Thinking of taking the plunge and opening your own ecommerce store? Check out our recommendations and get a heads-up on the best offerings to date...
eCrater is both a free marketplace and online store. It’s the easiest to use of all the ecommerce options we're reviewing, making it perfect for first timers. eCrater doesn’t offer anything new or outrageously cutting edge, but it gives you everything you need to get the job done, including:
As for traffic, the eCrater marketplace ranks as the 6,000th most visited site on the net according to Alexa. This means it gets a sizeable chunk of traffic (lots of whom will filter through to stores), although it’s still way behind the likes of eBay which ranks 20th. Plenty of sellers are making decent sales and many successfully run a number of stores in different niches.
6/10 – An easy, risk-free way for newbies to get started
BuyItSellIt (BISI) is part of the Ink Frog group. Like eCrater, BISI is free, but its offerings are much more sophisticated. Standout features include:
Tip: Like most ecommerce stores, the key to getting lots of traffic to your BISI store is to spend a while optimizing your site for the search engines. For example, Google loathes duplicate content, so don’t use the product description your drop shipper gives you. Rewrite and make it your own.
9/10 – Slick, savvy and professional. Can be as simple or as complex as you choose.
GoDaddy is famous for providing cheap domain names and hosting but not so many people are aware of its Quick Shopping Cart (QSC), a hosted e-commerce shopping cart application. Starting from A$12.92/mo (price currency based in your IP address) you’ll get a hosted website, custom design tools, a shopping cart, and the ability to accept payments (although you will need to get a separate SSL Certificate if you want to accept credit card payments). Other features include:
QSC has received decent marks from third party reviewers, such as TopTen Reviews and PC Mag, and with no transaction fees and a low monthly fee, it’s a good offer, but we didn’t feel it was as nice to use as some of the other options available.
7/10 – It just doesn’t have the X factor
We’re still waiting for Auctiva Commerce to launch publicly, and from the sound of it, we could be waiting a while longer until Auctiva iron out all the teething issues. There are over 2,000 AC stores now in existence and some have already started chalking up sales. In theory it all sounds fantastic, but you’ll need to jump on the waiting list to get yourself an invite.
The cost starts at $9.95/mo + small commission on sales. Features include advanced customer management options, such as the ability to issue credits and partial credits, maintain a customer order history, build customer profiles and advanced cross-promotion.
8/10 – The promise is there, let's hope we're not disappointed.