EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 364 - August 10, 2014 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 5

Sellers Choice Awards: Online Shopping Carts 2014

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BigCommerce and Amazon Webstore came out on top again in the EcommerceBytes Sellers Choice Awards for the "Storefronts & Shopping Carts" category. But while last year the two storefront services tied, this year BigCommerce nudged ahead to take first place. Other services rounding out the top five were Zen Cart; Shopify; and PrestaShop.

EcommerceBytes asked readers to rate 22 storefront and shopping cart solutions in the 2014 Sellers Choice Awards. Merchants rated each on five criteria, and each was then given an overall score.

The 2014 Sellers Choice survey included a related category, "Inventory Listing and Management Tools," and some respondents noted that they used those services to also power their ecommerce websites. The Sellers Choice results for that category will be published in a future issue.

Online sellers have a vast choice in where they host their stores, ranging from simple shopping carts to free storefront services to turnkey hosted solutions. Each of the vendors in the chart above vary widely in terms of what features they offer, so sellers should determine their needs and map them to the solutions as part of their vetting process when evaluating storefronts solutions and shopping carts.

BigCommerce
In this year's ratings, BigCommerce improved nearly a full point in Ease of Use, while Performance remained the same. It dis-improved in terms of SEO features, dropped slightly in terms of Customer Service, and improved slightly when it came to Fees.

Ease of Use: 8.1
Performance: 8.3
SEO Features: 7.2
Customer Service: 8.5
Fees: 7.6

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Fees not suitable for selling one-of-a-kind or unique items.

Rating would be higher if stats were available to make better decisions about upgrading if needed.

Excellent SEO help. Disappointed that it is no longer included with the "GOLD" store level.

BigCommerce technical customer service is excellent, but general sales and marketing are only open 9 - 5 Monday through Friday, so if you're running your business and online, then it's virtually impossible to set up a discussion.*

Quality customer service. Don't rush through and will make sure you are thoroughly happy with the answers to your questions and understand the information.

Overall pleased with BigCommerce. Individual listings can be cumbersome because the information needs to be inputted under several different tabs. However, listing in bulk by importing spreadsheet files is a snap. Pleased with the order process and the payment option integration.

*Update 8/11/14: BigCommerce notified us they now have 24/7 phone, email, and chat support.

Amazon Webstore
Amazon Webstore again had the most number of users responding to the Sellers Choice survey. It received high marks for Performance, though down slightly from last year. It declined slightly in Ease of Use, and dropped a full point in SEO Features and Customer Service, and also declined in Fees.

Ease of Use: 7.7
Performance: 8.2
SEO Features: 7.4
Customer Service: 6.9
Fees: 6.7

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Not particular difficult to use, but not user friendly either.

Takes me awhile to figure out how to list new products.

Everything is in one place. Simple to use.

Have to raise prices because of fees.

Better sales here than any other site except my web site.

Zen Cart
Zen Cart came in third in this year's Sellers Choice Awards. It scored its highest marks for fees, and its lowest score was for customer service, which improved from last year.

Ease of Use: 6.4
Performance: 7.6
SEO Features: 6.3
Customer Service: 5.0
Fees: 8.2

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Zen Cart is completely free to use but you have to have a basic knowledge of programming, attention to detail, and a great deal of patience to use it.

Zen Cart alone does not bring any performance. The store MUST do their own marketing and advertising in order to get traffic to the store.

Zen Cart allows a shop to metatag each individual item, as well as their storefront.

Shopify
Shopify came in fourth in this year's Sellers Choice Awards. It earned highest marks for Ease of Use this year and lowest marks for SEO Features.

Ease of Use: 7.6
Performance: 6.7
SEO Features: 5.1
Customer Service: 6.6
Fees: 7.1

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Easy for a non techie person like me to use. Great customer service. They are prompt and responsive. Willing to go the extra mile to help you.

Shopify has too many premium items and not enough included, not even integrated shipping.

I would like to see Shopify add Amazon Payments.

I am getting no traffic to my store unless I pin to Pinterest like crazy. Very disappointed.

PrestaShop
PrestaShop came in fifth in this year's Sellers Choice Awards. It earned its highest score in SEO Features and earned its lowest marks for Performance, which dropped significantly from last year.

Ease of Use: 6.1
Performance: 5.5
SEO Features: 6.2
Customer Service: 7.1
Fees: 6.2

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

While Prestashop is free, there are a number of modules that are available for a fee. Some are pricey.

I started using Prestashop because of last year's survey on their SEO. It is an excellent set up and was a good move.

I love the interface of Prestashop. It is smooth and easy to use. I have been using Zen Cart for 7 or so years, and while I still have two shops still using Zen Cart, I have switched my other three shops to Prestashop, and feel it is a better alternative for me. It is so much easier for me to add products, and if I wanted to spend around $300, I could buy the Prestashop manager standalone software. I was going to add PayPal as a merchant service, but the addon for Prestashop is 299.00 per store, which makes it cost prohibitive for me to do so. Stripe cost me nothing extra, and I like Stripe. There are a lot of really useful modules for Prestashop, but some can be pricey.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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