Setting up a store is more than simply having a great product to sell, though that certainly helps. The success of your store can hinge on how user-friendly and functional it is, which comes down to choosing a good provider. eCommerce has taken off in the last few years and as such, the number of companies offering solutions to make getting a store online has exploded. While this amount of choice provides competition and helps drive improvements across the eCommerce hosting market, it also confuses the issue of what one to choose and the reasons to select one of another.
Below are the key points to consider when deciding to start an online store.
This factors in how much time you will have to spend learning how an eCommerce software platform works, as well as the ongoing time commitment. Often simplicity is a traded for functionality, and while this might seem like a timesaver in the immediacy, further into your business it may prove to be limiting once your business grows and your eCommerce knowledge expands.
This is an important consideration and you must understand whether the security details are baked into the platform, or if it is something you will need to add. The big providers tend to include it as a standard feature, but it pays to check and be sure.
Add-ons and integrations
While in the initial stages you may enjoy the barebones nature of the basic platform, eventually you will want to improve the power and functionality of your site. The capacity for add-ons is important to futureproof your business and prevent the need to migrate to a more powerful system later, or too soon.
Omni-channel is available to use regardless of the platform you choose. It is a concept rather than a software function however, some providers make it simpler to integrate than others. Selling through multiple marketplaces is something that every online retailer should do from the beginning and to make it easier, the eCommerce platform you choose should facilitate it from an inventory perspective. This will prevent the need to write separate product descriptions every time, as well as stop over-selling of your stock.
Reporting and analytics
Understanding both success and failure is key to refining, repeating and avoiding. If you can’t measure it, then it can’t be assessed and its value decided upon. The best platforms will offer detailed reports as standard, allowing the fine tuning necessary to take a small business from surviving to flourishing.
Marketing and SEO
The best SEO and marketing practices are included from the start of the design. Your platform should make it simple to include CTR factors like meta descriptions, ranking factors such as unique page titles, and all the little pieces that make up the larger digital marketing puzzle. Another key consideration is content and some templates offer limited space to provide informative and high-quality content. This need must be balanced against the desire for aesthetic perfection.