If you’re looking to launch your first ecommerce store, or if you have an existing store and you want to change your platform, there are some things you need to think about.
You should take the following points into consideration before you look at any individual platform. When you’re choosing the platform you need to find one that fits into what you’re looking for.
The first thing you need to think about is what features you need from your platform. If you have a physical storefront in addition to an online store then you will have different requirements than an online only store. You will need a platform with point of sale options so you can manage both stores simultaneously.
One of the most important elements, if not the most important, is the experience the customer has when shopping on your online store. Customer experience directly relates to conversions and rate of cart abandonment. You should think about your stock. If you have a large stock then you’re going to need different things from your platform than if you sell a fewer number of products. You need to decide if your products will be physical products or digital products, or if you will stock a combination of both. Physical products have different needs to digital products, so you’ll need to find a platform that suits the needs for your products.
After Google mobile update April 21st 2016 ,site speed is crucial for good ranking.The longer that a site or store takes to load, the higher the percentage of customers who leave the site. You need to find a store that will load quickly to allow for the maximum conversions.
You should think about the dashboard, and your usage of the platform. You will be using the dashboard on a daily basis, so it is critical that you find one that you are comfortable using. You might want one that offers various capabilities such as generating a discount code, or managing inventory, as well as processing orders. Your user experience with the back end dashboard is crucial to how successfully you manage your ecommerce store.
After Google mobile update April 21st 2016 mobile responsiveness has become a crucial factor for SEO. Customers are not only online shopping via PC, but also on tablets and smartphones. The platform you choose needs to be optimized for this, and provide a consistent customer experience on all devices.Mobile responsiveness is only one of the many factors that allows sites to be ranked in search engines, so another point for consideration is SEO. You need your store to be ranked in the search engine results so you need to consider how SEO friendly the platform is.
You need to consider which payment options you will accept. If you plan to accept Paypal and other options, then you will need a platform that will allow third party payment processors.
Compatibility with other plugins/softwares
Besides the other factors mentioned, a significant factor is how the platform will integrate with any software that you already use, or software that you plan to use. For example, if you have an Amazon marketplace store, then you would want to integrate it for streamlining your workflow, so you have all orders coming to the same place. You may want the platform to integrate with your email marketing provider. And you will definitely need the platform to integrate with your fraud management.
Fully Hosted / Self hosted
You will need to decide if you want a fully hosted service, or if you want to be able to self host on the platform. If you have enough technical knowledge to modify the storefront yourself, then you might want to consider a platform which will allow you to self host. OpenCart is a fantastic platform for businesses who want to self host, but if you don’t have the knowledge or experience to code this yourself then you will need a web developer to modify your store for you.
You need to think about your budget, and how much money you are planning to use for your ecommerce platform. You should also consider finding a platform with a monthly pay plan rather than one which takes a percentage of your sales. Shopify, and Bigcommerce are two highly popular ecommerce platforms and both have a monthly fee payment plan.
Once you have considered all your requirements and expectations, you can start to look at all the individual options of each different ecommerce platforms. Consider a few platforms before selecting one that is suitable for you as each has its own pros and cons. Shopify and Bigcommerce can both be used ‘out of the box’ and have store templates that can be easily customized for your brand. OpenCart will need technical knowledge to develop, but there are no fees and is completely free. The performance of your ecommerce store will affect your sales, so you need to consider every option carefully to make sure that you have the best one for your business, and your customers.