13 Characteristics of A Good E-Commerce Platform
E-commerce is a trend that can no longer be ignored. Online businesses give you virtually unlimited access to the infinite market on the internet. Whether you already have a physical store or want to start a business, selling your products online will give you a significant edge over your competitors. If you are looking for an e-commerce platform to host your online store, here are a few critical features to check for:
All e-commerce platforms have fees that you need to consider. You need to get accurate and detailed information as to what each plan costs and other allied fees. Most plans charge monthly payments that are billed either monthly or yearly. Other costs include credit card processing fees, additional features costs, and transaction fees. Monitoring these fees will keep your spending in check and avoid rude surprises once your invoice rolls in.
Avoid compromising quality for costs as this only helps in the short term, weigh all the pros and cons before deciding to purchase. You can also try the platforms’ free trials, if there are any, to test their services before committing your capital.
Integrations or plug-ins are special tools offered by your e-commerce platform to sustain your online business and enable you to run it. Some platforms, like BigCommerce, already have numerous integrations on your storefront, while others like Shopify will require you to install apps from the app store.
Be sure to ask for the availability of the plug-ins you will need, and their relevance to your industry. Examples include accounting plug-ins for profit, sales revenue and taxes management, shipping apps, social media, and e-mail marketing, and inventory management features. You should also monitor the costs of the third party apps because they are not usually included in your monthly fees.
Over 60% of online store buyers scroll through mobile devices. For your online store to reach as many potential customers as possible, you will need an e-commerce platform whose templates are fully mobile ready. This essentially means that your store’s website should be perfectly accessible and legible on Smartphones and tablets. Your customers should clearly see images, product descriptions, and other site features, and be able to transact on their mobiles.
Among the crucial factors in the success of your online store is the reliability of your chosen platform’s customer service team. E-commerce is subject to glitches, outages, server downtimes and other issues that can cause massive losses and tarnish your corporate image. Most of these issues tend to crop up during Black Fridays, holidays and end months because they correspond with enormous traffic spikes.
You should check out all platforms’ customer service reviews. The best customer service should have a friendly team that is available 24/7 via live chat, phone call or email. Most platforms also have FAQs databases and online communities where you can search for or voice your concerns.
As your business grows, its demands and traffic will also increase. Your chosen platform should be able to handle a load of your growing business adequately. Select a platform with plans similar in size and capability to your business at whatever level it is. Also consider the charges at the higher tiers, to ensure that the functionalities offered are commensurate with the fees.
Security is a significant factor in running an online business as transaction and money transfer will often be involved. Your customers will avoid your store if the site looks sketchy and suspicious. Ensure that your chosen platform gives you an SSL certificate for better security and safe checkout. Also, ensure that your chosen platform is PCI compliant (Payment Card Industry).
The comprehensive library of templates or themes
If you are looking to impress your customers from the second they click your site, then your theme option and site design will have to be stunning. Look for an e-commerce platform that offers a wide selection of customizable, intuitive themes that are pleasing to the eye. The themes should also support expansion via the use of widgets and plug-ins.
SEO increases the chances of your site being spotted by potential clients by ranking it high on search engine results. Your chosen platform and plan should give you SEO features like optimized URL, inbuilt blogs with RSS feed and a reviews/rating mechanism.
This is the ability to monitor your store’s stats, analytics, sales, and other transaction characteristics to help you make better decisions and take advantage of any new opportunities. Your e-commerce platform should give you access to the best professional report generators, statistical and analytics tools among others for business intelligence.
Order management systems
These are systems put in place to reduce order processing time for efficient business and a better business image. Your platform can integrate an OMS to your storefront that will help you monitor your inventory visibility, order accuracy and other metrics that affect the efficiency of order time.
The best e-commerce platform is that which is friendly to all clients regardless of their tech expertise. Your control dashboard should be easy to understand and manage. Your customers should also have an easy time navigating through your site and making transactions.
This function will help you reach out to more people via selling and marketing on other platforms like social media and WordPress. Your platform should allow easy integration with all major platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Some platforms go the extra mile and allow shoppers to buy your products without leaving the social media site.
Another important feature of your storefront will be a high-quality search box. Your customers and site visitors should be able to search for all your product categories by applying fine filters and using keywords. This will make a significant difference, as they will be able to find that unique product by its unique specifications.
Starting an online business can be challenging but choosing the right e-commerce platform is the smartest first step. Your platform will be your partner every step of the way to ensure your success. Read More : 10 Best Ecommerce Platforms Compared & Rated For 2019