E-commerce software, which is often called shopping cart software, helps online retailers run their businesses. Most e-commerce software packages use technology to help retailers design their websites, list products online, and sell and ship products to customers.

Top 10 Best Rated eCommerce Software

Shopify.com offers retailers the ability to control all aspects of their eCommerce business online - from customer service to selling in retail stores. The company has helped facilitate more than $7 billion of sales.
3dcart is a company that allows eRetailers to design, promote, and sell their products online. The company offers easy to use and customize software, so every store can create their own individual site and look.
Volusion is a fully-hosted eCommerce software platform that offers customers a way to manage processing and fulfilling orders. Additionally, the company offers eRetailers built-in SEO to help improve their search engine results.
Bigcommerce.com is an eCommerce platform that specializes in SEO and search engine results. The company offers selling software as well as marketing functions.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

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What features matter most?

Centralized database

Most e-commerce software packages use a centralized database to keep track of inventory, orders, shipping and accounting. This eliminates the need for copying data and saves space on the web server.

  • CRM application: Users run their CRM program from the same database as their other e-commerce applications, making it easier to see what stage of buying each prospective customer is in.
  • Orders, shipping and payment: The software stores information about orders including who ordered what, where the order should be shipped, whether payments have cleared and where shipped packages are.
  • Inventory control: The database tracks current inventory information and automatically updates online product listings if the business is out of stock or nearly out of stock.

Catalog and shopping cart

The heart of e-commerce software is the catalog and shopping cart. The software creates product listings online and gives customers the ability to order them.

  • Designs the catalog pages: Most e-commerce packages come with catalog page templates. Users simply input information about products and choose a design style; the software does the rest.
  • Implements the shopping cart: The software takes care of all the coding to provide an online shopping cart. Users can customize the cart’s design, including how order and confirmation pages look.
  • Integrates the search function: Most e-commerce software sets up an internal search bar so that customers can easily search for the products they’re looking for.

Integration with other applications

E-commerce software often includes integration with third-party applications. This allows users to control the entire e-commerce system through one application.

  • PayPal: It’s become standard for e-commerce applications to include PayPal integration. This allows customers to use their PayPal accounts to pay for purchases without leaving the business’ website.
  • Shipping services: By integrating with third-party shipping services, e-commerce software coordinates order fulfillment and shipping. As soon as a customer places an order, the third-party shipper is notified to prepare a package for shipping.
  • Accounting services: When e-commerce software is integrated with Quickbooks or other accounting services, users can track revenue and expenses related to orders as they occur.

SEO support

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is important to e-commerce business’ marketing campaigns. Many e-commerce packages offer SEO support to make this important function easier.

  • Keyword trackers: Some e-commerce applications offer keyword tools to help business owners figure out which keywords to use in their SEO campaigns.
  • SEO analysis: Some applications analyze SEO and provide users with reports. The SEO analysis tells users whether their e-commerce sites are optimized for search engines and provides suggestions for improvement.
  • One-on-one training: Some e-commerce software companies offer users one-on-one training with an SEO expert at a low or reduced cost.

Cross-selling capabilities

Cross-selling is an important part of most e-commerce sites’ marketing campaigns. Software packages automate the process of selling other products to customers at checkout.

  • Analysis of browsing patterns: Some packages analyze visitors’ browsing patterns and save them in cookies. When the visitor returns, the site suggests products of interest based on those patterns.
  • Make suggestions at checkout: E-commerce software often analyzes the products chosen for purchase and automatically suggests similar products when a customer adds something to his or her cart.
  • Send automated email suggestions: Some e-commerce packages may automatically add suggested products to confirmation emails or email suggestions a week or two after an order has been placed.

Advanced analytics

E-commerce packages may also provide advanced analysis of site visitor behavior, which businesses can use to determine how well their marketing campaigns are working.

  • Customer demographics: E-commerce packages can collect demographic information based on visitors’ IP addresses as well as collecting information about paying customers.
  • Referring sites: E-commerce packages can track the sites from which the visitors came to determine whether an online marketing campaign is working.
  • Keyword tracking: E-commerce software tracks the keywords people used to find the site. These keywords can then be incorporated into SEO marketing campaigns.

What are different types of e-commerce software?

Out-of-the-box software

Out-of-the-box software is pre-programmed e-commerce software that cannot be customized or changed by users. It must have the features users want at purchase, as add-ons are not available.

Custom-coded software

Users who are familiar with software coding can re-code this software to make it do what they want it to do. This type of software usually has to be configured during the installation process.

Hosted software

Hosted e-commerce software is usually stored on a server somewhere else and accessed online. Users may have to pay a monthly fee to access the software.

Who's it for?

Small business owners

Small, local business owners often use e-commerce software. These people serve only a local or regional market and may not have a physical store location.

Mail order businesses

Mail order businesses consist of product catalogs and an ordering/shipping department. They may or may not have a physical store in addition to an online catalog and ordering system.

Bricks and clicks

Brick and click businesses have one or more physical locations in addition to an online store. Many well-known brands fit into this category.

Multichannel retailers

Multichannel retailers manage several different physical stores and run e-commerce sites as a complement to each store. This is a very complex type of business, as owners must keep track of revenue, inventory, and operations for each store and store type.

Company reviews

  • CoreCommerce

    Core Commerce is a hosted e-commerce solution that is devoted to keeping customer information secure. It has received several awards for its software, including the Nashville Business Journal Award.

    • Best for Small businesses, mail order businesses

  • Shopify

    Shopify is one of the best-known e-commerce software packages. It was founded in 2006 by three entrepreneurs who were frustrated by the lack of easy-to-use e-commerce software at the time.

    • Best for Mail order businesses, brick and click businesses, multichannel retailers
  • 3dcart

    3D Cart’s founder originally wanted to bring shopping cart functionality to small businesses. Today, this hosted e-commerce software offers many other functions to businesses of all sizes.

    • Best for Mail order businesses, brick and click businesses
  • Volusion

    Volusion prides itself on helping businesses grow and succeed. It offers employees the ability to participate in a nonprofit foundation as well as offering e-commerce services for business owners.

    • Best for Small businesses, mail order businesses, brick and click businesses
  • Bigcommerce

    BigCommerce is a global e-commerce software company that has offices in Australia as well as in the United States.

    • Best for Small businesses, mail order businesses
  • GoDaddy Quick Shopping Cart

    GoDaddy is one of the best-known web hosting services that offers its quick shopping cart as a stand-alone or as an add-on to basic web hosting.

    • Best for Small businesses, mail order businesses

  • Spark Pay

    Spark Pay is a hosted e-commerce solution that serves over 5,000 customers. It has expanded exponentially since its founding in 2005.

    • Best for Small businesses.

  • 1ShoppingCart

    1ShoppingCart is a relatively new e-commerce provider. It was acquired by web.com in 2006 and operates from its headquarters in Canada.

    • Best for Small businesses, mail order businesses

  • X-Cart

    X-Cart, originally created in 2000 by three students, has grown from a PHP-only product to a complete e-commerce platform that employs engineers from around the globe.

    • Best for Mail order businesses, brick and click businesses

  • PinnacleCart

    PinnacleCart is designed by online business owners for online business owners. Its founders have over 20 years of experience with online retail and marketing.

    • Best for Small businesses, mail order businesses