If you want to build an online store, it makes sense to consider site builder options that specialize in e-commerce websites. You also want a builder tool that will streamline the process of creating your new store.
LemonStand differentiates itself from other cloud-based e-commerce platforms in both these manners. It is a site builder tool created specifically for the e-commerce segments. It also comes chock-full of customization options from browsing through checkout and beyond. However, what we’ve found is that the only way to truly capitalize on its customization capabilities is by relying on a professional developer to manage it, so there’s a tradeoff to be aware of here.
There’s a lot to consider before choosing to sign on with LemonStand. So, let’s take a look at the company, its platform, tools, and business policies to find out if this builder is right for your e-commerce site.
- About LemonStand
- LemonStand Plans
- LemonStand Sitebuilder Tools & Templates
- E-commerce Solutions
- Customer Service
- Billing and Cancellation
- LemonStand Terms and Conditions
- Alternatives to LemonStand
- The Verdict: Is LemonStand the Right Choice?
LemonStand eCommerce, Inc. is the parent company behind the LemonStand e-commerce platform, a cloud-based solution that includes hosting, a content management system (CMS), inventory management tools, and more.
Based in Vancouver, LemonStand was founded in 2010. It was initially a licensed, server-based application, but then evolved four years later into a full cloud-based platform model built on a PHP foundation.
LemonStand is based on a subscription Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Its sites are hosted on LemonStand cloud servers, so you don’t have to separately acquire hosting for your site, a process that can be intensive and technically complex for e-commerce business owners.
LemonStand’s hosting offers full redundancy and a level of corporate attention to security that you’d expect from an e-commerce specialist. The platform includes built-in data encryption, as well as payment processing systems that separate purchasing data from other order information. LemonStand site owners also enjoy hourly and daily offsite backups.
LemonStand also provides content delivery network (CDN) coverage of their network, which currently spans across 36 locations worldwide. CDNs, of course, help keep site speed and performance optimal despite any spikes in demand or geographic distances that might otherwise compromise performance.
An interesting feature of LemonStand is that its various tiered plans all share the same features. All plans include advanced search engine optimization (SEO) tools, mobile-friendly storefront templates, the ability to offer promotional code discounts, support for bitcoin, and unlimited products and product categories.
The primary difference between the different LemonStand plans lies in the number of transactions allotted to the site and account each month. There are also some variations in customer support options.
Lower-Tier LemonStand Plans
Users who sign up for the lowest plans will receive customer support through the in-app chat function or via email, as well as access to email support with a maximum 24-hour response time.
For an additional cost, subscribers can also work with LemonStand partners who can assist with tasks such as site design, setup, and migration.
At the top tier, users enjoy a number of additional benefits, including a sandbox store, a higher API limit, and integration with Avalara AvaTax software.
Premium level users also get a dedicated e-commerce “success coach” who will check in with the site owner at a regular interval to help maximize business growth and achieve site goals. For an additional fee, users can also schedule professional consultations with LemonStand’s product team for help with product development and more.
In addition to in-app chat and priority email support with 12-hour response times, Premium users will also enjoy priority telephone support.
LemonStand Sitebuilder Tools & Templates
You have a few options for how you choose to use LemonStand. You can use it out of the box with the default settings, minimal customization, and a starter theme.
You can personalize it by using the various tools provided. For example:
- There are no limits on the number of products, images, or categories you create.
- You can choose from one of their professionally styled design themes or templates. These are all free and open source. LemonStand’s templates can be used as-is, but they’re designed to serve as a framework from which you can build your site’s own personalized look.
- You also have control over the design elements (i.e., colors, styles, fonts, etc.) for each product. Beware that this may seem a bit cumbersome to have so many settings to configure.
- There is a simple-to-use blogging interface. For most e-commerce businesses, it’s simple, and sufficient get the job done.
- There’s a checkout system which isn’t too complex to customize, although the default setup will likely suffice for your store.
LemonStand has a fairly intuitive process for setting up, configuring, and maintaining static pages and dynamic product/category pages — but those are just grazing the surface of what this tool could do.
The third option, of course, is to take full advantage of this site builder’s customizability and hire a professional developer to manage it. Then you can grow your ecommerce store into something unique and fully customized when your business takes off, which makes this a great builder tool for business owners who plan to scale.
LemonStand gives customers access to some impressive e-commerce features such as sales tracking, header tags, and unlimited images for products. What’s more, users can split test product and landing pages to fine-tune page elements such as copy, calls to action, color schemes, layout and more.
Here are some other things you should know about LemonStand’s e-commerce features:
You can customize all email messages in your sales flow process with a bit of HTML editing.
Gift cards aren’t supported, but you can provide customers with discounts.
LemonStand also supports the creation and management of recurring subscription-based revenue streams. Selling automatically-renewing subscriptions can help diversify your income streams and add stability to your business model.
Third-Party Apps & API
There’s no app store, per se, but you can integrate third-party software and products into your store (including Google Analytics).
View Lemonstand e-commerce features
Other than that, you can integrate just about any app around with the open API from LemonStand. You’ll need either advanced coding skills or a developer who can do it for you, but as we mentioned above, LemonStand is a platform that’s optimally configured for implementation by a professional anyway.
In addition to the flexibility of the LemonStand API, you can also use Zapier in conjunction with your LemonStand account, which lets you connect hundreds of apps for automated processes and streamlined workflow. After you set and configure workflow rules, those apps will then help you with a variety of tasks, including email marketing, email automation, CRM, accounting, analytics, social media marketing, and more.
Payments, Payment Processors, and Payment Gateways…Oh, My!
One of the biggest reasons for choosing a full-service e-commerce platform over a do-it-yourself solution where you are responsible for building up every aspect of your store up is the payments-related features these products come with.
Currently, LemonStand supports over 95 different payment gateways for its customers (which are scattered over 100 different countries in the world). In addition to popular and well-known options like Amazon Pay, PayPal, and Stripe, LemonStand supports smaller vendors and bank-specific options.
If none of the supported payment gateways are right for your business, LemonStand offers a custom payments option, where you can manually set up things like cash-on-delivery (COD) payments or check acceptance.
Your e-commerce store can be configured to support as many (or as few) payment gateways as you would like.
LemonStand’s Shopping Cart
One of LemonStand’s biggest selling points is its flexibility. For example, overly complex checkout processes are known to discourage buyers, so you can choose to streamline your store’s process and eliminate things like website redirects, which may distract customers from the task at hand, which is to complete their transaction with you.
If you want something where you can fully control the checkout (and payment process), LemonStand is definitely an option you should check out.
LemonStand’s on-site chat function is particularly robust. When we asked a question using the site’s chat app, we were asked to provide an email address. When the response came into the email account (about two hours later), we replied via email. Then, when we went back to the site, the chat app window contained our response text as well as LemonStand’s answer.
That’s pretty nifty and would allow users more options to keep track of their support requests and responses.
In addition to the plan-specific customer service options reviewed above, LemonStand offers a solid collection of support documentation.
The documentation also includes an ever-growing library of code excerpts that you can use to tweak and refine your LemonStand e-commerce site. Currently, there are about a dozen categories of snippets you can use for various purposes, many with several snippets provided.
Some of those code samples include collecting product reviews, displaying average ratings for products, displaying a list of manufacturers, randomizing the way products are displayed on product pages, and more.
LemonStand offers a number of additional resources for users and prospects alike, including a number of in-depth written guides, covering general marketing strategy to technical tutorials. LemonStand also offers resources in other formats, including webinars and blog posts.
Billing and Cancellation
While you’ll still have to pay fees to your credit card payment processor, you won’t have any transaction fees with LemonStand. This is a nice bonus and somewhat unusual among e-commerce platform/SaaS providers. It will certainly help save some money, especially if your site processes many transactions each month.
If you’re not certain about LemonStand and whether it’s right for you, you can take advantage of a 14-day free trial. During the trial period, you can explore all the features of LemonStand without restriction, and without electing a specific plan level.
LemonStand Terms and Conditions
The first thing to be aware of is that you must log in every so often. Failure to do so can result in your account being deemed inactive, and LemonStand has the right to delete your data — i.e. your site — 14 days after that point.
Also, by signing up for LemonStand and using its platform, you grant LemonStand the right to use and display your name, business name, logo, and service or trademarks for its own marketing purposes.
Alternatives to LemonStand
LemonStand is not the only e-commerce platform software around, and we are sure you have heard of its competitors. However, which of the many options available is right for you? Is LemonStand an alternative to Shopify or BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is a full-featured e-commerce platform that spends a lot of time competing against the current market leader, Shopify. As a matter of fact, BigCommerce boasts that it offers more features than Shopify at a lower price point. If using a product that has everything you could ever want to build your store is something that appeals to you, consider BigCommerce.
Magento was originally an open-source e-commerce platform, and while this option (known as Magento Community Edition) still exists, there are two alternatives, aimed mostly toward enterprise-level users, that you should be aware of:
- Magento Commerce, which is an (e-commerce) platform-as-a-service option
- Magento Commerce Cloud, which is the software-as-a-service option
Unlike the open source offering, both are full-featured offerings that include e-commerce hosting, the platform itself, and professional services to get you up and running.
Shopify is one of the most frequently used e-commerce platforms today. While it arguably does not offer the most regarding features (BigCommerce boasts they take that crown), Shopify makes up for it by providing an easy-to-use, yet extensible, product that has a large and active community.
In addition to lots of add-ons, apps, and so on you can use to build out your store; there is a large community of Shopify developers you could get in touch with to build custom features.
PrestaShop is a free, open source, full-featured e-commerce platform. As a small business owner just getting started, its price is obviously right.
However, there is a downside to its price: you will have to do all of the heavy lifting required to get your store online, from setting up your hosting, installing the software onto your web server, and designing and building your store’s front end. However, if time and effort are more abundant resources for you than money, PrestaShop is worth your consideration.
WordPress + WooCommerce
If you have an existing WordPress site (or are planning on building one), you might strongly consider using the WooCommerce plugin to add e-commerce functionality to your site. As you probably already know, plugins are the way by which you add new features to your WordPress site.
The WooCommerce plugin has been designed to work seamlessly with WordPress sites, so it is an easier way to get your online store up and running. The product is also well-supported, and you will find a robust community providing things like themes for purchase, customization tips and techniques, and so on.
The Verdict: Is LemonStand the Right Choice?
LemonStand is an e-commerce site-building solution and one-stop platform providing both site-building tools and hosting, as well as a fairly robust set of e-commerce tools. It’s best suited for companies that are experiencing steady growth or, at the very least, that reasonably anticipate massive growth in the future.
While novice website creators certainly can use LemonStand without much customization or technical know-how, there will undoubtedly be limitations in what you can achieve with your online store.
But if you’re looking for a solution that will scale easily, offers robust customization with built-in hosting and site management tools, and you’ve got the budget to warrant the investment in a professional developer, LemonStand is a solid contender in the e-commerce site builder marketplace.