Feb 6, 2017 2:56:25 PM

What to Look for in an E-Commerce Platform

Written by Jereme Sanborn

e-commerceIf you do not have an e-commerce platform already, you should. Almost any business can benefit from one, and you are missing out big time if you do not. How big? Well, consider that U.S. e-commerce sales have more than doubled in the last five years and that by 2017 e-commerce will be responsible for 10 percent of all U.S. sales, pretty darn big.

Once you make the decision to sell online, the first step is finding an e-commerce platform solution, which is what allows you to build an online storefront. However, how do you know which is the right one to take your business to the next level? Consider the following. 

Set Up

Some platforms are easier than others when it comes to set up. Your skills and tech knowledge will come into play, as some platforms are extremely easy and intuitive, while others take more know-how.

Who’s the host?

When people search for a product online, you want your product to rise to the top. What makes that happen is search engine optimization (SEO). Make sure you choose a platform that that offers SEO features, such as the ability to customize title pages and URLs for easy searching and an integrated blogging platform, which can generate external links.

SEO

When people search for a product online, you want your product to rise to the top. What makes that happen is search engine optimization (SEO). Make sure you choose a platform that that offers SEO features, such as the ability to customize title pages and URLs for easy searching and an integrated blogging platform, which can generate external links.

Social Media Integration

Make sure your platform offers tools for social media integrations, such as sharing buttons on your product pages. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to spread the word about your business on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites.

User Experience

Your customers’ experience when shopping on your website is the most important thing overall. Is it easy to navigate, and do pages load quickly? If the answer is anything less than an enthusiastic yes, you risk losing sales as customers bail when they get frustrated. You also want to make sure it looks good and captures and keeps the customer’s attention, so check out the templates various platforms

Scalability

While you may just be starting out in the world of online sales, you want to make sure your platform can support you as your business grows. Check out platforms for things like product limits and how performance impacted by growth.

Security

Make sure the platform is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, to protect both you and your customers. With all too frequent hacks and breaches, security of your site is vital.

Cost

There’s a wide range of prices when it comes to e-commerce platforms. You have to decide what you can afford and how it will affect your bottom line. Start with a list of essentials, and build your list of wants from there, then see what makes the most financial sense for your business.  Remember, you will also need funds to pay for things like product photographs, content and a payment gateway.

Support

As with any other service your business depends on, you want to make sure that you can get help when something goes wrong to make sure sales do not suffer. Find out beforehand what methods of support they offer and get recommendations from other clients if possible as to their responsiveness.

Topics: E-commerce