Consumer shopping habits are fluid and have been shifting year after year, depending on various environmental and generational factors. Financial turbulence has resulted in many brick and mortar storefronts being closed, in exchange for eCommerce business models offering lower overhead costs. At the same time, the last few years have left people desperate for interaction with physical products. This is even more evident around holiday shopping times when people are flocking to malls and stores, and online retailers open pop-up shops to connect with their consumers. Retailers look for ways to diversify and sync both channels for a successful customer shopping experience, by expanding digital shopping while also offering the “see and touch” experience of in-person shopping. As buying trends pivot back and forth, the shift to online retail continues to see an upward trend and is here to stay.
It is time to stop forfeiting online sales
Your business is growing, you have a loyal customer base, sales are booming and you are ready to expand your market reach. You invested time and money into setting up your online store with PayPal, Square or Stripe. These solutions seemed attractive, easy to setup, easy to integrate to and easy to get paid. Then you receive the dreaded email that you are in breach of their terms and service, and they close down your merchant account, with no support to reach out to. What went wrong?
These payment service providers (PSPs) help smaller businesses accept payments, but they are all about instant approvals and lack individualized attention. They will approve your account immediately, then might deactivate it without anyone to advocate for you. This interruption of your online business will cost you in forfeited sales, and leave you frantically searching for eCommerce solutions to keep you open, and you may be at the hands of merchant providers looking to take advantage of your situation.
eCommerce solutions that don’t leave you without options
With millions of eCommerce sites globally, there is an ever-growing number of eCommerce platforms battling to expand their market share. Cartis Payments Connects with many of these platforms which offer businesses flexibility and options to avoid disruptions of their online sales, while allowing us to provide competitive processing rates.
With so many terms floating around: payment gateways, payment processors, merchant providers… it can be difficult to understand what an eCommerce platform is. An eCommerce platform, sometimes referred to as shopping cart software, is a software solution to setup, build, customize, manage and run your online store’s website.
A good eCommerce platform will offer robust features, including plugins and integrations into many payment gateways and into your existing CRM, ERP or financial accounting software. The website builder, business marketing and social channels, inventory management, shipping and fulfillment, back-office operations, sales, fraud protection and payment services should all seamlessly work together.
Beyond the shopping cart
The online shopping cart is the foundation to any eCommerce site, and integral to completing a purchase; but to convert a consumer from browsing to buying, retailers need all-in-one eCommerce technology.
From a start-up to an enterprise, there are several standalone, open source, and software as service (SaaS) platform options that offer everything from a well branded store for those with limited tech know-how, to a fully hosted solution with all the bells and whistles to differentiate your store and stay competitive.
So, what are some of the questions to ask, and factors at the core of selecting the right eCommerce solution for your business?
How established is your business?
What are initial implementation and ongoing costs?
Ease of migration?
What kind of product and order management is offered (i.e., bulk product upload)?
Does the platform support customization and themes?
Are there features to grow with your business: SEO, marketing, multi-site support?
Payments & Integrations:
Does the platform integrate with 3rd party systems?
Is there support for multiple payment gateways?
What eCommerce security is available?
Shopping experience & backend interface:
What kind of reporting and analytics are available?
What tools are available to reduce cart abandonment?
Does it offer a streamlined customer shopping interface?
These answers are the drivers that will help setup your online business for success.
At the top of the eCommerce technology usage list
During your evaluation of the best eCommerce solutions for your business, you will see there are usually several top contenders – based on their usage, based on target business sales volume, and ease of use. We will look at a few that will make it to the top of your consideration.
WooCommerce – eCommerce platform for WordPress users
With 43.2% of websites on the internet running off WordPress, adding eCommerce functionality to an existing WordPress site is easy with the WooCommerce open-source plugin for WordPress.
Geared towards small and midsize businesses (SMB) which have their hosting, domain name and website up and looking to start selling online, it is easy to see why WooCommerce has gained popularity amongst eCommerce businesses.
For merchants set up on WooCommerce looking to accept payments, Cartis Payments offers simple connections for their online store and payment processing.
Magento (Adobe Commerce)– eCommerce platform for developers and professional sites
Backed by the reputable Adobe brand, Magento offers an open-source online ecosystem that is widely used by larger businesses, but also gaining traction with smaller ones, knowing they can scale and grow through the customizability it offers.
To take full advantage of the advanced eCommerce technology, you will need the assistance of a Magento development solution partner.
As a Cartis merchant, businesses set up with Magento can take advantage of Elavon’s in-house open-source plugin, enabling their Magento site to process payments and tap into payment features and fraud chargeback protection.
BigCommerce – eCommerce platform for enterprise and full control
One of the fastest growing eCommerce solutions for those who think big, BigCommerce has built a name for itself with high-profile, high-volume companies like Sony, Casio, and Ben & Jerry’s. Geared towards enterprise level companies with established online storefronts and popular brands, but its out of the box features make it popular with businesses of all sizes.
BigCommerce’s integration with many leading payment gateways allows Cartis Payments to set you up with a merchant account for your eCommerce store.
Shopify – eCommerce platform for online sellers to launch quickly
With different plans, Shopify aims to be a jack of all trades. At its basic level, it is most common for start-ups, smaller businesses, online entrepreneurs and dropshippers who are just starting out or testing a business concept. At the other end of the eCommerce spectrum, Shopify Plus offers a solution for enterprise eCommerce.
While making a name as a leading and preferred eCommerce solution, Shopify is not without limitations, leaving retailers tied into Shopify hosting, limited integrations and locked into hefty credit card processing fees that can be detrimental as your online business grows. While there are many alternatives, there is a reason for Shopify’s loyal user base, and why Cartis works around those limitations to support merchants.
Wix – eCommerce platform for the self-creator
Known for its primary function of being a website builder, it also offers an eCommerce solution for entrepreneurs and small businesses starting out. Wix’s free version, and user-friendly drag and drop builder that requires no coding skills, finds favour with the freelancers who need an easy to learn eCommerce software. While Wix offers a great starting point, it is not without limitations as an online business grows and requires features and data that is not available with Wix. For entrepreneurs looking to monetize their website with payments, Wix Payments’ 2.9% + $0.30 processing fees can set a growing online business back; Cartis’s connection to Wix can offer alternative payment acceptance options.
Ecwid – eCommerce platform for existing websites
Combining forces with Lightspeed, Ecwid is moving up the eCommerce technology usage list with businesses which are looking to start with a free service, and grow online and through a social media presence. While it does offer the option of setting up a one-page website with a built-in online store, think of Ecwid as an adjunct to website builders. If you already have a WordPress website or a website built on a platform like Wix, and are looking to enable eCommerce capabilities by adding an online store, you can use Ecwid with your existing website. Ecwid’s pre established payment gateway integrations open several connection points to Cartis Payments, for the added benefit of reduced merchant fees.
The best for last
Converge – eCommerce platform for end-to-end payment processing
Winning the category for best eCommerce platform / gateway, Converge has something to offer for all businesses, small and large.
For those just starting to test the waters and jump start online sales – Converge’s built in eCommerce tools lets you create a product catalog, and add a buy button to link to Converge’s secure hosted payment page.
For online companies with an existing eCommerce software – Converge integrates with many of the common eCommerce platforms, so that when you are ready to take it to the next level, Cartis Payments can support your payment processing without any interruption to your sales.
For businesses or software developers looking to create their own online platform (akin to Stripe) – Converge offers a robust payments API for custom payment integration to develop a fully customized payment solution.
Even with an eCommerce platform that is right for your business, eCommerce sales are notoriously tied to online fraud and chargebacks. High chargebacks can leave a business bouncing around from processor to processor. There are many eCommerce software alternatives in the marketplace, many integrate to various payment processors and gateways, allowing online businesses to maintain their software infrastructure and move their payment processing to merchant service providers like Cartis Payments. We support our merchants and help redefine high risk by extending our fraud tools, which work with your existing eCommerce software. For businesses looking to bypass the subscription pricing model altogether, and cut costs, consider Converge customized integration options.
Above all, for businesses who want to succeed at providing their shoppers with a seamless checkout experience online and in store, ask us how we can support all that through one omni commerce account.