How to Select the Right Platform for Your Ecommerce Site
When starting an online store, it is very important to choose the right platform for your business. Some of the most common platforms available include Shopify, Magento, Kajabi, Nucleus, WooCommerce, Volusion and BigCommerce. With all these options, making the right choice can be very confusing.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform for your business:
1. Self-hosted vs hosted
Some ecommerce platforms allow you to self-host your ecommerce site, while others do the hosting for you. Hosting yourself means that you will be responsible for maintaining your site, fixing technical problems, updating software and handling security issues. When the platform hosts your site, site maintenance, technical support and updates are taken care of. Take time to compare the pros and cons of self-hosted vs hosted platforms before making a decision.
2. The products you are selling
Can the platform accommodate digital products, physical products or both? Will you be charged according to the quantity of your products or does the platform allow unlimited inventory? Does the platform make provision for listing product options such as size and color? Does the platform offer inventory tracking? Asking such questions will give you an idea of whether an ecommerce platform is suitable for the products you are selling.
3. Payment methods
Think about how your customers would want to make payments and find out whether the platform supports those methods. Many cases of shopping cart abandonment happen when customers fail to find a suitable payment options. Therefore, be sure to choose an ecommerce platform that accepts a wide range of payment methods, both electronic and traditional. This should include options such as credit cards, Amazon Payment, Google Checkout and PayPal. If you are targeting an international market, make sure the platform allows payment in multiple currencies.
4. Customization options
To stand out from the competition, you need to ensure that your site is as unique as possible. Therefore, be sure to select a platform that comes with a wide range of customization options. You should be able to upload unlimited images, change colors and sizes, rearrange products and generally change the theme according to your preference.
If your business has been in existence for some time, you probably have systems already in place. It is therefore very important to find an ecommerce platform that is compatible with your existing systems. For instance, does the platform allow you to import existing data? Will it integrate with your POS or ERP system? If you choose an incompatible platform, you might have to change your systems entirely, wasting lots of time and money in the process.
Costs vary from one ecommerce platform to another. The first thing you need to do is determine the features you really require, and then look for a platform that offers the most competitive price. Don’t make the mistake of paying for great features which you will not use, even if you can afford it. Similarly, don’t just choose a platform because it is the cheapest option available. Take time to read online reviews to find out if the ecommerce platform is worth the investment.