Important Factors When Selecting an E-Commerce Platform

You might be a business owner who wants to take advantage of the many advantages of e-commerce but is unsure of the precise platform to use. One major difference between an owned e-commerce site and one that is pre-built and templated is how easily it can be customized. On the other hand, pre-built commerce sites offer convenience in that you avoid building a website from scratch.

And those are just a few of the factors you need to take into account. As a web development company, we strongly advise you to base your decision on your various corporate objectives. With those objectives in mind, you can research the variations among the available e-commerce platform options.

  1. What is an e-commerce platform?
  2. What’s the difference between a marketplace vs e-commerce?
  3. How does an e-commerce platform work?
  4. What are the benefits of having an e-commerce platform?
  5. How to choose the right e-commerce platform?
  6. Questions to ask yourself before deciding on an e-commerce platform
  7. Available e-commerce platforms

What is an E-commerce platform?

An e-commerce platform is designed for online stores – small to enterprise – to manage their businesses in a complete software solution. In this platform, companies can run their own website, marketing, operations, and sales – allowing them to run their business and centralize their operations.

What distinguishes e-commerce from a marketplace?

In terms of ownership and customization, an e-commerce website differs from a marketplace.

A marketplace is a location where different types of online merchants can sell their wares without having to customize any site features; instead, they can simply display, sell, and ship their goods. Sellers can customize their own website in accordance with their business needs using an e-commerce platform.

How does an e-commerce platform work?

Typically, a search engine they used to look for one of your products will help them find your website. Additionally, they might have clicked on a paid advertisement, a social media image, or a friend’s recommendation.

They are then shown the listed products on your eCommerce site, along with their descriptions, prices, and images. The customer looks around, picks out what they want, and adds it to their virtual shopping cart. They will proceed to the checkout page if they choose to make a purchase.

The customer completes the check-out procedure there. They complete the transaction by adding their payment information. After that, a payment gateway, like your bank or PayPal, processes the order. This process offers safe payment processing. In the meantime, your website provides the customer with information about their order. It could be estimated shipping times, postal tracking numbers, or other information they need to track their purchase

As mentioned, the next step for ​​eCommerce services is order fulfillment – or the actual process of getting the goods delivered. Depending on who stores and ships the product, it could be an in-house team or outsourced to an order-fulfillment company.

Of course, the last step is the product arriving at your customer’s address. You want to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the product and service provided, so you might forward them a survey inquiring about their impressions once the order is delivered. 

What are the benefits of having an e-commerce platform?

E-commerce platforms’ crucial features, such as product catalogs, security, and adaptable payment options, assist you in streamlining the user experience (UX) from product discovery to checkouts. Additionally, e-commerce platforms have plugins that assist you in directing customers to the most lucrative products, increasing sales. In a more specialized online store, you can have a more efficient customer service system, a 24/7 global reach, and increase brand recognition.

You must unquestionably fully comprehend the benefits and drawbacks of e-commerce, and familiarizing yourself with all of the available platforms will prepare you to launch your own.

How to choose the right e-commerce platform?

It takes more than just stocking your products on shelves and hoping for a sale to operate an e-commerce website. Building your ecommerce business requires strategic planning, just like opening a physical store. The fact that some ecommerce platforms have inexpensive plans may draw you in, but you shouldn’t base your decision solely on price.

Here are the factors you’ll need to consider and have some research on before committing and choosing an e-commerce platform:

  1. Cost of Implementation
  2. Number of Features or Available Extensions
  3. Customer Service Features
  4. Payment Options
  5. Security
  6. SEO Considerations
  7. Data-driven Analytics
  8. Web Design Personalization
  9. Mobile-friendliness

Not all features may apply to your business so choose a platform that works suitably with the highlighted features of the e-commerce platform.

1. Cost of Implementation

Knowing how much it will cost to host an online store will undoubtedly help you budget and calculate your return on investment. Some e-commerce platforms provide packages with features like web design features, security, functionality, maintenance, and recurring hosting.

There are additional expenses to consider in addition to the initial development costs. If you didn’t conduct adequate research prior to the site launch, running an e-commerce site requires maintenance, security, and other feature upgrades, which can be expensive affairs.

2. Number of Features or Available Extensions

Does the annual fee cover the fundamental elements required to launch a website, such as the domain name and hosting? Although some platforms offer cost-effective plans, they charge extra for features in the form of extensions. Listing the essential e-commerce features will increase your chances of selecting a platform that is appropriate for your online store since not all of them will be applicable to it. Include the offsite extensions, such as payment gateways and analytics tools, in your list.

3. Customer Service Features

Any commerce must always have user experience as its top priority. There are other factors to consider in addition to easy page navigation and eye-catching website designs when trying to improve customer relations. Customer support is one means of interactive customer service. Issues can be quickly resolved by a good customer support system via the channels of their choice. The e-commerce platform should anticipate every technical issue, and the best solutions should be provided. Artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing, which provides more resources, improves customer service interactions. Some platforms provide AI-powered support systems that proactively solve frequent problems.

4. Payment Options

Typically, how do your clients pay? Do they use off-site payments and redirects, credit cards, or debit cards linked to bank accounts for payment purposes? Do customers from other countries have a payment option, too? Find an e-commerce platform that accepts a variety of payment methods. Your company should provide payment processing services that accept a variety of currencies and payment methods if you want to expand internationally.

You should make sure that any payment gateway you choose to work on is practical, secure, and always offers more options. More payment options increase transaction volume by making the checkout process easier for customers.

5. Security

One way to demonstrate your brand’s reliability is through security. Most security threats can be detected and defeated by an effective e-commerce security system. Customers will be less likely to shop at stores that have put their financial and personal information at risk as a result of a cyber breach, which could hurt the reputation of your e-commerce business.

With that in mind, here are some key security features you should not miss when choosing an e-commerce platform that has robust security:

  • • The privacy. The private information of the customers must not be disclosed to unauthorized parties. Only your company should have access to their financial and personal information; it must never be shared with anyone else.

    • Verification. Transactions must have authentication procedures that authenticate each customer’s identity, such as passwords, two-step verification, or one-time pin (OTP) verification.

    • Agreement on Terms and Conditions This means that every action or commitment made during the transaction process must be made consciously and on purpose by both you and your customers.

Check if the platform has the above security features, payment card industry (PCI) compliance, and data backups.

6. SEO Considerations

The amount of organic traffic to your website increases when you have an SEO strategy in place. A higher ranking in search results improves your chances of converting visitors into customers when they use search engines to learn more about a product or service.

The domain name, meta descriptions, image alt tags, navigation links, page titles, headings, IP addresses, and other factors are taken into account for e-commerce SEO.

7. Data-driven analytics

It’s imperative to collect data in order to comprehend consumer behavior trends and make data-driven decisions. As a result, using a good analytics tool is essential for e-commerce. You won’t need to sync data and create new insights and solutions from another analytics platform because the majority of e-commerce platforms integrate their own analytics. You can find extensions on most platforms if you prefer to use other analytics programs.

8. Web Design Personalization

If you’re aiming for a quick online store setup, some ecommerce platforms have pre-made templates to save you more time and financial investments in web development. 

Even so, most businesses prefer to customize their own website since they are beneficial in a competitive edge. Most e-commerce providers allow you to custom web design but they cost relatively higher than website themes. To know more about customization, check out our recent e-commerce design tips article to improve sales and conversion rates!

9. Mobile-friendliness

As more consumers shop on mobile devices, having your website optimized for mobile technology will facilitate smoother transactions and reduce the risk of cart abandonment. Remember that you’re not just looking for swiping functionalities and navigation when selecting an e-commerce platform. Ask about the features that are exclusive to mobile devices, such as touch ID, call and map buttons, and card designs.

Which e-commerce platform should I choose?

Dealing with the limitations of each e-commerce platform is the biggest challenge in platform selection. While some platforms may have low-cost plans but offer limited working features and may also charge extra for plugins and extensions, other platforms with full features might be expensive for your company.

Consider your priorities, whether they are related to features or cost, research each platform, and select the one that best satisfies your needs.

If you’re enjoying reading my blogs, you can consider visiting my other topics here. Or you can also visit my YouTube Channel for more free tips and learnings. Click Here!

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