We are starting a new eCommerce business. I have decades of programming experience in general, but none in eCommerce.
We have webpages under development. So far, I am developing them. They are written in html5 and css3 using bootstrap and use web responsive design (reshape to any size/orientation device) and are loosely based on the Snow web template. We are happy with the webpages.
We will offer very few products to start with. The product set is not fully defined, but for now, think coffee (it's not, though). So the potential customer arrives at our website (based on our successful marketing using social media and more--this is an associate's responsibility). The customer can packs of coffee in three flavors. If they buy just one pack, they will pay shipping. If they buy three packs, they get another pack free (and they can mix and match), and they get free shipping. They pay with a credit card, Paypal or other option. They can also use a gift card that was bought on our site.
Before or during checkout, the customer can make an account (or not). With an account, obviously some/most of their information is saved, but also we want them to be able to "subscribe" to a recurring purchase, say weekly or monthly.
We will need to access the customer lists--those with accounts, actual customers, subscription customers--and be able to automatically offer them discounts or coupons based on various factors, like holidays or their birthday. And of course be able to communicate the discounts through email or other social media.
Sales will begin in the US only, but eventually include Europe, then possibly Asia.
And we are just a start-up, so we want all of this for very little cost per month. Not much to ask, right?
So... what eCommerce package can provide all of this?
I am very new to this, and what has caught my eye so far is Magento, Shopify and BigCommerce. My first impression is that Magento is a little harder to implement, Shopify requires WordPress (which we aren't using but could add, I guess) and BigCommerce may be too much to start with. But we want a solution that can grow and grow with us.
So please share you experiences and knowledge; it will be greatly appreciated!
Also... hosting. I'm not trying to clutter this thread--I would think someone out there would host and manage eCommerce together, but maybe not.
We want to go VPS right away. IO Zoom, FastComet and LiquidWeb have caught my eye. Thoughts?
Thank you in advance.