One of the most significant decisions that business owners make while starting an online business is choosing the right eCommerce platform to ensure scalable, long-term growth. Therefore, it is essential to consider all factors that help determine the most suitable platform choice to invest in and yield significant outcomes.
What is an eCommerce platform?
An eCommerce platform helps online businesses manage their website, marketing, sales, and operations. In simple words, the eCommerce platform enables a company to sell products and services online.
Why is it essential to select the best eCommerce platform for your business?
Setting up and managing an eCommerce platform is like running physical retail or a production facility. The exact amount of strategic planning and thinking goes into managing an eCommerce business. With all these going around, great eCommerce will bring out better results and reduce unwanted expenses.
There are three main eCommerce platform options available in today’s market.
- SaaS (software-as-a-service)
- Headless Commerce
Open-Source eCommerce platform
Open-Source eCommerce platforms are the ones where you can modify all the features of the code. This type of Platform is suitable for development and IT heavy businesses that want to control their eCommerce environment. The hosting environment for Open-Source eCommerce platforms is Cloud or on-premise.
The open-source eCommerce platforms are pretty complicated, expensive to maintain, and require significant technical knowledge.
SaaS eCommerce platforms
The Saas eCommerce platforms use the Cloud as a hosting environment.
Unlike open-source eCommerce platforms, SaaS platforms are not much complicated. Instead of building a custom platform, one can rent the Platform for their eCommerce needs. Also, while considering the development cost, it is much affordable than open-source solutions.
Headless eCommerce platforms
The headless eCommerce platform takes the Cloud as the hosting environment. This is a version of CaaS (Communication as a Service) eCommerce in which the shopping cart is decoupled from the CMS. SaaS technologies are also used here instead of the decoupled carts due to their affordability and high API flexibility.
Using APIs, plug-ins, and decoupled technologies, brands can maintain their single source of truth monolithic systems on the end of the operations.
A licensed platform can be purchased for usage by your business. Essentially, you’re buying a license to use the software, usually indefinitely. In addition, licensed eCommerce platforms typically come with access to updates for a limited time, usually a year, and sometimes a support package is included.
The Licensed platforms work similarly to the open-source software eCommerce platforms, and they are expensive as well.
PaaS means Platform as a Service. PaaS is a platform on which your software can be built and connected to other business systems. PaaS is an advanced option intended to handle complex aspects of a large company, making it only suitable for larger B2B businesses with sufficient resources to build on top of this infrastructure.
Essential features to consider while choosing an eCommerce platform.
1. Convenient Shop Setup
The eCommerce platform must be easy to set up and also must be easy to design. Using templates are a great choice, as you need not hire professionals to create your eCommerce platform.
2. Easy to Navigate
Online customers expect a seamless experience that is quick and efficient. So it is always better to have a simple and easy to navigate setup. The customers should feel easy to locate a particular product they are looking for.
3. SEO Friendly
It is a must that your online store ranks top on the search engine. People searching for products must be able to find out about your online shop. To achieve this, look for an eCommerce platform that is SEO friendly. You can use your business name, including blogs, post customer reviews, and all these will help drive shoppers to your business organically.
4. Mobile Friendly
Mobile shopping is on the rise, and make sure your eCommerce platform is mobile friendly. It is estimated that over 70% of the customers use mobile phones for shopping. Hence build your eCommerce platform in a way it provides a seamless experience through mobile phones.
5. Payment Options
A secured payment gateway helps in gaining a substantial number of customers. If it is hard for your customers to pay for a product or service, growing the business online is hard. Make sure to consider other payments options that are reliable and secure.
Flexibility to integrate easily with social media platforms and Google merchant is a crucial aspect to consider while choosing an eCommerce platform. It significantly helps in driving more traffic to your product listing page. Having this feature is hugely beneficial to reach customers beyond the borders of your website.
Some eCommerce platforms come with a standard monthly fee, and some offer flat rates. Before choosing an eCommerce platform, identify your goals and requirements and invest in one with all these pricing options.
8. Customer Support
To err is human. At times your eCommerce platform might face technical issues and may need quick technical assistance. So while choosing an eCommerce platform, check how well they provide tech support if needed. Always look out for vendors that offer 24-hour emergency support and can be available through different channels, including email, webchat, and phone.
When you are investing a considerable amount of money into an online business, it is a must to track the performance of your business and other areas of business. Choose an eCommerce site that has simple and great analytical features. Ensure that the business trend, number of sales, payment methods, orders are all displayed in an understandable format.
Finding the right eCommerce platform that matches your requirement could be challenging and often time-consuming. However, when you see an increase in sales and your business’s growth, you will realise the value of time, effort, and energy you invested in this process. With a good eCommerce platform, your business will operate smoothly, and things will get automated.
Get in touch with us to build eCommerce platforms that drive sales and are simple to use.