How to Choose an Ecommerce Platform for Your Online Store
The other option is to use a fully integrated site, like Shopify (although it offers a plugin as well), BigCommerce or any of the other tools listed in the G2 report.
Here's what you need to think about when choosing ecommerce technology for your business:
- Types of products you want to sell: For example, physical vs. digital products.
- Ease of use: Most small businesses don't need an ecommerce tool for thousands of products (unless this is your future), but it needs to be easy to use and maintain. As your business evolves, you'll want to be able to make changes to the site without paying for every little tweak.
- Low startup (time and money) and recurring costs: Most hosted ecommerce platforms charge a monthly fee which vary widely. Be sure to check for hidden credit card processing fees as well.
- Design: You should be able to choose a template that coordinates with your brand while allowing you to merchandise the products the way you want. For example, you can include your product details, variations and descriptions.
Hosted vs. Host Yourself: For small businesses without an IT department, we almost always recommend hosted tools like Shopify. However, this means you'll incur a monthly hosting fee.
- Built-in Features: Basic ecommerce functionality includes a storefront, catalog, shopping cart and order processing. If you want extras, like 3D viewing, zoom or a certain type of sales process, make sure they're easy to add. Getting coders involved to build custom features can be costly.
- Reporting and Analytics: Beyond measuring sales volume, you need to know things like which products are viewed or when people abandon their shopping carts. Non-ecommerce tools may be used to build an online store, but they don’t offer a full set of reports -- absolutely essential for seeing how your store is operating, so you to make corrections to improve performance.
- Mobile: Mobile shopping is hot, so why not offer visitors the option? And, Google requires sites to be mobile-friendly. If you're not, it will hurt your search results ranking.
- Security: You're taking people's credit card info, so this one is pretty obvious.
- Integrations: You should be able to integrate tools, like email marketing, and Google plug-ins, like Analytics. If you need your store to work on social platforms, like Facebook, make sure there are plugins for that too.
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