Starting an own e-commerce business surely excites each one of us. But before you start jumping around on the internet with your products, you need to sit down for a while, evaluate your market, and make a suitable plan. When it is about an e-commerce business, a few crucial decisions have to be taken. And one of those decisions which is very important and confusing at the same time - is which e-commerce platform should power your store.
A simple search for 'e-Commerce' or 'online store' or any other variant of an online selling related keyword will bring up more than a 100 results or options to create your own e-commerce business. While some platforms offer to take care of everything related to your business, others just provide you with the software and you have to do the rest. They all surely promise great things. But you cannot choose a platform just because they promise good things.
A proper evaluation and assessment is very much required to select the platform best suited for your business. Let us look into some of the features which you need to concentrate on, while evaluating various platforms for your online store.
What is the whole point of owning a business when you cannot have transactions with your customers? The payment gateway - a special processor responsible for moving funds from the customers' bank accounts into yours, is the main culprit. A hook up with this payment gateway is very important until of course your business is about providing products and services to the people, free of cost!
But not every payment gateway is compatible with every e-commerce platform. Technical limitations and lower demands for certain payment options are some of the problems which prevent a certain platform to work with the payment gateway. Depending on the countries you want your business to be established in, their payment gateways and payment options, you need to choose the right platform for the betterment of your business.
Your Design, And Their Options
It is obvious that when you have the idea for your online store, you know what to do with its design as well. The design in your mind might be something very simple like a sleek and neutral store front, or it might even be full of colours, animations, large images and some other interesting stuff to stage the impressive details of your products.
A majority of the e-commerce platforms provide free or paid themes that can be used to modify the look, feel and the design of your store. Though applying them might be as easy as clicking a button, it is important that you see your vision through the platform which you evaluate. Relate your idea of the design to the themes that the platforms offer and support, so that you can easily evaluate and decide on the best of the lot.
Did you know that the internet you see, you browse and utilize, just amounts to 4% of the total information in the cloud? The remaining part is called the Dark Internet, and this is where your hackers sit! A small compromise with your site security, and all your user information will be hacked without even your knowledge. Thus, implementing security for your website must be one of your top priorities when you are out there hunting for platforms.
When we talk about security of a website, we usually talk in terms of PCI Compliance and SSL certificates. Any experienced store owner would know about these, but for the newbies out there, these terms usually make their heads spin. These are the topics that every online store owner needs to be familiar with. PCI Security standards are the standards which is applicable to all such websites which accept and store the payment information of the users.
The SSL Certificates on the other hand are small data files that allow sensitive transactions during the online purchases. Along with this, many other platforms offer additional security packages which include monitoring and protection. You may not require them now, but keep in mind that these external features will surely come into the picture when your store grows in size and popularity.
Creating and Editing
A beautiful product page is sure to attract every online shopper. As most of the platforms solely concentrate on this feature and a little else, thus ignoring the large chunk of other attributes of an enhanced online store, it is normal for us to opt for such platforms which help us create those attractive pages and lure more customers.
For instance, an online store's ability to attract more customers by staying on top of its competitors lies in the creativity that it shows. This means that your content should be new, fresh and ahead of the curve for shoppers to find what they are looking for. This also means that you need to edit your content on a regular basis. Now, your platform is surely projecting those attractive pages of yours, but if it is not allowing you to edit the present content, create a new one, and add it to the new or existing pages, what is the whole point of using that platform?
As a marketer owning an e-Commerce store, you are always bound to face a number of challenges. Marketing, omni-channel strategies, implementing CMS, are just a few of them to name. Thus to make life simpler, we make use of some great software and tools, like marketing campaign tools, CRMs, Analytical tools, which empower us as marketers and make us more productive.
But you don’t want to end up as the bad workman who always blamed his tools in that old saying. These tools play a major role in what platform you work on, as they are here to make your work simpler and better at the same time. So instead of ignoring such tools, choose a platform which is easily compatible with them to give accessibility to better results.
Room For Growth
Right when you begin, you may not feel the need for those platforms which support hundreds of SKUs, store huge amount of customer data, send trigger mails and monitor the cart activities. But think again. The story might not be the same in a few months from now. Your store might grow and you might need the ability to offer many more number of products than you ever thought you would be selling. And at such a crucial time, if your chosen platform is incapable of providing the adequate support, you will be left to make a tough decision.
A perfect platform for your store, in any circumstance is always the one which provides you the freedom of either scaling up or scaling down your plans, based on the user demands. The flexibility not only helps in managing your plans, but also will allow you to add new features or extensions without migrating to a new platform.