go quite as far as I did with awkward colors and fonts — just showing you what can be changed):

Beyond the theme editor, you also have the opportunity for more customization with a combination of HTML, CSS, and Shopify’s own theme templating language (called Liquid). Most novices won’t open that coding can of worms straight away, but it’s good to know it’s there.

Customer Support

Shopify offers 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support at all subscription levels. Although no customer support system is perfect, we’ve found Shopify’s responses helpful and timely in the grand scheme. On top of this, the strong community of users and developers currently working with Shopify makes finding resources, reviews, and feedback a breeze. The library of self-help articles, tutorials, courses, and videos produced by Shopify is also impressive.

Who Is Shopify Best For?

If this were a little kids’ recreational sports league, Shopify would receive the “Most Well-Rounded Player” award, if not the full MVP as well. Shopify is suited to the widest variety of store types and sizes. When Shopify works for merchants, it works really well. Store owners who benefit the most from Shopify will most likely be based in one of the 10 countries in which Shopify Payments is available, because that’s the only way Shopify’s extra commission per sale is avoided. However, the quality of Shopify’s platform is strong enough overall that many merchants are willing to accept those extra transaction fees, even if they can’t (or won’t) use Shopify Payments.

Of course, we can’t mention Shopify without also mentioning one type of merchant in particular: dropshippers. Shopify is definitely the dropshipper’s go-to platform.

2. BigCommerce

If you asked most experts at large, they’d probably tell you that BigCommerce is Shopify’s most direct ecommerce SaaS competitor. BigCommerce also has an enterprise solution (BigCommerce Enterprise) that’s comparable with Shopify Plus.

Pricing

Subscription levels with BigCommerce are organized by added features at each level, but also annual revenue caps. This means you’re automatically bumped to a higher subscription once you reach a cap. Here are the plans and their associated sales limits:

  • Standard: $29.95/month (sell up to $50K/yr.)
  • Plus: $79.95/month (sell up to $150K/yr.)
  • Pro: $249.95/month (sell up to $400K/yr.)
    • add $150/mo. for every additional $200K/yr. in sales, up to $3M
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce never charges an additional commission per sale. For payment processing gateways, you have about 60 options. One of these is Braintree (a division of PayPal), which gives access to discounted processing rates as you move up the BigCommerce subscription ladder.

Features & Add-Ons

BigCommerce has a particularly strong set of native features, while also maintaining a sizable app marketplace for optional add-ons (ballpark 600 in total). The balance of out-of-the-box features versus add-on apps leans more toward the former, especially when compared to Shopify. Offered features include:

  • Faceted (filtered) search
  • Single-page checkout
  • Customer groups & segmentation
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Real-time shipping calculations
  • Product ratings & reviews
  • Up to 600 product options/variants
  • Coupons, discounts, & gift certificates
  • Square POS integration

Ease Of Use

Some may argue that the balance toward more features included from the get-go can make BigCommerce harder to use at first. Personally, I wouldn’t let fears about user-friendliness stop a beginner from using this software. Extensive out-of-the-box features don’t complicate BigCommerce dashboard beyond reason, and the included features are intuitively configurable without any coding knowledge.

Web Design

BigCommerce offers around 125 themes, along with close to 500 total variations (or “styles”) of those themes. Seven of these themes (25 styles) are free; the rest are available for $145–$235. Quality of design is always subjective, but BigCommerce definitely has a wide variety of elegant templates from which to choose.

It’s a good thing this variety and quality of templates pre-exists, because customization options without coding knowledge or adding a separate integration are somewhat limited with BigCommerce. The theme editor lacks a drag-and-drop element, and you’ll be stuck with the theme’s fonts and colors for the most part.

Customer Support

Like Shopify, BigCommerce offers 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support at all plan levels. We’ve had mixed experiences with BigCommerce’s support, but find that more users praise the service than knock it. You can definitely make the argument (and we have) that BigCommerce support is just as good or better than Shopify’s. There are also active community forums and plenty of BigCommerce-produced support materials available online.

Who Is BigCommerce Best For?

The target market for BigCommerce overlaps significantly with Shopify’s. Much of your decision will come down to the appeal and specific fit-to-business of the extra features that come built-in with BigCommerce at your targeted subscription level. For example, I think B2B and wholesale merchants would do well to take close look at BigCommerce’s feature set. Support for more product variants or discount types will be interesting to other sellers. If you’re confident you’ll actually use most of the native features BigCommerce offers, you could definitely end up saving money and headaches. You’ll just need to be prepared for the automatic subscription bumps as your revenue grows.

Perhaps the most obvious appeal for BigCommerce is the freedom to choose your payment processor with no penalty of an extra transaction fee. That extra cut Shopify takes from your sales feels especially unfair if you’re not even based in one of the 10 countries where Shopify Payments is supported.

By the same token, maybe you already have a merchant account and/or payment processor that you like, or are looking for a specialized payment processor for your particular sales volume and/or risk profile. We often recommend merchants processing over around $100K per year look into credit card processors that offer your own dedicated merchant account with interchange-plus pricing. These accounts can provide more transparency and account stability (and often cost savings) than a standard flat-rate processor like Shopify Payments, PayPal or Square. With BigCommerce, your payment acceptance options are quite open.

3. 3dcart

3dcart

This platform has been around longer than any other on our list, and I’d actually heard of it before I’d even heard of Shopify. Over the years, 3dcart has developed a substantial and nuanced core feature set and continues to add and improve features at a steady clip. The software’s low monthly cost, extensive features, and plentiful payment gateway options make it worth a look when opening an online store.

Pricing

Subscription packages with 3dcart are delineated mainly by annual online revenue, number of staff accounts, and available features. You can sell up to 100 products on the Startup plan, while the other plans allow you to list unlimited items.

  • Startup: $19/month (sell up to $50K/yr.)
  • Basic: $29/month (sell up to $100K/yr.)
  • Plus: $79/month (sell up to $200K/yr.)
  • Pro: $229/month (sell up to $400K/yr.)
  • Enterprise: Custom

3dcart comes in at a lower starting price than BigCommerce or Shopify (if you exclude the Shopify Lite plan that doesn’t let you build a standalone store website). At the same time, the $29 plan level with 3dcart accommodates twice the annual store revenue of the $29.95 plan on BigCommerce.

On top of this, 3dcart never charges its own fee per sale, regardless which of the over 160 compatible payment gateways you select. For US merchants, there also are several “preferred” processor options (e.g., Square, Stripe, PayPal, and FattMerchant) that may give you access to discounted processing rates at the Plus and Pro subscription level.

Features & Add-Ons

3dcart prides itself on a rich supply of native, built-in features. We can vouch that the feature set is robust, especially for the price. And, while it’s true that 3dcart has managed to avoid some of the excessive “app creep” from which Shopify suffers, you can still connect with lots of useful third-party software via the app store.

We’ve mentioned that packed-in features can result in sacrificed user-friendliness. 3dcart keeps some of its complexity at bay by offering advanced features and modules that can simply be turned on and off depending on whether you need them.

Here are just a few of 3dcart’s noteworthy features:

  • Unlimited product options/variants
  • Single-page checkout
  • Robust discount/coupon engine
  • Real-time shipping calculations
  • Create/print shipping labels in-dashboard
  • Gift certificates on all plans
  • Wish lists & gift registries
  • Customer reviews & product Q&A
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Waiting list & pre-orders

Ease Of Use

When it comes to actually working with all of 3dcart’s plentiful features, we’re still looking at a user-friendly platform overall. You should just be aware that the learning curve you encounter may be slightly steeper than it is for Shopify (and perhaps BigCommerce as well) depending on your experience.

Like many worthwhile endeavors, 3dcart simply requires you put in a bit more effort in order to get more out of it in the end. The menus go a little deeper, the dashboard screens are more complex, and some advanced functions can be a little tricky to locate and use at first. Still, the basic setup and navigation are comparable to the ecommerce platforms we’ve discussed so far. You won’t need coding knowledge to operate your store.

Web Design

3dcart recently streamlined its entire theme marketplace, resulting in less quantity and more quality. The revamp brought 3dcart into better stylistic alignment with the ecommerce competitors we’ve discussed so far, but we’re still missing a bit of variety and uniqueness amongst the remaining options.

Of the 45 total themes available, about half are free, and more than half were created by 3dcart. Premium themes range from $149-$249.

With 3dcart, you get a very basic theme editor to change out photos and font colors, but you can’t rearrange any page elements:

Beyond these simple changes, you must use HTML and CSS inside the template editor:

Customer Support

Another key reason 3dcart makes our “best” list is the availability of 24/7 phone, live chat, email support. The only subscription that doesn’t offer phone support is the $19/month plan, but you still have the ability to talk to someone in real time with live chat. Support quality and responsiveness receive mixed reviews, but this is typical of all the software apps on our list. No ecommerce solution has cracked the code for keeping 100% of customers satisfied, but we’ll let you know if any of them do!

You’ll also have access to plenty of online resources produced by 3dcart, as well as an active community forum. Just note that while the knowledgebase articles are helpful, they’re sometimes low on screenshots and high on text.

Who Is 3dcart Best For?

We think 3dcart is a solid option for small-to-midsize businesses owners on a budget who still appreciate lots of built-in features. If you’ve experimented with Shopify or BigCommerce and felt a little boxed in when it came to flexibility and customization, and as long as you’re not intimidated by a relatively detail-oriented system, 3dcart opens up options for you. Or, if you’re skeptical of jumping on the Shopify bandwagon just because “everybody’s doing it,” and you balk at feeling hemmed into Shopify Payments lest you pay a penalty, 3dcart may be just the alternative you seek. Not to mention, we appreciate your Maverick spirit!

3dcart has a tried-and-true and even somewhat old school vibe, but without feeling clunky or inflexible. It has managed to stick around amongst an onslaught of newer competitors by quietly improving the quantity and quality of its core offerings over time. Meanwhile, you can still add on plenty of extra features via the app market, or do a bit of template tinkering on your own with basic coding knowledge.

4. Ecwid

Ecwid diverges the most from the software options we’ve discussed so far. At its core, Ecwid is an ecommerce shopping cart plugin (or “widget,” as the name implies) you can embed into an existing website. In this way, Ecwid is similar to WordPress’ WooCommerce, except you can add Ecwid to any website, not just WordPress sites. Ecwid also allows you to create a very basic standalone website and sell up to 10 products — for free! The company claims over 1.5 million users, which is significantly more than Shopify’s 600,ooo. The availability of a free plan likely has a lot to do with that!

Pricing

Subscription levels are organized by several aspects: available features, number of listed products, file storage, customer service access, and number of staff accounts. We’ve described the details of each level in our main Ecwid review, but here’s a quick summary:

  • Free: $0/mo. (10 Products)
  • Venture: $15/mo. (100 Products)
  • Business: $35/mo. (2500 Products)
  • Unlimited: $99/mo. (Unlimited products)

Happily, Ecwid does not charge an additional commission per sale. Along with offering around 50 payment gateway options for your store, Ecwid also has a special partnership with a payments provider called WePay. Together, they created Ecwid Payments, which offers discounted payment processing rates for merchants in the US, UK, and Canada. And, if you accept ACH or direct bank payments at your store (which is cheaper than accepting credit cards), you also qualify for discounted rates on those transactions with Ecwid Payments.

Features & Add-Ons

With Ecwid’s freemium pricing model, you can expect several new features unlocked at each subscription level. The free plan will definitely get you started with a small online store, but we don’t see most serious sellers staying on this plan for long. Fairly basic features such as inventory management, discounts, SEO tools, and access to the Ecwid app store require a paid plan. The Ecwid app store is on the smaller side, but you’ll still find several ecommerce staples in the shipping, tax, and accounting categories. And, don’t forget that if you’re embedding the Ecwid shop widget into another website, you’ll have access to that sitebuilder’s integrations as well.

Noteworthy Ecwid features include:

  • Create & edit orders
  • Several POS integration options, including mobile POS
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Branded shopping app for your store
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Wholesale pricing groups
  • Mobile store management app

Ease Of Use

Intuitive dashboard navigation and foolproof feature manipulation make Ecwid an extremely user-friendly platform. Ecwid’s ease of use closely rivals Shopify’s. The Ecwid backend was clearly designed with the ecommerce beginner in mind.

Web Design

Remember that Ecwid’s main purpose is to act as a shopping cart plugin for an existing website that already has an established look and feel. That said, Ecwid does provide one theme template for a standalone online store. Here’s my in-progress edit of the starter template:

There aren’t a lot of customizations you can make to this starter website besides adding your own main image, your store name, and your 10 products. If your store is embedded into an existing website, you can purchase a third-party theme that helps your shop tie in with the rest of the site. Basically, unless you’re using the Ecwid Starter Site, web design for your storefront is largely dependent upon whatever existing sitebuilder you’re using.

Customer Support

Availability of customer support with Ecwid depends on which plan you have:

  • Free: Email only
  • Venture: Email & live chat
  • Business: Email, live chat, & phone; 2 hours of custom development (annual plan)
  • Unlimited: Email, live chat, & priority phone support; 12 hours of custom development (annual plan)

Also, note that email and live chat are not open on the weekends, and phone support is on a callback system. Despite these limitations, most users rate the actual quality of Ecwid’s support quite highly. Knowledgebase articles and video tutorials are also good quality.

Who Is Ecwid Best For?

Generally, we think Ecwid is a great option for small-to-midsize sellers. We highly recommend Ecwid for newcomers to online selling — particularly those with an established online presence who simply need to add a store component. If you love the platform your current website is built upon, and you’re already nailing your brand’s image and following, there may be no need to rush off and migrate to an all-in-one “website + ecommerce” system like the ones we’ve covered so far.

If you don’t have a website but would like to dabble in selling a few products online, you could also get an Ecwid starter site going for free while you develop a full-blown website on the side. It’s hard to argue with free! If you’re really on a shoestring budget or you’re just starting out with ecommerce, I’d encourage you to compare Ecwid’s free plan to Shopify Lite (at $9/mo.) to see which system might work best for your needs.

5. Wix

So, Ecwid built an ecommerce shopping cart widget that goes inside other website builders, but Wix is a website builder that actually built its own ecommerce widget (called Wix Stores) to go inside itself. I know, it’s a bit confusing! The point is that Wix began as a traditional sitebuilder, but now has ecommerce capability built in as well. Combining new ecommerce tools with its existing popularity in the no-coding-required-website-design niche, Wix presents quite an attractive (both figuratively and literally) option for online sellers.

Pricing

You may have heard that Wix lets you create a website for free. While this is true, you need a paid plan to use Wix’s ecommerce features. Below are your ecommerce subscription options, defined by file storage, customer support, and whether or not email marketing campaigns are included:

  • Business Basic: $25/month (20GB storage)
  • Business Unlimited: $30/month (35GB storage)
  • Business VIP: $40/month (50GB storage)

We’ve listed the true month-to-month price here, even though Wix advertises its monthly price if you pay for a full year. This drops the prices to $20, $30, and $35, respectively. All of the other platforms we’ve highlighted also offer discounts when paying annually — Wix just leads with these discounted figures in its advertising.

Regardless of which payment processor you choose (there are currently close to 20 options), Wix never charges an extra commission per sale.

Features & Add-Ons

If you choose to build an ecommerce website with Wix from scratch, the core of your site will be built upon the Wix Stores app. If, however, you already have a different type of Wix website (e.g., restaurant, hotel, photography site, etc.) and want to add an online shop, you simply switch to a Business subscription plan and add the Wix Stores app to your dashboard.

Wix is still working on adding some features that are becoming more standard amongst ecommerce platforms (like abandoned cart recovery), but we like a lot of what it has on offer so far:

  • Email marketing
  • Integrate with Square POS
  • Mobile app for store management
  • Send & manage invoices
  • Checkout on your own domain
  • SEO Tools
  • Create discounts & coupons
  • Inventory & order management
  • Library of stock photos for your site

The Wix app marketplace includes hundreds of apps, but not all are ecommerce-specific. You may also notice limited pre-built connections to third-party integrations (shipping and accounting software, for example). These sorts of apps become more indispensable as a store grows, but are not as critical for a store that manages fewer products and orders.

Ease Of Use

Wix Stores integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Wix dashboard. eCommerce features and settings are simply added to the left sidebar menu, like in any other ecommerce platform. Further dashboards open as you explore each individual feature (like adding a product or creating a coupon). Wix is defined in the DIY web design market by its ease-of-use, and this extends to its ecommerce functionality as well.

Web Design

There are actually two ways to design an ecommerce storefront in Wix. The first begins in a familiar fashion — selecting a template.

Wix offers over 500 templates to choose from, with over 70 of these already built upon the Wix Stores app (although you can easily add the app to any template). A nice perk of Wix’s template system is that all are included free with a Business subscription to Wix. The only tricky part is that you can’t switch templates once get your store up and running!

Wix provides the most flexible no-coding-required theme editor of any ecommerce platform we’ve covered here. Rather than simply dragging and dropping elements up and down your pages, you can adjust and place page elements virtually anywhere.

The second (and even easier) method of creating an ecommerce website with Wix is via Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). If you choose this option, you’ll be asked a series of detailed questions about your business, and Wix will use this information to draft a storefront for you.

Sites created with Wix ADI also have a theme editor available, but this editor’s flexibility is more limited than the standard WIX editor. Nevertheless, it’s comparable to Shopify’s drag-and-drop editor. You can stack and arrange elements up and down your pages.

If you decide you’d like to micromanage your design a bit more after creating your Wix ADI site, you’re welcome to switch over to the more advanced theme editor. You just can’t switch back to Wix ADI without losing your changes.

Customer Support

Here’s a quick rundown of Wix’s customer support channels:

  • Phone: Callback service open Monday-Friday, 5AM-5PM Pacific
  • Email: 24/7
  • Live Chat: None

As you can see, the phone channel is somewhat limited, but we like that you have access to this channel of support on all plans. The Business VIP plan also offers priority support, meaning your emails and callback requests jump to the front of the queue. Wix doesn’t have as thorough a set of self-help resources specifically for ecommerce as some of the other platforms, but the resources it does maintain are well done and useful.

Who is Wix Best For?

Wix may differ from the other ecommerce platforms we’ve discussed, but we see this variety as a very good thing. This platform is a great option for merchants who need a multifunctional (but still user-friendly) website — not just an online store. The way native apps like Wix Stores, Wix Bookings, Wix Restaurants, Wix Hotels, and others weave together to form a seamless dashboard on the backend, plus an elegant web presence on the front end, is really slick.

Speaking of elegance, the other (sometimes overlapping) group of store owners Wix works nicely for are those with a smaller number of visually-detailed products. You’re probably not going to want to run a massive fulfillment and shipping operation with Wix, but small shops with aesthetic priorities are perfect for Wix.

Quick Pricing Comparison

We’ve covered a lot of ground in our comparison of these five good options for building an online store. Before we wrap this baby up, let’s recap the subscription plans for each one, along with the main ways the levels are distinguished from one another. As you’ve clearly seen, pricing is just one component of your final choice, but it’s usually where people start.

eCommerce Platforms Pricing Summary

Pricing Levels Differences Btwn. Levels

Shopify

Lite: $9/mo.

Basic: $29/mo.

Shopify: $79/mo.

Advanced $299/mo.

Plus: Custom

  • Available features
  • Number of staff accounts
  • Payment processing discounts
  • Shopify’s commission per sale

BigCommerce

Standard: $29.95/mo.

Plus: $79.95/mo.

Pro: 249.95/mo.

Enterprise: Custom

  • Available features
  • Annual store revenue

3dcart

Startup: $19/mo.

Basic: $29/mo.

Plus: $79/mo.

Pro: $229/mo.

Enterprise: Custom

  • Available features
  • Annual store revenue
  • Number of products
  • Number of staff accounts

Ecwid

Free: $0/mo.

Venture: $15/mo.

Business: $35/mo.

Unlimited: $99/mo.

  • Available features
  • Number of products
  • Storage
  • Number of staff accounts
  • Customer service

Wix

Business Basic: $25/mo.

Business Unlimited: $30/mo.

Business VIP: $40/mo.

  • Storage
  • Customer service
  • Available features

Final Thoughts

Did you find your ecommerce match? We know it’s a lot to take in at once. The great news is that all of these platforms allow you to test the software before you buy. We’d suggest narrowing down our five suggestions to a couple that look like strong candidates for your store and starting a free trial of each. Test drive all the features you possibly can, work on customizing your storefront, and pepper customer support with questions at all hours. That’s the only way you’ll know which is the best fit, even with our attempts to simplify the decision-making process for you.

Generally speaking, the first three platforms we mentioned (Shopify, BigCommerce, and 3dcart) are quite similar and will work for a lot of the same types and sizes of stores. 3dcart is probably the most complicated and detailed of the three out-of-the-box, and typically requires a bit more out of the user. This is not necessarily bad, though. BigCommerce may be a good middle ground between 3dcart and Shopify, combining ease-of-use with a dense set of out-of-the-box features. And, even with Shopify’s super annoying transaction fees (if you don’t use Shopify Payments), Shopify is still a very solid recommendation — it’s just good software.

Ecwid and Wix each have their own advantages as well, especially for smaller stores. Both are well-designed and user-friendly. Ecwid has an enticing free plan and can be embedded in any existing website, while Wix allows you to develop a particularly elegant and multifunctional storefront using your choice of not one, but two different methods.

We think most small business owners will find a good solution from among these five options. And, we’ll let you in on a rather little-known secret: it’s not the end of the world if you end up needing to migrate platforms. That goes for right now if you’re looking to make a switch, or later if you decide your software isn’t working for you anymore. Nevertheless, you can still head into your decision with the confidence that you’ve done your research and tested the software thoroughly before handing over your credit card. (You’re going to test them first, right? Promise? Good.)

Do you have experience with one or more of these ecommerce platforms? Let us know how you think they compare in the comments. We love feedback from real users like you!

Shopify BigCommerce 3dcart Ecwid Wix

3dcart

Review Visit Site

Review Visit Site

Review Visit Site

Review Visit Site

Review Visit Site

Monthly Cost

$9 – $299

$29.95 – $249.95

$19 – $229

Free – $99

$25 – $40

Core Features

Great

Excellent

Excellent

Good

Good

App Store

Very Large

Large

Moderate

Moderate

Small/Moderate

Ease Of Use

Very Easy

Easy

Moderate

Very Easy

Easy

Web Design

Great

Good

Good

OK

Excellent

Customer Support

Great

Great

Good

Good

Good

The post The Best eCommerce Platforms For Your Small Business appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Accept Credit Cards Online

So you’ve realized you want to start selling online. Good for you! The ecommerce market is certainly booming. But before you can start raking in the money, you probably have a few questions, like “how do I make a website?” and “how do I accept credit cards online?” Here’s the good news: There are plenty of software options and payment processors to choose from! The bad news? There are plenty of software options and payment processors to choose from. So how do you choose?

As always, there’s no one perfect solution for everyone. You need to know your business (and where you want to go with it) and have a rough idea of what you need. If you have no idea where to start, never fear! In this article, we’ll cover some of the basic considerations about accepting credit card payments online, as well as types of payment processors and how to accept credit card payments online with and without a website. We’ll also discuss some of our favorite solutions for ecommerce and provide resources to help you learn more.

5 Questions To Ask Before You Start

It’s really important, before you dive headlong into any kind of financial investment in your business, to sit down and make sure that you know what you want and what you need. I say that a lot, but with selling online it’s especially important to look before you leap because if you get any component of your setup wrong, redoing it will cost time and money.

So before anything, here are some questions to consider:

  1. How technologically savvy are you? Simply put, are you even able to build and maintain your website yourself? If you’re not exactly a technological wizard, your priority should be finding an easy-to-manage solution. You can also outsource tasks you can’t handle yourself, such as design or even data entry for the creation of products. Of course, if you have an ambitious idea and no ready-made solution exists, or you need a lot of customization, you might need a developer who can work with software APIs to create what you need. You can find freelance developers to help out as you go, but the more high-tech you go, obviously, the more you should consider having a full-time developer.
  2. Do you already have a website? If yes, do you like your website? Would you rather abandon it for a better site with more features? If you already have a site and don’t want to go through the effort of creating a new site to sell a handful of products, payment buttons or plug-ins are better options. If you don’t have a site or you don’t mind nixing your current site in favor of something better, shopping cart software might meet the brief nicely. But of course, you don’t need a website to accept payments online. We’ll talk about all of these options more below.
  3. What’s your budget? When it comes to numbers, you need to look at both upfront costs and monthly (or yearly) costs. How much can you spend at the outset, and how much do you expect to be able to afford on a monthly or annual basis? Keep in mind the more technically advanced your website, the more you can expect to pay to build and maintain it. Likewise, the busier your site — the more products you have and the more sales you make — the more you can expect to pay. Don’t forget the tangential costs, such as hiring a designer or a developer, or data entry, and of course, the costs of payment processing itself!
  4. What are you selling? Whether you’re offering digital goods, subscriptions/services, or retail products, look for service providers that cater to your industry so you don’t have to find creative workarounds. Many solutions are generalized for a broad array of merchants, but with add-ons and integrations to make them more tailored. You can also find payment processors and software that offer ready-made specialized solutions and service plans, such as micropayments for merchants who sell low-priced digital goods.
  5. How comfortable are you with handling security features? If you want to sell online, you have to make sure your website is secure. That means ensuring your site is PCI compliant. The more involved you are in the payments process and the more sensitive information your website handles, the more of a burden you are taking upon yourself. Fortunately, many payment processors and other software providers offer solutions to keep your customers’ information secure and reduce your PCI burden — in some cases, you may not need to do anything at all.

Once you’ve got the answers to these questions and a list of the features you need and want, it’s time to actually start looking at your options. One of your primary considerations should be finding a payment processor. However, depending on your business model, you might want to first look at what kind of ecommerce options work for you and then select a payment processor from the available options.

We’ll begin by talking about payment processors and go on to look at what other software or platforms you should explore.

Types Of Payment Processors

No matter how you go about finding a payment processor — choosing a standalone, going with the default processor included with your shopping cart, or choosing a recommended partner from a software provider — you need to consider what kind of business model the processor uses. If you’ve been here before and read any of my other articles, you know that I am talking about the difference between third-party payment processors versus traditional merchant accounts.

Traditional merchant accounts are very stable. It would take a clear violation of either your contract or card network rules in order to trigger an account termination, and you’re unlikely to encounter a hold on funds unless you’ve had a series of issues with chargebacks or fraudulent transactions. However, most merchant account providers expect you to have an established business and a monthly volume of $10,000 in credit card transactions. Plus, setting up a merchant account will typically take a few days. It could take longer depending on how many processors are on your short list and how much negotiation is required.

Third-party processors are not quite as stable as merchant accounts. That’s because instead of issuing separate accounts for each of their merchants, everything is lumped together in one giant, communal merchant account. It takes very little effort to apply for an account with one of these processors, and you can often get approved and set up to accept credit cards online within a day. Factor in no monthly minimum volume requirements and third-party processors provide a great way for new businesses to take payments. However, the trade-off is that you’ll face greater scrutiny and a higher risk for account holds or terminations, often with no warning. Check out our article on how to prevent merchant account hold and freezes to learn how to reduce your risk.

While third-party processors are riskier than merchant accounts, they are a great option for new businesses who don’t know what sort of volume they can expect and don’t have an established history. Even for established businesses, there are some advantages: namely, third-party processors offer predictable, flat-rate pricing, so you know exactly how much you’ll pay. The best merchant account providers typically offer interchange-plus pricing, which, while clear and transparent, doesn’t make it easy to accurately estimate processing because interchange rates vary.

It’s up to you to decide which type of processor is right for your business. I do want to point out that some software companies (ecommerce shopping carts, point of sale solutions, invoice platforms, and more) often build white-label payments into their solutions. These solutions can take the form of third-party processors or merchant accounts, so make sure you investigate before just going with the default processor. In addition to their native payment processing services, most ecommerce software providers support integrations with an assortment of merchant accounts and third-party payment processors.

Square is our top-pick for third-party payment processor. In addition to predictable, flat-rate pricing with no monthly fees or contracts, Square offers a whole suite of seamlessly integrated apps to address in-person and online sales at no charge at all. eCommerce transactions process at 2.9% + $0.30 each.

For merchant accounts, we recommend CDGcommerce, which offers flat-rate pricing and an interchange-plus option depending on the merchant’s payment volume. There are no monthly minimums and no contracts, just a $10 monthly fee. Low-volume merchants will pay 1.95% + $0.30 for most transactions, or 2.95% + $0.30 for premium, corporate, or international cards. Merchants who process more than $10,000/month are eligible for interchange-plus pricing with a 0.30% + $0.10 markup.

Does Your Payment Processor Include a Gateway?

If you want to accept credit card payments online, it’s not enough to find a credit card processor. You also need a gateway. As the name suggests, a gateway is an intermediary software program that transfers the payment data from your website to the customer’s bank to be approved or declined (and then routes the money to your merchant account).

Many payment processors offer gateways as part of their services. For example, PayPal, Square, and Stripe all offer gateways bundled with the rest of their services at no additional cost. CDGcommerce offers its Quantum gateway as part of its services for online merchants.

However, some processors will charge you a setup fee and/or a monthly fee for use of the gateway. While it’s fair and legitimate to charge for this service (especially if you’re being offered other discounts or freebies in exchange), there’s no reason for you to overpay, either. Make sure you know how much a gateway service will cost if it’s not offered for free.

While it’s rare to find a processor that doesn’t include some sort of gateway access, they do exist. In the event that you find yourself leaning toward one of these processors, you can find your own gateway. Authorize.net is nearly universally compatible and reasonably priced, which makes it a good option for most merchants. (Worth noting: CDGcommerce’s gateway, Quantum, also includes an Authorize.net emulation mode to maximize compatibility.)

Want to know more about how payment gateways figure into your ecommerce setup? Check out our article, The Complete Guide to Online Credit Card Processing With a Payment Gateway, for more information.

How To Accept Online Payments With A Website

A website is a pretty integral part of selling online (but it’s not 100% necessary — we’ll look at some alternatives in the next section). As mentioned above, the first question to consider is: Do I already have a website? Then ask yourself: Do I like that website, or would I rather start over completely? Fortunately, there are solutions for both of these scenarios. For existing sites, you can implement payment buttons or seek out a plug-in or extension that supports ecommerce.

Adding Payments To An Existing Site

best templates

If you’ve used a site builder such as WordPress, Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace, it’s fairly simple to implement online payments. Simply check out the sitebuilder’s available third-party apps, extensions, and plugins. If you already know which payment processor you want to use, you can search directly for an available add-on. Otherwise, you can browse and see what options are ready-made for you. These add-ons will allow you to securely collect payment information from your customers as well as manage the order fulfillment process. Do your research and go with solutions from your site builder rather than third parties, if possible. Check reviews of any plugins or extensions you add and make sure they are well supported and any glitches are fixed in a timely manner.

If you run a WordPress site, WooCommerce or Ecwid could be good starter options. WooCommerce is actually a free plug-in to add to your site, with a basic theme and your choice of payment processors. It’s a very modular setup, so you can choose from a mix of free and paid extensions that allow you to customize WooCommerce to your needs. That includes payment processors, subscription tools, the ability to create add-ons (such as gift wrap for products), and more. Most WooCommerce add-ons are charged on an annual basis, which could require more of an up-front investment than a monthly subscription, so be aware of this fact.

Ecwid is another plug-in designed for WordPress. However, it also works on an assortment of other website-building platforms, including Wix and Weebly, Ecwid does offer a free plan for businesses with 10 or fewer products, but for higher-tiered plans you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee. Ecwid supports a wide assortment of integrations, including payment gateways. With higher plan tiers, you also get access to expanded sales channels.

Wix and Weebly’s website builders can be used for blogging, personal portfolios, and any other purposes. They both offer online store modules. Online stores from Wix start at $20/month with no transaction fees and your choice of processors. Upgrading to an eCommerce plan is fairly simple from within the Wix dashboard and won’t require any substantial reworking. Simply add the “My Store” module to your dashboard, make the upgrade, and start creating products.

Finally, there’s Weebly. Square actually bought Weebly in the spring of 2018, so it’s possible we could see Weebly start to favor Square pretty heavily in the future. For now, though, Weebly’s online store plans start at $8/month (on a yearly plan), with a 3% transaction fee on top of your processing costs. The transaction fee drops off with higher-tier plans, leaving just the monthly fee.

The other way to add payments to an existing site is to look for a payment processor that supports customizable payment buttons. A good payment button creator will give you power over the appearance of the buttons as well as the settings for transactions. The obvious, go-to solution for many is PayPal, which offers a pretty powerful array of tools. PayPal’s buttons are a good option whether you are selling a single product or multiple ones. You can set up payment buttons to allow products to be added to a cart or to go directly to checkout. PayPal even allows nonprofits to create a “Donate” button for their site, which can be configured for one-time and recurring donations.

An alternative to PayPal is Shopify Lite, an entry-level solution. For $9/month plus transaction costs (2.9% + $0.30), you can accept payments on your website by adding payment buttons. The plan also includes access to Shopify’s mPOS app and the ability to sell on Facebook (we’ll talk about that option in the next section, too.) And it’s worth mentioning that Ecwid also supports the creation of custom buy buttons.

While adding payments to an existing site is incredibly convenient and often requires little work, you won’t get quite as many tools as you would with a hosted ecommerce software solution. Which brings us to the best solution if you would rather build a new site or have no website to start with:

Building A New Site With Shopping Cart Software

eCommerce software apps, sometimes also called shopping carts or shopping cart software, are hosted, all-in-one solutions to online sales. Adding an ecommerce feature to an existing website requires you to choose a platform, buy the domain, and pay for hosting, but with shopping carts, you’ll get everything in a single package: online sales and product management, hosting, and sometimes even the ability to buy a domain name directly. Typically, shopping carts will also help you centralize control of sales across multiple channels, so that if you sell on social media, on eBay, or through another channel, you can handle order fulfillment through a single platform. That even includes buying postage (at a discounted rate) and printing the shipping labels. Some shopping carts will offer marketing tools or integrations with marketing platforms, as well as integrations with point of sale systems.

As far as payment processing goes, some shopping carts have opted to include their own white-label payments as a default part of their services. One such cart is Shopify, which offers its own Shopify Payments service (read our review). However, this is just a white-label version of Stripe. Be aware that choosing a payment processor other than the default can incur additional fees.

Generally speaking, even if a shopping cart doesn’t offer all of the features you want, you can search the app market for available extensions and integrations to get what you need. It’s worth researching the available add-ons as well as the native software features.

There’s a lot to consider and compare with a shopping cart. Obviously, you can use a sitebuilder such as Weebly or Wix, which both offer eCommerce modules. Then there are ecommerce-exclusive platforms, including Shopify and BigCommerce, which make it easy to build your site and customize the design (and even offer blogging so you can centralize control of your website).

If you want a whole lot of freedom and have coding knowledge, an open-source platform such as Magento might be more to your liking. Open-source platforms tend to be chock-full of specialized features (particularly if they have attracted active user communities) and you have almost limitless control of your site. A closed-source, SaaS platform is certainly a lot easier and more convenient for business owners who are just starting out and want to go the DIY route.

If you aren’t sure what you want, we recommend you start by checking out Shopify and BigCommerce, both of which are affordably priced for new businesses and offer extensive customer support resources. They also both offer multi-channel sales manage so you can sell through your own site and through other platforms but manage all of your orders from a single portal.

If you’re still curious about what makes a great ecommerce platform, check out some of our other resources!

  • The Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Online Store (eBook)
  • Shopping Cart Flowchart: Choose the Right eCommerce Software for Your Business (Infographic)
  • Shopping Carts 101: How to Choose a Shopping Cart for Your Business (Article)
  • Questions to Ask Before You Commit to a Shopping Cart (Article)

Managing Services, Subscriptions & Other Recurring Charges

A lot of merchants, from accountants and other professional service provideres to lawn care and cleaning services, could benefit from being able to automate recurring charges. And of course, the ability to automate charges is essential for SaaS providers and subscription-box sellers.

Generally speaking, the ability to accept recurring payments — for monthly services or subscriptions — isn’t a default option for payment processors or shopping carts, which tend to be retail-focused. However, you can find plenty of solutions that will work with your existing eCommerce setup. For example, Stripe and Braintree both offer extensive subscription management tools along with their payment gateway and processing services. Add-on services such as Chargify, Recurly, and ChargeBee work with a variety of processors. Zoho Subscriptions and Freshbooks also offer recurring billing tools. PayPal offers recurring billing tools for its merchants; Square offers “recurring invoices” but not a lot of advanced customization for subscription billing.

Proper research will be very important when selecting a provider that offers all of the features you need, whether you require metered billing for usage-based online services, the ability for customers to upgrade to a higher tiered plan mid-billing cycle, the ability to offer free trial periods and extend them, or a way to calculate taxes. Tools that automatically update expired cards can also help reduce failed charges and therefore improve revenues and reduce customer loss.

Accepting Online Payments Without A Website

Most people equate taking payments online with having a website. That is the most common option, but you don’t actually need your own website. Let’s talk about a few of the alternatives for how to accept credit cards online.

Creating Online Invoices

You could create your own invoices in Microsoft Office and send them out via email, but then you’ve got to keep track of which invoices have been sent and which have been paid — and you’ve still got to deal with waiting for the check in the mail. Online invoicing solutions can eliminate every single one of these hassles.

Generally speaking, invoicing software is cloud-based, so you can access it anywhere. You can customize invoices and send them via email (or generate a shareable link to the invoice). But unlike old-fashioned invoicing, these invoices include a link to pay directly in the invoice. Your customers follow the link, enter their payment details, and bam! You get paid much quicker.

Depending on which invoicing software you choose, you can get some powerful features. For example, PayPal allows you to enable partial payments on an invoice if you are willing to accept installment payments. Square’s invoicing links up with the platform’s customer database, allowing you to send recurring invoices and even store customer cards on file to make getting paid even easier. Zoho Invoice, which starts at $0/month, also allows for a customer database, as well as project management (so you can generate an invoice based on the number of hours worked). Shopify offers invoice creation within its platform at no additional charge as well — and this feature is even available on the Lite plan.

For most merchants, Square Invoices may be the most appealing, as it’s available with a Square account at no additional charge. However, Shopify’s built-in invoicing will work for merchants who want to sell with or without a website. Merchants who need project management as part of their invoicing should look at Zoho Invoice.

Using Online Form Builders

So you don’t have a website, but you still need to collect user information and accept payment. Online form builders offer an easy way to do both. Plus, you can post links to forms on social media or send them out via email.

Off the top of your head, you might think of Google Forms, which is free to use and quite advanced for a freemium software. However, it doesn’t integrate seamlessly with payment processors. Your best option, in this case, would be to use PayPal’s embeddable buy buttons and include the button in the form’s submission confirmation page as a second step. However, you’ll have to manually reconcile the payment records versus form submissions.

Subscription-based form builders will cost you money but offer far more capabilities than Google Forms, including direct integrations with payment processors/gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Authorize.net. Subscriptions generally work on annual or monthly plans, but one option, Cognito Forms, offers an entry-level plan that charges 1% of the transaction amount instead. (Note, that’s in addition to any processing fees.) Other form solutions worth looking into are Zoho Forms and Jotform. Zoho Forms starts at $10/month and includes unlimited forms and up to 10,000 submissions. It integrates with both PayPal and Stripe. Jotform’s paid plans start at $19/month and are limited to 1,000 submissions, but include integrations for quite a few payment processors, including PayPal, Stripe, Square, and even Dwolla. Cognito Forms’ paid plans start at $10/month plus 1% of the transactions and include up to 2,000 form submissions. Integrations include PayPal and Stripe.

And we haven’t even talked about event registration sites. There are a lot of them, but the one many people are likely familiar with is EventBrite. EventBrite allows you to put all the details of your event online and sell tickets — including setting multiple tiers of admission and promotion cards, automatically setting price changes for registration deadlines, and so on. You can even collect marketing data about your patrons, from their zip codes to how they heard about the event. Your event is searchable from within the EventBrite platform, allowing people searching for something to do to discover your event as well. EventBrite does charge fees on top of processing costs, but these can actually be passed onto event registrees, saving you some money at least.

Selling On Social Media

It wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of being able to buy products directly through social media channels was novel and experimental, but nowadays you can create your own online shop through Facebook, or sell on Instagram or even Pinterest.

With Facebook, you just need a Facebook business page to get started. You can choose your payment processor (PayPal or Stripe) and start manually uploading products, all of which have to be reviewed by Facebook before they can go live. An easier option is to link your Facebook shop to an online store builder such as BigCommerce, Ecwid, or Shopify.

Shopify is actually an interesting solution because, while its core offering is an online shopping cart, it offers a “Lite” plan for $9/month that includes access to its mPOS app, buy buttons for a website, and a Facebook store with automated tools to make the process easier. You wouldn’t necessarily have to go through the hassle of building a website with Shopify just to sell on Facebook, but you still get more tools than you would by going through Facebook directly. Check out our Shopify Lite review for an in-depth look at the plan and all its features.

Selling on Instagram requires you to have a Facebook shop (because Facebook owns Instagram) to create what it calls “Shoppable posts.” That shop can be managed directly via Facebook itself, or via Shopify or BigCommerce as one of multiple sales channels. I’d like to point out that Instagram isn’t available as a sales channel with the Lite plan; you’ll need to upgrade to Shopify Basic at $29/month to be able to manage sales via Instagram.

Lastly, Pinterest allows merchants with a business account to create “Buyable pins,” so you can sell from your Pinterest page. Unlike Facebook, where you can manage the buyable pins from the platform, to sell through Pinterest you will need to go through either Shopify or BigCommerce and actually apply for approval before you can start selling.

Shopify Lite is an ideal option if you want to start with Facebook and maybe add buy buttons to a website. You can upgrade to Shopify Basic ($29/month) to get your own site, plus access to Instagram and Pinterest if that appeals to you.

Selling In Marketplaces

Online marketplaces are a good alternative to having your own website if you’re selling retail goods. You don’t have to pay for hosting or invest anything in web design. You simply create your product listings using the tools provided and publish them. Marketplaces allow you to get your products in front of a large audience without you having to build a stream of traffic yourself. However, the trade-offs are that you generally pay more in fees (listing fees, seller’s fees, and payment processing) than you would with your own website, and you have zero control over the design of the site or even how your products are displayed. Generally speaking, you are limited to using whatever payment processing the marketplace offers as well.

A few popular marketplaces include:

  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • Amazon
  • Jet (owned by Walmart)
  • Ruby Lane

Accepting Payments Through Virtual Terminals 

The final alternative is a bit of a stretch, I’ll admit, but it can be a powerful tool for some merchants. A virtual terminal is a web portal where you can manually enter credit card information to process a transaction. (There’s the stretch: VTs require an internet connection, so they’re technically online payments.)  Virtual terminals are a necessity for merchants who want to accept payments over the phone (or even by mail).

Some payment processors offer a virtual terminal as part of their software package, others as an add-on. These providers include PayPal, Payline Mobile, Square, and Fattmerchant. However, if you want the best value for a virtual terminal, we recommend Square. You pay only the payment processing costs (3.5% + $0.15) and it is interoperable with the rest of Square’s platform.

Beyond Credit Cards: Alternative Online Payment Methods

Credit cards are the go-to for accepting payments online, but they aren’t the only options. For starters, there are ACH bank transfers, which are generally less expensive for merchants to process. They’re often preferred in B2B environments, but some consumers favor them too.

Offering ACH processing as an additional option, especially if you’re in the B2B space, could win you more customers. According to a 2017 Payment Benchmarks Survey by the Credit Research Foundation and the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), ACH transfers currently account for 32 percent of B2B transactions, lagging behind checks, which took the no. 1 spot at 50 percent. Credit cards account for just 11 percent of B2B transactions. By 2020, the survey estimates that ACH will take the top spot and account for 45 percent of B2B transactions.

Despite this, most merchant accounts or even third-party processors don’t offer ACH by default. Some offer it as an add-on plan, others may require you to look for a supplemental option for ACH acceptance.

ACH is far from the only option as far as “alternative” payment processing now, too. Mobile wallets are bridging the gap between in-person and online payments, and card networks have implemented their own online checkout options for cardholders. The major advantage to accepting these options is that they offer an extra layer of security for consumers. For example, Apple Pay on the web still requires biometric authentication before approval.

Some of these alternative payment methods include:

  • Apple Pay on the Web
  • Google Pay
  • Microsoft Pay
  • Chase Pay
  • MasterPass
  • Visa Checkout
  • Amex Express checkout

Apple Pay and Google Pay are fairly widely supported, but you may not see the other options on this list everywhere.

Two noteworthy providers that offer ACH, as well as other alternative payment options, are Stripe and Braintree. However, both are developer-focused platforms, so you’ll need someone with the technical know-how to implement them. Merchant accounts that specialize in eCommerce and provide a solid gateway might offer these options too.

We recommend Stripe because of its extensive developer tools, customizable checkout, and resources for recurring billing. The company also offers round-the-clock customer support (an admittedly recent addition to its feature set). Plus, Stripe is great for international merchants who want to be able to accept localized currencies in Europe and Asia.

Begin Accepting Payments Online

Starting an online store and learning how to accept credit cards online can seem like a daunting task! There are so many factors to consider, but I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on the process and point you in the direction of some good options. A merchant account can give you security and stability, but it may not be the most cost-effective option for low-volume merchants. A third-party processor can get you set up quickly with predictable pricing that often favors low-volume merchants, but the trade-off is account stability. And of course there’s the matter of compatibility: You need to make sure that whatever payment processor you choose offers a gateway compatible with the software (and sales channels) you want to use.

But you also need to have a good idea of what you can afford to spend up front and on a monthly basis and understand your limitations when it comes to technology and software. If you want to go the DIY route, you’ll need to be fairly tech-savvy. Otherwise, be prepared to outsource tasks to designers, developers, and even admin assistants. Some software solutions make it incredibly easy to do everything yourself, others will require lots of hands-on effort to make them work.

If you’re still not sure where to go from here, we recommend you check out our article: The Best Online Credit Card Payment Processing Companies. You can also view our merchant account comparison chart for a quick look at our favorite providers.

Have questions? We’re always happy to hear from our readers, so please leave us a comment!

The post How To Accept Credit Cards Online appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Is WordPress Easy To Use For eCommerce?

If you know anything about web development, you know about WordPress. WordPress is now the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world, powering over 31% of websites globally. In fact, WordPress is the software behind the very website you’re currently on!

As an everyday WordPress user myself, I can say with confidence that WordPress is a great CMS for many purposes, including online selling. The software is open-source and popular, meaning that it’s fully customizable and that there are plug-ins available to extend the functionality of the software.

While it’s true that WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, several eCommerce plugins make it possible to transform your website into a full-fledged online store. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at three of the most popular eCommerce software systems that work with WordPress.

But first, let’s take a look at WordPress as a stand-alone software.

Is WordPress Easy To Use?

WordPress is a very learnable software. The software is fairly easy to use once you get the hang of things. However, this initial learning process may take some time.

This is particularly true if you are new to web development. As open-source software, WordPress is not exactly plug-and-play. In order to get your site online, you’ll have to find your own web host and then install WordPress on your hosting account. In addition, you will be responsible for maintaining your site’s security.

Once you’ve finished setting everything up, you will find that when it comes to daily operations, WordPress is very usable.

As you consider using WordPress for your online store, you’ll have to keep in mind the pros and cons of the software. Here’s a quick breakdown of those advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • Open Source: Because WordPress is open source, you have the freedom to modify the software however you choose. In addition, you can choose to sell your modifications to other users!
  • Free: WordPress is free to download and use. However, you should note that operating a website comes with other expenses. Take a look at our “Cons” list for more information.
  • Large User Community: With so many bloggers, sellers, and developers using WordPress, you can expect to find lively community forums in WordPress’s support resources. Get help from fellow users or purchase plug-ins from a wide range of developers.
  • Reliable Software: You can depend on WordPress as a glitch-free CMS.
  • Lots Of Plug-Ins Available: WordPress and third-party developers alike have put out thousands of plug-ins that you can purchase and install to add features to your platform.

Cons

  • For Do-It-Yourselfers Only: When you use WordPress, you will be responsible for managing your web hosting and site security.
  • Some Experience Required: You either must have some experience editing HTML/CSS or you must be willing to learn.
  • Limited Technical Support: WordPress offers some support via email and live chat. However, for the most part, you’re on your own when it comes to technical issues.
  • Common Target For Hackers: Open source software is often the target of security attacks. You’ll have to keep an eye out for any new security patches.
  • Difficult To Estimate Total Costs: Although WordPress is free to use, you will still have to pay the typical costs of operating a website. You’ll need to pay for hosting, an SSL certificate, a theme, and any plug-ins you choose to use.

Now you know a bit more about the usability of WordPress, let’s start talking about our favorite eCommerce plug-ins for WordPress! All three of the following plug-ins are affordable, easy-to-use, and easy to integrate with any WordPress website.

Let’s get started!

WooCommmerce

WooCommerce is a free, open source eCommerce plug-in that is designed specifically to be used with WordPress. WooCommerce fits businesses of all sizes, from startup to enterprise. In fact, WooCommerce has been downloaded over 48 million times, making it one of the most popular eCommerce solutions in the world.

WooCommerce is easy to incorporate into your WordPress site. All you have to do is install and activate the WooCommerce app in your “Plug-ins” tab. Activating this plug-in turns your blogging back-end into an online store admin. Take a look:

In this dashboard, you can manage everything for your online store. For example, you can create products, access pending orders, adjust shipping setting, enter product information, and set up inventory tracking.

WooCommerce provides enough features to handle all the basic operations of online selling. Everything else is available as an extension. Here are a few of the features built-in:

  • Sell Digital & Physical Products
  • Inventory Management Features
  • Shipping Calculator & Shipping Options (Pickup, Local Delivery, Calculated Shipping)
  • SEO Features
  • Coupons & Discounts

WooCommerce offers lots of themes to choose from. Most of these are designed by third-parties; however, WooCommerce also creates its own designs called “WooThemes.” We recommend you stick with these WooThemes as they tend to work best with WooCommerce updates. For the most part, in order to change large aspects of these designs, you will be required to edit the HTML and CSS.

Like WordPress, WooCommerce offers very limited customer support to their customers. You are mostly on your own. Fortunately, WooCommerce does have a detailed knowledge base as well as a supportive user community to help you through any difficulties.

We love WooCommerce for its customizability, its scalability, and of course, its price. To learn more about WooCommerce, take a look at our full review of the software. Or, download WooCommerce today to test it for yourself.

Ecwid

Another plug-in you might consider using is Ecwid. Ecwid is an eCommerce software that lets you incorporate shopping cart widgets–such as buy buttons or a full online store–into any pre-built website. Ecwid is a perfect solution for small to medium-sized businesses that want a simple way to add an online store to their website. Over one million merchants currently use Ecwid for their online selling.

Ecwid is a SaaS (software as a service) solution, which means that although you have to find hosting for your WordPress site, hosting for your Ecwid store is already included. Instead, you’ll just have to pay a monthly price to use the software. This price depends primarily on the number of products you plan on listing. Each step up in pricing also includes more advanced features. Take a look below for a quick breakdown of pricing:

  • Free Plan: $0/Month
    • 10 Products
  • Venture: $15/Month
    • 100 Products
  • Business: $35/Month
    • 2,500 Products
  • Unlimited: $99/Month
    • Unlimited Products

To add Ecwid to your WordPress account, sign for an Ecwid account at ecwid.com. Then, install and activate the app in your WordPress dashboard. Completing these actions will let you make changes to your Ecwid store from WordPress.

Here’s a look at Ecwid’s dashboard within WordPress:

Alternatively, you can choose to manage your store from Ecwid’s own dashboard. Since the two programs are now connected, every change you make in Ecwid will be reflected in your WordPress site. Here’s Ecwid’s dashboard:

We recommend using Ecwid’s dashboard to manage your online store. We think Ecwid’s dashboard is more intuitive and easier to use in general.

Using Ecwid will give you access to many of the necessary selling features. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Buy Buttons
  • Multi-Channel Selling
  • Real-Time Shipping Rates
  • Promotions & Discounts
  • Sell Digital Products
  • Mobile Management App

Ecwid supplies users with one Starter Site theme that you can use to develop your storefront using drag-and-drop tools. There are also third-party themes available as well as HTML and CSS editors for more in-depth customization.

As is typical with SaaS solutions, Ecwid provides technical support through several channels. Your pricing plan will determine how you are able to reach customer support, whether that is through email, live chat, or phone. Everyone has access to a knowledge base and community support forums. Remember, Ecwid can only help with issues related to their software. They do not provide WordPress support.

Ecwid is a great solution for any merchant who’s looking for a simple way to sell products on their website. The app is easy to use with WordPress, it’s affordable, and it works. For more information, read our full review or sign up for Ecwid’s free plan to try it out.

Selz

Selz, selz review

Selz is another SaaS shopping cart solution that plugs into any website. Like Ecwid, Selz offers users both ease of use and versatility. Selz gives merchants the option of adding eCommerce features to any website in a variety of ways. You can choose to add an online store to an established website, embed buy buttons for select products, sell directly on social media, or set up a fully hosted online store.

Selz is designed for startups, artists, writers, and musicians, and the platform currently serves over 100,000 merchants worldwide. Ease of use is Selz’s strongest feature, which is wonderful for many beginning merchants.

On the other hand, sometimes Selz’s ease of use can be a limiting factor for sellers who are looking to grow. Selz does not offer many advanced features or integrations. Nevertheless, many sellers find that Selz fits their needs perfectly.

As a SaaS solution, Selz charges a monthly fee for the use of their software. There are four plans to choose from. These plans are organized by the number of products you plan to list. Additional features are available on higher level plans. Here’s a quick overview of pricing:

  • Free Plan: $0/Month
    • 5 Product Maximum
    • 2% Transaction Fee
  • Lite Plan: $19/Month
    • Unlimited Products
    • 2% Transaction Fee
  • Standard Plan: $29/Month
    • Unlimited Products
    • 1% Transaction Fee
  • Pro Plan: $49/Month
    • Unlimited Products
    • 0.5% Transaction Fee
    • No Transaction Fee If Using Selz Pay

To add Selz to your WordPress site, you’ll have to create a Selz account and then install and activate the Selz app in your WordPress dashboard.

Then, head back into your Selz dashboard. Using this dashboard, you can create products and discounts, process orders, and manage shipping settings. In order to test your setup with WordPress, you should add at least one or two products.

Now, you can decide how you’d like to add eCommerce to your site, whether that’s via buy buttons or an entire online store. When you make your decision, you’ll just have to follow Selz’s instructions to add products to your WordPress site.

During my testing, I decided to add my entire Selz store to WordPress. I looked into Selz’s instructions, but I had a bit of difficulty locating the correct buttons. I eventually figured out that WordPress’s new Gutenberg editor was complicating the process. Selz has not yet updated their support documentation to provide instructions for this new WordPress version. When I switched back to WordPress’s older Classic Editor, I was able to quickly integrate my store.

While both WooCommerce and Ecwid give you access to store management features within your WordPress dashboard, this is not the case with Selz. In order to add new products, process orders, etc. you will have to log back into your Selz dashboard.

Selz offers the basic features you need for online selling. Although Selz focuses mostly on the basics, they do include a few advanced features such as abandoned cart recovery and digital downloads. Take a look at a few of Selz’s features:

  • Sell Anywhere
  • Sell Physical & Digital Products
  • Real-Time Shipping Rates
  • Pay What You Want
  • Discounts & Coupons
  • Multi-Currency Capabilities
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery

When it comes to web design, Selz users are all set. There are 25 beautiful, image-focused designs to choose from, and they’re all free. Users can customize these designs by using the drag-and-drop editor or the HTML/CSS editors.

Support is available for all Selz users in the form of 24/7 live chat and email. There is also a Help Center full of useful documentation for users who prefer a do-it-yourself approach. As always, you’ll have to keep in mind that while Selz representatives love to help you use their software, they can’t help when it comes to WordPress difficulties.

Selz is a perfect solution for makers and startups who want to get their online stores started quickly. In particular, Selz works well for merchants who want to offer lots of digital products. If this sounds like you, head over to our full Selz review for more information. Or, you can take a look at Selz yourself.

Final Thoughts

So, is WordPress easy to use for eCommerce? We certainly think so, especially when you use the right eCommerce plug-in.

Take a deeper look at any of the three options we present above, and don’t be afraid to test out the plug-ins before you commit. All of these eCommerce solutions offer a free platform (or free download) so you can integrate the software with your WordPress site without paying a dime. And if you decide it isn’t a good fit for you, it’s easy to deactivate the integration. In fact, it just takes a few clicks.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to our reviews or sign up for one of these shopping carts and get testing!

The post Is WordPress Easy To Use For eCommerce? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Best Shipping Software For 2018

It’s 4:30 on a Friday and you’re knee-deep in packing peanuts and cardboard boxes. You’ve got twenty orders to pick, pack, and ship before the post office closes, and you keep misplacing your packing slips.

There must be a better way.

If your storage space is covered in packing materials and you record all your shipping information in spreadsheets and Post-It notes, it might be time to try something else.

In the era in which an app solves everything, it makes sense to turn to software solutions to soothe your shipping woes.

Shipping software solutions integrate with most popular eCommerce software programs and can help simplify your day-to-day operations. They let you calculate accurate shipping rates and print shipping labels and packing slips in bulk. They can even grant you discounted shipping rates.

These programs are typically available as SaaS solutions that range in price from $25/month to $99/month — a small price to pay for the shipping issues they resolve.

It’s clear you should subscribe to a shipping software, but with so many options available, how do you choose?

We’ve tested out a handful of shipping solutions, examining price, ease of use, and customer service. Keep reading to learn more about the best shipping software for 2018.

1. ShippingEasy

With a near-perfect score of 4.5 stars, ShippingEasy (see our review) is our top-rated shipping solution for eCommerce businesses. This software is true to its name: it’s easy to learn and use and customer support representatives are ready to help with any potential hiccups.

Best For…

Businesses of all sizes. It works especially well for eCommerce merchants who run their own online stores.

Pricing

Pricing for ShippingEasy is simple and affordable; plans range from $29/month for 500 shipments to $99/month for 6,000 shipments. Each step up in pricing includes more monthly shipments and higher level customer support.

ShippingEasy has a free plan available for merchants shipping fewer than 50 shipments/month. For high volume sellers, ShippingEasy also offers enterprise options. Read more about ShippingEasy’s pricing in our full review.

Features

As I mentioned above, we found ShippingEasy to be highly user-friendly. You can easily import orders, create shipments, set shipping parameters, and buy and print postage, shipping labels, and packing slips.

We also like how many features come included with ShippingEasy. And we especially love the fact that ShippingEasy’s partnership with USPS lets you benefit from lower shipping rates. You can save up to 46% on shipping rates when you sign on for one of ShippingEasy’s paid plans.

Other features include:

  • A Free Endicia Account
  • Shipping Status Updates & Real-Time Tracking
  • Individual Or Batch Shipping

If you’re worried that ShippingEasy might not integrate into your eCommerce software, fear no more! ShippingEasy integrates easily with the biggest names in eCommerce, including 3dcart, Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion, and WooCommerce. View all of ShippingEasy’s integrations.

ShippingEasy also has a good record when it comes to customer service. Their support representatives are knowledgeable and helpful.

Takeaway

With so many positives to ShippingEasy, it’s hard to find any downsides. You should note, however, that ShippingEasy still has room to grow when it comes to simplifying their daily operations. In particular, users would like to see improvement in expediting the data entry process.

Otherwise, ShippingEasy is an excellent option. Take a look at our shipping software reviews to learn more about the software or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Read our full ShippingEasy review

Visit the ShippingEasy website

2. OrderCup

OrderCup (see our review) is one of our favorite shipping software solutions. OrderCup offers an easy to use interface, multi-carrier shipping options, and discounted shipping rates. And best of all, OrderCup provides users with reliable and responsive customer support, so you can get answers to your pressing questions quickly.

Best For…

Merchants who ship between 500 and 12,000 shipments a month and who only need up to 12 users on the platform. With five tiered pricing plans, OrderCup is accessible to many merchants.

Pricing

As I mentioned before, OrderCup separates pricing into five tiers. To add a little fun to the pricing, OrderCup has named each tier after a Starbucks drink size. Plans range from Short to Trenta, and each step up in pricing includes more sales channels, more monthly shipments, and more users.

The Short plan begins at $20/month for 500 monthly shipments, and Trenta costs $180/month for 12,000 monthly shipments.

For more information, view OrderCup’s pricing page.

Features

OrderCup’s dashboard is well-organized and quick to learn. During setup, you’ll be able to integrate your hosted shopping cart. Your online store’s orders will be automatically transferred to your OrderCup dashboard.

Then, you’ll be able to connect with your favorite carriers and start processing orders.

OrderCup’s feature list includes everything you’d expect from a multi-carrier shipping software. They have made arrangements with several carriers, including the USPS, DHL, UK Mail, and DX to offer their customers discounted shipping rates. You’ll also be able to integrate with worldwide shipping carriers across Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Here are a few more features you can expect from OrderCup:

  • Automate Your Shipping Process
  • Print Return Labels To Include With Shipments
  • Bulk Import Orders Using CSV Files
  • Schedule Shipment Pickups
  • Integrate With Third-Party Fulfillment

OrderCup integrates with many eCommerce solutions, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, and Volusion. Integrated marketplaces include Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Check the full list for more information.

Out of all these features, OrderCup users seem to be most enthusiastic about OrderCup’s support team. Support representatives are responsive and patient, often spending up to an hour on the phone with users to make sure everything is working properly. Users also praise OrderCup’s Canadian shipping options; it is easy to ship to and from Canada.

There are few negative comments about OrderCup online, though we have seen customers complain about having to pay extra in order to access phone support and get priority attention for their technical issues.

Takeaway 

OrderCup is one of our favorite shipping software programs, scoring an excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you think this software might be the right fit for your business, we recommend you try it out. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial in minutes.

But if you’d like a bit more information before you proceed, take a look at our complete review. We include in-depth information about pricing, customer service levels, and more.

Read our full OrderCup review

Visit the OrderCup website

3. Ordoro

Ordoro (see our review) is a shipping and inventory application designed for SMBs. Known for its drop-shipping features, Ordoro is particularly popular among Shopify users.

Best For…

Small to medium-sized businesses. Merchants who are planning to dropship can benefit especially from the software.

Pricing

With Ordoro, you have two options. You can use Ordoro to handle just your shipping, or you can have Ordoro handle shipping, inventory management, and dropshipping. Ordoro sets up their pricing structure differently, depending on which features you choose.

In my opinion, it’s best to use Ordoro for shipping only. Paid plans for shipping begin at $25/month and go to $129/month. Each step up in pricing includes additional features and monthly shipments. There’s also a free plan available for merchants shipping fewer than 50 orders/month.

Pricing for shipping and inventory management is structured much differently. The lowest plan costs $199/month for 700 orders. This plan includes drop shipping features. Plans can go as high as $499/month for 4,000 orders. For more information, view Ordoro’s pricing page.

Features

Ordoro comes with a minimalistic user interface. You can easily link your shopping cart to your new Ordoro account during setup. Then you’ll be able to sync your inventory and push new orders automatically to Ordoro. You can create shipping labels and packing slips one-by-one or in bulk.

Ordoro’s best feature is without a doubt their dropshipping functionality (available with shipping + inventory plans). You can set select items to ship directly from your supplier, and you can automatically split orders to dropship from multiple suppliers.

Here are a few more features that come with Orodoro:

  • Process Orders From Multiple Sales Channels
  • Integrate With USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post, & Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime
  • Best-In-Industry Shipping Rates (Up To 67% With USPS)
  • Tracking Number Automatically Sent To Customers Upon Shipment
  • Inventory Management (If You Choose To Purchase It)

Ordoro integrates with a wide variety of eCommerce solutions, including Shopify, BigCommerce, FBA, 3dcart, Magento, WooCommerce, and more. See if your preferred vendor is on the full list.

Ordoro users have a lot of good things to say about the platform. In particular, they praise Ordoro’s technical support options. Customers report that a real person will be available to answer your support concerns. On the off chance you can’t reach anyone, Ordoro’s knowledge base is detailed and well organized. You might find the information you need there.

I’ve seen a few negative reports of Ordoro. Some customers cite trouble syncing their Ordoro account with other software programs (namely Shopify and FedEx). Other customers complain that while Ordoro’s interface is easy to navigate, that simplicity is due to a lack of features.

Takeaway

In our opinion, Ordoro is best suited to small businesses, especially those that engage in a lot of dropshipping. To learn more about Ordoro, read our full review, or try out the platform yourself by signing up for a free 15-day trial.

Read our full Ordoro review

Visit the Ordoro website

4. ShipStation

ShipStation

ShipStation (see our review) is arguably the best-known shipping solution, partly due to the company’s excellent marketing campaigns and partly due to the numerous integrations they offer with major eCommerce vendors.

Best For…

Small to mid-sized businesses, particularly those which sell online.

Pricing

Pricing for ShipStation is on par with industry standards. You can choose from six pricing tiers, ranging from $9/month for 50 orders to $145/month for unlimited shipments. ShipStation does not offer a free plan, but they do offer a free 30-day trial of their software.

Features

When it comes to ease of use, ShipStation prioritizes functionality over aesthetics, which is perfectly fine by me!

If you have any trouble learning your way around, ShipStation provides video tutorials to help you figure out the admin. In general, we think that ShipStation is highly usable, though it may take some time to get the hang of the advanced tools.

ShipStation offers the basic collection of features, including the following:

  • Integrations For USPS, UPS, FedEx, & DHL Accounts
  • Discounts On USPS Priority & Express Mail
  • Stamps.com Account Included
  • Batch-Print Hundreds Of Shipping Labels & Packing Slips
  • Print A Return Label To Include In Your Shipments

ShipStation really shines when it comes to integrations. Check out this full list to see which eCommerce platforms, shipping carriers, and payment solutions integrate easily with ShipStation. Happily, it integrates with the most popular eCommerce solutions, including BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Volusion, Miva Merchant, and PrestaShop.

ShipStation’s customer service is available by email. They also provide live webinars, a knowledge base, and a community forum.

We see only one potential issue with ShipStation: it’s lacking customer management features. You cannot add identifying characteristics to a customer’s account, and ShipStation does not always recognize a customer when they make a second purchase on a different sales channel. However, for most users, this difficulty is not a deal breaker.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for an efficient, reliable shipping solution, ShipStation may be the way to go. Once you invest some time into learning the system, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of a feature-rich shipping solution.

Learn more about ShipStation in our full review or take it for a spin with a 30-day free trial.

Read our full ShipStation review

Visit the ShipStation website

 

5. ShipRush

ShipRush (see our review) is an affordable software solution that is designed to make shipping selection efficient. ShipRush displays rates from multiple different carriers on the same page in your admin, allowing you to quickly and easily choose the most cost-effective shipping rates. What’s more, ShipRush offers support for many different types of shipping, including individual package shipping, freight shipping, and LTL shipping. Keep reading to learn more about the merits of ShipRush.

Best For…

Merchants who need to ship freight. I would recommend ShipRush primarily to smaller businesses, as the pricing model is designed for three users (though more can be added on at an additional expense).

Pricing

ShipRush’s pricing model is simple. It is divided into two options: Web and Desktop.

ShipRush’s web option is based on a monthly payment model and costs $29.95/month for up to three users (additional users can be added on three at a time for an additional $29.95/month).

On the other hand, the ShipRush Desktop version can be purchased annually for $795/year per workstation.

Features

You can test out ShipRush for 60 days by signing up for a free trial. Once you sign up, you’ll be presented with this dashboard.

The dashboard is a bit austere, but we don’t mind much as ShipRush has proved itself to be very functional.

Once I got over the initial learning curve, I was able to calculate shipping rates and print shipping labels and packing slips easily.

Here are a few other features that ShipRush users benefit from:

  • Discounted Shipping Rates (Save Up To 60% On USPS Rates & 21% On FedEx Rates)
  • View Rates From Multiple Carriers On One Screen
  • Send Notifications To Customers When Orders Ship
  • Dropshipping Support
  • Print Scan-Based Return Labels

For the full list, head over to ShipRush’s website.

ShipRush integrates with over 75 eCommerce platforms, payment processors, shipping carriers, and accounting and CRM software apps. These integrations include 3dcart, Ecwid, LemonStand, Big Cartel, Shopify, FedEx, UPS, and USPS.

ShipRush has a lot of positives. Customers especially like the quality customer service and the relative ease of use. One downfall potential users should note is that merchants who maintain a large inventory (thousands of products) may have a hard time with the software. Creating shipping rules for all these different types of products could be more effort than it’s worth.

Takeaway

ShipRush is a great software for many businesses. It’s affordable, functional, and reliable, and you can test it out for yourself using their free 60-day trial.

For more information on ShipRush, take a look at our complete review of the platform. Otherwise, keep reading for more shipping options.

Read our full ShipRush review

Visit the ShipRush website

6. ShipHawk

ShipHawk (see our review) is a bit different than the alternative shipping software we cover above. While those software programs provide easy to use interfaces and hundreds of features, ShipHawk focuses its energy on one thing: an algorithm. ShipHawk is a complex shipping calculator, designed for large businesses and businesses that ship oversized or unique items.

Best For…

Larger businesses. ShipHawk’s cheapest plan is targeted at merchants who spend up to $500K on shipping annually. ShipHawk is also good for merchants who ship uniquely shaped or oversized items.

Pricing

ShipHawk offers three pricing tiers. With each step up in pricing, you’ll be able to ship more parcels and freight and have access to more advanced features and technical support.

The Starter plan starts at $250/month and is for merchants who spend up to $500K on shipping annually. Then there’s the Pro plan, which begins at $2K/month and is intended for annual shipping expenses up to $2M; finally, there’s the Enterprise plan, for an annual spend of up to $25M. Enterprise begins at $4,500/month.

As you can see, ShipHawk is not a cheap platform. It is designed for high volume shippers who need a high volume platform.

Features

In order to test out ShipHawk, you can sign up for a free demo of the starter plan. I didn’t find ShipHawk to be as intuitive as other shipping software apps I’ve tested. However, given time, I was able to figure out a few features. And as a whole, the dashboard seems well designed.

As I’ve mentioned before, ShipHawk works a bit differently than most shipping software when it comes to features. While ShipHawk does offer some of your typical features, they primarily advertise the calculator behind the software. ShipHawk will help estimate expenses for hard-to-ship items.

Here are a few of the more notable features:

  • Get Quotes From Multiple Carriers
  • Real-Time Tracking Updates
  • API: Integrate With Shipping Carriers & Shopping Cart Software
  • Set Up Automatic Shipping Rules
  • Provide Shipping Options To Customers

ShipHawk advertises that you can integrate with most software solutions through their API. You can expect to find pre-built integrations with a few shipping carriers and shopping carts, including DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, Magento, Shopify, and more.

Customer feedback regarding ShpHawk is very limited. However, after some time searching the web, I was able to find a few comments. Customers primarily love ShipHawk’s customer service and robust calculation abilities. I myself was a bit disappointed with ShipHawk’s support material. There did not seem to be enough tutorial information to help me set up the program.

Takeaway

ShipHawk is not the right fit for many of our readers. However, if you ship thousands of products each month and you need access to freight and individual shipments, ShipHawk may be right for you. Test it out with a free demo and read our review for more information.

Read our full ShipHawk review

Visit the ShipHawk website

Get Started!

If you’re tired of losing yourself in packing peanuts and misplaced notes-to-self, try out one of these software options. You’ll find that shipping is much less of a chore when order processing and fulfillment is automated, organized, and synchronized. With many solutions beginning at $25/month, shipping software is a small investment that could do a lot for your business. Click one of the buttons above to get started with a free trial, or search our site for more quality shipping software reviews.

Good luck, and happy shipping!

The post Best Shipping Software For 2018 appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software

Best small business software

For most small business owners, it’s a jungle out there. Danger lurks around every corner, predators seem to be silently stalking your every movement, and – in the immortal words of Jethro Tull – the rivers are full of crocodile nasties. Let’s face it, when it comes to start-ups and small businesses the statistics are grim. According to one recent study, the failure rate of retail establishments after four years is over 50%, and businesses in the service industry usually meet the same fate. Sadly, restaurants tend to do even worse, and the majority are forced to close their doors before a decade has passed.

There are many reasons why businesses eventually fail – bad locations, limited staff, a poor economic climate, etc. But experts are beginning to agree that most failed businesses (no matter what industry they belong to) have one, very important factor in common: inexperience on the part of the owners/managers. It’s all very well to follow your dreams, but man does not live on dreams alone. For most of us, a little thing called money is required if we want to eat, access our electricity, wash our clothes, keep our children shod, etc. That’s right, money. It’s what you get when you run a business that brings in more revenue than it puts out. That sounds so simple: spend less than you make. But the reality is that pulling in a profit takes knowledge, skill, and access to the proper tools. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve opened up a cat-grooming boutique or finally launched that grilled-cheese food truck you’ve always wanted – if you don’t know what you’re doing when you set out, and/or don’t bother to learn as you go, you might as well throw your seed money down the storm drain.

Fortunately, at Merchant Maverick (MM), we understand how hard it can be to start a business – let alone to keep one going for more than a year or two. You shouldn’t have to do everything by yourself – keeping up with inventory, payment processing, invoicing, shipping, point of sale, website design and the like is nearly impossible without the right equipment (good ol’ pen and paper just doesn’t cut it anymore). The good news? Advances in software and cloud technology have resulted in some pretty impressive small business tools. Even better news? The writers and reviewers at MM have invested thousands of hours researching, testing, and rating small business services/software. In other words, we know our stuff. Running a business is a tremendous burden, but the heavy lifting has already been done – we’ve done if for you – and all you need do is benefit from our years of experience.

Each company below has undergone a rigorous evaluation by an experienced MM reviewer. We scoured websites, read help articles, and browsed through user forums. We talked to customer service and saw for ourselves how responsive they were. And most importantly, we tested the actual software or service ourselves. The following are our reviewers’ top small business software picks for merchant services/payment processing as well as for mobile payments, shopping carts, point of sale, accounting, inventory management, invoicing, booking, email marketing, CRM, project management, loyalty rewards, and website building.

So, without further ado, let the awards ceremony for the best small business software begin!

Merchant Account Providers

Winner: Dharma Merchant Services

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Dharma Merchant Services is one of our all-time favorite companies, period, here at Merchant Maverick. Defined by exceptional customer support, low-cost hardware, excellent industry connection, and reasonable negotiation-free rates and fees, Dharma is an ideal option for small businesses with in-person sales. It distinguishes itself from the competition by using only interchange-plus pricing and charging no early termination fees or monthly minimums. There are no annual fees, no application fees, and no pesky PCI compliance fees to deal with either. In addition, this company dedicates 50% of its net profits to charity. Dharma is basically a paragon of integrity, honesty, and respect, and it’s worth its weight in gold in this sometimes unscrupulous industry,

There is one small catch: businesses must process at least $10K per month to use Dharma Merchant Services. Businesses with smaller revenue streams are directed instead to Flint Mobile (see review below).

Dharma offers amazing in-house customer support during business hours (8:00am – 5:00pm Pacific Time). If you need support outside this time frame, you will be directed elsewhere, depending on the severity of your issue and what processor you’re using.

To read more about Dharma Merchant Services, see our full review here.

Runner-Up: CDGcommerce

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Boasting a great reputation and a low monthly base fee (which includes access to Quantum gateway), CDG Commerce is a budget friendly alternative to Dharma Merchant Services, especially for low-volume merchants or web-based businesses. CDG was established in 1998, and has had plenty of time to cultivate a reputation for honesty and excellence. In fact, customer complaints are nearly non-existent, which is a miracle in itself after nearly 20 years in business. Like Dharma, CDG offers interchange-plus pricing, does not charge an early termination fee, and has no gateway setup fees or PCI compliance fees.

CDG Commerce charges only $10 per month in base fees; beyond that, you can pick and choose which additional services you want to pay for. This is a great system, as it ensures that you won’t be stuck buying things you neither want, nor need.

CDG offers live chat, email, and phone support 24/7. In our experience, support staff is helpful, knowledgeable, and scrupulously honest.

Click here to read our full review of CDGcommerce.

Mobile Payments

Winner: Flint Mobile

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Flint Mobile is our overall top pick for mobile, based primarily on its speed, ease of use, reliability, and price point. To start off, it doesn’t offer a swiper – not a free one, not a paid one, just no reader whatsoever. You can either key in card numbers or simply use your phone’s camera to scan numbers instead. That in and of itself significantly reduces the cost for setting up your account. Flint therefore has the ability to offer lower rates, which is exactly what they do. And with a ridiculously low rate for processing debit alongside a very fair credit rate, they’re nearly impossible to beat.

Flint has only two rates:

  • Debit transactions: 1.95%
  • Credit transactions: 2.95%

Yep, that’s it. It doesn’t get more complicated than that at any point: there are no per transaction fees, no non-qualified fees, and no surcharges of any kind. Flint Mobile runs transactions at a much faster speed than other similar apps, and while it might take a couple tries to get your scanning settings set up the way you like, Flint makes customization an easy and intuitive process. Our one complaint is that they do not provide any means for printing a paper receipt.

One very important thing to mention about Flint Mobile is that, even with the EMV liability shift (effective October 1st, 2015), users have no need to upgrade hardware. The camera scan will continue to work as it always has, with no change to liability. Currently it’s the only mobile processor we’re aware of that will securely process chip cards with no hardware upgrade.

This app can’t replace a full-feature tablet POS, but it comes with a number of amazing features (integrated QR coupons, invoicing, customizable receipts, etc.) and executes service flawlessly. If you’re looking for a sensible, surefire way to accept payments and grow your clientele, you can’t go wrong with Flint Mobile.

If you’d like more information about Flint Mobile, check out our full review.

Runner-Up: Payline Data

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Payline Data is mostly a standard merchant account provider, but it has a good mobile solution and low-volume fee structure. Extra services are offered as-needed, so you only have to pay for what you need. There are two pricing models (to accommodate both low and high volume merchants):

Simple (Under $5,000 per month)

  • $5 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.50%
  • $0.10 per transaction

Pro (Over $5,000 per month)

  • $20 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.20%
  • $0.10 per transaction

We really appreciate the number of customer service and support outlets Payline provides, and it has an extensive knowledge base and FAQ for self-service support, which is quite nice.

Payline Data delivers on any businesses essential needs, and has managed to maintain positive reviews and a spotless reputation since 2009 – which is no small task in the credit card processing industry. In general, it’s a great pick for mobile processing for small businesses everywhere.

Find out more about Payline Data by reading our full review here.

Shopping Carts

Winner: Shopify

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Shopify is unique in that it can be used as a physical POS or an online shopping cart or both at once. This inherent flexibility gives it a clear edge over other shopping carts, and its low price point make it well within the reach for small businesses, even those with strained budgets. Shopify is the industry standard for shopping cart software, and for good reason. There are never any limits to the number of products you can sell, which is nice, though there aren’t many limits to the software in general.

All Shopify plans come with a full 14-day (no credit card required) trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees. Plans range from $14/month to $179/month with rates ranging from 2.9% + 30¢ to 2.4% + 30¢. You can pay on a month-to-month basis, but you’ll receive a 10% discount if you choose to pay for one year up front (a 20% discount is offered for those who sign a two-year contract). We’re not terribly fond of Shopify’s transaction fees, unfortunately, although they do get waived if you use Shopify as your credit card processor.

Shopify is eminently user friendly, and the cart is easy to set up and easy to manage. In our experience, the software works flawlessly from the point of view of both the customer and the merchant, and it is one of the most feature-rich carts available. It is accessible for online mavens, but it is also well within the reach of newcomers and amateurs. Shopify offers a number of apps, some of which are free and some of which may cost a small fee. You can check out Shopify’s App Store to browse offerings.

Customer support is available via phone, email, and live chat, but there are other great self-help resources as well, including a support center, Knowledge Base, a discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page where you can find experienced professionals in design, marketing, development, and photography.

For more information, click here to read our full review of Shopify.

Runner-Up: Ecwid

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Ecwid, the “go anywhere, sell anything, no manual required” shopping cart, is designed for small eCommerce businesses, as well as for individual sellers and start-ups. We’re big fans of Ecwid, and there are two main reasons why. Firstly, it is extremely ubiquitous, and capable of integrating with nearly every existing website, from social media platforms to blogs. Secondly, it is so reasonably priced, compared to its competitors, that you would be foolish not to take it out for spin. Unlike most shopping carts, there is no typical “free trial period” for Ecwid. Instead, you can simply try out the Free Plan (the obvious advantage to doing this is that your services won’t be cancelled after your trial period ends).

Ecwid offers unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and no transaction fees on every subscription level, even the free plan. Paid plans range from $15/month to $99/month. Personal support by email and online chat are only available at higher subscription levels.

Like Shopify, Ecwid gives you the option to use the software as a physical POS. However, this function is really best suited for online-only business owners who want the option of having a mobile or “pop up shop” operation, but aren’t trying to maintain a physical storefront at all times.

In general, Ecwid is a solid product with great, user-friendly elements. It’s not the best solution for high-volume sales, but most companies out there (especially startups and very small businesses) will be fully satisfied with its features and ease of use.

Read our full review of Ecwid to learn more.

POS Software

Winner: ShopKeep

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ShopKeep is one of the best software solutions we’ve ever encountered at Merchant Maverick. This simple, elegant, and visually-appealing cloud-based POS has carved out a solid niche catering to small-business food and beverage sellers. For a very low monthly cost, ShopKeep can help you manage your inventory, customers, employees, as well as record transactions and offer a variety of reporting options (for analyzing all this data).

ShopKeep does not require you to sign a contract. It is a pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription service. There are no extra maintenance fees, and what’s more impressive, tech support is 100% included in the monthly charge. The actual pricing system is beautifully simple as well: $49/month/register.

Other than it’s extremely reasonable price point, ShopKeep’s biggest selling point is its ease-of-use. There is very little learning curve involved, and even the most technologically deficient should have no problem learning the ins and outs of this software in a matter of days (or hours, more likely).

Customer support is fantastic, and unlimited email, live chat, or phone is included in the monthly price. The support page on the company website is also fantastic, and offers comprehensive articles and video tutorials on every aspect of the software.

Read our full review of ShopKeep if you’d like more details.

Runner-Up: SalesVu

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SalesVu is a perfect POS for the average small business, offering a robust feature set at a competitive price. eCommerce options are built right into the software, so you can design your own site from the back office without ever having to pay for (and integrate) Shopify or hire an expensive third party designer. Integrated eCommerce also ensures that communications between the web store and the brick and mortar store are smooth and seamless.

Prices range from $25/month to $150/month, depending on how many features you need (things like time tracking, accounting, etc. are a bit extra). Basically, SalesVu can be as affordable as you need it to be. Additionally, when you open an account with SalesVu you get a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit (for some small business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need).

Customer service is good, but the primary strengths of this software are found in its intuitive interface and broad flexibility. It is so much more than just a mobile cash register. With SalesVu, you can monitor inventory, create detailed reports, design custom discounts and promotions, maintain an active customer database, and manage employees – and you can do all these things anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Opening an account with SalesVu gets you a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit. For some business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need.

SalesVu integrates with SalesVu Easy Accounting, Quickbooks, Facebook, and Zapper.

You can check out our full review of SalesVu for more information.

Accounting Software

Winner: Xero

best small business accounting software

It’s not hard to see why Xero takes the prize for best small business accounting software. It is mobile, cloud-based, easy-to-use, and extremely comprehensible for the small business owner who is handling finances on his/her own (click here for a full list of features). While it can be more expensive long-term than something like QuickBooks Pro, small business owners – especially those who aren’t accountants by nature or profession – are more likely to enjoy using a simple, intuitive program like Xero.

There are multiple pricing plans available, ranging from $9/month to $70/month (these prices include updates as they are released, usually every 3-6 weeks). Small companies with limited invoicing needs would have to look far and wide for a similarly robust accounting/payroll package that trumps Xero’s $9/month price tag. And happily, you don’t have to sign a contract with Xero; plans are paid by the month and you can basically cancel the service at any time. Xero offers a 25% discount for non-profits and a 15% discount on your total bill if you subscribe for multiple businesses. If you do feel comfortable making a commitment and signing up for a 6 month subscription, you’ll get a 30% discount.

There are only a few minor problems with Xero, one of which is slow customer support response times. Customer service is offered 24/7, year-round, but some customers have complained of long response times, cut-and-paste answers to questions, and reps who don’t seem to actually know how to use the software. This would be a much bigger deal if Xero was complex or had a steep learning, curve, but it’s not as alarming considering the software’s general simplicity and ease of use. Furthermore, many customers praise Xero’s level of customer service, and the wait times are comparable to those of other accounting software programs.

One real perk of using Xero is that it integrates with over 400 other applications which can facilitate nearly every aspect of business operation, including inventory management, CRM, and POS (some of these are only available to certain countries; in the U.S., there are about 350 Xero integrations available). 

Read our full review of Xero here.

Runner-Up: QuickBooks Pro

Best small business accounting software

Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro is a robust, feature-rich accounting solution, perfect in many ways for small business (to see a full list of features, click here). It is locally installed software, which results in lower per-year costs and more features than your typical cloud-based software, so if you’re willing to deal with a pretty steep learning curve at the beginning (especially difficult for people who have no previous accounting background), then QB Pro can be an excellent way to save money in your accounting budget. Though it lacks the convenience of a cloud based solution – you don’t get automatic, routine updates or instant access to new features – it is a very viable accounting solution for companies with complex bookkeeping needs.

QuickBooks Pro’s list price is $299.95. This might seem a bit high compared to something like Xero, but keep in mind that QB Pro requires a one-time purchase and does not use a subscription model — and it is nearly always available at a discount. While there’s no free trial available, Intuit does back QB Pro with a 60-day guarantee; if you return the program for any reason within 60 days, you can get a full refund. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the purchase price does not include updates, nor do you get full tech support or bank feeds. It’s also worth noting that customer service tends to be slow.

One comment we’ve noticed often on user reviews is that, while people aren’t particularly enthusiastic about QB Pro, it works and does what it’s supposed to do; many claim that it’s the best accounting program available. While that’s far from a resounding recommendation, it’s also true that despite its drawbacks, for many businesses, QB Pro is more than adequate. And whether you love it or hate it, QuickBooks Pro is often the best option for the money.

Read our full review of QB Pro here.

Inventory Management Software

Winner: Stitch Labs

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Stitch, the flagship product of Stitch Labs, is a cloud-based inventory management solution with tons of functionality, myriad useful integrations, and fantastic customer service. Designed to combine inventory, billing, accounting, shipping, and eCommerce features with your choice of 3rd party integrations, Stitch is the do-it-all, full service inventory solution. As the name would suggest, it is intended to be the thread that holds the backend of your company firmly together. Really, its only flaw is that is designed exclusively for American companies. International businesses will have to look elsewhere. 

Price plans range from $29/month to $449/month, not bad considering how many features this software brings to the table. What’s more, Stitch is easy to use, even for the uninitiated. The UI is clean, understated, and intuitive. Within a few minutes of signing up, you should feel like a pro, able to create products and customer contacts and generate sales orders with ease. It’s easy to pick up on your own just by experimentation, but if you’re queasy about finding your own way around, you can reference one of the many tutorials on each page that take you step-by-step through all the basic tasks.

In general, the customer service department is responsive and helpful. Our questions were promptly answered (never longer than 24 hours, even on the weekend), and ticket creation happened immediately, so we always had a case number to reference and never felt lost in the shuffle. Not surprisingly, the Stitch Labs support team is highly praised all over the web.

Stitch integrates with a large number of other programs and applications, including Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and Square, to name just a few. And when you combine an excellent selection of integrations with powerful suite of tools,you’ve got inventory management software that is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.

You can read more about Stitch Labs in our full review.

Runner-Up: TradeGecko

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TradeGecko, a cloud-based inventory application for small to medium sized businesses, is comparable to Stitch Labs in functionality and number of integrations, but is more geared toward international companies (it still works well for American companies, if you don’t mind a time difference with the support staff).

The design of this software emphasizes collaboration, group workflows, and activity feeds. This means that you can reference sales information, purchase orders, and stock levels at once, and they will all update in real time. TradeGecko is intuitive and easy to use, and has a clean – if spartan – UI which is perfect for a bookkeeping system.

TradeGecko offers a free 14-day trial, no credit card required. Plans range from $49/month to $399/month, though you can get a monthly discount if you commit to paying for a year up-front. The company provides a detailed knowledge base, with step-by-step instructions for performing many tasks, and it also offers 24 hour customer support. On the whole, our support experience was positive, though a few of our tickets took longer than we would have liked to resolve.

Integrations include Shopify, Salesforce, Xero, Magento, Quickbooks Online, Amazon, and WooCommerce (to name a few). All in all, TradeGecko isn’t the cheapest product on the market (which is why it’s the runner up for this category) but it is so intuitive and feature rich that small to medium-sized businesses with a budget to kick around should give it a look.

For more information about TradeGecko, read our full review here.

Invoicing Software

Winner: Freshbooks

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Officially, Freshbooks is a web-based accounting solution, though it is fair to say that it’s best utilized for its incredible invoicing features. This software is tailor made for independent contractors and small, service-based businesses; it is easy to use, has lots of interesting features (including time tracking, reporting, and expenses), and integrates with a huge variety of 3rd party applications.

Pricing, unfortunately, is a bit steep for the target market (small businesses), though there is a free plan which allows you to manage a single client. Paid plan range from $19.95/month to $39.95/month. Customer support is available Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm EST. In our experience, representatives are remarkably quick to respond to emails (usually within 20 minutes during business hours) and are courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable.

As mentioned above, FreshBooks offers more than 60 integrations and add-ons including  PayPal, Shopify, Basecamp, and Stripe. It is as comprehensive an invoicing solution as you could hope for, especially since it does offer other perks, like reporting.

You can read our full review of FreshBooks here.

Runner-Up: Invoiceable

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Invoiceable is simple, easy to use software that allows you to create professional looking invoices. It’s actually free to all, with no feature limits, though you can opt to pay a one-time fee to remove the company’s branding from your invoices: this is a perk that no other free invoicing program offers. Additionally, unlike many of the other major free invoicing programs, Invoiceable isn’t just a wimpy, scaled-back version of a paid service. You can have as many clients and send as many invoices as you like.

Of course, with a completely free service you’re going to miss certain features that come with a paid subscription. Support, for example, is unreliable and sporadic. Response times can vary between 1-12 days, and sometimes you may not get any response at all. There is also limited sales tax functionality, which means that the software really only works for businesses that charge a single, across the board tax rate, or don’t charge tax at all.

That said, if you are a freelancer or own a very small business with relatively low sales volume, this may be all you need for now. It’s leaps and bounds better than simply typing out your invoices into MS Word or Excel, and it is one of the best free options out there that both allow you to have unlimited clients and actually works in the United States! The interface is basic and intuitive, and while customer service is slow, you probably won’t need it most of the time. If this sounds like a good match for you, we suggest you try it out. You’ve got nothing to lose – after all, it’s free.

Read our full review of Invoiceable here.

CRM Software

Winner: Zoho CRM

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User-friendly, reasonably-priced, and full of useful features, Zoho CRM is our favorite customer relations management software, hands down. It’s not hard to see why we’re such big fans. The “building blocks” which make up the Zoho CRM logo are not there for design purposes alone; these blocks allude to the fact that the Zoho team has developed many other business applications, all capable of working together seamlessly (much like Google Apps). In addition, Zoho has an well-deserved reputation for integrating nicely with a number of 3rd party add-ons, including MailChimp, Unbounce, Google Apps, MS Office, and Quickbooks (see a full list of add-ons and integrations here). In short, Zoho CRM software can adjust to any size business, be whatever you need it to be, and grow with you as your business expands.

You can try Zoho CRM for free with a 15-day trial of their Professional package. After that, pricing breaks down as follows:

  • Entrepreneur: Free, up to 3 users
  • Standard: $12/user/month
  • Professional: $20/user/month
  • Enterprise: $35/user/month

24-hour Mon-Fri telephone support is available to paying customers, though those using their free edition are limited to email support. However, your email questions can be flagged according to urgency, so that important queries do not fall to the wayside.

You would be hard pressed to find a CRM that provides more functionality at a lower cost. Zoho CRM is, without a doubt, the most bang for your buck.

Read our full review of Zoho CRM here.

Runner-Up: CleverTim

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Clevertim is a cloud-based CRM system with a firm mission: to cater specifically to small businesses. With a surprisingly reasonable price point, a clean, user-friendly UI, and the ability to integrate with 3rd party developers (via an open API), Clevertim may just be as clever as its name suggests. The only chink in Clevertim’s armor is the lack of a mobile app. As it is now, the app functions smoothly on a desktop, but is only so-so on a tablet and virtually nonexistent on a phone.

Clevertim offers a 30 day free trial. After that, plans range from absolutely free to $99/month. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription at any time. Unlike most other CRM systems, Clevertim does not charge on a per-user basis. Instead, each plan has a user limit. There is also  customized pricing available, which allows you to upgrade the number of users allowed in your plan.

Clevertim is relatively new and does not yet have its own dedicated Technical Support team. However, queries can be sent to the company either via web tickets or through the sales email address.

Read our review of Clevertim here.

Booking Software

Winner: BookingBug

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BookingBug can do just about anything you would expect from scheduling software, but still manages to be accessible and intuitive. Many companies claim to be versatile, but this software actually is designed for a wide variety of industries, making it one of the only options out there for B&Bs or bike rental shops, and a better option than most for medium-sized spas and salons. It is a perfect tool for businesses that want to offer combination services while managing limited resources and limited staff (see a full list of features here). It is distinct from other appointment booking software other ways as well: first, it’s designed for serious scalability – which again validates its claim to be “the only real-time distributed booking and reservation system that works for all business types” –  and second, it integrates with a vast number of 3rd-party apps all over the world. This is a company that prides itself on innovation and flexibility.

Plans run from $19.95/month to $69.95/month, or you can scale up to an Enterprise plan, which are priced on an individual basis. Customer service comes free with your account. Like most companies, BookingBug relies heavily on email support, but phone support is available for some of the more expensive plans. We received helpful responses to our email inquiries within hours – always a great sign.

One terrific thing about BookingBug is that it offers your customers the option to make online payments (full or partial, including pre-payment and bulk payments); you can also issue full or partial refunds directly through the site via one of the software’s numerous payment integrations. BookingBug integrates with programs like MailChimp, WordPress, Facebook, and Dropbox as well.

There isn’t much negative feedback about the company online or in user reviews. Granted, some people have complained about issues with their mobile apps, but BookingBug’s receptivity and responsiveness to these issues speaks well about the company’s commitment to customer service.

To read our full review of BookingBug, click here.

Runner Up: Bookeo

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Bookeo is cloud-based booking software with a lot to offer. Not only does it include important booking features, but it provides a surprising variety of marketing solutions, integrates with many payment platforms and third party applications, and boasts excellent security features. This is innovative software as it is, and Bookeo continues to improve with age; significant new feature releases occur every few months, and updates are frequent. The only consistent complaint disappointed reviewers have is with its lack of phone support. (Bookeo relies on email and a store of 300 tutorials for its customer support.)

Bookeo’s pricing differs by product (in other words, by whether you want to book appointments, classes, or tours), but each version offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee on the first paid month of subscription. Bookeo accounts do not require set-up or processing fees and you don’t have to sign a contract – always a good sign.

One of the best things about Bookeo is that it is user-friendly. Action items and information are intuitive and clearly distinguishable, and the software in general is organized neatly, in a very manageable way. There isn’t much setup support, unfortunately, but the self-help tutorials available are precise, and sufficient enough to help you circumvent most major problems.

Customer service centers on the Bookeo Help Portal, which consists of 300 tutorials and an email support form. There is no phone support, however, and this is the only consistent complaint from disappointed reviewers. You can receive some support via a live chat option on Bookeo’s promotional website.

Read more about Bookeo here, in our full review.

Email Marketing Software

Winner: MailChimp

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At Merchant Maverick, we’re all in agreement that MailChimp is the boss when it comes to email marketing. It’s a mature, time-tested software with reasonable pricing plans, a great selection of features, and tons of integration, and it scales well to just about any size campaign. Better yet, for users with modest needs, MailChimp offers a robust, flat-out generous free plan which lets you have up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. There’s only one real catch: if you do your email marketing with the free plan, there will be a small MailChimp badge at the bottom of every email you send out. 

Paid plans come in two basic varieties: send-based (pay as you go) and list-based (monthly). These plans are fairly specific and complex, so if you’d like more details about pricing you should navigate here.

MailChimp is generally very easy to use, and signing up for a MailChimp account is simple; enter a name and email address and you’re on your way. The customer support system is pretty extensive as well, though it lacks telephone support, which is slightly disappointing. However, our experience with them has been good; representatives were courteous and well-informed, and inquiries were answered in anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 hours, depending on urgency. MailChimp’s biggest selling point, however, is that it offers over 500 integrations and add-ons. (These include Google Analytics, Zendesk, SHopify, Magento, and Salesforce).

Check out our full review of MailChimp here.

Runner-Up: AWeber

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AWeber appeals to a smaller niche than MailChimp, but it’s still incredibly easy to use and quite affordable. It comes with some very nice features, especially for businesses which want to send all new subscribers the same series of messages: the autoresponder setup in particular is easy, intuitive, and well explained within the program, and users have a lot of options. 

AWeber offers a free 30-day trial for lists of up to 500 subscribers. After that first month, there is a single list-based pricing plan available. It’s reasonably priced for the most part, but so robust that very small companies may find they are paying for lots of extra features they may not even require. If you don’t need much from your email marketing tool, you might be better off with MailChimp’s generous free plan.

In general, AWeber finds a healthy balance between ease of use and high functionality. Navigation is remarkably intuitive, considering the number of features available. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor has some quite impressive characteristics, and recent updates to the software have have managed to significantly improve the email design experience. Additionally, the analytics and reporting capabilities are well above par for an email marketing tool of this type, as are AWeber’s investment in numerous 3rd-party integrations.

Our experiences with customer support have been positive overall. As a rule, we’ve found AWeber’s representatives to be friendly, helpful, and prompt in responding to queries. Response times to our inquiries varied in time between 20 minutes and 6 business hours.

Read our full review of AWeber here.

Project Management Software

Winner: Trello

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Trello is a visually-oriented, Kanban-based project management tool that works by allowing users to see and manage their tasks and projects via detailed ‘cards’ which are then pinned onto ‘boards.’ At its most basic level, Trello is an ingenious way to create and organize a set of virtual 3×5 cards without the risk of misplacing them, but it also can also work as a simple task management tool, offering features like file storage and automatic email notifications.

The standard, free version of Trello allows for unlimited boards, users, and attachments (with a 10 MB max per file upload). However, for a fee, Trello also offers two upgraded versions of the software: $3.75/user or $5/user

Trello’s simple, visually-appealing UI makes it incredibly easy to use; there is almost no learning curve involved. A mere five minutes after I signed up I was able to navigate the software quickly, creating cards and boards like a pro. It may be integrated with several 3rd party apps, including Zapier, Google Drive, Box. Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Trello provides email support (via [email protected]) to all users during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST).

Not only is this software reasonably priced, but it is characterized by elegance, simplicity, and user-friendliness. It would be difficult to find a basic project management solution with a more intuitive, visually-appealing design. And in terms of sheer adoptability – of getting your employees to actually use a software-based task management tool – Trello scores extremely high.

You can check out our full review of Trello if you’d like more information.

Runner Up: Basecamp

basecamp-logo

With over 9,000,000 current users, Basecamp is considered the most popular cloud-based project management software system of all time. It is, without doubt, one of the most user-friendly project management programs out there. When it comes down to brass tacks, simplicity is an enormously valuable characteristic, and Basecamp is just that – simple. This is project management software at its most basic and effortless level.

This software is celebrated for its no-frills, no-fuss pricing system. There are no hidden fees and no per-user costs. Plans range from $20/month to $150/month. Features include task tracking, a calendar, email notifications and a daily recap of activities, text documents (basically giant legal pads), and very simple reporting.

Basecamp is known for fast, reliable service. While they don’t provide the level of immediate personal support that you can get from other software companies (read: no phone or live chat support), the folks at Basecamp respond quickly to email requests and offer a large variety of ready-made aids and live training tools.

Basecamp itself is a pretty basic program, but there are a huge number of optional 3rd party applications available if you want or need to increase software’s functionality. You can see a complete list of Basecamp integrations on the official product website

If you have plain, bread-and-butter management requirements, we think you’ll find that Basecamp is a suitable, extremely affordable way to go. One of the best things about Basecamp is the fact that it is designed, updated, and supported by an established parent company. It is a sure bet, in other words.

Read more about Basecamp in our full review.

Shipping Software

Winner: ShipStation

shipstation-logo

ShipStation is a reasonably-priced, web-based shipping solution for eCommerce retailers. Designed to streamline the fulfillment process as much as possible, this software has invested in a huge number of integrations that make it possible for you to sync up your business with the most popular sales channels, shopping carts, payment gateways, and mail carriers.

Pricing plans range from $25/month to $145/month. There’s a free 30-day trial that includes access to all features, with no credit card required. If you’re not satisfied with the product within 90 days, ShipStation offers a full refund, no questions asked.

The user interface can be a bit overwhelming at first, as there multiple options, menus, and sub-menus displayed on most pages. A bit of patience is definitely required when you start out, though you can take advantage of a number of video tutorials, a large knowledge base, and a pretty robust community forum if you run into trouble. Actually, you can have your own personal account manager if you want, and this person will help guide you through the setup phase of your account. Some of the higher paid plans can receive chat support as well. In general, customer support is slightly disappointing, and the responses we received to queries were somewhat boilerplate and indifferent.

One of ShipStation’s biggest selling points is that it integrates with an enormous number of carriers, marketplaces and shopping carts, especially when compared to the competition, including FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Fulfillment by Amazon, as well as Shopify, Etsy, Magento, Square, eBay, etc. The list goes on.

Check out our full review of ShipStation for more information.

Runner-Up: ShipWorks

shipworks-logo

ShipWorks is probably the best shipping software available, though unfortunately it’s a PC-only app (which removes about half of the world’s users) and the learning curve is extremely high. The good news is that this software, which is designed to streamline the order fulfillment process for small to large businesses, has many amazing features you can’t find in other shipping applications. With a few clicks, ShipWorks can download shipping information from an online sales channel, calculate and print postage, generate labels, packing slips, and more. Combine this functionality with integrations for over 40 different mail carriers and eCommerce platforms, and you’ve got a shipping solution that really packs a wallop. Additionally, ShipWorks scales well, in a way that its SaaS competitors don’t.

Cost per month is determined by two different factors: shipment volume and number of licenses. Shipment volume is divided into three tiers:

  • $14.95/month for 0-99 shipments/month
  • $29.95/month for 100-999 shipments/month
  • $49.95/month for 1,000+ shipments/month

The price for shipment volume is then added to your licensing fee to determine the monthly bill. How much you pay for licensing is based on the number of online sales channels you use with ShipWorks.

Our own experiences with ShipWorks support have been positive. Turnaround times on support tickets were 24 hours or less, and we never had trouble reaching anybody on the phone. The Knowledge Base is extensive, and covers everything from setup and configuration to online marketplaces and shipping providers. What’s more, the articles are clearly written and provide plenty of screenshots.

As I mentioned above, ShipWorks integrates with a huge variety of shipping carriers and online marketplaces (including USPS, FedEx, UPS, Magento, Etsy, Shopify, Volusion), but if you happen to use a store that isn’t directly supported by ShipWorks, you can always work with a developer and use the ShipWorks Generic API to create your own integrations.

Click here to read our full review of ShipWorks.

Loyalty Rewards Software

Winner: Sweet Tooth

sweet-tooth-rewards-logo

Sweet Tooth is a prolific loyalty rewards software that currently works with over 3500 merchants worldwide, including Delta, Universal, and Olympus. Sweet Tooth is dedicated to increasing customer engagement, and case studies from many of the clients mentioned above have demonstrated nearly 20% increases in customer lifetime values, sales and repeat purchases. It is complex software with a high learning curve, but in general, the benefits of using a robust loyalty rewards software outweigh the inconvenience of having to learn how to use it! Sweet Tooth is an ideal solution for both eCommerce merchants and merchants who use combined methods of commerce.

Sweet Tooth works best – and is most full featured – when it’s used through Magento, though you can use a lighter, simpler version of Sweet Tooth on BigCommerce or Shopify (this is free for up to 500 customers). Sweet Tooth subscription plans are offered monthly and automatically renew unless cancelled. Plans begin at $49/month, and are broken down by loyalty point transactions and annual revenue generated on Magento. If your activity exceeds the limitations of your plan you will be required to upgrade to the next available plan. You can view the full pricing details for Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento on the Sweet Tooth website.

Customer service is available Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST. Overall, our experience with Sweet Tooth has been positive. Everyone we’ve spoken to at the company has been knowledgeable and friendly, and most reviewers on Magento cite the technical support as an essential part of their loyalty program.

Read our full review of Sweet Tooth if you’re interested in learning more.

Runner-Up: Belly

belly-logo

Belly provides a more hassle-free loyalty rewards program than Sweet Tooth, and is ideal for smaller businesses with brick and mortar store fronts (such as bakeries, cafes, grocers, bars, spas, fitness clubs and boutiques). What’s really unique about Belly, though, are its customizeable rewards offerings and “all in one box” setup, which includes an iPad (with stand and combination lock), data reports, a personal support representative, social media integrations, and email marketing tools. Even more significantly, Belly customers get a mobile page for their business on the Belly app, where potential customers can look to find Belly-compatible businesses.

Monthly subscription costs range from $99 – $199, and all contracts run for 12 months. The cost of the iPad, iPad stand, application software, and unlimited rewards cards are included in the subscription costs for the highest plan, but an additional $150 installation fee is charged for lower plans.

Right now there are only a few drawbacks to Belly, most important of which is its steep price. Customer service can be a bit spotty as well, and unfortunately, not enough other businesses currently use it, which doesn’t provide much incentive to customers to get in the Belly network. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an easy, no-worries loyalty program, you can’t go far wrong with Belly.

Read our full review of Belly for more details and information.

Website Building Software

Winner: Wix

 

wix

Wix is our number one choice for web building software, and it’s not difficult to understand why. With its sleek editing interface and multiple selection of apps and integrations, it is an extremely effective do-it-yourself website designer. In addition to being easy to use, Wix provides a great selection of unique and visually appealing templates (there are hundreds to choose from).

The free version of Wix is provided to anyone who signs up, though any website you create under the free plan will be branded with the Wix logo. Paid plans range from $4.08/month to $24.90/month. Wix’s store offers payment processing through a handful of vendors, including PayPal, WebMoney, Skrill, and PayU.

All in all, Wix is intuitive and user-friendly. Within a few hours, you should be able to take a template, mess around for a bit with the editing tools, and build yourself an incredibly fine looking website.

Because Wix allows developers to create and share their own add-ons, other users are given the opportunity to expand and diversify their websites as well. Some of the most popular integrations available include online shop expansions (like the Etsy app), the Wix Hotels premium booking system, live Instagram feeds, website profile systems, and a variety of other site boosting applications

There is one downside to the software: unlike most other website-building services, Wix does not offer 24/7 live-chat or provide an email response system. There is a toll-free number you can call for help with technical issues, but be aware that you could possibly be put on hold for an unspecified amount of time.

Click here to read our full review of Wix.

Runner-Up: Jimdo

Jimdo-Logo

With its reasonable price points and clever, yet simplistic editor, Jimdo has made a mark on the website building industry. Managing to be both straightforward and comprehensive, Jimdo allows users to make custom, professional looking websites. Templates are provided, of course, but you’re not bound to the confines of the template you choose; you have total freedom to edit and can essentially be as hands-on about the design process as you want.

Jimdo plans range from free to $20/month, and all plans come with an HTML5 WYSIWYG web editor, usage of professional-grade templates, social media tools, a mobile device editing view, blogging tools, photo galleries, Google Maps, contact forms, direct video embedding, widget integration, optimized mobile websites, and unlimited bandwidth.

While the only online payment processor currently supported by Jimdo is PayPal, a selection of various real-world payment methods can be activated in a website’s store, including invoicing, payment-in-advance, collection-upon-delivery, local pickup, and local delivery.

This is an easy-to-use service that somehow still manages to astound with the depth of its overall functionality. Some things may be a bit too simple, and Jimdo isn’t sophisticated enough to work as a tool for a professional web designer, but it is perfectly suited – price-wise and in ease-of-use – for small businesses who would otherwise have to hire out their web design services.

Read our full review of Jimdo here.

The post Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Best Three Best Website Builders for Entrepreneurs and begin-Ups

&#8220Question the heroic approach&#8221

&#8211 John Eno, Oblique Strategies

We humans possess a cognitive bias as regards our centrality towards the world. Maybe personal exceptionalism is an adaptive trait, serving to inoculate us from the all pervading realities of disaster and failure. Maybe it&#8217s a consequence of a consumer culture non-stop incentivized to make sure us of the uniqueness. In either case, the entrepreneur nowadays could have a certain constitutional potential to deal with utilizing a website builder to have their business online. Merely a completely personalized and customised site might accommodate dreams as expansive as yours! &ltcue Jobs-esque face rub&gt

However, should you&#8217re just beginning out and also you lacked the entrepreneurial acumen to have selected wealthy parents, getting a professional web design service to produce your singular snowflake will blow your financial allowance. Perhaps you have a awesome friend with asymmetrical hair prepared to commit your digital vision to cyberspace inexpensively. Because of the potential pitfalls, however, placing your organization&#8217s online future at the disposal of a novice is really a fool&#8217s bet, regardless of how clever your friend appears on Twitter. (Let me invent assumptions regarding your friend)

Enter the field of website builders. They help you get your company online having a minimum of sturm und drang. Even though your website may not be a precious jewel that sets the planet alight with inventive righteousness, it will help you to devote even more some time and sources towards the core functions of the business. From the myriad options available, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly have risen to the peak in easily facilitating a beautiful presence online for the emerging business.

Squarespace

squarespace

Squarespace is among the most highly-rated website builders available and is a superb solution for that start-up company. Established in 2004, Squarespace forces 1.8 million websites, that is much less than competitors Wix and Weebly, though this really is largely because of Squarespace&#8217s insufficient a totally free plan. Companies making use of Squarespace include Wired Magazine and ‘cisco’ &#8211 if you are using Squarespace to power your company&#8217s presence online, you&#8217ll maintain esteemed company. Among the couple of website builders creating itself within the public awareness, Squarespace is obviously succeeding enough to pay for an excellent Bowl ad starring Key and Peele.

  • $8 &#8211 $18 per month
  • Mobile-enhanced websites
  • Great-searching templates
  • Limitless bandwidth and storage
  • Integrated eCommerce
  • Free custom domain with annual purchase

Alas, unlike a number of other website builders, Squarespace offers no free plan, though you can test it free of charge for fourteen days. Typically, the disposable plans provided by website builders are very spartan and lack eCommerce along with other important features, which means you&#8217ll likely desire a compensated arrange for your company anyways, no matter which site builder you select.

Featuring several dozen templates to select from, Squarespace doesn&#8217t possess the greatest choice of templates in the market, but individuals it will offer really stick out when it comes to quality and freshness. They’re also fully customizable and adaptable to the requirements of your company. They’re particularly well-suitable for individuals within the creative industries &#8211 restaurants, photographers and musicians will discover an embarrassment of riches here.

Squarespace features a robust eCommerce system, letting users track/manage their inventories, track payment activities, and make coupons and coupons. It&#8217s integrated with Stripe, meaning prospective customers have to have a Stripe account to create purchases. That’s, unless of course you set widgets that connect to other payment processors, which Squarespace enables. Bear in mind that Squarespace charges a couple-3% transaction fee on the top of Stripe&#8217s transaction charges. Squarespace&#8217s own transaction charges are waived within their separate, and pricier, eCommerce plans.

Unlike competitors for example Wix and Weebly, Squarespace doesn&#8217t give a 3rd-party Application Store, that is unfortunate. Squarespace&#8217s in-house functionality is fairly thorough, however, which means you probably won&#8217t be missing it. Another advantage Squarespace offers is its mobile iOS apps for getting together with your Squarespace site. Manage your site, look at your site metrics and share your picture galleries, all on the run. (Squarespace lately added a couple of Android apps too)

ssblogapp

For customer care, Squarespace offers 24/7 email support, a understanding base, message boards and live chat (available weekdays, 3am to 8pm EST), but no phone support. Numerous people report difficulty during to customer care &#8211 and actually, we experienced this issue too. Squarespace offers quite a bit opting for it, nevertheless its customer support can use a little bit of work.

Have more in-depth details about Squarespace within our Squarespace review.

Weebly

weebly

Weebly is a well-liked and well-considered website builder with lots of features made to attract the entrepreneur. The organization began in the year 2006, presently hosts over $ 30 million websites, and will come in 15 languages &#8211 something well suited for the organization by having an eye for the worldwide market. In addition, TechCruch reports that &#8220two-thirds of the organization&#8217s customers identify as entrepreneurs&#8221 so there you have it!

  • $ &#8211 $25 per month (A totally free plan’s available)
  • Custom HD audio and video players
  • Site membership (offered within the Pro and Strategic business plans)
  • Integrated eCommerce
  • Limitless pages, despite free accounts

Weebly provides a free plan without any time period limit, therefore it&#8217s great should you&#8217re just getting began and aren&#8217t ready to cope with eCommerce or any other advanced features yet. As the business matures, you&#8217ll likely wish to spring for among the compensated plans.

Weebly offers 24 mobile-responsive templates, categorized by style and never by industry, though each one is customizable for your particular field. They&#8217re nice enough, though less than the grade of Squarespace&#8217s templates, and it is quantity of choices &#8211 24 &#8211 is among the least within the field.

One nice feature provided by Weebly is the opportunity to add message boards to your website, if you want to supply a place where your clients can discuss their encounters. You can even combine this with Weebly&#8217s membership features to produce a private user forum.

Weebly&#8217s eCommerce product is strong, if somewhat less impressive compared to Squarespace or Wix. For payment processing, Weebly offers four options: Stripe, Square, PayPal and Authorize. Each charges a transaction fee, along with Weebly itself in the Starter and Pro plans. Weebly&#8217s transaction charges are waived in the top-tier Strategic business plan. And if you wish to sell digital goods, have inventory management, and provide online coupons, the Strategic business plan is needed for that a lot.

For 3rd-party integrations, Weebly offers extensive options through the lately-added Weebly Application Center, getting Weebly up to date with Wix yet others. It&#8217s an excellent addition and will help fill any functionality holes in Weebly&#8217s first-party solutions.

weebly app center

Weebly offers live chat support, email support (with the Support Ticket system), a understanding base, and, contra Squarespace, phone support, though just for Pro and Strategic business plan subscribers. We found Weebly&#8217s customer support to become fast and useful.

On Weebly within our Weebly review.

Wix

wix

Wix is a huge within the website builder field and offers a complete bounty of options featuring for that budding business. With offices in four continents and 77 million users in 190 countries, Wix is really a truly global brand, and is among the only website builders to become on the Nasdaq.

  • $ &#8211 $24.92 per month (Yes, there&#8217s a totally free plan)
  • 500+ attractive templates &#8211 probably the most within the field
  • Integrated eCommerce (Within the top-tier plans)
  • Integration with Bigstock Photos
  • Plenty of integrations available with the Wix Application Market

Possibly the best factor about Wix is the massive template selection. Dwarfing selecting its nearest competitors, Wix has over 500 templates, even though they might be slightly less pretty than individuals of Squarespace, they&#8217re better searching than Weebly&#8217s templates&#8230 and i adore there&#8217s over 500 of these? You&#8217ll have a lot of great template options in each one of the following groups:

  • Business
  • Online Shop
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Design
  • Restaurants &amp Food
  • Accommodation
  • Occasions
  • Portfolio &amp CV
  • Blog
  • Health &amp Wellness
  • Community &amp Education
  • Creative Arts

wix templates

The only real disadvantage to Wix&#8217s templates when compared with individuals of Squarespace and Weebly is they aren’t fully mobile-responsive &#8211 they don&#8217t instantly adapt to different screen sizes.

As opposed to just supplying some free generic stock photos, Wix provides you with use of Bigstock&#8217s enormous choice of attractive images, which could prove invaluable for making your website stick out in the pack. These photos can cost you $3 a pop, however.

Wix&#8217s eCommerce is powerful and well-considered. Wix&#8217s Online Shop enables you to use PayPal, WebMoney, Skrill, Authorize.internet, and PayU LatAm (South America only) as payment processors. These payment processors will impose a fee per transaction, but, unlike Squarespace and Weebly, Wix itself doesn’t charge transaction charges. Bear in mind, though, that Wix&#8217s Online Shop is just provided with Wix&#8217s two priciest plans, and Squarespace/Weebly waive their transaction charges within their priciest plans anyway. Like Squarespace and Weebly, Wix offers such features as inventory management and online coupons. One true benefit of Wix&#8217s eCommerce is the fact that they allow you to definitely accept offline payments &#8211 cash, check, wire transfer, etc.

Furthermore, Wix users sell MP3s along with other audio recordings through Wix Music free of charge without getting an eCommerce or Very important personel plan. Excellent.

All manners of features could be built-into your Wix site with the Wix Application Market. Add an Etsy shop, and Ecwid online shop, an Instagram feed, or in regards to a million other activities.

Wix&#8217s customer support options aren&#8217t as comprehensive as many others. They offer a toll-free number to, a understanding base and message boards, but no live chat or email support. Many have discovered this phone support to become significantly under instant. Very important personel users can be found more instant help with a passionate Very important personel line.

Learn more about Wix within our Wix review.

Conclusion

So, which website builder is most effective for your entrepreneurial heart? Cost-wise, our three finalists offer similarly-priced plans, though a more in-depth comparison reveals that Wix users need to pay more &#8211 as with two times just as much &#8211 for features for example eCommerce and priority support compared to users of Weebly and Squarespace. However, unlike Squarespace, Wix and Weebly offer free starter plans for individuals preferring to gradually ease themselves in to the pool.

With that said, I provide a slight edge to Squarespace, using its best-in-class templates (face the facts, regardless of website builder you utilize, the majority of you’ll be sticking pretty carefully towards the provided templates), wealthy features, solid eCommerce and competitive, simple prices. Wix follows slightly behind using its countless great templates and variety of 3rd-party apps. Weebly is available in third, only just, using its membership features, custom video player, and great customer support.

Tell us should you agree!

The publish Best Three Best Website Builders for Entrepreneurs and begin-Ups made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Wix Versus Weebly

wix-vs-weebly

We reside in a duration of economic tension and status anxiety a ragged, atomized epoch where the potential risks are pervasive and grave, the rewards elusive and frequently illusory. The interior contradictions from the middle-class respectability dream happen to be laid bare through the ravenous depredations of our rentier overlords. Our response, too frequently, is determined by our anxiety about falling off that fortunate hamster wheel. Some be taken in by retreat, withdrawal, and lonely resignation. Others find solace in authoritarianism, tribalism, and inchoate rage. Which ultimately actually exacerbate the reasons for our collective angst.

Nonetheless, when confronted with daunting odds, there remain individuals using the irrepressible desire to create something within their frenzied, short time about this bipolar blue dot we call a planet. We might have rent and bills to pay for we might face ever-more-formidable encroachments on our time, but we&#8217ll be damned when we&#8217re likely to shuffle off this mortal coil without getting created a divot. The web continues to be the tool through which the standard person&#8217s ideas will find a crowd. To that particular finish, website builders actually lower the barrier to admission to getting our voices heard and our endeavors known. Our capability to get our eCommerce startups and our cafes and our cat GIF depositories online shouldn&#8217t be determined by our capability to afford the expertise of an expert web design service. With crisp prefabricated templates and self-explanatory drag-and-drop editing, you won&#8217t require a tech background to determine an online business.

Should you&#8217ve investigated website builders whatsoever, you might have heard about Wix and Weebly &#8211 two leaders in the market who, inside a blow to the capability to distinguish them, both begin with a W. I understand I&#8217ve become the 2 confused occasionally. Let us dispel this alliteration-caused confusion now!

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Wix began in the year 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan. Getting grown enough where it’s now among the only website builders to become on the NASDAQ, Wix now hosts over 80 million websites from users spanning 190 countries. It will come in three languages: British, Spanish and Portuguese.

Weebly began in 2007 by David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri, and it is headquartered in Bay Area. Now one of the leading players in the market, Weebly will come in 15 languages and hosts over $ 30 million sites, which with each other attract 250 million unique monthly visitors.

Since we&#8217ve taken care of who&#8217s who, let&#8217s pit them against each other within an all-out fight for website-building supremacy. Only for kicks.

Prices

Champion: Tie

Consistent with the prices practices on most (but in no way all) website builders, Wix and Weebly are freemium services. Which means that with, you&#8217ll obtain a website with limited storage featuring (and something transporting company advertising along with a branded URL) in the free level. Obviously, Wix and Weebly we do hope you&#8217ll be motivated to graduate to 1 of the compensated plans, that offer an escalating degree of services along the way in the cost ladder.

The disposable plans provided by Wix and Weebly are remarkably similar. Both generously allow users to produce an limitless quantity of pages, both limit you to definitely 500 MB of storage, and both cause you to carry company advertising. The main difference is the fact that while Wix limits the disposable rider to one GB of bandwidth, Weebly doesn’t have bandwidth limits. Another improvement in their free plans is the fact that while Wix offers phone support but no live chat or email support, Weebly provides the inverse: chat and email support, but no free phone support.

Now, let&#8217s get lower to brass tacks &#8211 whatever which means &#8211 and compare the prices featuring of Wix&#8217s compensated intends to individuals of Weebly&#8217s.

Wix sells 5 different paid plans:

Connect Domain

  • $4.08/month (when billed yearly)
  • $6.90/month (if compensated every month)
  • 500 MB Site Storage
  • 1 GB Bandwidth
  • Connect Your Domain
  • Free Hosting
  • Google Analytics
  • Premium Support
  • Plan Maintains Wix Ads

Combo

  • $9.75/month (annual plan)
  • $13.90/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above Features PLUS:
  • Custom Domain, Free for just one Year
  • 3 GB Storage
  • 2 GB Bandwidth
  • Removes Wix Ads
  • No Mobile Ads
  • Customized Favicon

Limitless

  • $12.92/month (annual plan)
  • $15.95/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above Features PLUS:
  • 10 GB Storage
  • Limitless Bandwidth
  • Site Booster Application*
  • Form Builder Application*
  • $125 Local Listing Voucher*
  • $100 Bing Ads Voucher*
  • $75 Pay Per Click Voucher*

(* = annual plan only)

eCommerce

  • $16.58/month (annual plan)
  • $19.90/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above Features PLUS:
  • 20 GB Storage
  • 10 GB Bandwidth
  • Online Shop

Very important personel

  • $24.92/month (annual plan)
  • $29.90/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above Features PLUS:
  • 20 GB Storage
  • Limitless Bandwidth
  • VIP Priority Phone Support
  • Instant Response on Wix Solutions Page
  • Professional Site Review (Wix will give you a 1-time overview of your site)

Wix also provides a 14 day money-back guarantee.

Weebly&#8217s plans are organized here:

Starter

  • $8/month (annual plan)
  • $9/month (6-month plan)
  • $5/month (2-year plan)
  • Custom Domain, Free for just one Year
  • Limitless Storage
  • Connect Your Domain
  • Expanded Stats
  • Customizable Footer
  • Remove Weebly Branding
  • Internet Search Engine Indexing
  • $100 Google Advertising Credit
  • As much as 10 Products in Online Shop
  • 3% Weebly Transaction Fee
  • Integrated Shopping Cart Software &#8211 Links to “checkout.weebly.com”

Pro

  • $12/month (annual plan)
  • $14/month (6-month plan)
  • $9/month (2-year plan)
  • The suggestions above Features PLUS:
  • Phone Support
  • HD Video &amp Mp3’s
  • Password Protected Pages
  • Site Search
  • Membership Sites &#8211 As Much As 100 People
  • As much as 25 Products in Online Shop

Business

  • $25/month (annual plan)
  • $34/month (6-month plan)
  • $21/month (2-year plan)
  • The suggestions above Features PLUS:
  • Limitless Membership with Membership Sites
  • Member Registration
  • SSL Security
  • Limitless Products in Online Shop
  • No Weebly Transaction Fee
  • Integrated Shopping Cart on Your Domain
  • Digital Goods
  • Inventory Management
  • Shipping &amp Tax Calculator
  • Online Coupons

To not be surpassed by Wix&#8217s 14-day money-back guarantee, Weebly will refund you entirely for thirty days after you buy the car.

Evaluating prices and plans, we have seen that although Connect Domain &#8211 Wix&#8217s least expensive premium plan &#8211 is all about half the cost as Weebly&#8217s least expensive (Starter), the Connect Domain plan still maintains Wix advertising, maintains the same storage and bandwidth limitations because the free plan, and doesn’t permit you to setup your personal custom domain. It&#8217s helpful only if you wish to, because the plan&#8217s name suggests, connect your overall domain &#8211 and very little else.

In pitting another plans of Wix and Weebly against one another, it&#8217s a wash. Weebly scores some bang-for-your-buck points against Wix because of the fact that every premium Weebly plan includes limitless storage while Wix&#8217s plans all limit your storage. Weebly also features eCommerce within their least expensive premium plan, while Wix reserves eCommerce because of its priciest two plans. However, Weebly&#8217s limitless eCommerce option (that’s, the program that places no limits on the amount of products marketing) is much more costly that those of Wix, which places no product limits in your eCommerce within the two plans offering it (nor does Wix have a transaction fee).

The prices round of the fight has concluded, so we have a draw. Trophies throughout.

Business Types Supported

Champion: Wix

The character and number of templates provided by an internet site builder talk to the type of business they picture his or her target demographic. Wix&#8217s 275 attractive templates are sorted into 15 different groups:

  • Business
  • Online Shop
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Design
  • Restaurants &amp Food
  • Accommodation
  • Occasions
  • Portfolio &amp CV
  • Blog
  • Health &amp Wellness
  • Fashion &amp Beauty
  • Community &amp Education
  • Creative Arts
  • Squeeze Pages

Click these groups and additional subcategories of template is going to be revealed. For example, the company category includes the next specializations:

  • Talking to &amp Coaching
  • Services &amp Maintenance
  • Advertising &amp Marketing
  • Automotive &amp Cars
  • Property
  • Finance &amp Law
  • Technology &amp Apps
  • Pets &amp Creatures

As you can tell, with regards to serving a disparate number of companies, Wix excels. Possibly much more than every other website builder.

By comparison, Weebly&#8217s 24 styles &#8211 under 1/tenth from the number provided by Wix &#8211 aren’t broken into groups. In searching through them, the next industries will find something for their liking:

  • Restaurants
  • Journalism/Blogging
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Music
  • Travel/Tourism
  • Non-Profit

Now, whenever you really begin working inside a Weebly template, the thing is the layouts you can buy inside the template are prepopulated with content that showcases Weebly&#8217s adaptability to a greater diversity of industries. However, Wix&#8217s templates are very adaptable too. To the amount they tailor the site building experience to specific fields, Wix covers a much wider selection of companies than does Weebly, with snazzier templates, too.

Wix wins this round, also it&#8217s not really close.

Simplicity of use

Champion: Tie

The wonder (based on your point of view) of website builders is they are created to be functional by anybody. They might require no specialized understanding of your stuff, that is fortunate, as specialized understanding is definitely an costly proposition nowadays. Through the years, because the major website builders have found the things that work and just what doesn&#8217t, there&#8217s been a lot of convergent evolution within the field. This is often seen when comparing the interfaces of Wix and Weebly. Both have a similar layout, with choices to preview and publish your website located across the top bar and drag-and-drop editing options located across the left side from the screen. Let&#8217s see in which the variations lie.

Wix&#8217s editor has buttons around the left which result in background editing options, addable content blocks and apps (available with the Wix Application Market), something to handle your uploads along with a &#8220Start Blogging&#8221 button. Hitting the weather already found on your website raises further editing options, for example photo and text editing. Across the top, under Tools, you&#8217ll find options that will help you further refine your website building. Switch on &#8220Toolbar&#8221 a single article some aligning/resizing tools across the right from the screen. Using these options, you may also place elements before or behind additional factors, almost just like you were moving layers around in Illustrator. Selecting &#8220Gridlines&#8221 raises dashed lines that demarcate the area which will visible on a tablet or mobile phone. Finally, &#8220Snap to things&#8221 can help you align your elements so. These options are necessary, because unlike streamlined, mobile-responsive editors, Wix enables for complete freedom within the keeping elements in your site.

wix

Wix includes other available choices across the top which help ease the web site building experience, like a &#8220Zoom Out &amp Reorder&#8221 button that facilitates the simple rearrangement of elements in your page. You&#8217ll find some undo/redo buttons too, that is invaluable should you ever make edits you later wish you hadn&#8217t! You may also access your website history underneath the &#8220Save&#8221 button and restore previous saved copies of the site. There&#8217s additionally a button which brings up Preview mode, where one can preview the feel of your website both in desktop and mobile form. You may also edit in mobile view mode if you want. Wix&#8217s editor, while more complicated then some, remains fairly intuitive, and it is help tools result in the experience all of the simpler for that layman.

For more guidance, Wix created 37 tutorial videos covering pretty much every part of the editor.

Weebly&#8217s editor is organized similarly. The left-hands side from the screen contains every element available, readily available for easy dragging-and-shedding on your site. A choice above these power tools enables you to toggle between these components and Weebly&#8217s third-party apps (like Wix, Weebly comes with an extensive assortment of apps, all available with the Weebly Application Center). Even though the character of Wix&#8217s freewheeling editing model requires such help options as &#8220Snap to things,&#8221 Weebly&#8217s editor enables you to drop content blocks only into gaps in-between existing content, or involving the content and also the fringe of the editable area. When you don&#8217t have the same amount of Illustrator-esque freedom with Weebly&#8217s editor just like Wix&#8217s, its elegant simplicity causes it to be a little simpler to make use of.

weebly

Weebly&#8217s editor has one inexcusable fault, however: there aren’t any undo/redo buttons! I&#8217ve reviewed much lousier website builders than Weebly, and almost all of them provide you with these near-universal editing tools. Therefore, their absence here’s particularly disappointing. Weebly won&#8217t allow you to restore older versions of the site, either. Weebly might have were built with a small edge in the simplicity round, however this complete insufficient choices to undo your edits sets them back.

This round leads to a tie.

Product Features

Champion: Wix

Wix is really a well-featured website builder, particularly along the way in the premium plan ladder. You&#8217ll get full integration with all of manners of social networking. There&#8217s a totally free image gallery supplied by Wix, in addition to a searchable compensated image collection via Bigstock. You will find image editing options, integration with Google Analytics and Google Maps, and video integration with YouTube and Vimeo. Wix offers a strong blogging tool which enables the consumer to publish images and video within their blogs &#8211 something many competitors don&#8217t permit. You may also give a widget that displays your site posts inside a box that you could put on any page of the site. In addition, any functionality gaps you discover in Wix&#8217s in-house features could be filled through the third-party integrations obtainable in the Wix Application Market, that we&#8217ll cover later.

A Wix eCommerce or Very important personel subscription go for an Online Shop. It&#8217s a completely-featured eCommerce solution that enables anybody to setup a functioning online shop in almost no time. And thru an element known as Wix Touch, you are able to publish your Wix online shop being an actual application making it available through Apple and/or Android&#8217s application stores. This selection tends to make Wix&#8217s online shop a beautiful package indeed.

Weebly has a high amount of quality features too. Image galleries, both free and pay-per-image, are supplied. There&#8217s a picture editor, a pleasant in-house HD video/audio player for enjoying ad-free media (Wix has this too, however it&#8217s third-party), a message form, picture galleries, a roadmap from Google Maps &#8211 all of the expected elements are here. Weebly includes a good blogging tool too &#8211 similar to those of Wix. Likewise, Weebly&#8217s Online Shop is a superb eCommerce oral appliance is nearly endlessly customizable. And like Wix, Weebly comes with an wide-ranging of third-party integrations available through the Weebly Application Center.

However, Wix is simply generally a more elaborate product than Weebly, and also the features have a tendency to reveal this. These are merely a couple of types of what i’m saying:

  • Weebly won&#8217t allow you to publish your store being an application.
  • While Weebly provides some social networking links, Wix&#8217s social networking integration is a lot more extensive.
  • Weebly&#8217s image editor is rather limited compared to Wix&#8217s.
  • While Weebly&#8217s contact page will come in one fundamental layout, Wix&#8217s contact page has 15 different layouts to select from.

There&#8217s one Weebly feature that Wix lacks, though, also it serves to light up the various approaches come to website design through the two companies. Weebly includes a mobile application that provides you the opportunity to edit your site by your smartphone or any other mobile phone. It&#8217s an excellent tool, also it&#8217s consistent with Weebly&#8217s focus on the mobile experience.

Overall, though, Wix is undeniably the greater fully fleshed-from the two, feature-wise.

Website Design and Editing

Champion: Weebly

Regardless of the visual similarity of the particular editors, Wix and Weebly have a different method of the look process. Wix&#8217s editor may be the modern-day of these two and enables for that finest amount of fine-tuning. With the options available, you almost obtain the feeling you&#8217re dealing with Illustrator or InDesign. However, you will find drawbacks to Wix&#8217s approach. For just one factor, you are able to&#8217t freely alter the template of the website. If you wish to work inside a different template compared to one you’re considering at the start, you&#8217ll need to start on your own.

Another factor to think about about Wix is the fact that their templates aren’t mobile-responsive. What this means is your site and it is content won&#8217t instantly adapt to fit different screen sizes. To pay with this, Wix recommends that you simply invest most of your content within the gridlines (a guiding option that may be switched off and on). With mobile-responsive templates, you don&#8217t need to take such limitations into account. Even though Wix does incorporate a &#8220make your website mobile friendly&#8221 option and build a mobile-enhanced site for you personally, it appears to simply condense your articles right into a vertical row (somewhat pork-fistedly). You may make specific alterations in the mobile look at your website, which many mobile-responsive builders don&#8217t allow. However, as proven with this exchange in Wix&#8217s Help Center, Wix&#8217s approach can leave tablet users in the cold, as the Wix website won’t adapt to fit a tablet-sized display, nor will a tablet display the mobile form of a Wix site.

Weebly does things differently. Its editor now is easier, there&#8217s less to determine. This winds up cutting for both. With less design freedom, you won&#8217t have the ability to, say, overlap your elements and test out placing one layer before another. You won&#8217t have that feeling of possibility you receive from the &#8220place anything anywhere&#8221 editor &#8211 convey a content block to your site and it’ll snap into an area involving the existing content (or involving the content and also the fringe of the editable area) like a puzzle piece. It&#8217s a far more restricting editor, also it leaves you largely determined by web site figuring out the feel of your website. However, for you personally wanna-be website creators with no some time andOror persistence for fine-tuning, you might just think it is simpler to produce a working site with Weebly compared to Wix. Add because you won&#8217t need to bother about the way your site will appear on tablets and smartphones because of Weebly&#8217s mobile responsiveness, and you’ve got an adaptable builder well-positioned for future years. Mobile visitors are becoming predominant, which trend isn&#8217t likely to be reversing itself. Plus, with Weebly&#8217s mobile editing application, you can go along with you.

The right website builder might have the depth and class of Wix&#8217s editor and also the responsiveness and friendly simple Weebly&#8217s editor. This is hard to accomplish, though, given the inherent conflicts backward and forward approaches. These variations also allow it to be hard to compare the 2 when it comes to design. Whether it&#8217s not apples and oranges, it&#8217s a minimum of apples and peaches. Should you&#8217re searching to produce the best traditional website possible, Wix wins this round. But when quick simplicity and mobile-responsiveness are the focus, Weebly arrives ahead. And since I sense that a little more prospective customers in 2016 fall under the second camp compared to former, I&#8217m will make a questionable demand this round: Weebly with a hair!

Integrations and AddOns

Champion: Wix

While competitors for example Squarespace avoid third-party solutions in support of doing all things in-house, Wix and Weebly both provide application stores filled with third-party features that ought to help you use anything you couldn&#8217t accomplish using the standard tools provided. PayPal buttons, Yelp reviews, an Etsy shop (Wix), an Ecwid shop (Weebly), e-mail marketing tools &#8211 with either Wix or Weebly, you&#8217ll have an array of third-party functionality available. But while Weebly has 131 apps available, Wix has 256, as well as in a wider selection of groups.

Payment Processing

Champion: Wix

Wix provides the following payment options:

  • Stripe
  • Wirecard
  • PayPal
  • Moolah (Authorize.internet)
  • MercadoPago
  • PagSeguro
  • Leumi Card
  • Offline payments

(A few of these payment choices are only accessible in a few regions &#8211 see here)

Weebly&#8217s payment choices are thus:

  • Stripe
  • Square
  • PayPal
  • Authorize.internet

While each payment processor charges its very own transaction charges (for instance, Stripe charges 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction, no matter which website builder you&#8217re using), Weebly charges yet another 3% fee per transaction in the Starter and Pro packages. Only the Business package (the more costly) waives the Weebly transaction charges. Wix, however, charges no transaction charges either in of their two eCommerce plans. Therefore, Wix wins this round.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team

Champion: Weebly

Many website builders refuse to provide you with a message telephone number. Wix, however, supplies a toll-free number (obtainable in British, Spanish and Portuguese) to for support. Very important personel subscribers can get priority when calling support. For everybody else, if you want to bypass the lengthy wait occasions, Wix lets you set up a scheduled get in touch with which Wix will phone you at any given time of the selecting.

Wix offers a comprehensive Help Center, however the only alternative way to get direct support would be to submit a ticket to Wix&#8217s user forum. No live chat, no email support.

Weebly provides phone support too (to Pro and Business subscribers, anyway), but unlike Wix, they offer live chat assistance too. There&#8217s additionally a understanding base and a request submission form.

As I found both companies to become prompt and useful within my contacts together, Weebly takes the gold medal this time around, because they are the only person with live chat support, that we find vastly more suitable to presenting a telephone!

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Champion: Tie

As you can tell in the comments posted to both my Wix review and my Weebly review, both companies have ample disgruntled users and former users. Wix, particularly, sees lots of complaints directed their way, frequently getting related to slow and buggy sites, bad customer support, and unpredicted recurring charges. Weebly will get a lot of critique too, with complaints in regards to the bugginess from the editor, poor customer support and shady billing practices.

These issues, whilst not universal, recur frequently enough to provide one pause. However, I&#8217ve seen representatives of both companies address online critique, that is a sign that at the minimum, they are concerned.

Using the complaints fond of Wix and Weebly being pretty comparable anyway, I’m able to&#8217t really choose a &#8220winner&#8221 together.

Positive Testimonials and reviews

Champion: Wix

Notwithstanding the complaints, Wix has gotten plaudits as a great platform for entrepreneurs, while Weebly is especially lauded because of its simplicity of use and it is intuitive interface. Overall, Wix comes with an 8 from 10 average customer rating on Trustpilot, while Weebly scores a 7.7 from 10. On balance, Wix&#8217s fans have a tendency to supply probably the most thorough and substantive praise, and so i&#8217ll provide the nod for them about this count.

Final Verdict

wix and weebly

Champion: Wix

Although the hyperbole fan in me would like to describe the end result of the theoretical contest as &#8220Wix emerges, victorious, towards the deafening cheers of the grateful nation as Weebly is carted in the ring on the gurney, smelling of shame and despair,&#8221 I’m able to&#8217t. The truth is, it had been a detailed call. Within the end, I couldn&#8217t justify not giving the win to Wix. It’s, as things stand, the highest website builder. Using its countless professional templates and its collection of features both broad and deep, there&#8217s grounds it supports the position it will in the market.

And, yet, I love Weebly. Its appearance are surprisingly good, I love the mobile-responsive templates, and I like their snappy mobile application for editing. Weebly is pointing the best way to the long run. The truth that Wix&#8217s sites aren&#8217t fully responsive will simply be a bigger albatross in the future. Because the needy, vibrating rectangles within our pockets conquer a constantly-greater share of cultural territory, Wix will have to adopt a number of Weebly&#8217s traits whether it really wants to remain atop the mountain.

The publish Wix Versus Weebly made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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3 Website Builders with Free eCommerce

free ecommerce

Website builders have evolved in sophistication because the days when tossing some text facing sparkly wallpaper sufficed like a online presence for any major corporation. Advancements in technology and style, combined with the revolutionary concept that one shouldn&#8217t need to find it difficult to read red text against a print background, have required a far more technologically rigorous variety of website builder. The marketplace has taken care of immediately meet this demand, and as a result an internet site builder like Squarespace is robust enough to count The new sony and Target among its clients.

However, there&#8217s grounds I take a desire for website builders, and contains nothing related to the requirements of big business. Just the opposite: website builders are, and probably always will be, mainly an answer for that 99%. When confronted with a constantly-more-predatory capitalism that forces the downwardly-mobile masses to forgo such quaint concepts as dreams, hobbies, and leisure for that quest for ever-longer and ever-more-pitifully-compensated working hrs, website builders are among the couple of tools readily available for the strain-ridden neo-proletariat to produce an authentic idea into this criminal world. With an eCommerce-enabled website, the typical Joe/Jane could even cover the cost of some greatly-needed cash quietly.

For individuals people walking budgetary tightropes, however, spending $18-$35 dollars per month to have an eCommerce website may be a bridge too much. Fortunately, there’s a couple of website builders available that provide free eCommerce. That&#8217s right: free eCommerce! Now, you&#8217ll be restricted to a small amount of products, and, of course with free website builders, you&#8217ll need to endure just a little advertising in your site along with a company-branded URL. As my mantra goes, &#8220If the merchandise is free of charge, then you’re the merchandise.&#8221

Pointless to state, free eCommerce isn&#8217t likely to be a beautiful solution for businesses with money to invest on the more completely-featured online shop. This short article isn&#8217t fond of them, though. It&#8217s fond of the hobbyist, the dreamer, the amateur crafter wanting to sell a couple of products quietly with zero capital investment. An eCommerce Festivus Throughout Us, for a moment.

Let&#8217s check out three website builders that provide eCommerce functionality having a free subscription: DudaOne, Jigsy and SimpleSite. A new comer to website builders and unsure on how to setup your free eCommerce? Don&#8217t worry. I&#8217ll help you through it. Ends up, it&#8217s not too hard!

DudaOne

free ecommerce

With nice templates, great design versatility, impressive features and mobile-responsiveness, DudaOne is regarded as the impressive website builder available that provides free eCommerce. Founded this year by Big Lebowski fans Itai Sadan and Amir Glatt (they named their company Duda following the Dude), DudaOne is really a effective website building tool having a free package that’s outstanding in the generosity. &#8220You get that which you purchase&#8221 just doesn&#8217t apply here. Take a look at what you’ll get free of charge:

  • Natively Responsive Website
  • Limitless Use of inSite
  • Limited Analytics and Tracking
  • Website Hosting on Amazon . com Cloud
  • Community Support
  • Branded Duda Domain
  • Duda Ads
  • 10 Product Store
  • PayPal, Stripe &amp Global Gateway Payment Providers
  • Two Product Groups
  • Order and Customer Management Tools

Not just is DudaOne handsomely-featured in the free level &#8211 it&#8217s intuitive and fun too. Once you pick one of DudaOne&#8217s 67 responsive templates (you may also preview each template in desktop, tablet and/or mobile mode before selecting one), you&#8217ll locate an editor that resembles individuals of numerous contemporary website builders, although it&#8217s specified by probably the most intuitive possible way. With choices to save/preview your website and undo/redo your edits located across the top bar and drag-and-drop content elements located across the left from the screen, it won&#8217t get you lengthy to obtain the lay from the land.

The Look option around the left reveals an array of choices to fine-tune the feel of your whole website. Alter the color scheme, text style, navigation options, background image and much more &#8211 your design edits is going to be applied site-wide to help keep the feel of your site consistent. The Add Element button, just beneath Design, reveals a group of content elements that you could plop right on your site. From the contact page to some photo gallery to some Twitter feed to some restaurant menu to Yelp reviews, there&#8217s lots of addable content found. Further lower the left-hands list, you&#8217ll look for a button to give a blog, a control button to include inSite functionality &#8211 a once-premium feature that allows you to create factors that appear only if certain the weather is met, just like a marketing box that appears only on certain days each week &#8211 and, obviously, a control button to include eCommerce!

Most abundant in comprehensive free eCommerce you&#8217ll get in any free website builder, DudaOne strikes a particularly generous tone that needs to be appreciated by free riders everywhere. Click on the button to include eCommerce and also you&#8217ll be brought with an eCommerce setup walkthrough that holds your hands because it leads you thru establishing your shipping/payment options and helps you add as much as ten products (either physical or digital) to become offered, A wealthy group of payment choices are available, from Stripe&#8211 or Global Gateway-powered charge card processing &#8211 to Paypal to a number of offline payment options (checks, money orders, etc).

I adore this is free? Used to do? OK, just checking.

Like a tool for creating responsive websites with eCommerce for that cost of nothing. DudaOne is first rate. Read my full overview of them here and find out why DudaOne is worthy to connect itself towards the cultural legacy from the Coen siblings&#8217 most impactful film.

DudaOne abides.

They&#8217re only some of the company offering free eCommerce using their website builder, though. Allow me to provide you with the skinny on another such builder, Jigsy.

Jigsy

free ecommerce

Jigsy is really a fun, flexible website builder, even though it&#8217s less sleek or as completely-featured as DudaOne, it&#8217s still a awesome website builder having a great blogging oral appliance, through integration with Ecwid, free eCommerce. Founded by Dave Shworan in 2007 and located in Bc, Jigsy can be a small fish within the website builder ocean, however it&#8217s an excellent tool for that wealth-challenged. This is exactly what you receive having a free Jigsy subscription:

  • 25 MB Storage (puny, I understand)
  • 5 Pages
  • 1 Website
  • Jigsy Advertising
  • Branded Subdomain
  • Limited Components
  • 10 Item Ecwid Store

Jigsy provides you with an enormous 321 templates to select from, which means you&#8217re prone to find something which meets your needs, whatever they could be. When you&#8217re within the editor, you&#8217ll observe that all of your editing choices are organized along the top screen. Choices to preview your site in desktop, tablet or mobile mode (both in landscape and portrait mode), edit your site&#8217s theme, and add content are there. What&#8217s not there’s some undo/redo buttons for editing. It&#8217s among the greatest drawbacks of Jigsy&#8217s editor, however it&#8217s still an enjoyable and simple website building tool.

The &#8220Add Happy To Page&#8221 button towards the top of the page reveals all of the content blocks you are able to drag on your site. All of the expected pieces exist: a photograph gallery, a message form, your blog (that is excellent indeed), video players, a Flickr gallery, and so forth. Jigsy doesn&#8217t have features as awesome as DudaOne&#8217s inSite, though.

Let&#8217s arrive at the reason you&#8217re here: the disposable eCommerce. Click on the eCommerce button underneath the &#8220Add Happy To Page&#8221 option and also you&#8217ll find three Ecwid widgets: an Ecwid product listing, product search and shopping bag. Whenever you place these elements on your page, you&#8217ll be directed to setup a forex account with Ecwid, then you&#8217ll have the ability to supply to 10 products to market in your Jigsy website. Because you&#8217ll work through a 3rd party, it&#8217s less seamless of the free eCommerce solution as those of DudaOne, however it&#8217s not really a difficult process. You&#8217ll still need to undergo Ecwid to setup your payment processors and so on, though.

While Jigsy isn&#8217t as well-featured as DudaOne, it&#8217s still an excellent option should you&#8217re searching to, say, begin a free website having a nice blog that provides a couple of products for purchase. Also it&#8217s an enjoyable experience to use goofy animations for your content, even when only for your temporary amusement. Read my Jigsy review to understand more about them.

Last and, sadly, least, there&#8217s SimpleSite!

SimpleSite

free ecommerce

Birthed in 2003 by Morten and Jacob Elk in Denmark, a rustic so united nations-American and uncivilized they don&#8217t even give their citizens the freedom to visit bankrupt from medical expenses, SimpleSite is, as suggested by its name, simple. It had been created of being an easy website solution for &#8220Mr. and Mrs. Denmark,&#8221 which conjures pictures of a beautiful tall blonde couple nobody love their pea soup. Regrettably, SimpleSite doesn&#8217t appear to possess evolved much since 2003, and it is now rather out-of-step with all of those other industry. They are doing, however, bear the excellence to be among the couple of website builders offering free eCommerce, as well as for that, I’ll raise a toast in direction of Copenhagen.

SimpleSite provides the following using their free plan:

  • 15 Pages
  • 300 Images
  • 600 Seconds of Video
  • Limited Design &amp Font Options
  • 5 Online Shop Products
  • Paypal Integration
  • Simplesite Advertising

SimpleSite, remaining in keeping with their ethos of simplicity, doesn&#8217t really offer any templates apart from their standard layout, if you were dreading getting to select a template, you&#8217re fortunate! When you are to the editor, you&#8217ll see an &#8220Edit this site&#8221 button. This leads you to definitely the editing screen, which, unlike DudaOne and Jigsy, doesn&#8217t demonstrate your site because it seems to visitors. Rather, you set and edit your elements inside a box that is representative of your body of the site. You are able to&#8217t really alter the feel of your header, menu bar, or background. It&#8217s not really a system most website builders use any longer.

Addable features incorporate a contact page, a guestbook, a photograph album, along with a cost list. Sadly, there aren’t any social networking buttons, nor every other social networking integration. One factor that you can do, though, is give a pedigree chart for the pet, that is one factor DudaOne and Jigsy don&#8217t offer! It’s possible to imagine Walter Sobchak using this selection propose together with his ex-wife&#8217s dog&#8217s show career&#8230 however i digress.

Your blog (that is quite basic) and also the online shop aren&#8217t addable as content blocks, but instead are added as different page types. SimpleSite&#8217s eCommerce features various tax and shipping options, three different fundamental layouts (two greater than you receive for the primary site!), and it is integrated with PayPal, the sole online payment processor offered (you may also generate a store in which the orders are completed via e-mail, allowing your clients to create non-electronic payments). Also observe that SimpleSite limits the disposable user to 5 products in the web based store, whereas DudaOne and Jigsy allow you to sell ten things free of charge.

Should you&#8217re still interested, my full SimpleSite review is here now. While SimpleSite isn’t any spring chicken of the website builder, you may still sell a couple of products free of charge, and so, it earns a place on my small list. Plus, the other website builder provides you with a pedigree chart?

Conclusion

Existence could be a rough, thankless grind in the very best of occasions. It&#8217s difficult to find a totally free lunch around the mean roads, then when an internet site builder offers eCommerce without requiring a compensated subscription, I crunches and take serious notice. DudaOne, Jigsy and SimpleSite ought to be commended for giving the small guy/woman the opportunity to sell a couple of things online without digging out their cursed credit card.

Get out there and create a website with free eCommerce. You&#8217ll seem like you&#8217re avoiding with something.

The publish 3 Website Builders with Free eCommerce made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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How you can Sell in your Web or blogsite With Buy Buttons

Illustration Of Pop-up Window With Text Buy Now And Cart

Which means you&#8217ve setup your store. You’ve your fabulous products all consecutively. Your social networking accounts are moving along and attracting some likes. You’ve got a brand, consumers, fans — you&#8217re off and away to an excellent start. But how will you extend your achieve farther making your product or service much more accessible? Fear not, we’ve only the tool for you personally! In the following paragraphs, we&#8217ll demonstrate how you can sell in your web or blogsite with embeddable shopping carts — and also to utilize some nifty social networking Buy Buttons as well to ensure that buying your product or service is simple peasy.

What Exactly Are Buy Buttons?

Buy Buttons are an easy and quick method to allow customers buy things across a number of platforms — out of your actual site to blogs to social networking accounts. With embeddable shopping carts, you’ll be able to monetize any web site you have with fast access for your merchandise.

If you are using an HTML button in your blog or website, folks can search through your product or service — either the whole collection or specific groups that you select — on whatever page you would like. Should you link the button to Facebook, marketing from your Facebook page without getting to go using your store&#8217s website. Using among the newfangled Twitter or Pinterest buttons allows your supporters to purchase from that tweet or pin without getting to depart the page or application. By sticking a control button within an email, possibly utilizing an HTML-ready marketing application like MailChimp or Constant Contact, your faithful subscribers can immediately see and buy items that might interest them included in a Loyalty Program.

Why Would You Use a Buy Button?

Selling in your web or blogsite with embeddable shopping carts benefits you and your customers. You&#8217re in a position to achieve a broader audience by looking into making your store accessible on multiple platforms, and your audience has the capacity to buy your products a lot more easily, frequently without getting to undergo multiple websites. It&#8217s victory-win!

Like I pointed out above, embeddable shopping carts make selling and purchasing especially convenient on social networking. Facebook, ever the large shot within the social networking sphere, incorporates embeddable shopping carts on the majority of a vendor&#8217s page. If Twitter or Pinterest are the platforms of preference, using Twitter&#8217s Buy Now feature or Pinterest&#8217s Buyable Pins enables you to achieve that audience directly. It&#8217s now simpler than ever before for purchasers to uncover and buy your product or service all using their favorite platform.

Embeddable shopping carts are particularly important using the rise of mobile browsing. A quickly growing quantity of shoppers, especially millennials along with other more youthful folks, are utilizing their phones his or her primary means of internet-browsing. With Buy Buttons, shoppers can buy from their phones rather of getting in order to save or recall the connect to use using their computer. This greatly increases your odds of converting a purchase!

Kinds of Buy Buttons

HTML Buttons

Probably the most prevalent and good way to use Buy Buttons is as simple as embedding them in your blog or website using HTML. Several eCommerce platforms provide you with the ability to get this done, but the simplicity differs from cart to cart.

Ecwid is a excellent option, especially since it offers a totally free plan for individuals who prefer embeddable shopping carts to constructing a complete store. Ecwid&#8217s free plan’s limited to up to 10 products, which might work best with some along with a deterrent for other people, however if you simply require more space you’ll be able to always upgrade to among the compensated plans.

Ecwid&#8217s instructions for Buy Buttons are solid, and its demo store supplies a great visual for which an embedded shopping cart software appears like: check that out here. Additionally to the product browser widget, Ecwid enables users to incorporate Web coding for features such like a product search bar, groups page, or shopping bag.

embeddable shopping carts

Shopify&#8217s Lite Plan is also a fantastic choice for anybody that has products they need so that you can sell on their own site or Facebook page without getting to purchase a whole online shop. Retailers that like that plan pays only $9/mo and will benefit from Shopify Buy Button and Facebook store options. Bear in mind that although Shopify has great partnerships with Pinterest and Twitter (more about that inside a bit), you won&#8217t enter with that fun unless you decide to go to the $29/mo plan. Around the vibrant side, Shopify has many instructions which make the set-up process feasible for the least experienced vendor.

To be able to embed HTML buttons in your blog or website, you’ll first need to make sure you&#8217ve added products or collections for your store. (If you have a complete online shop outside of the blog or website page under consideration, you’re ready!) The precise next steps vary based on which shopping cart software platform you&#8217ve selected.

For instance, Shopify lays out specific steps for WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace Wix, and Shopify blog users. Ecwid offers instructions for WordPress, Joomla, along with a subsection for &#8220other platforms.&#8221 No matter which of those excellent options you select, you will be able to generate an Web coding for that Buy Button after which copy/paste that code for your web page of choice.

embeddable shopping carts

HTML embeddable shopping carts are a great option for anybody with a blog or any other site outside of their complete store. It&#8217s a good way to market products without getting to invest in a complete-scale online shop you can just choose a page in your website and also have your product or service appear there.

Another plus for anybody who is using CRM software to assist manage customer relations: HTML buttons sync well with lots of CRM options. So if you wish to use HTML to embed Buy Buttons with an email advertising campaign making use of your favorite CRM application, it&#8217s likely got the back. Should you&#8217re interesting in further going after this beautiful partnership of features, take a look at our CRM software reviews to learn more.

Facebook Buttons

Facebook may be the next great platform for vendors trying to broaden their achieve via embeddable shopping carts. Any shopping cart software with credibility nowadays includes tools for reaching a Facebook audience, usually including the least expensive prices plan and ongoing on up. Buy Buttons are the easiest method to achieve that audience and give them a method of browsing your store and getting your product or service all-in-one sitting.

Before you begin the installation process, make certain you’ve got a Facebook Business Page setup outside of your individual page. This site have a separate login that you simply&#8217ll connect with your store.

To embed your store on Facebook, many carts will need you to download some kind of plug-in or application. Shopify is among the ones which makes it easiest on retailers all you need to do is add some Facebook sales funnel inside your Shopify admin after which connect your bank account. Then you definitely&#8217ll connect not just to the Facebook store but additionally to any or all the appropriate sales and traffic data from that store. Once more, Shopify impresses using its obvious step-by-step instructions for establishing the Facebook sales funnel look it over-see here.

Ecwid, BigCartel, and SunShop are among individuals carts that need an application to link your Facebook page for your store. (Browse the links in every title to determine the instructions for everybody platform.) It&#8217s an additional step, but it makes sense still fast and simple. When the application is installed, all you need to do in order to establish or access your store on Facebook is sign in making use of your shopping cart software info. Then voila! Your store awaits!

facebook-buy-buton

Much like using the HTML buttons, Facebook&#8217s Buy Buttons link your store (or selected products or groups out of your store) to some page where interested customers will probably engage. You may be the perfect person to make use of this selection for those who have an energetic Facebook following, for those who have a restricted budget and wish to get just as much value for your money as you possibly can, or you come with an already effective store and wish to expand its achieve. Embedding your store on Facebook enables all of this stuff and, in this point in time, is becoming a lot more of the necessity.

Pinterest Buttons

Have you ever overcome Facebook? Are you currently now prepared to proceed to a brand new frontier — say, Pinterest? Excellent choice, because Pinterest has folded out its very own Buy Buttons, branded as Buyable Pins.

While Facebook extensions are often included in shopping cart plans, Pinterest has partnered with simply a couple of platforms: Shopify, BigCommerce, Demandware, Magento, and IBM Commerce, all of the which has a Pinterest waitlist. If Pinterest and it is Buyable Pins take presctiption your must-have list, look carefully in the prices options sometimes you have to buy a a little more costly plan to be able to take advantage of the Pinterest partnership.

Set-up instructions will as usual vary from platform to platform. Magento and Demandware both make use of an extension or integration that transfers your product or service to Pinterest. Shopify comes through once more with a few solid guidelines for adding Pinterest to the Sales Funnel. It also highlights Pinterest&#8217s small print for you personally so that you can make certain that the products qualify.

Whatever the platform you select, the finish result would be the same: additionally towards the red box that states &#8220Pin It&#8221 (which enables Pinterest browsers in order to save pins that interest them), your product or service may also be supported with a blue box that states &#8220Buy It&#8221, allowing browsers to buy the merchandise without ever departing the application.

pinterest-buy-button

Pinterest could be the selection for you should you sell physical items that appeal most to customers who’re visually driven. Pinterest users could be browsing with intent to purchase or buy later, so providing them with the choice to determine after which save or immediately purchase your method is a game title changer.

Demandware&#8217s set-up instructions also give some excellent understanding of why Pinterest is really an essential platform for retailers — it&#8217s worth a read! That stated, Pinterest is most likely and not the platform for you personally in case your goods are digital or too complex to become symbolized with a pin, or you&#8217re reluctant or in a position to covering out additional cash for whatever prices plans really include Pinterest.

Twitter Buttons

Like Pinterest, Twitter has folded out its embeddable shopping cart software fairly lately, which is generally only accessible around the slightly greater prices plans. (Remember, we&#8217re speaking second-cheapest plans, and not the absolute greatest — hopefully this cost difference doesn&#8217t deter you also much from the great cart.)

Twitter&#8217s Buy Now feature, introduced here, can be obtained only through BigCommerce, Shopify, and Stripe, all of the that is a payment company, not really a shopping cart software by itself. Watch out for eligibility needs on Shopify, for example, your store should be located in the U.S. to be able to join the Twitter party.

Right now you most likely obtain the understanding of establishing the Twitter Buy Now buttons. Every platform differs, check the instructions for whatever you decide, examine the prices plans before you decide, etc. Just like Facebook and Pinterest, Shopify utilizes its Sales Funnel to setup embeddable shopping carts on Twitter — and its instructions to do this are again obvious and useful.

BigCommerce is a touch more mysterious using its process, just because it is in relation to its Pinterest Buyable Pins. It could take some research to setup and understand BigCommerce&#8217s Twitter carts, however it&#8217s well worth the effort if you’re already a BigCommerce user.

When you&#8217ve got the procedure moving, Twitter users can get your products directly without departing the Twitter site or application. All that you should do is tweet the merchandise along with a link along with a Buy Now button is going to be instantly incorporated. Pretty convenient!

Buy Now Buttons

And its besties, Facebook and Pinterest, Twitter is definitely an incredible platform for reaching a bigger audience of potential clients. As the second-largest social networking platform available (directly behind Facebook), it&#8217s worth your time and effort and potential extra cash for anybody that has or really wants to create a Twitter following. If you can market your products individually, one per tweet, give Twitter&#8217s Buy Now feature a shot!

Conclusion

Embeddable shopping carts have become the brand new normal. Although some have bemoaned the spread of commerce to social networking, the truth is clients are using individuals platforms increasingly more to look for and buy products. It surely won&#8217t be lengthy before Twitter and Pinterest&#8217s Buy Buttons is going to be as fashionable as Facebook&#8217s.

While not many shopping carts include every one of those social networking platforms, keep watch for changes since the Twitter and Pinterest love will spread! For now, Shopify is most likely probably the most comprehensive option for anybody who desires use of every option. Now get out there and help make your brand known around the globe from the internet!

The publish How you can Sell in your Web or blogsite With Buy Buttons made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Very Best Buy Buttons

buy buttons

Whenever a merchant is selling any kind of product, they would like to make certain the entire process of purchasing that product is simply by possible. In the end, you don&#8217t want frustrated customers to stop for you because looking at that T-shirt they wanted is simply taking far too lengthy! One method to improve this method is by using Buy Buttons, which will make purchasing products increasingly simple across a variety of different platforms.

Buy Buttons allow customers to buy your products inside an exterior site or application without getting to redirect with the primary storefront. Plus, it&#8217s a good way for you personally like a merchant to achieve a broader selection of audiences across different blogs and social networking sites. For additional in-depth information, take a look at our opening post on the idea &#8211 and when you&#8217ve arrived at the purpose of &#8220Ahh, yes, that’s something I’d like, what are my options?&#8221 then start studying because we&#8217re going to explore the very best Buy Buttons available!

Shopify

So far as selections for Buy Buttons go, Shopify is probably the most comprehensive. It doesn’t only present an easy-to-install HTML button and Facebook connection, additionally, it partners with Twitter and Pinterest to incorporate Buy Buttons on individuals platforms too. If you’re ambitious with regards to social networking and wish everything, Shopify currently provides the most choices for Buy Buttons and provides obvious instructions for setting them up.

Additionally to offering pretty much every Buy Button around the market — HTML, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter — Shopify also makes it simple to navigate these opportunities by providing Sales Channels in your admin control center. This method for you to manage your embeddable shopping carts across different platforms, out of your online shop for your HTML buttons, Facebook Page and/or Twitter Buy Buttons, and Pinterest Buyable Pins. You can connect to the data from all these Buy Buttons on this page.

This will make it extraordinarily simple to monitor the way your goods are selling and compare the information. Are you currently getting better results on Pinterest than you are on Twitter? Is Facebook popping with activity? The Sales Channels can have you that information, and you may choose how to make use of it in the manner that best benefits your company! To obtain a feeling of how cleanly Shopify presents these platforms, just check out the net page explaining the potential channels:

buy buttons

&#8220But wait!&#8221 you might cry. &#8220Just because Shopify has options, presents individuals options inside a pretty way, and explains how to setup individuals options clearly doesn&#8217t always imply that they&#8217re actually the best to buy Buttons!&#8221 You’re wise, readers, but don’t worry — Shopify&#8217s quality is great! Let&#8217s enter into a few of the details.

First of all, the Shopify Buy Button. Shopify keeps very good company with regards to HTML buttons it&#8217s only some of the option out there, in the end. It sets itself apart because of its simplicity of use and affordability. If your Buy Button is all that’s necessary, Shopify&#8217s $9/mo Lite Plan provides you with the HTML button in addition to Facebook Store access.

Shopify lists out eight different platforms on which you’ll embed your shopping cart software: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Tumblr, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Blogger. Cellular phone process is amazingly easy you select the merchandise or products you&#8217d prefer to feature, and Shopify will generate an Web coding that you should increase the site of your liking. Voila! You&#8217re now in a position to sell on whatever site or blog you would like. All sales and info are directed to profits Funnel so that you can examine your results easier.

Shopify&#8217s Facebook cart is another attention grabber because of its inclusion within the Lite Plan. It&#8217s available to retailers due to its affordability, and available to customers due to Facebook&#8217s recognition and also the ease natural in looking at inside the page or application. Plus, Shopify is focusing on making all their stores and apps mobile responsive, so much more customers will be in a position to easily get your products.

Another plus with Facebook is it enables you to target specific audiences according to location, age, interests, etc. You could have special promotions which are specific to Facebook, using its algorithms and structure. And you may watch the outcomes of individuals promotions roll directly into your Facebook Sales Funnel, where one can evaluate how different promotions on several platforms do and just what this means for you personally moving forward.

buy buttons

Pinterest is a nice elite world when it comes to quantity of retailers who get access to Buyable Pins, but thankfully Shopify is among its partners! Since Shopify&#8217s Pinterest partnership continues to be pretty recent, you need to affect sell there. It might take a moment before it comes down through, however it will probably cost waiting for.

Shopify emphasizes Pinterest&#8217s capability to increase your brand with your products and Pinterest boards to inform a tale. Additionally to reaching a broader audience, Shopify states, you are able to influence that audience with the story you’re telling through words and photographs on Pinterest. It&#8217s certainly a visible medium, and Shopify has the product specifications for benefiting from that.

All of your product or service can instantly be a Buyable Pin when you provide the okay. Then you definitely&#8217re off and away to the Pinterest market where customers can browse and purchase from inside the application. In your Pinterest Sales Funnel, you can observe that has pinned or repinned your products (which essentially means that has saved it for future reference) in addition to that has really bought it.

Finally, Shopify has lately partnered with Twitter. It&#8217s the only shopping cart software platform apart from BigCommerce to do this, that is a problem! Unlike BigCommerce, though, Shopify&#8217s Twitter option is already available no trial sign-ups are essential. This certainly rockets Shopify in the listing of Buy Button providers. If you are prepared and raring to choose Twitter, Shopify&#8217s got your back.

When you setup Twitter together with your Shopify store, Buy Now buttons will instantly be included to items that you tweet out — hardly any efforts are involved from you! As with Facebook, Twitter enables for special promotions and flash sales particularly for your Twitter supporters. In accessory for tracking quantity of sales inside your Twitter Sales Funnel, you may also see which goods are most widely used and keep an eye on Twitter activity (hashtags, @mentions, etc.) regarding your brand.

Overall, Shopify can be useful for a variety of companies. The availability of Shopify&#8217s Lite Plan featuring the HTML button and Facebook cart means that if you&#8217re a smaller sized vendor and don&#8217t require a full online shop, you&#8217ll have options! However, you won’t be able to benefit from individuals awesome Twitter and Pinterest partnerships.

Should you&#8217re a bigger vendor having a bigger, more complete store and also the financial capability to pay more, it&#8217s not very pricey to gain levels and can include Pinterest and Twitter in your Buy Button fun. Essentially, Shopify is an excellent resource. No matter your company type, you will be able to find something which works for your requirements and position.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce&#8217s status like a popular and efficient purveyor of Buy Buttons is cemented because it is among 3 shopping carts (Shopify, as just pointed out, may be the other) that partners with Pinterest and Twitter. Furthermore, it&#8217s an excellent platform aside from its Buy Button availability — take a look at our review for more information.

BigCommerce offers Buy Buttons on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, although the 3 are presently still in trial mode. Despite the fact that hopefully brief hangup, the characteristics themselves certainly turn to cost waiting for.

Twitter may be the especially big sell here it partners using the fewest shopping carts, to ensure that partnership includes a bigger effect. Actually, Shopify may be the only other cart with this particular partnership (Stripe can also be incorporated, however that falls right into a different group of services.) To help make the process as easy as possible, selected products will instantly incorporate a Buy Now button when tweeted — BigCommerce gives additional information here. Furthermore, Twitter campaigns can be found on BigCommerce to be able to target a particular audience.

In Pinterest land, BigCommerce causes it to be obvious that, yes, Buyable Pins do allow customers to buy your products without ever getting to depart the Pinterest application. It&#8217s simple around the merchant&#8217s finish too selected products will instantly become Buyable Pins. Since Buyable Pins are a a newcomer concept in eCommerce, BigCommerce&#8217s partnership with Pinterest provides it with a fairly strong boost.

Pinterest also provides mobile-enhanced checkout through BigCommerce to really make it even simpler for purchasers to pay for. BigCommerce even features its own Pinterest account, which supplies great browsing material for just about any potential retailers who wish to get a feeling of the cart.

buy buttons

Around the Facebook aspect, BigCommerce emphasizes a couple of key abilities. The traditional Buy Button feature of having the ability to market products on a Facebook Page is one crucial aspect that BigCommerce highlights, combined with the ability for customers to click on from the Facebook product to your website. But don’t worry, clicking through isn’t automatic! Customers can continue to purchase products inside the page or application.

Furthermore, users can push selected products in the BigCommerce user interface straight to Facebook, which adds an amount of ease towards the entire process. Inside a more extensive explanation, BigCommerce stresses ale a Facebook store to integrate sales with marketing — and it also causes it to be simpler than ever before to have interaction with customers!

Just like a number of other shopping cart software platforms, BigCommerce sends the orders, sales, and customer information from every individual platform — Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook — to the same location to ensure that retailers can process them altogether. In to maintain all this information, BigCommerce uses ChannelAdvisor, including other marketplaces past the Buy Buttons. Certainly keep close track of this when you are thinking about which shopping cart software provides the best to buy Buttons and associated services for your requirements.

buy buttons

Because of a current site makeover, BigCommerce makes it simpler than ever before to navigate its different choices. You&#8217ll find lots of setup help and directions, although it sometimes takes a little bit of searching to locate them. For example, here&#8217s their support page for Facebook Shop.

Overall, BigCommerce is an excellent option for vendors seeking a solidly established shopping cart software that’s following through around the relatively recent field of social networking. Because the Buy Buttons continue to be testing, it might not be the best option if you prefer a cart that gives them immediately, however if you simply have some some time and persistence, BigCommerce will probably come through for you personally!

Ecwid

Ecwid is exclusive in that it’s established to be the widget that may be installed across a number of different platforms. Had a website and wish to add an outlet? Ecwid&#8217s got the back. Seem like showcasing a couple of products in your blog? Ecwid&#8217s for you. Really just worry about your Facebook Page? Not a problem, you&#8217ve got Ecwid&#8217s full support.

As you can tell within our in-depth review, Ecwid is essentially an expanded HTML Buy Button. It requires some coding understanding to setup, but when you learn how to do the installation on whatever site or blog you&#8217re attempting to incorperate your store to, you&#8217ll be set!

On top of that, Ecwid includes a free plan that’s perfect if all you want is something like a Buy Button for the site and/or Facebook page — as lengthy while you have only as much as 10 products. For those who have in addition to that, all of those other plans continue to be inexpensively side compared with other shopping carts, so don’t worry!

Although Ecwid functions as a Buy Button on whatever site you’ve, it’s restricted to Facebook around the social networking front that stated, Facebook is still a great option that many other carts don&#8217t yet offer.

Ecwid provides a Facebook Store eCommerce application that enables you to definitely personalize your Facebook Store and upload pictures and descriptions for the product inventory. Should you&#8217ve got stores a weight couple different platforms, Ecwid&#8217s user interface enables you to monitor these in one place.

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Additional huge points go to Ecwid because every facet of the widget is mobile responsive. Which means that regardless of what platform you&#8217re using for the store, it’ll look wonderful on the smartphone or tablet. Other carts are improving in this subject, but Ecwid certainly has got the best to buy Buttons so far as mobile technology goes. Increasingly more clients are utilizing their cellular devices to browse and, whenever possible, to purchase. Mobile Buy Buttons allow potential customers to purchase immediately without getting to extend their attention span lengthy enough to really make it completely to a pc. This can really boost sales.

Within the finish, Ecwid is among the best to buy Buttons for smaller sized start-ups or people who don&#8217t have a lot of cash except will have a couple of products they&#8217d prefer to sell on their own site and/or Facebook page. And don&#8217t let insufficient coding understanding deter you if Ecwid appears just like a good fit go on and begin investigating their set-up instructions.

Magento

Magento is different from another carts in the following paragraphs because instead of as being a cloud-based platform, it includes free, downloadable software. Additionally, it requires an advanced of coding skill. Consequently, the entire process of establishing Buy Buttons on Magento will probably be various and additional time-intensive compared to equivalent processes on BigCommerce, Shopify, or Ecwid.

That stated, if you possess the some time and sources to commit to Magento, you&#8217ll discover that it offers some excellent extensions where you can incorporate Buyable Pins and Facebook Store to your store. It&#8217s about this listing of best to buy Buttons for any reason, so let&#8217s join in!

The greatest plus for Magento is its partnership with Pinterest. Magento&#8217s Buyable Pins are available with an extension that you simply supplment your online shop. Additional information receive around the Creatuity website, the organization&#8217s partner in eCommerce development.

buy buttons

Since Magento is liberated to download, extensions like Pinterest are in which the charges start accumulated. Based on regardless of whether you have Magento Community Edition or Magento Enterprise Edition, the Pinterest extension will definitely cost either $499 or $599, correspondingly. Around the vibrant side, Magento causes it to be obvious that Pinterest won&#8217t take any cut of the sales with annoying transaction charges! (Presumably, because this information originates from Pinterest&#8217s finish, it pertains to the every other platforms partnering with Pinterest too.)

Installing of the Pinterest extension requires more effort. Prepare with the idea to put aside serious amounts of stick to the installation instructions in order to bring in help from Creatuity or elsewhere to get it done for you personally. Before installing, make certain you assess the eligibility needs. You will find a number of of these, plus they could possibly get complex when it comes to understanding regarding coding, etc.

Magento also has extensions open to help integrate stores with Facebook, however, there appear to become a couple of options (instead of one for sure suggested Buy Button). The options here use PayPal for payments, and Magento&#8217s website shows some complaints concerning the payment processor, so be skeptical! Probably the most popular Facebook Store Application extension costs $199, but appears more reliable compared to free option.

Magento offers what it really calls a Buy Now extension for $149, but this doesn’t function in the same manner because the HTML Buy Buttons we&#8217ve discussed. Magento&#8217s Buy Now function enables retailers to hurry in the checkout process, only from existing product pages and shopping cart software sections. This really is more restricting than other HTML Buy Buttons since it doesn&#8217t permit vendors to show their store on other pages of the site or blog. In the event you stumble across this and wish to try it out, take this into account!

Also, should you opt for Magento, be ready to seek information! Its not all extension works with every form of Magento. Check that which you have which means you don&#8217t finish up having to pay for something you are able to&#8217t use. Magento does indeed offer the best Buy Buttons available, however it&#8217ll take lots of awareness from you to help make the most utilization of them.

In the finish from the game, Magento and it is Buy Button extensions are perfect for well-established, medium-sized companies. This isn’t something should purchase simply because you heard it had become partnering with Pinterest and you want to use your products boards. The Pinterest partnership is really a definite plus, however your business ought to be established, and you ought to be using Magento for all the different other excellent reasons available (all readily available for analysis within our review).

Conclusion

Each shopping cart software about this list offers the best Buy Buttons around. Each cart can also be unique in the approach and intended audience. What this means is there’s a choice available for almost anybody in almost any situation. From widgets to downloadable software to cloud-based services, the very best Buy Buttons are available all over the net.

There is without doubt that other shopping carts will still develop partnerships with various social networking platforms. Your alternatives will certainly increase later on. But for now, I&#8217d most likely need to recommend Shopify because the current frontrunner of all the shopping carts offering Buy Buttons examined here. Shopify has probably the most extensive listing of features and partnerships, its Sales Channels make using these functions simple to navigate, also it provides obvious instructions for starters. Regardless of whether you&#8217re completely new with very couple of products or perhaps a seasoned vendor having a huge store, Shopify comes with an choice for you.

That stated, every cart right here has something to provide. It&#8217s only a matter of finding which feels like a fit. Hopefully it has gave you some useful tips and guidelines for the reason that search. To learn more about Buy Buttons, take a look at our related article. Please do chime in for those who have any personal expertise with how these Buy Buttons labored for the store!

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