How to Choose the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Business
Finding the right eCommerce platform to support your online store can be a frustratingly difficult task. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a perfect eCommerce platform, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every merchant. The type of eCommerce platform you choose will be the foundation of your entire online presence, so it not only needs to look great, but it needs to perform quickly, offer great security, and give you all the tools you need to grow your brand.
The right platform for you may not work for other retailers, and vice versa. The key is to select a platform that best meets your needs, not a platform that seemingly everyone else is using. To help narrow down your options, here are some key tips to keep in mind.
Types of Platforms
The first step in choosing a platform is selecting the best type of platform for your business. For maximum flexibility and scalability, your top options would include SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms and headless platforms.
SaaS platforms are super convenient for merchants who aren’t familiar with coding and don’t want to be responsible for installing updates on their sites themselves. Retailers simply pay a monthly or annual fee to use the platform’s services, and in exchange, the platform will take care of site updates, security patches, and other essential fixes. Since the platform is already pre-built, merchants can get their stores up and running quickly.
Headless platforms separate the front end of a store from the back end, allowing merchants to make changes on either side without having to adjust elements on the opposite end. This model makes it quick and easy to make changes to the front end without having to worry about messing up the code. Unlike a traditional or monolithic model, headless systems don’t require sellers to rely on developers whenever they want to make a change to their website.
Features to Prioritize
In order to keep up with modern customer demands, it’s important to choose a platform that can flexibly adjust as your business grows or consumer trends change. No matter what kind of business you have, prepare for success by looking for these important capabilities and features in every platform:
- Built-in SEO tools
- Analytics dashboard
- Abandoned cart recovery tools
- Mobile-friendly design or theme
- Affordable packages
- Scalability and flexibility
- Customization options
- Integration and extension library
- Tech support and customer service
- Customer payment options
What to Look for During Your Free Trial
Most eCommerce providers offer a free trial period so you can get a feel for the different features before committing to a platform. As you evaluate different solutions for your business, confirm that the platform you’re testing includes:
- All necessary features. Look for standard elements you know you’ll want to include for your website, such as editing tools and drop-down menus. Can you find all the capabilities you need?
- An intuitive interface. Is the platform easy to use and understand? How comfortable do you feel navigating it?
- Reliable hosting. Do you feel confident that your site will experience minimal downtime, even during high traffic times?
- Catalog and product variations. Can the platform effectively organize and manage all of your items? Is there a limit to the number of items you can sell?
- Multi-channel integrations. Is it possible to sell products directly to customers on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram without having to juggle different inventories?
- High-quality tech support. How quickly are your questions addressed when you reach out for support? Does the platform have a good reputation for resolving issues quickly?
- Fulfillment options. How easy is it to keep track of packages during the entire shipping process? Are there multiple choices for shipping?
As you weigh your options, keep your main goals in mind. If you want to increase traffic to your site, make sure that there’s built-in SEO tools and a great blog or blogging extensions you can add to your store. If you’re just launching your brand, affordability might be the most important aspect to keep in mind to make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. On the other hand, if you want to increase profits, you might choose a platform that includes advanced analytics, unlimited customizability, and omnichannel capabilities.
For more information about selecting an eCommerce platform, check out our other blogs about eCommerce strategies, or reach out to a Solution Expert for one-on-one advice.
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