Did you know that there will be an estimated 2.14 billion global digital buyers in the year 2021?
Ecommerce is becoming increasingly important for running a successful business, and a big part of the success available to you is choosing the right e-commerce platform.
When starting a business, choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business strategy is the biggest determinant of your business’s future success. It will help you stay ahead of changing shopping behaviors and grow your business.
Continue reading for startup advice for choosing the best e-commerce platform for your business strategy.
What Is an E-Commerce Platform?
An e-commerce platform is a software application that helps you set up your business as an online store. It also helps you to manage the store’s inventory as well as accept and process payments for your goods.
Using an e-commerce platform is a less expensive alternative to selling your goods through Amazon but you won’t have access to a large customer base immediately like you would with Amazon.
If you’ve already successfully established a brick-and-mortar store, making the move to an ecommerce store is a great strategy for growing your business. It will provide you with access to millions of potential customers.
Types of E-Commerce Platforms
There are three different types of e-commerce platforms to choose from. The first is a software as a service. It is the least complex platform to use which is why it is so popular with merchants and business owners.
It works by renting a platform rather than buying or creating your own. It is quick and easy to set up compared to the other platform options. The downside is that you give up control of the e-commerce market with SaaS e-commerce platforms.
Open-source software is another e-commerce platform option for starting a company. It gives you more control over the software that is running your store. You’ll need to find a hosting plan for hosting the software.
You’ll also need to regularly update the software to ensure that it complies with the standards of the industry as well as to keep it secure. It is a great fit for a business owner that wants greater control and has the tech skills to update it themselves.
The last type of platform is licensed ecommerce software. You purchase this from a vendor that runs your ecommerce store for you. You get to use the software and have access to updates and support until the license expires.
Once the license expires, it is up to you to renew it. You’ll also need to find a web hosting service that supports and works with the software you’ve chosen.
There are tons of options out there for when you choose to start an online boutique. What are the steps that you need to take for finding the perfect e-commerce platform for you? Here are some startup tips for finding the right platform.
Determine the Costs
The first thing you need to look at when choosing an e-commerce platform is the cost. Every type of platform has costs that come with it. Some require monthly service fees while others require a yearly fee for your license to use it.
Some e-commerce platforms might cost less but with the drawback of not supporting all of the functions your business requires for operating an online store.
There are also additional costs to consider like the cost of plug-ins and other integrations that add up. Taking those costs into consideration is important in order to get an accurate estimate of what the costs amount to for your business.
Cloud vs. On-Premise
There are two different ways to host your e-commerce platform. The first is through the cloud. SaaS platforms are commonly hosted on cloud-based servers. Your costs for using their servers are added to your monthly fee.
The total cost of going the cloud route is determined by the size of your business and the number of sales you generate. It is a great fit for companies that are growing because it is easily scalable.
On-premise platforms have the advantage of being a great fit for businesses with complex strategies. They allow for a lot of customization since they are open-source. This allows almost anything to be coded into them.
The drawback to on-premise platforms is that they can become expensive quickly with additions and customizations that you make to their coding.
Mobile sales are becoming an increasingly large part of e-commerce sales each year. Making sure that your platform is mobile-friendly is vital for the success of your business.
When choosing the e-commerce platform for your business, be sure to choose one that provides a good customer experience and that makes it easy to navigate and shop on a mobile device.
If everything goes according to your business planning, your e-commerce store will flourish. When your sales and business grow, you want to make sure that your e-commerce platform is capable of growing with it.
If your e-commerce platform isn’t capable of growing, your e-commerce website will experience slow load times and frequent crashes. This will turn away many frustrated shoppers and kill your sales.
The e-commerce platform that you choose needs to be capable of handling spikes in traffic and give you the ability to evolve your website. Having the ability to change payment options is crucial, as is having the ability to increase your data storage.
Now You’re Ready to Choose an E-Commerce Platform
There is a lot that goes into choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business’s needs. You want to make sure that it is scalable so that it grows with your business. You’ll also want to choose a platform that works seamlessly with mobile devices.
Most important of all, you need to consider the costs associated with the type of e-commerce platform that you choose for running your e-commerce store.
For more great articles about startup advice and starting a company, be sure to check out our other blog posts.