May 17, 2024

How To Choose the Right E-commerce Platform

How To Choose the Right E-commerce Platform

The e-commerce platform you choose can make or break your online business. The wrong platform can have serious—and sometimes long-term—negative implications for your business.

For instance, a wrong platform can complicate your inventory management and interactions, processing, and ultimately slow down your day-to-day operations.

An unintuitive platform can also be hard to navigate for customers, leaving them frustrated. This can increase the cart abandonment rates and affect conversions.

With this in mind, choosing a good platform could you’ll need to take your time to ensure you choose the best-fitting platform for your eCommerce biz.

Research the different options available; consider your current and future business needs. And possibly consult experts to help you with the right selection.

This blog post will shed more light on selecting the right platform for launching your online store. 

We’ll discuss how to identify your business needs to help you make a more informed decision on the best e-commerce platform for your online business.

Plus, we’ll share the key features to look for in a platform.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear roadmap on how to pick the right platform to ensure the success and growth of your online business.

First Things First: Understand Your Business Needs

Probably the most important step in choosing an eCom platform is fully understanding what your business needs are.

As you may already know, different businesses have varying needs based on factors like the business model, sales volume expectations, expansion plans, etc.

Ask yourself these questions to help you better understand your business:

1. What’s your business model?

Consider whether your business operates on a B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer), or C2C (consumer-to-consumer) basis.

Each of these models has unique requirements and challenges.

For instance, a B2B usually involves large order volumes and longer sales cycles. This requires crucial features like bulk ordering capabilities, custom pricing, and account management.

A B2C business, on the other hand, will need strong branding, consumer engagement tools, and support for different marketing strategies for an enhanced consumer shopping experience.

2. What products are you selling?

If you’re dealing with physical goods, then you’ll need sophisticated inventory management, shipping, and logistics integrations.

Digital services, on the other hand, require a platform that supports secure digital delivery systems. Not to forget the potentially different tax implications and licensing.

If you sell services online, get a platform that provides you with scheduling features or time-based booking systems integration.

3. What is your expected sales volume?

Different e-commerce platforms have varying capabilities for handling transaction volumes, so you need to anticipate your sales volume.

If you aim for a small to medium volume, then you can go with a simplistic, less robust platform to help save on costs.

Higher volumes, however, require you to use a platform with advanced inventory and order management capabilities, unquestionably reliable uptime, and excellent customer service support.

4. What are your expansion plans?

Picture your business’ short-term and long-term goals.

Do you have short-term goals like expanding to a new geographical location or launching a new product? If yes, then you’ll need to ensure you choose a platform that supports such without requiring major overhauls.

For long-term goals, e.g. scaling your operations or significantly diversifying your product offering, we advise you to go for a platform that remains technically robust and flexible over time.

PRO TIP: Don’t underestimate the scalability factor when selecting an ecomm platform. Ensure the platform you choose accommodates growth in terms of the customers, products, transactions, etc., without requiring extensive customizations or migrating to a new platform. Such can be costly and disruptive for your online venture.

Key Features to Look for in an E-commerce Platform

Besides understanding your business needs, you’ll also need to know the key factors to look for when selecting a platform for your ecommerce site.

The best e-commerce platform should have the following crucial features and tools to ensure the success of your online business:

User-friendly interface

One of the most important features to look out for when selecting the ideal e-commerce platform for your online store is an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface.

A user-friendly admin panel makes it easy for you and your team to manage products, fulfill orders, and even understand your store’s overall analytics without necessarily needing advanced technical expertise.

An easy-to-navigate platform also gives your customers a straightforward and enjoyable shopping experience. This can help boost your conversation rates and even build customer loyalty.

Mobile compatibility

With the increased number of shoppers, using mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is essential.

Look for a platform with a responsive design to ensure that your e-shop beautifully adjusts and functions across all devices.

Mind you, a good mobile user experience can significantly enhance customer satisfaction, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Integration capabilities

Look for a platform that lets you seamlessly integrate your e-shop with existing systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

Moreover, a great platform should allow for easy integration with various shipping services, marketing tools, and inventory management systems.

Payment gateway options

Since you’ll be dealing with a diverse customer base, you’ll also need to have flexible payment options on your online store.

Go with a platform offering different payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, and digital wallets.

Having a platform that offers country-specific payment options is even better!

With multiple payment gateways to pick from, you’ll be able to accommodate the preferences of your different customers and greatly minimize cart abandonment rates.

SEO and marketing tools

SEO (Search engine optimization) is crucial in helping drive organic traffic to your ecomm store and reduce reliance on paid advertisement.

As such, you’ll need to pick a platform that offers great SEO features such as customizable meta tags, alt texts, and URLs.

Marketing tools

A great e-commerce platform should also present you with helpful marketing tools such as email marketing integration, discount and promotion features, social media sharing options, etc.

Strong customer support

A reliable platform should also have excellent customer support in place. This ensures that any technical issues you may experience with your store are resolved quickly to minimize downtime.

Moreover, a platform with a strong community of other users and developers can help offer you unofficial support, tips, and even shared experiences.

Forums and knowledge bases from the platform are also great in that they can offer you a better user experience and keep your site running smoothly.

PCI compliance

For starters, PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance refers to a set of security standards aimed at ensuring all companies that accept, process, transmit, or store credit card info provide a secure environment.

Ensure the ecomm platform features an ongoing process to help prevent security breaches and theft of payment details for your customers.

Scalability

The platform you settle for should also be ready to accommodate the future growth of your online business without requiring major overhauls of your underlying infrastructure.

This is especially helpful if you have plans to expand your business in the future.

Even if you start small, make sure you go with a platform that will scale with you when the time comes.

Cost analysis and comparisons

Before choosing an e-commerce platform, you’ll also need to analyze and compare the costs associated with the different platforms available.

This will help ensure you make a decision that aligns with your budget as well as your business model.

Key areas to consider when doing cost analysis and comparison include:

Initial setup costs

The initial setup costs you’re likely to incur include the platform’s initial subscription fee. Most popular platforms, e.g. Shopify, Bigcommerce, WooCommerce, etc. operate on the subscription model.

Additional costs you may incur include hiring developers to customize your platform and integration of systems such as CRM into your system.

The overall setup costs can vary depending on the complexity and degree of customization needed.

Operation and maintenance costs

Besides the initial costs, you’ll also need to account for the ongoing costs of maintaining and operating your e-commerce site.

These include subscription fees, transaction fees, and any additional feature costs as your business grows.

Hidden costs

Potential hidden costs that come with ecommerce sites are also worth considering.

These may include customization costs, third-party apps, migration costs, and training costs for your team to handle the new system effectively.

Once you analyze these costs, it becomes easier to decide which platform is the most cost-effective for your business in the long term.

Also, we suggest creating a comprehensive budget that covers all the above aspects will help ensure you don’t encounter unexpected financial surprises down the road.

Making the right decision

As we have said earlier, an e-commerce platform is a crucial decision that impacts your business for years to come.

As such, we don’t advise you to rush into making decisions without taking your time to understand the different platforms available.

In this section, we'll discuss some helpful tips you can follow to ensure you make a more informed choice:

Go for free trials and demos

Before committing to an e-commerce platform, we strongly advise you to take advantage of their trial periods and demos.

This allows you to get a feel of the platform, including its different features and overall usability, without any financial commitments.

Grab this opportunity to experiment with a platform’s different settings, upload your products, and even simulate transactions.

This will give you a clear picture of how the platform works in real-world scenarios.

Another reason to consider free trials or demos is that they help you evaluate a platform’s user interface and determine if it is intuitive and suitable for your team based on their skill level.

Even better, an e-commerce platform free trial lets you assess its performance in terms of responsiveness, load time, and handling of high-volume data. All this is crucial for larger operations.

Check the platform reviews and feedback

Going through reviews and feedback from current users of a platform can give you valuable insights into the real-world applications of different platforms.

For instance, reviews usually reveal the kind of customer support offered by a platform.

They can also offer you firsthand experience of a platform’s reliability so you can have a clear picture of what to expect.

Not to forget, you can learn through user feedback how the different features advertised by a platform work in real life and if they’re beneficial as the seller suggests.

Consult a professional

Since an e-commerce platform is a significant investment for your online store, consulting with e-commerce experts may come in handy.

You can expect the professionals to offer you insights into crucial features such as security, scalability, and compatibility of different systems with your existing system.

Does your business require serious customizations? If yes, then consultants will offer you the best advice on the feasibility and potential costs you’re likely to incur with different platforms.

Another benefit of consulting professionals is that they can help futureproof your business by predicting future trends in e-commerce and helping you pick a platform that will smoothly adapt to such changes.

Conclusion

Choosing the right e-commerce platforms is one of the most significant decisions you’ll need to make when setting up your online business.

The right platform will go a long way in ensuring your online shop’s operational efficiency, growth potential, and overall success in the digital marketplace.

Throughout this post, we have shared valuable insights on how to choose the right platform for your online store. We have explored how to understand your business model and the most important factors to look out for in an ecomm platform.

Additionally, you’ll need to do a cost analysis and comparison of different platforms to help you make a wiser decision.

Using free trials and demos, leveraging user reviews and feedback, and involving professionals can further ensure you make a more informed decision.

Overall, your business's current needs and any future plans you have will play a pivotal role in choosing an ideal platform.



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Ecom grind LTD 

© 2024 Ecom grind ltd. All rights reserved.

42 York St, Twickenham TW1 3BW, United Kingdom

Company No:

13503806