Which is the best E-commerce platform for you?
E-commerce is booming. Online shopping is now utilised by over 50% of internet users globally, equating to approximately a billion buyers, and it’s not going to get any smaller any time soon. Your small business is either looking to make, or already has made the decision to develop an online shop for your website, (judging by your reading of these words…!) and you’re wondering where to start.
It’s not an easy decision to make, mainly because there are so many considerations and so many platforms to choose from. I won’t spend all this time going through each platform, because A) there’s too many. And B) that decision should be made only once you decide what you need those platforms to give you to achieve the best results. Decide on the features you’re going to need and the budget you have. Take those specifications you developed and compare them with the best e-commerce platform first (places like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce). See which one fits you best based on your design.
Firstly, you need to think about what you want from your e-commerce platform. These platforms are not one-size-fits-all, they each specialise in certain areas and have their own unique selling propositions.
Make a list of basic requirements first and make sure to involve all staff. What functions will you need? We’ll take a look at some of the most fundamental areas that you should consider.
Customer service through websites has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. The customer journey through your website is incredibly important for your brand. You’ll be hard pressed to find a site that doesn’t integrate a live chat function, for example. If you already have one, make sure that your current programme will integrate with your chosen platform. If it doesn’t, make sure that the platform you choose has live chat capabilities.
Another serious point you should consider is content management. E-commerce platforms have never been great with the focus on content, but it is important for SEO. Therefore, you should make sure that the platform you choose has the capability for you to effectively manage your content on the site and its optimisation. This way your customers are still getting that value from your content as well as your shop.
Will you be wanting the ability to post video content? Integrate with a Point of Sale device if you have a physical store location? Embed posts from social media, introduce featured products? Make a list of the main features you want to include, to ensure that your chosen platform can support these features or at least have compatible plugins that will offer them.
If you have a tech team, or similar, then you want to make sure you get their input heavily in the process. Any technical requirements that you don’t include initially can add quite a bit to your overall budget for the project. You should make sure that whatever technical resources you have access to, you utilise. If you don’t have technical people in-house, it may be worth looking at consultancy of some kind. Even something as simple as CSV exports from the system can prove costly if they’re not originally included in the spec.
You need to set a budget for the switch, as this process can get pricey if you don’t keep on top of the expenses. Set a reasonable budget that you can afford. Be sure to include any plugins you may need, any development work, hosting charges and any support fees. Make sure you get transparent charges from platforms you approach. Ask for hourly rates on development if you decide to use an outside agency to help you build it.
You need to be familiar with your customer journey, as planning a whole new experience for your customers could be detrimental if you don’t keep the process simple. Features such as a one-step checkout, editing and optimising your content, and having a system for customers to leave reviews will ensure that the change won’t have a negative effect on your profits.
It can be a complex process to switch to an e-commerce platform because of the sheer amount of considerations. Do some proper research and take the time to design it to your specifications. You will be able to find the best e-commerce platform for you that does what you need without compromising on website quality. We always recommend getting advice from a professional, and not going ahead until you’re happy that your choice of best e-commerce platform can deliver to the specification you’ve put together. If you need any help, visit our website and look at our web design packages.