Feature-Perfect: Find the Best E–Commerce Platform for Your Business
Your small business deserves the best. Luckily, you don’t have to build your online store from scratch. With the help of an e-commerce platform, you can create your online shop easily and customize it.
By definition, an e-commerce platform is a software application that allows you to manage your website with the essentials in place. It enables you to sell and for customers to buy.
What e-commerce platform is the best for me? Before you can identify what this e-commerce platform is, it may be best to seek out what you are looking for first to make an informed decision.
Here are the top considerations when choosing the best e-commerce platform for your business.
The ease of navigating an e-commerce site is a top consideration for buyers. Case in point: users who mainly shop with their mobile phones. These users expect to complete all their transactions, or shop satisfactorily, online and with just their phones.
As easy as it is for anyone to use your site across all devices, it should be the same for you as the store owner or your team seeing to it the important work at the back.
Whether it be handling orders, managing inventory, and processing payments, all these processes have to be smooth for you and the customers.
The overall ease of use goes in tandem with functionality when looking for an e-commerce platform.
Load time can make or break a user experience; while some may patiently wait for the page to load, others would probably exit in search for quicker results. Ten seconds is already long enough, and anything longer is costly, as evidenced by a high bounce rate.
Running regular tests is one way to check and optimize your website speed, which varies when on mobile vs. desktop. As far as the e-commerce platform is concerned, find one that can help you handle requests fast and efficiently. This ability lies in the platform’s infrastructure and its tools.
It is another factor affecting the site’s speed and performance significantly. An e-commerce platform can be:
Self-hosted, whereby you set up and manage your server
Software as a service (SaaS), whereby the platform provides the host and other features
A reliable website host helps prevent downtime, which also costs you money and customers bad experience. With encryption, this website host also helps keep the site secure.
While you are not expected to be techie when starting an online store, your level of knowledge would define your initial choices. It takes time and energy to put together the moving parts that make your online store. Data will be important as things grow. Click here to learn – What is dataops?
Shopify generally tops the list of easiest-to-use e-commerce platforms or those made for beginners. The platform’s starter plan has the basics to start selling online, including themes, at $29 a month.
WooCommerce is a highly commended platform that is also supposedly easy to set up a store with. It is a free plug-in to WordPress (it is built on WP), allowing one to run their online business with paid and free tools.
Open-source Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. Its major advantage is scalability, although it’s said to be more geared toward users with intermediate knowledge.
Things would be different if you are working alongside a developer or have a team to help you. Nonetheless, you can take advantage of a free trial and watch tutorials on how each platform works.
Even if you are to set up your store with a free platform, you’ll have to pay for its components to run the store efficiently. Some of these costs are:
Opting with an e-commerce website builder with built-in features is straightforward, and you are paying for the convenience of a fast and easy setup. This will probably allow you to focus on the other important stuff and learn how to better improve your store’s performance.
Your online store is your command center, which entails having all the tools you need in one place. App integrations save business resources by automating manual tasks and ensuring data accuracy and timely response to business concerns.
One practical example is preventing out-of-stock incidents by setting up low-stock alerts and keeping accurate inventory records. Another is sending an automated email when a customer abandons their shopping cart.
Your e-commerce store acts as your virtual storefront, and SEO helps drive more people to it. So your e-commerce platform should ideally be supportive of this purpose of increased visibility on search engines. There are lots of different SEO services to choose from.
Using the right keywords is key in titles, meta descriptions, product pages, as well as those informative pages like the home page and FAQ. Add a sitemap for easy navigation, optimize images for SEO and page load speed, incorporate customer reviews, and blog and share relevant content.
Those are some SEO tasks that an e-commerce platform can help you with.
Alongside SEO is pay-per-click advertising, which is designed to drive conversions and traffic to the website. Google Ads presents an opportunity for your online advertisements to appear alongside search results on the leading search engine.
Google Ads can be connected to partner platforms, and conversion tracking can be set up.
Using Google Ads for e-commerce and lead generation can be a solid strategy. You may have to approach it differently, given your goals and expected results.
A suite of analytics and reporting tools is often built-into the e-commerce platform or available as add-ons, like Google Analytics.
Abandoned carts are a must-track metric. Cart abandonment affects sales, but it can be prevented or mitigated by using trends on how users interact with your website, what they buy, what they do before checkout, whether they open abandoned-cart emails, etc.
With the help of data, you can make purposeful enhancements for your online store.
It’s necessary to be able to count on support when you need it. The sooner issues get fixed, the better it is for customers and for your business.
But then, it just feels reassuring to have your general inquiries answered promptly (or at least be able to find helpful and up-to-date information on their websites).
Reviews should help you confirm which platforms are delivering on their promised 24/7 support by phone, email, etc.
It’ll be in your interest to know how responsive and accessible they are, like being able to talk with a human customer-service agent during a really crucial time. Is their call center round-the-clock or operating during business hours? Look into those matters.
Are You All Set to Sell Online?
Flexibility is truly needed in choosing an e-commerce platform that allows you to add, remove, move things around, and maybe upgrade to a better plan when your business expands. It is a welcome feature because the circumstances surrounding your business can change.
Notwithstanding the attractive prices or glitzy features, always take into consideration the size of your business, budget, tech expertise (or access to it) and learning curve, current needs, and plans for the long term.
Setting your priorities may help you focus your spending on the services or solutions to launch your store without delay.
Your choice of an e-commerce platform is only the start. Consider customization to enhance customer experience, make the site faster, and set your online store for growth and success.
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