Starting a small business always starts with a very powerful question. "Which eCommerce platform do I use?". There's so many to pick from in our modern age, and it can get confusing. So many features are similar, yet why do my friends prefer one over the other? So I want to offer you some tips on picking the right one for you and what your business needs.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a crucial decision for the success of your online business. There are several factors to consider when making this choice. Here are some steps to help you pick the right eCommerce platform.
Go where your customers will find you
One of the most important things you need to think about is being where your customers are. This may take a bit of sleuthing, but finding the spot where your potential customers are most likely to buy will help in the long run.
For example, if you sell handmade jewelry, you may want to look at Etsy since it's well-known for being a collection of hand-made goods. It's also got a global reach. Take some time to see where people who buy your products like to go.
Write down your must-haves
Start by understanding your business needs and goals. Make a list of the features and functionalities you require from the platform. Consider factors like the number of products you plan to sell, the scale of your business, payment options, shipping methods, inventory management, and customization options.
Personally, I like to make a chart:
Budget the cost of your platform vs. how much you make
Determine your budget for the eCommerce platform. Some platforms charge a monthly subscription fee to use, like Shopify or Wix. Some sites will charge a fee per listing, like Etsy. Factor in how much your store is expected to sell versus the recurring expenses just to have the shop running.
And don't forget to keep in mind that the cost may include subscription fees, transaction fees, payment gateway fees, and additional expenses for customizations or third-party plugins.
We all have different levels of how comfortable we are with technology. Look for a platform that makes your life easier, not harder. Some online stores can be drag and drop, like Wix. Some require a more advanced knowledge of websites, like adding WooCommerce to a WordPress site.
One way to test and see if a platform is a good match is by checking out a YouTube video on how it works. Asking an expert is always an option too!
Think about scalability
Consider the future growth of your business. Choose a platform that can scale with your needs, allowing you to add more products, handle increased traffic, and integrate new features as your business expands.
Remember that migrating from one platform to another can be time-consuming and challenging, so take the time to make an informed decision from the outset to avoid unnecessary hassles in the future.
Ponder payment gateways and integrations
Check if the platform supports multiple payment gateways and integrates with the third-party tools you need, such as email marketing, analytics, or inventory management systems.
Just like with making sure your products appear where your customer shops, you want to make sure that they can pay their favorite way. According to PayPal, 44% of people are more likely to trust and shop with businesses if they know up front that their preferred payment provider is accepted. And the smoother the payment processes, the better.
This also applies to site integrations. If you're popular on Instagram, you'll want to make sure that the platform integrates with Instagram. If you have a large inventory to keep track of, make sure the platform can accommodate that.
What customer support will you need?
Consider the level of customer support provided by the platform. Look for a provider with reliable customer service and support channels to assist you in case of any issues or questions. If you're not as tech savvy, you may want to have a company that has extremely reliable customer support.
Read reviews and testimonials
A with all online shopping, reviews and testimonials can help you decide. Read reviews and testimonials from other businesses using the platform you're considering. Learning from others' experiences can provide valuable insights into the pros and cons of each option.
Many eCommerce platforms offer free trials, so if you've not sure which is going to be perfect, sign up and give them a whirl. Take advantage of the chance to get your hands e-dirty and try them out. That can give you a much better feel for what's the most comfortable. We've worked with a ton of different platforms, so feel free to ask us in the comments for our input as well.