A look at any recent study will reveal that e-commerce is the future of retail. A 2015 report
showed that e-commerce sales had increased significantly in 10 countries (including United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany) since the previous year.
Any business owner knows that when you have a great product and an audience that wants it, the only thing you need is the technology to directly connect customers to your product. So how do you go about choosing an e-commerce solution when the market is so saturated? While comparing features and prices to try to narrow down your options can be a daunting task, there are a few key features to look for in a solid e-commerce software solution.
1. Customization Options
You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of creating a memorable brand. It’s the small, seemingly insignificant details that make a brand unique. So when you’re shopping for a new e-commerce platform, the ability to customize various aspects of your shop is a big plus. For those who prefer to use HTML or CSS, you’ll want to choose an option that offers detailed customization through these methods. Some platforms offer free design templates to choose from, while others charge a fee for templates. In addition, some offer built-in blogs or WordPress integration, so be sure to select a platform that caters to your particular customization needs.
2. Usability and Flexibility
One of the most crucial factors to any e-commerce platform is whether or not it is easy to use. Business owners don’t have time to fiddle around with faulty interfaces or learn complex systems. You need a quick and intuitive solution that empowers you to do what you need to do. A good platform will have the flexibility to accommodate your business as it changes and grows over time. For example, certain platforms offer unlimited bandwidth, while others have a gigabyte limit. Typically, higher priced platforms will have more bandwidth available.
3. Streamlined Payments
A payment system that serves your customers should be a high priority. A store that offers multiple payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards and PayPal gives customers a seamless experience, making them more likely to return in the future.
While most e-commerce solutions are now mobile-friendly and offer mobile checkout to customers, the ease of checkout from different devices will vary. Thus it’s important to look into exactly how your customers will be checking out. Many e-commerce sites link up with third-party payment companies, so find out which one you would be using and whether it fits your expectations.
4. Web Hosting
Your domain name is one of the key ingredients to making your store memorable and accessible to visitors. Thus it’s important to have a simple and recognizable name that you can purchase without jumping through hoops. E-commerce platforms should also have a high-speed server so that customers can quickly navigate your site without waiting for pages to load. Some platforms offer a content delivery network, meaning they have several hosts around the world.
5. Marketing Assistance
While marketing assistance isn’t the primary offering of an e-commerce platform, it certainly doesn’t hurt as an add-on. A quality platform will have built-in marketing capabilities so you can optimize for search engines, create email campaigns, and even review performance analytics. Many platforms now allow you to integrate your store with social media accounts and place share buttons on your site. This opens up another dimension of exposure, as customers can show your products to friends and family after purchasing.
By identifying the functions you need most and researching several platforms, you can find an e-commerce platform that streamlines the purchasing process and helps your business flourish.
For more information, read our next blog post 5 of the Best Enterprise E-Commerce Software Solutions
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