If you are interested in expanding your sales, using a virtual store to attract online shoppers may be the answer you have been looking for. Whether you are selling directly to consumers (B2C) or to other businesses (B2B), e-commerce is a great way to grow your customer base beyond your region. Fortunately, with e-commerce storefront software, setting up your own online store has never been easier.
How does e-commerce software help?
E-commerce software allows you to:
- sell products and services online with minimal upfront investment
- sell more easily and quickly
- reach customers 24/7
- expand your company’s geographic reach
- improve your firm’s online visibility
- lower customer service costs
- automate some functions and allow customers to serve themselves
- increase customer retention and loyalty, and
- sell your products without maintaining a physical inventory.
What does e-commerce software do?
A basic e-commerce storefront is a web-based system that allows customers to shop for products and helps streamline the order fulfillment process. Regardless of the software you choose, you should be able to:
- set up an online store with a shopping cart
- accept payments online with PayPal and/or major credit cards
- build an online product catalogue
- optimize your webpages for online searches
- automate inventory control
- implement a tracking system
- analyze your performance with reports and statistics, and
- use online marketing techniques, such as interactive advertising, email marketing, social media or mobile marketing.
Free and low-cost e-commerce solutions
E-commerce solutions range from basic storefronts that simply manage e-mail orders to complex systems integrated with multiple aspects of your business. If you are looking for low-cost or free tools, you may want to consider the following. (SaaS refers to “software as a service.”)
Revised November 2014
This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them.
Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications that are neither low cost nor free. We have also focused on turnkey solutions rather than on solutions that you can integrate into an existing website. When assessing e-commerce software for your organization, you will probably consider many other factors. It is important to shop around and compare different e-commerce platforms to choose the one that meets your specific business needs and budget, including hidden costs.
BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you are an e-commerce software vendor and would like us to consider adding your solution, please contact us.