From pin to the plane- You can sell anything online. Yes, it’s 2019, and the right eCommerce platform can help your business go beyond a brick-and-mortar store.
But then, small business owners are still in dilemma about how to make the most from the online world using a suitable and reasonable platform. Well, this article is for them if they are ready to bring an online transformation.
Read on to get handy tips to choose the ideal eCommerce platform for small business in 2019 and beyond.
Let’s face it. You meet veterans like Amazon, Flipkart, Alibaba, and even Facebook when you enter the world of online shopping. Simply put, the roller-coaster ride is about to begin!
There, technology lends a helping hand with a plethora of eCommerce platforms. However, these readymade platforms are developed by keeping various business requirements in mind, and therefore, you need to do enough homework to find the right one for your online business.
Here we give a few deciding factors that can act as a stepping stone for your online business.
Factors to Consider while Selecting E-Commerce Platform
1. Price is not everything, but it is the first thing!
When it comes to small business, price matters the most. Thankfully, all the eCommerce platforms display their pricing structure along with the duration and other necessary information.
If you are entering in the eCommerce sector as a small retailer, then you need to go through the price lists of different platforms.
Affordability in terms of subscription fees, delivery costs, and an additional amount should be taken into account while selecting the platform.
It is better to keep in mind that you cannot change the platforms frequently. It can reduce the visibility of your website on the SERPs and ruins the reputation of your business.
At times, the platform you selected increases price or brings changes in its packages. In such a situation, you may need to change the platform after doing enough research and taking precautions.
2. Research is necessary
Do you know that every eCommerce platform offers a different package and can meet different business requirements? It is, therefore, necessary for you to do proper research. You can discuss with your team and gather all the needs after thorough brainstorming.
Here are a few aspects that require proper research:
- The platform should offer good hosting services.
- The platform should be capable of replacing the brick-and-mortar store.
- The platform should serve all major business objectives.
When it comes to select the right eCommerce platform, slight negligence and hasty decision can ruin your online business.
3. Look for SEO-friendliness
What’s the use of your eCommerce website if it cannot find the place on Google SERPs. Your online shop must be included in the search pages. For that, you can run SEO campaigns to achieve higher rankings. There, an SEO-friendly eCommerce platform can lend a helping hand. It can facilitate your customers to find your website as and when they search for the products you deal in with ease.
The following factors can make the eCommerce platform ready for the SEO campaign:
- Blog section
- Personalized domain name
- Reviews and Rating section
Such SEO-friendly platforms can give your eCommerce shop ranking high but you need to optimize it regularly to improve and maintain the higher ranking on search pages.
4. Go for Mobile-friendliness
Have you heard of ‘mobile-geddon’? Well, it is an apocalyptic scenario that depicts fewer visitors on the poorly ranked, nonresponsive websites.
The search engine giant Google has emphasized on the website’s mobile-friendliness back in the year 2015. It is because over 50% of search queries are made through mobiles worldwide. In other words, people tend to use smartphones for searching for anything on the Internet.
In brief, you need to choose the platform with the capability of providing mobile-friendly web pages. Such a platform enables your customers to go through your website quickly and facilitates them to make purchases on their smart devices.
5. Speed and UX matter the most
The average page load time (PLT) is 22 seconds irrespective of devices.
However, a study has revealed that more than 50% of people leave the mobile page of a website if it takes over 3 seconds to load.
In such a scenario, it is inevitable to select the platform that enables your online store to load faster across various devices. You just cannot afford to wait for your customers for a medium to a long time.
Similarly, you should consider the UX also. For example, if your eCommerce website has complex navigation with a few performance issues, the visitors may not return back to your site. Appealing and user-friendly interface with a seamless functionality can work wonders in attracting existing and prospective customers.
Okay. To make your job easier, here we give a list of top eCommerce platforms with pros, cons, and other factors. We have classified these platforms across different categories for your convenience.
#1 ‘Magento’ -Retailers’ Choice
Magento is one of the best premium eCommerce platforms to date. With over 14% market share in Alexa Top 1M websites globally; Magento is on the second position after WooCommerce.
Its advanced Magento 2 version has revolutionized the eCommerce sector with a plethora of business-friendly features. With a modular design and medium customizability, Magento is very beneficial for medium to large businesses.
The main USP of Magento is its high scalability and flexibility. It is easy to sell hundreds of thousands of products on Magento 2 store. Magento 2 themes and Magento 2 extensions can help businesses come up with an appealing design and flawless functionality.
Though this is one of the most useful platforms for retailers, small business owners and startups may find it a bit expensive. The platform is highly customizable but requires technical skills.
#2 ‘WooCommerce’ -Preferable for Software Integration
This WordPress plugin for eCommerce is on number one position because of user-friendly features, affordability, and high customization ability.
As the platform is based on WordPress, you can get a plethora of themes to optimize your eCommerce website along with 24/7 customer support. What’s more, if you know WordPress well, you can readily use this platform.
The platform is cost-effective and supports various plugins. Though WooCommerce is easy to start with, a moderate coding skill is necessary to make the most from it. WooCommerce is recommended for small businesses because it can meet their requirements efficiently. Also, the platform brings regular updates.
#3 ‘Shopify’ -Favorite Among Small and Mid-size Businesses
Shopify is one of the most popular platforms among small and mid-size businesses. With over one million active monthly users, this platform has rapidly gained ground in the eCommerce sector.
This platform is easy to use for all size business with high customizability. Thriving online community with enhanced flexibility is Shopify’s main USP. Just like WooCommerce, this platform also brings updates at regular intervals.
Shopify is a mobile-friendly platform and supports SEO practices by allowing customized title tags and meta description. The platform offers a mobile app to track your eCommerce website on the move. Also, customized landing pages can be built up for boosting promotional activities.
Shopify is a somewhat costly platform especially when the retailers want premium themes for their websites. The cost of themes is not included in the monthly rate plan. Also, the platform is lagging behind its counterparts when it comes to handling large volume businesses.
Even with the introduction of Shopify Plus, the platform still lacks the capability to manage a large consumer base.
Other E-Commerce Platforms
#4 Open Cart
Even a small business can also afford this open source platform. A vast number of free add-ons and various payment gateways without paying additional costs are two USPs of this platform. What’s more, there is no need for a learning curve as it is easy to install and run. The platform also offers a well-designed admin interface.
But then, the Open Cart framework lacks high-performance capabilities like other platforms and it requires installing separate plugins for integrating various functions like sales, shipping, etc. Also, the platform is not highly customizable, which means that it can make future modifications difficult for your online business.
Well, it has one of the most advanced checkout processes to offer the best single-page checkout experience. BigCommerce also provides huge hosting resources with additional layers of security. However, the platform requires good coding expertise for enhanced customization and it is a bit expensive as compared to other platforms.
There is no exaggeration in mentioning that selecting the right eCommerce platform for small and mid-size business is a herculean task. It requires a lot of research and brainstorming as every platform comes with a set of charges, subscription packages, pros, and cons.
While maintaining the subtle balance between the business requirements and budgetary constraints, the small business owners have to choose the most suitable platform.
At Strategik we strive to build the best-in-class online shop at competitive rates. Be it a Magento store or WooCommerce, you can get a robust and scalable eCommerce store to assist your business to scale new heights. Just connect with us and our eCommerce experts will get back to you.