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6 top e-commerce platforms for do-it-yourself small businesses

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | June 17, 2014
Ecommerce business owners cast their votes for the shopping carts and ecommerce platforms that are most tailored to the do-it-yourselfer -- no design or Web development team required.

Tim Trampedach, the founder and president of Level X Motorsports, is also a big Magento fan, for the following reasons: "You can rent a hosted version or self-host for free. Easy startup for anyone. There are tons of extensions to customize it to your heart's content. There are plenty of docs to figure things out yourself," he says. And "the software is very modular," so it can grow with your business.

Get Going plan:$15/month

3. Bigcommerce

"The Success Squad [Bigcommerce's team of ecommerce experts] helped me through every step of the process from migrating my store from another platform, to in-depth training on marketing and search engine optimization," says Leslie Ciriaco, the owner of Creations by Leslie, a provider of personalized invitations, announcements and more. "I couldn't be happier with the level of support and baked-in features, including the beautiful free design templates that come standard. If you want your business to grow and succeed, Bigcommerce is the only choice."

Silver plan: $34.95/month

4. WooCommerce

"There's no better platform than WordPress for DIY websites, so it makes perfect sense to use WooCommerce, the WordPress-based ecommerce platform," says Ben Larcey, head of Marketing at Bluebird Global, who has built and run many small/DIY ecommerce sites.

"Being free and open source means you have complete control over your store without being locked into a monthly contract or proprietary software. WooCommerce is perfect for niche sites just beginning their ecommerce journey, like Arrow Leather Works, but also has the ability to scale into powering much larger stores," Larcey says. "If you're familiar with WordPress, then using WooCommerce will come naturally to you with products just being a modified blog post in the CMS."

"My favorite ecommerce platform and what I recommend to my clients is WooCommerce," says Michelle Nickolaisen, owner, Bombchelle Industries, which provides productivity how-tos & classes for freelancers and small business owners. "It's free, so there are no monthly fees that eat into your profits -- and it's easy to use," she says. Another plus: "It can be used for both digital downloads and physical products. And the amount of extensions available for it make it incredibly flexible."

5. Webs

"When we started our business it was a hobby, so we didn't want to spend too much time on building and managing the Web store," says Lisa Crowell, president, Beantown Cornhole, the makers of personalized cornhole boards and bags. "We did a lot of research and finally started a free trial with Webs.

"It was so simple and intuitive, we didn't even read the instructions," Crowell says. "We were able to quickly set up the store in minutes and decided to upgrade from the free trial. Maintenance is very easy. We can add and remove items in five minutes. We also like the flexibility of offering customers several payment options," she says. "Our website looks so professional, we seem like a bigger operation and that boosts our credibility with potential customers."


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