As ecommerce is gaining popularity, online buyers want a more fast, personalized and hassle-free experience. An ecommerce site can help you capitalize on online sales growth for your business.
Choosing the right kind of ecommerce platform is important when you want to go online. When it comes to deciding the right online store builder, it must go beyond the sale. Just like how buyers make a shopping lists, choosing an ecommerce platform the same way is a smart approach.
Before choosing a platform, it’s best to analyze the options available. There are hundreds of options to choose from and this can cause a lot of confusion. The available options can be classified into 3 broad categories to get a head start of which Ecommerce Platform will suit your business. These are:
• Ready to go – This term is for all the software as service available in the market. As the name suggests, these solutions help you set up an ecommerce site on the go. You will have a few restrictions and have to pay a monthly and transaction fee.
• Open source platforms – These are the solutions with the shopping cart as core functionality. Some other functions include static content page management, reports and so on. These don’t charge anything to own the code but technical assistant is needed to set up the platform and to manage as well. Some examples of open source are Magento, Opencart etc.
• Customized Solutions – This is, as the name suggests, fully customizable. You can define everything in this platform and build a store from a scratch.
The kind of platform you need depends on what you are selling but there are some key features that belong at the top of the list.
Here’s what you need to consider in an ecommerce platform before choosing:
1. Pricing Options
One size doesn’t always fit all nor does the price. So, the first thing to keep in mind is the price of the ecommerce platform. Pricing is important whether you’re an established store or a startup.
Consider choosing an ecommerce platform that lets you add or remove according to your need. The pricing is by ecommerce platform are based on:
• Plan, Hosting, and Tools
• Shopping features
• Help and Support
Most of the ecommerce platforms run on monthly billing cycles.
Many ecommerce platforms offer numerous features but only some are crucial, like:
• Shopping Cart Plugins and Add-ons: A shopping cart is as vital to an ecommerce site as cash registers in to a store.
• Payment Options: How will the customers pay for the products or services? Can the customers pay the way they want or will there be a standard form of paying?
• Templates and Themes: First impression is vital and a good ecommerce platform that meshes with the site’s design can really make a website unique.
• Site Security: The platform should go beyond the basics and offer fraud protection and monitor against hackers.
• Content Creation: Google only promotes store with helpful content. So it is necessary to choose a platform with a strong content management system (CMS).
3. SEO Friendly
The way customers find your products/services is by search engine queries. SEO can be highly beneficial to have your store rank high in search results. This feature varies with Ecommerce Platform solutions. The platform should be able to create and add content to page, so general SEO support isn’t enough. Look for these features:
• Independent Page URLs and Navigation Links.
• Independent Page Titles and Meta Descriptions.
• Independent Image ALT Tags and H1 Headings.
4. Mobile Friendly
A mobile-friendly website is one of the factors of ranking higher on Google. So an ecommerce platform that welcomes mobile and tablet users is necessary.The ecommerce sites are usually created for desktop users. The sites are too rich for mobile browsing so a responsive design is the answer. A mobile friendly template must include:
• Big Buttons
• Simple Navigation
• Streamlined Data entry
• Intuitive use of the Mobile Functionality
Security is one of the biggest concerns among consumers. No one will enter their credit card information on a sketchy website. You must follow a strict compliance regulation. Most software uses robust security but does check for a platform that supports HTTPS/SSL for a safe and secure checkout for your customers. Choose a platform that takes care of PCI(Payment Card Industry) compliance and SSL certificate for you. However, the Open Source route won’t give you these options.
When you are starting a business, you don’t want to pay for extra features and storage. If you sell seasonal products, can you ramp down and pay less. Scalability must work in both directions. Choose a platform that can scale to your business size and won’t charge hefty fees for doing the same.
Support is something you might not think about until you need it. The online store is open 24/7 but if there’s an issue you can’t make any sale until the problem is fixed. A platform’s knowledge base shouldn’t be overlooked. Don’t overlook the resource like blogs, forums, and FAQs.
Moving away from the traditional brick & mortar store to an online version can be daunting. Figuring out the challenges and what your store will need to grow can be intimidating but it’ll be worth in the end when you create processes that work for your business. If you consider these 7 things, you’ll deliver satisfaction to your shoppers and generate sales.