Having an eCommerce strategy is one of the key elements that a business needs to operate successfully in the current retail climate. It enhances what your business is capable of and what learnings you can take from your operations, but getting these benefits comes from choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business.
What can an eCommerce platform offer a business?
At its core, using an eCommerce platform gives your business the ability to market your offering directly to your target audience, allowing products and services to be sold without needing to use a third-party retail organisation.
This gives you greater control over the user experience (UX) and customer journey as they use your eCommerce site, meaning it can be fully branded and act as a proper continuation of your business online.
Knowing what your business objectives are and what platform would suit your business model is the key to unlocking the full capabilities of these benefits.
Points to consider when choosing your eCommerce platform
The size and complexity of your business
Different eCommerce platforms are equipped with features which will better accommodate certain sizes of business operations.
Small businesses would likely be better utilising user-friendly web builders and platforms where your business can be hosted, such as Shopify or Squarespace. These are relatively intuitive to use and offer pre-built solutions so you can get up-and-running quickly.
Larger-scale businesses would benefit more from an open-source platform which offers more flexibility and tailored solutions akin to setting up a unique storefront. With an open-source platform, such as Magento, partnering with an eCommerce agency specialising in Magento web development and design can often yield better results.
While the size of your business is important, the complexity of your product set is also a significant consideration. Advanced platforms can allow for more comprehensive management of your eCommerce store and product offerings, with added control over customisation and presentation.
The scale of your ambitions
Whatever your plans are for your business going forward, you’ll want to pick an eCommerce platform that can match those ambitions. Focusing on a short-term solution will probably mean having to migrate your eCommerce site over to a more capable platform later down the line, potentially requiring more resources than if you’d simply chosen the more comprehensive platform in the first place.
Ensure the platform you pick supports the features you want to integrate and can handle any expansion or diversification you might want to consider in the future. Working with an eCommerce agency can help you to match ambitions to the correct platform, as well as providing support for any future development of your eCommerce site.
Budget needs to be considered once you fully understand the functionality that you require from an eCommerce platform. Keep in mind that third party integrations and ongoing support and development will be added costs on top of basic licensing and platform fees.
While you don’t want to spend more than you can afford, spending too little will only hinder your development down the line and could end up costing you more in the long-term.
The ways consumers can pay
Certain platforms are limited in what types of payment options they support. With the range of options available to consumers, including staples like PayPal and newer players like Klarna, you’ll want to think about your ideal situation.
Your existing payment gateway can show what your current customers use, but you may want to think about how customers might want to pay in future to make use of newer payment methods.
The optimisation for SEO
An integral part of an eCommerce platform is its SEO capabilities, as SEO and eCommerce work hand-in-hand when it comes to achieving a successful digital business strategy. Some platforms limit your control and access to SEO components, so think about how inconvenient those restrictions could be in relation to inhibiting your SEO strategy.
Consulting an eCommerce expert can help you to get a better understanding of what a platform would require to be suitable for your business. By doing so, you’ll have a better chance of making the correct decision on what eCommerce platform to use first time and can start optimising the site so your business goals can become more achievable.