Insights, Web Development

How To Choose The Right Ecommerce Platform

The most important factors to consider when choosing the right ecommerce platform and selecting the best one for you.

Why ecommerce?

The main reason many businesses prefer ecommerce is reaching the global market. By doing so, the sellers also reach a greater amount of consumers, and could easily offer a shorter service distribution and lesser pricing. It is simpler and faster than serving a physical place.

Selling and purchasing online services, however, is as simple as it is tricky.

Online transactions have evolved to be quite convenient for everyone in the comfort of their living room. Yet, this accessibility had glutted the market to the point it would get harder for sellers to emerge and get noticed amongst other numerous competitors.

It’s essential for every seller not only to boost advertising but also to build a great looking, efficient, and user-friendly shop. To do that, the sellers need to choose the right ecommerce platform according to the type of business as well as the function of the website.

Surely, creating your online store requires equal efforts and strategizing as setting up and maintaining a physical store. There is a list of things you should keep in mind when planning their online business to grow into a successful one and how to choose the right ecommerce platform is definitely one of them.

We will highlight the things that make an online store successful as well as those we need to consider before choosing the right platform in each case.

What makes a successful ecommerce website?

  • Ideal User Experience
  • Customers Engagement
  • SEO
  • Branding
  • Availability

These are the most important conditions we will take into consideration when reviewing the different ecommerce platforms. Of course, there are specific components like shipping prices and speed, and the clarity of return policies. We won’t refer to those in this article since they don’t concern the ecommerce platforms themselves.

The reason we highlighted the first two is simple: most of the ecommerce businesses fail because customers can’t understand how to use the website. Difficult navigation, bad structure, and unclear values and policies can play a bad number on your endeavor. Even so, this isn’t something that should discourage you.

📱 Ideal User Experience

This goes without saying: Your customers will want to have a great user experience. If you offer your customers a well-optimized UI, they will make their stay. If the UI is confusing, they will leave.

Even further, consider a mobile-first approach. The potential customers’ patience has shortened so everything should be related to the consumer’s convenience: from design to return policies.

Most users prefer to purchase from their mobile devices which push the need to prioritize the mobile experience over the desktop. An ecommerce website takes care of a smooth and easy to use navigation, checkout cart, clean design, and enough space for tapping on the buttons and CTAs.

👋 Customers Engagement

Whether you build your website from scratch or use a pre-made template, be clear about the structure from the categories and their labels. Keep it simple and user-friendly so your clients could easily find the thing they’re looking for.

The experience needs to be clear and intuitive and also engaging. A well- planned structure can heavily gain you control over your customer’s interaction with your website and, respectively, your business.

📈 SEO

This component strongly relies on the SEO performance of your website. This is why for any ecommerce platform it is necessary to have a clean yet detailed in options SEO customization. Aside from that, some platforms have higher performance SEO than others. When you choose the right ecommerce platform you should consider this no matter if you like it or not.

Additionally, Google constantly changes its guidelines and pushes new algorithm updates. Those could hit your rankings pretty bad if you have content that violates Google’s Search Quality Guidelines.

Of course, climbing up the rankings would require some work in terms of content, images, and the usage of rich snippets. Keyword research is also of great importance.

⚜️ Branding

Branding is not just a logo. It sums up customer service and reputation, advertising, and distinguished design assets (logo, colors, shapes, fonts, and etc.). Whether you have a company that wants to be recognized on the market or you’ve just started a small business, having a “face” creates trust. The more polished the business looks, the more legitimate and trustworthy.

We’ve gone over the main factors we should consider if we want to build a truly successful ecommerce business and we’re ready to build it. 

The next step is to choose the right ecommerce platform upon which we can build our online business. There are also a few things to keep in mind.

The most important factors when you choose the right ecommerce platform

For starters, there isn’t such a thing as one particular best ecommerce platform. To base your selection on popularity is always a good way to start your search, however, the best ecommerce platform for you will be the one that specifically covers your objectives.

⚙️ Customization

It’s fair to say the best websites for online businesses rely on unique design and experience. Being able to customize your website with signature colors or shapes is extremely important for branding. That’s why most businesses are looking for ecommerce alternatives that offer a rich palette of customization tools instead of simply using a premade template. Surely, there’s also the opportunity to take a step further and get that website built from scratch by devoted coders.

Needless to say, source code access is vital if you want to create something truly distinguishable from the rest. This is especially vital for niche businesses with specific requirements, so that’s one of the most important things when you choose the right ecommerce platform.

👁️ Visual Editing

Sometimes, going back and forth between the panel and the website in order to preview changes could be tiring. Some platforms offer a real-time preview of the website as you’re working on it.

🏠 Hosting

This one heavily depends on the business owner’s preference. Big businesses and brands usually do require to take care of their own hosting, security, and updates. Small ones, however, prefer not to worry about these issues and use a platform that comes with all of this. With the new wave of SaaS platforms however, this trend may change, as some of the biggest ecommerce platforms like Shopify are now taking big brands in their hats. So when you choose the right ecommerce platform you need to consider whenever you have the capacity to handle the hosting on your side, or you’re Okay to pay the price with a hosted platform.

💡 Intuitive Experience 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or not, it’s always better to experience an easy to use interface and know where to find the ecommerce and business tools you need.

🛠️ Tools

We’ll also include App Integrations as a necessary component. When you choose the right ecommerce platform, it’s important to get a complete suite of marketing tools. The powerful all-in-one solutions offer tools for the landing page, the website’s blog, and even for email marketing.

Make sure the platform offers accounting plugins for your sales, taxes, and revenues. It’s also great to have ways to reward your new and loyal customers. Let’s also not forget the plugins that make shipping more convenient for your users.

Always know what sort of tools you will need for your business before deciding on a platform.

📈 Performance

Not just for speed, reliability, and security but also for SEO. The authority on Search Engines defines the ranking and views for your website. The platforms should pack comprehensive features such as allowing you domain name, customer reviews, and a blog.

🛡️ Security

When ecommerce business is actively dealing with financial transactions, security is absolutely essential. It’s important to review the platform’s security track record and invest time in upgrades, security patches, constant maintenance, and updates. In terms of security, SaaS-based ecommerce platforms are theoretically safer than open-source.

💲 Pricing 

Setting up your ecommerce site is only the beginning. What you could keep in mind is that there will be other costs for maintenance, upgrades, and new features. All of this varies depending on the type of platform you’re using.

With an open-source platform such as WordPress WooCommerce, the responsibility for maintenance falls on you (not on the platform support) and costs will vary depending on how complex your website is.

There are of course platforms, that are SaaS-based and they are created on one single codebase. These updates are maintained by the platform itself and require a monthly fee.

Although pricing and quality are often correlated, some amongst the expensive tools tend to be affordable for big businesses and organizations. In conclusion, be careful not to sacrifice important features for the sake of a cheaper initial price.

📞 Support

The need for fast and adequate support goes without saying. It’s essential for a platform to offer 27/7 support via different channels in case of emergency issues. Some platforms offer dedicated teams for issues with different components of your ecommerce website.

Choose the right ecommerce platform

Once you’re aware of your specific objectives, it’s time to choose the right ecommerce platform that suits you best. In order to help you, here are our favorite picks that definitely deserve the popularity they already have.

We’ve compared those 4 eCommerce platforms by the components we listed and also gave each of them detailed reviews, comparing their pros and cons, as well as their unique features.

WordPress WooCommerce Shopify Squarespace BigCommerce
Type  Open- Source  SaaS  Closed-Source  Cloud-Based
Customization  High (rich library of customizable themes, plugins, and addons)  Medium (better customization requires to alter the code yourself)  Medium (better customization requires to alter the code yourself)  High
Visual Editing  No Shopify Page Builder Apps   WYSIWYG  WYSIWYG
Hosting  Requires a hosted service and installed and configured WordPress CMS  Self- hosted  Self-hosted  Self-hosted
Experience  Suitable for both pros and beginners  Easy to use  Easy to use  Not suitable for beginners. Has a learning curve and specific terminology.
Tools   Thousands of tools and plugins All-in-one solutions with a full set of tools  Limited (additions require to alter the code yourself). It depends on the Squarespace plan you get.  A huge set of already built-in tools
SEO Performance   High SEO performance. Offers SEO plugins High SEO performance  Medium to High SEO performance (higher requires advanced knowledge in SEO)  High (comes with its own analytics suite for key metrics)
Security  Requires constant maintenance by the user Highest ( PCI Compliance Level 1)  High (everything is handled by Squarespace)  High (everything is handled by BigCommerce)
Pricing  Free for initial product and basic features. Require additional costs for other services. Basic – $29/month + credit card rate

Shopify – $79/month + credit card rate

Advanced – $299/month + credit card rate

Plus – $2,000/month + credit card rate

Personal $12 monthly

Business $18 monthly

Basic Store $26 monthly

Advanced Store $40 monthly

Standard: $29.95 monthly

Plus: $79.95 monthly

Pro: $299.95 monthly

Support  Huge community, documentation, guides, and forums.  Offers 24/7  24/7  24/7

In Conclusion

Ecommerce websites are a powerful business tool that should be handled with careful planning and strategy. How to choose the right ecommerce platform to build upon is only one but extremely important step on this endeavor. This is why there are many things to consider before stopping on one of those platforms.

We hope you find our guide helpful. Please, if you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments.

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