The right e-commerce platform can make or break your business. It’s like choosing the right foundation for your house. What would happen to your brand if your storefront or checkout system malfunctioned after you received a sudden influx of visitors? Both would result in a loss of revenue you couldn’t estimate.
These are only some of the reasons it’s important to consider several factors when choosing an e-commerce platform. In this article, we’ll briefly discuss some of the markers of a reliable e-commerce platform in light of the different stages of business. A successful business depends on the e-commerce platform you choose, regardless of where you are in the process.
As you set up your store, your platform should provide all the essential features along with an easy learning curve. Keep the following in mind:
- Pricing – Your software should provide you with the maximum number of features and tools for the budget that you can afford.
- Customer support – Setting up an online store for the first time can be challenging. This is why it’s necessary to look at customer support and the service offered by platforms.
- Ease of use – Most business owners start out managing their online stores themselves. It’s critical that any e-commerce platform you choose offers an easy-to-use and intuitive dashboard.
- Knowledge base – If you are managing your store setup, you need a reference point. Always evaluate the knowledge base and learning resources a platform offers.
- Free themes – It’s time-consuming and costly to design an online store from scratch. Look for a platform that offers free themes and templates to get started with.
Traditional Brands & Retailers Are Moving Online
If you are looking to take your offline presence and customer base online, you will want to offer online shopping too. For this, you need an e-commerce platform that enables you to sync easily between the two channels. You want to offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for your customers.
Keep the following points in mind:
- Analytics – It requires resources and effort to maintain both online and offline storefronts. You need to keep an eye on which of these storefronts helps your business grow quicker, alongside the usual investments in advertising and marketing. Don’t forget about implementing your e-commerce SEO strategy!
- Inventory management – If you are selling products offline and online, it’s vital to have a good hold on your product availability to ensure you fulfil orders on time and manage your inventory quantities. The e-commerce platform you choose should enable easy integration with any inventory management system that can sync both online and offline.
- Offline store integration – Ensure you can integrate your online and offline presence to run operations smoothly and manage customer data and orders. You will also ensure you offer a more seamless shopping experience to consumers.
- Fast set up – Offline retail stores need to quickly adapt to the changing purchase behaviour of consumers. Your take to market time has to be short so you have to choose a platform that enables easy store setup.
- Customer support – Moving online isn’t as easy as people think. Remember, you may have to seek support from experts. Look for an e-commerce platform that offers access to or networking with experts. At a minimum, try to find a platform that points you towards the people positioned to help you succeed.
Businesses On the Brink of Scaling
If your online store is seeing growth in its monthly sales numbers, it’s time to step up your game. You need an e-commerce platform that can scale with you.
Here are some things to consider:
- Analytics – You need an e-commerce platform that keeps track of your marketing and advertising efforts and sales channel performance and helps you make informed purchase decisions.
- Headless commerce – As your business grows, your storefront requires more updates. The frontend and backend of your site should be separate from each other to allow quick updates. Make sure your e-commerce platform offers headless commerce functionalities.
- Inventory management – Inventory management capabilities are a must, especially when selling through multiple channels.
- Platform and app customizations – Established brands need more than just a storefront’s look to feel customized. App customizations may be needed to make a widget or a section look and engage visitors in a particular way. Pick a platform that allows customization.
- Sales channel integration – As you scale your business, you want to explore sales channels that help you reach your target audience. Do thorough research on which sales channels can be integrated with the e-commerce platform of your choice before making a decision.
Which E-commerce Platform Should You Choose
Like everything in life, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the right e-commerce platform. You have to consider your current and future needs as well as what resources are available to you. Don’t forget to include both time and human resources. You have to determine how you can scale them up or down based on the changing requirements of your online business.
We recommend choosing an e-commerce platform that does more than enable you to set up a powerful online storefront. Look for a platform that makes you part of a community. You want to choose something that allows you to network with other industry brands and learn to seek help from experts.
The Main Factors to Consider When Choosing An E-commerce Platform
To summarize, there are six key factors we want you to remember when choosing an e-commerce platform. These include the platform price, available themes, payment options, technical support, features, and security. Always take the time to do thorough research and comparisons on all aspects before choosing one. We also highly recommend taking a free trial of any platform before subscribing to a plan. Think of it like taking a new car for a test drive before you buy.
Your e-commerce platform will become the backbone of your online presence. You must choose the right platform for your business needs. Lastly, look for a platform that continually invests in its technology and stays ahead of the curve. As we said, there is no one one-size-fits-all platform, but there is a solution that best suits your e-commerce needs. You can find the help you deserve for all your e-commerce needs and much more by contacting Alley Kat Web Consulting for a free needs assessment.