Nielson has predicted that E-commerce will surge by 20% and become a huge market of $4 trillion by 2020. Amazon has the biggest chunk of this, contributing to 37% of online spend. However, small online sellers do have great potential and can capitalize on this promising growth prospect of the industry. But, the path to success is full of challenges. One of them is how to create a stellar solution for prospective customers.
To build an e-commerce business, one of the must-have is a third-party platform like Magento, Ruby On Rails (RoR), BigCommerce, Shopify etc. You can even go for a custom-built website for yourself, but you will not be able to scale at a pace that the business may need. Thus, selecting a right third-party platform is extremely critical and you should consider these 5 things before you decide.
1. Check for all the features
Do your homework and don’t rely on just marketing! Make sure you fully understand what you’re getting into and the functionality is suitable for your business to operate successfully. Things like editing orders or automating emails to customers are by default available in all the platforms, but its best to confirm. You may also want to check the cost associated with using these features, like Magento is an open source PHP-based e-commerce platform and when it comes to adding custom features, it offers more flexibility as compared to platforms like Shopify.
2. Integration possibilities
One of the most important thing for an e-commerce platform is the integration with plugins and other software. Lack of compatibility may arise unnecessary obstacles for your business. Some of the key integrations to check would be email marketing tools, enterprise management, geolocation, tax management, CMS (Content Management System), reward programs, shipping applications etc. Magento even offers eBay order import and listing integration, FedEx, DHL, UPS shipment tracking integration and supports 20 payment gateways. Hence, depending on your business requirement, you can choose the right platform, supporting necessary integrations.
3. Test for peak hours
Make sure you choose a platform that is capable of taking a load of your business in future. Be sure to check the scope of scalability and the platform is able to handle peak traffic, maximum orders and page visits etc. If the e-commerce platform is not able to support the scaling of your business, then it may lead to page loading issues, error messages and a bad experience for visitors. For e.g. WooCommerce offers a range of plugins, but when the site needs to be extended for new requirements, these plugins create a problem, as most of the resources are consumed by them.
4. User experience
Eventually, the conversions on your website will be dependent on the user experience that the platform offers. A seamless experience will make sure that users do not leave until they make a purchase. Even the smallest flaw in UI can drive people away from your website. Make sure that e-commerce platform that you select offers Intuitive navigation, supports guest checkout, has efficient searches, category pages, breadcrumbs etc.
Interestingly, Magento offers Magento Connect, an extensions marketplace with 5000+ modules. With its help, thousands of vendors worldwide, are adding new features to make the sales process better and provide a great user experience.
5. Offers a secure environment
This goes without saying that sign up for an e-commerce platform that guarantees the security of online shoppers. And this is not just prevention from cyber-attacks but also, offering a secure environment to enter their credit card, debit card or other banking detail for purchase. Make sure that the platform makes use of a sophisticated OOP language, supports access control list, is PCI compliant (Enterprise Edition), maintains staff actions log, offers form CAPTCHA, has PA/DSS Certificate and is SSL certified. Magento and a few other premium platforms offer almost all of these security specifications and businesses should definitely be benefited with their high-security standards.
Nowadays, online sale is above and beyond just product and price. The consumers are looking for a seamless experience and the factors discussed above are primary drivers of the experience. In addition to this, you will also need to think about having a strong support team for your business. Make sure you invest in your SEO strategies and mobile friendliness of your website as well.
The e-commerce platform market is saturated with options these days and it can become a little overwhelming. Feel free to reach out to us for any additional information and we can definitely help you decide on a platform that’s best for your business.