When going into business for yourself, one of the most important things to consider is which ecommerce platform you want to use. Choosing the right ecommerce platform is certainly one of the most fundamental decisions you are going to have to make when starting out. There are an almost limitless number of choices, so you have to focus on what matters most. Here are seven things to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform to get you started!
It makes sense to choose a platform that will work with your current situation right now; this is an essential part of the decision. Will the platform work best for you today? If so, then consider it. If not, keep looking.
You also want to consider whether or not the platform will be able to grow with you though. If you are serious about wanting to grow your business over time, then you should choose a platform that is able to do so and one that will meet the challenges that you are going to face in the future.
Everyone wants to get more traffic and more customers. It’s the key to getting more sales. There is a downside though, they will place a higher burden on the store. If the ecommerce platform isn’t equipped to meet those demands, then this can cause it to slow down and become unresponsive. Nothing turns customers away like an unresponsive platform. If they can’t buy from you, they’re just going to buy from someone else.
That’s why you must future-proof the business by ensuring that you choose a platform that has scalability. The ability of the platform to grow as your business grows is crucial.
Your budget needs to be the heart of every business decision you make, this includes choosing an e-commerce platform. You have to ask if you can actually afford the platform you are considering.
Given all the different platforms that you can choose from – each one with a unique set of features, benefits, and drawbacks – it can be tough to balance your needs against your budget. You want to secure a platform with all the great features that you want, but all those flashy bells and whistles are going to have an effect on your bottom-line. You wouldn’t want to have your profit margins eaten by unnecessary functions and services you don’t want. Take some time to identify what you really need out of an e-commerce platform to find the best platform – at the best price – for you.
Something else you should consider is that certain platforms may charge transaction fees. These fees can chip away at your profitability even more. Avoid them as much as you can.
A truly good website still needs more than just great functionality, it must also look as great as possible. Having a beautifully designed storefront establishes a solid first impression. It can affect people on the subconscious level, telling them that they can trust you and that you are a professional, running a professional store. Don’t forget that the store – and its imagery and branding – is consistent with your other branding efforts, and that it is uniquely yours. It is designed in such a way that anyone can look at it and tell that it is your website.
Of course, it can be tough to get that perfect design. If you don’t have a solid website designer on your team, or are unable to do it yourself, then you may need to bring in outside help. This can sometimes be expensive. One way to avoid this situation is to use a template. A template is a pre built site design that you can roll out across your store, with options to change things here and there; to add branding and make the website your own. Using a template like this can give you all of the benefits of having professionally designed beautiful website, without having to put in the money, time, and effort it would take to do it on your own or outsource the job to an expert. When you are choosing an e-commerce platform to use, be sure to look at what templates are on offer before moving ahead with the decision. You may also be able to find templates outside of the platform that still work with the platform. Be sure to look around.
The end-user experience is certainly one of the more important factors when choosing an e-commerce platform. E-commerce is becoming more and more competitive, and the modern customer demands a seamless and simple experience when shopping online. That includes when shopping with your website. If you have a store where they have to jump through hoops in order to complete the purchase, there’s a very good chance to just leave and never spend a penny at your store. They will find one where they can get what they need without all the hard work. Try to find a platform where you can condense the checkout process down to a single page. Allow guest checkout so that customers don’t even need to create an account before they complete their purchase. That way you can get more business. Not everyone has time to create an account, and sometimes there are people who don’t ever create accounts with e-commerce platforms.
The customers are going to be the ones to actually use the shop, so you have to ensure they can get a good experience.
There’s no way around the fact that selling online can be tricky. You need the right tools on your side to improve your chances of succeeding. Ensure that you choose a platform that has the functionality to push you toward success. Not only will you need features that can improve conversion – things like suggested products and behavioral discounts – you need the back-end management to be simple as well. Sometimes the only way to tell a platform is right for you is to try it out for yourself. Every good platform provider will offer you a no-obligation trial. If the platform costs money to join and there are no trials or money-back guarantees available, then walk away.
There will inevitably, time where you will need some help, whether you’re a beginner or an expert at e-commerce. Be sure to check the support options available with an e-commerce platform before deciding on one. Find one that provides support across a range of mediums, including forum support, live chat, online documentation, and support tickets.
It should go without saying that security is a major concern with the e-commerce. Security is important for customers, you, and your store. All the sensitive data contained in your store should be safe and secure at all times.
Take a look at the security credentials at a platform before moving ahead. You must choose one that is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. This is a set of requirements that ensure a company processing and transmitting credit card information does so in a secure environment. Do your due diligence and avoid serious issues in the future.