How to Choose the Right E-commerce Platform?

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How to Choose the Right E-commerce Platform for Your Business

Embarking on the journey of establishing an online store demands strategic decisions, particularly in choosing the right e-commerce platform. As the digital landscape evolves, key considerations like security, SEO optimization, and support become important for success. The smart utilization of these elements determines the platform’s success in ensuring smooth operations and business growth. This blog post highlights the essential aspects of choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business. Let’s take a look at 8 things you need to know before making the final decision.

1. Security

To attract customers to your e-commerce site, prioritize security measures such as PCI compliance, SSL certification, fraud prevention, and data backups. Opt for platforms with object-oriented programming languages, like Magento or Shopify, emphasizing two-factor authentication. For additional protection, consider security plugins on platforms lacking multi-factor authentication. As the demand for online security increases, e-commerce platforms must safeguard customer privacy and data. In 2024, prioritize the strong security measures listed above to address evolving concerns and ensure customer privacy.

2. SEO

To drive traffic to your online store, prioritize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to enhance visibility in search engine results. Choose a platform with SEO-friendly features like product meta descriptions, blog integration, custom domain usage, customer reviews, and Google site map support. Platforms like Onveos, Magento, OpenCart, and WooCommerce are recommended for their SEO-friendly capabilities. Onveos offers independent SEO elements, while the others bolster inbound marketing efforts. Recognize that most online shoppers begin their journey with a search engine, so prioritize an e-commerce platform that allows easy content optimization, including URLs, metadata, blogs, and customer reviews.

3. Responsive Web Design

With the growing number of mobile shoppers, prioritize a responsive web design for your e-commerce site. Over half of American e-commerce shoppers made mobile purchases in 2019, emphasizing the importance of accessibility. Opting for separate desktop and mobile sites can increase costs and resource consumption in managing different campaigns and information. A cost-effective alternative is a responsive web design that automatically adjusts to various device screens, ensuring a seamless experience for users on desktops, laptops, mobiles, and tablets.

Choose platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, or Shopify that support responsive web design, offering various responsive themes and templates. Shopify even allows direct editing of HTML and CSS for customization. With 46% of customers using smartphones in their purchase process, adopting a responsive web design ensures accessibility across devices. It eliminates the need for multiple websites, providing a better overall user experience.

4. Supports Multiple Selling Channels

To maximize revenue, choose an e-commerce platform that supports multiple selling channels, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Amazon. Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and PrestaShop facilitate centralized inventory management, allowing you to diversify selling options across online marketplaces.

For global reach, select a platform adaptable to international business, with features like support for multiple languages, currencies, taxation rules, and local time zones. Modern e-commerce platforms should extend beyond web-based functionality to mobile devices, point-of-sale systems, and print. Commercetools, for instance, offers a Mobile Commerce solution for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and native iOS apps, enhancing digital shopping experiences on any device.

Embrace omnichannel marketing by choosing a platform that allows integration with various devices and channels. This approach enhances customer engagement, retention, conversion rates, and overall revenue. Ensure your e-commerce platform aligns with the expectations of modern customers who are accustomed to a seamless omnichannel experience.

5. Plugins

While an e-commerce platform provides essential tools, integrations and plugins are crucial for key functionalities such as tax calculation, payment gateways, accounting, email marketing, and shipping. While some integrations are common across platforms, it’s important to choose one that supports those specific to your business needs. Opt for a platform with an active community that continuously improves and addresses any issues, ensuring a seamless integration of relevant plugins to enhance your e-commerce operations.

6. Technical Support

To mitigate potential issues like software outages and server crashes that could impact revenue and brand image, prioritize an e-commerce platform with responsive technical support. Before choosing a platform, inquire about the availability of 24/7 support, the channels through which support is provided (call, online chat, self-service), and associated costs. Many platforms offer fully managed services with technical maintenance and 24/7 customer support, often as part of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) package with pre-agreed monthly fees.

Align with a platform vendor whose vision matches your own, ensuring they have a reliable track record of meeting service level agreements (SLAs).  When selecting an agency or systems integrator to build and maintain your online store, consider their understanding of the platform’s strengths and weaknesses and their communication with the platform vendor’s team. Making informed choices in these areas will contribute to a smoother functioning and resilient e-commerce operation.

7. Scalability

Choose an e-commerce platform with scalability to accommodate the growth of your business over time. Ensure the platform can scale up without imposing outrageous fees for additional features and storage as your business expands. Consider your long-term goals when selecting a platform, emphasizing extensible architecture and well-documented APIs for enhanced agility, speed, and scalability.

Opt for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) e-commerce platforms hosted natively in the cloud, as they offer real-time adaptability to traffic volume and changing customer demands. Be cautious of legacy software vendors claiming cloud hosting but lacking the scalability of native SaaS solutions like commerce tools. Request a trial instance to evaluate a vendor’s flexibility and scalability, aiming for a quick turnaround.

8. Price

Consider pricing a crucial factor when selecting an e-commerce platform for your store. Prices vary based on design, setup configuration, hosting options, custom development, maintenance, etc. Shopify starts at $9 per month and goes up to $299, while Volusion ranges from $15 to $299. BigCommerce starts at $29.95 and goes up to $249.95, and 3dcart ranges from $19 to $229.

Each platform has different benefits. For example, Shopify is ideal for extensive features, Volusion is focused on selling, BigCommerce excels in SEO, and 3dcart offers various features for effective store management. Compare prices with the advantages and disadvantages of each platform to align with your budget.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right e-commerce platform from the start is crucial for your business’s smooth functioning and growth. Making the wrong decision may lead to the need for platform switching, resulting in a frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive experience. By thoroughly analyzing the mentioned aspects of available platforms, you can make an informed decision that aligns with the specific needs of your store’s website, setting the foundation for success in the world of e-commerce. And don’t forget, if you have any more questions or if you are ready to connect Icecat to your e-commerce platform you can reach out to us – here.

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