If you’re a retailer looking to sell your goods online, or even if you are an existing eTailer, you will know that there are so many elements to consider, including how you are going to market to your audience and fulfill orders. But arguably the most important choice you will make is which eCommerce platform to use, which will be absolutely critical to your success.
One of the biggest challenges you are likely to face in eCommerce is the limitations of your platform and CMS. For example, does it allow you to bulk upload products, make changes to the design easily or have simple integration with third-party apps.
Of course, there are a number of options out there, for example Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce and EKM, to name just a few. Naturally, each one has its various quirks, pros and cons, and of course, price points. Alternatively, you may choose to custom-build your own platform, although this can be incredibly time consuming and cost a significant amount of money to build and maintain, although there is no definitive monthly fee moving forward, unlike other pre-built platforms.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of seven things to consider when choosing your eCommerce platform:
- Will it help me meet my business objectives?
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a platform is does it help you meet and achieve your business objectives. What are the key requirements you need from it? Without setting out clear objectives, you risk not selecting the right platform, and consequently, wasting a lot of time and money in the process.
- What does it cost?
Every platform is going to have some sort of cost associated with it, whether you go for an ‘out-the-box’ solution or whether you opt to custom build your own platform. With this in mind, it’s crucial to determine how much you can afford to spend both upfront and on an ongoing monthly basis moving forward.
Also, consider other costs which may not be so obvious from the start, such as whether you’ll get charged more for additional transactions, server storage and third party apps and plug-ins which you may need further on. This is particularly important for those just starting out with eCommerce, but should also be considered by existing eCommerce sites – are you paying too much for your platform? Could you get a better deal elsewhere?
- Is it user-friendly?
Of course, UX is a massive part of any website. Getting it wrong can mean poor conversion rates, and a user base which is frustrated when they’re trying to place a simple order. It could also result in a high bounce rate too, and all of these things have an impact on your ability to attract traffic organically, as your SEO is likely to be affected.
On the other hand, your chosen eCommerce platform also has to provide a seamless user experience for the people using it at the back end too. If your team find it confusing, not only is it likely to cause inefficiencies internally, but again, think on how it will be perceived by your customer base and those visiting your site.
- Is it mobile-friendly?
With 1.6 billion people around the world using their mobile devices to shop online, it’s absolutely crucial that your platform looks the business on those mobile devices. Shopify is often regarded by eCommerce experts to be the best around for its interface and how it appears on mobile, but of course, this is just one aspect to consider when choosing the right platform.
- Does it have integrations with other third-party apps?
Third party integrations can be the difference between providing a good user experience and receiving a fair amount of revenue, and providing an outstanding user experience and having a fully optimised eCommerce website which generates considerable revenue.
- Is it secure?
It goes without saying that whichever platform you choose, it has to be secure, for both your customers’ peace of mind and yours as a business owner. The last thing you need is to be a victim of fraud and having hundreds, even thousands, of pounds taken from your business.
- Is it future proof?
By ‘future-proof’ we mean does it have scalability and is it still going to be the right platform for your business in three, five or even ten years down the line? Every platform will have its limitations, and each one will have a point where it cannot handle the demand, resulting in poor performance.
When assessing platform suitability with scalability and how flexible it is in mind, consider open-source platforms, the marketplace and the modular architecture of different platforms.
These are just a handful of things to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, but overall, the decision can only be yours.