You’ve decided to sell online. Congratulations. Ecommerce offers opportunities that were previously not available to entrepreneurs. However, competition for online customers is as fierce with more options available to consumers than ever before.
Ensuring that you’re able to meet your customers’ needs and requirements is paramount to standing out from your many competitors and growing your online presence. The platform you choose will play a major role in this, thus the enterprise ecommerce platform-comparison process should not be taken lightly.
Ecommerce has come a long way to meet consumer needs. As consumer needs have changed so have functionality and features of ecommerce websites. For example, you won’t find any successful ecommerce website today that’s not optimized for mobile.
So consider the following when choosing the right platform for your online business.
1. The costs
As a business owner, money will always play an important role in the decisions you make. Make sure you not only go for a platform that you can afford, but one that offers the features you need to grow. What does the pricing structure look like? What are the hosting fees, transaction fees and payment card fees? These small fees may seem inconsequential, but they add up. Shop around and compare what each platform is offering in their pricing structure and then align that to your specific website needs.
2. Setup speed
How long will it take you to go live and start making money? Some ecommerce platforms will have your store up and running in a matter of a few hours. Others may require several months to deploy your website. Development time should be considered as it determines how soon you can begin making money.
3. Level of skill required to administer website
What level of skill do you have and what level is required to administer and manage the website once it is live? If you’re not familiar with web development, choose a platform that is straightforward and easy to use. You will want to spend as little time as possible learning about features and functions in order to manage your website.
4. Speed and scalability
Speed is vital for conversions. Estimations by Fast Company show that a decrease in Amazon’s page-loading speed of one second would result in a $1.6 billion annual loss.
In considering speed, you should note that your business will not always be what it is today. If you play your cards right, your business will grow. Your needs will grow in proportion to your business. You should therefore choose a platform that will allow you to scale up when the need arises.
5. Level and availability of support
One of the benefits of fully hosted ecommerce platforms is the availability of support. However, not all ecommerce platforms offer good support.
Poor support means that your website is likely to experience extended periods of downtime when there is a problem. This can be very costly. Amazon experienced a two-hour website crash in 2007, resulting in an estimated $3.48 million in losses.
You could lose a lot in revenue if you don’t have the right kind of support. The ecommerce platform you choose should have 24-hour support and monitoring. They should also provide assistance for scaling up to meet growth during seasonal peaks.
6. Integration and customization
What level of customization does the website allow? Can you integrate tools that you consider important for the functioning of your website? A good platform offers a high level of customization. This allows you to determine the image you present to your target audience.
The platform should also allow for integration with the following for greater flexibility: warehouse management systems, inventory, and various payment gateways.
Take your time in considering different ecommerce platforms. Ensure that the solution you choose will meet your specific requirements. Different platforms are available to meet the needs of different types of businesses. Be as thorough as possible up front and you’ll be glad once your business is growing through a platform that complements your offering.