Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform for Your Business
eCommerce platforms excel at presenting and conveying their offerings to help you market your goods and services effectively. With a wide array of over 370 eCommerce solutions available worldwide, selecting the perfect platform for your company can be a daunting task. Alternatively, you may also consider opting for a tailor-made solution if that proves to be the most suitable option for your needs.
In order to engage customers with the brand, you must first control your cost-to-sales ratio. You must also make sure that the staff is fully supported in inputting sales and marketing strategy into practice.
Understanding your digital commerce goals while keeping an eye on the demands and preferences of your present and potential customers is the first step in selecting the ideal eCommerce platform for your company. Utilize the e-commerce website development company in Kerala as they are the leading one in the industry.
You may get a better sense of the things to think about when making sure that your eCommerce platform is among the best by reading the text that follows. While doing so, there are a few questions you might ask yourself about particular features.
1. Hosting and Platform Ownership
Online sales platforms come in two variants: cloud-based or self-hosted. In the former, you are responsible for finding the hosting, handling the installation, and managing the updates. This might occasionally get pricey. The advantages include improved security management and greater control over the internet platform. Additionally, your data is more clearly visible. You can obtain hosting for a cloud-hosted platform through services like AWS(Amazon Web Services), indicating that the cloud platform controls the brand uptime. While opting for this server option, you will experience reduced control over the servers, yet benefit from lower expenses and superior customer support. However, it's important to note that customizing the server to align with your specific requirements will not be possible. You can choose between Open-Source, SaaS, or Headless platforms in terms of platform ownership.
You can have better control and ownership with open-source systems (like WooCommerce and Magento), as the source code is not just available but also modifiable. As the person in charge, your responsibilities would encompass analytics, web hosting, security matters, and integrations with CRM, CMS, or ESP systems. These platforms are favored by companies with a focus on IT or development. However, it's important to note that you won't have the ability to modify features through updates or other means. Additionally, they may become overly complex and expensive to maintain, requiring extensive technical expertise. On the other hand, opting for a SaaS (Software as a Service) eCommerce solution involves renting a platform, making it a fundamentally more cost-effective option than open-source solutions.
The SaaS provider is in charge of all software management activities, including updates, security, hosting, and others. Additionally, the time to market is shorter. But there is cause for concern over the lack of adaptability and personalization. Today's consumers use digital touchpoints, such as voice-activated devices, progressive web apps, smart wearables, etc., to access content and make transactions. As a result, the eCommerce platform now needs to work harder to keep up. For consumers to stay focused and have a smooth shopping experience across all platforms, headless commerce is crucial. The user experience on the front end (the "head") is separated from the back end via headless commerce. Application programming interface (API) calls allow developers to transmit data quickly, dynamically, and uniquely between the front-end and back-end layers.
Recommend reading:5 Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction in your eCommerce Business.
2. Cost of Ownership
One of the first factors to take into account when evaluating each eCommerce platform is pricing. You need to be aware of the whole cost of each platform, whether you're a tiny firm just starting or an established brick-and-mortar store coming online. There will almost always be a monthly subscription for platforms. With each platform, transaction fees are also included. When making decisions, you must take both the up-front and ongoing expenditures into account. Avoid sacrificing essential items for the sake of a cheaper price. To get the best value for your money, weigh the advantages and disadvantages. As a last step in determining opportunity costs, think about how your customers will pay for your products. For instance, certain platforms don't support payment through external suppliers (like PayPal). Your clients may experience extreme annoyance as a result, which may cause them to abandon their shopping carts.
- What are the license costs for the platform?
- Do transactional or commission-based expenses exist?
- How lengthy is the agreement?
- How much does hosting cost?
- What are the add-ons' one-time and recurring costs?
- How much will it cost to create and implement, on average?
- How much does maintenance cost?
- How long is it expected to last?
- What is the platform's anticipated annual cost?
When determining if your platform is among the finest eCommerce platforms, integrations and plugins are additional important considerations. Before assessing the available features and functions, it is essential to understand your business needs, as not all systems support every integration. To help you in this process, the following are some of the most popular plugins worth considering:
- Accounting: provides financial data, such as sales, taxes, revenues, and profits.
- Email Marketing: It gives you the ability to communicate with your customers.
- Customer Loyalty Programs: You can do this to reward customers that use your products and make more purchases.
- Payment & Shipping: You can send goods and process payments with ease and accuracy thanks to this.
- 3rd Party Digital Tools: enables simple integration with tools like CRMs, ERPs, and marketing automation systems and permits extra customization.
4. Themes & User Experience (UX)
When you contemplate the most renowned digital businesses, which names come to mind? Airbnb? Lyft? Netflix? They strive to provide a fantastic, intuitive UX with their elegant minimalism, warm interfaces, and wide range of options. According to research, a brand's quality of user experience will surpass both price and product as a crucial differentiator by the year 2020. Modern consumers prefer shopping in captivating and immersive environments, seeking more than just purchasing goods. The style of your online store is determined by a theme, and the majority of eCommerce systems provide a choice of possibilities. Certain themes are included in the subscription at no additional cost, while others are considered premium and require an extra fee to use. Being different from the competition is worth the cost because a great user experience is essential to converting visitors into customers.
5. eCommerce Platform Speed & Scalability
Your platform must provide a lightning-fast experience in the era of "Micro-moments," which Google defines as "an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need to know, go, do, or buy." As you scale and expand your business, it's important to maintain this principle. Choose a platform that expands together with your company to be among the finest platforms for eCommerce. Evaluating the performance and scalability of a platform may not be a straightforward process, but you can identify potential problem areas, such as slow load times, frozen pages, 404 errors, and other signs of poor performance.
An important component of your evaluation should include analyzing the usual site performance and learning how many users the platform can support at once during periods of high traffic. Our recommendation is to look for a cloud-hosted, scalable solution with pre-built features and functionalities that immediately meet the demands of your expanding organization. It's also important to take into account things like sophisticated caching techniques and the capacity to automatically delete content when product descriptions need to be updated. Make sure your users get good technical and customer support as well.
- How is scalability handled by the platform?
- What does the delay look like when you update?
- Can you refresh your shop when it's busy?
6. The Store Functionality & Ease of Use in the Product Management System.
The Product Management System plays a crucial role in the functioning of your company. To provide an engaging purchasing experience, today's admins require advanced eCommerce product management right out of the box. It's critical to take into account features and functions like bulk product upload (using CSV or Excel files), categorization, advanced features (such as wish lists, product comparisons, and recently viewed products), shipping options, and dynamic filters (such as sorting, price range, color, size, location, etc.) when evaluating store functionality to create the best eCommerce platforms. The admin will have more opportunity to maximize revenue the more control they have over designing a strong, dynamic store.
- Can you easily map things to various categories you create?
- Can you link different delivery options to specific products on the platform?
- Can high-resolution product photos be bulk uploaded?
- Can you make product combinations and variations based on factors like size, color, and so on?
7. eCommerce Platform Security
In the digital age, website security concerns are crucial. Alongside stringent international regulations protecting consumer privacy, the repercussions of a security breach can severely damage one of your most valuable assets: trust. It's important to note that security issues are not always the result of your own fault, as they occur quite frequently. A recent survey revealed that the three most prevalent types of online eCommerce crimes are identity theft (71%), phishing (66%), and account theft (63%). Remaining vigilant and implementing robust security measures is essential to safeguarding your customers and business from these threats. And according to our research, security worries in the IT and entertainment sectors are more serious than those related to digital vision and strategy, at 51% and 44%, respectively. When evaluating an eCommerce platform for your present needs and future growth, it's vital to thoroughly assess its security credentials. Handling sensitive data requires a robust security framework. While most platforms offer some level of default protection, many also provide supplementary security features such as fraud protection and DDoS monitoring. Online store owners must take special care to ensure PCI compliance, SSL encryption, and secure data backups to safeguard customer information effectively. Additionally, confirm that the platform you choose complies with PCI standards. These specifications guarantee that businesses that process or send credit card information do so in a secure setting. For instance, we hold the highest level of accreditation for a service provider, PCI DSS Level 1 certification. A provider who makes this kind of commitment shows that they care about your data and security.
8. Multiple Payment Gateways Support
Customers can pay for your goods and services in a variety of ways, and the process is straightforward. To ensure a seamless shopping experience, it's essential to establish a reliable and secure connection between your store and a trustworthy eCommerce payment gateway. This specialized processor securely facilitates the transfer of money from your customer's bank accounts to yours. However, it's worth noting that not all eCommerce platforms are compatible with every payment gateway. Geographical considerations are crucial, and localizing the payment procedure becomes significant for ensuring smooth transactions.
Even while eWallets are expanding significantly on a global scale, they still do not dominate the payments industry. Therefore, be sure that the platform you select offers you a sufficient range of payment methods to appease your core clientele.
With the help of machine learning and AI, you have the opportunity to offer your online customers a personalized experience that sets your website apart from all others. The finest eCommerce platforms have a recommendation engine that dynamically suggests products to customers based on standards like:
- demographics: location, age, sex, etc.
- Psychographics: lifestyle, personality, and interests
- Context includes things like location, time of day, type of device, and weather.
- Items that have recently been seen, active searches, and items in abandoned carts
- History: Previous purchases, correspondence from back when you were an email member
The platform may provide a real-time tailored experience to the customer by taking into account a variety of data factors.
Merchants are increasingly looking at platforms that give a mobile-ready experience for their online stores since mobile will account for an increasing amount of digital communication and transactions ($432.24 billion in the US by 2022).
Particularly in our post-pandemic era is this true? In the present day, a significant portion of internet purchases, ranging from groceries and home items to prescription drugs and other essentials, are conducted on smartphones.
The greatest eCommerce platforms will create a framework for a user-friendly, seamless customer journey. A well-crafted mobile experience is crucial throughout the entire journey, encompassing design, navigation, layout, and overall user experience. Additionally, the company must be able to sell goods and services via a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and others.
11. SEO Friendliness
The success of your store is heavily reliant on search engine optimization (SEO), and it holds paramount importance. eCommerce platforms are now focusing on developing their architecture while considering SEO aspects. Though building organic SEO requires time and effort, it becomes much easier when the platform you utilize is designed with best practices in mind and remains updated with Google's algorithm changes. However, it's important to note that not all eCommerce platforms are created equal when it comes to SEO capabilities. You must determine whether SEO tools are supported, from basic functions like changing metadata (tags, descriptions), captioning, and describing images, to more complex ones like adding canonical tags and pagination in product search results.
- Can a unique domain name be added?
- Do you have access to the platform's robot.txt file?
- Does the software allow you to convert to URL formats that are search engine friendly?
- Do you have access to the XML sitemap for updating?
- Can Google Analytics be integrated?
12. Order Management System (OMS)
Your eCommerce experience should be effortless and efficient, allowing for quick and seamless order placement. According to research, more than 80% of online buyers anticipate regular updates on their orders. This means that if you want to compete, you must have an OMS that makes the process accurate, visible, and interactive. You can be sure that purchases are executed accurately and on schedule thanks to features like order tracking, email notifications, and shipping service API. In order for customers to be confident that things are in-stock and prepared for shipping, there must be seamless communication between your OMS and Inventory Management System (IMS). ERP and CRM applications can be integrated using APIs or installed as plugins, among other important connectors.
- How does the OMS aid in the accomplishment of your corporate goals?
- Does the OMS support worldwide eCommerce orders and payments in any country or currency?
- Does the OMS regularly change in response to changing client wants or needs?
- Does the OMS offer simplified ordering from suppliers and inventory visibility?
Wrapping It Up
Making the appropriate eCommerce platform selection the first time around is essential for the success and expansion of your company. Making the wrong choice will force you to eventually convert to another eCommerce platform, which can be a frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive process for you. You may choose the best platform for your store's website at the outset and succeed in the world of eCommerce by comparing the aforementioned features of the different platforms. Please feel free to contact the eCommerce development specialists at iROID Technologies, the prominent website development company in Kerala, if you require professional guidance or support with the establishment of an e-commerce website.