It’s no secret that E-commerce is the way forward when it comes to doing business. The old brick and mortar way is on the verge of becoming obsolete with more and more small and mid-sized businesses going online, thanks to the simplicity and ease of use offered by e-commerce platforms nowadays. Some statistics published by Oberlo suggest that sales through e-commerce platforms were estimated at $4.206 trillion this year and are forecast to grow to a value of $6.542 trillion by 2023.
The reason behind this rapid growth is the ease of doing business that e-commerce platforms provide to businesses, and the ease of shopping that online stores provide to customers. It is cost-effective as the cost incurred in making a physical shop is saved. It is also easy to manage your business as it is centralized and operates from one place. And finally, customers also prefer e-commerce over physical shops because of the wide variety of products that they can find in an online store and the time that they can take to decide about a purchase.
Starting an e-commerce business used to be a tricky affair until a few years ago, but with advancement of technology that barrier to entry has also been broken. Now even a small enterprise can begin its e-commerce journey by choosing the right e-commerce platform. However, it’s essential to keep some points in mind while selecting your e-commerce platform, and those points are precisely what we’re going to cover in this article. Let’s get started:
Things to Remember While Choosing an E-commerce Platform
After deciding to take your business through an e-commerce route you must choose an appropriate e-commerce platform that can match your business objectives. How to choose such a platform? You should decide on the basis of following points:
1. Price of the platform and your budget
The success of any business depends on proper financial management. Therefore, you must do proper research on the cash inflows and outflows of your business to estimate the business profit and expenditure budget accordingly. Based on that research a budget can be fixed for all expenses that will be incurred in the e-commerce business, including your e-commerce platform.
You must not choose a platform that exceeds your budget. The platform you choose should charge according to the size of your business, otherwise, you’ll end up with a platform that charges for the features you’re not going to use.
There are several choices available in the market, and you should keep looking for them until you find a platform suiting your requirements at an affordable rate. But at the same time with intentions of choosing a cheap platform you should also not sacrifice the requirements of your business. The aim should be to select a platform that can fulfill your business requirements while not exceeding your budget.
2. SEO Related Benefits
Another crucial aspect to consider while selecting your e-commerce platform is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, as it’s popularly known. SEO ensures that your products are visible in the search engine results when a customer searches for products similar to yours.
Since search engines account as a major source of traffic for most websites, this is very important. And in order to ensure that your e-commerce site is as SEO friendly as possible you must choose an e-commerce platform that includes SEO related features and optimized code. Some of those features include:
- Functionality to easily add metadata (i.e. image alt attributes, meta description, meta tags, etc.) to product pages
- Error-free code and lightweight product pages that load quickly
- Ability to integrate 3rd party add-ons
- Ability to leave reviews, etc.
- These features are crucial for the SEO optimization of your e-commerce site.
#3. Payment Security
With the advancement of technology the number of digital payments has also increased in recent years. However, with rise of digital payments, the concerns about security of payments have also increased. Since e-commerce relies mostly on digital payments, the secure handling and processing of payments through e-commerce platforms is also of paramount importance.
Businesses must choose platforms with proper security to start their business. Any platform you choose must support the basic security features like proper integration with cheap wildcard SSL certificates, ability to setup real-time threat alerts, integration with popular and reliable payment gateways, etc.
While SSL certificate ensures that the personal information of the users is encrypted during transfer, real-time threat alerts help you ward off the attacks that may be coming your way by monitoring abnormal activity. Reliable payment gateway integrations help in processing of payments through well-established payment processors. Therefore, all these features are a must in any e-commerce platform if it has to be considered as a secure platform.
#4. Mobile Compatibility
You may know already that most of the shopping in the e-commerce world is done through mobile devices. There’s no doubt in the fact that most of your shoppers will also come from mobile devices, so it’s crucial that your e-commerce site is designed and developed from a mobile-first perspective.
And in order to make it happen your e-commerce platform should facilitate the creation of a mobile-compatible site by supporting features like responsive themes, AMP technology of Google, and other similar mobile-friendly features.
#5. Customer Service
Doing business online also comes with some limitations. As your online business grows with time, there are chances that the company will face technical issues. This issues can sometimes be negligible, sometimes not. If not fixed in time, this can affect the sales of the business as well as the goodwill of your company. If customers face some difficulty in your business, then they’ll buy from one of your competitors – simple!
This scenario should be avoided at any cost. And in order to avoid it, you must take the customer support of your e-commerce platform into consideration while purchasing it. As an e-commerce business facing technical issues you may sometimes need to contact the customer service of the e-commerce platform to resolve the issues as soon as possible. That’s why you should choose a platform with 24×7 customer service and good reputation.
Starting a new business is always full of stress, but e-commerce platforms have eased out that burden to a large extent. As long as you choose the right platform for your e-commerce site, you can easily set up a business that scales and grows rapidly.
We hope the advice given here will help you find such a platform. If you’ve any other considerations that must be kept in mind while choosing an e-commerce platform, share it in the comments. Also share this article with your friends so they too can choose the right e-commerce platform for their business!