Selling online is easier than ever before. Largely thanks to the incredible ecommerce enablement technologies options available to merchants of all sizes. But, all of those options make selecting the right ecommerce platform for your business even more challenging. Which one platform out of the hundreds of options should you choose?
It will take a bit of research on your part, but knowing where to direct your search makes the difference. In general, there are three big buckets of consideration factors to bring into the forefront: features, integrations, and price.
The first thing you should consider when choosing an ecommerce platform is its features. Will you only sell online, or is a brick and mortar location involved? Your unique situation will dictate the features necessary to run your store efficiently. If you’re selling in a physical location, choosing a platform with point of sale options is essential. In these instances it’s advantageous for sellers to consolidate offline and online commerce enablement hardware and software to one provider.
The ecommerce platform’s dashboard will be something you interact with on a daily basis, making it of utmost importance. Processing orders, managing inventory, generating discount codes, and producing reports are all potential capabilities accessible via an ecommerce dashboard.
Regardless of your combination of online and brick and mortar channels, mobile responsiveness of your ecommerce platform is paramount. The ecommerce platform you choose should have themes that are mobile-friendly, or at the least have mobile-friendly checkout screens. This way, you can be sure customers will have an optimized checkout experience whether they purchase from a desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
It takes more than an ecommerce platform alone to run your business. As such, ensuring the platform you choose is able to integrate with the other software you use is critical. Take a look at the platform’s app store, extensions, add-on library, modules, plugins (each platform has their own jargon for these integrations) and determine if the software you’re currently using is readily available. A few important integrations for you to consider include your email marketing solution, Amazon Marketplace compatibility, and fraud management tools.
If your email marketing solution is more powerful, seamless integration with your ecommerce platform is vitally important. You should be able to do everything from as simple as collecting emails on your ecommerce site to segmenting email lists by purchase behavior.
If you sell product through the Amazon Marketplace in addition to your online store, integrations can help you consolidate these orders into one workflow. If you have to treat Amazon as a totally separate order queue, headaches will likely follow. Consolidation is best and your ecommerce platform should facilitate that.
Integrations that all businesses must consider are fraud solutions. The ecommerce platform you choose should integrate readily into your fraud mitigation stack, as well as your fraud management software. Your store needs to protect itself from accepting fraudulent orders and be ready to respond quickly and comprehensively when fraud does occur (because it will).
The bevy of ecommerce platform options come with an equal variety of pricing structures. Take a look at your budget and determine how much allocation is possible for facilitating ecommerce transactions. Remember, there will be related expenses, too, including hosting fees, processing fees, transaction fees, and others.
If the budget is tight, there are open source ecommerce platform options like the free tier of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). If budget isn’t as much of an influencing factor, there are totally customizable enterprise solutions available. Clearly, the cost of enterprise solutions matches the capabilities provided.
If you’re somewhere in the middle of the budget road, it’s best to look for platforms that charge monthly amounts and not those that charge a percentage based on sales or transactions. This way, your business can grow without incurring increased costs from your ecommerce platform.
Choosing an ecommerce platform from the hundreds of solutions on the market can be challenging. But, if you keep these three factors in mind as you begin your search, you’ll be able to narrow the field and make the right decision for your store.