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Choosing the right software can be the key to starting a successful ecommerce business—as you’ll use this platform to launch your online store and manage the whole of your operations. Therefore, you’ll need to think carefully about your business’s requirements and budget when trying to decide which of the many available ecommerce solutions is best for you.
Even if you’ve already started your online store, however, there might come a time where you find the platform you have is no longer fulfilling your needs. Perhaps you’ve grown quickly or want to open another store—whatever the case, it might then be time to investigate other options—and that’s where a software like AmeriCommerce comes in. AmeriCommerce is known for their multi-store functionality and ability to accommodate “mid-size companies to major players all across the country.”
Is AmeriCommerce right for your online store? We’re here to help you find out. In this AmeriCommerce review, we’ll explore the features, pricing, pros, and cons of this ecommerce platform. We’ll also discuss top alternatives, so you have all the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your business.
Founded in 2005 and based in Texas, AmeriCommerce is a cloud-based, fully hosted ecommerce platform that gives you the ability to launch and run your online store. As we mentioned, AmeriCommerce markets their services specifically to high-volume and quickly growing ecommerce businesses with a focus on multiple storefronts. In fact, AmeriCommerce has trademarked their “Multi-Store” technology, which allows you to manage multiple online stores from a single admin.
In addition to their multi-store capabilities, AmeriCommerce also offers specific B2B features, as well as ecommerce essentials—payment processing; product, shipping, and order management; marketing tools; and more. You can purchase an AmeriCommerce subscription on a month-to-month basis, choosing from one of their five available pricing plans. AmeriCommerce also allows you to sign up for a 14-day free trial of their software, no credit card required.
Now that we’ve gone through a basic overview of this ecommerce solution, let’s dive deeper into the various features that AmeriCommerce has to offer.
AmeriCommerce gives you the ability to create your online store, choosing from over 60 of their free themes and customizing the theme for your specific business. To modify your store, you can use the AmeriCommerce Live Design tool, a “what you see is what you get” editor, or you can edit using HTML or CSS. AmeriCommerce gives you full access to the HTML and CSS of your store for maximum customization abilities.
Additionally, AmeriCommerce provides web hosting and security for your store, including a free shared SSL. You also have the option to use your own SSL, as well as your own business domain name. Furthermore, AmeriCommerce allows you unlimited staff accounts which you can manage from your admin—assigning administrators and permissions settings based on role, function, or store.
With AmeriCommerce, you can list your products and organize them using unlimited product attributes, options, and variants, as well as groups and kits. You can also allow customers to compare different products side-by-side using AmeriCommerce’s product comparison tool.
In addition, you have the ability to accommodate products with personalization, digital products, subscription, and software. AmeriCommerce also offers a Q&A widget, product reviews, and a sales tool that suggests top-selling and related products.
To fulfill your store’s orders, AmeriCommerce provides a rule engine that allows you to customize your workflow and create specific conditions and actions for discounts, pricing, shipping, and more. Using the rule engine, you can also set up triggers based on customer activities, enable custom notifications, and create automated emails.
In terms of shipping, AmeriCommerce offers live shipping rates from major shipping services, gives you the ability to set up custom shipping methods, plus sync orders and shipments with third-party fulfillment tools. Additionally, you can use AmeriCommerce to print labels, track shipments, send email notifications, split orders, and add handling charges. You also have the ability to offer free shipping discounts, restrict shipping destinations, and charge shipping taxes or markup based on location.
Sample store from AmeriCommerce. Source: AmeriCommerce
With AmeriCommerce, you can offer your customers a variety of different payment methods—from Amazon Pay to ACH payments to debit and credit cards. You can allow your customers to submit their orders using a one-page checkout, as well as enable a guest checkout option.
To accept these payments online, you can work with one of the 50+ pre-integrated payment gateways that AmeriCommerce offers—including top providers like Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.Net—or use their in-house processor, AmeriCommerce Payments.
Additionally, AmeriCommerce gives you the ability to offer your customers split payments, gift card payments, custom quotes, invoices, and payment links. Furthermore, AmeriCommerce provides chargeback and fraud protection as well as PCI compliance.
As we mentioned earlier, AmeriCommerce is well-known for their multi-store capabilities. If you have multiple, separate storefronts, AmeriCommerce gives you the ability to manage your customers, orders, shipping, products, transactions, and overall sales activities through a single admin interface. You can add any number of stores at any time, share and link products and inventory across stores, as well as create a unique design for each store. Through your interface, you can toggle between stores without having to log in and out, as well as manage orders and customer information from all of your stores through the AmeriCommerce Orders Dashboard.
If your online store will be selling wholesale or B2B, AmeriCommerce provides a specific feature-set to accommodate your business. With these tools, you can set up wholesale customers with unique pricing views and grant certain users access to special pricing. Along these lines, you can also set unlimited customer types and logins, as well as offer volume discounts, quoted invoices, and custom products and prices.
Additionally, you can restrict products, pricing, pages, or your entire store by requiring customers to log-in. You also can use AmeriCommerce’s workflow rule engine, mass import/export tool, and large-scale shipping and fulfillment integrations to handle the full extent of wholesale or B2B store operations.
AmeriCommerce includes built-in SEO, email marketing, and blog tools. You can also use the platform to create a customer loyalty or rewards program—and even give customers the ability to buy products with points they earn from interacting with your business. In addition, you can set up automated abandoned cart emails, and drip series for promotions, announcements, and rewards, as well as use the discount rules engine to create customized discount scenarios.
AmeriCommerce gives you the opportunity to sell on a variety of different channels (with no monthly or annual sales volume limit)—extending the reach of your store beyond your actual website. You can use the AmeriCommerce embedded ecommerce tools to add online shopping cart functionality to an existing website or blog. You can also sync your product inventory with channels like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Google, and more to sell on those marketplaces as well.
Additionally, AmeriCommerce allows you to become your own marketplace site, giving companies or people the ability to sell their products from a single website with individual profiles and storefronts. You can attach an unlimited number of vendors to your marketplace, separate storefronts by vendor, control each storefront design, and segment vendor catalogs, discounts, shipping rules, and reports.
Moreover, you can connect your AmeriCommerce online store to over 100 different apps and add-ons from accounting software like QuickBooks to email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. AmeriCommerce also gives you access to their REST API for further integration and customization capabilities.
For merchants who need assistance, AmeriCommerce provides support in a few ways. First, you can contact customer support directly by phone or live chat, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. You also have the option to submit a support ticket or browse the AmeriCommerce knowledge base. Moreover, AmeriCommerce offers premium support solutions for web and graphic design, custom development, data migration, marketing services, and ecommerce consulting.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, AmeriCommerce prices their services on a monthly subscription basis, offering five different plans as well as an enterprise solution. Unlike many other ecommerce platforms, however, the included functionality does not increase as the plan prices increase—instead, all of the AmeriCommerce plans offer the same built-in features, and the changes between plans occur in the number of products you can sell, site bandwidth, and storage capacity.
This being said, the five AmeriCommerce plans are: Steel, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The cost per month, products, bandwidth, and storage of each plan is illustrated in the chart below:
If you’re interested in AmeriCommerce’s enterprise solution, which includes higher rates and priority service, you can contact AmeriCommerce directly for a customized pricing quote.
AmeriCommerce does not require a contract and does not charge a cancellation fee. Additionally, AmeriCommerce does not charge based on sales volume—meaning you can sell as much as possible on a monthly and yearly basis without needing to upgrade your plan and without AmeriCommerce charging a percentage-based fee. If you want to add multiple stores to your account, though, you’ll have to pay an additional $39 per month, per store. If you want to upgrade, change, or add another store to your account, AmeriCommerce allows you to do so at any time. It’s also important to note, though, that AmeriCommerce will charge you a fee for going over your allotted monthly bandwidth.
In addition to the cost of your monthly AmeriCommerce plan, you’ll also have to pay for the cost of payment processing. The ultimate cost of payment processing will depend on the provider you choose; however, AmeriCommerce does not charge any transaction fees on top of those you’ll incur directly from your processor. Moreover, AmeriCommerce offers their own in-house processing at discounted rates.
With AmeriCommerce Payments, which is powered by WePay, approved merchants will receive a merchant account and will only pay for the cost of processing when a transaction is made. For the Steel and Bronze plans, you’ll pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction; for the Silver and Gold plans, you’ll pay 2.6% plus $0.30 per transaction; and for the Platinum plan, you’ll pay 2.4% plus $0.30 per transaction.
How does AmeriCommerce fair against competitors in the ecommerce space? Here are some of the top benefits of this platform:
In addition to offering the basic features you need to start selling online, AmeriCommerce gives you the capabilities that you need to take your ecommerce operation to the next level. With functionality for multiple store management, wholesale and B2B pricing, ordering, and fulfillment, as well as connections to a variety of sales channels, AmeriCommerce provides the tools you need for rapid growth and expansion. Moreover, with the different rule engines AmeriCommerce offers for workflow, discounts, and more, you can not only scale your operations, but also automate and sustain them.
Along these lines, AmeriCommerce gives you significant customization abilities—including everything from your site design to product organization to your workflow and sales channels. Plus, with full access to the HTML and CSS of your site, you can (if you so choose) extend your functionality and modify your site beyond the immediate avenues that AmeriCommerce themselves provide. Therefore, AmeriCommerce not only provides the tools you need for a growing and efficient ecommerce business, but also allows you to operate in the way that works best for you.
AmeriCommerce provides multiple options for payment processing, allowing you to both work with the payment processor of your choice and offer your customers a number of payment methods. If you choose to work with a third-party provider, AmeriCommerce does not charge additional transaction fees–in fact, they offer over 50 out-of-the-box payment integrations.
Moreover, if you decide to work with AmeriCommerce Payments, you can benefit from their discounted credit card processing fees and don’t have to worry about going through the process of finding and setting up an account with another provider.
Despite their notable benefits, AmeriCommerce also has some drawbacks to consider. Here are a few:
Although it’s impressive that all of the AmeriCommerce plans include the advanced features we discussed above, a significant downside is the bandwidth, storage, and product restrictions each plan has. Most other ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, have done away with specific pricing based on these qualifications, offering unlimited bandwidth, storage, and products for most, if not all, of their plans.
With AmeriCommerce, these restrictions are particularly problematic because if you’re running a quickly growing online store, something like bandwidth is probably going to be one of the last things on your mind. This being said, a business benefiting from AmeriCommerce’s other features could be held back by these restrictions and end up having to upgrade their plan or pay the overage fees.
In comparison to other ecommerce solutions on the market, AmeriCommerce is lacking when it comes to customer support options. Many platforms offer support via chat, email, and phone, in addition to the resources they provide on their website. Additionally, many competitors, like 3dcart, have customer support representatives available 24/7, which is particularly useful for business owners who work a variety of hours and who need help at all times, especially when first getting started. Although AmeriCommerce provides a few customer support options, they’re definitely limited in terms of hours, days, and overall channels.
While AmeriCommerce excels with their advanced features, they’re lacking in some of their basic features, as is the case with the bandwidth, product, and storage restrictions we discussed above. Beyond those restrictions, their free design templates don’t seem as up-to-date and professional as options from other providers—plus, not all of them are optimized for mobile.
Additionally, whereas many alternative platforms have at least some accommodations for selling internationally, AmeriCommerce seems to be severely lacking—not offering features for multi-language or currency—despite the fact that they focus on multiple store capabilities. Finally, although AmeriCommerce gives you the ability to integrate using add-ons or API, their app store is very limited compared to others on the marketplace.
What do customers have to say about their experience using the AmeriCommerce platform? On the whole, AmeriCommerce reviews online are positive—with customers commenting on the platform’s powerful features, flexibility, and customization. Many reviewers also feel that AmeriCommerce is approachable for a variety of skill levels, offers helpful customer service, and is decently priced.
Although there are very few AmeriCommerce reviews that are overwhelmingly negative, some customers do report aspects of the platform that they’d like to see improved. In this regard, reviewers feel that the interface could be more intuitive, the themes could be more responsive, and, as we mentioned, there could be better customer service hours and more integration options.
It’s also worth mentioning that some AmeriCommerce reviews comment on the platform’s issues as SparkPay, the name AmeriCommerce was known by when it was acquired by Capital One in 2014. However, it seems that when AmeriCommerce separated from Capital One and became their own company again in late 2017, many of these issues subsided.
Before deciding whether AmeriCommerce is the right ecommerce solution for your business, it’s worth exploring some of the top alternatives to see if any of these platforms can better serve your needs. Here are two to consider:
For an alternative that offers many of the same advanced capabilities as AmeriCommerce, but has solid basic features and is also approachable for smaller businesses, you might consider BigCommerce. Like AmeriCommerce, BigCommerce is an all-in-one hosted platform that gives you the ability to create and customize your online store, sell on multiple channels, and grow your ecommerce operations.
BigCommerce offers three plans ranging from $29.95 per month to $249.95 month—as well as a quote-based enterprise solution. Although BigCommerce has less plan options than AmeriCommerce, their built-in functionality include some of the features AmeriCommerce lacks. For example, all of the BigCommerce plans include unlimited products, file storage, and bandwidth, in addition to unlimited staff accounts and 24/7 live agent support. BigCommerce does, however, have a yearly sales volume limit for each of their plans, which AmeriCommerce does not.
Additionally, BigCommerce offers more modern themes, as well as key features like mobile optimization, one-page checkout, and product ratings and reviews. Although you’ll have to opt for the BigCommerce enterprise solution to have access to some of their more advanced B2B and wholesale features, their standard plans have robust functionality, especially in the areas where AmeriCommerce is limited.
Get Started With BigCommerce
If you’re looking for an ecommerce software that can offer the functionality of AmeriCommerce and more, you might consider Magento. Magento, in fact, offers two unique solutions: a fully hosted, all-in-one platform called Magento Commerce and an open source platform aptly called Magento Open Source.
Although probably most well-known for their open source offering, which can be downloaded for free and then uniquely edited and customized by a developer, their hosted platform includes perhaps one of the most extensive feature sets on the market. In addition to your essential ecommerce capabilities, Magento Commerce offers impressive functionality such as: multiple website and store management; customer segmentation and personalization; multiple currency, language, and tax-rate support; and a marketplace with hundreds of extensions. Moreover, Magento Commerce can integrate B2B features–however, according to their website, these are not included in the starter plan.
Unfortunately, Magento does not offer pricing for Magento Commerce online, so if you’re interested in this AmeriCommerce alternative, you’ll have to work directly with their sales team. However, if you have the developer resources to work on an open source solution and create a platform designed specifically for your business, Magento Open Source might be another worthy option to consider.
At the end of the day, the right ecommerce platform will depend on your individual business’s needs and budget—and you’re the only one who can decide which solution will work best. However, if you’re a small business just getting started in ecommerce, AmeriCommerce probably isn’t the solution for you. Smaller business might be better suited looking into Shopify, Big Cartel, or even Weebly.
With a focus on advanced capabilities, high-volume sales, and multi-store functionality, AmeriCommerce is best suited for mid-sized businesses or small businesses who are growing rapidly—with a focus on U.S. sales. This being said, if you’re particularly interested in what AmeriCommerce has to offer, you can sign up for their free trial to get a feel for the platform before you commit.