By Team CR
The ecommerce industry has been on the rise in the past decade. Online sales have skyrocketed to 15% in 2016, and it's continuing to climb. If you're starting an ecommerce business and offering your products and services, then an ecommerce platform is imperative to capitalize on the online sales boom. Here are the factors you need to consider when choosing the right ecommerce platform for your online business.
Pricing & Payment Options
The most important thing you should consider when choosing the right ecommerce platform is the price. Whether you're an entrepreneur or a small business, you need to know what you're expected to pay every month. Every platform will come with a monthly fee. Depending which platform you use, the costs can vary from as little as $9 per month to as much as $29.95 per month.
You should also consider the features that are included with the the price. You don't want to give up the things you need for a cheaper price. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each paltform and its features to find the best one for your budget. You should also factor in the fees that your customers will incur.
Some ecommerce platforms don't use third-party vendors such as PayPal. This could become a problem for your customers, which can increase shopping cart abandonment. Determine which forms of payment you want to accept and keep this in mind when researching the different platforms.
Another important factor you should consider when researching the various ecommerce platforms is integrations and features. Some ecommerce platforms come with built-in tools and extensions that allow you to build your business. Your online business is dependent on the type of extensions and plugins that will fit your needs. When researching the various platforms, consider which tools you will need for your business.
There are plugins that help with a wide variety of needs. Some of them can help with profits, sales,taxes, and revenue. Others include e-mail marketing or social media marketing tools that allow you to engage with your customers. There are also mobile apps that help with shipping products to your customers.
Accessible Customer Service
The key factor to any business is its customer service. Brick and mortar businesses have more control over how they run their business. Since ecommerce is a different beast, server downtimes and software outages are to be expected and will happen outside of your business' office hours. This can decrease your brand image and your revenue.
Having an accessible customer service that get your website up and running is an important factor to consider when researching the various platforms. Get to know each one's customer support. Are they available at all times of the day? How can you contact them? Which levels of support are offered does it come with a cost? Consider these questions and make sure you address them before choosing your platform.
Product Search Bar
Customers typically find your business through an online ad while searching for a certain product. Or, they come across your website through a referral from someone they follow on social media. Whichever method was used, the search process should be focused on that user's interests and include the options available in your store. This allows them to make a well-informed decision, which causes them to make a purchase from your store. That's why it's so important to have a search bar on your online store.
Sixty percent of online searches are done on smartphones and tablets. Most of those searches lead to a purchase made on a mobile device. It's important to choose an ecommerce platform that lets customers access your website and make a purchase on their mobile device. Responsive design means having accelerated mobile pages and making your website as mobile-friendly as possible.
It should adapt to different screen sizes to various mobile devices such as large smartphones and phablets. This is not only important for an ecommerce business but also for any online business. Every website should be set up with accelerated mobile pages. It can make an impact on the customers who access your website through various mobile devices.
Security is one of the top concerns among customers. No one wants to enter their personal information on a website they don't trust. While most types of software and tools make security a priority, it's important to make sure that your desired platform supports HTTPS/SSL which provides a safe and secure checkout process. Any ecommerce platform that you use should also be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant.
Most business owners hope to scale their business in the near future but they don't know how.That's why it's important to find a platform that will grow with your business. You don't want to pay for features that you're not going to use in the beginning stages of your business. But you should be able to keep up with demand as your ecommerce business improves. Choosing a platform that scales to your business and won't come with costly fees.
The reason why most customers purchase online is because of the convenience. It saves them time from walking in a store, finding the product, and waiting in line to pay for that purchase.
Customers also don't have time to wait around when it comes to online shopping, so the checkout process on your ecommerce site should be automated and easy enough that your customer can quickly make a purchase before abandoning their shopping cart.
It's important to get personal information from every new customer you come across. When it comes to existing customers, maintain online records to reduce the checkout process.
Starting a new business is difficult, but moving away from the traditional business model to an online one can be especially challenging. Since there are so many platforms to choose from, it's important to choose one that grows with you. Knowing what to look for can make this process easier.