If you’ve decided to start an e-commerce business, one of your first decisions will be selecting an online platform that will suit the needs of your company. There are hundreds of options and no one choice that will work for everyone.
You’ll find that each platform has its pros and cons in relation to what you’re planning to do with your website. However, choosing the wrong platform could have a negative impact on your revenue. Here are some tips to help you find the right e-commerce platform.
You should start your search by looking for a platform that has simple administrative tools, easy upgrade options, and allows you to import data. The platform you choose should allow you to easily integrate this new information to your content. Your platform should also have an easy-to-use CMS (content management system) so you won’t lose time and effort on adding or editing content.
In order to please your customers and provide them with a great user experience, the platform you choose will need to be quick and responsive. This especially applies to shoppers who will access your online shop on mobile devices. The number of mobile shoppers is constantly growing and you need to ensure your e-commerce solution performs well on all devices. A site that isn’t mobile-friendly will suffer from higher bounce rates and poorer SEO ranking.
The user interface of your platform should be easy to follow, so that users can find what they want, add it to their cart, and check out with minimal effort.
A secure site that protects customer data is crucial, so the platform you choose should have strong security features. As an e-commerce business, your customer transactions will probably be processed through a secure payment gateway, so you should ensure that you use a platform that complies with PCI standards.
According to these standards you should never store credit card information on your personal server. Also, any sensitive information your customers enter such as passwords, personal details and credit card numbers should be encrypted so that third parties cannot intercept it. This will greatly reduce the risk of identity theft or other types of fraud.
Some e-commerce platforms offer extra security enhancements, such as monitoring for denial-of-service attacks or fraud protection. Whether you want to pay extra for such services is your choice, but you will definitely benefit from them in the future as your business grows.
While you can add third-party software or pay external service providers at any point, this will be more costly than a platform that already has these features built in.
Growing your business requires a sound strategy, and part of this should be an e-commerce solution that scales to accommodate changing needs. Going with the most affordable option for your needs seems like a good choice when you’re first starting out, but you need to plan for the future, as well. You don’t want to be paying increasing fees every time your business expands.
The best platforms allow you the flexibility to pick the features you need without limits on scalability as requirements grow. Be wary of any stated limitations on capacity or bandwidth. If you have some development skills yourself, you might want to consider open source solutions that allow you to create or add modules to enhance your site’s capabilities.
If you limit yourself to small-store concepts in choosing a platform, you may find you have little room for growth.
Your e-commerce solution becomes part of your company brand. The platform you choose could make or break your reputation. Your platform should support a great but dependable user experience that customers will come back for. You’ll find that it helps to choose a robust platform with a reliable support system and active user community.
Otherwise, if you have issues with a product page, account, or function, you may be forced to resolve the problem on your own. Reducing your risks means finding an e-commerce solution that provides accessible support teams and community resources for trouble-shooting. This help should be easy to find, search, and use.
The key to success for any website is high availability and consistent performance.
To summarize, no matter what you sell, the e-commerce platform you select will play a big part in your success. If it isn’t easy to administer, flexible, secure, and scalable, it could actually be holding you back. Look for a company that fully supports its product and you’ve got an effective business partner well into the future.