How to pick the best eCommerce platform suited for your custom needs

by Hankly, New Delhi
20th May, 2021 11:11pm

If you are planning to invest yourself in eCommerce or expand your existing eCommerce business, we say that it’s a smart move. ECommerce is one of the fastest-growing industries currently worth somewhere around $4 trillion.

Creating and running an online business is an evolving process. Your business has to grow and adapt to the changing technology, market trends, and new opportunities. In this ongoing journey, selecting the right eCommerce platform to set up your online store is a crucial step. Many new creators and businesses often don’t give the necessary time in research and end up selecting a platform that is either limited, not suitable for their needs, or proves to be financially impractical for them.

When researching for an eCommerce platform, there are various factors you need to check for. In this article, we have breakdown all the important aspects you should consider before finalizing the right eCommerce platform for your business.

How an eCommerce platform impacts your business?

Well, in the first place, why is it even important to use an eCommerce platform for your online store? Well, the answer is simple. Before eCommerce development platforms, businesses had to develop their own in-house platform. This needed a dedicated team of web developers and experts to not just create a platform but also manage and maintain it.

It meant that only large businesses could invest in online stores. Individual creators and small entrepreneurs had no opportunity.

ECommerce platforms came with benefits and strengths which are:

• They have made it easy and affordable for anyone to open an online business.

• It leveled the playfield and distributed opportunities. The market grew as a whole and more people partake in the e-economy.

• Because there is no technical expertise required, most of the things are created and managed through GUI-based software and the prices are affordable.

From inventory management to customer relationships, the right eCommerce platform can streamline everything for you. We’ll now look at how you can select the right eCommerce platform for your online business.

1. Feature-Rich & Functional

An online business comes with additional challenges than a traditional business. The right eCommerce platform must be feature-rich to tackle these challenges and provide you with the best of tools and technology. In the name of being feature-rich, many platforms pack themselves with features that serve no functional value. These are just pompous and unnecessary distractions.

A great platform will provide you with features that actually solve a problem, features that have utility, and enhances how your business functions. These are the must-have basic features for any good platform:

• Easy-to-use and intuitive page builder and theme designer

• Integrated payment gateways

• Shipping and delivery service

• Excellent customer support

• Robust catalog system

• Easy inventory management

You mustn't sacrifice functionality for pompous features that serve no real purpose.

2. Streamline Customer Engagement

How your business engages with a customer is a crucial part of your customer relationship. A healthy and reciprocated relationship hugely determines your sales conversions. It impacts word of mouth and diffused mobility of your brand. A good eCommerce platform will empower your business with some form of CRM software (customer relationship management) that will allow you to determine how your business engages with the customers and how can your customers engage with you.

Be it automated welcome emails, order tracking messages, follow-up emails, incentivizing customers for their engagement, or social media interactions, a good platform must equip you with some form of CRM. In case the platform of your choice has limited CRM tools, you can see if it is compatible with third-party CRM like HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, ZOHO, Salesforce, etc.

3. Excellent Customer Support

Because there are so many options available to customers online, there is often very less reason for customers to stick to a particular site. In case of errors, faulty processes, and technical difficulties, customers are likely to switch to an alternative business. The world online runs in milliseconds. You have to be quick and so is with troubleshooting.

Any errors or tech issues your online store faces, directly impact your customer’s UX. The platform that you have chosen must provide tech support on fingertips. Likely, many individual creators and small businesses do not have in-house technical expertise. As you move on your journey, many issues will spring up and you must have help ready when you need it.

4. Fits Your Budget

Many great eCommerce platforms unfortunately are too expensive for medium-size businesses, small enterprises, and individual creators. Though an eCommerce platform is the foundation of your online store, it should not be too heavy on your pockets.

Luckily some of the best eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, and our own Hankly, have affordable pricing. We at Hanky especially have flexible plans where you can pay as you go and don’t have to pay for what you don’t need.

5. Scalability

You should plans for the future now. Think in terms of growth and scale. Whether you are starting now or already run an online store, you have certain resources and tools included in your current plan. What’ll happen when you cross the threshold? That’s why your eCommerce platform should offer you scalable plans so that you can upgrade to larger resources and more advanced tools as you grow.

Vertical scalability is indispensable when you think in terms of growth. Make sure that the platform makes it easy for you to upgrade when you need it.

6. Analytics

Analytics is perhaps one way that can greatly impact how you run your business, interact with customers, and most importantly make sales. Analytics provide you with empirical data that helps you determine what your customers are likely to buy, what price point will yield you maximum profit, what you can do to bring lost customers, etc.

Analytics gives you insight into what kind of marketing strategy and sales promotion you should employ. A great eCommerce platform will help you with analytics and also make sense of the data. You should also be able to pair your store with more advanced analytic tools like Google Analytics, Glew.io, Supermetrics, etc.

7. Social Media Integration

Social media integration is important for any online business. Social media hugely determines how your customers discover you and perceive you. Their interaction, engagement, and perception can be influenced through social media effectively.

• It increases your store traffic

• Increases brand engagement

• Amplifies reach

• Improves ROI on product campaigns

• Enhances UX

The platform must enable you to integrate social media on your online store through social-sign-in options, widgets, plugins, homepage feed, brand hashtags, integrated social media feedbacks, and CTA on social profiles.

Conclusion

You must evaluate all aspects of an eCommerce platform before you invest in it. By following the above guide, you can get a more comprehensive outlook on which eCommerce platform is suitable for your specific needs.

That which is the best today may not necessarily be the best tomorrow. Technology and trends change quickly and the platform you choose must not only be relevant for today but also empower you for tomorrow.

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