Choosing an eCommerce Platform for Your Business

Unlimited opportunities await you, now that you’ve decided to sell online. Of course, to have the best chance of success, you will need to pay careful attention to your choice of e-commerce software. No one-size-fits-all solution is out there.

Of hundreds of available e-commerce products, it could be that only one of them is right for you. Make the wrong choice, and you will face operational challenges and future expenses. However, choosing the right e-commerce package can boost your sales and pave the way for growth.

Improve your search for the best e-commerce platform by using the following criteria.

Convenience

You don’t want to spend all your time managing e-commerce transactions. Similarly, you want your customers to have a convenient way to buy your goods. For this reason, convenience should rank high on your list of criteria for selecting an e-commerce platform. Of course, convenience involves many factors.

For starters, consider platforms that have easy administrative functions as well as a simple pathway for upgrades. Also, if you have existing data, make sure that the e-commerce solution has a convenient way to import your existing data. Export functions are also important, just in case you change platforms in the future.

For daily operations, make sure that your e-commerce platform offers an easy way to add and edit pages as well as your product listings. Pay special attention to usability from your customers’ perspective. For example, you need an e-commerce platform that functions well on mobile devices and has a simple checkout process.

Safety

With so many high-profile hacking incidents in the news, you should understand the importance of safety and security for you and your customers. As a business owner, you will need to ensure that your e-commerce platform is fully PCI compliant and runs on a secure web server with an authenticated SSL certificate.

Remember that credit card numbers are only one type of data that hackers crave. Passwords, names, addresses, and other personal information are often targeted. If you don’t pay attention to safety details upfront, you could face audits and even lawsuits in response to any data breaches that occur. Knowing how to prevent this is of the utmost importance.

Likely, you will discover that some e-commerce platforms have more available security features than others. Consider those that offer the most robust security options, including DDoS monitoring and fraud protection. These features protect you against malicious users while giving your customers extra reasons to feel safe.

Scalability

Your company may be small right now, but you probably want it to grow. Rather than investing in an oversized e-commerce package choose one that wills scale with your business. Doing so will ensure that you can accommodate seasonal sales spikes without increasing your year-round costs.

Meanwhile, as your company grows, you will probably increase the number of users who need to use your e-commerce system. So, make sure that your package offers user-level access controls. Additionally, you will probably want to have the ability to add and remove users as needed, without such activity adding to your cost.

Most of all, be sure that your e-commerce platform can accommodate other changes that accompany growth. For example, you may need to expand the number of products and pages offered. Meanwhile, as you grow, you’ll probably want to offer enhanced features for your staff and customers alike.

Customer Experience

Modern customers want to be able to quickly find the products they want to buy and checkout without hassle. Also, they expect to have access to easy processes after the sale in the event that they need customer service, refunds, or product support. Moreover, they expect to have a pleasant experience with your brand.

Look for an e-commerce platform that makes shopping a breeze. Also, insist on a solution that has a shopping cart that naturally suggests additional products that can improve the end user’s experience with your product. Payments should be completed in as few steps as possible to ensure fast and easy transactions.

These days, shoppers expect to choose the way that they interact with businesses, so don’t disappoint them. Make sure that your e-commerce package lets you provide customer service via available via chatbots, live chat, email, and telephone. You should also provide self-service options such as FAQ’s, knowledge bases, and community forums.

Integration

Maintaining simple internal business processes is just as important as providing an excellent customer experience. Make things easier for your team by choosing an e-commerce platform that integrates with popular business applications. Such integration can eliminate redundant data entry and improve the accuracy of your business’ data.

For example, just think of how easy your bookkeeping and accounting processes can be if transaction data is directly transferred to your accounting software. Similarly, you should expect to find e-commerce solutions that unify your e-mail marketing, website’s CMS, inventory management, and CRM platforms.

Your e-commerce platform should also integrate with social media to make your marketing team more efficient. Also, for your managers, be sure that the software that you choose offers all the reports needed to meet your operational needs. Additionally, check with platform developers to learn about their plans for supporting future software integrations.

What is the Best E-commerce Platform for You?

A large variety of e-commerce platforms exists because no business has the same needs. For this reason, you should allow the above considerations to guide you to the solution that is best for your business.

 

Author
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters