What are your ecommerce objectives and outcomes?
There are many things to think about when choosing an ecommerce platform. It can be challenging to decide which platform is right for your business and even more challenging to know which features you need. This blog post will discuss 27 factors that you should consider when picking an ecommerce platform.
From the very beginning it’s crucial to think about your objectives and desired outcomes. What are you trying to achieve with your ecommerce store? Once you know your goals, you can start to research which platform will best help you achieve them. What is the right platform for you?
By checking this list of things to consider, you will be able to make an informed decision and find the perfect platform for your business!
Of course, you’ll need to consider pricing when choosing an ecommerce platform. Make sure to compare the features and benefits of each platform against the price so that you can get the best value for money.
2. What’s your budget? Some Platforms are more expensive than others. You’ll need to factor in the cost of the platform and any additional features or plugins that you might need. Ensure that you’ve figured out your annual budget for your ecommerce platform before making any decisions.
3. Contracts, one-offs, & platform licensing fees: Some platforms charge an ongoing licensing fee, while others are a one-time payment. Consider which pricing model would work best for your business and budget.
4. What does the development cost? If you’re not planning on using a ready-made theme, you’ll need to factor in the development cost. Custom themes can be expensive, so be sure to get quotes from multiple developers before deciding. If you’re not using a turn-key solution, you’ll need to factor in the cost of development. Development costs include licensing, monthly hosting, programming, web design, security, maintenance, and possibly app creation.
5. Free trials: Many online store platforms offer free trials, so you can test out the features and platform before committing to a paid subscription. This is a great way to see if the platform is right for you without incurring any financial risk.
Does your ecommerce platform integrate? Integration with your systems is essential. You’ll need to ensure that your chosen platform can integrate with your existing systems. This includes software such as your accounting system, CRM, ERP, shipping carrier, software or partnerships that you use or have.
6. Email Marketing: The platform you choose should also have the ability to integrate with your email marketing system. This will allow you to send automated emails based on specific actions, such as abandoned carts or first-time purchases. Being able to notify your customers of their purchase immediately is beneficial in increasing client loyalty and provides them with the information they might find helpful.
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7. Security: Security is paramount when it comes to online store platforms. As a result of more business being done online, cyberattacks on ecommerce businesses have increased. Shockingly, 60% of small ecommerce businesses that suffer cyberattacks typically don’t last more than six months. Ensure that your chosen platform has robust security, such as SSL encryption and fraud detection.
8. Payment gateway: Your chosen platform will need to integrate with your chosen payment gateway. Research which platforms work with your preferred payment gateway and ensure they offer seamless integration. Some payment gateways to consider available to New Zealand are PayPal, Stripe, Square, Windcave, Flo2cash, Bambora.
9. Hosting: Some ecommerce platforms include hosting as part of their service, while others do not. If you’re not sure whether you need hosting, then speak to a specialist who can advise you on the best course of action.
10. Maintenance: You’ll need to factor in the cost of maintaining your ecommerce platform and any downtime that might occur. If you have more time to maintain the website, you’ll need to consider whether the platform is worth the investment.
11. Technical support: To ensure your maintenance takes as little time as possible, you’ll also need to make sure that technical support is available. This is especially important if you’re not using a turn-key solution. A turn-key solution is a platform that is ready to use and doesn’t require any technical knowledge and may save you costs. However, a turn-key solution has fewer customisation capabilities.
Ensuring the ecommerce platform you choose has the right services to make your customer experience exceptional will be critical for the success of your online business.
12. Customer Reviews: Check out reviews of the platform before you make your final decision. Make sure to read both positive and negative reviews to get a well-rounded view of the pros and cons. Having customer reviews on your ecommerce website will help you build trust with potential consumers, so make sure your platform has that as an add-on.
13. Live chat options: Adding a live chat option to your ecommerce website can help increase customer satisfaction. This allows customers to get their questions answered quickly and easily without waiting on the phone or sending an email. Having this option is not a requirement when starting out, but if you have the budget and technical capability, give it a go.
14. Robust Catalogue: If you sell products on your ecommerce website, you’ll need to make sure that the platform has a robust catalogue. This will ensure that your products are well organised and easy for customers to find. Some platforms will have limits on how many products you can add, so ensuring you can add any number of products without additional costs will save you money in the long run.
15. Frequent Updates: The platform should also provide upgrades so that you may take advantage of new features or make sure the platform remains up to date with technological progress, especially from a security perspective.
16. Themes/Personalisation: Your ecommerce platform should offer a variety of themes, or, at the very least, allow for some personalisation. This will ensure that your website looks professional and easy to navigate. Some ecommerce platforms have a drag and drop feature for editing your ecommerce store and can help save you costs in hiring a web designer.
17. User Interface UX: The user interface is how users interact with your ecommerce website. Make sure that the platform you choose has an interface that is easy to understand and use. A good UX (user experience) will make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for, which will lead to more sales.
18. SEO: Your ecommerce platform will need to be optimised for SEO, so make sure that it includes features such as title tags, meta descriptions and H tags. Ensuring that you can easily make SEO modifications will boost your ecommerce site so that it shows up in organic search results.
19. Mobile optimisation: In today’s digital age, your ecommerce platform must be mobile-friendly. More people are shopping on mobile devices, so you need to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile. If you’re trialling a platform, test it out on desktop and mobile in the editing stage.
20. Speed: Your ecommerce platform needs to be fast, both in terms of loading times and processing orders. If your website is slow, customers will likely go elsewhere. If you update your website regularly, ensure that any updates are quickly and efficiently completed.
21. Scalability: As your business grows, you’ll need to make sure that your ecommerce platform can grow with you. Consider whether the platform can scale, for example, if you intend to sell internationally in the future. It will be critical that your system can handle multiple languages and currencies.
When choosing an ecommerce platform, it’s important to consider the market. If you’re selling niche or unique products, you’ll need to make sure that the platform can accommodate your needs.
22. Competitors: Research your competition to see what platforms they’re using. This will give you an idea of the options that are available to you and help you to make a decision. How to tell what ecommerce platform a site is using? You can do this by using a tool such as BuiltWith.
23. Target Market: Depending on your target market you might need easy integrations with certain social media channels or marketplace. For example, if you’re targeting China, then you might want to use a platform that integrates with WeChat.
The platform you choose should have a streamlined and efficient checkout process. This includes guest checkout, saved carts and abandoned cart emails. The delivery process is the final stage in your consumers’ journey with you, and it’s why it’s so crucial. In fact, 84% of customers say the delivery experience is what stands out most when considering a purchase.
24. Increase checkout conversions: It’s critical to have checkout process alternatives, such as guest checkout, or saved carts if you want to improve your ecommerce store’s conversions.
25. Multiple payment options: You’ll need to make sure that the platform offers various payment options so that customers can pay how they want. The most common payment options are credit cards, PayPal and bank transfers.
26. Integrates seamlessly with your shipping company: You’ll need to ensure that the platform you choose integrates with your shipping company. This will ensure that orders are processed and shipped quickly and efficiently. When an order is placed on your e-commerce store, the information is immediately sent to your shipping provider using an API, which provides a fantastic customer experience for both you and your customers.
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27. Auto-calculation of shipping and tax fees: Your ecommerce platform should have the ability to calculate shipping and tax fees automatically. This will save you time and ensure that your customers are always charged the correct amount. To do this, your ecommerce platform must be able to integrate with your shipping provider using an API to generate the cost of shipping. Our studies have shown that customers want to know how much the total cost of the product (including delivery costs) is before they purchase a product.
How much growth do you anticipate?
Your ecommerce platform should be able to grow with you. If you’re expecting a lot of growth in a short space of time, make sure that the platform you choose can accommodate that. You don’t want to switch to a new platform every time your business grows.
Ecommerce objectives and outcomes should be considered when choosing an ecommerce platform. By doing your research and taking your time, you can be sure to find a platform that’s right for you and your business. NZ ecommerce platforms offer a variety of features to test so you can make sure you find one that is perfect for you.
So what are you waiting for? Start your search today!