Choosing the right platform for your business can be overwhelming. There are hundreds, if not thousands, on the market and each of them has its advantages, disadvantages, and value proposition. So how do you choose the most suitable one?
Regardless of the size of your company or the stage it is in, the first step is to do an internal evaluation. This will allow you to identify short, medium and long-term needs. However, there are 8 essential features that the eCommerce platform you choose must have regardless of the particularities of your company or niche.
We mean that you can load, edit and delete content easily and quickly. If you are thinking of hiring a third party to do it, it matters anyway! Imagine that you send 20, 30 or 40 new products to add to your store and do not have the facility to manage that content. Do you know what will happen? It will take too long.
In e-commerce, being fast and efficient is vital to keep your catalog and inventory up-to-date and stay relevant in the market.
Variety of Integrations
Integrations give your eCommerce platform the ability to communicate with other platforms and softwares to expand its functionality.
Among the most common integrations we can find tools for specialized promotions, cross-selling and upselling, emergency notifications (low inventory of a certain item, for example), chats, among others.
As your online store evolves, you will identify what integrations you need. So make sure you choose a platform that has the most possible integrations. You can look at the user reviews to get an idea of its relevance.
Regardless of the platform you choose, there are crucial integrations that can not be missed such as:
Analytics: including the ability to generate reports that measure traffic and its sources, the best keywords, and how visitors interact with your page. This will allow you to understand and optimize the customer journey and your communication channels.
Additionally, you will need monetary analysis to understand sales volume, average purchase value (AOV), and customer lifetime value (CLV). With this data you will identify opportunities to increase income and identify your star clients.
Marketing: This includes email marketing, social remarketing, personalization, automation, among others. We will discuss this in more detail in another article.
Payment options: Giving your customers the opportunity to choose the payment method they feel most comfortable with definitely makes the difference between a purchase and an abandoned cart. Make sure that the platform you choose integrates with various payment methods.
Opinion Manager: We know how important opinions are. We have all skipped the description of a product to go straight to the reviews and decide whether or not to buy that item.
That said, having a good opinion management integration is one of the most powerful tools in an online store. This tool should be verified as a Google Review Partner to be sure that it meets all requirements and help to better position your store in search engines.
There are certainly many valuable integrations for an eCommerce that go beyond this list. However, these 4 have to be at the top of your list.
Simply put, SEO is all it takes to ensure your online store is visible to search engines like Google.
Almost all of our searches and investigations start on Google. How your store is optimized for search engines will determine whether or not people find your eCommerce to meet a need they have at the moment.
That is why it is of utmost importance that the eCommerce platform
Have an adequate structure (sitemap)
Allows you to use content hierarchy (h1, h2, h3 …)
See ALT tags for images
Offer the opportunity to modify meta data at your convenience
Design and Optimized Code
Did you know that more than 50% of online store visitors in the United States came from mobile phones at CyberMonday this 2019?
And this trend is increasing. It is vitally important to have an online store designed to be browsed from smartphones and to load fast.
Another statistic to take into account is that 40% of users will leave with the competition if they have a bad mobile experience. Worse still, 84% have experienced difficulty completing a transaction over the mobile phone.
So take responsive design and fast, seamless loading into account when choosing your ideal eCommerce platform.
Easy to Use Checkout
It should be simple, easy to understand and clear. The checkout is where most dropouts are obtained and although there are several causes, a confusing and complex checkout is definitely one of them.
Ideally, it should be single-page or guided with few steps to complete. You should also avoid distractions so that the customer focuses on the only action that matters: completing the payment.
We mentioned it before and we never tire of repeating it. The most critical part of the online shopping process is payment. You must offer a reasonable variety of payment methods so that your clients can choose the most comfortable for them.
Think of it this way: How many times has it happened to you that you want to buy food and you keep craving just because you don’t have cash? If you only accept a few types of payment on your eCommerce site, you will end up rejecting leads without realizing it.
Whichever methods you choose, be sure to offer at least one credit card option and one other instant payment method like PayPal.
How many times have you been insecure about whether or not they will clone your card when you buy online? This is a thought that we all have had, especially in our first online purchases.
Security is one of the most important things that an eCommerce platform should offer you. You must be able to install an SSL certificate or include it in your offer. Just to be clear, the SSL certificate is what makes the winged green padlock of the URL appear in the search engines. It indicates to the user that the page where they are browsing is secure and that the data is encrypted.
If the platform you choose is the one that will process the payments, it is essential that you ensure that they comply with the PCI – DSS. These are the acronyms for Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard. Refers to the technical and operational standards that companies must follow to ensure that credit card data provided by cardholders is protected.
All companies aim to grow and earn more money, unless yours is a hobby. In e-commerce, growth translates to more traffic, multiple simultaneous purchases, more products, and more inventory.
Do you remember what I mentioned at the beginning of this article about determining the short, medium and long-term needs of your online store? Doing so will give you a fairly clear idea of the characteristics that you must have in order to sustain the growth of your electronic business.
One of the most common setbacks when an online store grows is the inability to withstand spikes in traffic. Sooner or later the page goes down and you automatically lose customers and trust and perception of security can be affected.
We hope this article has helped you clarify some doubts about what to look for in an eCommerce platform. It is up to you to make the list of the characteristics that this ideal platform must have to help you meet your business objectives.