eCommerce platforms enable sellers to customize their own online stores and conduct daily sales operations. However, finding the best eCommerce platform amongst the many options available can be challenging as there are numerous factors to consider, such as features, pricing, and security.
This article will cover all the essential aspects you need to know before choosing an eCommerce platform.
1. Hosting Environment and Domain Name
When setting up an eCommerce store, the first two elements you need to learn about is how to host your website and how to purchase a domain name.
We recommend selecting a hosting solution that fulfills your expected needs and financial situation. It can be tempting to use a free hosting plan, but such services typically have inadequate security and limited features, which can negatively impact the overall user experience.
Therefore, it’s best to choose a reliable hosting provider to store and secure your website data. Find a web host that offers eCommerce optimization, fast servers, 24/7 technical support, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
On the other hand, it is important to choose a domain name that’s short, simple, and easy to remember. Once you’ve decided on a domain that matches your eCommerce business name, use a domain checker to see its availability.
You can buy a domain name via an accredited domain registrar, but check first to see whether a domain name is already included in your hosting plan, as many web hosts offer this.
2. Website Builder Functionality
If you have limited technical knowledge in web design or coding, website builders like Wix, Shopify, and Zyro come in handy to build a professional-looking online store. These platforms offer beginner-friendly functionality, such as a drag-and-drop editor that simplifies the process of adding site elements like texts, images, or buttons.
For small business owners with some technical skills and experience, a content management system (CMS) like WordPress can also be an excellent choice. Although it has a steeper learning curve than website builders, this open-source eCommerce platform enables advanced customizability.
Furthermore, ensure that the eCommerce site you build provides intuitive and user-friendly navigation. This will help visitors quickly find products and browse all the pages and categories on your website.
3. Value for Money
Another factor to consider is the ongoing development costs for building your entire website. Evaluate the price and features of each platform while considering your budget constraints. It is best to choose an eCommerce site builder that lets you use most of its features for free.
Check if the platform has a free trial service if you’re interested in accessing more advanced features. This will allow you to experiment with the platform and make a well-informed decision before signing up for a paid plan.
As hackers can infiltrate eCommerce sites through malicious attacks such as phishing emails or SQL injections, it is highly recommended to choose a platform that implements the latest security features to protect its users.
To help ensure an all-around safe eCommerce experience, pay attention to the following security aspects:
- Privacy. Read the Terms and Conditions to discover how an eCommerce platform deals with confidentiality. Ensure it will never share both sellers’ and shoppers’ financial and personal data with unauthorized parties.
- Authentication. Check if the platform provides extra security measures for its users, such as SSL certificates, multi-factor authentication, or one-time password (OTP) verification.
- Data backup. The right eCommerce platform should offer regular backups to protect your online business from losing crucial data due to human errors, technical failures, or hacking attempts.
An eCommerce platform that offers a demo version is an excellent choice for beginners. This will enable you to check its interface and user-friendliness.
Use the demo to learn whether the platform provides easy inventory management, a straightforward checkout process, and a smooth customer journey. If you have to spend an hour figuring out how to use the platform, it’s better to look for another option.
6. Payment Gateways
All eCommerce platforms should be PCI-DSS compliant, which is a standard that applies to merchants and service providers that process credit card transactions. This applies to online stores that provide multiple channels for payment, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Worldpay.
Find eCommerce platforms offering numerous payment options that also accept several currencies. The more options available, the better the chance of site visitors worldwide completing a purchase.
As your business expands and attracts a broader customer base, your eCommerce solution will need to adapt to your needs and handle increased traffic.
So, look for an eCommerce platform with scalable plans to accommodate your website’s growth. Doing so means you won’t have to do time-consuming tasks like migrating to another platform.
8. Mobile and SEO-Friendliness
Since users spend much of their time on mobile devices, find an eCommerce platform that provides a mobile-ready online shopping experience. For this, it’s also important to have a responsive eCommerce website design to improve the user interface and enable seamless online transactions.
In addition, check if the platform provides built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features like the ability to customize title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and headers. This also helps ensure your eCommerce website is crawlable and indexable, which will boost its visibility on search engines.
Maximize your reach and remain competitive by using the right tools to analyze any possible areas for improvement for your eCommerce business, like decreasing the shopping cart abandonment rate. Many eCommerce platforms come with built-in analytics that provides valuable, data-driven insights to help monitor your online store performance.
Google Analytics can also be an excellent tool to collect valuable data about how customers interact with your website, like which pages they click on the most. Having access to comprehensive analytics reports will also save you from doing guesswork when making important marketing decisions.
10. Customer Support
Regardless of the eCommerce platform, it is likely that you may experience unexpected circumstances like server crashes or a slow loading speed. This is where reliable customer support becomes crucial.
Read online reviews to see how well an eCommerce platform handles customer requests and feedback. Additionally, check if your provider offers multiple communication channels for support, such as via email, telephone, or live chat.
By choosing the right eCommerce platform, you will be able to manage your digital store more efficiently to achieve better results.
As there are many options, listing your business goals and expectations can help narrow down the choices. To recap, here are the ten factors you need to consider when choosing the best eCommerce platform:
- Hosting environment and domain name
- Website builder functionality
- Value for money
- Payment gateway options
- Mobile and SEO-friendliness
- Customer support
We hope this article helps your decision-making process for selecting the best eCommerce platform. Good luck on your eCommerce journey!
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