How to Choose the Right E-commerce Platform for Your Small Business?
Choosing an e-commerce platform that is right for your business needs is one of the most important business decisions that you have to make.
In fact, according to BigCommerce, 96 percent of Americans have now made a single online purchase in their lifetime. Meaning, more and more people are now comfortable with this kind of set-up, and e-commerce is now the future of retail business.
Now, the question is, which platform do you pick?
In this post, we will walk you through choosing the right e-commerce platform for your small business.
Pricing and Payment
An important thing that you must consider when choosing an e-commerce platform is the price.
Whether you are a start-up that’s just getting started, or a successful brick and mortar business that has just moved online, you need to know first how much you are going to pay.
Almost every platform has a monthly fee. Costs vary depending on what kind of platform you are getting. Also, take into consideration the processing fees that are associated with the platform.
Never sacrifice the things that you need for a lower price. Weigh down the pros and cons first so that you get the most out of your budget.
Take into consideration how your customers will be paying as well. Some platforms do not allow paying through third-party vendors like Paypal.
This can cost a lot of inconvenience and frustration to your customers, which eventually pushes them to abandon their cart.
When looking for e-commerce platforms, also take into consideration their plugins and integrations.
The needs of your business is a determining factor when you decide which plugin works best for you. When searching through various platforms, think about the tools you need (or you are already using) for your business.
Here are some plugins that you should look out for:
- Accounting plugins are helping you with revenues, taxes, sales, and profits.
- Email marketing tools so that you will keep in touch with your prospects.
- A platform that rewards your customers for using your products.
- Apps helping you with the shipping of your products.
An SEO-friendly e-commerce platform is important. It lets you create custom landing pages, edit your page URLs, install Google Analytics for tracking, and so on.
Your category pages should have rich content. Thus, you should look for a platform that allows you to add text, as well as embed your images and videos on them.
A blogging function is a major advantage as well because Google highly encourages sellers and brands to practice content marketing.
Finally, the speed of your site is crucial in having an SEO-friendly site.
More and more users are using the internet “on the go.” That’s why your site must be properly accessed through various mobile devices.
A website that is not mobile-friendly prevents prospects from spending money on you.
Also, even if your website is accessible on a portable device, if it does not function well, most visitors will not feel confident in giving their payment details and buying from you.
Your site speed should be one of your main priorities. According to Kissmetrics, half of the shoppers are expecting your site to load within 2 seconds. After three seconds and your page still fails to load, they are out.
The last thing that you want to encounter is high bounce rates and abandoned carts. But the thing is, users these days are impatient.
Therefore, even half a second does matter. You can also make use of Google’s PageSpeed Tools to analyze the platform’s speed.
These days, cyber-criminals and hackers are more and more sophisticated with their schemes. They are not only targeting large businesses. They are on it, too, with small businesses ‒ especially retailers.
As an online seller, it is your responsibility to protect the data and privacy of your customers. The platform that you picked should allow you to do this and more.
When you are just starting out online, it can be easy just to pick the most straightforward option out there.
However, over time, this will cause you a lot of work in the long run, especially if your online brand becomes successful, and you have a brand new platform dedicated to your online store.
To avoid this kind of hassle and additional costs, in the long run, make sure that you choose a scalable site.
Sometimes, the support that e-commerce platforms offer is pretty basic. For instance, you email them, and they will get back to you, but not immediately.
For some, it is extensive and high-priority. You can use live chat, email, call, and they will get back to you in 24 hours. Support is important for any kind of business, especially for e-commerce.
The bigger your store gets, even the slightest interruption in your functionality can be damaging. When your store goes down, in one way or another, you have to take some kind of action.
Moreover, you should also look for community support. You will benefit from seeking out support from a user community since it can eventually make up if a platform has a limited official support system.
Just remember, though, that it is not something that you should rely on in case of an emergency.
Keep in mind that not all e-commerce platforms are created equal. So, before you pick a platform, you need to have a list of options. That way, it is easier to test their features and functions and then methodically come up with a solution.
Remember that your customer’s experience and business’s capital are on the line. So, before you settle with a platform for your online store, you have to first take into consideration the factors we have stated above.
It is also crucial to pick a platform that fits your current needs and is viable in the long run. Think about long-term costs, as well.