Selecting a suitable ecommerce platform for your business entity is a serious and essential matter in every dimension. Having the knowledge and the basics of this specific platform is fundamental. However, many business people have no idea what to look for when purchasing a platform. Here are some of the questions you should ask before selecting or when switching between one platform and another.
What Services and Products the Business is Selling?
Have firsthand information pertaining to what the business sells. The size of the inventory, the complexity of products and target usage are factors to consider as they play a big role in choosing a business platform. A business entity with a long list of products that they sell requires a platform that will handle the products with minimal charges and no extra charges. For smaller entities, consider acquiring a basic platform compatible with your needs. Digital goods also differ from physical goods. This is also a crucial factor as the essential requirements for each classification may differ from one another.
Control of the Platform the Business Needs
Control in this case refers to the ability to tailor your ecommerce platform to your desired tastes. Whether you want this kind of freedom or are comfortable with limitations determines the type of platform you choose- hosted and self-hosted.
Hosted platform- the software for the platform is on a server in which you as the user have no direct access.
This limitation however, comes with an additional beneficial package for the business platform selected: automatic fix for bugs, technical client support whenever needed and easy to use ecommerce platforms.
Self-hosted platforms- have their platform software on a server in which they have direct access. This offers support for sophisticated and convoluted user ecommerce stores. They are more compatible with large business enterprises that have a large inventory and entities with growth possibility.
The allocated budget in the development of the ecommerce platform is important. The initially allocated amount may either restrict or advance the ecommerce platforms you select for the business entity. To provision the budget adequately in regards to the selection of the platform, you should know the type of hosting that would be used: self-hosting or hosted. Self-hosting costs more at the beginning but offers, more control of the platform once it is set up. Hosted platforms are cheaper but are more restrictive and may not provide or meet all the business entity’s requirements.
The projected growth pattern of a business entity whether rapid, progressive or slow is fundamental. If growth is anticipated in the near or far future, select a platform that incorporates that type of growth and has growth scales. Online success is highly determined by the growth factors of the business entity within an ecommerce platform. To avoid shifting from one platform to another, which will cost more, select a platform that is dynamic and grows with the business.
Each business requires a marketing and branding element. Online platforms offer some of these features. However, search engine optimization is the most effective means of ensuring the business products are easily seen. SEO not only promotes your chances of increasing traffic in your platform but also promote your Google rating. Equipping the ecommerce platform with SEO friendly features: blog integration, domain names, navigation links that are of independent nature, product reviews etc. SEO is essential in the success of any platform.
Today, people are more into palm computers, iphones, android enabled phones etc. Accessing the internet is basically through smartphones and desktop use is gradually reducing. The flexibility of the ecommerce platform to be used via a mobile phone has become an essential factor to be considered. Optimizing the software for mobile phones will promote sales of products and services.
The compatibility of the design, plug-ins inclusive of other integrations are vital, whenever selecting an ecommerce platform. Flexibility ensures smoother running of operations and centralization of information within the platform.
A business should select a platform that supports its preferred payment method. Different ecommerce platforms offer different but compatible payment methods to the business entity. Thoroughly evaluate the payment options; directly using a credit card or through third party payment avenues. Identify and know the requirements of each inclusive of their benefits and limitations and deduce which is more appropriate for the business.
Every user before transacting is concerned about the safety of transactions. The customers need and have to know that they can trust your ecommerce platform. In self-hosting, security is assured by the business entity through their compliance with PCI to ensure a safe environment for the processing, storage and transmission of credit card information while in a hosted platform, security is offered as a package and at a fee.
Business entities vary in size, operations, budget allocations and in their requirements for ecommerce platform. Identifying and suggesting the perfect ecommerce platforms for any business, the above questions have to be considered. This is elemental in making the right choice whenever selecting an online business platform. Learn about top ecommerce platforms