Ecommerce | Anurag Gupta | Updated: 2017-06-20
Choosing the best e-commerce platform is indispensable for the success of any e-commerce site. It plays a pivotal role in the making or breaking of any e-commerce site's future. As each platform has its own specific features, the need for finding the one whose features sync with your business needs and promotes your online business and sieving out the not-so-beneficial ones has increased. However, the main question that arises here is how to find an e-commerce platform that complements your business requirements and supports growth as well. The 9 questions discussed below would help you find the most lucrative platform for your business needs. Read on to know.
The first thing to do before searching out for an e-commerce marketplace platform is to pen down a checklist of all your requirements. While choosing the platform for your business, make sure that it checks out all the requirements on your list. Don't just go with the platform that has more features, choose a platform that has features matching your requirements.
With more than 1/3 of the world population using their smartphones to access the internet (HubSpot reports 2016), it has become indispensable that you choose a mobile e-commerce platform for your business. Before choosing an e-commerce platform, ensure that it is mobile responsive to cater the needs of mobile buyers. The platform should be optimized and offer seamless switching between different screens.
Everyone wants their business to come first when a user types your business-specific keywords on search engines. That is the reason why Search Engine Optimization aka SEO is a must for any business; it helps in gaining visibility and higher ranking on various search engines. A platform that is SEO friendly would guarantee more success and revenue as compared to one that is not optimized for the search engines. So consider their SEO strategies and efforts before choosing an e-commerce platform.
Security is a must to earn the trust of your customers and the first step of making your e-commerce site secure is by ensuring that the e-commerce platform you choose is secure or not. It will handle all the sensitive data of your customers and guarantee safe transactions to your online buyers, make sure that the platform is secure. It should be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant with an SSL certificate and should be working on sophisticated OOP language and concepts to prevent any uninvited access to the internal network and administration panel. Moreover, it should also be regularly updated so all the extensions and plugins have all the latest security patches.
It goes without saying that the e-commerce platform you choose for your business should fit your pocket. Keep in mind the additional expenses that you'll have to face like hosting fees, transaction fees and processing fees etc. Go for a platform that offers a start-up friendly price, start with the small package to see the visitor behavior and then go on for the bigger one after measuring the success. For those with a very tight budget, there are a number of open source e-commerce platforms like Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Magento Community Edition, PrestaShop, OpenCart etc., that charge very less and some even zero fee.
According to research reports by MicKinsey & Company, 61% of the users do not return to a particular site if they had any trouble accessing it the first time; thereby proving once again that site speed is an important criterion for your e-commerce business. While choosing the e-commerce platform, make sure that its speed is at par with the speed of your website. It should not be sacrificing speed for the other features and not take more than 3 seconds to load.
Another important factor that should be considered is the strategies that the platform has for effective marketing. You want to acquire more customers for your business and marketing is the sole way to boost sales and get more customers. Make sure that it is using all the latest marketing strategies like pay-per-click, content marketing, email marketing, e-newsletters, social media marketing, mobile advertising etc.
An e-commerce platform should offer good web hosting service that provides cost-effective, secure, fast, scalable, well-monitored, and hi-tech hosting solutions. Once you know the type of hosting solution you require, whether hosted or self-hosted, you can choose a platform that is known for offering your desired hosting solution.
The e-commerce platform should be able to integrate with the solutions and systems that your online business site uses. All your features like payment system, advertising, communication and other things should be easily integrated with the platform that you choose. Before choosing the e-commerce platform, make sure that it supports all the services that you offer.
Go through the e-commerce platform, consider these questions, gather the necessary data, analyze its top characteristics and map them with your needs and requirements to choose the best e-commerce platform for your online business.
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