Ecommerce business is growing at an exponential rate all over the world. It has drastically changed the way people research and shops the things they need. With new technological advancements, the growth of the e-commerce industry is predicted to increase like never before. It currently stands at $2.3 trillion and is expected to reach $4.48 trillion in 2020.
If you’re deciding to start an e-commerce store, you need to leverage an e-commerce platform. Sure, you can use a custom-built website to sell your products/ services. But, to scale your business operations and save your time and money, it’s advisable to opt for an already-developed e-commerce platform.
But, what exactly is an e-commerce platform?
An e-commerce platform is a software application that enables businesses to build, design, and manage their online stores, without any knowledge of coding. It also helps them manage different functions such as listing products, marketing, sales, collecting payments, managing inventory, and much more.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this guide, we’ll outline the various factors you should consider when choosing an e-commerce platform for your online store.
Let’s get started!
Everything comes with a price and so are the online business portals. Some sites offer a base flat rate that includes everything on their list with no extra charges; while others offer a minimum fare and extra add-ons for extra features. Also, these sites have a monthly processing fee.
It is wise to make a list of required features needed in your website and then research each option based on their offered price list. Make your final decision based on the competitive price of requirements and don’t sacrifice your needs in the lure of the cheapest option available.
The payment mode available on your website is the deciding factor for customers to make a purchase or not. Some customers get frustrated when their preferred mode of payment is not available and trash their carts.
Some platforms offer only direct bank transfer and that too with limited bank options; while others offer a variety of choices like ‘PayPal’, ‘Google-Pay’, ‘Amazon-Pay’ etc. In some portals, these are included in base rate and others, they are charged extra for each option.
Also, if the website is available for different countries then suitable payment methods for those countries must be chosen.
3. SEO friendliness
All that you aim for your online store is to bloom by reaching as many customers as possible. And to make it a reality, ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is the key.
SEO options provided by your E-commerce platform help your website to be featured among the top ranks on the search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. These attract more and more customers to your website. SEO tools are the best online marketing tools these days.
Among a variety of SEO tools provided at different rates, you must be assured to choose – a blog space and Customer review section.
4. Product Catalogue
Product Catalogue is the presentation of offered products on the display window. The more attractive it appears, the longer it will bind the customers to discover all the available items.
Some platforms offer a variety of free and premium themes. To make an extraordinary display of your stock in front of your customers, opt for a premium theme that makes it a recognizable brand. It also makes shopping even more interesting for customers making them visit the site again.
Also, it must be easy to handle on your end while updating the new collection and making necessary changes as and when required.
5. E-commerce Analytics
With several E-commerce platforms available, it is one of the easiest jobs nowadays to create a digital business. But what matters the most is the full-fledged success it gains or not.
So, to define the baseline that counts and revises the regular profit or loss charts for your business, some numerical calculation system must be taken into consideration. Few E-commerce portals provide these services by defining their inbuilt analytical system and generate regular financial reports.
The tip here is to choose a platform with the analytic system; unless you have your system of counting and keeping records.
6. Customer Service
For an online store, more often customers require information to be provided regarding different products, payment terms, return policy, etc. These queries are handled by Customer Service.
One of the foundation pillars of an online business is an internet server. The chances may be less but a few times technical faults occur and your website stops responding. On such occasions, customers seek the company’s assistance.
To be always available for customer’s support, websites provide online chat heads, FAQs, 24×7 call-center services, etc. The effective Customer Service is responsible for building consumer trust and hence must be provided by your chosen E-commerce platform.
7. Integrations and Plug-ins
Your online business needs the support of different functional operations to sustain in an ever-competitive world such as marketing tools, delivery platforms, customer service system, revenue & tax calculating systems, etc. All these vital necessities must be considered while selecting an E-commerce platform.
These integrations and plug-ins improve the functionality of the website and make the online business run smoothly.
Different platforms provide different services at different rates. You must be aware of the extent these services will benefit you and accordingly make amends in your budget to include them.
The major factor that must be considered while selecting an E-commerce platform is the extent of security it is providing. In today’s digital age, everything is just a click away and so is the source of fraud. Hence, customers are now more aware of the safety modes and choose to do business with trusted security certified websites only.
Hence, make sure your E-commerce portal provides PCI compliance, provides necessary details on keeping customer data safe and details on fraud prevention methods.
It is advised to choose a platform that provides HTTPS protocol to establish a secure network and generate consumer trust.
Moving away from the traditional store to an online platform can be difficult for many business owners. Moreover, switching-commerce platforms can be very frustrating, expensive, and time-consuming. Therefore, it is essential to study each platform and thus, make the right decision the first time.
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