Ecommerce platform considerations for small businesses
If you are about to start an online shop and researching different ecommerce platforms and options. Here are some ecommerce platform considerations you should note before starting your online business.
How to choose an ecommerce platform
The first step to getting your ecommerce shop is deciding which platform you are going to run your shop website on. So, how to choose an ecommerce platform that suits your needs? There are some great options for all skill levels. But before starting your ecommerce, and trying to decide between Shopify, Wix, WordPress or any other platform. You have to consider crucial factors that will guide you to make the best choice.
The first thing to remember is that there is no such thing as “THE BEST ECOMMERCE PLATFORM”. Instead, there are several ecommerce platforms that suit different needs. Some of these are super complex for big enterprises and others are simpler. The quality of a ecommerce platform is based on your needs.
So let's continue…
10 Factors to consider when choosing your ecommerce platform
1. Evaluate your business requirements
There’s no secret that every business is different has unique and specific needs. It would never be the same if you are a real estate agent that has a full house inventory, or if you are an accountant selling his services.
This is just an example and you can find a hundred of them.
Just focus on your business requirements, what do you need? What are you providing on your ecommerce?
In this step of choosing your ecommerce platform is less about choice and more about thinking about your purposes with this shop.
We encourage you, take a pencil and paper and start setting everything your business will need.
I’m a fast food restaurant owner, I want an ecommerce so I can keep working door closed while people can keep come and pick up or I can deliver their goods.
- A menu with all my dishes
- An upsell to add extra for fries and drinks
- Check out process
I’m a real estate agent; I want an ecommerce so I can increase my reach among UK people so I can make more appointments.
- An inventory with all the properties I’m selling
- A page to get contact names from prospects
- An appointment and scheduling system
These are super basic examples, but you can get the idea.
Before choosing anything platform, you have to think about this. You will get a better idea of what kind of ecommerce marketing platform suits you better.
2. How many products or services do you estimate you will be selling.
Once you have a clear view of your business requirements, you have to think the size of your ecommerce. Are you planning to offer a huge amount of services? Does your ecommerce have a lot of products? How many are them? 100? 500?
Being specific in these will guide you to choose the best ecommerce platform.
Continuing with the last example…
Fast food restaurants may require small sites since they usually offer 20 different products. Others, like real estate agents, need a bigger space for adding more apartments or houses being rented or sale.
So, why it is necessary?
You have to take this into consideration because small ecommerce has different technical requirements than big ones. A small ecommerce that offers 10 products could be simple, but when the number of services and products increases, so the technical requirements. And this lead us to the next factor to consider when choosing an ecommerce
3. Some platforms have unlimited data – how much do you need?
Having a few products list could be cheap since you won’t need unlimited data, you’ll just require a specific amount of space and that’s it.
For example, you own a little restaurant that offers 20 different dishes. That's it, you won't be selling anything else.
But what if you are a big shop? What if you’re continuously adding new products to your shop?
In this case, a basic data plan won’t be ideal, but a unlimited data plan where you can add products and services without limits. This could be more expensive, but it is better than having a restrain plan.
4. Do you craft your products or do you have a 3rd party supplier?
This may sound odd, but several businesses don’t have their own products, they don’t even have a stock!
This is called dropshipping , which basically is a business model where you sell other company products from your ecommerce. Your business will be a link between the client and the big company but you don’t handle any products.
In both cases, if you want to create a dropshipping business or not, you have to pay special attention to deliveries.
If you handle your own product this is way simpler since you actually have the product and you can contact delivery companies to send products. But dropshipping business could be more complicated since you are just the link between the company and the client and that’s it. You can’t handle deliveries nor anything.
So you have to make sure you hire a good delivery company that will deliver your products on time. This will help you grow your reputation among your clients.
5. Is your product digital only?
But what if you don’t have any physical product? Let’s say you sell ebooks, or you just sell coaching videos or training. You don’t actually need a stock, and people can download your books or videos anytime.
This is necessary to choose your best ecommerce platform because there are systems just dedicated to this kind of service and products.
6. Will you have international customers?
If you are selling your products to customers around the world then you will need to make sure that your ecommerce platform and payment gateways are set up for this. This could be a deep area, especially if you sell physical products like shirts, computer parts, or whatever that requires delivery.
This is because you will have to put attention not just to the local payments, but calculate the taxes for other countries you are selling and shipping costs. Also, you have to look for the best payment gateway options for the different countries.
7. What is your budget? Do you need a developer?
Setting an ecommerce is easy… if you know how to work with ecommerce platforms and CMSs. Most platforms are drag and drop systems that require a minimum of technical knowledge, yet you can face some frustrating doubts on the road.
If you have a small budget you can jump to the water and start working with easy ecommerce platforms like Wix or Shopify. But you may eventually want to do more complex stuff and may require professional help.
Our advice here is simple: if you require an ecommerce urgently and you don’t have time to lose, better go directly to a professional. He will give you excellent options and styles for your ecommerce, and you’ll just have to focus on the shop.
On the other hand, if you have time to experiment, practice and learn something new, and your ecommerce is not urgent... We encourage you to take action and start it; it is not easy but not impossible. Have fun!
8. What about maintenance? will you be updating it yourself?
As with a physical shop, ecommerce shops require its regular maintenance including updating plugins and security to prevent hacks, or simply updating stocks and doing regular checks to see if everything is running ok.
Once again, this is up to you and your urgency. Ecommerce is easy to manage yet requires some kind of knowledge. If you think you are able to do it yourself that’s fine.
Yet, we recommend a budget for unforeseen events such as hacks, frustrating code problems you may face and everything else.
9. Make a note of the transaction fees each platform has
Many people get surprised when they see that fees are way bigger than expected for certain payment methods. So you have to make sure that you understand these fees well.
For example, Ebayfeescalculator explains that PayPal charges different fees for different products. The standard UK transaction fee is 2.9% + £0.30. If the payment is from a Europe PayPal account, the fee is 3.4% + £0.30. For payment received from other PayPal accounts, the standard transaction fee is 4.9% + £0.30.
So yes... Fees can vary depending on which part of the globe you are in, be aware of that.
10. Will you be writing your own content?
An ecommerce requires content too. We are talking about social media posts to promote your shop, products descriptions and maybe a blog.
The question is, who will do this? Once again, you have to think about this closely.
If you want to do it yourself that’s good, but in other instances, you will require to hire a professional writer that can create attractive content for your shop
What’s the best ecommerce platform for startups?
As we said earlier in this article, there is no such thing as the best ecommerce platform, as each business has different needs. Some require no coding skills and others need a developer.
Platforms like Wix and Shopify which focus on design and affordable pricing, are ideal for most small businesses. But if you have a bigger online shop then Woo Commerce Big Commerce and Magento are the better options.
Examine your needs closely and don’t be afraid to run a few trials to see which solution you like best. If you are a small local business then best eCommerce platform for startups.
Hopefully after reading this article it has meant that choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business can be ticked off your to-do list. Once you have selected your payment gateway you can start listing your products and get selling.
Do you need help setting up your eCommerce platform?
If you need any help with your website call our team today on 0208 0642 150. We can help and advise you on the best solutions.
Tell us about your technical needs and we will recommend the ideal solution for you.
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