Have you thought about starting an online store? If you have no experience with web hosting or coding, the following hosted eCommerce platforms allow you to get set up quickly.
Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
The first thing is knowing what a hosted eCommerce platform is and why you should consider using one for your online presence. These are platforms designed to host online stores through software as a service (Saas).
They offer many features focused on eCommerce-specific websites, including online payment gateway integration, reliable and powerful servers, and inventory management. Additionally, it offers a high level of security for data management and online transactions.
Small to Mid-size businesses (SMBs) often benefit most from a hosted eCommerce platform because of lacking eCommerce development teams or experience. However, limitations are the largest trade-off from using self-hosted services like Open Cart or Magento, as they give full control through code. Although, the platforms mentioned below still provide a nice range of customization, making them a great option for anyone.
Shopify is a leader in hosted eCommerce platforms. They provide users a user-friendly interface, an admin dashboard that is easy to navigate and offers access to many areas of customization. Shopify is a great option for anyone as it also provides access to theme code for those more experienced in making changes.
Shopify offers many different packages, including one that allows shop owners to use POS with mobile devices for in-person payments. This integrates the store and inventory management all in one platform.
Their Starter plan is good for getting going, but if you are serious about making sales, it will need to be upgraded quickly. They also have a Basic plan that provides 1GB storage, unlimited products, and a 2% transaction fee.
Pricing: Starting at $14 per month.
Volusion is another big player in hosted eCommerce platforms. They claim over $16 billion in sales have been generated from their hosted shops worldwide. Volusion offers more than 900 e-commerce focused features, not including personal services offered to customers for an additional fee. Some personal features include conversion rate optimization that offers consulting with their experienced marketing team for $899.
Pricing: Starting at $15 per month, up to 100 products with unlimited storage and free transactions.
Bigcommerce is another eCommerce platform that has been around for years, hosting over 55,000 online stores and generating more than $4 billion in sales. They offer both free and paid apps, which can be used to add additional features to your online store, including appearance, functionality, integrating with 3rd party services such as MailChimp, and more.
Pricing: Starting at $29.95 per month, with 3GB storage and 1% transaction fees.
For those wanting to enter the creative eCommerce market, Big Cartel is worth looking into. Over the years, it has become a niche platform with more than 500,000 stores. Most of the stores fall under arts, crafts, music, fashion, jewelry, and other creative products.
They have a very limited free version, good for up to 5 products.
Pricing: Starting at $9.99 per month, up to 25 products, and no transaction fee.
The X-Cart Cloud platform operates on the X-Cart software, an open-source PHP shopping cart available for free. If you’re familiar with WordPress, it is similar to the way WordPress is a standalone open-source platform, while WordPress.com is the company’s subscription-based hosting platform.
X-Cart Cloud provides users with various types of modules for enhancing their online store. They come in both free and paid versions. They have multiple subscription plans available that offer their POS system that’s great for managing eCommerce websites and inventory for physical stores alike.
Pricing: Starting at $15 per month, up to 100 products, 10GB bandwidth, 1GB storage, and no transaction fees.
Many large companies and corporations also use PinnacleCart for their online sales platform, including Discovery Channel, HBO, and many others. The platform is popular because of the third-party app integrations available, including social media platforms like Facebook, to top of the line accounting apps like QuickBooks.
Pricing: Starting at $29.95 per month with 2GB bandwidth, 1GB storage, and no transaction fees.
When you’re looking for a hosted eCommerce solution, you want to consider being able to expand features as you grow. 3dCart offers many features for online stores that give room for growth, including multiple payment gateway options, such as Bitcoin. They offer loyalty program systems for boosting sales with customer rewards and more.
Pricing: Starting at $16.99 per month, up to 200 products, no storage limits, and no transaction fees.
Another popular name within the eCommerce industry is Wix. Their Online Store Builder is a DIY approach to getting your store up and running. Their hosted online store platform is a more recent addition to their brand, but it is quickly gaining popularity.
Pricing: Starting at $19.90 per month, with 10GB bandwidth and 20GB storage.
Many online stores use Yahoo!, a name that has been around for decades. With more than $65 billion in sales and used by millions of businesses, Yahoo! Ecommerce platform offers extensive features, such as shipping integration through UPS. They also provide tools for making product management and delivery management much simpler
Pricing: Starting at $26 per month, up to 1,000 products, 150GB bandwidth, 5GB storage, and 1.5% transaction fees.
Unlike the other platforms mentioned, Storenvy places your online store in their network, making your product database searchable within their marketplace. This helps make your products instantly visible to their current customer base, searching for the product(s) you’re selling. They have more than 100,000 brands within their network and offer a nice developer API.
Pricing: Free online store, a custom domain is $5 per month.
For those just getting started with an online store, hosted eCommerce platforms can be better than a self-hosted platform for many reasons. They tend to be faster to get set up, easier to manage without professional help and do not require coding knowledge.