Choosing an e-commerce platform that is the right for your business is not as easy as it might seem. In this technological and online shopping era, you will not be surprised to learn that there is an abundance of e-commerce platforms from which you can choose. Ensuring that you have the right platform for your needs is essential to your current and future success.
Every business has a variety of unique challenges and needs, and not every e-commerce platform will have the ability to meet those needs. What will work for some companies will not necessarily work for others, so selecting a platform based on its popularity is probably not the best option.
Instead, it would be best to do some extensive research, carefully analyzing available features and services provided to ensure that they will match your product and business model. To make your decision-making process a little easier, we have put together some tips to help you choose the right e-commerce platform for your unique needs.
1. Decide On Your Required Needs
The first thing that you should do before even looking at the different e-commerce platforms available is to decide on what you think you might want from your chosen platform. Ensuring you know your requirements early on will help you streamline the process of finding and selecting a solution.
Create a tailor-made road map for your business, outlining where you are now and where you want it to go. What experiences and features do you currently offer, and what do you wish to offer in the future. Also, set up your budget so that you know what your options are.
2. Payment Options And Pricing Plans
An essential aspect of choosing the right e-commerce platform for your store is ensuring that your chosen platform fits your budget. Ideally, you want to find an e-commerce platform that suits your needs and budget.
Scrutinise the package features and go for one that will provide value for your present needs while still being affordable. Enquire whether the package includes website setup and hosting or whether this will be an additional cost.
3. Does The Provider Have The Technical Skill And Experience?
Your preferred provider might have years of experience and skill, but they might not have any experience with your type of business. You must ensure that your chosen provider has the expertise and knowledge to work with your industry. Take a look at some forums and customer reviews to see if your chosen platform can handle more than just the development.
4. Technical Support
It is vitally important that you have access to technical support if and when you need it. You can excel at running your business, but that doesn’t mean you will know what to do if some of your images or product pages don’t want to load or your payment processes stop working.
For this reason, you need to ensure that the platform you decide on provides you with technical support throughout the day and night. It would help if you also enquired whether your chosen package includes this support or whether it will accrue an additional cost.
5. How Simple Is the Setup?
Your platform must be easy to set up and adaptable to suit your needs. One thing to remember is that no one theme will be a perfect fit for your business. You must ensure that your chosen e-commerce provider can customize appropriately to suit your specific needs, either as part of the package or at a reasonable additional cost.
Also, look into how flexible the design is and whether or not you will be able to achieve your preferred storefront look. Good things to look for are a user-friendly interface, guides for a simple setup, and built-in tools for growth and flexibility.
6. Determine The Scalability Of The Platform
Right now, you might not be thinking that far into the future, but it would be wise to ensure that you choose an e-commerce platform that can grow with your business. Even though you might not need to use your platform’s full capacity immediately, there should still be room for growth in all aspects, including your storefront, bandwidth, functionalities, storage capacities, or tools.
One of the most important things to consider is the platform’s security. It would be best if you queried whether it comes with built-in security systems like HTTPS and PCI compliance and check whether this security is part of the package or is provided at an additional cost.
Another vital aspect you must consider is whether your chosen e-commerce platform will integrate with your current system and plugins. Not all platforms will integrate with every integration. Check whether it will integrate with your existing accounting, POS, and shipping systems. Another thing to query here is whether or not you will need third-party integrations.
9. SEO – Friendliness
Your chosen e-commerce platform needs to come with comprehensive SEO features that will enable you to rank highly in search engine results. You should also check whether the platform includes options such as adding a blog, using your preferred domain name, and allowing your customers to leave reviews.
10. Mobile – Friendliness
Most e-commerce platforms are built to suit a desktop interface, but you must ensure that your chosen platform will also support mobile shoppers. Every aspect of your store should look just as good on any sized screen, and this means that the themes and templates need to be able to resize themselves automatically and appropriately based on the shopper’s device.
Once you have ensured that you have chosen an e-commerce platform to suit your unique business, you should test the system by opting for a trial run. Retail Connection is happy to facilitate a trail run or answer any of your questions if you still have any. Once satisfied with your chosen e-commerce platform, you can take the next step and create and launch your online store.