Choosing The Right eCommerce Platform For Your Business
Choosing the right platform your business can be a tedious process, especially if you are doing it all by yourself. I have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs set up and scale their eCommerce business from scratch — this why it is a walk in the park for us.
After validating your business idea, you now have to process the nitty-gritty of setting up your website. Currently, the eCommerce industry is worth $2.3 trillion and is estimated to approximately double to 4.48 trillion by 2020.
We often encounter business owners who usually say:
"I have no idea what platform I should be using."
"I don't want to commit an expensive mistake even before I launch my business."
"I don't have time to learn these things, and I'm afraid to hire people to do it."
Don't worry, my team and I are committed to our mission to help entrepreneurs launch their eCommerce business.
With our expertise in the eCommerce industry, we have several tips on how you can narrow down to the platform that best suits your business.
But first, let me explain what are the most used platforms. In order to establish your eCommerce business, you will have use third-party platforms such as Shopify, Magento and, BigCommerce.
You can definitely sell products alone through a customized site, in reality, you will need one of these platforms to scale and expand your operations.
Shopify is one of the most used eCommerce platforms right now. The Budweiser empire, RedBull, KKW Beauty (Kim Kardashian West), Kylie Cosmetics, and Nestle among its roster of big brands who are using Shopify.
They have processed over $100 billion transactions worldwide and maintains to grow annually. As of 2019, 800,000 merchants are now using by Shopify. 2017 saw an addition of 200,000+ new retailers. In the second quarter of 2018, Shopify registered the billionth order on the platform overall.
Magento is an example of an open source eCommerce platform. Like traditional platforms where you follow the same development method, the main exception is that you don’t incur an upfront cost in purchasing a license. But you need to pay for initial development, implementation, ongoing development, upgrades, and migration.
Magento has an engaged and devoted community and celebrates them yearly with the annual convention called “Imagine Ecommerce.” It was developed in 2007, released in 2008, and is currently considered one of the most successful eCommerce platforms in the world. Magento's value has grown incredibly, going from $180 million to $1.68 billion in eight short years. With the platform’s rising demand and future plans for greater expansion, you can expect its value to keep on increasing.
BigCommerce is a top contender for eCommerce platform. Among its clients include big brand names like Kodak, Ben & Jerry’s, and Toyota. It is a specialized eCommerce builder with lots of integrated features, data analytics, and more. BigCommerce is recommended for large or fast-growing businesses and you will not outgrow this platform anytime soon.
BigCommerce enjoys an impressive 28% annual average growth for its clients. If you look at the trend, it’s easy to see the stiff competition among various eCommerce platforms fighting for a share of the growing market. In the second quarter of 2017, online sales surpassed $100 billion, up 16.3% from this same quarter a year ago. Considering Amazon’s total sales on Prime Day in 2017 topped $2 billion.
eCommerce business model is highly profitable, with entrepreneurs scaling from modest eight-figures to eight figures monthly, it's enough to make your jaw drop.
If you want to know more about these platforms, check their special features on their respective websites. They can shine a spotlight on the quality of its features, ease of use, template designs, and more.
Time is money, so here are some considerations when choosing the right eCommerce platform.
1. You have to consider all the costs.
Every platform has associated monthly or annual costs. When choosing the right platform, you have to consider this operational cost for your business. Some platforms start for as low as $13 per month. It depends on your needs and current business model.
In other words, if you are coming out the door with a new business or product, make sure you can maintain the cost of an eCommerce platform before you spend the money.
Needless to say, your chosen platform is an investment for your business and it is considered the most important aspect. This is why you have to know the fees such as for maintenance, designing, bandwidth, and third-party apps. All of these additional fees need to be weighed in your decision, to guarantee they match your business model and current cash flow.
2. Make sure it’s secure.
Security should be on top of your concerns, too. An old age saying applies to website security, "It's easy to prevent it than fix it."
The growing number of website attacks and cyber attacks is one of the worries of every consumer. With a rapid increase of data leak, even with other reputable tech companies, it's become a nuance. Being protected in the online world becomes more and more important every single day, and it is more than essential to safeguard your website and the data it holds now. Consequently, the security of the platform should be thoroughly reviewed. Since eCommerce is a digital platform that is actively taking financial payments, you want to make sure your service provider has the necessary security protocols in place.
According to Web Arx Security, 56% of all internet traffic comes from an automated source such as hacking tools, scrapers and spammers, impersonators, and bots. You might as well ask, "Is my website secure?
Securing your website such as SSL certificates can be a technical process. Consumers want to process their credit card payments on a secure platform.
3. Identify key features and third-party apps you will need to run your business.
The best eCommerce platform is the one that successfully delivers the outcomes and objectives that you have set; not the one that’s popular.
Certain features are not available in every eCommerce platform builder. You have to map out what kind of features you need to operate your eCommerce business fully.
Will you need region specific delivery settings?
Will you offer a monthly subscription to your users?
Will you need a highly customized back-end dashboard?
Will you offer flexible pricing and shipping?
Will you need multiple payment gateways? (PayPal, Stripe, etc.)
Ask yourself some questions about the potential features and offerings in your business. The good thing with different platform builders is they offer a free trial, so you can test the waters before investing. Select the platform that meets the minimum “must-have” essentials but can support new features and capabilities as your business expands. This helps to keep your spending in line with the growth of your business.
4. SEO and Mobile Friendliness.
You need to consider mobile-friendly and SEO-ready eCommerce platform.
Your chosen platform should come with comprehensive SEO and designing features that will enable your eCommerce site to rank highly in search engine results.
Important factors to consider when looking for an SEO friendly eCommerce platform include:
Ability to add a blog to your eCommerce website
Ability to use your custom domain name
Ability to leave customers reviews
5. Think of the scalability in the future.
As your business continues to expand, will your eCommerce platform grow with you? Your eCommerce platform is the primary hub of your enterprise. If your platform is difficult to scale, it can prevent the growth of your business. Meaning, you will be stuck without progress if your platform can't keep up with your business growth.
Setting objectives before choosing an eCommerce platform is one way to know if it's scalable.
Do you have pre-defined objectives at the very start of the selection process? If not, you will end up losing a lot of time and you might select the wrong platform.
Some examples objectives when launching an eCommerce store:
Launch your eCommerce store within 1-3 months time
Niche down to profitable and high-demand products
Collect 1,000 consumer data in your target market
Make at least 15,000 sales in the first quarter
If your existing platform can't keep up with the demands of your growing business, moving to a new platform later is disruptive. Especially if have thousands of products that you need to migrate. It can be time-consuming may lead to loss of income if done incorrectly.
Do you feel overwhelmed with the above considerations?
Drill down your choices from hundreds to just a few pretty quickly. Keep researching. Whatever path you choose to go in, be certain in your choice. Don’t freak out about your decision. If you prefer something successful and mainstream, you will break your business.
From our experience, stuff like customer service, merchandising, product descriptions, marketing, and photos, prompt delivery, finding a niche, and creating loyal patrons need much more of your attention.
It can be overwhelming to know what’s the best platform. But with the above considerations, you can easily start and scale your business.