If someone wants to buy a laptop or a grocery item, what will he do in today’s times?
He will simply visit Google and search for it. Or he will install eCommerce websites such as Amazon or eBay and buy from there.
Gone are the days when you used to visit retail stores to buy items of any sort. Today, you can order books, food, grocery items, laptops, smartphones, and any other item online, while sitting on your couch.
eCommerce is that powerful. Shopping online has become a norm almost across the globe, including in developing countries.
If you have a product to sell, you can start selling it online. All you need is an eCommerce web development company in India.
However, developing an eCommerce website is not an issue, choosing the right platform is a challenge. This is the reason we have decided to publish this blog. It will help you choose the right eCommerce platform for your business.
However, before we delve further into choosing the right eCommerce platform, let’s check out some of the statistics for the global eCommerce industry.
Whether you believe it or not, COVID-19 has completely changed the fate of the global eCommerce industry.
As the pandemic struck, consumers moved to eCommerce channels by nearly 30% in the USA. It is a huge margin.
A recent survey predicts that by 2024, eCommerce marketplaces will generate $3.5 trillion in sales.
Furthermore, a new study also shows that millennials are the ones who love to shop online.
Another report reveals that high-definition product images increase the conversion rate by 250%.
Also, 81% of consumers conduct online research before making any purchases.
These latest statistics reveal that the eCommerce industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Hiring the right eCommerce development company in India can help you set up your website and get the right visibility across the globe.
You have to be highly strategic to choose the right eCommerce platform for your business.
Let’s check out some of the reasons why choosing the right eCommerce platform is vital for your business.
Why is it crucial to choose the right eCommerce platform for your business?
Because your eCommerce store’s success depends on the platform you choose to sell your products.
An eCommerce platform helps you manage your online selling activities such as marketing, inventory management, categories, sales, operations, and other crucial activities.
In addition to that, the right eCommerce platform will also open the floodgates of opportunities for your business’s growth. It will make your processes and operations smooth and seamless and offer the best customer experiences.
In short, choosing the right platform will improve your chances of more engagements, customer retention, traffic, and conversions.
You don’t need to spend fortunes to start your eCommerce store. You can start with a moderate budget as well. In fact, the right eCommerce platform might save you a lot of time, money and effort.
However, you don’t just need to count the development cost of the eCommerce website, you take into account the running costs as well.
Also, you must focus on offering the best features and functionalities to engage your customers when they are in the store.
If you are not able to choose the right eCommerce platform for your business, you can hire an eCommerce web design company in India that can consult you for this.
Now that we have discussed the importance of choosing the right eCommerce platform, let’s discuss the main factors to consider while choosing the right platform for your business.
Factors to consider while choosing the best eCommerce platform
If you have to name a list of top-notch eCommerce platforms preferred by businesses and start-ups today, there are many names such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, Ecwid, OpenCart, PrestaShop, Zen Cart, BigCommerce, etc.
Now, before you start exploring different factors for the selection of the eCommerce platform, here is a list of questions you need to answer:
- What are your current and future business objectives and goals?
- What are the features and functionalities you want to incorporate in your store?
- What are your target audience and their behavioral patterns?
- Which segment of customers do you want to target?
- Are you an early player in the industry or do you want to scale up your business?
- What is the product or service gap you can fill in to get instant visibility in the market?
- Who are your main competitors? What are their core competencies?
- How do your products or services differ from your competitors?
Answering all these questions will help you choose the right eCommerce platform for your business.
Now that you have some clarity about your eCommerce store, we will not beat around the bush and start exploring various important factors to consider while choosing the best eCommerce platform.
Web Hosting and Platform Ownership
When it comes to eCommerce platforms, there are two types of hosting you can opt for: Self-hosted or cloud hosting.
In the Self-hosted option, you have to first find the hosting provider, then install it, and then take care of updates by yourself.
The main benefit of the self-hosted option is that you can have total control over the platform with superior security handling.
Furthermore, you also can have better data visibility. However, it might go out of budget as self-hosting is a costly affair.
On the other hand, for cloud hosting, you will need to approach a third-party cloud hosting supplier like Amazon Web Services. It is a much more cost-effective option and you can receive good customer support services.
However, you will not have total control over the servers. Also, you cannot mold the servers as per your business requirements and specific needs.
The third option is open-source eCommerce platforms such as Magento and WooCommerce. Here, you have the source code and have access to modify it too.
It simply means better control over things. However, the main problem with open-source eCommerce platforms is that you have to take care of everything including hosting, security management, third-party integrations, data analytics, etc.
You will need experts to handle and maintain the platform and it might also go out of budget.
SaaS platforms are eCommerce platforms that you can rent for a specific fee. It is way cheaper than open-source platforms and serves all your business purposes as well.
Here, the SaaS service provider will handle and manage various things such as security, hosting, updates, and other tasks. Here, the main problem is customization, which is very crucial in the eCommerce industry.
Headless eCommerce is the most advanced version of the eCommerce platform that incorporates digital touchpoints to offer a seamless experience to users. This platform simply decouples the front end with the back end.
This platform allows data and information exchange from front-end to back-end and vice versa with the help of third-party APIs. Also, developers can come up with a highly fast, secure, and highly personalized user experience for consumers.
The most important thing you need to consider while choosing the right eCommerce platform is whether the platform can offer an omnichannel user experience to your target audience or not.
User experience is one of the vital factors that determine the success of your eCommerce business. Delivering a good and pleasant user experience might help you win trust and brand visibility. It also keeps you ahead of the competition.
If you are a start-up, you have to worry about the pricing things. You have to be very smart at spending money on things.
You need to assess each eCommerce platform based on the total cost you would be incurring.
No matter which platform you choose, you have to pay a monthly fee. Also, there will be different processing fees.
However, you cannot take a risk of leaving features and functionalities you need the most for a price tag. You need to assess everything and get the best ROI for your choices.
Moreover, you also need to worry about the opportunity costs. For example, not all eCommerce platforms facilitate users with multiple payment options.
It might lead to shopping cart abandonment. It might cost you a lot, monetary and nonmonetary.
Big eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and Volusion offer a free trial. On the other hand, Magento offers a demo. WooCommerce is completely free to use.
You have to know the platform licensing fees, transactional costs, hosting costs, subscription fees, development and implementation costs, maintenance costs, etc.
Hire a custom eCommerce web development services provider to help you decide better.
The next factor that you need to keep in mind is third-party integrations. These integrations and plugins can help integrate additional features and functionalities.
Some of the integrations are SEO plugins, payment gateways, and email management plugins.
Remember that not all platforms offer all types of integration. You need to define your business needs before you end up choosing the eCommerce platform.
Some of the popular plugins are marketing and automation plugins, payment gateway plugins, CRMs, ERPs, shipping plugins, customer loyalty programs, etc.
Themes and User Experience
What is the main factor that lures the audience to visit your website or app again and again? It is the user experience.
Check out some of the most successful websites or apps such as Netflix, Airbnb, and others. They are simple yet elegant and highly intuitive.
Developers also understand the importance of UX and work hard to come up with highly innovative and engaging UX.
No matter how useful and high-quality products you offer, if you don’t offer a pleasant user experience to your audience, they will simply walk out.
Behavioral patterns of consumers are changing and they are looking for more engaging and immersive shopping experiences.
That is where themes come into the picture. Your eCommerce store’s theme will determine the store design and you need to leave no stone unturned to choose the right theme.
Most eCommerce platforms have a wide range of themes to select from. Some of them are free and some are premium ones.
For custom eCommerce development, you need to have a unique theme that creates engagement. Hence, invest wisely while choosing the theme of the store.
Speed and Scalability
How would you feel when you visit a store and it makes you wait while loading?
You have a few items in your cart and when you move to the payment page, it takes a while to load. It will dishearten you. You might end up abandoning the cart and might not visit the same store again.
A report reveals that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, cart abandonment increases by 32%. And if it takes more than 5 seconds, the same ratio increases by 90%.
Speed is crucial especially when you are developing an eCommerce website. Even if you scale your store, it should not affect the speed and performance.
This is another parameter to check while choosing the eCommerce platform.
Assess a platform on various parameters such as the loading speed, frozen pages, sluggish performance issues, capacity to handle more traffic, horizontal and vertical scaling, site speed, and other relevant parameters.
Here, a cloud-hosted platform might end your headache. Choose a platform that has a wide range of features and functionalities that can match your business growth requirements.
Furthermore, ensure that the platform offers good technical support from their end.
Product Management System
Managing your products in the best and most meaningful manner is crucial in the eCommerce industry.
You will need an advanced eCommerce product management system that can offer a compelling user experience and manage products easily.
Some of the features that you need to look at are our bulk product upload, product categorization, wish list, product comparison, recently viewed items, and search filters such as sorting, color, location, size, etc.
Go for an advanced product management system and your store will have a more dynamic and robust design to lure your audience.
Some of the questions that make your assessment simple are:
- Can the platform handle bulk traffic during peak traffic hours?
- Can you add products in bulk directly to the store?
- Does the platform allow you to create product variations based on colors, size, weight, etc.?
Or you can hire a professional eCommerce web development services company that can guide you to find the best platform.
Security should be the most crucial concern for anyone in the eCommerce industry. There are global laws that emphasize protecting consumer safety and privacy.
However, security breaches might damage your reputation and trust and it is not a good sign.
Some of the eCommerce security breaches are identity theft, account theft, and unlawful phishing.
You need to look at the security measures of the eCommerce platform before you choose one. Most eCommerce platforms have built-in security measures, but many of them can offer additional layers of security in case you need them.
Also, you have to comply with local and global data security laws and guidelines such as PCI Compliance, SSL, and others.
Ensure that the platform is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. Adhering to such compliances and laws helps brands win the trust and respect of their audiences.
Multiple Payment Gateways Support
Customers who shop in your store would want to pay online. Here, you need to facilitate them with multiple payment options to reduce the shopping cart abandonment ratio.
For example, if your store does not support Paypal, people who want to pay through this channel might leave your cart.
If you are a global brand, you need to localize the payment process to offer a seamless experience to your customers. Though it is a challenge, it is achievable.
You need to offer a wide range of payment options to your consumers and hence, choose an eCommerce platform that supports a wide range of payment gateways.
In today’s cut-throat competition, you can win the game only when you personalize everything. Different studies show that eCommerce companies are spending trillions on making things personalized for their consumers.
With the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, you can offer a highly personalized experience to your customers.
Thankfully, most eCommerce platforms have a recommendation engine that recommends products to consumers based on a wide variety of criteria such as age, sex, location, specific daytime, weather, past behavioral patterns, order history, recently viewed items, abandoned products, lifestyle, etc.
Also, eCommerce companies receive a massive amount of data from various sources. This data is processed, analyzed, and managed to get highly crucial insights.
Smartphones are the new normal when it comes to online shopping. In 2022, the total amount of digital transactions that happened through mobiles is $432.24 billion.
Your store must be able to offer a mobile-ready experience to your audience. Earlier, it was not the case, but the pandemic had completely changed the way people look at online shopping.
Now, they prefer to buy groceries, medicines, and other household goods online to simply avoid long waiting lines.
Ensure that the eCommerce platform you choose offers a highly personalized, smooth, and intuitive user experience to your audience.
Another crucial thing that you need to consider is whether the eCommerce platform you choose is SEO-Friendly or not. Having an SEO-Friendly website can turn things in your favor.
First of all, organic SEO takes more time than other digital marketing approaches. However, when you have an SEO-Friendly platform, it makes things easier for you.
Many eCommerce platforms have in-built SEO plugins and tools. They allow custom domain names, update metadata, and add pagination.
Discuss with your SEO team which platform is more SEO-Friendly. An ideal platform allows businesses to convert URLs to SEO-Friendly URL structures and integrate Google analytics as well.
Order Management System
How fast can a person select items, place orders, and checkout from your store after paying online?
Consumers love a seamless, smooth, and fast order completion process. Not just that, consumers also expect regular communication by businesses for a better user experience.
Choose an eCommerce platform that offers a smooth, accurate, and transparent order process.
Some of the features to look into a platform are order tracking, email and SMS notifications, shipping API, and others.
Also, you need an order management system to coordinate with the inventory management system to ensure that customers only order items that are in stock. Hire a professional eCommerce web development company in India to make things easy.
Choosing the right platform is very crucial for your online store’s success. Take all things into account and then choose the right one.
Some of the best eCommerce platforms are Squarespace, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, and others. These platforms make the whole eCommerce web development seamless and effortless.
Hire an eCommerce web development company in India that not only offers good web development services but also help you choose the best eCommerce platform for you.