According to Satista, e-commerce is projected to generate approximately 653 billion US dollars in global retail sales in 2018. Since an increasing number of entrepreneurs are turning to online businesses rather than investing in their more capital-intensive brick-and-mortar counterparts, partly as a result of such promising estimates, choosing a suitable e-commerce platform has become one of the most critical considerations for start-ups.
What is an e-commerce platform?
An e-commerce platform is the technology that not only provides the storefront that allows businesses to sell online but also enables companies to manage their operations in the back-end. Some examples of e-commerce platforms are BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce. Here are five factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform for your online store.
No matter the size of a business, budget always plays a role in decision-making, and it is no different with e-commerce platform selection. When looking at the price of various options, take both up-front costs and recurring costs into consideration. For instance, self-hosted solutions may have higher initial development costs, but hosted ones may, in addition to a monthly fee, charge transaction fees that vary according to sales volume.
The e-commerce platform of your choice should, in addition to meeting your current needs, be able to adapt to the increased demands of your business as it grows. Take into account factors such as whether it can support higher traffic and sales volumes or an expanded range of products without compromising speed and responsiveness.
Payment Gateway Integration
When selling goods online, you need a way to accept payment securely through your website. Depending on the online platform you choose, you will have access to payment solutions that offer diverse options. Identify your current and future requirements, and ensure that the e-commerce platform you choose meets them. For instance, even if you currently only ship to the US or Canada, in the future, you may need multi-currency functionality if you plan on expanding globally.
Tools and Features
Most e-commerce platforms offer a diverse set of tools, integrations, and plugins to help businesses run their operations. Initially, you may only need a few to get started, such as accounting plugins to help keep track of your sales and taxes or an inventory management system. However, as your business grows, other tools like email marketing, including abandoned-cart reminders, social sharing capabilities, or loyalty programs will help you grow your business further.
Design and User Experience
The way your website looks and feels and the experience it delivers to the customer can significantly impact your bottom line. In addition to the website speed, user-friendliness and functionality, as well as the look of your website, will affect the credibility of your business and whether customers want to do business with you. Browse the templates offered by the various platforms to ensure that they are current and visually-appealing and that they can be customized to your branding standards.
If you need help selecting an e-commerce platform for your business, contact Numinix for more information.