An eCommerce platform is the backbone of every online store, from managing your customer relationships, to managing your inventory and warehouse fulfillment. As it serves so many critical functions of your operations, it can become one of the biggest factors that affects how your business can scale and grow.
Why is that? An eCommerce platform can dictate many things, such as:
- How quickly your business is able to grow
- What your business running costs are
- What your customer experience is like
Whether you want to achieve growth, improve your customer experience, and optimise your business costs — we’ll be looking at some of the key considerations you need to take into account when selecting an eCommerce platform that’s right for you.
What are the key considerations in selecting the right eCommerce platform for your business?
When you are choosing an eCommerce platform, it can be easy for some vendors to sweep you off your feet with impressive presentations. But it’s important to look beyond this, and take the time to consider what’s really going to help you grow your business.
Here’s what you should consider, and why.
Pricing & Payment
The cheapest option isn’t always the best option. There can be ‘hidden costs’ when it comes to your website infrastructure, maintenance, design, content, automation tools and plug-ins.
Make sure you get a big picture view of all your costs. Check if there is a monthly charge and/or processing fees. And, if there are extra costs for things like hosting and any added features you need.
Consider the range of integrations and plug-ins that you are currently using — and might want to use in the future — to help you run your business. This would include plug-ins or software you use to support email marketing, loyalty programs, accounting, sales, tax, revenue, shipping and logistics, just to name a few.
And considering 87% of consumers will abandon their shopping if the checkout process is complicated, you want to make sure that suitable third party payment options you’d like for your customers are available (such as eWAY and PayPal), otherwise the checkout experience can be a source of frustration for your customers.
Built for mobile
Most online searching is now done from mobile devices, and mobile shopping is constantly growing. According to the latest Paypal m-Commerce Index, 1 in 4 shoppers in Australia will purchase items from their mobile phones. In fact, 48% of consumers shop via mobile at least once a week.
Your platform should be optimised for mobile platforms with an easy checkout process available on any mobile device.
Search Engine Optimisation is considered a low-hanging fruit for eCommerce websites, as most stores will rely on social media or paid ads. Yet, it can be a lucrative way to help you make sales on autopilot with no recurring expense.
SEO is closely tied to the user experience on your site. Your platform should aid in SEO and help your store rank highly in search results. This means ensuring there is no duplicate content, your site navigation is a good experience and you’re able to organise your products with specific SEO-friendly product links, titles, H1s and URLs.
The reality is, there is likely to be a time when your server crashes or there is an outage on your site. So it’s important to know what kind of customer support is available when this happens. Do they have support available 24/7 and in what form? How will it work between timezones?
It’s nice to know you can speak to a human either via phone, email or live chat whenever you run into any issues that can’t be solved by tutorials, forums or knowledge articles.
In addition to customer service, your platform provider should be able to offer you help with the set-up of your website. Building your site can be a fiddly task, and given your website can be the first contact a potential customer can have with your business, you need to make sure you’re making the right impression.
Check to see if your platform is backed by any developer agencies like Convert Digital, Moustache Republic, and SmartOSC. Even if they don’t have specific agencies to help you with your website, ask about any tutorials or guides they may have to set you on the right track.
This is one of the biggest concerns for customers, as the threats of credit card fraud, scamming and malware is far more common today. And, 85% of consumers will refuse to do business with you, if they feel your security standards aren’t up to scratch.
You can read more about how to keep your customers information safe when taking payments.
Ensure you fulfill your obligations for card data security and choose a payments provider like eWAY that meets the highest level in Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.
Other simple security measures to ensure you have with your online store include:
- Ensuring your website has HTTPS — which should particularly be used on pages that collect data and other sensitive information
- Making sure your website has an SSL certificate to encrypt sensitive information and make it unreadable to trolls
- Regularly scanning for malware threats
Will the platform support your business growth? Assess what your platform can offer as you grow and how will they help you keep up with the latest eCommerce trends.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the main criteria in choosing an eCommerce platform, you’re hopefully feeling more confident and know what you should be looking out for.
If you don’t have a shortlist of eCommerce platforms yet, be sure to check out our guide on how to grow your online business. We’ll talk about the main eCommerce platforms to consider and their benefits.
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