The market is full of eCommerce platforms, each aiming to offer the ultimate solution to your online store needs. Do your research as to which one best meets your business needs, your budget and your technical ability. After looking at cost and usability, also think about which one will allow you to easily streamline your operations and nurture your business’ growth.
What can an eCommerce platform offer your business?
Your eCommerce platform is at the heart of your online business and will be responsible for managing the bulk of its operations. Therefore, it’s important to consider what you need, especially if you are setting one up from scratch.
For example, say you're opening an online retail store (like a clothing store). You will need a digital shopfront where you can upload and sell products, process transactions and facilitate the delivery of goods to customers.
Or perhaps you own a restaurant and are now looking at providing a delivery service—you’ll need seamless online ordering, payment processing and rapid transfer of customer information to make deliveries.
Or maybe you run a group fitness program and want to take payments online—you might simply need a payment gateway to plug into your existing webpage, or a more sophisticated online payment system to take recurring payments.
The platform you choose relies on your understanding of the customer: where they shop, how they shop, and how your business fits into their lives. By answering these questions, you could be in a better position selecting an eCommerce platform that will help your business grow.
Ease of use: for your business and your customer
Here’s why your choice of eCommerce technology needs careful consideration: Too complex and it may confuse the customer and cause you frustration when managing it; too simplistic, and you might not be taking advantage of all the features and efficiencies your online business needs.
Consider the platform from a customer perspective. Browse real-life examples of businesses already using the platform, then as you’re clicking through the store, does it seem like a website your customers can navigate easily? Will it house your products in an attractive way and offer a smooth experience from start to checkout?
Look into features that you understand, or at least feel you can grasp with minimal training. Then consider how you will run your online business day-to-day, and the features that will directly solve your needs.
Business relevant features to consider include:
- Content management capabilities
- Add and manage products
- An integrated blog or articles section
- Easy-to-use checkout
- Payment options (Credit card, Digital Wallets, Buy Now Pay Later, PO, Terms, etc.)
- Search engine optimized code and layout
- Integration with other sales channels
- Promotion and discount code tools
- Email marketing integration
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Reporting and Analytics tools
Looking to the future
As your business grows, it may face challenges in servicing more customers within the same infrastructure. This is where your eCommerce platform can assist with some of the heavy lifting.
Scalability refers to your eCommerce platform’s flexibility to change, and is a cornerstone of long-term planning. Many eCommerce platforms are able to ‘automate’ certain labour-intensive tasks (like large-scale order processing), leaving you more time to grow your online business or find new ways to delight customers.
Examples of scalability
Traffic: A scalable platform can assist you to process a rush of online orders and handle increased customer traffic reliably and securely; for example, at peak shopping times such as the lead up to Christmas or Mother’s Day.
Automation: Your platform could help automatically fulfil tasks when programmed. i.e. automatic bundle discounts, order renewal, inventory management and re-ordering.
Security: Your platform may also continue to monitor suspicious orders based on order-size, payment type or country of origin. As the number of orders increase, security should remain just as vigilant and your platform continues to provide a range of options to securely capture your cardholders information including via tokens or hosted pages.