Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Aug 24 2013 15:47:51

Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon is doing a better job at promoting its Webstore ecommerce hosting solution to sellers than I realized. Of the 3,000 sellers who participated in the Sellers Choice Awards in the Storefront and Shopping Cart services category, Amazon came in as the one with the most ratings.

Not only that, Amazon Webstore tied with BigCommerce for first place in rankings, both receiving an overall score of 8.0.



What's not surprising is that it came in high in terms of SEO features - leave it to Amazon to help merchants drive traffic to their product listings. PrestaShop came in second in terms of SEO.

Other findings: Shopify came in first for Ease of Use; BigCommermce came in first for Customer Service; and Zen Cart came in first for Fees. Amazon Webstore, Shopify and Ma'ls e-Commerce tied for first place in Performance.

The top six services are shown in the cart above, and you can find the full rankings in tomorrow's EcommerceBytes Update article.

Were you surprised by how readers rated these services? Are you happy with your provider, or are you at the point of evaluating solutions to launch your own store? Share your thoughts in the comments below!




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Aug 25 06:48:14 2013

AmberCart. For your website.
Copy & paste HTML code.
So simple. Choose colors to coordinate with your site. Customers love the simplicity.
Use the Stripe Gateway or choose another.
Integrate the UPS, FedEX, or USPS shipping API.
Life Is Good  :o)

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Sun Aug 25 08:04:18 2013

After reading this, I went over to Azon to check out their webstore program, and I'm not real clear on what it actually is, how it looks, and if your items are actually displayed at the Amazon website along with their catalog, or if it is a stand-alone store.
 

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Aug 25 10:03:33 2013

@Nan See this January interview with Amazon about Webstore. (sorry it's not hyperlinked, you'll have to cut and paste)

http://ebyt.es/19SHpxx

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Sun Aug 25 20:09:05 2013

I'm really rather astounded that BigCommerce ranked so high. (I suppose that most of its SAAS subscribers aren't fully aware of how Interspire unceremoniously, unapologetically, and abruptly abandoned its customer base... the people who paid BIG MONEY to license the ''self-hosted'' version of the software that is now being used as the basis for BigCommerce's subscription stores.

I guess they, too, found a business model that works well for them... but only after throwing under the bus all of the loyal customers who helped to build their company in the first place.

You may include me and my husband in that group. (But not for my husband's programming skills, our $3000+ investment in software... and updates that never materialized... would be completely out the window.)

Although time was pressed, and there were other things that he could have been doing instead, he was able to de-bug and enhance their original ''ISC'' software (Interspire Shopping Cart) and we continue to use it today. --- Although, considering the work that my husband has put into various tweaks and updates... the software we're using today is so much better than the original. Maybe it was a blessing that Interspire cut-us-loose, putting us in a sink-or-swim situation that allowed us to meet the challenge and find something better in spite of how the company treated us.

It's as though the owner of Interspire just woke up one morning and decided that he was bored with user-hosted software and he just cut us loose. ~ It will be interesting to see what happens to his SAAS subscribers when he gets bored again.

He's kinda like a mini-JD.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Sun Aug 25 20:57:39 2013

@Ina - thank you!  Great articles (I read all three of them).  

It appears the Amazon Webstore is geared to larger sellers, or sellers with a specific type of inventory (ex: clothing).  Since I am a pro-merchant, the webstore is free with my monthly subscription, but if I were to go ahead with it, ALL my Amazon  inventory is automatically imported to my  Webstore.  So, since I have a mishmash of books, other media, sports equipment, tools, and misc odds and ends I find at a deep discount, it would not make sense for me.  But it's certainly something to keep in mind.  

And yes, I am surprised at the results of this survey.  I would have thought Miva Merchant and OSCommerce would have rated higher since those are the ones that land in my face most often when I go looking for solutions.  Good to know.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Sun Aug 25 23:07:18 2013

Dear Ina and David... are there any measures in place to prevent (or discourage) people from ballot-stuffing? Either as individuals who multi-vote, or as en-masse voting based on a request from the business owner?

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by: collector007 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 26 01:46:10 2013

This is a great subject. I tried some shopping carts in the past, but never made much and wasted so much precious time.

I have a question. Does anyone know any way humanly possible to convert my ebay listings to a website of my own? I don't mean to merely show my ebay listings on my own website. I mean I want to REMOVE my listings from ebay completely and put them on my own website. For example, you know how Bonanza.com, ecrater, and some other sites would let you "import" your ebay items to their sites? Well, I want to do something like that, but the difference is, I want to send my ebay listings to my OWN site without having to painstakingly take each and every ebay listing and cut and paste them separately to my own site.

Can it be done? If so, I'd like to take my Amazon listings and send them to my own website too. Things are pretty slow for me at Amazon too, and I'm tired of these venues becoming anti-seller after they started off with so much promise.

Thanks to anyone who might be able to help with my question above.

Happy Selling!

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by: Filadelfos This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 26 07:30:47 2013

@Anonymous Annie  Your name has become a familiar & welcome site here @ ecommercebytes, why haven't you verified yourself by now?  :)

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by: sorryseller This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 26 07:39:45 2013

@ collector007 - I think Highwire.com has the ability to grab your ebay listings and then put them on your own website. They can't do that with Amazon, however.

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by: StayClassy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 26 08:05:22 2013

I am a seller on etsy who uses only Paypal. I have seen the writing on the wall since the birth of DC. I refuse to be forced into In-house Etsy Payments, Etsy has a rough history with privacy & accountability - both of which are required to handle my money. The lack of a Phone number is the red flag I can not overlook.How etsy got around federal regulations which require Phone Support is beyond me. Etsy does not care about it's sellers that is slear Chad Dickerson & his band of Tech Driven social misfits have destroyed the good will & hope once found readily when discussing Etsy.

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Mon Aug 26 08:32:04 2013

@annie

That's a 2-part question. Yes, there are features that SurveyMonkey provides to limit ballot-stuffing. We also do manual verification to look for repetitive voting.

If a service promotes the survey to their members, I don't really see that as a problem. We can't keep politicians from campaigning, otherwise we wouldn't be inundated with political ads every election season. I find it highly unlikely, though, that the services are sitting next to their members when they vote :-)

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

by: edwatt This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 26 09:48:09 2013

I am a Shopify user for several months now.  Annie convinced me to get off my butt and do something as a lifeline for when ebay decides to throw me out.  A 12 year seller with 99.8% feedback and yes I worry that they will pull the plug on me some day.
I went to Shopify for thier ease of use.  Their customer service is tremendous, I can not imagine what big commerce could do to top the friendly courteous response of Shopify.
PS:  After only 3 months, Shopify sales equal ebay sales. Thanks ANNIE.

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by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 26 11:20:42 2013

I would love to integrate a checkout on my website but it is not cost stopping me.

I have checked out several, but can't find one that will work because of the shipping.  I mail within Canada, to the US and internationally. Each destination has different postage, not only from each other, but from state to state for the US and from postal code to postal code for Canada.

Adding multiple items creates a huge nightmare. I have tried to come up with some reasonable way of doing a formula for adding items - second item X$, third item X$, but nothing works out so that either I don't loose my shirt on the postage or the customer might run screaming when seeing a huge (incorrect) shipping charge.

I sell a wide variety of vintage items, antiques, replacement china, collectables/ephemera. Making a multiple order of such different types of items just is not compatible with a shopping cart from what I can find.

Is there anyone who has come up with a reasonable solution or found a checkout that can be tweeked to allow for such variables?

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 26 11:57:32 2013

This article and everyone's comments came at a very appropriate time for us as we have decided to open our own website to sell on. Having a list of potential places plus ratings should help. The amazon webstore looked like a possibility but the fees seem complicated to figure out and BigCommerce looked like a possibility although rather pricey since we have over 8000 items in inventory. So I'm glad for @anonymousannie and her comments as through my time reading her many posts, she seems to have her head screwed on straight. Too many people make decision based on what friends told them that they heard about, so it was nice getting a first hand account.

Does anyone know if you go with a Amazon webstore, can Amazon pull the rug out from under you like they can as a regular 3P seller? I've heard about that happening and would hate to spend the time setting up my store only to be told we have been kicked off of Amazon.

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

by: Gershon Ink This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 26 16:02:02 2013

It is a very interesting poll. We are in the process working with BigCommerce and we find not that easy to post our app in their app store. We know that our Inkomerce app will help their stores to move merchandise faster.  

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Aug 26 19:46:38 2013

Well I spent hours trying to figure out the Amazon Webstores and then tried to sign up. I got told I already had an account and would have to sign up with a different email. Went to the webstore forum and foundthatthose ofusin those positions would be expected to pay the pro-merchant/professional fee monthly AND the webstore fee (which is supposed to be free if you combined your webstore and sold on regular amazon as well. Plus the fees would be more. So after the come on about being able to sell on both places I find that I can't. Apparently a 'fix' of this problem has been on the back burner for over half a year at least at this point. Knowing Amazon, they could have fixed this in less than an hour if they WANTED to.

So off to investigate other sites, but a day wasted which didn't leave me very happy.

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Tue Aug 27 18:58:28 2013

Well, bigcommerce is been down for 4 hours, even their home page is down.  

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

by: collector007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 27 21:42:39 2013

Thanks to the poster named ''sorryseller'' for giving me some help above in finding an ecommerce host that can import my ebay listings into my own website, then gradually say goodbye to ebay. I appreciate the help!

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

by: kirstenpetra This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Aug 28 18:48:15 2013

Annie,

I wanted to chime in from Bigcommerce about your experience. We understand how any platform transition can be frustrating - like so many companies, we needed to innovate to provide the most scalable solutions - and clients always have to decide whether the new technology or legacy best meets their needs.

Original Interspire Shopping Cart purchases included access to the software plus the first 12 months of technical support and software updates. When clients made it clear that a more scalable & easily deployable SaaS solution was desired, the business decision was made to discontinue ISC but the team did work to communicate the ongoing options to our then clients, like you.  Those included continued use of ISC software, perform updates on your own, or getting help to migrate everything over to Bigcommerce.  

While several clients did choose to upgrade ISC independently as you did, most migrated over to Bigcommerce, an option we still offer today.  We'd be more than happy to help you if that's of interest.  We certainly also understand that you may love the solution you've custom built to date and wish you great success.

Dream Big. Sell More. @kirstenpetra on twitter if you want to find me personally;)

Perminate Link for Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services   Readers Weigh In on Storefront and Shopping Cart Services

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Aug 31 10:03:37 2013

@collector007 >
"Painstakingly"....That's a wimpy attitude.
Here's what you do :
PULL UP YOUR BOOT STRAPS > TURN ON THE "ROCKY BALBOA" MUSIC > AND GET TO WORK !
First find web creation software.
Get the newest (Dream Weaver "Cloud" version) or similar. Microsoft Expression Web 3 or 4 is FREE.
LEARN IT.
This doesn't happen over night. Google the words and definitions you need to get familiar with. "Wishin' is Fishin' " , so get to it. Once you know how to make space to plug in your items and your shopping cart HTML (AMBERCART), bring all your photos from Ebay onto your hard drive, along with the text descriptions. Then begin by creating a nice "organic" home page. Something that DOESN'T look corporate or commercial. USE A NICE "easy on the eyes Background Color and make the text Black or White. NEVER GRAY. Create Links that are the Categories for your stuff. A Happy Healthy website is one that is easy to negotiate, pleasant to view, and preferably comes up on PAGE ONE of the web search AT LEAST ONCE.
You should literally use a chalk board to plan the website. You're making a TREE. the HOME PAGE is the TOP. Then branch out.
REMEMBER > Customers don't like to click too much to get to the shopping cart, so keep the path Short n' Sweet. NAME YOUR PHOTOS so the Search Engine can find your stuff based on the search terms people would use to find your stuff. NEVER EVER use irrelevant words in descriptions. Screws everything up.
I have go to tend to MY Business now. Everybody wants my product  :o)



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