If you’re starting an online store, then the eCommerce platform you use will play a major role in your business’s success. You’ll be using this platform every day to manage your business. So you need to make sure that the platform you choose ticks the right boxes. If you get stuck building your online store on the wrong foundation, it could cause some serious headaches in the future. To help you get started, here are some of the most important considerations to make when choosing an eCommerce platform for your business.
Fully Managed Platform vs DIY
The first important consideration to make when choosing an eCommerce platform for your business is whether you want a fully managed platform or not. Fully managed eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify, include everything you need in an easy-to-use format. You can purchase your domain through the platform, sign up, pick a template, and your online store is basically set up for you.
These platforms are much easier to manage, and they’re more suitable for people without much tech knowledge. They also include a wide range of tools to make running an eCommerce site easier. However, they’re more expensive and are often quite limited in how much you can customize your store. The other option is to build your online store yourself with a more DIY-type eCommerce platform, like WordPress and Woocommerce. This approach is a lot more cost-effective, and you’ll have a lot more room to customise and set up your online store. However, you need to have plenty of technical skills and good knowledge of creating a website. If you’re not that tech-savvy, then this kind of eCommerce approach can cause a lot of difficulties.
Define Your Requirements
When choosing an eCommerce platform, you need to understand your specific business needs. This includes the type of products you sell, the scale of your business, payment methods, shipping options, and desired features (inventory management, mobile responsiveness, SEO tools, etc.). Different platforms come with different features, with each feature offering its own possibilities and ease of use. It’s important to first establish which functions are important for your business to help you choose a platform that ticks the most boxes.
Consider Ease of Use
Look for platforms that are user-friendly, allowing you to easily upload products, manage inventory, and customize the storefront without extensive technical knowledge. Of course, the ease of use really just comes down to how much technical knowledge you have.
Choose an eCommerce platform that can grow with your business. It should accommodate increasing product lines, traffic, and sales without compromising performance. Some platforms may seem like a good deal at first, but they could be limited to the number of products you can stock, or payments you can process. Always think long-term when looking for an eCommerce solution.
Ensure the platform supports various payment gateways and methods that your customers prefer. It should offer secure transactions and be compatible with your chosen payment processor.
Customization and Design
How much flexibility for customization does the eCommerce platform offer? It should allow you to personalize the storefront to match your brand identity and offer templates or themes that suit your products. Ideally,m you should be able to easily customize and update the storefront yourself without having to hire a web developer.
Security is crucial for eCommerce. Ensure the platform complies with industry standards and offers robust security measures to protect customer data and transactions.
Does the eCommerce platform offer good customer support? Is support available around the clock? These are important questions to consider. A responsive support team can assist you in case of technical issues or concerns. This can be incredibly important when you or a customer runs into an issue.
Cost and Pricing Structure
Of course, you’ll need to consider your budget and compare the pricing plans of different platforms. Assess whether the features provided align with the cost and if there are any hidden fees. Many platforms offer trial periods or demos. Take advantage of these to test the platform’s functionality for your business before committing to it.
Carefully consider these factors, and you’ll be able to choose an eCommerce platform that best suits your products, business model, and long-term goals. This plays a major role in your business’s success, so be sure to take your time to carefully choose the right eCommerce platform for your needs.