10 main factors to choose an e-commerce platform

If you’re starting a business and will be selling products online, an e-commerce site is crucial. You need to start with an e-commerce platform. But there are so many different software platforms out there—how can you guarantee that you are making the right choice?

Here is the ultimate list of all factors you’ll need to consider when you begin your search for the best e-commerce platform for your brand.

    1. Estimating price of the platform, monthly fees v/s yearly packages

As simple as it may sound, the first most crucial thing you should consider when selecting an e-commerce platform is its price. Whether you’re a well-established brand that is now moving online or a small business start-up, you will need to know exactly how much you will be paying to go online!

E-commerce software platforms usually have multiple packages and will include a monthly fee. And a few others offer yearly packages at discounted rates. Choose the type of platform based on your budget, since self-hosted, and non-hosted platform costs may vary. Evaluate hidden costs, processing or support fees, setup fees or transaction fees if any. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each platform to get the best within your company budget.

    1. Payment Gateway Integrations

If you are selling products online, you need to consider how your customers will be paying you, for your product! Ensure the platform is compatible with third party vendors and payment gateways and outline any restrictions and policies. See which payment gateway is compatible with the platform, especially one which is very familiar and user-friendly, to avoid shopping cart abandonment. Decide which forms of payment (credit cards/debit cards / net banking etc.) you’ll allow on your website and see if your platform supports them all.

    1. Plugins, widgets, and apps

Most platforms will have plenty of free and paid apps for you to make your website do more and work harder for you. Look closely at your business requirements to decide what add-ons you need. These could be plugins or apps, that will work best for you and your customers. You may need email marketing tools, accounting apps, plugins to help with sales, taxes, revenues, and profits, promo codes and methods to reward customers or any plugin to help you track shipping and upsell your products.

    1. SEO friendly features

It can be highly beneficial to have your website store rank as high as possible in Google search results. You want your customers to find your brand and products via Google and other search engines. So, you need to ensure that your e-commerce website platform is a completely SEO friendly platform. This platform should have all the facility to add all the essential elements required to optimise a website for search engines. Being able to add a blog would be great. It should have the ability for customers to leave reviews, have social sharing options and other subtle but effective SEO tools.

    1. Templates and customising designs that are flexible and mobile friendly

Did you know that a huge majority of online shoppers rely on Google searches via mobile devices? And those searches can then lead the visitors to your website so they can purchase products from a mobile device. Thus, it’s imperative to find an e-commerce service provider that gives you all the best, trending, mobile-friendly layouts and design options. The website design should be touch-friendly, easy to navigate on small screens as well as allow smooth online purchases without any hindrance, via any mobile device.

    1. Customer Support, feedback, and help

E-commerce websites have multiple pages and a vast array of product pages, they have plenty of footfall per day and many transactions happening all at once. Server downtimes and software issues are mostly out of your control. But such occurrences prevent your customers from accessing your website, thus affecting both your sales and your brand image. You need someone to call on at such urgent times, to help you get these issues sorted. You need the website to be up and running again as quickly as possible. Find out if customer care is available 24/7 and the quickest way to reach them, email ids, Live support, Phone numbers and more.

    1. HTTPs/SSL and Standard Security

Security is one of the biggest concerns an online shopper has. Customers should not hesitate or have any doubts when they need to make a purchase using their credit cards. Most top end platforms and payment gateways of this era have robust security as standard. But it is always good to check to make sure your platform supports HTTPS/SSL which enables safe and secure forms of checkout for your consumers.

    1. Effortless Maintenance and Scalability

All online businesses are bound to grow or would need to adapt to changes in goals and business requirements. So, your website needs to be flexible and agile to such changes to avoid investing a lot more to make critical adjustments.

    1. Inclusion of a CMS Integration

Most self-hosted platforms come with an extensive and user-friendly CMS functionality. But there are others that don’t. So you will need to consider the investment involved in hiring a qualified programmer to manage such platforms.

    1. The need for business reporting

There are already third-party websites like Google analytics that offer robust web reporting. But you may need a platform that efficiently reports transactions, online sales and profit, customer details, product popularity and more to help you to maximize profitability.

E-commerce, as you know, is growing progressively in popularity in the last decade. You need to take advantage of this. What are your business strategies and budgets? Can you afford to hire an in-house, web developer or would you opt to outsource it? Evaluate how much would it all cost and would these expenditures hinder your ability to grow your business quickly.

Business entrepreneurs today, prefer ready to use, DIY website designing platforms, that not only helps you save money, but also launch the website in time. You don’t want to invest in features and storage that you may never use. So, go ahead and select an e-commerce platform that lets you scale with ease and won’t charge you shocking fees for doing so.

By Simon Saber Creative Director
If you are looking for a leading digital marketing agency in Dubai, get in touch at Igloo.

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