The Choice Between E-commerce Platforms
Getting a business online can be achieved with a diverse and plentiful number e-commerce platforms, each ranging in cost and features. Free e-commerce solutions have the advantage of being free, but require a good deal of work to customize and setup, and if a unique appearance is desired, custom programming by a web developer will be needed. Paid e-commerce solutions offer great value to a business by offsetting the startup, customization and management fees associated with choosing a free or open source solution. Just Professionals recommends a hosted solution unanimously to clients, our platform of choice being the Yahoo! Small Business Merchant Solutions Yahoo! Store.
Free E-commerce Solutions
Free e-commerce platforms have the advantage of being free, of course. Another potential plus is the multitude templates that add a customized, professional appearance and functionality to your site with ease. One has to consider, however, that both the appearance and features added by templates can impose unwanted constraints on your vision.
Other requirements for building your site with free solutions may include:
- Need to hire a web developer
- Paying for Server administration
- Purchasing hosting
- Dealing with security vulnerability
- Maintaining SSL certification
Below are some popular free e-commerce solutions.
OsCommerce is one of the leading open-source e-commerce solutions. At the time of this post, osCommerce reports the platform is in use by 12,700 online stores, has over 5,000 add-ons available for functionality, and boasts a very large development community.
Magento is another free, open source e-commerce solution. Magento claims to be the fastest growing e-commerce platform. With it being open source, a developer could make modifications to how the system functions with some advanced knowledge of PHP.
Zen Cart is a self-hosted free e-commerce solution. It is pretty user-friendly while offering a unique package of features that compete with many paid solutions. I have not had a chance to work with this one myself, but hear some good things about it.
Spree is a free, open source platform based on the Ruby on Rails framework. One of the most flexible e-commerce platforms available, Spree features an exceptional system for dynamic functionality. It is very robust and extensible. For anyone with some Ruby and Rails knowledge, it is probably the easiest to install and setup. It also offers a ton of payment gateways, with an API to add your own.
Paid E-commerce Solutions
Paid E-commerce platforms come ripe with features that enable online stores to be deployed quickly and relatively easily, even for businesses with no web experience. Most paid solutions include hosting, with plans to meet each business specific requirements. The most significant benefit of hosted e-commerce solutions is that all server and certification related requirements are met by the provider. Other benefits include guaranteed uptime and 24-hour customer services and support.
The ease and luxury with which a business can deploy their site with paid e-commerce platforms come at a price, literally. Financial considerations in paid e-commerce solutions include fees charged by the provider per transaction…
Yahoo! Stores, A.K.A. Yahoo! Small Business allows businesses to quickly and easily create their own online shopping cart. Yahoo! comes with the benefit of brand identity, 24-support, hosting and all needed certification. They have pre-built templates that you can select from, or you can create your own template. The Yahoo! store platform is easy to work with, and offers a lot of expandability for your store. They have lots of little features like extra hosting that come with the package.
Shopify offers an attractive, user-friendly interface. It is a hosted solution, so they are responsible for all server management and all certification required to sell online. The appearance of your web store with shopify is 100% customizable. They use a special templating system called Liquid which allows developers to fully customize the store, and add custom functionality.
Volusion is a small and medium business e-commerce solution with search engine friendly features. A lot of big name companies have used this system.
Amazon Webstore is constantly going through changes to make the system better and easier to use. They offer an easy to use interface with plenty of helpful video tutorials . Even someone with little web experience can do a bit of customization. You also get the added benefit of your products being spread across the amazon seller central. There are some limitations with this system, but with a new version to be launched soon, there should be a lot of promise.
Why Yahoo! Store is the Best Choice for Us and Our Clients
Just Professionals always recommends going with the Yahoo! store platform for clients when starting a new online business or redesigning an existing store. We recognize the value of this choice for our customers with respect inherent features that include security, brand trust of Yahoo!, and our expertise with the Yahoo! proprietary markup language, RTML. The scalability of Yahoo! stores is also a major factor in our endorsement of the platform. This means whether your online web store sells a couple hundred dollars of merchandise, or a couple million, the platform can handle the traffic.
Initial Cost For a New Yahoo! Store
prices depend on your specific needs
- Mechant Solutions $25 -$35/mo
- Transaction fees .5% – 1.5%
- Base Starter Store $2,000 -$3,000
- Store enhancements $50 – $1500
- Custom Designs and Graphics $50 – $500
- Other services $250/mo
Just Professionals specializes in customizing Yahoo! stores to maximize your store’s potential for growth and ROI. We offer a range of services that have proven time and again to be invaluable for online businesses. In addition to custom functionality for Yahoo! Stores, we also create professional web designs and graphics and marketing solutions for search engine visibility.
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