Selling online has snowballed recently, mainly triggered by the pandemic. The latter left many businesses with no choice but to leverage digital avenues to ensure profitability and survival. With these necessary shifts, online demands skyrocketed as well. Reportedly, US eCommerce sales reached $870 billion in 2021, a 50.5% increase from 2019.
You can sell everything online. But where and how do you do it? This is when choosing an eCommerce platform becomes a critical topic.
An eCommerce platform is critical to your success. This determines your online business’ operational efficiency and costs, scalability, customer engagement, and lead generation capabilities. Here are some factors to help you pick the best one for your digital enterprise:
Determine Your Budget
Like setting up a brick-and-mortar business, it’s best to understand how much an eCommerce platform will cost you and how much you’re willing (and capable) of spending.
Pricing plans can vary on different platforms. When surveying platform options, be sure to have a fixed budget in mind. It helps you avoid getting swindled by unnecessary add-ons or services and efficiently narrow down your choices.
Besides the apparent development and licensing costs, you’ll need to look into the following:
- Length of contract
- Transactional or commission-based costs
- Maintenance costs
- Design and development costs
If you have considerable funds, consider buying an existing eCommerce store via Shopify Exchange and other similar marketplaces. You can skip the startup process, run an already profitable brand, and earn immediate returns.
Look for Relevant Features and Integrations
An eCommerce platform supports every aspect of your enterprise website. It must have features and functions integral to the kind of business you’re running.
Among the first things you have to evaluate is the product catalog. Find out if it’s easy to update and navigate. You should also be able to set up variations and details specific to your goods. For example, if you’re selling electronics, you’ll want to add lengthy specifications classified into different categories. A zoom feature on your product images is also ideal.
Other must-have features you need are the following:
Easily apply sales and discounts and support multiple currencies.
Provide customers with a trusted distribution and logistics company.
Multiple payment gateways
Present conveniently available payment methods (credit, debit, and PayPal) as well as popular virtual wallets in specific regions (e.g., Alipay in Asia-Pacific and MTN in Africa).
Manage your business’s financial aspects, such as sales, profits, and tax calculations.
Refine your marketing strategy with data-driven insights on customer preference, purchase behaviors, and other information.
Send order confirmations, invoices, and promotional emails to encourage repeat purchases.
Prioritize User Experience
User experience (UX) pertains to your website’s overall look, speed, and functionality. According to an Amazon Web Services study, online businesses lose 35% of sales due to bad UX. Additionally, 88% of customers won’t return to a website after a negative experience. You’ll risk potential sales and damage your brand reputation.
Anyone who lands on your website is already interested in your offers. Your goal is to get them to stick around and successfully win a purchase. This means providing a seamless, engaging, and immersive space for a worthwhile shopping experience.
Appear on Search Results
You can choose the best eCommerce platform and start a bankable business, but if you’re not appearing on search results, all your efforts go down the drain.
Executing action plans that boost your SEO and help outrank your online competition is crucial. Here are things you can do:
- Optimize meta tags, header, and meta descriptions
- Improve website speed
- Have an FAQ section
- Include third-party customer reviews
SEO can be technical, so you might want a platform that can assist you on this. You can also partner with Google Ads experts or a reputable digital marketing agency to help you establish a formidable online presence.
Make Sure It’s Mobile-Friendly
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Mobile-friendliness determines how well your website appears across all screen sizes. This guarantees that your website won’t get ruined when viewed on smaller devices, like tablets and smartphones.
According to statistics, retail m-commerce sales reached $359.23 billion in 2021, an impressive 15.21% increase from the previous year. Without a mobile-responsive website, it’s debilitating for your business as you lose significant mobile traffic and revenue.
Ensure Security and Safety
Transactions require customers to entrust confidential information to you, including contacts and bank details. Look into what built-in and third-party security features are available. You’d want to get protection against DDoS attacks, fraud, and data theft. It’s also important to install an SSL certificate and ensure PCI compliance.
Get Robust Support
Technical issues and complications directly affect your business reputation and hurt your sales. When things go awry, it’s critical to have reliable, expert, and multi-channel support 24/7.
Likewise, your customers need the same level of support. You can set up a community forum and publish knowledge-based resources such as guides and tutorials. It’s also worth investing in live chat, email, social media, and phone.
Ready to Launch Your Online Business?
If you’re still not online, your competition is already miles ahead. You’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to expand your brand, boost accessibility, establish credibility, and remain relevant in the market.
The right eCommerce solution equips you to run your business smoothly and scale at an unprecedented rate. Here are helpful tips to help you get started and choose the right one for your business.