It’s no secret – eCommerce sales are growing very rapidly. According to a report by eMarketer, eCommerce sales worldwide will continue to post solid gains and reach $2.290 trillion in 2017 - accounting to one-tenth of total retail sales worldwide.
If you are someone looking to build an eCommerce store, selection of the right shopping cart software is one of the most crucial decisions you need to take. The software you choose should not only be suitable for your unique business requirements but also needs to be easy to use, should be well-supported, secure, should offer high quality and high performance. Apart from this, one also needs to consider the future growth of the business and select the software which is scalable.
Many of the eCommerce applications available today provide most of the commonly used shopping features. Having said that, the selection of the technology purely depends on your business requirements. Hire eCommerce developers who can work on the best suitable ecommerce platform for your firm.
- CMS and eCommerce:
If you want to build a content-based website along with an online store, then you need a CMS and an eCommerce portal. Such combination allows you to have a single administrative area where you can manage content as well as the product inventory. Some of the popular platforms which offer CMS and eCommerce functionality include WooCommerce, Drupal Commerce, Sitecore, Kentico, Umbraco and many more. On the other hand, if your focus is on building only an eCommerce platform, then you can go ahead with Magento, OpenCart, Prestashop etc.
- Volume of Products:
If your website is going to host millions of products, then you need to choose the technology carefully and evaluate it from the scalability and performance point of view. In case the platform is not scalable, then it can cause issues during times when the products are being updated in the backend and customer is actively looking at the product catalog. A large product database can also hamper the site performance in case the platform is not capable of handling the load.
Most of the eCommerce solutions provide somewhat generic shopping cart features which are suitable for most of the product types. However, if you need some specific features then you need to consider a platform which provides the ability to customize. Some of such popular platforms include Drupal Commerce, WooCommerce.
If your eCommerce site needs integrate with other software solutions to enhance the shopping experience for the users, then you need to leverage some third party services to facilitate this integration. For example, integration with service providers such as Xero, SagePay, FreshBooks, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Payments, FedEx, USPS, and UPS is required for facilitating shipping. While evaluating the eCommerce platform, do check for the availability of extensions/modules and the support provided by other apps.
- Marketing Tools and SEO Support:
Online marketing is a crucial piece of the overall eCommerce success. The platform you select should support various marketing aspects such as SEO, Customer Segmentation, Targeted Promotions & Merchandising, Customer Attribute Management, Dynamic Rule-Based Product Relations, and Automated Email Marketing Reminder etc. Depending on the requirements, you can select the regular or the enterprise eCommerce platform.
The payments market is evolving with a variety of online payment options such as Credit Card, Debit Card, Net Banking, 3rd Party Payment Wallets etc. The eCommerce platform which you choose should support the payment options which you want to offer to your users.
- Self-hosted or Software-as-a-service:
If you have the technical capabilities and the bandwidth to manage the eCommerce platform with your own infrastructure and development team, then you can go with the self-hosted option as it offers you more control. However, you need to remember that the responsibility of maintaining the platform, security, scalability, and performance lies entirely on your shoulders. In the case of the solutions offered as software-as-a-service, you don’t need to invest in the hardware or software procurement. You only need to pay a monthly fee for your store hosting. If you do not have access to technical resources, then SaaS platforms can be a good choice for you. Here, since you also don't need to spend time in platform management, security etc., you can focus entirely on your business without worrying about the technical aspects.
- User Experience:
Users nowadays need quick services. From fast Uber arrival to same-day Amazon deliveries to quick website upload speeds of large photographs. The same is true when dealing with an eCommerce website: users want to place orders quickly and obtain information quickly, and this is dependent on user interactions rather than website speed.
Why not take your UI and UX design seriously? The website for your ecommerce store should be as professional as possible. Consumers today want to shop in engaging, immersive places rather than just buying items.
When it concerns eCommerce websites, the most important factor is security. Customers do not want to do business with an unreliable website. Visitors to your site will be hesitant to share important card information if HTTP and SSL are not there. This is a responsibility that eCommerce sites have to their customers.
As a result, every website must be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant, as well as feature fraud prevention and data backups. From the moment they go live, eCommerce websites must be protected against hacking and data theft. To avoid any unwarranted suspicion at the end of the funnel, make sure the checkout procedure is safe and secure.
Every business owner hopes that their company will expand in the future, but you may not know how much. Nonetheless, it's critical to find a platform that will grow with your company.
When you initially start out, you don't want to pay for services and storage that you won't use. You'll also need to keep up with increased demand as your company grows. Choose a platform that will allow you to scale your business without charging you high costs.
- Administration Ease
Following the implementation, you will have to manage the website. A complex platform that necessitates frequent intervention from experienced developers or agencies is not the greatest choice for your company. Web stores that are simple to operate are less stressful for the merchant.
The proprietor can concentrate on the management of the company. Owners, on the other hand, find it difficult to run the store when it becomes too technological. Some small businesses choose a platform that has a simple drag-and-drop interface and requires less programming. A basic admin panel, for example, can make a tremendous difference.
- Business Process Automation
Every organization performs thousands of tiny actions that take up a significant chunk of each day. These responsibilities drain productivity and impede progress. Automation replaces a manual procedure with software, allowing you to focus your personnel on expanding your firm. Choose an eCommerce platform that works well with automation tools if a significant amount of your business includes time-consuming chores. The program will intelligently transform jobs, or processes, within your company to perform when needed.
- Checkouts for Guests:
Almost all eCommerce stores gain real-time analytics as soon as users sign up for their services. To be honest, most internet shoppers dislike creating an account before making a purchase. This isn't to say you should abandon the concept entirely. Customers should be encouraged to place orders without having to register. After the process is completed, you can advise that they sign up.
- System for Product Management
The primary purpose of the Product Management System is to allow the administrator to upload products and maintain product listings. You will require powerful eCommerce product management with out-of-the-box cutting-edge features.
Ecommerce product management software will be of great use to you. An ecommerce product manager may organize and harmonize the company's content across all channels, platforms, and countries using the right digital technologies. Product Information Manager (PIM) software is the best solution to achieve the content consolidation and process automation that a firm requires.
Organize the information, have it automatically translated into all of the languages you require, distribute it across all of your channels, understand what each participant and supplier does, and so on.
- Support and documentation:
If you have a problem that you can't address, you should contact your developer or agency, but what if you're all alone? Or are they on leave? Or are you unable to wait for a response? When you need assistance, your platform provider should be able to assist you.
It's not a bad idea to look at the support documents available for the platforms you're considering. Find extensive instructions, video walkthroughs, and FAQs among the available resources. If they have help forums or Q&A areas, have a look at how promptly and well they’ve responded.
If you feel most comfortable with email support and the platform you’re evaluating doesn’t come with that, don’t feel bad about picking other. Only you know what’s best for you and your company. You can also read support reviews on third party websites to find out how well these companies have served their customers — a good idea for any new business relationship.
With multiple browsers, platforms, and devices, as mobile phones and tablets are no longer considered secondary devices when it comes to online shopping. A mobile-friendly website, for example, is one that can be viewed on a phone or tablet. In order to find what they need on the site; the user must be able to open the site on mobile phones. If the site does not perform well on a mobile device, it may result in the brand losing clients.
- Performance and discoverability
Make sure the website loads quickly, check for broken links, and look for SEO rankings in search engines. Mobile ecommerce sales will be driven by site performance. The apparent disparity between mobile usage and mobile ecommerce purchases could also be explained by page load speeds.
There are several reasons why shoppers utilize their phones in the purchase process – from checking reviews to in-store price checking. In the browsing process, mobile is an essential tool. Retailers should analyze the impediments to completing transactions on their mobile sites to convert more of these surfers into shoppers.
We hope this post helps you in selecting the right eCommerce platform for your requirements. You can also reach out to our developers for your business requirements.