So you’re about to start an online store…
You’re excited... You can’t wait to get started… And you’re now looking to find an ecommerce platform to launch your store.
Before you go out there and choose the first ecommerce platform you find, here are 10 questions to ask to make sure you find the right solution for what you sell.
1. How much will it cost?
Just as eCommerce businesses come in all shapes and sizes, so too do eCommerce platforms. On one end of the scale it is possible to run your store on a free, open source eCommerce platform - but you’ll be on your own when it comes to setting it up and fixing any issues that arise. On the other end of the scale, you could be paying large fees that are proportionate to the number of products you are selling. Look for something that fits with your budget and size, and be sure to compare the inclusions it offers. Some eCommerce platforms may seem cheap on face value, but they will charge a high fee on every transaction, or charge for certain add ons that may be essential for your business. Do your research to be sure you’re really getting value for money.
2. Will it grow with my business?
While it’s hard to project the exact growth of your business, you need to choose an eCommerce platform that scales if you’re anticipating expansion. A good eCommerce platform will offer a more cost effective plan for young businesses, with opportunities to increase capacity as your inventory and needs scale up. While it is possible to migrate from a smaller eCommerce platform to a larger one, it will be much simpler to select a platform that can grow alongside your online success.
3. Is it user-friendly?
A great eCommerce platform will make it easy for you to setup, navigate and monitor your store. As well as being able to add and update products easily, you should be able to track the success of your business with inbuilt real-time reporting, inventory management, analytics, and KPI tracking.
4. Is there support for the onboarding process?
Whether you’re setting up shop for the first time or migrating to a new platform, it’s great to know that someone can be of assistance if you need it. You should look for a platform that can offer support during your local business hours, and perhaps even a personal training session. There should also be ample information and training documentation available to you for when you want to implement things yourself.
5. Will it integrate with other solutions?
To really get your business going, you’ll need to integrate your eCommerce platform with other software and tools. Check if your platform offers direct integrations to popular accounting, marketing and analytics apps. Ideally you’ll also be able to expand your customer reach through other sales channels such as eBay, Facebook, and Google Shopping, all while seamlessly keeping your inventory synchronised and up to date. Your platform may even have a native shipping system, allowing you to integrate with local shipping carriers and automate your labelling.
6. What payments can I accept?
Offering flexibility in your payment options makes transactions easy for your customers. Does your platform support all the leading payment gateways for credit card processing? Can you offer other payment options like PayPal, BPAY, and MasterPass? Can you accept payments in real time as well as use invoices for payment at a later date? Customers may also like the option to split their payments - for example, paying for some of their bill with a credit card, and some with PayPal. You may want your shop to offer part payments and laybys, or triggered and recurring payments. You may also want customers to be able to choose whether they checkout as a guest or create an account, where they can view their order history. Check that your platform can offer all the solutions you need.
7. Is it SEO-friendly?
Never underestimate the power of search engine optimisation (SEO). If you want customers to easily find your products on the Internet, it’s critical that your eCommerce site is equipped with features that make it SEO-friendly. These features may include a global CDN, customisable URLs, canonical tags, XML sitemaps, and responsive website templates that work on desktop, mobile and tablets.
8. How secure is it?
In order for your customers to do business with you, it’s essential that they feel safe. All of your account and checkout pages should be secured by secure socket layer (SSL) technology. Some platforms provide SSL certificates within their subscription. You’ll also want to choose a platform that takes your data security seriously, perhaps offering daily backups and a guarantee on your data.
9. Can it help you sell more products?
Your eCommerce platform may have features that can help you to upsell at the checkout, market to new customers or retain the customers you already have. For example, you may be able to provide product recommendations based on the contents of a customer’s shopping cart. With some platforms, you can create a customer loyalty program or segment customers into groups (such as most loyal customers) and export their details for use in marketing campaigns. The platform may allow customers to share products, blog posts, or other content pages on social networks, as well as provide reviews and ratings for products. You may also be able to recover lost sales by automatically sending an email to shoppers with a link to their abandoned shopping cart, perhaps with a coupon code to incentivise them to come back to your store.
10. Is there a free trial?
Taking advantage of test trials is a smart move for any business owner. Free trials allow you to see whether or not the platform will be a good fit for your store and at no monetary loss for your business.
Could Neto be right for your store? Find out with our free 14-day trial - no credit card required.