Today, the best way for a business to reach out to its target customers is to go online. However, simply putting your product list on the internet is not going to be of any help. You need to plan and strategize in a way to offer your customers the same shopping experience that one can get while shopping in a physical store. And to do that, one needs to select the best possible platform to launch their eCommerce business. Once you get the right things right, you can then start off by putting the digital advantages to use like automation and streamlining of manual tasks. One must always remember that eCommerce can be as challenging and demanding as any other type of business. Choosing the right eCommerce platform is highly crucial to determine the success ratio of your business.In this article, we will look at the various dos and don’ts of choosing the right eCommerce platform for your online business. An eCommerce platform acts as a spine for any online retail business and helps you compete online. Forrester has predicted that B2B eCommerce transactions will reach a whopping $1.5 trillion by 2021. Whether B2B or B2C, eCommerce platform helps you streamline all your business facets like vendors/suppliers, customers, and employees. It helps you execute complex business functions like inventory management, CRM, payment, and so on. Before we figure out ways of choosing the right eCommerce platform for your online business, let us look at the different types of eCommerce platforms available.
Fully CustomizableThis type of eCommerce platform requires you to appoint a team internally or externally in order to develop it. Only niche businesses that have their own specifications and requirements tend to go for this type of eCommerce platforms.
Traditional PlatformsThis type of eCommerce platform has a license that must be purchased and renewed periodically. The team can then work on the platform to customize it as per their requirements and then install it on cloud or on-premise.
Open Source PlatformsThey are similar to traditional platforms except there is no need to purchase the license. However, you may have to pay for the initial development, implementation, ongoing development, upgrades, and migration.
Cloud PlatformsThese eCommerce platforms are hosted on the cloud. Like traditional and open-source platforms cloud platforms also require regular maintenance and installation of upgrades.
SaaS PlatformsThis eCommerce platform is generally built on a single codebase. Hence, it offers the same technology for a fixed monthly fee. Once you make up your mind about the type of e-commerce platform that seems suitable for your business, you must start considering the following points to choose the right eCommerce. Here is a list of dos and don’ts you must take into account while choosing the right eCommerce platform.
- The different types of costs – Direct and Indirect. Direct costs include license fee, renewal fee, development costs, and the initial cost of site-building. The indirect are maintenance costs, UI & UX changes costs, upgrading costs, and the addition of new features or improvement costs.
- The different tools you will need to run the business. That will be the determining factor to decide the plugins for the eCommerce website. Some examples of useful plugins are Accounting plugins, Email marketing tools, Apps to help in shipping and reward the customers, etc.
- The right eCommerce platform must be SEO friendly, allowing you to post a blog, or enabling your customers to leave a review. Being SEO friendly ensures that your website ranks high on the search engine.
- The right eCommerce platform must allow you to mobile-optimize your website. Since more than 60% of the searches are done from mobile devices, and most of those searches end up in purchases, it is important to make your eCommerce website mobile friendly.
- The right eCommerce platform must offer an exceptional user interface. Offering a memorable shopping experience to your customers will help you in customer retention. Always remember, having an eCommerce business online is no different from owning a physical store.
- The right eCommerce platform must offer a secure payment procedure. Your customers must be rest assured that their personal information is safe and payment details are secured.
- Always check to make sure your eCommerce platform supports HTTPS/SSLenabling a safe and secure checkout for the customers.
- The right eCommerce platform must allow you to scale up your website as and when your business starts to grow.
- Keep your product catalogs updated in real-time. Application Program Interface (APIs) will help you do that with ease.
- Do not stack your product images. Going online does not mean you have ample space to showcase all your product images.
- Don’t make the product exchange or return process difficult for your customers. This will lead to customer attrition.
- Don’t make false promises to your customers. Remember, you must follow what you preach, else you will be unable to retain your customers.
- Don’t miss out on offering post-sales customer service. Efficient post-sales customer service goes a long way with customer satisfaction.
- Don’t ignore customer grievances. Customers can complain for various reasons like poor website interface or poor customer support. Working on these grievances will eventually help you improve your business.
- Don’t rush, be patient. It takes time for a business to transition from offline to online. It takes time to reach out to people and it takes time for people to reach out to you.