E-commerce platform options: what you need to know
Opening a shop to the general public is now easier than ever before, all thanks to the power of the internet. But it’s not quite a case of just clicking a few buttons — there’s a bit more to it than that. It all begins with your choice of e-commerce platform
Put simply, an e-commerce platform is the engine which powers your online shop. It provides a framework into which you can enter product information, images, pricing, and manage all the back-end stuff too.
Popular options include both WordPress / WooCommerce and Shopify — but how do you know which is right for you? In this guide, you’ll discover the essential questions to ask when looking for an e-commerce platform.
Is it mobile-friendly?
Did you know that over 50% of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices? It’s not hard to see why, with so many of us casually online shopping as we watch TV, sit on the train, or lie in bed.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why ensuring that the e-commerce platform you choose must offer responsive mobile-friendly design. If not, you’ll be behind the times before you even launch.
How secure is the platform?
Online security is more important than ever, with more cyberattacks occurring every year. Loss of personal data is an ever-present risk, so all e-commerce businesses must be prepared.
As an e-commerce retailer, you’ll be handling and storing your customers’ personal information, you must be 100% certain that the platform is secure.
The last thing you want is to fall victim to a cyberattack and lose customer data – because that can spell disaster for any business.
What integrations does it offer?
Of course, an e-commerce platform is just one piece of the puzzle. You also need to consider the infrastructure for the rest of the website. There are many options out there, including WordPress / WooCommerce, and website builders like Squarespace and Shopify.
Before you settle on an e-commerce platform, you’ll need to double-check that it’s integrated with your website platform – usually by way of a plugin.
The great thing about these integrations is that you can have complete control of your web design while leveraging the powerful e-commerce tools offered by the platform.
What is the payment plan?
Just like you, e-commerce platforms are designed to make money, so there’ll always be a fee of some sort to pay. Exactly what this fee looks like is an important detail to nail down before deciding on the platform for you.
Some licensed e-commerce platforms such as Shopify will charge a monthly fee to use their platform, while WordPress and WooCommerce are absolutely free.
It’s a good idea to compare each business model, run some calculations, and decide what works best for you.
Is it SEO-friendly?
Search Engine Optimisation is the beating heart of any thriving online business.
SEO ensures that customers arrive through organic searches. In this way, you can generate consistent sales without having to pay for advertising.
To achieve this, you’ll need to make sure that the e-commerce platform you choose has SEO tools built in which enable you to build your product pages in a search-optimised way.
So, there you have it: a quick primer into choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business. Remember that this is very much a holistic decision.
Everything we’ve covered in this article will come into play as you make your decision, so consider each one carefully before settling on the platform which will power your e-commerce business.
Still undecided? This article may help WooCommerce Vs Shopify – which is the best ecommerce platform?.