Decktopus Content Team
In a nutshell, such platforms enable businesses to centralize their operations and do their business the way they want.
Furthermore, an e-commerce platform can also act as a shopping window that captivates prospective customers' attention and showcases your brand globally. A well-developed e-commerce platform can help you generate more customers and can even help you stand out from the competition. As a result, it increases your sales and profits.
Overall, if you’re a merchant trying to transfer one’s business to the digital space, you must decide on the best e-commerce platform that’ll allow for scalable and long-term growth. If that’s your concern right now, read on, as this article will tackle some tips for choosing the best e-commerce platform for your brand.
1. Determine The Cost Of The Platform
One of the factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform is pricing. You have to know the total cost of your prospective platform regardless if you’re a small business, just beginning to start, or an already established brick-and-mortar store that’s moving online.
Each e-commerce platform entails costs, such as processing fees, as well as initial and ongoing expenses. However, remember to never compromise quality for a less expensive platform. Instead, assess the pros and cons of each of your options, and select one that’s effective and suits your budget.
Here are some of the costs you need to prepare for:
- Design And Development Costs: Building your online store entails costs. There’s a price to the process of building the technical and design elements of your e-commerce website; thus, you must choose a service provider that’ll charge fees within your budget, yet offer effective solutions.
- Hosting Costs: How much will you spend on hosting fees? E-commerce hosting involves the web hosting platform that serves as an e-commerce website, which consists of features such as payment processing services, SSL, shopping cart software, and more.
- Maintenance Fees: Because plenty of merchants undermine the maintenance costs when they budget for a solution, they spend more than what’s needed. As such, don’t commit the same error. Ongoing development, alongside other upkeep costs, such as integration, marketing, security management, analytics, SEO, and more, must be considered before choosing an e-commerce platform.
2. Ensure It Allows For A Great Shipping Experience
Your chosen e-commerce platform must effectively integrate and interact with shipping couriers to ensure efficient and accurate shipping processes.
For one, it must provide you with a wide range of plugins to help you manage inventory, carts, and checkout display. In addition, it must have a broad range of integrations for fulfillment and shipping, such as solutions for dropshipping, inventory, order management, label printing, and tracking. It should also be one that promotes ease of usage, like having an intuitive dashboard that provides easy access to shipping rates and shipping zones.
If you need more information, Boldist has an article that explains the facts regarding how your chosen e-commerce platform can affect the shipping experience.
3. Know If It’s Secure
Data privacy and protection is crucial to safeguard your customers. Your chosen e-commerce platform must have robust security features to lessen the risk of cyberattacks and data theft.
Regarding security, know that you’re in charge of your site security if you’re using a self-hosted solution. You need to know if your e-commerce platform or content management system (CMS) has loopholes that could end in a data breach. On the one hand, know that the e-commerce company you’re using will be in charge of site security if you use a cloud-hosted platform.
While all e-commerce platforms offer some level of protection, many provide extra security options, such as fraud protection and DDoS attack monitoring. Overall, you should be cautious and ensure your chosen platform is PCI-compliant, has SSL, and has secure data backups.
4. Must Be Good For Search Engine Optimization
You must utilize different marketing channels to obtain customers and build your store. Organic search is one of the leading marketing channels for many online businesses. If your store is visible to your customers in search engines while they look for products like the ones you sell, that’s only when they check your website. Here is where search engine optimization (SEO) enters. SEO ensures your site ranks higher and becomes visible in organic searches.
SEO is a crucial part of your brand’s success, and the best e-commerce platform will create its infrastructure with appropriate attention to SEO. It takes considerable time to build organic SEO strategies, and it’s less hard to perform the job when the platform you opt for has built-in best practices, and which can be easily updated according to changes in Google’s algorithms, a chief concern.
In addition, you have to take note of certain usability factors if you want your site to rank properly in the search results. One of those is the loading speed. It’s because there’d be a higher bounce rate if it takes a long time for your site to load completely. If you want to test your site speed, you can use Google Page Speed Insights and GT Metrix.
5. Ensure It Has The Capability To Scale With Your Business
It’s vital to determine if a platform can scale with your business. How much traffic do you expect your site will generate? If you’re just starting, it’s expected that you may not require a host that can handle traffic from your existing and prospective customers. However, you should prepare for when your business finally gains momentum and starts catering to the needs of more people. Will your host be capable of managing traffic demands as time goes by?
For example, if you conducted a promotion or campaign that becomes popular, your hosting infrastructure needs to be adaptable enough to manage traffic surges without your site experiencing a crash. In such cases, you can choose cloud hosting, which is the most ideal option for e-commerce sites. The reason is that it can keep pace with traffic, regardless of the amount. Your business can have an almost infinite capability to grow because a network of machines manages your site’s hosting needs.
6. Ensure It Has An Ideal Payment Gateway
Your chosen e-commerce platform must have a secure payment gateway that allows for easy and convenient processing of card and online payments.
There are certain factors to consider in this particular aspect. First, a payment gateway must be encrypted to avoid physical tampering. It should also protect users’ financial data by taking the place of users’ data with a unique identifier, called a token. This token can have all the details a user requires to transact in the future.
Second, how flexible should the payment gateway of the platform be? You want to choose a platform that’ll cater to various payment options. The reason is that some customers might only prefer one option as it’s the most convenient for them. Overall, by offering viable alternatives to these kinds of consumers, you can reduce shopping cart abandonment.
7. Ensure Its Mobile-Friendly
One study revealed that 79% of smartphone users had bought online using their mobile devices in 2020. As such, your e-commerce platform must be mobile-friendly.
One part of mobile optimization is your site’s appearance. That means the layout has to be attractive to the eyes, and the site has to be user-friendly. To ensure the latter, opt for one with a responsive design.
A responsive design is one that’s tailored to users’ behaviors and environments based on platform, screen size, and orientation. Its aim is to offer maximum viewing experience over a broad range of devices, such as smartphones, desktop computers, tablets, and the like.
There are many benefits to having a responsive web design, such as:
- Enhanced User Experience
- Lower Maintenance Costs
- Increased Traffic
- Increased Brand Awareness
8. Ensure It Has Integrations
An e-commerce platform is created with everything needed for a business to operate online. Still, key functionalities, such as tax calculators, accounting, shipping apps, email marketing tools, and payment gateways, can only be added by having integrations and plugins.
Concerning plugins, here are some of the most popular ones to opt for:
- Email marketing: It allows you to stay connected with your customers.
- Accounting: It provides financial data, such as sales, taxes, profits, and revenues.
- Payment And Shipping: This allows for straightforward and accurate payment processing and product shipping.
- Third-Party Digital Tools: These aid in smoothly integrating tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems. These also allow for additional customization.
- Customer Loyalty Programs: These offer a way for you to reward customers for using your products or for their repeat purchases.
In addition, you can opt for front-end integrations. For instance, you might choose integrations with your chatbot software or opt-in form plugin. The e-commerce platform you choose must integrate with your most essential tools. It can result in further issues as time goes on if it doesn’t.
And if you're having trouble integrating plugins on your own, you can turn to professionals like ecommerce development company Elogic for help.
To Sum Up
With a potent e-commerce platform, you can introduce your products to a higher number of customers by making your products highly accessible online and on a global scale. Hopefully, the tips above will enable you to choose a platform that’ll catapult your business to success.