5 Things to Consider When Choosing an eCommerce Platform
Jason Chow is an Outreach Manager and marketer for Webrevenue.io, where we provide content and marketing for startups and online businesses.
For the last decade or so, eCommerce has been soaring in popularity, with sales increasing by 18% last year alone. Future sales are predicted to increase at a similar rate, so if you’re thinking of starting a business to sell products, you should definitely consider creating an eCommerce store. With a little luck and the right choice of platforms, you could be part of the big boom in eCommerce, and you could have a very successful business.
Capitalizing on this explosive growth in business commerce could be one of the best decisions you ever make. You can start by either hiring a web developer to create your Commerce site, or you can make use of a site which has already been developed, to save yourself some time and money. In order to be sure you’re choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business, some of the following considerations are presented for you to review.
Include The Most Useful eCommerce Features
A very important selling point when selecting an eCommerce provider is the features which it can provide for you. The dashboard, for instance, is something which will be very important, since you’ll be interacting with it every day. You’ll also need to have reliable and powerful features for managing inventory, producing reports, processing orders, upselling and cross-selling adds-on and possibly generating discount codes.
Another feature which will be absolutely essential in the current business environment is to be responsive for mobile devices. All themes offered by your host should be mobile-friendly, especially your cart and checkout features. Regardless of how any user accesses your eCommerce site, you’re going to want to provide them with a comfortable and convenient checkout experience.
Choosing a Reliable Host For Your Platform
Choosing a reliable host for your platform may be another important aspect of finding the right eCommerce platform. You will want to know that your host can provide adequate security for all your customers because, without the confidence that comes from top-notch security, you probably won’t have too many customers.
Your host should also be able to guarantee a very high rate of uptime, with no costly outages that will lose business for you. If CS-Cart is your choice, you can host the eCommerce software on hosting company such as A2 Hosting.
Another essential aspect of choosing a good provider is that your website should perform very well, in terms of loading speed and good navigational capabilities. If you have slow-loading web pages, chances are the visitors will abandon your site, and scurry off to one of your competitors.
Pricing and Payment
Whether you are a very small business just starting out in the eCommerce world, or a large established business, you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting value for what you’re paying. Virtually all eCommerce platforms will involve a monthly fee you have to pay. If your platform is hosted, this will be the fee that you pay directly to your website host.
You should also give some thought to the payment methods your customers will be using. There are some eCommerce platforms which don’t provide the capability for paying via third-party vendors. This could be a tremendous inconvenience for your customers, and it might send them to a competitor. Before you even open your eCommerce platform for business, decide on which payment forms you will accept, and keep this in mind when you’re searching for an appropriate platform.
Even an eCommerce platform must be very aware of SEO principles so that traffic to the website can be maximized, and so there is greater engagement with visitors. It will be extremely beneficial to have your eCommerce store ranked highly in the search engine rankings so that your store can be found.
Take CS-Cart for example, it enables you to create a fully-featured blog inside your eCommerce store. By creating posts that relate to your products, you can gain more exposure in search results.
When you’re considering eCommerce platforms, make sure that you can add a blog to your website, that you will be able to use your own domain name, and that your customers will have the capability of leaving reviews of your website.
Integrations and Plug-ins
When searching for the perfect eCommerce platform, you should be aware of the potential for using integrations and plug-ins. Your actual business needs will go a long way toward determining which kinds of plug-ins you need on your platform.
Some of the most popular software tools and plug-ins used on eCommerce platforms, are those which help you with shipping, those which reward customers for purchases, email marketing tools, accounting plug-ins that help simplify your business, in terms of financial requirements, and those help to increase the speed of your eCommerce site.
For instance, it will be very helpful for you to have a framework in place to manage your revenues, profits, sales, and taxes. Regardless of which types of integrations or plug-ins you end up using for your eCommerce business, you will want to be sure that any platform you choose is compatible with these kinds of plug-ins, so that you can make best use of them.
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