Choosing an e-commerce platform

Choosing an e-commerce platform

If you are interested in bringing products (physical or digital) to internet, you will need to setup an e-commerce store. The options are endless but the perfect solution is out there. What you want is to weigh every component of the services provided by those companies and decide which of these components is most important to you.  Enterprise e-commerce platforms are very expensive. However, the monthly cost of a platform can play a part in your decision, but it can’t be the only factor in making your choice.

Below are a few areas to consider to help you choose the right e-commerce platform.

 

TYPES OF PRODUCTS YOU SELL

Determining what products you want to sell, how many variations of these products you have, and the total amount of products can narrow down your options of e-commerce platforms. You will find some platforms that are able to manage high quantities of products, digital products, and physical products while some are only able to accommodate one or the other. This is why it is very important to know product information beforehand you so you can research the platforms that work the best for you.

 

HOSTING OPTIONS/SPEED

You will find pros and cons to both hosting your own store and enabling your e-commerce platform to do so. Different solutions offer different hosting options, some platforms want you to have your own hosting and others will offer a hosting solution through them. If you decide to host your own site you will have to keep the site’s data, maintain security data for customers, fix technical issues, and keep the software updated. This is something to consider when looking into hosting options.

If you plan to enable the platform to host for you (like Shopify), there’s no need to worry regarding technical support, updates or even site maintenance. This includes marketplaces like eBay and Amazon that offer hosting directly through them. Nevertheless, with hosted platforms, you have limited customization and they can be costly.

 

SECURE PAYMENTS AND DATA SECURITY

When online shoppers make a purchase on your online store, they provide you with their name and payment details. This is why you need to keep this information safe and secure.  The platform needs to take care of your customer information and your online shop is secure.  Being an online seller, it is solely your responsibility to safeguard the privacy of your users. It is paramount you select the best e-commerce platform that accords you with maximum security by connecting you to an SSL certified vendor or by providing you with an HTTPS site.

If yours is an e-commerce business operating in different parts of the globe, you must accord your users with multiple payment options, so that people from different countries can transact in their respective currencies hassle free.  For this, you have to understand your target audience and accordingly survey the payment gateway options of different e-commerce platforms. For example, Shopify only has PayPal as its default payment option, but it also supports other options like Stripe, 2CheckOut, Amazon Payment, etc. While the distinct options may seem overwhelming, you must select the platform that integrates payment options complementing your business requirements.

 

SUPPORT

Depending on how practical you are, you might want to depend on a developer in order to troubleshoot any problems with your online site. Or if you feel comfortable enough to manage your store you can certainly find solutions that allow you to do so. There are e-commerce platforms that provide support, while some aren’t as upfront on how to seek assistance. Bear this in mind when selecting the right e-commerce platform for you.

 

MARKET YOUR BUSINESS

Marketing is absolutely essential for the growth of your business. Inevitably, the e-commerce platform that you obtain must be able to satisfy your marketing strategies. The platform should offer options like integration with social media networks, adding a blog, SEO features, email marketing, etc. Look for a platform that fulfills most of your marketing needs and allows you to grow effortlessly.

The integrated marketing solutions is another reason to choose Shopify, which allows purchases to customers through Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

 

To sum it all up, whatever the platform you plan to use, ensure it allows you to have control in the store layout and design, the proper payment gateway, security options, shipping, accessible support, and scalability. These are some of the basics for creating a successful eCommerce site – your eCommerce store can get as complicated as you want or stay as minimal as the needs you require.

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