- Extremely versatile platform
- Fully customizable design
- Comprehensive content management system
- Unlimited bandwidth and products
- No transaction fees
- Coupon codes and discount rules
- Wide variety of payment options
- Ability to sell subscriptions
- Multichannel integration
- Dated backend design
- No live preview function
The one-size-fits-all approach may work in some industries, but not in ecommerce. At least, this must be what the creative team behind LemonStand believes, who placed their bets on the uniqueness of businesses by offering a variety of tools and customization options to LemonStand customers. Ever since the platform’s birth in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada, it has become the choice for more than 2,000 customers, catering to the specific needs of each of these successfully. To really hit home the company’s keenness to appeal to a huge market, LemonStand doesn’t charge transaction fees while the cheapest plan available is only $19 per month, available after a 14-day trial period.
If there was only one reason to try LemonStand, it would be its built-in subscription engine, a function that not many ecommerce platforms offer. Combine that with other powerful features such as a versatile content management system and the opportunity to integrate a variety of API services into the online store you are looking to launch, and the result is a powerful and highly customizable service that is will match everyday needs.
At first glance it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the personalization options and the slightly dated design isn't much help, but that mostly applies to novice users who are just getting accustomed to coding and ecommerce platforms in general. The controls are easily reachable from the side menus of the dashboard but, even so, when compared to competing services this platform just doesn't feel as vibrant due to its design choices.
Whether you’re migrating from another platform or starting from scratch, the first place to visit will be the dashboard. As you dig deeper into the platform, it becomes obvious that this service wasn't specifically designed for novice users. However, this is something that experienced users will likely fall in love with because, unlike some competing platforms, these users can customize everything to match any personal style.
After selecting your preferred template from the 15 free themes optimized for physical goods or digital products, further adjustments are easy to anyone with coding experience, though elements surrounding the product details such as size, colors, and the like can still be made without touching the original code. What is missing, though, is a preview of the selected theme as you modify it; users will actually need to click on the store's link at the top of the screen to see updates, which opens the store in a new browser tab.
Experienced online sellers already know how awesome content attracts more potential buyers. Search engine optimization tools – starting from URL customization through to metadata and integrated blogging – are all part of the default settings of the platform, so users have only to publish their content and let that and the stunning photos do their jobs.
It doesn't matter if you are selling dresses of different sizes or a monthly or yearly subscription to an online magazine, LemonStand's trademark feature – its high level of customization – applies to the product page as well as every other segment of the platform.
LemonStand has templates for everything but level of customization depends on the user's technical abilities or budget – an independent designer could be hired to make the adjustments for you – since the system allows for everything down to the tiniest details to be altered, such as a “Thank you” note or a customer retention email offering a discount, for example.
Business owners can hand over certain segments of the store management to defined members of the team by using the “roles” function. This allows users to define rules and access levels but if anything goes wrong, the “audit log” is always there to check what has happened on the site. The platform also protects your customers with a built-in SSL certificate for your newly launched store so long as the LemonStand domain is used, though by installing a custom SSL certificate you’ll be able to switch out to a unique domain name.
Similar to its competitors, a LemonStand subscription comes with the ability to add applications to the online store. Such integrations serve the purpose of getting to know your customers or expanding into additional marketplaces with your products. For example, Google Analytics, a popular service for tracking website visitors, isn't part of LemonStand out of the box and instead you’ll need to set up an account. Or, if you are considering highlighting products to Facebook users, then you will need an app to connect a LemonStand store and products to a Facebook Shop, and from there to your Instagram account to promote using Shopping on Instagram.
It is possible to do your accounting by yourself during the early stages of operation, but as the business grows it will become a burden without an accounting program. Helpfully, after registering for a QuickBooks Online account, users can simply configure and activate the service and enjoy the benefits of automated accounting with the two working synchronously.
Ecommerce platform pricing differs based on the sales figures that a service’s customer generates, which is generally defined in annual sales in dollars. LemonStand has a different approach: it caps the plans at a certain number of monthly sales expressed in placed orders. In other words, the cheapest plan – $16.58 per month – called Starter is capped at 75, the Growth plan at 300, and the Professional at 1,000 orders per month. Its most expensive plan is capped at 2,500 orders on a monthly basis and costs $333.25 per month. These prices are only for selecting the annual billing option, however. A major advantage is that every plan includes all the core features including unlimited bandwidth and product features, but phone support is available only to subscribers of the professional plan.
Before committing to a subscription, users can test the service risk-free through a trial account valid for 14 days. After that, LemonStand prompts you to select a plan and charges your Visa, Mastercard, or Amex credit card by the appropriate amount. When subscribed to the monthly package, there’s no extra fee for canceling before your next invoice is due.
Getting accustomed to all the features that LemonStand offers requires a few hours of your time, but the platform gently guides you through the process via step-by-step instructions in the dashboard. If, for some reason, you still get stuck or don't understand which option to select, the help section has comprehensive documentation on everything you might need to understand. Those who prefer to see what can be done with the platform are invited to watch the nearly 20-minute, in-depth demo and setup tutorial video.
Alongside this, direct contact with LemonStand can be done by initiating live chat with customer support or through email messages. The “live chat” section is not always live, but the company is very prompt at responding.
There is something special about designing a store to match your personal style. Despite its dull color choices and slightly dated design, LemonStand's platform has all the necessary tools to enable every user with the ability to create a personal touch to their online store. LemonStand encourages users to have their own domain, but this requires an SSL certificate that is purchased separately.
All the customization options that LemonStand provides in every segment of the platform – be it design, content, or business settings – are great additions to the suite. If you are thinking big, then considering the scalability of the stores that can be set up with this service, it is definitely an option for your own business. The missing live preview feature that you would allow you to see the changes in real time would be a huge addition to the service, but hopefully that's something LemonStand will address in future updates.