6 Questions to Ask When Choosing an E-Commerce Platform
Selecting the right e-commerce platform for your online site is a big part of setting up your business. Doing so can give your site a good head start, as well as a stable foundation for success in the future.
There are no easy answers to this problem, as each business venture is unique in its own way. So it’s up to YOU – the online entrepreneur – to carefully consider the needs of your shop and the pros and cons of the every e-commerce platform.
To narrow down the search for the most fitting e-commerce service for your online shop, here are some important questions to consider.
Hosted or Self-Hosted?
Before we go deeper into the discussion, first decide whether to self-host your shop or rely on an existing e-commerce platform to power your online venture.
If you choose the self-hosted route, you get greater flexibility and customization. What that entails though, is handling all the technical backend that may or may not be within your scope of knowledge. You can also choose to offload these tasks to a third party developer for a cost that may vary depending on your requirements.
On the other side of the coin, choosing to go with established e-commerce platforms like Shopify will allow you to fully concentrate on sales, marketing, and brand-building without worrying about the technical aspects.
The trade-off in selecting this option is that you won’t have a lot of freedom to customize your shop. Costs can also be a potential issue, as well as policy and service changes within the platform.
What Will You Sell?
Most e-commerce platforms offer support for both physical and digital goods but some services are more specialized than others. You also need to consider the variety of your products as certain platforms charge for multiple product options and inventory tracking.
How Will You Process Payments?
Customers can get very discouraged when their preferred payment methods are not available in an e-commerce platform. Carefully consider how the majority of your patrons will be paying.
It’s also important to note that not all e-commerce sites work with all third party payment solutions. Look up these crucial details before sticking with a platform.
Is It Easy to Integrate?
As mentioned previously, some platforms can be picky when it comes to integrating third party apps and plugins. If you’re heavily reliant on a particular service or site to fuel a certain part of your business, then it’s best to see whether your favored platform can integrate these smoothly.
Does It Offer Support?
E-commerce newbies and veterans alike will eventually encounter site issues where they’ll need the help of the platform’s support team for resolution. Make sure to check the level and availability of your platform’s support channels so you can avoid down times as much as possible.
Will You Have Room to Grow?
A well-run online shop will thrive and eventually see growth. Migrating to a different e-commerce platform because the service cannot satisfy your requirements anymore can be very costly in both time and resources. As such, it’s best to select an e-commerce platform that can scale to accommodate your business’ future needs.
A bit of analytical foresight is needed for this, so do your best to anticipate how big your business will be within a given time frame.