The importance of choosing the right E-commerce platform
Choosing the right platform is important since it will decide how successful your business will be. To stay competitive you need to ensure that you have a well-designed website. This asks for more advanced technology which can help you achieve customer expectations and demands. This blog post will give you an idea of how to choose the best e-commerce platform for your business.
Features to look for when choosing your e-commerce platform
Hosting and Domain Ownership
E-commerce websites need to either be hosted by yourself or they are hosted on the cloud. If you self-host your website it could be expensive however, you have great control over your website and can make sure it’s secure yourself.
For cloud-hosted platforms, you need to host your website through solutions such as Amazon Web Services. These services are much cheaper, they have 24/7 customer support, and don’t require any technical abilities to use their service. However, you have less control over the entire servers and you can’t change the servers as per your requirements.
Cost is another factor that should be considered and can be one of the biggest factors in deciding what platform you choose especially for small businesses. Most platforms do have a monthly fee and can vary depending on what they offer. Don’t always go for the ones that are cheaper because there are interfaces that may seem expensive but are worth the extra cost because of the advanced features they offer.
When looking at costs you also need to consider what each platform offers and how it affects your customers. Some platforms don’t offer third-party payments such as PayPal which can affect the decision of a customer. .
Most digital companies we see over the internet are always well-designed and have a great user interfaces. These companies work hard to make a great UI and UX. Research has shown that brand quality has an impact on whether customers decide to browse your website. Customers don’t just want to shop through your website but they want to engage in an immersive environment.
A theme represents your brand and it is what customers will associate your brand with. Most platforms offer free themes while also having options for purchasing themes as well for an additional fee. It’s worth the investment to pay for themes as they may be truly unique and can help you stand out from the competition.
When a customer intends to search for your products online they expect to browse through your website and receive fast results. This should stay consistent while you continue to scale and grow your business online. You should choose a platform that works well with what you have to offer.
When evaluating your website’s performance you need to look for holes in your website which can include:
- 404 errors
- Frozen pages
- Unoptimized images
- Other slow-performing web pages
Understanding how the site performs at peak traffic times is also an essential part of the evaluation process.
One way to improve your website performance is to host your website through a cloud-based server. Cloud-based servers offer functionalities such as caching methods and the ability to purge content when updating descriptions.
Cyber attacks may not be your fault but it is your responsibility to ensure that you take the necessary precautions to reduce the chances of it happening. According to a study the most common e-commerce attacks happen through identity theft, phishing, and account theft.
Having an e-commerce website would mean that you would be holding a lot of sensitive data on the website’s database. This should make it your priority to follow the best security practices to protect your data. You should have protection built-in to reduce the risks of cyber-attacks and ensure that your website is constantly monitored for DDOS attacks and fraud protection. You should also ensure that to have consistent backups, SSL certificates, and PCI compliance.
Customers on your website would prefer to purchase products on your website if they have multiple methods of payment that are connected to a reliable payment gateway that can safely transfer money from the customer to your bank account. Allowing for multiple payment methods allows people from all over the world to make payments that are more convenient for them depending on where they live.
E-wallets seem to becoming popular around the world but, still aren’t dominant among all other types of payment methods. You need to make sure that all forms of payment are available so that you can satisfy customers by allowing them to use what is convenient for them based on their geographical location.
With the development of machine learning and AI, you can alter your site’s experience according to each customer based on their personal preferences. You can recommend products that are more relevant to your customers based on their characteristics. These characteristics could include:
- Demographics: Age, sex, income, location, etc.
- Psychographics: attitude, hobbies, values, lifestyle, etc.
- Context: Device type, time, weather, day, etc.
- Behavior: Searches, products in the cart, recently viewed items, etc.
- History: Search history, email interactions, previously bought items, etc.
Considering these characteristics can allow you to recommend the best products to customers who visit your website.
In the digital world, customers are communicating and making transactions through their mobile devices. This has made merchants to be looking for e-commerce websites that are optimized for mobile devices.
A large portion of online shopping is done through mobile devices. For the best experience, you need to make sure that your e-commerce platform supports a smooth customer journey.
Search engine optimization is an important aspect that will determine the success of your e-commerce website. A good SEO strategy can help increase the visibility of your website on search engines. However, it does take time to build organic traffic. You need to make sure you choose the right e-commerce platform that supports SEO practices and make sure they consistently update the platform to support Google’s algorithm.
You should choose an e-commerce platform that supports SEO functionalities such as meta tags and descriptions, adding alt text to images, and adding pagination on product searches.
Different websites offer different functionalities for different types of businesses. Some platforms offer features such as more customization options, flexibility, and a large community. While other platforms offer ease of use and a large number of themes and features. You should decide which platform offers the best features that suit your business’s needs.
There are even many platforms outside of the top options and many newer businesses tend to choose the most affordable platforms. However, this can backfire in the long run leading to a lot of maintenance costs for your business in the future. This doesn’t suggest that you shouldn’t choose an affordable platform but it’s better to choose a platform that is recognized and has shown results.
What is the most popular e-commerce platform?
Shopify has gained a large reputation for being one of the fastest-growing e-commerce platforms. It is tailored to small, medium, and even large businesses. Shopify started its business in 2004 and has since expanded its business to over 170 countries. Especially during the pandemic, Shopify had seen a large boost in net revenue growing by 61% between the years 2019 and 2021.
What security features do I look for when choosing a platform?
Security features are really important when setting up your e-commerce platform. Look for platforms that offer security with SSL certification, Fraudulent activity detection, and PCI compliance.
Should my e-commerce website implement SEO strategies?
SEO is crucial for any website as it plays a part in creating visibility for your website. Look for platforms that offer you features such as customizable URL tags, meta descriptions, and SEO titles.
What are some mistakes to avoid when developing an e-commerce website?
Here’s a list of mistakes you should avoid when starting a new e-commerce website.
- Choosing the wrong platform for your business
- Not investing in security
- Lack of content optimization for SEO
- Complicated checkout process for customers
- Limited payment methods
What are common issues that businesses face when scaling their e-commerce website?
When scaling your business, many challenges occur. Here are some challenges that businesses face:
Standing out of the competition: As your e-commerce business grows, you will face other much larger businesses to compete against. This can be challenging since the biggest businesses are already.
Inventory Management: As businesses continue to scale, managing inventory and fulfilling customer orders can be quite challenging if not managed correctly.
Security: As businesses grow they become more vulnerable to data breaches and other web security threats. If proper investments are not made it can cost the business a lot of money if data is leaked.